I lean not on my own understanding

This is not going to be a newsflash to anyone who knows me or who has read my blog on any type of consistent basis. I am a control freak. I have a very hard time sitting back and letting go. Instead I try to micro-manage, script, control, and dictate the way I think things should go. And may I just say that its not working out so great for me. I get so frustrated and discouraged with the fact that when I do try and control the outcome of things it doesn’t work. Things are going to happen the way they are supposed to happen according to God’s plan – he doesn’t need me to “help.” Secondly, my need to control things, situations, people, etc. hints to me (or screams at me) that my faith really isn’t where it should be or where I claim it to be…or want it to be. It’s so easy for me to tell a friend who is struggling that “everything will be ok…God is in control.” Shame on me for speaking it into someone else’s life when I barely allow it in my own. Truthfully, the last month or so has been extremely trying and difficult in my life. (Everything is relative – and even as I type “extremely” I know that there are others suffering much greater hardships than I). Brian and I have been married 6 months this week, and while we truly have an amazing, relationship built on God first, there have been challenges along the way. But it is only when I take things into my own hands – when I lean on MY own understanding – that I think things seem tough. One of our biggest challenges has been the blending of two families. Raising children is hard. Raising 5 children…hard. Raising 5 children – 4 of whom are teenagers…yep….hard. And throw in the fact that some are his and some are mine and the bar is raised even higher for difficulty level. And the thing about it is – we are blessed. We have really good kids who make good decisions and stay out of trouble,etc. Reflecting on the last month, I realize that things are toughest when I try and make things be the way I think they should be. In the last few days, I wasn’t sure how things would work out, where it would all end up, and how all of us would fare through it – but I WAS certain that all of it be ok – because we love God and he promises us that all things work together for good for those who love Him. I kept telling myself that over and over. Its in His hands. It will all be ok. Over and over – almost as if I was still trying to control the outcome. But I do believe in God and I know that He loves me. I do trust in His word. This morning, I went to church broken. I was at the point where I just had lost the energy to fight anymore. I was finally ready to turn it all over to God and truly ask Him to take it. (And all along God is waiting for me to get to this point. You would think after a while I would learn to make it easier on all of us and just give it all to him all the time.) At the end of the sermon, we stood and began to sing the following words…

“I lean not on my own understanding.

My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven.

I give my heart to you God

Trusting you will make

Something beautiful out of me”

At first, I couldn’t even bring myself to sing the words. They were a lie. I have been trying to do things my way – all on my own. Lately, my life has been in my own hands – not in the hands of the one who created it all. I have given God my heart, but my late actions have not shown a trust in God to make me into who he has planned. As the song went on and the words were repeated over and over I could feel the weight I’d been carrying around being gently lifted from me. As I began to sing the words, I truly was making a vow to lean NOT on my own understanding. If I earnestly believe that my life is in HIS hands, what am I so fearful of? Why am I worried? I’m always amazed at the way God ¬†works. He knows me so well. I am so moved my music and by lyrics. Today he chose that avenue to really speak to my heart. He knew I needed not only to hear the words of that song, but He knew I needed to let it all go and to sing the words from my heart to Him. Will this be my last blog about my inability to “let go and let God’? Probably not…I’m not perfect and never will be. And I’m sure my need to control will be something that I continually will have to ask God for help with. God knows my heart and he knows exactly how to speak to me. And right here and right now I am letting him carry the burden. I’m confident my life is in His hands and I do trust that He is making beauty out of my messes.

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My mission field

The past month at school has been a rough one. Not rough due to the behavior of my students, or because of the insane expectations that have been put on the staff by our administration (insane is putting it lightly), but rather by the situations that many of my students are in. Everyday I hear stories that are hard for me to understand…hard for me to even fathom. Many of my students face daily challenges that I will never know. They are neglected, hungry, Continue reading

Keeping me in check

God has an amazing way of keeping me in check. And I am so thankful for His love and mercy and grace – and for His guidance. I started out this week in a funk. I was enveloped in a cloud of sadness and self-pity. I spent hours focusing on all the things that I felt were going wrong in my world. What a waste of energy! Not that this is the first time it has occurred to me that my behavior at times can be counter productive. But, wow…if I could just have channelled that energy into something more positive…wow. Thankfully the events of this weekend brought me out of my funk. Ok – so not just the events…my God put me in the places and with the people that He knew would bring me back to where I needed to be – and then some. He has a way of doing that…and I am more thank thankful for His wisdom. The more Brian and I get to go new places and share our music and story, the more we are blessed with such wonderful people. I am just in awe of the way in which we have been blessed over the course of the last year. Friday night, after leading worship at an event at Grace Pointe in Oxford, we found ourselves encircled by a group of wonderful people who wanted to pray for us and our ministry. I was overwhelmed by the love and the prayers offered up for us. For us! Encounters like that humble me and are such a blessing to me. We are still finding our way on this path God has laid out before us…and to know that there are people out there praying blessings upon us is so comforting. To be uplifted in such a way is truly overwhelming. It makes me feel foolish and selfish for the way I started my week. I am thankful that God loves me in spite of my brokenness…I am thankful that He loves me enough to put the people in my life that He knows I need. I am thankful for that extravagant love…a love that I don’t deserve. I am thankful that God loves me enough to keep me in check.