Are you picturing it in your mind?
Perhaps it was the day you got that shiny, red bike you were dreaming about for months. Or maybe it was the day you shared your first kiss with the love of your life.
Was it the moment you laid eyes on your child for the first time and fell madly in love?
Are you picturing that moment right now?
So am I.
Although, mine may look like an odd choice to an outsider.
Trust me when I say, my first kiss with Peter was magical. I’m talking fireworks, red-hot sparks, David Copperfield kind of magic.
And when I gave birth to all three of my girls, I thought my heart would explode, To think it even possible to make room for more love was inconceivable and then a new addition was added to the family and I realized my heart didn’t make room but grew in-depth, height, and dimension.
I’ve had wonderful family vacations, gone to amusement parks and on nature hikes. There were even some awesome evenings that I pulled the best all-nighters with my best friend. But none of these are the moments that come to mind at the moment.
My happiest moment started in the dark.
It was 6 a.m. and I was sitting at my dining room table with tears streaming down my cheeks.
Well to really tell this story, I need to back up about 6 weeks.
Every morning I like to get up before everyone else and just prepare my heart, mind, and body for the day. A big part of this is reading my Bible and just chit-chatting with Jesus. I honestly look forward to it every morning.
Don’t worry. I am not super spiritual. Most of my excitement is because I can spew out my hopes, dreams, worries and fears before anyone else hears them without being interrupted by little talkers. I also can just sit and be quiet if I so desire before the chaos really begins in the form of brown hair, brown eyes, and a mischievous smile.
But during days of late, my quiet mornings had transformed into a wrestling match with God.
I know. Very holy. Very submissive. Very… well, true.
God was beginning to turn my heart in a certain direction and I was fighting Him on it. I’m talking put-em-up-swing-duck-lunge kind of direction.
I didn’t know at the time why, but God had been asking me to step out of my comfort zone of life and step up my faith. He wasn’t offering details of what was going to come, but He was asking me to surrender myself to Him,which also included whatever was to come.
Do you trust me?
Will you obey?
Can you give up your expectations and just let me lead?
Let me tell you, I was squirming. I know what stepping out in faith meant. It main fire, like refiner’s fire. It was a time when God turned up the heat of life to mold and make me into something new.
Sure, I love the idea of being shiny, beautiful, and useful, but I do NOT like the idea of having to hang out in a hot, uncomfortable place for a period of time beforehand.
But this is where I was. At a cross roads. Standing at that fork in the road, wrenching my head back and forth, trying to calculate which turn to take. Do I follow God blindly or continue in the way I was going?
I wasn’t doing anything outwardly wrong. I loved and served my family, taught in children’s church, went to nursing homes to sing, paid my taxes, and even ate broccoli. So why would I need to change anything?
If we are not making steps closer to God, than we are falling further away. There is no standing still and being OK. This is truth for every single interaction and relationship we have in this life.
So, of course, I submitted.
(Insert loud buzzer sound)
The creation (me) told the Creator (God) that I was just fine the way I was and there would be no more changes needed.
Of course this went on for a while. Six weeks to be exact. Hey, what can I say, I am thick-skulled and stubborn and will not be rushed. Every morning God so tenderly poked and prodded my heart with the same request… trust, submit, allow Me to be in control.
I was beginning to get pretty miserable about the whole thing, really. I was perpetually exhausted, always on edge, feeling weary and just not happy.
Finally, one morning I woke up, worn out, unsettled, and wretched. I trudged to the table really dreading the same questions and giving the same answers. I wanted change, but I was scared to allow it to happen. I sat down, didn’t even open my Bible, and started to get real…fast.
Lord, this is no fun. This is utterly miserable. I’m tired of fighting you, but I am fearful of what you are asking of me. Faith? I don’t even know if I have any. But I know that you won’t ask this of me unless you will supply what I need. I. Am. Done. I’ll do it. I will obey and change and be all that you are asking me to be because anything that is ahead of me has got to be better than fighting you on this. Thank you for being patient. Honestly, thank you for not giving up on me.
I found joy that day in submitting to God.
So many people look at religion as a bunch of “don’ts” and a list of “dos” and it all sounds oppressive and rueful.
And they are absolutely right. It is.
But I don’t have religion. I don’t participate in the emptiness of trying to please a God through my puny acts of kindness and ritualistic performances.
What I have is real.
My relationship with the Almighty Creator is so much more than me trying to earn His favor.
I never would be able to be good enough, smart enough, obedient enough to please Him.
But you know what I can do?
I can come in my frail state, lift up my hands and say, “Here I am. Do what you will. Use me.”
I found joy that morning in the surrender of trusting my Protector. Following my Leader. Waiting on the One that makes all the appointments.
Joy comes in trust. Trust comes from knowing truth. And Truth IS God.