You know how you think you know stuff and then you realize all of a sudden that you really don’t? That has been my experience this past week.
A dear friend of mine is working through some books and studies with me to figure out how to get to a healthier place in the whole love and trust thing. She and I have these gut-wrenchingly honest conversations about life, love, past, families, relationships… you name it.
And oh my goodness! It’s as if God is opening up a floodgate of revelation I can barely figure out where to start in my pondering!
This week I have focused on trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Trusting God. Needing to trust God better…more…completely. Kind of the stuff I have been working on it seems like forever. But then God said, “Dearest, there is more to this trust thing than you thought.”
During my weekly Bible study, we were talking about trusting God with things in our lives. I shared that sometimes I have a more difficult time trusting God with the little things than with the big things. You know, I don’t want to bother God with stuff I should be able to handle. (Argh. As if He is too busy and can’t be bothered.) How can I know so much and still think like that? I can’t tell you how many times I have told my children that nothing is too small to bring to the throne of grace…and yet, do I? Nope.
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
But the bigger thing…the a-ha moment or oh dear moment (not sure which is more appropriate)…was when God revealed that I withhold things in my life that I struggle with if I consider them natural consequences of my decisions. As if when I make mistakes God says, “Sorry, Sue. You broke it, you fix it. You messed it up, you clean it up. Your decision, your deal.”
Somehow that doesn’t seem like my Father.
My Father who says things like:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11
Time for some brutal honesty.
Three years ago I moved to Williamsburg to be near my mom and because I had a good job offer. Preparing my house to sell was expensive. Moving was expensive. Closing costs were expensive unexpectedly both to sell and to buy – I got a double whammy I wasn’t counting on. And then I stupidly paid for my daughter’s first year college tuition when I had no business…and no money…because I thought I could pay it off fast. Well, then things happen like massive car repairs, house issues, and doctor’s bills. So I have slipped into a financial pit of debt. And it feels like I will never make it out. I feel like when I get a good plan…something else happens and I receive another bill I wasn’t expecting. It is so frustrating! And at times it feels hopeless.
I have prayed that God would give me wisdom about what to do, but I really truly haven’t given it to God. It is my mess, the consequences of my poor planning and decision-making. I made this mess and I have to clean it up.
Had I known more. Made better plans. Thought through things more effectively. Just been smarter all the way around…
This week God (and a few good friends) reminded me that God loves me and loves to be kind to me and wants the best for me and my children. That His plan for my life isn’t about punishment, but about hope
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… Exodus 34:6-7
I don’t expect that God is going to zap a tremendous amount of money into my life and solve all those problems, although I’d certainly welcome it. LOL! And I’d definitely give Him all the glory! But I do believe that God wants to walk with me through it.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37
He does not expect me to solve it apart from Him. He does not want me to beat myself up continually about it, but rather to move forward trusting that He will not leave my side…and that He will even guide me forward.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5
So that is what I am going to do. One day at a time. I’ve changed my prayers. I need God for many things…I need God for everything…even for the messes I’ve made…especially for the messes I’ve made.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
I’m praying, “Father, I need you TODAY. Would you help me TODAY? Father, would you show me what I need to do TODAY so that you will be glorified, so that I can improve my life, make wise decisions, raise my children well, do what you want me to do, and stay in your will. Father, please lead me forward every second of every minute. And Father, I know you know that my heart’s desire is to honor you with everything I have and do and say…please help me get in a better place financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Please show me ways to honor you with my finances, my time, and my life.
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11
Lord, the messes I’m in, whether my own doing or not, would you please take them Lord? Make something good out of them…help me through them. Show me what you would have me do, how you want me to think, and even what you want me to pray. Lord, I am yours. Lord, my life, all messy and complicated and frustrating, is yours. Lord, my life, all beautiful and chaotic and joy-filled is yours. You are my hope, Lord. Being debt free is not my hope. Being organized is not my hope. Being rested is not my hope. You and you alone are my hope
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
Lord, I pray all this in the name of Jesus, who is my hope. Amen.
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come. Psalm 71:3