Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Surviving Life's Mud Puddles"

Have you ever struggled with anything in your life before? Has your life turned out the way you expected it would? Not mine, by a long shot. The man of my dreams asked me to marry him and of course I said yes. Nothing I expected. How did I get so lucky? God put a desire in my heart to go into full-time ministry to help others. Not in “my plans.” My husband and I served 12 + years in youth ministry. Teens scared me… not in “my plans.” My first child miscarried, but later I was blessed with two baby boys sixteen months apart… not in “my plans.” We served two years as Senior Pastors. “Old people” scared me except my grandma of course… not in “my plans.” I came down with an unpredictable autoimmune disease that affects every muscle in my body which caused us to have to step out of full-time ministry for a season… not in “my plans.”

Have you noticed a theme here? It was all about “my plans.” I think God had something else in mind for me… something better. No matter what the season I was in good or bad my main constant has always been God. He has carried me through so much and I don’t know what I would have done without Him. I am of the opinion that no matter what we face, if we give it to God He can bring good out of it. My hearts desire is to allow my life’s struggles to inspire others to press forward in their journey with God regardless of their circumstances.

I choose to serve God in good times and in bad. I will not walk away from Him, turn my back on Him, or blame Him. I trust Him with the details of my life. He has proven to me over and over again that He will never leave me or forsake me. Two verses have been food for my soul through some of the darkest hours of my life.

“For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

“You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people…”
Genesis 50:20 (NCV)

No matter what difficulties we face, God has the ability to make something beautiful out of it. My heart ached to see something good come out of my sickness. Three years ago, God put a dream in my heart. It was a dream to write a book about my struggles. I wanted to challenge others to keep trusting God no matter what they face in life.

As I searched the scriptures for hope and wisdom in my life-defining moments, I found a “kindred spirit.” He is a man who hit rock bottom and lived to tell about it. He faced family squabbles, unwarranted accusations, fear, doubt, anger, and temptation. He felt abandoned, forgotten, invisible, unloved, and broken. He was human like you and me, yet rose above his seemingly difficult life to become better in the end. His character, his faithfulness, his unswerving trust in God is an inspiration to us all. The man I am speaking about is Joseph and my book will be filled with his story and mine.

I have been attempting to write this for three years now, but everything keeps getting postponed. I keep getting sick which delays the process. The most I have gotten done is a complete outline of the book chapter by chapter with some ideas and a little research. I have decided this time to push ahead one chapter at a time whether I am sick or not. It will get done!

One way to commit myself to the process was to sign-up to lead a small group at the church I attend. It is a ladies only group that will meet Thursday nights for the next few months. The group is centered around building relationships with other women and getting into the Bible. My book/Bible study will be the focus of our discussions. I am working ahead of everyone chapter by chapter, but it is not completed which totally stresses me out. I like to lead when I am prepared. But those are “my plans” not God’s plans.

Tonight is the first night of the small group. God has handpicked the ladies that will be there and I am very expectant of what He will do. I know we will forever be changed. By the end of this small group semester, I am expecting to have the book completed and prepared to have published. I pray God will use my circumstances and life struggles to draw others closer to Him.

Here is a sneak peak at excerpts from the book…
Life has its ups and downs. It CAN be messy and difficult at times. I like to call those seasons “mud puddle moments.” It is during these times of difficulty that we may get spiritually dirty (make wrong choices), we might feel icky from the slushy “mud” spraying us (uncomfortable with where we are), or our plans may have to be altered because of unexpected changes in the weather (circumstances beyond our control).

Did you know that God specializes in those “mud puddle moments?” He anxiously awaits the opportunity to meet us in the midst of our moments of desperation. He longs to bring beauty from the ugliest of things in our lives. When we release our lives to Him in good times and in bad, it gives God the green light to start painting. He is creating a work of art with our lives…...

....Life is a journey and our walk of faith can be pretty shaky at times. Whether you are in a valley, facing a mountain top, or at the top enjoying the view, God is faithful! This Bible study series is entitled “Surviving Life’s Mud Puddles” because life is messy and unpredictable. You can’t walk through a mud puddle without getting dirty. It happens. Life is the same way. Things will happen beyond our control. It is inevitable, but what will we do when it does? This series is designed to help you take a closer look at who you are from the inside out. It will challenge you to face the unpredictable, trust God with the details of your life, and embrace the person God created you to be. Fasten your seat belts. You are in for an amazing ride!

Please pray with me for favor as I move forward to fulfill the dream God placed in my heart. I pray I would be a tool in the hands of God to impact my world for Jesus.

Living to leave a legacy,

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