Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reflections - Need

{This week's Reflections post is in response to the blog post "Need" by Going Beyond Ministries, which can be found HERE.}

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

These may just be some of the most famous words in the Bible.  Not only that, but when taken out of context, they are some of the most powerful words that anti-Christians try to use against us.  Wow, I'm getting heavy and it's only the third sentence!

As you might be familiar, as Jesus died on the cross, He shouted these words to the Father.  His Father.  Our Father.  Because as He suffered the most cruel death in history, the human side of Him- the side that felt pain, hurt, and emotions- felt abandoned.  He knew all along that this would be His fate... it had been prophesied for thousands of years before His existence, and He knew why (or rather for whom) He was dying.  It was  a hefty price to pay, and one that would change the world forever, but even Jesus had that moment of weakness- that moment of distrust.

No matter who you are or what your story, you have been through a dark time.  Who knows, maybe you are even going through one now.  Or maybe you feel like your life is one constant dark time and you can't find the way off of the hamster wheel.  And maybe, just maybe, you profess your faith in Christ but yet you feel like He's nowhere to be found.  This is totally not the direction that I was going to go with this today, but as soon as I sat down to type up my thoughts, my fingers started dancing across the keyboard.  Someone out there needs to read this today.  Someone out there is struggling, feels alone and abandoned, and desperately needs to hear that they are not alone.  And if you're feeling guilty about doubting that God will come through, know that you're not alone there either.  Jesus, our savior, had His moment of weakness, too.  But in God's timing, He was rescued, and you will be, too.  TRUST in Him during this time.  Have FAITH in Him during this time.  And even if you're not sure how to even pray to Him, just continue to remind yourself that you have no idea what the plan is or how this whole thing will turn out, you're putting it in His hands.  Hold your head high, square your shoulders, live by His word, and... well... wait.

Okay, so that's the part you didn't want to hear.  We live in a culture where we want it NOW.  We want the answer NOW.  We want the dark time to be over NOW.  And just because we're told to wait on God does not mean that we have to sit back and twiddle our thumbs.  God knows the answer, but He still expects you to do some work.  If you're greiving over the loss of something or someone (whether it be a death or the end of a relationship) He still expects you to take steps to start letting that person go.  It's just like in Joshua - even though He was told that He would win the battle, He still had to assemble an army and fight.  But I encourage you to always keep in mind that no matter what that fight is, God has it figured out.  Even in the end of these days, God will prevail... that's in there, too!

Like I said, this is not where I thought I was going to go with this today.  My challenge last week was for you to share a God-story... one of those when you thought all hope was lost and He came through.  I love those and could hear them all day.  So since I went off on a tangent, I'm just going to share a VERY quick one since I've already rambled on enough.  So... as you know, we decided last spring to move three states away and plant a church.  Our goal was to spend the summer living with my sister and scoping out locations and meeting people.  We still owned a house in Illinois and our focus was save, save, save.  Most of our spare income (and then some) was poured into this dream and we continued to tithe faithfully to a church that didn't yet exist.  And then in August, we bit the bullet and moved here full-time, which came with a hefty rent check.  Now I will be the first to say that I used to spend a lot of my time being concerned about money.  I lived at home for a long time, have always had a steady, well-paying job, and therefore have always had plenty to live on, plenty to spend on myself, and plenty left in a savings account just in case.  When I met Josh, he taught me about returning the tithe and I struggled at first with giving away 10%.  I did it out of due diligence and eventually it became routine.  And then in some weird way, it kind of became fun.  And then over time, I literally itched if it was the second day of the month and that check hadn't written.  Giving God my first fruits is now a way of life, and then on top of that, we started giving abundantly and generously.  We were always smart and paid our bills and provided for our family, but giving became (and still is) a big part of our life.  So the old me would have completely panicked about the decision to have a mortgage and a rental house.  Oh, did I mention that this was happening on one income?  Yeah, Josh quit his job before we moved here... it was the only way it would work out for us.  And then on top of that, I knew that maternity leave was in the very near future and I'd be going on about 12 weeks with very little pay.  We saved during that summer with my sister like never before, but once that maternity leave time hit, things did start getting tight.  We cut back even farther, but continued to pay on both houses.  And still, I did not freak out.  We continued to tithe and even budgeted enough to buy some pretty nice Christmas presents for our families, and still I did not panic.  It was weird, but I think it was truly the first time in my entire life that I told God that I knew He had this.  I knew He'd provide (but like I mentioned above, we were putting in the work while we waited).  January rolled around and I paid the mortgage.  We had budgeted to get us to this point and it was the very last mortgage payment that we had saved for.  In many ways, I couldn't believe that we had made it that far, and a small part of me started to doubt, just a little.  Our house hadn't shown in months and had been on the market since the previous May.  My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?  I had my moments of that... of course I did... I'm human!  But then I'd turn right back around and give it back to Him.  God, you've got this... I know you do.  And then out of the blue came a call from our realtor.  He asked me if we'd be willing to do a rent to own contract.  Josh and I knew nothing about how that worked but immediately said yes!  My hopes were up until he told me that the couple who wanted to know hadn't even seen the house.  We weren't in the clear yet.  Plus, it was already mid-month, so chances were we'd be scrounging to find that February payment.  But then, another call came, this time to discuss the contract.  Say what??  Really??  And.... guess when they wanted to move in?  Yep.... February 1st!  Since it was a rent-to-own we didn't have to wait until closing and could arrange that.  In fact, becuase it was a rent-to-own we officially don't even close until January 2014, which is crazy when you thimk about it.  But yet, they'll be paying us rent and we'll still be putting equity into the house.  The purchase price has been set, so we'll come out ahead even in this market.  One of my favorite sayings is "always be amazed, but never be surprised."  Yes, I was amazed- am still amazed.  God, I knew you had this one... and He did.  He just made me wait until the very last minute... just to make sure I meant it!  He's always there you know, but maybe He's just waiting for the very last minute, just to make sure you mean it, too!

Okay, so that wasn't as short as I thought it would be (but it never is with me).  I'm just going to leave you with one last nugget and then I'll shush for the day, deal?  I read this today and thought it was perfect to share:

If you made it this far, thank you.  As always, Brittany posted about the same topic and let me just tell you, she totally blew me away this week.  "Push Hard and Pedal" is something I'm going to have to start chanting to myself through hard times... I loved it!

Please share with us if you posted on this topic, too.  We don't receive too much feedback on these Reflections posts, but I hope you're getting as much out of them as we are from writing them.  Blogging with Brittany every Thursday has been something that I look forward to week after week, and we'd love to have more in our little club.  Leave a comment or link up if you want to join us.

Brit picked the topic for next week and I am totally pumped about it.  She picked a message by Holly Furtick, who is basically like the mecca of all pastor's wives.  Yeah, she's a superstar and someone I really admire... her blog is pretty wonderful, too.  Here's what Brittany has chosen for us:

{As for next week, I'd like to listen to a message from Holly Furtick.  Her husband is Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.  She opened up there current series called "Waiting Room" with an UNBELIEVABLY TIMELY MESSAGE!!  You can listen and watch at this link below...

Love you all... thanks for reading!

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