Have you ever gone to church, on a day where you nearly didn't make it, and thought to yourself "Thank you God for allowing me the privilege of being here and hearing what you have to say to me?" That was me at church yesterday. Jeff and Matthew were out of town and I nearly took the girls to my in law's church. However, the kids are doing a day camp at our church and I needed to pick up their tee shirts. When I walked in, I heard a guy preaching and immediately was taken aback at the power you could just feel from his voice. As I looked closer, I realized it was a Nate Bull, a Kalamazoo pastor who has done so much good for inner city Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor. I have heard about him from friends who attend our church who have heard him speak but have never been fortunate to hear him personally. Wow. I was blessed immeasurably by what he had to share. His message was about stepping out in faith. Listening to what God is asking you to do and doing it, no matter how scared or anxious you feel about what he is asking you to do. A lot of what Nate was talking about was regarding ministry type things. He was an employee with Kalamazoo Public Schools before God laid on his heart to start a street ministry which has taken off and blessed thousands of individuals in our community.
Rewind to my own personal walk in my faith, which I have shared throughout the years here, which has taken some pretty interesting turns lately. Long story short, I have felt very strongly that God was asking me to do something and I have done it. The thing about me is I am good at following my conviction for about two weeks when I am pulled right back into my destructive ways. As I listened to Nate speak and he literally asked, "What is God laying on your heart? Where do you need to step out in faith?" I literally could hear God saying, "What I have laid on your heart, this is what I am asking you to do." I also felt a very real sense of conviction that if I continue to follow my own ways and not do what God is asking, there will be some very real, negative, long lasting ill effects on my life. I am already dealing with some of the consequences of the sin I have let overtake my life but truly feel that if I don't make serious changes, God will bring me to my knees. Scary but strangely freeing at the same time. I feel broken for the first time in a long time. Over the past few years I have not even let myself entertain feeling broken. It is amazing how much you can numb and mask those feelings. Satan is all too happy to supply you with endless ways to destroy yourself. I felt that yesterday at church God was breaking my heart with the realization that I have missed so many opportunities to live for him when I live for myself. I have missed opportunities to show my community, my friends, my husband and most importantly, my kids what it looks like to walk a righteous and God fearing path.
I continue to be in awe of God's amazing grace and provision for me throughout my rebellion. He has never forsaken me, he has not brought me to a true rock bottom. He has spared me and continues to welcome me back and literally bring me to his guidance through amazing messages like I heard yesterday.
I have reached out to several friends who I know I can trust and depend on to help me be obedient and accountable to stay on the right path. I am taking it literally day by day. Each day it gets a little easier to discover not who I have been or who I have tried to be on my own but who Christ says I am. I feel that was largely my problem all these years. Trying to find my own way or fit into what the world says I need to be or do. Chasing the world has gotten me no where and so, I think , I will try God's way. I realize I am not sharing what God asked me to do and for now, I am keeping that for myself. But, I think the lesson of stepping out in faith can be applied to anyone in any crisis of faith. If you read here and you pray, I covet any prayers for strength to perseverance you can send my way! Thanks!