I can feel the fireworks of God’s immense love radiate throughout my body right now. He never fails to blow my mind. I woke up feeling nostalgic about my experience in the Celebrate Recovery program after going to a meeting last night. I went through the intensive step study twice. I quit the first time on Step 4, which is considered the hardest step. I graduated from my second round in November 2014. As soon as I woke up this morning, and before I could even make my coffee, the Holy Spirit prompted me to start re-reading my journal entries from that time. Then BAM. I read the words “remember that life on earth is about His plan for us, not ours”! The original seed of my current ministry “Living in His Imagination, not ours” was planted on March 18, 2014. God does indeed know the plans He has for us.
Here’s that entry.
STEP 4…VERSION 2.0
Step 4. The infamous Step 4 in the 12-Step recovery program. I remember so vividly how petrified I was the last time I went there. And I ended up quitting. BUT NOT THIS TIME!!!! We start Step 4 tonight. I’m so excited this time. Reviewing my trauma journal has been so therapeutic and has prepared me for this step. It reminds me how far I have come since I first started my recovery. It also serves as a reminder that God will protect me beneath the shelter of his wings when I fall into deep crevices….no matter how much the earth quakes and smothers me. The big difference between Step 4 Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 is that I understand that I need to stop, pray, listen and act. Stop what I am doing, Pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment, LISTEN for His Voice through both the Bible and Holy Spirit nudges, and act on what He tells me to do. I had just been praying (often times not even stopping what I was doing), asking God to take everything, and then opening my eyes and expecting God to do all of the work and live out MY fantasy of my life. Relationships go two ways…I need to be present in my relationship with Him, listening to Him, respecting Him and most importantly, remember that life on earth is about His plan for us, not ours. I finally got the memo and that’s why Step 4 will be different this time!
Thank you, Jesus for your never-ending patience with this stubborn child of Yours!
I told my brother that I slept more soundly last night than I have in months. And he said, “That’s not surprising, it was Grandma’s bed.” Oh how I miss her. I still can’t believe that she went to heaven last August. I wrote the following right after she died. It always brings a smile to my face and comfort to my heart.
Until We Meet Again
We placed my grandmother’s ashes next to my grandfather’s grave today. The joint gravestone said, “Dad’s gone fishin’” and “Mom’s painting rainbows.” Each one of the children and grandchildren wrote a note to describe what Grandma meant to them. The common themes were:
- She was my rock.
- She was always there for me.
- She was my friend.
- She loved me enough to give me tough love.
- She was my light.
- I could go to her for anything.
- She understood me.
As the minister read the Psalm 23 per her request years ago, I felt comforted by the presence of God. The minister continued telling us the greatest gift we could give her was to give to our loved ones as she gave to us and most importantly, always remember to thank the One who created this loving, serving, smart, and creative woman of God. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul” (vv 1-3, KJV). The Lord used my grandma as His earthly instrument to demonstrate the Godly love described in this Psalm to our entire family. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.” (v 23:4, KJV). Thank you, Grandma for your enduring love. “Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Until we meet again in His great kingdom….
The intense conversation between David and his “friends” in Psalms 11 most likely took place in the early days of Saul persecuting him. David continues to be steadfast in his faith when he frustratingly asks the men, “How can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain?” (Psalm 11:1b NLT). They then respond in fear, “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set your arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart” (Psalm 11:2 NLT). Once again, David has to remind others, “The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them” (Psalm 11:4 NLT). This Psalm is the perfect example of the contrast I describe as “living in your imagination” and “living in His imagination.” David’s friends could only imagine one way out, but David knew that God already had a plan to deliver him from his suffering. He didn’t know when, and he didn’t know how. But he knew.
When I was suffering before my Lyme diagnosis and everything felt so hopeless, the only solution in my mind was to go and live with one of my parents or my brother. I became obsessed and kept trying to work every angle to make it work. Who was going to take care of me? I couldn’t afford the adult babysitters anymore, and no one was offering to take me in. It simply wasn’t feasible for me to move to the other side of the country for logistical and financial reasons, and the move made even less sense because I was fighting something they did not understand.
I quickly became angry at everyone, including God, who I briefly totally cut-off because He wasn’t answering my prayers the way I wanted. My imagination had come up with the perfect solution and no one was going along with the program. Once my pity party was over, I began praying for God’s will. Shortly thereafter, I met a sweet couple through AirBnB who lived in the mountains (my happy place) just over an hour away who were delighted to take me in at a very reasonable price. The man turned out to be a pastor, and we stayed up many nights talking about learning to trust God. Moreover, I found a long-term renter for my apartment to offset the cost of my room in the mountains. None of these options were in my imagination. What if I had gotten my way? I would have never made the connections with this wonderful couple or the other people who were instrumental in my healing journey during my time up there. But God’s imagination did.
Thank You, Yahweh Yireh, the God who sees the situation beforehand and provides for our needs.