I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Friday, June 24, 2011

FB Note from Oct 4, 2009: My story...Part 4

As a widow with two young children, I had been placed in a situation where I could not possibly succeed and thrive on my own. Most of my life that had not been the case. I had been blessed with the intelligence, disposition, and talents that made my way through school a breeze, gave me a successful and fulfilling career, and a good family life. Other than a few snags (mostly outlined in parts one and two, and in which areas I had learned to rely on God), my life had pretty much been as easy as can be. Oh, sure, I had my moments and difficulties, but I nearly always had the ability to solve my problems in my own strength. That is not to say I didn't have a good relationship with God. I did. I just didn't feel the need to rely on Him for my daily strength. He was a wonderful add-on to my life; an important part, but not the only part. In fact, being married had actually decreased my dependence on God. Honestly, Michael had become my all-in-all; and Jesus was someone we taught our kids about and someone we worshiped on Sundays. When Michael died, all that crumbled. If I was going to make it, I had to look to God. I knew all the intelligence in the world wouldn't solve this one. Athletic talent would be no help. Even interpersonal skills wouldn't do it. I saw that I had to turn to God. Since I have already talked about this in part 3b I won't go into the details her, but instead will talk about some of the results.

I firmly believe that God has a special plan and purpose for each person's life. I also believe that He give us gifts and talents to use for Him. HOWEVER, often those gifts and talents lead us to rely on them instead of the Giver of the gifts. Those very gifts from God can make it difficult to feel the need to rely on God. Many of the smartest and most talented people are also the most miserable. They are trying to do it themselves. And some of the most unlikely people are happy, fulfilled, and successful because they know they can't do it themselves.

Almost exactly two years after Michael died, God called me to switch churches. At the time I didn't know why, and I really liked my old church; I just knew that was what I was supposed to do. At the new church there was a focus on purpose. I took a class about finding your purpose and boiled my purposed down to two words: Educate and Encourage. Okay, no huge surprise there. I also met two other young widows who were homeschooling their children. What? You mean I am not the only one? Hmmmm...

Meanwhile I was wishing I could find a Bible study where you actually sat down and studied the Bible (instead of preaching/dvd with discussion.) I felt the Lord speak to me that I could study His word on my own. WHAT? I never went to Bible school. I have never had a class that told me how to do that (actually I did, but Mr. Korver's 10th grade Bible class was a LONG time ago.) People don't STUDY the Bible on their own. Pastors do that (it's their job!), but regular people like me have "quiet time" or "devotions." Nevertheless, I knew I was supposed to study my Bible. I borrowed my mom and dad's concordance (they went to Bible school and had the credentials to "study") and using the concordance and a dictionary started studying. The Lord led me to look up the word "widow" in the concordance. I looked up all the scriptures with the word "widow" in them and hand wrote out most of them. It was slow, tedious work, but exciting too, in a strange way. I found myself getting up early to have more time to study. Sometimes I would break out my Bible in the afternoon or evening to get some more time in. What did I discover? More than I bargained for. First and foremost: in order to get the MOST out of the Bible you have to STUDY it for yourself instead of relying on others to do it for you. Let me say that again: you have to STUDY the Bible for yourself instead of relying on others to do it for you! I feel like I cannot say it enough. It is VITAL! I also learned about God's amazing care for widows. I can trust in Him because He cares for me and has said it over and over and over in His Word. It is a theme that runs throughout the whole Bible and now is imbedded deep in my heart.

The "more than I bargained for" will have to wait for part 5. Stay tuned...

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