What ifs, if only’s & regrets

 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14 NIV)  

I don’t think there is a person alive that doesn’t have some regrets about a decision or decisions they have made and that wouldn’t like a do-over or a second chance.

The regrets, what ifs and if only’s can keep me awake at night.  Life hasn’t gone how I planned in some ways.  Not according to my girlhood dreams anyway.  Or the high ideals I had in my 20’s.

I see many homeless people everyday downtown where I work and I’m sure there isn’t a one of them that wouldn’t give anything for a do-over of some point in their lives.  But again, I doubt there is a single person walking around that feels like they have made every single perfect decision.  Jesus is the only one who could have walked through life feeling that way.  What an amazing feeling that must have been.

But, as the cliche goes, it’s what we do with the regrets that determines so much.  Easier said than done.  That is where the above mentioned Scripture comes in.  Paul certainly did some things he regretted but he said that above all, he wanted to know Christ AND to do his best to forget the past and press on towards the future.  For myself, that is not a one-time thing but something I have to do over and over because  I keep bringing the past up in my mind and blaming the past rather than accepting it for what it is and moving on.  I think doing those 2 things together makes a huge difference:  Wanting to know Christ more as a result of the regrets and the if only’s and the what if’s because He was there with us during everything.  During the poor choices or bad decisions.  He knows every detail involved but He has an overall view of each of those events that we don’t have unless we ask Him for it.  Once we can see those experiences/choices through His eyes, it really helps to forget the past and move forward.

Yes, we have to live with our choices and that is the bitter pill we have to swallow every day.  I regret giving all those years to a system that wasn’t true.  I regret a few decisions I have made in the last  16 years that have affected me physically and financially.  I regret being so slow to see things and change things in relationships.  I know there are people still in the meetings who look at me and tsk tsk and say things like “she got what she deserved” but I know I am forgiven and accepted in the Beloved.

One of the biggest obstacles for me was erasing the message I was taught all my life while in the meetings that God punishes us for our decisions forever.  I’m not sure I even believed I was truly forgiven and that God had honestly forgotten my poor choice.  That He sees everything through the eyes of restoration and renewal.  Nothing we do or say catches Him by surprise.  He is totally prepared to handle all our mess ups.  I lived under the shadow of I have to try harder, be better, do more to somehow atone for what I did or said because I wasn’t taught that Jesus had already done everything to take care of all of my sin.  God’s amazing ability to forgive and go on, which is called His Grace, was not preached at all.  So it left me feeling depressed, not good enough at times, or else superior and judgmental of others who had made mistakes I hadn’t made.  But once I stepped back and took in His Amazing Grace, I then totally wanted to make future decisions more prayerfully and carefully and be a better person on every level.  That also is not preached in the meetings.  They don’t believe in the Gospel of Grace because they think it means we can just do whatever we want and we will be forgiven because His grace is sufficient.  The Apostle Paul wrestled with the same question and came to the conclusion, “God forbid!”  I honestly do not know why the workers avoid that portion of scripture because God’s Grace is the most freeing message ever told.  But they prefer legalism and control sadly.

Paul said he wanted to know the power of the resurrection and I do too.  Bring new life to dead places, new hope to hopeless areas, new inspiration from painful memories.  Jesus didn’t have regrets but He knew plenty of suffering in His life because of our messes so He knows what to do and He remembers how it feels.  We have no reason to live under the weight of guilt and regret; doing so is a needless use of our energy.  Do we believe His message?  All of it?  Dare we?  YES! We dare!

 

 

 

God’s Quietness

An evening prayer from “Your’s is the Day, Lord, Your’s is the Night” by Jeanie & David Gushee recently read:

Lord God:

Drop Thy still dew of quietness

Till all our stirrings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

 Amen

 Drop THY still dew of quietness….still…not as in, continual, but still as in shhhh.  His shhhhh….dew of quietness dropping on me.  I’ve always heard much about my responsibility to be quiet before God but here it suggests the Lord bringing His quietness to me.  Yes, He can be loud as thunder and we’ve heard many times about His still small voice as well.  But I loved this poetic expression of Him in a way I hadn’t considered before.  He is quiet in an oh so soothing, comforting and enveloping way and He will send His quiet to us like dew falling. Dew can’t be seen until it is.  I love and need quiet more and more.  I seek it out and go places where I can find even moments of it.  But His quiet is in a whole different arena.  His quiet can suddenly settle on my frantic, harried, weary mind and there is rest of mind.  On nights when I cannot sleep but I can make dozens of to-do lists, what I need is rest of mind….shhhh….His quiet to descend.  Not my effort but His blessing.  Drop Thy still dew of quietness so I can sleep.

I highly recommend the above mentioned book of prayers for the morning and the evening.  They are from every century and for me, are stepping stones for my own prayers to be added. They pray for things I would otherwise never consider and I love the insight they provide.  These prayers are rich and beautiful and I marvel every day at how people of every age knew God and depended on Him and how very real He has been in every age; contrary completely to how I was raised to believe and I am so thankful my eyes were opened to see differently.  The people who penned those prayers were not faking it but writing from their hearts and their very own personal relationship with God.  How arrogant I once was to think that only the people who went to meetings had prayers that reached God.  Lord, forgive!

Fill the Earth!

Genesis 1:28 “Then God said….fill the earth…”

Fill the earth He said.  I’ve always read that before and thought only of recreation; fill the earth with people and more animals.  But the other day I looked at it a different way and it meant so much more.

Fill the earth as in; fill it with your dreams, your hopes, your love, your talents and gifts.  Fill the earth with goodness and mercy, with grace, with kindness.  Don’t just exist in this lifetime or just go through the motions or simply take up space.  Treasure every single day of this glorious life and contribute something good back to it.  I like to think that when God created each of us, He couldn’t wait to see what we were going to do with our God given moments; what we were going to do with life and what we were going to do with our mistakes and wrong turns, dashed dreams and heartbreaks as well as our blessings, open doors, and wise choices.

Fill the earth with Him, with His Holy Spirit, with Jesus and with His Word.  Fill our individual piece of this earth with those things, no matter what our circumstances.  God did not create this earth and everything in it just for the sake of reproduction.  He gave us everything in heaven and on earth to have rich, full, meaningful, insightful lives. We are all different and our lives are all going to look different.  God didn’t tell us all to be alike or choose alike or look alike.  Our lives can be small but they don’t have to be.  They can be small but they don’t have to be shallow or selfish.  He just said, Fill the earth.

So, my friends, fill the earth wherever you are.

The journey after leaving the meetings

Recently I finished reading “Leaving Church” by Barbara Brown Taylor and the last few chapters are about the years after she left the priesthood that she was involved in for 20 some years.  Much of her experience after leaving echo mine.  Not just my experience of leaving the Work (ministry) but even more so after leaving the fellowship I was raised in.  I thought perhaps they may also resonate with some of my readers who have recently left the meetings as well.

She writes about the seminary.  What that translated to me in my experience is the Work or ministry but it could also just mean the structure of the meeting group as a whole.

The clear message was that God did not live at the seminary.  God lived in the world.  The seminary existed so that people had a place to try and make sense of their experience in the world, as well as a community to support them while they did.”

I have written this before, but one of my greatest joys since leaving the meeting group is being allowed to see God in newer, bigger ways.  That process just keeps happening.  I have been praying the last couple of weeks that He would show me Himself in ways I have never imagined before.  Not only is He everywhere, but He is still invested everywhere.  The world is so broken now and I find myself wondering if God is still here or has He turned His back on us.  But I know He is still here.  In all this darkness, confusion and mess, above it all, He is here.  Now.  He is still in control.  He has not been chased away by the Darkness; His Light still prevails. I just need to look for Him in places I haven’t before.

I have since sensed Him in the morning air, in the wind, in the presence of trees, in the sky, in rivers as never before.  I live in the City so getting out in nature is not often possible but I do have access to the above things often and feeling Him so near in those places is amazing.  And comforting.  I suddenly do not feel alone but protected.  There is a contemporary Christian song that talks about Him being the very air we breathe.

When Barbara wrote about God living in the world and not just the safety of the seminary, I think anyone with an involvement in the meetings will know why that sentence meant something to me.  We were taught that the world was evil, all of it basically, and the last thing we wanted to do was be in it anymore than we had to.  Worshiping God in the world or even in nature was thought of as “odd” and it made most uncomfortable.  Even acknowledging God in the wind or a breeze on your face or the coolness of the morning air would have been “weird”.

But, like she also writes, the meetings had a definite purpose.  It was our safe haven.  It was our retreat until it no longer was.  Until we needed something different, something newer, something bigger.

The author writes something else profound, “I may have left the house, but I not left the relationship.”  Many assume when you leave the meeting group that you have left God as well because, in their minds, those two are synonymous.  They aren’t at all.  Oh, I wish those still in the meetings could understand and accept that of those of us who are still very much in touch with God but just not involved in the group anymore.

Taylor also writes another interesting thought regarding church:

“What if people were invited to come tell what they already know of God instead of to learn what they are supposed to believe?  What if they were blessed for what they are doing in the world instead of chastened for not doing more at church?  What if the church’s job were to move people out of the door instead of trying to keep them in, by convincing them that God needed them more in the world than in the church?”

I want to be a part of a church like that.

Which brings me to an admittance I haven’t made before on the blog.  I don’t attend church anymore.  I just can’t bring myself to go.  It’s not that there was anything wrong with any of it but it just wasn’t what I needed anymore.  I’m just not the same person as I was a few years ago.  This was made so apparent to me recently when I ran into a gal that was in numerous Bible studies I facilitated at the church I used to attend.  She was all excited about the new study she had just begun after missing a few years of it, and as I listened to her, all I felt was glad for her but glad it wasn’t me.  The older I get I seem to just want to be alone on Sunday morning worshiping Jesus; not with a crowd, not even a small one.  The only church I would gladly attend would be with any of my girlfriends who are former meeting gals themselves.  I would feel heard and understood there as well as supported and it would be pure joy to be there for them in that capacity as well.

One more quote from “Leaving Church“.

“I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place.  We are a motley crew, distinguished not only by our inability to explain ourselves to those who are more certain of their beliefs than we are but in many cases by our distance from the centers of our faith communities as well. Like campers who have bonded over cook fires far from home, we remain grateful for the provisions that we have brought with us from those cupboards, but we also find them more delicious when we share them with one another under the stars.  This wilderness experience sets up a real dilemma for some of us, since we know how much we owe to the traditions that shaped us.  We would not be who we are without them, and we continue to draw real sustenance from them, but in so far as those same traditions discourage us from being with one another, we cannot go home again.  In one way or another, every one of us has gotten the message that God made us different that we might know one another, and that how we treat one another is the best expression of our belief.”

I really like this and it is so true regarding where I am right now.  The bond I have with my friends who have also left the meetings is real, rich, deep and strong.  Leaving the group affects each of us at profound levels and it takes years to process everything.   I prefer small groups to large ones, good conversation are my kind of party.  Church is sharing where we are now with God and where He is with us rather than churchy phrases and sermons.  I need connections with people I trust and I am blessed to have several friends who fall into that category.  I see God in them and I want to learn from them as well as just love them and support them.

Please know that these thoughts are just about where I am now and where I’ve come from.  They are my journey; not what I think yours should be.  I have not forsaken the assembly of other believers; I just do not get to be in that kind of assembly very often.  But when I do, it is precious to me.  Absolutely precious.

Joy equals Fun? Can it be?

I remember hearing workers speak about joy now and then and I’m sure I spoke about it myself as a worker.  What I remember joy being described as was something experienced deep within; it was a private feeling between yourself and God.  Others could perhaps sense you had it but it wasn’t really talked about much BECAUSE too much joy meant you weren’t taking God seriously enough!  It was not OK to be too happy. Honest!  Serving God was meant to be a life of sacrifice above all. Oh my.

I also remember early on in my new Bible studies outside of meetings hearing about having fun and about God having a sense of humor.  Gasp.  It almost sounded sacrilegious and it made me very uncomfortable.  But people were seeing God everywhere and He was fun and life could be fun and not be sinful.  This was a side to God I knew very little about and it took me a long while to even want to explore that part of Him because I didn’t think it was OK to do so.  To discover that walking through my day with God didn’t always have to be heavy and dead serious but instead, that life was meant to be enjoyed and light and carefree at times. What a delight and a relief!

I never thought about what it meant to delight myself in the Lord other than when I was praying or meditating.  Finding out I could delight myself in Him by watching my puppy play or seeing a gorgeous rainbow or smelling the morning air was all a part of finding out that God was so much bigger and so much better than I had ever given Him credit to be.  Of course He wants us to delight in Him and in His creation!  Why on earth wouldn’t he? (Pun intended)

Which brings me to another subject of having fun with God that I am so excited about.

There is a new hobby available that I am loving.  It is adult coloring books and for me, it has meant two new beautiful Bibles (one is KJV and the other is NLT) with hundreds of illustrations each that are drawn in ready to be colored in.  This Inspire Bible is the NLT one

and it is available on Amazon.  The other one, My Creative Bible is also available on Amazon.

Here is a sample page from this Bible.  Not only is there the picture to color but there is also a wide journaling space on the opposite page.  I would have loved having a Bible like this when I was in the group.

I have to share with you what was written on the box the Inspire Bible came in.  “The Bible is God’s inspired Word and it is a powerful tool that God uses to speak to us….this Bible offers space for reflections and creative art journaling in the two-inch wide ruled margins. Leave traces of your faith scattered throughout your Bible for a treasure that ill inspire you and everyone around you.”

Now, everything in my old professing brain would have again screamed that the very idea of coloring in a Bible is WRONG WRONG and very disrespectful.  But I do not feel that way now at all and here is why.

When I am coloring, I might be thinking about the Scripture I am working on and sometimes that portion of Scripture will come alive as never before.  I will think about it in a new way perhaps or ponder deeper about what it might mean to me today. The place I get to inside is just like athletes feel when they get in the zone and the endorphin’s kick in. Another reason I know this is not “wrong” is the peace and rest I feel while I’m working on a page.  I love the feeling and I know God loves it when I am at peace and resting in Him. Also, several months ago I had a very definite awareness that I needed something creative to do in my quiet time because it brings me such joy and rest of mind.

When I am done with a page, or a dozen, I will have a pretty and fun Bible.  I have lots of Bibles now contrary to when I only had one; the black leather very expensive Bible we got from England.

Now, there is one more layer to this that I am so excited about and that is for the young kids who still go to meetings.  When I was a kid I remember going off to convention with a bag with new coloring books, a new notebook, pens, pencils, crayons,  my very own Bible and hymnbook and lots of candy!!  Well, they now make Bible coloring books for kids!  They are many different kinds also available on Amazon.  How FUN would it be to be coloring Bible stories as you sit in meetings at convention!  I can bet that if kids had those nowadays, by the time they were through with a page, they would have that verse memorized and a visual in their minds to go along with the verse.

Conventions begin in California in May in the US and I hope some parents are brave enough to get some of these for their kids.  If my nieces and nephews were still little, I would be sure and get them a bunch.

I don’t know…I just think something like that would make convention even more fun for kids and yes, convention was fun but this would just be something new to do and have.

These are just some of my rambling thoughts about how convention could be so much better if only new ideas were allowed in.  If only.

 

Whose idea was this anyway?

I was thinking again the other day about the question I believe was from God that I heard in my thoughts years ago in Great Falls, Montana one Saturday evening as I was preparing for two meetings the next day.  (I know I have mentioned this before on this blog but the issue was good for me to think about again) The question was: “Darla, would you be willing to be an ordinary person?”  I was struggling at that point in my life to stay in the ministry for several reasons, so I felt this question had to do with my possible leaving.

I had never entertained the thought before the other day, that when God asked me this question He was in essence saying that I was not ordinary but extraordinary!  Ha!  I know now that in God’s eyes, I have always been extraordinary, NOT because of who I am, but because of what He has done on my behalf and because I belong to Him, so that question had to do with others view of me, not God’s.

In the meeting/ministry culture, I must have been extraordinary.  Hmmmm.  (Well, I’m not boasting here, because most of the workers are considered this way by the laity.)  At the time, I was a senior worker, in my prime really, and it was shortly after this question (within a couple of years) I left the ministry work for good.

I’m reading a book called, “Leaving Church” by Barbara Brown Taylor and it’s her story of how she left the priesthood in the church she served in and how that came about.  The age old question came to my mind when I was in the throes of this as well; was this my idea or God’s idea for me to leave?  Barbara writes,

“The effort to untangle the human words from the divine seems not only futile to me but also unnecessary, since God works with what is.  God uses whatever is usable in a life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.”  

I find this so comforting and freeing.  God works with what is.  Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  It helps me finally understand another thought from Him during those days. “Darla, there is no right or wrong in this”.  My leaving the ministry was not wrong in His sight, but it was what it was.  Period. And He worked with it.  The group did not understand but He did.  When I left the group altogether, there was no right or wrong in that decision either.  It was what it was.  And He worked with this too.  The group condemned me but He did not.  I believe this with all my heart.

By leaving the ministry, my place of ‘fame’ and glory, I immediately fell from grace within the group.  And I began to be an ordinary person.  Had I stayed in the group but just left the ministry, in time I would have carved out some sort of ‘place’ for myself within the fellowship but I would have forever and always been introduced within the group as, “Hello, this is Darla DenHerder, she used to be in the Work…..”  Yes, if I had stayed in the group after leaving the ministry, I would have been an ordinary person in that circle, but it would have been very hard for me; almost unbearable. The constant shame (because I wouldn’t have known it could be otherwise), would have crushed me. The judgment of the group, the pity, the tsk tsking but mostly just having to be around the workers all the time would have been like salt in the wound. Those couple of years when I did go to convention after I left the Work were awful and awkward. Painful. Even though, at the same time, I was LOVING my freedom on all levels. If I had married, it may have been easier.  Maybe all along I somehow knew I would have to leave the group entirely after leaving the ministry in order to find peace and rest of mind and spirit.

God didn’t ask me that day if I’d be willing for an ordinary life
but to be an ordinary person.

I am an ordinary person now, but I don’t have an ordinary life.  I have few of the labels that attach themselves to ordinary lives but I have struggled unnecessarily through the years because I forgot what God really said.  Neither has been easy (the ordinary life and being an ordinary person) but each has had its rewards as well as its pain.  They are hard to separate; yet I found it helpful today to do just that for a bit and see how each felt and remember how each was.  Being an ordinary person has been easier in the long run than the ordinary life.  I used to be an extrovert but am now much more of an introvert so being an ordinary person much more suits me now.

Taylor also wrote,

“I began to do what every full-time parish minister should probably do on a regular basis, or at least those who worry about losing their jobs more than they worry about losing their own souls.  I began thinking about what else I could do for a living.  The alternatives I came up with all involved significant loss of status.”

The ordinary life as well as the ordinary person were involved.

She quotes Walter Brueggeman, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible:

“The world for which you have been so carefully prepared is being taken away from you by the grace of God.”

She said as she prepared to literally walk away from her church that she paused “to breathe the crisp air of her accomplishments”  but she kept going because it meant she was acknowledging;

“something else she knew was true. While my friends were becoming bishops and deans of cathedrals, I was falling off the ladder of success… by leaving church I was about to leave everything I knew how to do and be.  I had no way of knowing whether my choice would turn out to be a good one, and by the time I discovered that answer there would be no going back. “

She said she was abandoning,

“everything she knew for something I could only trust: that God was in this loss, which was not robbery but relinquishment.”  

She told of hearing a flock of geese overhead at that time and when they were gone, “the words formed in the empty air:  Take me with you!”  The night after her farewell party was over and she stepped into the night, she heard the familiar honking over her head.  She said,

“I took their presence as a blessing. I, too, was on the move without a map. Listening to the goose voices disappearing in the dark, I sensed that God did not judge my strong urge to fly.”

For me, He did not judge my strong urge for something more, something deeper, something more real.  He did not judge my strong need of personal space.  That was 100% contrary to the teachings of the group but there is no condemnation in Christ. Yes, I experienced a significant loss of status, but by the grace of God, it was taken away.  My identity is no longer based on what I have done or do, but who I am in Christ even more so than who I am in this world.  In this world, I am a sister, an aunt, a friend, a co-worker and a neighbor.  In Christ I am beloved, chosen, loved unconditionally, redeemed (a HUGE thing for me), daughter of a king, a sister in Christ, and more.

I realized this morning I never actually answered God when He asked me this question but rather I felt a “well maybe” kind of feeling.  But I began to consciously and unconsciously move towards being able to answer yes to the question from that time forward. What if I had said, “No”?  Could I have said no because I wanted and needed to stay in that place of security, honor and place? I think I could have said no and stayed but only for a few more years max.  I was needing space and wings too badly.  I never wanted an ordinary life before then; in fact I had feared that very thing from a young age. I thought the ordinary life my family and a lot of my friends had was boring, simple, not enough.  Was God bringing me back to that place to humble me and show me how horribly wrong I had been about their lives?  Quite possibly.  I have been terribly judgmental in my life about so many things and by bringing me back full circle, over and over again, I have seen things from the other side and realized how wrong I had been.

So, I truly believe this decision to be an ordinary person, costly though it has been, was God’s mercy in changing who I was from the inside out by taking away all the props, all the smoke and mirrors, all the illusions of greatness and whatever was necessary to get the focus off of me and on to Him.  It has been a crazy adventure for sure but it has not been boring.  He gave me strength to do the impossible.  And He is not done yet apparently.

 

 

Living in the shallows no more

James 4:2 says we don’t have because we don’t ask. There is a version that translates this by saying we have little because we ask little. It is such a simple yet profound verse. It came to my mind again recently as the result of reading more of Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward”.

One quote of his was this:

“It has been said that 90 percent of people seem to live 90 percent of their lives on cruise control, which is to be unconscious.”

Every since my late teens, I have had this adamant, very clear purpose and goal to my life; “not to become a shallow person; in thought, word, or deed”. I prided myself on achieving this goal for the most part until I read authors like Rohr who suddenly reveal to me that I often fall into the category of the unconscious, and especially of late. It was a real wake up call, for sure. My prayers have become small, my meditations are on the surface and I don’t like the result one bit and yet it has been like a magnetic pull to get out of that pattern.

For some reason, I am hesitant to go to the depths with God right now; at least not nearly as often as I used to. Anytime I get close to that place, I get so excited, but then I jump up and do something else with the energy instead of staying with God in the moment. I tell myself I will come back later in the day, but it seldom happens. But I found in order to write about the depths of God, I had to have a fresh exposure to that place, and for me, that takes time and quietness of mind. I had to look at my resistance to this process; a process I used to crave.

Rohr says:

“We dare not try to fill our souls and minds with numbing addictions, diversionary tactics, or mindless distractions. The shape of evil is much more superficiality and blindness than the usually listed ‘hot sins.’ God hides, and is found, precisely in the depths of everything, even and maybe especially in the deep fathoming of our failings and failures. Sin is to stay on the surface of even holy things, like Bible, sacrament, or church. If we go to the depths of anything, we will begin to knock upon something substantial, ‘real’ and with a timeless quality to it. We will move from the starter kit of ‘belief’ to an actual inner knowing.”

That last paragraph is worth reading again. He writes much more eloquently about what my awareness was as a teen; being superficial and blind, living in the shallows, is sin to me. Staying on the surface is so easy because there are so many distractions nowadays. But God is found in the depths of everything. Living on the surface of anything is so ultimately unsatisfying and empty and yet I find it now quite easy to be there and even stay there. I have always wanted/needed more. A wise friend back in the 70’s told me that was a worthy goal for sure but I needed to be prepared for the loneliness that will result from it because few will want to pursue that with me. He was so right.

I began to pray desperately, “Search me, oh God! Reveal to me what You see in my heart.” It’s not enough just for me to look into my heart and see what is there because that often just sends me into a tailspin and reaching for pen and paper so I can create a to-do list so I can fix it. But I need God, my Holy Father to look into my heart and then see things from His perspective.

I find that distractions have kept me in the shallows, along with false justifications, not praying with any depth and/or asking for only small things, not worshiping Him on a regular basis, not praying His written Word back to Him, living only in my little world, not being in the Word often enough; all of these things have kept me in the shallows. Becoming aware of those areas was sobering and yet liberating because they could all be changed in an instant and they were. God never convicts without sending a remedy at the same moment. The last few weeks have been totally different for me and I am rejoicing.

The changes I have made were not made from a legalistic place (a spiritual to-do list to earn God’s favor) but from a place of true need and desire for change. God is faithful, His Word is true. Even the smallest effort to turn towards Him is rewarded many times over.

Again, I will say, Praise to Him.