Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just living, or living FREE?

Greetings on Election Night! I'm praying God moves in an amazing way and has His way now that the votes have been cast. We have prayed, we have shared our beliefs with those around us, we have voted, and now we wait for His answer. We're listening God.

Yes, God and I have made up. I shared some in my last post that I was struggling so with depression. I felt so distant from God, really battling in the depths of my soul for faith in Him. It was like being in a huge argument with your best friend and not knowing how to move forward in the relationship. Aren't we blessed to have a God Who is so personal and so amazing that He knows exactly how to do that!

He and I had a breakthrough last Monday. I was going through my usual insane and very frustrating Monday schedule. At work before 8am, leaving at 3:30 to get Cassie to her court ordered class in North Mankato by 4, then up to an appointment by MSU by 4:15 (I was late and had trouble finding it too!). When I left that appointment the traffic was crazy, and not being used to the area, I tried to turn left when that was basically impossible. I also had myself in such a position that it was almost as impossible to turn right. The gal behind me was furious with me! She was honking her horn, flailing her arms, shaking her head. I finally got out of there and headed to my next appointment in downtown Mankato (which I was the only one to show up for). Through all of this my frustration was building and building and I was about to burst. 

And then I did. 

I yelled "God, I can't do this anymore!!! Whatever it is that I did to cause You to remove Your hand of blessing from my life, please show me! I CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU ANY LONGER!!!". 

And all was silent in my van. It was almost like in the movies when time stops and there's just this pause. And then He spoke. I could almost audibly hear Him sigh and say "Finally. Finally, you get it."

What? What?!? That's it? That's all that You were waiting for was for me to finally get to the point that I was so desperate for Your presence that I couldn't...wouldn't take one more step without it? Yes, that's exactly what He was waiting for. 

The dam broke, the fog lifted, His Presence returned and I've had His JOY bubbling in my soul ever since. Even on my frustrating Monday this week, even when things aren't going right, it's still there, bubbling away. Now that I've had 7 days to process all of this, I see so many things behind the weeks of depression that besieged me. 

First I had been praying for a more intimate relationship with Him. And it seemed as if He was giving me the opposite. But the truth is that I had gotten to the point in my walk with Him that I was so used to His Presence, that I took it for granted, I hardly noticed it anymore. And it took Him removing it from my awareness for me to realize how vital it is to my existence! 

Also, He spoke to me yesterday through John 15:9 and the book "The Heartache No One Sees" by Sheila Walsh. In the book of John, Jesus said "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." Sheila Walsh writes this: "Jesus loves us as the Father loves Him. Think about that! Jesus loves us with the same eternal passion and commitment, the same perfect love, that God the Father has for Him." And it hit me...God the Father allowed...no, more than that, sent Jesus the Son to earth to be tortured and beaten and killed so that we may have life and life more abundantly. There's a difference there between just living, and living a life free, enjoying the best that life has to offer, free from bonds and chains and sin. So if God, in that eternal, passionate love for Jesus, sent Him to those circumstances, it follows that He also...not just allows, but causes...the painful circumstances in our lives so that others may be free to live life abundantly!

Take, for example, my depression. He knew that I could come through it victoriously because I know Him and have a history of relying on Him.  And if He can use my new understanding of depression, having walked through it, so that I can relate to someone else who is struggling with it, and possibly help them come through it on the other side with a fresh relationship with Him, then it is worth it. That person can live abundantly, in Jesus Christ, because I went through six weeks of a very painful experience. That is no different than all who call themselves children of God because Jesus went through a very painful experience so that we can live in Him! How awesome is that! Would we choose to go through the painful circumstances, by no means! But to be used by God, to be trusted by Him to come through it and help others who are still struggling, how awesome!

So, that's where I'm at today. Really, the title of my last post ("Yes, I'm still alive") was very relevant to what He was trying to teach me. I was just "living". Now I'm "living free"! May you all find that freedom in Jesus Christ as well (if you haven't already found it!)

Love you all!

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