Monday, January 14, 2013

A Love that keeps Driving me

Bill came in the house this morning with, "I've got bad news.  The truck's front end is shot.  It's going to cost way too much to fix and it already has over 230,000 miles."  I felt a twinge of concern, but calmly said, "Well, it's a great opportunity to see what God is going to do and watch how He's going to provide"!  Bill seemed to take this in stride, bear up his shoulders, and went about the business of making phone calls to see what our options were....but....not until we had prayed for God to help us in and through this situation.

I have to be honest with you, even though I appeared to do the "spiritual" thing and said the right thing to my husband that implied that we just needed to trust God, I quickly began to crumble...on the inside. For a short time, I let my thoughts be hi-jacked with fear and anxiety.  I thought, "What are we going to do to replace this truck?  We need this truck!  We cannot afford this right now - or ever!  We are getting ready to move, literally, across the country to the left - or west - coast.  Extra expenses, on top of the ones we're already facing, are not a part of the plan!"  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit whispered repeatedly, and loudly enough, to bring me back to truth.  This worrying was not going to do me, or our situation any good.  I had sank quickly.  The devil had successfully pulled the rug out from under me and left me lying on my couch, thinking "woe is me".  Yes, I was pretty pitiful until the Lord reminded me that I had a choice in how I was going to react to this situation.  Even though things looked bad, I could still continue to pray and turn this over to God.  I could ask God to help us know how to get through this situation.  I could ask Him to help provide for us.  I could ask Him for a miracle.  I prayed again and I enlisted some friends to pray with me.  I asked God to forgive me for reacting to circumstances before completely surrendering to Him on the matter.  God had not just shown up when I recognized Him - He had been there all along.  Now, that I was on the same page as He was, it was time to watch Him work.  I'm still watching Him work, but, so far, I'm loving His style!

As with many of my stories, there is a back story to this one.  Or maybe I'm just slow in recognizing God's continual help and blessings in my life.  Last week, we had experienced some "sputtering" in the truck when we first got on I-90, on our way to Indianapolis, IN, from Rockford, IL.  It's about a 4 hour drive and we were pushing it to get there on time for Bill to share his testimony at a 4-year anniversary Celebrate Recovery service for some good friends at their church.  We quickly pulled onto the side of the road and Bill got out to check tires and look under the hood.  Since he has little, or zero, knowledge of mechanical issues, this was really just an exercise in what he thought a man was supposed to do when there seemed to be a mechanical problem.  All appeared to be in-tact, even though there was a slight burning smell.  He said the tires looked okay and that it was probably the cruise control not working properly.  It was too late to go back and get my car, so we prayed for God to help us make it to the service that night so we would not let our friends down and be allowed to be used by Him to reach the people He intended to reach through our story, to protect us, and to keep the truck running properly to and from Indianapolis.  Bill had been on the phone with one of our friends in ministry at church, so I called her back and explained that everything seemed to be okay and asked her to pray.  I then texted another friend and asked her to, likewise, pray.  I'm so thankful for the righteous people in my life who can be counted on to pray.  In other words, to believe that God hears us when we pray and to then leave the results up to Him.

To make a long story short (well, sort-of), we made it to Indianapolis and got back safely the next day.  As we pulled into Rockford, the truck seemed to start it's sputtering again.  It just wasn't running smoothly.  Bill called our mechanic friend and arranged to get the truck to him at church over the weekend.  Bill had an inkling that we may need to trade the truck instead of taking it out to California with us for the upcoming move.  Fast forward to today.  Our friend called Bill and said things were much worse than we had imagined.  He said he was surprised the truck made it to his shop without breaking down.  He chuckled when we told him we got to Indianapolis and back by the hand of God and His angels who transported us so effectively.  He remarked that it was probably a good thing that Bill knew nothing about mechanics because, if he had, he would have turned around and come home and called our friends in Indianapolis with the disappointing news that we couldn't make it to the service as their guest speaker.  He said that if Bill had known anything about front ends, he would have recognized that ours was on it's last leg and wasn't up for the trip.  We didn't know any of this and we headed out on our adventure with much prayer and faith that God would help us get there to share our story for His glory and to get home safely.  He came through.  Undoubtedly, He became our Driver. Granted, we were a bit clueless - but we weren't without faith.  It's exactly what we needed.

Today, when I realized more of how God was at work, as usual, all I could do was thank Him for His faithfulness.  On top of the answered prayer on the back story, He continues to work out the details of us getting a new vehicle.  Friends in KY have helped us find a good "replacement".  We just had to figure out how to get the truck down there for the trade-in!  The battery actually died in our friend's shop:-)  Yes, it really was time to say good-bye to our, previously trusty, old vehicle.  This truck was no longer being driven anywhere.  It will have to be hauled anywhere it has to go from now on.  Yet, God is working out the details.  Our mechanic friend, Joe, was wonderful - as always.  He made a phone call and asked a friend from church, who owns a transportation company, to help.  He agreed to transport the truck to KY at no cost to us.  What a blessing!  Another friend brokered a deal to help us get a replacement vehicle by this weekend and end up with the same monthly payment.  Again, what a blessing!  At this rate, I almost think I could look out into the driveway and just find a new vehicle sitting there!  Now, I'm just kidding, but it is not outside the realm of God's miracle network, I'm sure:-)

I confessed to Bill on the way home that I had experienced some anxiety after he told me the news.  He laughed and said that he had come home this morning with a bit of anxiety of his own.  When he walked in and heard the song I had playing in the background saying God works all things out for good for those who love Him, and when I told him it was an opportunity for God to work things out, and especially when we prayed, he had great peace.  He said he just set about being led by God to make the necessary phone calls and let God work it out.  Maybe neither of us had started out with the right amount of faith, but God has used the little bit of faith we had - yes, even as little an amount as a mustard seed - and used it to encourage one another and put our trust into motion.

Chris Tomlin's recently released song about "the God of angel armies" always being by my side was prominent in my mind and heart today.  He made me aware of some of the ways He and His angels have been by my side.  He made me aware that our trip to Indianapolis was not by chance, but by His hand and His mercy.  I'm grateful for the person whose life He may have impacted there!  He made me aware that I need not fret about a vehicle, as long as I let Him always be the Driver in my life and in my affairs.  He simply, but profoundly, made me aware.....thank You, LORD!  I pray that I recognize, more and more, how you are always by my side, how You dispatch your angels on my behalf, and how you work all things out for good for those who love you and are called according to Your purposes.  I LOVE YOU, LORD!  May I continue to to surrender to You and Your purposes in my life.  #GRATEFUL!!!

As usual, this story was not a short one!  I tell Bill that details are important and I like to include them all!  I saw a quote on Facebook today that said something like, "I have OCD and ADD, so everything has to be perfect, but not for very long!"  I love'a sort of fitting for my detailed, rambling style:-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Surrender, God....2013 Mantra

It's a brand-spanking New Year - 2013!  Woohoo!!!  We all like to think that we will get rid of bad habits and start new and good habits at the beginning of each new year. This year is no exception. I see people postings on social media about their resolutions to "do" things better or differently, or to be better people because of some "change" they are going to put into practice in their lives. I hope they achieve their goals. But let's face it, some will do great and some...not so keeping their resolutions. A person's willpower can take them a long way, but can it keep them there? It depends on "who" holds the power to help them change. Are they doing it on their own, or are they surrendering what they cannot do on their own to God and asking Him to help them? It makes all the difference in the world.

A friend of mine posted something yesterday, asking people their mantra for 2013. She noted that, "A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of creating transformation". Her question really made me think. It occurred to me that transformation can only come through the belief and application to one's life of the truth and power of God and His word. Our action plan would be to "renew our minds", as God's Word instructs us to do. You may ask how one would do that. I'm so glad you asked! In Romans 12:2 it says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will". Now, does that verse pack a punch, or what?! It seems that all of us would like to know what God's good, pleasing and perfect will is for our lives. It also appears that He is telling us how we can do that. He is not going to renew our minds for us - but, as we start the process of renewal, He is faithful to complete the transformation. We just have to follow Him and His way....not our own.

A good question would be, "How do I renew my mind?". That's how I settled on the "mantra" that I would adopt for 2013. My mantra will be, "I surrender, God!". That's it. I've learned that, through God's power and truth, I can do what He instructs to renew my mind. I have to, or I will never know Him and His character well enough to allow Him to transform my mind. I have to read His Word. I have to talk to Him in prayers of praise and petition. I have to allow His voice, both through His Word and His Spirit, to speak to me and show me His good, pleasing and perfect will. But it occurred to me that it takes one thing for me to set this renewal action plan in place - it takes my surrender to Him and to everything He wants to teach me.
I can be transformed in 2013, by the renewing of my mind in God's Word and power. He will transform if I renew. I will be renewed if I surrender to Him. It's simple really, yet hard for me, as a human, to carry out in every day life. That's why this will be my mantra: "I surrender, God!". If I keep telling myself and God this, I know my life will change for the better. How do I know this? Well, I've learned that life is always better when I surrender to God and He is in control. That's a given:-)