Recently, I offered a take simple, take-home, devotional to the women in our church who attended our women’s retreat. I’ve been asked by several women for a copy and have given it freely. So to my little readership, with humility and a contrite spirit, may the Lord bless you as He sees fit. Here is the opening letter…more to come:)
“Not of Our Hands, Lord”
‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
“This cannot be how God wants me to live my life.”
I said that to my husband and I believed it with every fiber of my being. And I said it nearly 15 years after giving my life to Christ. I was married with four young children, active in my church body, homeschooling, writing, blogging. But I was weary. Burdened. My relationship with God was lackluster and I couldn’t see how that had happened. I was doing the list: reading my Bible, praying, attending Bible studies and church. But something was missing.
When I gave my life to Christ, I was eager to let go of all that I once held dear. Jesus was so precious, so beautiful, so much more wonderful than anyone else I had ever known. I was desperate for the beauty, desperate to be saved from the muck and mire. I happily clung to Jesus with both hands.
Fast-forward several years. I had matured in my understanding of Who Jesus is, what He had done for me. I had read my Bible cover to cover. I had been taught and discipled. I loved Jesus. But I wasn’t clinging to Him with both hands any longer. Over time and along my journey, I had begun to hold onto other things. My own efforts. My own understanding. My relationship with my church family. How I could serve Him. My marriage. My children. My ministry. Though all of these things were things God had brought into my life and used to bless me, they had become ultimate things…things that (at times) took precedence over Christ. I found myself a constant and poor juggler.
I also found myself longing for a quieter, simpler life. But how? With a husband, children, teaching responsibilities, ministry commitments…how could things get simpler? I found myself fantasizing about “getting away,” scheming up ways to get out of my commitments, thinking of short-cuts to make things easier at home. But my heart always condemned me…and that is when I shared honestly and directly with my husband, “This cannot be how God wants me to live my life.”
And it wasn’t. Abandoning all sense of responsibility and commitment, I threw myself at the feet of Jesus and begged for mercy. Literally. I lay prostrate on our bedroom floor, begging God to help me, to show me His face, His way, His truth. “Let my life be not of my own hands, Lord!”
That was the beginning and I’m still on the journey of letting go. I still try to juggle. I still tend to let my present circumstances dictate how I respond to others and to God. But God is helping me to make Him the only Ultimate in my life, teaching me to let nothing be of my own hands and everything to be as the Holy Spirit guides and leads. He is patient and He is merciful. He is grace upon grace!
My humble offering to you, Dear Reader, is this devotional/journal. I pray it will bless you and help you release all that you have into the loving, capable hands of Jesus. I pray that your prayer would also be, “Let my life be not of my own hands, Lord!” May you know the power and might of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Cling to Him, Friend. May our lives be changed!