Sunday, June 15, 2014

Confidently Speaking

 I'm not one of those people who says, "The Lord told me this," or "The Lord placed it on my heart to do that." I've never felt comfortable talking like that because I can't trust myself.  I lie to myself and mislead myself all the time.  Not on purpose, mind you (sorry, been reading Agatha Christie.) It's just that we often tell ourselves something is true simply because we really want it to be true.

Here's a very non-spiritual example from my own fascinating life. It's 6:30 on a Monday morning. I am in my bathroom performing my toilette - which on the most delightful of days consists of merely brushing my teeth and slicking my hair down with sink water. With the best intentions, I assure myself, "You don't need to shave your legs in order to wear those capris pants today.  Your leg hair is blonde and fine.  No one will even see it." I really want it to be true. Two hours later, while on cross-walk duty, I glance down to discover that every single individual hair jutting out of my shins is highly visible.

Augh! Betrayed by my own self once again!!

If I could thus deceive myself concerning things seen, how much more so things unseen?

At this point in my life, I haven't had a lot of experiences where I know for sure that God told me a specific something. I might believe it or assume it or feel convinced of it but I don't feel comfortable going around declaring it boldly because it's highly possible my decision to, say, bow out of teaching Sunday School was my own selfish idea. I'm a little slow on the uptake so God has to really grab my attention for me to know for sure it's Him.

One time, God really grabbed my attention.

It happened about 17 years ago when my kids were five and six. I was newly divorced. My former in-laws were kind enough to let the three of us live with them while I did my student teaching. Life was chaotic and stressful but everything was going fine.  That is, until I lay my head on the pillow each night. That's when I uncharacteristically began to worry. "What if I die? Who will take care of my babies?" I knew my ex-husband was in no position to care for them. He's been in recovery for 13 years now but at the time he was not doing well. Staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, I would plan out my will and who would be responsible for my kids. I ran down the list of relatives: my mom, my dad, my in-laws, my siblings.  All of them were wonderful people but none of them were me!

It was imperative that these cuties be raised by someone who possessed a particular brand of 

As I fretted about possibly leaving my kids orphaned, my body started playing tricks on me. My head started to hurt so I worried that I had a brain aneurysm.  I didn't even know what that was at the time but I was sure I had one. Then my chest started to hurt. I was certain I had heart disease and would promise God I would stop eating potato chips if he let me live through the night. I convinced myself I had breast cancer at one point.  I was a wreck into the wee hours.  But the sun would come up in the morning and my irrational fears disappeared. I never even told my sister or my mother all of my concerns because I completely forgot all about my ridiculous worries during the day.

But my fears returned each night. This happened for several weeks. I lived like my normal carefree self during the day but as soon as the house was dark and quiet I tortured myself with the fear of dying and leaving my children motherless.

One Sunday, I happened to get myself back to church.  I returned to the church my husband and I had attended but things had changed a lot and there were so many new people.  I sat next to a young woman I didn't know. At the end of the service she said, "Excuse me, God is telling me to tell someone something and I think it's you."

I was surprised and very curious.  I said, "Okay."

She said, "He's telling me to tell you that you're not sick. That there's nothing wrong with you so stop worrying about it."

He grabbed my attention all right!  I was amazed.  I was thrilled.

Number one: I wasn't dying and my kids could look forward to being raised by their own loving, goofball mother!

Sorry, you two!  I was your destiny! 

Number two: God had said something to me!!!  How amazing is that?!!

It was like the world's best celebrity sighting. Way better than the time Willie Nelson smiled at me or the time Bono leaned down from the stage to accept the rainbow button I handed him.  The Creator of the universe had just diagnosed me!

I had never told another person about my late night worries.  But God knew.  He was there with me when I was stressing myself out at night. He was paying attention to me and what was going on in my life. And He cared enough to tell me I was okay!

At that moment when the girl at church passed on this message, I smiled and said, "Thank you! Yeah, that was for me!" In my head I was thinking something like, "Oh, my gosh, God! Message received!" I stopped worrying immediately and completely.  That night, I returned to my usual unmotherly, stone-like sleep.

What I got from that experience in the long run, though, was, I think, even more valuable.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes struggle with doubts.  I think sometimes it can be hard to believe in God in today's world. Once in a while, I have a little tiny doubt that asks, "Do you tell yourself you see evidence of God's existence just because you really want Him to be real?"

I mean, doesn't it seem a little too good to be true? A God who knows you inside and out but still loves you, who cares deeply about you and is intimately involved in your life?

When I have these thoughts, I look back on this experience that, to me, cannot be denied. It restores and reinforces my faith in promises that are, yeah, too good for us to deserve, but, praise God, not too good to be true. So if you've been your mind and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He is there for you.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do be nice to everyone.