Press On!

Dear sisters in Christ!

I realize that I have been away from my blog for a while! **Hangs head in shame and embarrassment** I have been extremely busy as of late, but also I was struggling with some things in my walk with Jesus, and I felt unworthy to post anything at the time; or I would truly feel as though the Lord would have me to share something I had learned from the Word with you all, but as I sat down to write, or even as I had the opportunity to post something, I would feel overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. I would feel the icy talons of the devil clinging to my shoulder and hear his whisper in my ear, “You can’t post that, you little hypocrite! I mean, look at what a mess you made of your life today! Oh, and do you remember what you said yesterday, and then how you treated your mother the day before that… and what about that one time with your little sister last week? Oh! And then there’s the fact that you prayed for a whopping three minutes after spending only a little bit more time than that in the Word this morning. Seriously! Who do you think you are to be sharing your thoughts on God’s Holy Word when you are anything but holy? You’d better not even bother… you’re a hopeless case and there’s no point to what it anyway…”
But as I shared these tumultuous thoughts and my daily struggles with a dear friend of mine, she encouraged me to share my thoughts anyway. She reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all struggle! And that if we all gave in to the devil’s lies (like those above) that no one would ever do anything for the God who they serve and Who so desperately loves them anyway—even when they’re making a mess of their life! Of course, we must not use God’s unchanging love toward us as a license to sin (1st Peter 2:16) , but if we are honest with the Lord and ourselves, and are truly trying to serve the Lord, we must not allow ourselves to become discouraged!
So I just have a few things I’d like to share with you today that the Lord has been so gently (and oh so patiently!!) and graciously teaching me as of late. Not all of them have to do with the other— some, in fact, are quite random!—and they are in no particular order. I simply hope and pray that one of you reading this may benefit and be encouraged by what the Lord allows me to say!

A few months ago, I used to spend many hours of unhindered time with my Savior. I was so in love with Him and so on fire for Him! I wanted to do everything and great things for Him! I would talk to Him in prayer forever and spend time literally dissecting every portion of whatever Scripture I was reading until I had squeezed it dry. I mean, I was on fire for Christ!!  I would get so excited and worked up over some of the wonderful things that He revealed to me in my quiet time with Him. Then suddenly, I was hit, all at once it seemed like, with a ton of tiny little problems that of their own accord, would be rather insignificant. But being hit with them all at once seemed as though I was suddenly lugging around this insurmountable weight of trials. And at the same time that this freight train seemed to hit, I also felt as though this wall had rose up in between me and my Savior and that for some reason (some sin that I had committed without maybe knowing it) that He was mad at me. I found myself in a spiritual valley, something I had actually really never experienced to the degree I now found myself experiencing. I found myself going through some physical issues that made me apprehensive and worried. Add a few other little emotional fears caused by the spiritual and physical aspects, and I had quite a little “trial cocktail” going on! What was worse was that the spiritual walked on the tail end of the emotional, and the emotional walked on the tail end of the physical, and then that in turn walked on the tail of the spiritual and I was going around in a pathetic circle. I felt so lost, spiritually dry, and frantic at the same time. Confusion overwhelmed many moments of my day.
Knowing that earlier trying circumstances in the life of my family had brought me so close to God to begin with, I did not figure that this new face of suffering would draw me away… but I was sadly mistaken. My once treasured time with Jesus became shorter and shorter, and I became more and more discouraged. What was the blessed point of reading my Bible if I couldn’t seem to get anything out of it, or be able to apply it to my life, I thought?! Everything was so dry! I knew in my head that I ought to daily read It, but my heart became distraught. Praying became so very hard. There were days when all I did was cry to God to ease the pain, relieve the whole mess. When He didn’t, deeper into discouragement I went. Soon, my attitude became, ‘why bother?’ and my once precious time with Jesus became a dreaded chore and burden. And while, by only God’s grace, I did not stop completely, I really let things slide. L
But because I knew in my head and heart that my devotional life wasn’t where it should be, I became plagued with guilt and shame for not doing it… and for not wanting to! L Each day that burden of guilt became heavier and heavier, until I thought I would be crushed by it.
No one seemed to understand.
It seemed that no one else in the entire world knew what I was going through
There didn’t seem to be a point to anything—especially trying.
And for the love of Peter Cartwright, what was wrong with me?!?! How had I suddenly gotten here?!
And what about all these other stupid little problems?! What did I do to cause those? How did I fix them? When would they go away?
The only logical thing that I could come up with in answer to these (and many, many more) questions, was that I the devil was on the attack against me. But I figured and allowed myself to believe that this could not possibly be the case, because even though I wanted to do great things for God and impact the world for Him, I was no threat to the devil because instead of being out in the world I wanted to impact, I was a graduated daughter, staying at home all day long, day in and day out, doing nothing but helping her mother with (endless!) dishes, laundry, ironing, cooking, dishes, cleaning, dishes, helping my siblings with their schoolwork and gee… I feel like I left out dishes! J And the only time I wasn’t at home doing these things, I was at church. But all I did there besides listening to my (phenomenal) Pastor preach was the occasional offertory and special music and help out with our little Junior Church class. It wasn’t like I was teaching a Sunday school class full of passionate for Christ girls that were going to go out and make an impact for Christ, therefore making the devil desperate. The only people I had any influence for Christ on, so to speak, were my little siblings (and still is!! J). I felt that I was hardly making a dent for Christ where I was and with what I was doing…
     So why would satan try to discourage me?!!?!?!?
I decided that somehow I was the problem—that there was something wrong I had done that was separating me from my Jesus, or making Him furious with me. I became afraid to do anything for fear of doing it wrong, and I felt very discouraged.
But our Wonderful Savoir, Whose mercy reaches higher than the heavens, slowly began revealing some things to me through the guidance of my amazing parents, and the endearing love of some close, Godly friends. My purpose in sharing a few of these is to perhaps encourage those of you who may perhaps be struggling in any one (or maybe even a few) of these trials.
First of all, you do not have to be “out in the world” doing some great, magnificent, earth-shattering thing to serve God for the devil to attack you, or try to slow you down. The only place you need to be is the CENTER of GOD’S WILL! I think that so many of us believe that if we are “stuck serving at home” not out there “in the world”, with the Lost in and day out, that we are not able to be or being a shining light for Christ. But this is NOT TRUE!!!!!  The Lord has been teaching me lately that I can greatly impact the world for Him, by simply being the hands and feet of Jesus to my family, and by serving my little siblings! If you are there, in the center of God’s will for you as a daughter, or are working towards it, no matter how big the impact you seem to be or feel you are making really is, Satan will try to hinder you and bring you down.
So, as ‘not encouraging’ as this sounds, if you’re striving to serve Christ to the best of your ability, and you’re being hit with missiles of opposition, you are actually doing something right!
I exhort you dear sister, to please remember the Words of Christ, spoken in Mark 9:41 that “whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, … he shall not lose his reward.” Anything you do in the Name of Christ, if it brings Him glory, is of the greatest importance! Being a missionary in China is in no wise greater than doing the dishes! Working in a rescue mission is no more important than ironing a stack of your father’s hankies while listening to your little brother tell you how big his “muscles” are! J As long as you are doing God’s will for you at this exact moment of your life, you are doing a GREAT work for Him! Nothing is too big or too little in the sight of God! So even if you feel that you are not doing (or perhaps may be unable) to do great and mountain moving things for God, if you are truly seeking Him and doing His will, DON’T BE DISCOURAGED! God is taking joy in your obedience to Him! And think of it this way… perhaps you’re not in college learning the behaviors, culture, and language of a third world country in preparation to travel there and be a missionary, but what if God stirs the tender heart of that little brother who is doing his reading homework to you (while you fold a mountain of clean socks) to go out and win souls for His kingdom through the lessons he is learning from his older sister’s obedience to Christ and your parents???? Don’t allow the devil to feed you the lie that you are doing nothing for God just because you aren’t “doing much”—for little is much when GOD is in it!!!
*****Also, dear sister Warrior in Christ, PLEASE whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE INTO THE LIE THAT WHAT YOU ARE DOING WHERE YOU ARE FOR CHRIST IS ‘NOT IMPORTANT’ OR ‘NOT WORTH IT’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing in this world will make you more discouraged. I believe Satan loves to feed this lie to us as women to especially discourage us. Believing this causes us to become frustrated in doing, dissatisfied with, or completely abandon the work that God has called us to do, whether it’s to encourage the underground church, or explain to Elizabeth for the 6th time how to reduce fractions, all the while realizing that you’re going to explain it to her all over again tomorrow! J

Whenever I used to read 1st Peter 5:8-9, I tended to be discouraged and maybe even a bit (gulp) annoyed. I had a hard time believing that anyone else in the entire world had ever gone through or dealt with what I was, or may be dealing with at that time. Sure, perhaps someone had gone through the general context, but no one could know what it was like to go through something that seemed such a “tailor made trial”—this left me feeling utterly alone. I remember once, a few months ago, sitting alone in the van after church crying out to God, “Has anyone ever gone through this Lord?! Does anyone else know how much this hurts?! How confused I am!? Is there anyone whom I can talk to and who could truly understand my heart and give me Godly counsel that actually applies to my circumstance?!”. I thought the answer was no. But in His own perfect timing, the Lord (once again! Praise be to Him!!) showed me that His plans for me are perfect, and that His Word is True. He brought into my life a very special friend who understood and was able to douse me with Scriptural truth about one of my trials—because she had been there! He then allowed me to spend a long time with another special sister in Him, who I one night found was in the exact spot I was! It slowly dawned on me how much I had been doubting Him. My heart broke. I had allowed myself to slip away—God hadn’t gone anywhere! I was the one who was wandering! And He completely understood how I felt! This reinforced a truth in me—no matter what our feelings may be, or what we may be feeling at the time, GOD’S WORD IS ALWAYS TRUE! And he knows how you feel! Not only are there others out there, going through the same things you may be dealing with right now, but JESUS HIMSELF has suffered them! Hebrews 4:15 tells us that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are…” He knows your fears and pain! He bore it all! (Isaiah 53) So don’t be discouraged! Rather, pour your heart out to the One who knows! (and can actually do something about it!)

Lastly, please take to heart, weary warrior, that without Christ we CAN DO NOTHING. (John 15:5)  But with Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Matthew 19:26) (Mark 9:23) (Mark 10:27) (Mark 14:36) and in His strength we can do ALL things (Philippians 4:13) (1 Peter 4:11)!!! I know you’re thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah… I hear this all the time” or (as my little brother Nathan loves to inform me as of late lol) “I know, I know, I know!!!” But, dear sister—SERIOUSLY! The Lord has really been showing this to me lately. I can do nothing in my own supposed ‘strength’. I must daily ask Him to strip me of my strength and strengthen myself in Him. It is only by His grace that you are where you are spiritually! Don’t allow yourself to become lifted up with pride (even accidentally or unawares!) at what/who/where you are spiritually, because if it were not for the Grace of God enabling you, you could very likely be somewhere very dark and different. I know this from experience. L I’m ashamed to admit, and I didn’t really realize it, but I kind of had the mentality that because I was doing so much right that I would never fall or slip backwards or loose ground. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) It took exactly that for me to realize, that it is nothing short of a miracle, not to mention excruciatingly humbling, that God would use a pathetic sinner like me to accomplish anything for Him! It was through no merit of my own that I had grown so close to Him—that was His doing! In 1 Corinthians 15:9a-10, Paul states, “For I am the least of the apostles…But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Hallelujah! It is only by the enabling grace of God and through the power of His might that we are ever able to do anything for Him! And how could I ever hope to discern anything without His wisdom?! But what a comfort to know that “If any…lack wisdom,” we can simplyask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Ever bug your dad for something you wanted over and over again and he “upbraided” you? J Well, if we persistently ask our Heavenly Father for wisdom, not only will He give us wisdom, but He it makes Him happy! (or course, technically speaking, if I was always begging my Daddy for wisdom, I doubt he’d yell at me J). I encourage you, dear sisters, “Delight thyself…in the LORD”! Ask Him daily to strengthen and guide you—to fill you with His grace and power to be able to do the things He wants you to! “He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”! Evangelist Todd Allen once said to “Let Grace be your teacher—By His grace, God shows us what things we need to deny in our daily lives, but in the same way He shows us what to develop.” Another evangelist, Jason Kendrick, said that without the power of God, we can do NOTHING! (Okay, so he didn’t say it, he more or less screamed it lolJ) Ask Him to make you a willing vessel and to use you for His honor and glory.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

One last thing before I quit for today J During the past few months when I was really struggling, God would give me little precious gifts of encouragement that were like balms to my soul. One of them I’d like to share with you was something a pastor’s wife (with an incredible testimony!!) said at a ladies seminar:

©© “We’re His daughters— He’s not going to forget His {little} girls!” ©©
~Mrs. Becky Calvert~