One of the reasons I have decided to openly share the process of how my heart is challenged is to give complete glory and honor to such an amazing God. So many of us walk around with unanswered questions, doubt, uncertainty of what it means to “get God”, and second guessing the super natural in our lives. God speaks to me so clearly through the Holy Spirit that it scares me in an awesome way, and catapults me to surrender to His will. I believe that God so loves and gets me. He even knows just how to get my attention, how to make me laugh and knows that it’s never a one time deal with me. He knows that the Elizabeth typing these words needs banners that are bold to get my attention. My brain thinks and works quickly, often missing the key elements of this or that, thus God gives me more than I deserve to get my attention. Many may pooh-pooh such wonders in their own lives as simply a coincidence, or a slim act of convenient timing, but I know different. And my hope is that as I share the pieces of my heart one person may walk away and truly know that the Holy Spirit is working today to accomplish His plans for you.
My life has been very full. More blessings than I could ever deserve. More heart ache than one person should endure, more bad choices than I would like to admit. With each blessing, heartache and set back in my life, God never failed me or left me. Many who I thought were close to me went away leaving me to figure things out on my own. I was not always making it. I depended on the wrong resources. God never let go of my heart and finally it was with a Bible and a God to embrace my heart, my mind, and my spirit to carry me through.
I am a story teller. Those of you who know me well know that I laugh a lot. I love to share very small bits and pieces of my life. Often I am told I should write a book. Strangers that I chat with have said the same. I keep thinking that my life is not any more exciting than the next person. Only a small glimpse into my life opens up others to share. For most of my life, I have only really shared the exciting and fun stories. Sharing stories that seemed to make people laugh, or in disbelief ask how this could possibly happen.
Last November I felt this overwhelming responsibility to write something. A book? Not me. Just ask my husband. My fingers lag behind my thoughts. I rarely spell check, due to time factors, and found myself basically saying no way God. Writing a book became so heavy on my heart that I said simply this, “okay God, you know I need to have a faith building moment, or moments to truly understand what I am to do here. That afternoon I stopped at a garage sale. Only 50 cents on me and there for 50 cents was a small paper back book. “If You Can Talk, You Can Write”. I just started laughing out loud. The guy asked me what I was laughing at and I got to share my conversation with God only moments earlier.
I thought about reading this book, but just put it on my nightstand. I felt that by reading it I was surrendering my will. My very strong will is often what prevents me from stepping boldly. I sat in bed on a Saturday evening and realized I would not know what to write about. My life stories have been snippets shared here and there. With three little boys demanding so much of my time, what would ever motivate me to even begin to figure out what important parts of my life should be shared? The very next day our pastor’s wife stopped me in the hall. She said that she felt that there was something about me and my life and that “I have a story to tell”. She asked if I would share my story to the ladies of our church. Mind you this is no small church, hundreds of women, my story? God, you are funny. You know how to get my attention. On this Sunday morning God did get my attention and a little more of my will was let go.
I started complaining to my husband that I needed a job. I felt that I needed a home kind of job to fill some of the quieter hours in my home. My boys have a nap/quiet time in the middle of the afternoon for two hours. They are in bed around 7pm. Whatever do I do with this extra time? Did the idea of writing a book ever cross my mind? It did, but I just did not have enough from God, and He knew that. Why? He knows me. I sat in my little home office one evening. The house was quiet. My husband was sweating to some oldies on the treadmill and I sat there and prayed. I said “God, I am so heavy with this idea of writing a book. I don’t know the first thing of the technical parts and this scares me because I don’t have time to go to school and get an education on writing a book, so for this reason please God understand why I am not doing anything about this.” I turned on my computer and decided to search craigslist for desperately needed bookcases for my office. I clicked on jobs and found myself answering an ad for an editing project. I thought that perhaps if I edited a college kid’s paper I might learn a few things. It turns out that I worked on an amazing book, in its entirety of a well educated business man. This book is now being looked at by Random House.
God has shown up each time with the tangible. I get it. I don’t second guess the convenient timing of God in my life. I did read the book I picked up at a garage sale. I outlined my life in order to share the things that I felt the Holy Spirit’s leading in what would bring glory to Him in his design and plans for my life. God met me in the technical area in getting that education under the leadership of a brilliant man, which to this day I have not met.
Writing my story has been so heavy on my heart. God met me at each Elizabeth obstacle. He knew I would have them. He knows how my brain works and how I learn and how I talk, and how I live. A couple of weeks ago I just started crying. It was very hard to outline my life. It was hard looking over my past and grieving the little girl who had so many important people leave her (me). Outlining the miserable mistakes I have made and then again I questioned one more time if this is what I should be doing. Out of the blue a blogging friend presents to me the heaviness of her heart that I might write a book. She is a very wise Godly woman. I have learned so much from her, and her blog. I know if she were to live in town, we’d have many a long coffee laughing, crying, and sharing some of the intimacies of our hearts. She has encouraged me and given me that one last push.
Why am I sharing this with bloggy world, or facebook world? Who knows, maybe only one person might halfway read this while having their morning coffee? I write this first part of a three part “challenges of my heart” because I listen to the hearts of so many people questioning if it’s God speaking, or selfish thoughts or desires masked. For me it is always a very deep instinctional kind of knowing, and then the resisting, and then the excuses why I can’t do it, and then God will show me the way to His will, and then the surrendering.
Obstacles along the way don’t always mean it’s not God’s will. God has taught me the most amazing things in the journey, when I surrendered. Obstacles will come; writing may take a life time. Is it the telling of my story, or the writing of my story that is important? I think it’s seeing how God can and does work in our lives. Understanding our relationship we have with Him, and then knowing when to listen even when it’s hard. Writing my story will be hard. I am realizing it’s not going to be the words on paper, or a computer screen, but more reliving in my thoughts and memories the hurts, the wounds, the pain and the sufferings. And then to wake up in those times with a deeper love and passion for Christ Jesus. I am able to look back and see the healing in my life on so many levels that I want to share that hope, that healing and the magnificence of Him.
Having shared my story with the ladies of my church produced an outline. No more excused God. I surrender.