Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slowing Down for the Lord!

I know the title sounds like a total oxymoron, but stay with me on this.


About a year and a half ago, my husband and I obeyed the Lord and started a Family Ministry at our local church.  The Lord had been working on us for awhile about what He wanted us to do, giving us a burden for families.  We knew He was calling us, but we didn't know what He wanted us to do.  If you've never been in that situation, it is both exciting and frustrating.  After much prayer and talking with our pastor and his wife, we all agreed we should start a family ministry at our local church. 

Much excitement followed!  We felt like we were ready for anything... well, almost anything.  But we jumped in with both feet and took off! 

About a month later, I started having health problems.  It was doctor visit after doctor visit.  Up until this point, I'd always considered myself a healthy person.  I really never put limits on myself, never really gave much thought to where I was going, what type of activity I'd be doing when I got there, or how long I'd be gone.  I just went!  But now, most of my going were to doctor appointments.  In one month I had gone to 6 different appointments.  The doctors really didn't know what was wrong, and if they would give me a guess, there was no real treatment for what they thought was wrong.  Not only was my body breaking down, but this was taking a toll on my family as well. 

A year past, I had finally found some relief to my symptoms after trying a combination of various medications and lots of prayers. 
I got to the point that if I could get out of bed in the morning without being in pain, I'd praise the Lord!  And when I'd wake up and have a slow moving morning, it reminded me to praise the Lord anyway! 

During this journey, it only made my walk with the Lord that much stronger.  I was reminded by a lady at church that sometimes God has to make us slow down to get us to listen.  I'd never really thought about it like that before, but after much consideration, I completely agree. 

Had I never been in this situation, I would have never truly been able to understand where people were coming from who dealt with chronic illnesses, or those who prayed repeatedly for healing for their body.  I developed a compassion for these people, most importantly, my mother who had been going through health issues of her own.  To have someone ask you to pray for them when you've been in their situation hits home.  When you can truly look that person in their eyes and say, "I do understand.  I know the pain you feel.  I know that fear you are feeling."  When your pain and struggles turn into a testimony instead of just a nightmare of a test, it becomes more manageable. 

But I still couldn't understand God's timing with everything when we had just started our ministry!  I mean, how in all the world could I do all the stuff that I thought I should be doing while going through all these medical concerns?  Looking back though, it didn't slow me down much, if anything, I pushed myself that much more. 

Some Sunday mornings, I would half-heartily head to the stage to sing, wondering to myself how in the world some of those precious people made it to church every single Sunday with all their medical conditions.  I concluded they were dedicated to the Lord and surely my problems weren't any worse than some of theirs.  A bit twisted, I know... but it seemed to push me, to inspire me. 

As I would sing, I would be reminded that worship is not about me, but about Him.

When we worship, truly worship Him, our attitudes and outlook on life changes.  I am not in control of my life, nor do I need to be.  I cannot imagine what a total mess I would make of things if I didn't rely on the Lord to lead me.  (When I try to take on the stresses of my day, it gives me a slight view into what things would be like...)

I went through some tests to rule out everyone's worst fear, and Praise God, all my tests came back with a good report!  Though no one seemed to know what exactly was wrong with me, it was as though God was telling me, "You're not dying; you are going to be fine.  Just trust me!"  Sigh of relief.

Don't know if you've ever felt the call of God on your life before, but the best comparison I could give you is a teenager who has just gotten their driver's license and the keys to the car.  You see the entire world as an adventure you're ready to conquer... the excitement, the confidence!  I was so excited to finally be able to set out and have a game plan for the family ministry at our church.  It had been such a long process of prayers and sleepless nights getting to this point.  And now, with all these medical battles it was like I'd been demoted back down to learner's permit!

One night at a revival, the evangelist asked for those who wanted healing for their bodies to come forward.  After having a long deliberation with myself, I stepped out and walked right over to the evangelist who was standing alone to the side of the stage.  He began praying for my healing, and at the end of that prayer, something prompted me to grab his hand.  I told him, "One more thing.  I need you to pray over the ministry God has called me into." 

It wasn't until the next morning that I really felt like I understood what the Lord was trying to tell me.  I had been praying for the Lord to give me an answer to some of this stuff going on with my health.  And then I asked him again, "Lord, why are you allowing this on my body?  It's just slowing me down.  I can't do everything I want to do with this ministry."  And then I received two of my answers.  First, it's not about me and what I want.  Second, Slowing down for the Lord!

It is very easy for me to start a project, or to come up with my next big idea.  It's the whole, following through and finishing that I need help with.  I usually have many different things going on at one time, a list of "goals" or a "to-do" list that is not realistic.  Then, I find myself stressed out, burnt out, and discouraged before I even complete the first task.  I distract easily... very easily

Slowing down for the Lord all started making perfect sense. It was time I started working on quality more so than quantity.  Listening to what the Lord really wants me to do and trusting Him to see that it will get done in His timing.

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