Tag Archives: letting go

1 Samuel 3; Romans 3; Jeremiah 41; Luke 10

While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NCV)

I’ve always been like Martha, responsible, given to hospitality, with an understanding that life happens and certain duties need to be done. But, I’ve always wanted to be more like Mary, one who sits at Jesus’ feet, focused only on Him, blinded to the ‘things’ of life.

When I went to ministry school, it was one of the hardest struggles I had to work through, especially since, as a student, I was part of the team that cleaned up after church and after conferences. More often than not, my responsible side took over and while many of the other students were still spending time with God, I was cleaning up urine off of the toilets in the bathrooms, seething with jealousy.

When I came to India as a long-term missionary, it was still a problem I struggled with. My (now) husband worshipped the Lord all the time, serving the people by bringing the Word to them, introducing them to Jesus or presenting them with a new teaching, all in Tamil, a foreign language I still don’t fully understand. Meanwhile, I was ‘stuck’ doing house work, administration for his ministry outreaches, and sitting for 3-4 hours on Sunday not being able to understand anything that was being said during the church service, not being able to experience corporate prayer or worship in a way that moved my heart.

As a mother, I am experiencing this issue yet again. When all I want to be doing is entering into His presence, praying, worshipping, reading the Word, there are so many duties to be done. And this time, there are two little lives that are depending on my actions for their survival, two little beings who don’t understand Mommy’s need to get away with the Lord, to drink Living Water to quench my thirst.

Obviously still in process with this whole Martha/Mary battle waging war within me, I have come to some realizations that have helped me relax in the midst of my progression:

1)      Sometimes listening to God is more about learning to recognize His voice calling me in the midst. More often than not, His voice is the still, small voice I am not quite sure I even heard (1 Kings 19:11-13). Samuel didn’t even understand that it was God speaking to him. Only when Eli explained who was calling him in the night, did he know how to respond. Only when he identified God’s voice was he able to listen to what God had to say to him.

So Samuel went and lay down in bed. The Lord came and stood there and called as he had before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant and I am listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NCV)

2)       In life there are certain things that have to be done – even the Bible says there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) The key is remembering that everything I do, whether it be feeding my family or washing mountains of laundry, even changing diapers and cleaning the bathroom, is able to be done as if I am doing it for the Lord Himself, doing those things as an act of worship to Him (Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

3)      There are only so many hours in a day, days in a year, years in a life. When it comes down to it, evaluating my priorities every day, accomplishing what really needs to be done and releasing the unrealistic pressures of trying to be a Wonder Woman, is crucial. Letting go of the ‘to do’ list allows me to be free from the burden and the worry. Seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness enables me to achieve more in the day than I thought was even possible (Matthew 6:25-34).

I’ve come to the conclusion that really it boils down to my attitude. I can choose to be like Martha, a woman who has a chip on her shoulder, only seeing the overwhelming amount of work she ‘has’ to do all by herself; a woman who writes things on her list just so she can cross them off. I can choose to be like Mary, a woman who spends all of her time in front of the Lord, basking in His Glory and His Love, but accomplishing nothing of the tasks required for life, oblivious to everything and everyone else around her. Or, I can choose to be myself, a woman who has a full duty roster and yet seeks to offer my whole life as a living sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord (Romans12:1-2), not looking to the right or to the left in comparison or in envy.

It is this new way of thinking that I strive for…even more than a cleaned kitchen or ironed clothes or bathed, fully dressed children.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Jeremiah, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans

Deuteronomy 23; Psalms 112, 113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20

The Lord God helps me learn,

and I have not turned against him

nor stopped following him…

The Lord God helps me,

so I will not be ashamed.

I will be determined,

and I know I will not be disgraced.

He shows that I am innocent, and he is close to me…

Isaiah 50:5, 7-8a (NCV)

It is said that one never stops learning until death. And, as I am not dead, I am in the midst of yet another learning cycle. I find it interesting though, that the learning I am doing right now has little to do with the reading, writing, and arithmetic I learned in school. It has little to do with the life experiences of learning right from wrong or learning how to iron a shirt or set a table properly or change a baby’s diaper.

The education I am receiving now is just one more onion peel layer of trusting God above all else; learning how to walk in stronger faith, that faith that will move mountains even though the circumstances are impossible from a human perspective.

The experience is not always enjoyable. It is hard to let go sometimes, to relinquish the idea of control over my surroundings, my fate. It is difficult not to know all the answers or understand all of the solutions.

But at the same time it is exciting. And, what most excites me in this learning process is coming to the understanding that no matter what is given to me to bear, God is always there to help me through it. I can call on him at all times for help and He will always meet me where I am.

He walks with me when I need a friend. He carries me in His arms when I can’t do it by myself. He loves me and protects me as my Perfect Father. He covers my failings, my iniquity. He is always close to me.

Yesappa, Thank You for ALWAYS being there for me. Thank You for teaching me. Thank You for removing my shame, safeguarding my virtue and restoring my innocence. Stay close to me every moment of every day and help me to always follow You, to never turn to the right or to the left. Help me to always keep my eyes on You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation, Uncategorized

Deuteronomy 16; Psalms 103; Isaiah 43; Revelation 13

He says, “Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you.

I have called you by name, and you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.

When you cross rivers, you will not drown.

When you walk through fire, you will not be burned,

nor will the flames hurt you. Isaiah 43: 1-2 (NCV)

Though there are certain things that I tend to worry about periodically, I have never really considered myself to be an anxious person.  When I became a believer, I really held onto Christ’s teachings about worry that can be found in Matthew 6. Pretty early on in my walk with Christ, I found I had choices to make that would really test my faith in God, and in His ability to care for me and keep me safe.

When it was just me, I had little problem keeping anxiety to a minimum. I regularly tried new things, met new people, and went on new adventures. Despite the ups and downs of life, I was rarely concerned with the potential misfortunes that could theoretically come my way. For the most part I wasn’t reckless, there just was very little in the way that made me fearful about taking risks.

And, then I had kids.

Having children makes everything scary seem a little more real, a little closer to home. When I hear of earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes and untamable fires…when I learn about shootings in schools and bombings at marathons…when I am told of accidents and illnesses that cheat life or see a wall filled with pictures of missing children…when I read on the web a constant barrage of bad news, often in the guise of prayer requests (my own included)…I am easily overwhelmed with the horrifying world I live in.

The enemy likes to taunt me with images in my minds eye, distressing imaginations of could-be dangers to my daughters. There have been times that I have been able to shrug off these torments by simply checking on my daughters, making sure they are still breathing, still alive. But at other times, when I let my guard down, I have unwittingly allowed myself to be provoked to the point of borderline panic causing me to lose control, lashing out with words of fear at the prospect of a plunge off the second-story porch or nearly mashing fingers to prevent little legs from darting into the road.

As I embrace my role as mother, I realize that I have to make a conscience choice each day to cast my cares at His feet (as cliché as that may sound) and enter into new stages of ‘letting go’. In order to keep my anxieties to a minimum, I must keep my focus on Christ and what He did for me and for my daughters on the cross at Calvary. The reality is that Jesus loves my girls way more than I will ever be able to.

All that I am, praise the Lord;

everything in me, praise his holy name.

My whole being, praise the Lord

and do not forget all his kindnesses.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

He saves my life from the grave

and loads me with love and mercy.

He satisfies me with good things

and makes me young again, like the eagle.

The Lord does what is right and fair

for all who are wronged by others.

Psalm 103:1-6 (NCV)

If I am feeling particularly uneasy about some aspect of life, whether it pertains to me, my daughters, or any other conceivable circumstance, when I focus on worshiping my Savior for being holy, for being good, it is so much easier to set aside my fears and keep my eyes on the future that has been promised (Jeremiah 29:11-14). In times of worry, I delve into the Psalms, taking comfort in David’s faith in God and being encouraged by his celebrations of the Father’s trustworthiness and constancy. When I put my whole heart into praising the Lord, there is no part of me that is free to be anxious and I am compelled to remember His kindness.

Yesappa, when fears and concerns creep into my daily life, help me focus on You instead of my anxiety. Remind me of Your everlasting love, Your never-ending mercy. Encourage me with Your Word. Strengthen me. Thank You for being my Rock and my Salvation. Thank You for having my back. And, Thank You for watching out for my babies. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation

Leviticus 6, 7; Mark 6:1-29

Yesterday,  I stopped by to say good bye friends who were packing up and leaving for Texas.  Their house was a shell full of boxes and random scattered items that didn’t make the cut and wouldn’t make the trip southwest. I rescued a few plants and some stray items from their pantry.  My throat knotted up thinking that the home my friends had created no longer existed.  I was going to miss the comfort of their sofa and the gentle spirit of that place. We had spent hours there breaking bread,  getting to know one another,  praying and pouring over God’s word and watching friends laugh, struggle and grow together. We watched God change lives in this house. The space they created is no more.  Memories remain.  Life goes on.  The moving van is physical proof.

The truth of the matter is that we are nomads in this life. This is not our home.  Possessions may bless and comfort us, but they can also crowd our existence, complicate our lives and snuff out our souls’ deepest desires.  We have to let go.  Jesus knows this about us.  Living in a land of such material blessing,  his instructions take on even greater urgency.

“Take nothing for the journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you,  shake the dust off your feet when you leave as a testimony against them.”  Mark  6:8-11

To lean back on the simplicity of these words is freeing if not terrifying.  Jesus instructs me to not become dependent upon possessions,  place,  plans,  wit or even outcome.  Like moving, this is all a bit disorienting,  but at the heart of it,  Jesus wants me,  my full commitment and trust in Him.  He doesn’t want anything,  anyone,  any situation to take hold of my heart.  He longs be soul proprietor so that I can walk in the beauty of the truth,  grace and spaciousness that only knowing Him can bring.

Lord,  may this be so. Amen

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Leviticus, Mark, Uncategorized