I crawled into bed at 12:30 am after last nights Bible Study.
Who does that? How many small groups or Bible Studies have you been to recently where the group was so passionate about hearing, learning and sharing God’s truth that they could barely break away. I honestly think we could have stayed all night but for husbands waiting at home or jobs to get up for today.
When was the last time you could barely pull yourself away from fellowship with other saints over God’s Word??
I went to bed sweetly exhausted and woke up spiritually refreshed and eager to dig into God’s Word over some of the topics of discussion.
Here is ONE of 3 emails that awaited me this morning from a young sister in our group:
Have you ever been completely consumed with something? So consumed that it occupies every thought, every conversation, and every breath you take? So much so, that it drives you crazy and you wish you could just shut your brain off for just an hour, minute, or even a second? I have more times than I can count. And more times than not, these obsessions haven’t been healthy. They’ve been obsessions of worry, anxiety, frustration, anger and even pain. I’ve often times wondered how different it would be if we could just obsess over Jesus this way, how different our lives might look!
Since this group came together three weeks ago, I have found myself obsessing over the conversations that have been taking place. Conversations of Jesus, who He is and who He wants us to be. Conversations of His laws, His convictions, and His love. I’ve found myself consumed with His grace, with His mercy, and with His people. But most of all, I’ve found myself consumed with Him. I’ve found myself quenching a thirst for Jesus that I hadn’t even realized was there. The questions that we’ve asked one another have given me the opportunity to search for His truths and His purpose for my life.
I must admit this group is completely different than what I thought I’d signed up for. I thought I’d signed up for a Bible Study that was going to focus on discussions of pop-culture from a Christian perspective. In some ways I guess it is that. But thankfully, God has made it more than JUST that. He has made this group “real” which I think is what we have all been craving. Last night was two and half-hours of honesty, involving real discussions of our personal convictions and struggles in the Lord and of the world. It was truly amazing to experience the transparency and love that was shown from each woman there last night, and it completely blessed my life.
I have spent the better part of today consumed with thoughts of my “sisters”, their love for Christ, and the passion to know His truths for my life. After sitting down with my Bible this afternoon, feeling overwhelmed with it all, It became clear to me, what a better world it would be if “He” occupied our every thought. With that in mind, I challenge you, what’s your obsession?
Tell me friends, when is the last time you could say “He occupied my every thought”? I’m just wondering??
I have to say these young girls are rocking my world. (Have I said that already 🙂
Amen, Amen, Amen. Can I get an amen?? I cannot take my mind anywhere else right now, and for the last few weeks, it’s been my everything, and it’s been so hard, so. very. hard…. and I love it! Is this what we’ve been seraching for? Is “being real” where we find surrender? I can’t imagine that I haven’t been real with God – how can I hide anything from Him? He knows me better than I know myself. But in being real. No, I mean REAL, with these women – some of them I didn’t know from Eve a month ago – I have found a new level of conviction (yes, me), a new dependance on the Lord, a new reason for why I so D.E.S.P.E.R.A.T.E.L.Y. need a Savior. I need heart surgery. I need to be changed, again and again and again from the inside out. I NEED a revelation…. but if I am going to get any of this, I need brokeness. And I am there. I am SO there. Sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.
Amen precious sister!!
You are WHOLLY Loved!
I cannot make my thoughts make sense but I concur with all that is being said here. As I mentioned the first week I was there,this is exactly what I didn’t know I so desperately needed. I’m so looking forward to all that God is doing in each precious lady in the group and those we come in contact with during our week. Love,love, loving being in the word with each of you and going to bed and rising with His word on my heart and mind.
Pat, whew, what a post. I am thankful for you and your ministry. Jeff and I were talking recently about my blog and how much is “too much” / how real is “too real” / and how authentic is “too authentic”. If “life” (husband, kids, school, etc) did not come into play, I am quite sure I would be sitting in a sea-side cabin with the Word and a yellow pad for weeks on end right now. My own head is spinning with pulling together our world-view and home-view of life. His Word is searing and changing us hour by hour around our household! Callie was telling me yesterday about your latest project in the works. Can’t wait to see/hear the finished project.
My answers to your last questions were way more than even a blog post could contain, so I’ll have to save them for our one-day-hopefully-coming-soon time together! 🙂
Pat: I too crawled into bed at 12:30 on Tuesday night and this is all I’ve been thinking about…Ash and beauty. Beauty and ash.
God makes beauty from ash. Its who He is. Its what He does. He takes the ash of my life, my choices, my failures, my sin and from that ash he cultivates beauty. He shapes it. Forms it. Breathes life into it.
He never promises it will be finished here on Earth. He doesn’t even promise it will make me happy. His promises to me are that I am loved, heard, and saved by the blood of His Son that was shed on the cross if I choose to accept it. Period.
When I mentor a young girl about sex before marriage, modesty, honor, and obedience I want so badly to secure a guarantee that if I say the right enough things and set the right enough example she’ll make the right enough choice.
When I share my love for Jesus with my neighbors I want so desperately to be there when they pray the prayer, seal the deal, experience Christ for the very first time, and commit to Him forever.
Here’s the problem. Nothing, absolutely nothing, outside of God’s love for us through Jesus is guaranteed.
Not our marriages, parenting, self-esteem, impact on this world, health, witness, best intentions, or even our most gut-wrenching cries to our Creator.
Sometimes we get divorced. Sometimes our kids hate us. Sometimes we can’t look in the mirror. Sometimes we’re so consumed with self we ignore the groans of humanity. Sometimes we try so hard and people still think we’re too stuck up to care about them or too fun to actually be Christians. Sometimes we pray and petition and fast and beg and God is silent.
We live in a world full of ash. Ash is messy. Ash doesn’t know how to be beautiful.
And then we’re surprised. This God that loves us and wants to be with us for eternity raises the veil of reality just long enough for us to catch a glimpse of something otherworldly, supernatural, awe-inspiring, time-stand-still magnificent. And we have to catch our breath. Sometimes the hair on our arms stands up. Tears flood our eyes. Or we are left speechless.
And in those moments, when the Divine dares us to look up and out of this life, we are given enough hope, anticipation, and expectation to keep moving forward. Because while there is no guarantee for this life we know that someday the ash will fall away and our beauty will be complete when we meet Jesus face to face…and that becomes enough.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Ok my darlings, I am booked solid on Thursday and Friday but I WILL BE BACK to chat with you here on the weekend 🙂
I have SO MANY thoughts about the substance and expression of your hearts here.
I am praying for each of you-BY NAME-as we walk this journey together and along with you,
I am gripping His hem for wisdom and truth.
One thing I KNOW, is that Jesus surrendered His very life for our FREEDOM and our opportunity to overcome anything the enemy throws our way.
He is All things Possible–Luke 18:27
He is Our Rest–Matt 18:28-30
He is ALL SUFFICIENT Grace–2 Corinth 12:9 and Ps 91:15
He is Director of our Steps–Prov 3:5-6
He is Able–2 Corinth 9:8
He is Provision–Phil 4:19
He is Jehovah Rophe–Our Healer
He is Jehovah Shalom–Our Peace
He is Jehovah Shammah–Our Shepherd.
He is leading this little group of God Chasing Chicks 🙂
We have no choice but celebrate VICTORY in all things-BY FAITH, even before we understand or see the HOW!!
Sharon @ Hot Pursuit says
Molly- I am totally with you on the seaside cabin…. my bible, journal and time to write…(sigh)…
Jan- Your wording grabbed my heart. My heart has been heavy lately, living in a messy, ashy life can look so bleak until I remember He gives beauty for the ashes we call our lives. Thanks for the reminder, I really needed it today.
Thank you for your visit to Living Free…
I am so with you on the “Seaside Cabin” if you find one let me know 🙂
I also agree about the precious outpouring of the heart from Jan. Some season seem ashier than others, waiting for the breakthrough can seem endless. Knowing where to capture the LIGHT is our only hope.
Is there any way I could teleport for your discussions in person? I’m a tad envious at what the group is learning, doing, and growing. But, I’m thankful that I can tag along via the wonderful Internet. 😉
Matt (my husband) and I are very much in a place where we are craving true, deep and authentic intimacy with God. He has been revealing to us (in different ways) who we are in Him and how exactly He sees us. Along with that has been amazing revelation about His grace and what role it plays in our lives. To know that the Creator of all things is perfectly pleased with me AS I AM is nothing short of freeing and miraculous. To be free to enjoy His grace, His love, His EVERYTHING has been life changing.
Like my wonderful friend Ann, I desperately need Him and have been longing for Him in new ways through my time with Him and His Word.
Jan, thank you for sharing your beautiful words. I think it expresses everything in my heart that I couldn’t put into words.