Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Testimony of Spiritual Growing Pains Through Friendship

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I have one of the best and deepest friendships one could have with my friend and sister in Christ, Katie. We became quick friends when I responded to her prayer request ten years ago. From that moment on, it was apparent that God brought us together to enjoy a friendship.

We have shared many laughs and deep conversations. We have loved deeply and served one another in different ways. We studied God's Word together and grew spiritually.  It was a relationship that set God at the center and as a result, our friendship flourished and we both were blessed by it.

As with any relationship, they often come with struggles.  Our friendship has not been immune to that, but today we can praise God because He grew us into friends, grew us through our friendship, and grows us through our struggles relationally to this day. We have been able to teach each other many things and for that I am ever thankful.  It has not been an easy journey at times, but I know "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." 

Many changes have occured in both of our lives over the past few years especially; the kids have both grown and moved on, Katie is now married and living in another state, and I am living alone in this house our "framily" once shared.  We are where God intends us to be at this time, and I am confident that the gift of friendship that God has given to Katie and me will continue for all our lives.

Recently I had the opportunity to share with Northbrook Church some of what I have learned through the mistakes that I made in my relationship with Katie and how I failed to yield my will to God's, especially with regard to submitting to one another and submitting to spiritual authority.  This sin of failing to submit resulted in me falling out of God's will and that naturally leads to suffering dire consequences, and in my case lead me into a spiritual desert place which I have shared about before. 

I shared last June on the Sisters' Weblog A Little Something I've Learned About Spiritual Authority.  (it is a three part series run back to back so you can read all of it scrolling up the page.)   The past few years have been difficult for both Katie and I, some of which is documented on this blog.  I know some of my actions and words have been hurtful to Katie and for that I am sorry, but again, Jesus is the Lord of both of us, so in His amazing ways, He is restoring our friendship to something even better!  I am forever grateful for His mercy and grace. 

I want to make available to you the testimony I shared with my church on Sunday, 11/14/09.  Sin had damaged my relationship with my Father, but His love is faithful and He used circumstances and His people to help open my eyes to spiritual truths that only He can teach me.  You can listen to the audio file of my testimony HERE, and catch the entire message Chuck delivered HERE.  Below I will include the list of six things I learned about this type of submission as a summary.

Things I learned about submitting to one another:
  1. We are to put aside our pride and recognize that we can be easily deceived.
  2. God puts us in a body of believers purposefully so that we can edify others and speak into each other’s lives – as iron sharpens iron
  3. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord love us and exist to encourage us in the Lord.  They do not wish to harm us.
  4. Those walking in the spirit have Godly insight into your life, and this is especially true for our spiritual leaders.
  5. God commands us to honor spiritual leaders – He has entrusted them with an awesome responsibility and He divinely equips them to watch over our spiritual well being.
  6. If we fear God, we will submit to one another because we WANT to promote His glory and we WANT to build one another up in order to fulfill our destinies in God’s plan.

Listen to my testimony delivered to Northbrook Church for the message "Submit to One Another"

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