Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peace Like a River

Author: Katie

During my quiet time today, I prayed in my journal. Then, I opened a book of prayers to the place where I left off. In my journal, I was seeking God for direction. I am trying to figure out how to order my days. Soon a new year will begin. It is my hope to get this worked out before then...but God may have a different time table. The title of the prayer I read was called, "Needing Direction".

The scripture: Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus says the Lord: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find REST for your souls."

The prayer: "Lord, I come before you, standing here, seeking Your face. I need direction, I feel so lost, so alone. But You are here with me, to lead and to guide me, to show me the way I should go. With you and You alone, I can find REST for my soul. Give me the PEACE of Jesus. Peace like a river. Peace...Peace...Peace...Lord, give me peace."

Over and over this theme of peace keeps coming up...peace like a river. This was the them of the retreat I went on...and everything leading up to it. I have been out of pocket for an entire month now. I spent the last of September and the month of October traveling for many different purposes. With each trip God blessed me in so many ways. First I went to Florida to welcome home my sailor son and the other sailors from 6 months at sea. Then, I returned home for about a week before heading off to Colorado with my husband on a business trip. The day after we drove home from Colorado, I went on my bi-annual retreat with my best friend to Mt. Cheaha in Alabama. Finally, a month of travel ended with a vacation in Gatlinburg Tennessee...just in time for the peak of foliage! I will be writing of these journeys over the next week or so. I have so much I want to write and God has been doing amazing things. But, the one thing that has been coming to me over and over from resting in the spa beneath the Rockies to the peace of the river at Cheaha, to the relaxing time soaking in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains...from Rocky Mountain High Colorado to Rocky Top, Tennessee...God has been speaking peace to this weary soul....peace and rest. I think I like this theme!

However, peace and rest do not come easy for me. I am a doer. I go go go. I have no order to my days and I love so many things in life. I love painting, photography, crocheting scarfs for the homeless, playing my piano, and mostly...I love writing writing writing. The thing I want to do the most is write a book. But, I can't seem to figure out where to begin. I keep blogging because I know that when it all comes together, much of the material will come from what I post here. But, I can't seem to focus. I only know that what I keep hearing God say is what I read in my devotion today...what I keep reading in all my studies and today I clicked on a link to a church I used to follow on line...and the message coming up this Sunday is on finding peace like a river. My Sister in Christ, Sue, also mentioned peace like a river on her facebook page today. It just keeps coming up.

Something that really popped out to me in my amazing devotion time today is this, "...Be occupied with me...Be alert to My voice...Be devoted to Me with your whole heart...Put all that is around you into My keeping..."

Then this really jumped out at me, "You will be my mouth piece in places where ther are no other voices to be heard." I have no idea what that means but it really jumped out at me!

There is so much more that I will not include in this post but here is the final thought I'd like to add, "You will discharge your duties with dispatch and you will deal in wisdom in each responsibility; but your heart will REST in My hand!"

There is not a man on the face of this planet who will ever convince me that God and I don't have conversation! He is so close to my heart. He knows my every thought, my every concern, and He hears my every cry....and He responds!

Praise and glory to the One and Only! "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll...whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, 'even so, it is well with my soul.'" Some old hymns will never be lost. Amen.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Living the Call Day 34 - Forgiveness

Author: Katie

I haven't been able to write like I want to. Life has a way of getting in the way! I have spent the last week in Florida visiting my son who just returned from a 6 month deployment (tour) in South America with the US Navy. It was a blessed time with my son and his dearest friends.

Upon returning home, I began preparing for a week long road trip to Colorado with my husband! It's going to be wonderful, I just know it! So, now I have squeezed a few minutes in to write before running errands with my mother-in-love.

Just before taking my trip to Florida, God moved in my heart during quiet time. Hopefully, in the near future I will have time to elaborate on this, but, for now, I will keep it brief.

I have been holding a bitter grudge against an old friend for a few years now. I have had no desire in my heart to offer forgiveness to this person. It ate away at me like a poison. But, God spoke to my heart through Colossians 3:12-14 and Deuteronomy 30:16. First He told me that I am commanded to forgive. Secondly He told me to love Him, walk in His ways, and keep His commands..then I will live and increase and the Lord will bless the land I am entering to possess. Forgive...obey.

Right in the middle of my journal, as I was confessing this bitterness and unforgiveness that He exposed with His glorious light (this is the day after I cried out to Him to shine His light so bright in my life that every dark place would be exposed), He told me to call this friend who I was so bitter against..and ask HER to forgive ME! I didn't even finish the journal I was writing. I was instructed to stop and do it right then.

So, on September 27, 2010, at around 10 am, with my stomach in knots, I called my friend and asked her for forgiveness. She rejoiced and without batting an eye...offered complete forgiveness and then, to my surprise...she asked me to forgive her for hurting me! In that moment, it was almost as if I could see inside my very own soul as Christ's light burst through that dark place and the freedom that was found is beyond anything I can put into words!

My friend and I went on to talk for about an hour after that and it was as if nothing ever happened. This is the forgiveness that Christ offers us all!

"Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

Christ had to forgive before He could die or else He could not have said, "It is finished". I have been crucified with Christ...yet I cannot say "It is finished"...because there are still others I need to forgive. So, I leave myself still hanging on the "cross" so to speak. I cannot die to "self" until I have forgiven. Once the forgiveness is complete, then I will be able to say, "It is finished" and experience becoming like Him in his death...and alas...the power of the resurrection and a new beginning...totally free...and ready to serve and love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I cannot do this until complete forgiveness comes.

Father, I pray for you to continue to shine your light into the dark places! Help me to forgive that I might also be forgiven and walk in peace with You.