Saul Breathes Down Your Neck (aka Why I Blog!)

23 05 2013

A great admirer of King David, I once asked the Lord to give me a heart like his…so I could be a woman after God’s own heart. I had no idea what I was asking, for you don’t achieve a heart like David’s without a Saul hot on your heels!

My writing “career” began in 2006, when I was asked to write a monthly newsletter for the women I served. One side of the page listed upcoming events, the other was a short article that I penned – not unlike what I post here. I discovered that I really enjoy writing, and others enjoyed reading what I wrote.

In November, 2009, being uncertain of whether writing was part of God’s plan for me, I jotted down a prayer on the last page of my current journal, put the book on the shelf, selected a new one, and left for a visit with my oldest son and his family in Oahu. I said nothing to anyone about my question – didn’t want to manipulate the answer in any way.

Four days later, my husband, Wendel, called from home and said, “Hey, they have laptops on sale at the department store. Do you want one?”

I started to say, “No, that’s okay,” then realized that this was the answer to my prayer and said, “Yes! I’d love to have a laptop.”

When I returned home, I pulled out my journal and showed him what I’d written:

“Father, if it is Your desire that I write, would You give me a laptop? If You say ‘no,’ I’ll be fine with that.”

“Well, it looks like you have your answer,” he said with a smile.

Within two weeks of purchasing my computer, however, I lost my only writing assignment!

At that time, I served with a group of women on a committee. The leader was resigning, and nominations were taken for the vacant position. I nominated one of my friends, who later was installed as the new leader.

What came next was totally unexpected. It quickly became apparent that this was a very ambitious person, who did not take kindly to being opposed. Those who disagreed with “suggestions” were pressured to comply, any who were perceived as a threat were drummed out. I was one of them.

Had it been someone that I really didn’t know, this would not have felt like a betrayal; but this was someone I considered to be my friend. Door after door for service became closed to me. I was so hurt and confused.

“Did I hear You correctly, Lord? Did I read into the laptop something that wasn’t there? I don’t get this.”

To avoid sustaining more injury, I fled from the presence of this person, spending more time in personal Bible study and in prayer.

This was my first “Saul,” who chased me away from what God anointed me to do, but drove me closer to God in the process.

In January, 2009, a fellow writer, whom I greatly admire, caught up with me in the hall.

“Hi, Tami! There’s a book writing class being offered by a young man at no cost. It’s a fifteen week course. Last week was the first meeting and it was very good. Are you interested? I could pick you up this Tuesday.”

The class was fabulous! The instructor began with how to “corral” our ideas and shape them into an outline. From the outline, how to fill in the body of the text. Then he walked us through how to format, paginate, and design covers for our books. We were introduced to Lulu, and encouraged to publish the work we’d done during the class. Our book, in print, was expected by the end of the course.

My class project was the slim volume offered in the right-hand column here. It’s title is Lessons by Heart – Learned at the Feet of Jesus. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the 133 pages within! I was amazed to have the whole thing sitting on my table as a book.

The instructor also suggested that we begin a blog as a means of advertising our books, and gave a thorough presentation on WordPress. His idea made sense, so I came home and started designing my “home” in Blogtopia. Since the object was to market my book, I gave the blog the same name.

Two months into blogging, however, I had one follower, and had gotten about 50 views. I picked up a “watcher” – a self-proclaimed defender of the faith – on the second article I posted. He was not blatantly mean, but his words dripped with sarcasm as he questioned what I’d written.

(I take this responsibility very seriously. We live in an era of wide-range deception, and I do not ever want to contribute to that. The last thing I want is to stand before the Lord and explain how I lead even one other person away from His loving care.)

This person’s comments scared me. Afraid that I would spread heresy, I quit posting anything. Lessons by Heart sat unused for four years. I assumed it had been deleted due to inactivity long ago.

This person was my second “Saul,” who “ran me off,” – away from the work to which I believed God had called me.

In the four years since, I’ve been busy writing – but had no outlet for my work. I wrote most of a commentary for women on the book of Joshua for Princess Warriors, wrote about half of a novel with the working title, Dated Richard, Married Leon. I’ve also written a hundred or so small articles like what I post here.

I still don’t know what I’ll do with all of these writings. I’m not anxious to go through the publishing process again. I did everything but the cover for the book myself, and it was a LOT of work! Of course, last time I did the whole thing, start to finish, in four months. There were so  many “unknowns,” and I’m mostly a coward when it comes to venturing out of my comfort zone.

A choice had to be made as I dealt with the first Saul. I could become like him, repaying evil for evil (sad to say, I sometimes failed here), and become bitter; or I could step out in faith that God was going to use this for my good and trust Him for the outcome.

My first Saul served to move me from a place of “preaching to the choir” out into the world of the lost and broken. I lead worship for women at our local mission’s recovery home. I’ve gone out to the park, where our church feeds the homeless every Sunday, and provided music  from time to time. I’ve gone to Nicaragua to serve the last three years, and am currently recording audio books for the mission’s recovery program, which will benefit those residents who cannot read. Oh, and this year a dear friend of mine helped me record and produce a music CD for the nurses in Nicaragua. The greatest benefit of all is that I was driven into the arms of my loving Father, who became my refuge and strength. (There is not enough room here to tell everything else that was a benefit of being chased off!)

So, you see, the time has not been wasted…but a lot changed in me during these years. Without my first “Saul,” I would never have done any of these other things. Every one of them has been the direct result of that person’s behavior.

My second “Saul” taught me the importance of confirming everything that I believe the Lord has spoken to me before putting it into print. “By two or three witness a thing is confirmed,” the Bible states. This is crucial – especially while our minds are being renewed and we are growing up in Christ. Many of the old traditions had to go, and have been replaced with actions that come from a purer heart and better motives.

Through this “Saul,” I learned that there are some in the body who’ve made it their job to “categorize” or “rank” fellow believers, and to find our wounded and shoot them. These are not gifts of the Spirit that I find in the Bible. I appreciate being shown (IN LOVE!) where I am in error. After all, truth is my personal quest. I have such a long way to go. I am honored whenever someone comes alongside to walk me through misconceptions. Mentors are awesome. Critics who tear down for the sport of it? Give ’em a smiley face and move on.

I learned that God is faithfully present when everyone around me is fickle. I learned to trust Him for the outcome – to know that there’s a purpose to the places I’ve run to. I have a greater compassion for people, having learned that behind each “Saul” is a sad, sad story that has twisted them into what they have become. Consequently, I take their broken, bloody little bodies and “set them on the Lord’s lap,” asking Him to heal their wounds.

I also had to grow up. It was time for me to learn that there is only One that I must please. If He’s the only One who is pleased with me, that is enough. From time to time I still fall into the trap of people-pleasing, but don’t live there anymore.

I do not recall what caused me to look up my old blog and see if it still existed, but on March 26 of this year, I did. Something about writing here felt right. It was time.

One week into posting, the Lord brought these verses to my attention:

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the abilities which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

With these instructions burned into my mind, I sit at my (third!) laptop with fear and trembling every day. I ask the Lord what He wants to say to you through my blog. I type what He brings to mind. Mostly, He wants His children to know that His favor is on each and every one of us. We are fully and completely forgiven. My job is to convey His heart for His children by sharing the ways He has lavished His love on me.

I’m not a “favorite.” He longs to be every bit as intimate with all of His kids. Sometimes people simply don’t know that this kind of relationship is possible and need to be shown what it looks like in real life. Until about 10 years ago, I had no idea. I missed out on some wonderful times with my Lord because I didn’t know He wanted to interact with me in such a personal way.

My heart’s desire through this blog, and through my life, is to invite every person I come in contact with into a vibrant, real, intimate, and joyous relationship with our heavenly Father, and with Jesus.

This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3

Eternal life is the gift of  (not from) God – Himself. He is the gift. It doesn’t get much clearer than that!

Wow! We can enjoy a relationship with Him like Adam and Eve had before the fall; like Jesus demonstrated when He was here on earth. THIS is the purpose of salvation. What a shame it would be to miss the point.

How about you? Do you have a Saul? Have you changed for the better because of him or her? Or have you become bitter? Do tell!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

44 responses

15 09 2016
Femmetotale is one already!! – Femmetotale

[…] even bother continuing.’ My new blog-best-friend, LBH called this a Saul on her post – Saul breathes down your neck and I agree with her monumentally…lol. I hated to fail at anything so I just gave up and stopped […]

11 07 2013
Rebecca Trotter

I’ve also prayed to be like David and never thought of it this way, but my husband is my Saul. Which is horrible. But should God ever call me out of the wilderness, I suppose I will be well prepared

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I think nearly everyone’s husband is Saul. 😉 Mine has been at times. Jesus used him to teach me how to stand and be courageous.

Imagine the first time I said, “That tone of voice doesn’t work for me. If you want me to hear what you’re saying, you’ll have to use a different voice!” He was speechless for a few minutes. What he did after that, I couldn’t say because I turned and walked into the bedroom. 😉

After that, he DID often use a different tone,by the way!

\o/

27 05 2013
Femmetotale is one already!! | Femmetotale

[…] even bother continuing.’ My new blog-best-friend, LBH called this a Saul on her post – Saul breathes down your neck and I agree with her monumentally…lol. I hated to fail at anything so I just gave up and stopped […]

28 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for the link to LBH! 🙂
\o/

25 05 2013
PaperGiftsForEstefany

Many Sauls. (I had never thought of them like that, but it’s a great analogy) Many tears. A wonderful Saviour. Much healing. And like David, always chasing after God’s own heart and growing closer to Him. I LOVED this post. It’s my life too. Thanks : ) PS: So glad you made it back here!

26 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. I learned this through the Bait of Satan – an excellent study on being offended by John Bevere. I recommend it to anyone who’s been hurt by someone else (and who hasn’t?).
🙂
\o/

24 05 2013
worthless_romantic

honestly right now I’m bitter.

25 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

😦 Praying for you, little brother.

Hugs from both of us,
\o/

24 05 2013
cshowers

I, too, have had my share of Sauls in my life and it’s during those dark times when we’re running away from Saul, that we discover that it was God who sent Saul into our lives so that we would run not so much away from Saul, as running into God’s arms.

I’ve also learned (after I get over the initial pain and anger of betrayal) to have compassion on the Sauls in my life, because when we hurt others (Lord, forgive me, because I’ve been a Saul to some), we are hurting ourselves. Remember, David wouldn’t touch or Saul, even though he could have, and it seemed that Saul deserved it, because the scripture said, “Touch not my anointed one and do my prophets no harm.” Also, I can see that the years of suffering have served to sharpen your gift.

I pray the Lord continues to bless you and use you to minister to others through His word, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Much love and many blessings to you,
Cheryl

24 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you so much for sharing. As much as I dislike the Sauls, I really disliked realizing that sometimes he is ME!

I appreciate your encouragement and support. ((()))
\o/

24 05 2013
heavenlyraindrops

Lots of Sauls in my journey, but I love how you clarified them as being Sauls. Whether Sauls in person or Sauls in trying circumstances, God is so faithful to use them to shape us into what He wants us to be. I also am trying to remember that when I write, or in whatever I do, it really should only matter what the Lord thinks. If He is pleased, that should suffice. I am not there yet, but daily growing in that process. Thanks for your honest sharing. Has helped energized a fellow Christian blogger to grow thicker skin!

24 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your input. I hadn’t really thought about a circumstance as a type of “Saul,” but see how sometimes that could be the case.
Enjoy this beautiful weekend!
\o/

24 05 2013
femmetotale

Reading this made me feel like I was seated by the peaceful waters, on the mushy green grass, away from all my Sauls. Everyone would love to be the woman after God’s own heart but no one wants to have a Saul all out to stop you from getting the crown. Thanks for sharing this. I’m encouraged.
Someone really should invent the LOVE button!

24 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you so much for your kind words. How good God is to shape us before dropping us into the ministry He has for us. He still has His work cut out for Him with me, but is faithful to complete the work He’s begun.

I agree about the LOVE button. I’ve learned that clicking like more than once doesn’t work – just turns it on and off!

Enjoy the weekend. 🙂
\o/

23 05 2013
ddclaywriter

Reblogged this on Clay Tablets.

24 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you!!
\o/

23 05 2013
sevennotesofgrace

Thanks for your long post, it is lovely that you took the time to write. It is very encouraging!

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. I hate long posts, but couldn’t figure out how to break it into two parts.

Melanie asked me about the book I wrote, that was my “short” answer!

Glad it spoke to you.
\o/

23 05 2013
Toni Sprandel

You are a truly amazing woman. You have endured much but have become better, not bitter. I am honored to call you my sister! My Saul’s are all those who push their ‘religion’ on us and have no truly personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. This just drives me closer to Him. Thank you!!

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Only by the grace and incredible patience of our Lord have I been able to work my way back out of bitterness. Note that I said, “Back Out Of!” Mostly I do a lot of kicking and screaming along the way!
\o/

23 05 2013
Toni Sprandel

OMG, you make me laugh!! Have a great day & holiday weekend!

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! You too. 🙂
\o/

23 05 2013
Saul Breathes Down Your Neck (aka Why I Blog!) | hisimagenme

[…] Saul Breathes Down Your Neck (aka Why I Blog!). […]

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you for the reblog, Hisimagenme! I appreciate that.

Have a blessed holiday weekend.
\o/

23 05 2013
Larry Who

Writing on the internet will thicken your skin and soften your heart, especially if you desire to please the Lord.

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yeah, mine has gotten thicker since 2009! Besides, now that my blog doesn’t define me, I don’t take it so personally!

Thanks for the encouragement.
\o/

23 05 2013
vonhonnauldt

I’m almost afraid to write anything to you. I confess that I tend to be one of those who “categorize” people, although I hope I don’t “shoot” them. Though I might have questions about some of what you write, (as you surely must have about what I write), I have been truly blessed by your accounts of your journey.

Dear sister, it is a “done deal” as far as God is concerned. As the sculptor sees the finished work in a block of stone, so God sees the finished product of the perfect likeness of His beloved Son in each one of His children (though some of us still require a great deal of chiseling and chipping and sanding and shaping!)

Thank you for writing this wonderful testimony and not being afraid to open up a little and let us in. It is a blessing.

A little brother in Christ.

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Ah, we all categorize to a certain extent. The person I’m talking about has pages of charts on their blog: who’s pre-, mid-, or post-trib. Who’s Armenian, Calvinist; who’s all sorts of other crazy stuff so people would know who was “safe” to follow, etc. It saddens me. His efforts would be better spent encouraging and equipping the body for ministry, IMHO.

Thanks for your honesty concerning questioning some of what I write. I don’t mind being asked to clarify…or being shown where I’m in error. Especially learning truth. Mind renewal is a lengthy process, one I’m still undergoing. (So far I haven’t questioned what you’ve written, though! 😉 ). It’s hard to develop a thought in less than 500 words – which is what I shoot for…but end up around 800! There are bound to be questions.

Thanks for your encouragement and support. I appreciate you more than you know.
Love in Christ,
Tami
\o/

23 05 2013
Deena Siddle

Wonderful, thank you for sharing your struggles. I would say more but we are on the road driving hard to type on my phone. As for were to go have you ever heard of Proverbs 31 ministry and the She Speaks Conference?

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

I have enough problems typing on my laptop. Fortunately I have a flip-phone that doesn’t allow for much more than talking, so don’t have that issue! Maybe you can clarify when you get a chance! 😉
\o/

23 05 2013
spiritministries

Blessings,
This is one of the best testimonies I have ever read. The best advice I can give anyone is hide the word in your heart that you might not sin against Him. He is the one, and only one that matters. Truth be told, people do not like the truth, and not one is exempt Christian or not. That is why God gives us a portion each time, and not all of it. You keep your head up girl and continue to stand firm on the ROCK, you will be blessed. Thanks for sharing this openly, it is awesome. Many blessings to you and yours.

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks so much, Michael. Without Jesus I would have nothing to say. Isn’t He awesome?
\o/

23 05 2013
spiritministries

Without doubt:)

23 05 2013
Pure Glory

Refining fire! Your Sauls have helped burn the things that were not of God. There have been many things and people in my life that could have crushed me but for God! It is in the hard places where God gets the glory. You have a gift that will that will go much further than you can imagine and change many lives. Thanks for sharing your powerful testimony.:-)

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Man, I hate being in the crucible. There is nothing painless about it, is there? Thanks for your encouragement! 🙂
\o/

23 05 2013
Pure Glory

you are welcome! The process is painful but what it produces is pure gold transparent as glass. The gold that is beyond price!

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

God is good – even when it hurts!
Mmm. pure gold transparent as glass – with no more crud to be seen when held up to the light… what a glorious day that will be, eh?
\o/

23 05 2013
Kevin

Very interesting! I like the way you, like David, kept moving on towards the calling God gave you. And like David, you didn’t try and force other’s to see what you are; amazing testimony 🙂

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Oh, Kevin, if you only knew! This post was so long already. I didn’t want to make it even longer by putting in some of the nasty little details. I tried to make several people see “what I was.” I had temper tantrums, crying jags…but did manage to keep my mouth shut instead of trying to rally people around me (a miracle in itself!).

It wasn’t until I asked the Lord, not to take sides, but to take over, that He began to heal and transform me. I wish this were a done deal, but I’m still a work in progress. 😦 or 🙂 …I guess it’s both!

Your far-from-perfect sister in Christ,
Tami
\o/

23 05 2013
Kevin

My post also suffer from ‘to long already’ LOL… I hear ya tho, and all that matters is our humilty because if bitterness sticks we can’t move on. I love the ‘not to take sides but to take over’ a whole post on that would be nice- 🙂

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Jotted “Take Over” on my writing prompts notebook just for you!

Thanks for your encouragement and support, too. Does your run take you north-south or coast to coast?

Enjoy the holiday weekend!
\o/

23 05 2013
Kevin

I run all 48 and right now thats mostly I-80 but it varies. Sometimes I’m way up north for months and vice-versa. 🙂

23 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

“All 48” reminds me of the time I was Fed-Exing a copy of Lessons by Heart to my kids for their approval. One son lived on Oahu. They asked if I wanted it shipped via air – or ground!
“Ground? Does that mean you’ll strap it onto a turtle and point him in the right direction?”
Craziest thing I ever heard! 😉

Your turn!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: