Reducing Spiritual Flab

14 06 2014

My posts over the last three months have been sporadic, and for that I apologize. The trial the Lord warned me of in January began in March, and it’s been a doozey!  We’re not completely through this time of testing, but the end is drawing near.

Our lesson has mainly been that of learning to “live and let live;” of loving others where they are without trying to fix their problems. Since the Lord gave us “guinea pigs” with which to practice…eight of them, in fact…this obviously was a necessary lesson.

The empty dog collar I purchased earlier this year (read about it here) played heavily into this time of training. If I had any traces of “control freak” they are surely gone now, for life has been completely out of my control.

This is a season of letting go of everything…ministry, writing, composing, even regular get-togethers with friends. My tidy little schedule of household chores was tossed out the window, and the only things I know will happen for sure are church on Sunday, and our two home groups. Beyond these, the rest is not mine to plan.

Not in an unhealthy way, in case you are wondering. 

With two other families here, each with various appointments and comings and goings, there simply has been no way to maintain the steady ebb and flow to which I had grown accustomed. With 5-7 children to love, listen to, and referee, life has no rhythm, which leaves me feeling off-balanced. The security of knowing – even roughly – how each day will go is gone.

Don’t get the idea that I’ve been a ‘model’ Christian through all this. I have not! Lessons I was meant to learn will, no doubt, be revisited in the future until I can pass the tests.

Countless times, I’ve reminded the Lord of Romans 5:5…that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit. “Lord, I need this to bubble up out of my heart and onto those around me. I’m running on empty. If You don’t do this for me right now, it’s gonna get ugly!”

Amazingly enough, He has been faithful to do just that. Within the hour, peace returned, and people were treated with kindness.

Why was I so surprised when He assented?…especially in light of 2 Peter 1:2-4

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

I discovered that when I ask for His power, He gives it in abundance.

Why? Because He wants me – and you – to become partakers of His divine nature.

Wow!

At this point, I’m thankful that the Lord didn’t acquiesce and release us from this time of training (even though I asked Him on a regular basis…sometimes hourly!). We (both my hubby and I) discovered that these promises are, indeed, ours to claim – and that God is faithful to fulfill His Word to us.

Over the last three months, He took the lesson I learned in Nicaragua to a deeper level. (Read “Bitten“) That was a one-time, short lesson, where I was taught that God says what He means, and means what He says. When I put my full weight on His promises, He was faithful to carry me through.

I sense echoes of that lesson in our current circumstances…only we are having to trust Him like that on an ongoing basis. I call on His strength to carry me through often throughout each day.

I wanted this to be over long ago. I begged, pleaded, bargained even. All to no avail. I want to have the qualities Peter spoke of in 2 Peter 1, but without having to go through any experience in which they could be developed…kind of like wanting a fit body by taking some pills! That’s not going to happen!

No, when it comes to growing in grace, and maturing spiritually, situations that stretch us are necessary. It’s going to take consistent work-outs in life’s gym. It will be strenuous. we will come to the place where we can’t do one more rep…but it’s the next one or two more that bring the most benefit, for these are possible only in the Lord’s strength.

Day by day, we become stronger. “Sets” that used to take us out become easier, and our confidence in God’s faithfulness during tough times grows exponentially.

The wonderful thing is that when we look into the mirror of the Word, we realize that we are actually beginning to resemble Jesus!

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

May the Lord give you perseverance to continue steadfast in the faith, trust in His faithfulness, and peace in your storms. And may you look like spiritual “Arnold Schwarzeneggers” as you “work out” that which the Lord has put within you!

 

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23 responses

12 07 2014
Kim

Spiritual bootcamp…..so bitter-sweet……but so worth it in the end…..:) Grace, peace and endurance to you Tami….day by day, moment by moment, holding on to Him for dear life with an obedience heart and teachable spirit, you will come through as pure gold….:)

12 07 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for such great encouragement. Your words came through like a warm hug. 🙂

23 06 2014
Pastor Roland Ledoux

You know Sister Tami; as I am getting back into the groove of blogging and reading blogs of my brother’s and sister’s in the Lord, I can see an overall pattern developing. I firmly believe the Lord is in the process of strengthening His Church, the Body of Christ. The only way we gain true spiritual strength is by going through the “hard exercise” of situations and circumstances.
I believe we are at a time when those who are true disciples of Christ Jesus, will need the strength AND the lessons we learned from those ordeals.
The Word tells us that, or actually asks us, “Is the student greater than the Teacher, or the servant greater than the Master?” We know the answer to that and yet it is so easy to sometimes forget that what our Lord suffered demands that at times we go through strong ordeals and trials also. The Apostles had to and if we are “TRUE” followers of Christ, in action and deed and not just words, then we must. It’s not always easy, but at nearly five decades of “practicing” serving the Lord, I can say, you do get stronger!
Anyway, Sis, I am always long winded (writing) it seems so I’ll just say, it is good to be back and oh so good to re-associate with brothers and sisters I have missed!
God bless Sis!——By the way, love the title, “Reducing Spiritual Flab!!”

24 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comment. It’s good to have you back. 🙂

\o/

15 06 2014
Eddy

Trials..what can I add? It seems as if at our early Christian walk we don’t really have them, but the further we get into the journey, that’s when it starts to happen. That’s when scripture (His Word) starts to really minister to us. I’m glad that you, among many others, are able to go on mission trips, but just as He has reminded you, His Word begins, and should continue at home!

15 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Yeah, the mission field got brought to our home this time! We’re learning to apply what was learned abroad daily. Thanks for your encouragement, bro!

15 06 2014
nopew

Yes. I saw this image as I finished reading – a lump of clay becomes a vessel only after being spun dizzy, stretched into a completely new shape, painted and fired in the kiln. And when the Potter takes the vessel out of the heat the vessel has nothing to brag about, except the Potter.
Peace

15 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

I agree. There’s certainly nothing about this go around for which I can take credit!

15 06 2014
vesselsministry

welcome back ~ you were missed~

15 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Aww! Thanks! Got word from the Lord this morning that this test is nearly done. I’ve missed everyone so much!

14 06 2014
the warrioress

This gives me hope….

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

🙂
\O/

14 06 2014
Mel Wild

“I want to have the qualities Peter spoke of in 2 Peter 1, but without having to go through any experience in which they could be developed…kind of like wanting a fit body by taking some pills! That’s not going to happen!”
Ha! You mean there’s no pill for this? 🙂 God also seems to be more interested in our drawing near and developing a stronger relationship with Him through this rather than answering our whining. Good stuff!

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Hmm. Relationship. Exactly. This is a large part of what He’s been up to. Thanks for pointing that out. I completely missed this. I am not the queen of the obvious – obviously!!

14 06 2014
Mel Wild

Believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way! Still learning. But once I realized that everything was because He wanted a relationship with me and He used these things to draw me deeper into that relationship, it changed my whole perspective about trials, prayers not being answered in my timing, etc.

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Umm hmm. Where were you with this insight three months ago? 😉

14 06 2014
Mel Wild

🙂 Learning my own stuff…

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

🙂

14 06 2014
Susan Irene Fox

Tamara, we are placed in these times of waiting and testing to be matured, ripened, sweetened in order to accomplish what He has planned for us. I am there, have been there for so long, yet am just now seeing a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I think about our ancestors who waited so much longer than I – Abraham, Joseph, Moses – and I begin to feel blessed at my few years of waiting in the wilderness.

There’s a quote by Corrie ten Boom about tunnels: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” God is the most capable Engineer I know. I’m certain that’s true for you, too. ❤

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Susan, I LOVE the quote! What a great point.

Yes, I’m thankful that we don’t have decades of waiting, however, I’ve had one tunnel after the other after the other in rapid succession. I hope there’s some open space that lasts for a while somewhere ahead. 😉

Hang in there, and I’ll do the same. Thanks for your comment and encouragement.

\o/

14 06 2014
Susan Irene Fox

Yep, those tunnels one after the other can be rough. I’m putting you on my prayer list and lifting you up for long, sunny station breaks in between.

Any time, sweet sister. Hugs back ‘atcha.

14 06 2014
birdieklh

Oh dear me . . . I hear your heart . . . and, I can truly relate! Thank you for being so open and honest about the lessons God is teaching you. I truly believe that as we share our faith walk with others – the difficult as well as the good – it helps to encourage others on their way.

Sometimes we need to learn to embrace these times of testing and learn, as James tells us, to “count it all joy” because we KNOW from past experiences that His Grace IS sufficient AND that we will be better, stronger and more mature ourselves on the other side of what we go through. Bless you!

14 06 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your encouragement. So much has changed in a short period of time. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. God comes through with just what I need, right when it is needed. He’s so good!

\o/

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