June 29, 2013

New Direction

I have decided that I am going to switch directions on this blog. I want to use it entirely for what God is doing in my life.
The last two years have been extremely challenging yet rewarding years for me, and I have decided that I should stop complaining and start doing what God wants me to do. God has called me into missions. I still don't know what that looks like, but I'm looking forward to it.
I went on a mission trip to Mexico again this year, and, once again, it changed my life. I really felt like God was telling me to surrender everything to Him and take the next step in faith. More specifically I felt like God was telling me to surrender my son to Him. I still don't know what that looks like or what that will consist of, but I am reminded of how God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I don't believe God is calling me to kill my son, but I risk losing him. It doesn't make sense to the world, but Christians have been "giving up" their families for thousands of years. The Sunday School class I am going to at our church is going through the Radical series by David Platt.  Now, if you want to be challenged, I totally recommend this. If you want to know what following Christ should REALLY look like, read the book, take the class, read the Gospels in your Bible.  Jesus was straightforward with those He called. He told them they had to give up EVERYTHING to follow Him. That meant their livelihood (jobs), families, worldly possessions, etc. Jesus told them from the beginning it would not be easy.  They knew, basically, what the cost of following Him was, and they were up for the challenge. I read something the other day that said that almost all or all of Jesus' original disciples were killed for their faith. How many of us in America today can say that we are even WILLING to die for our faith?  We are perfectly content to sit back and just do the bare minimum. We don't want to be challenged, and we certainly don't want to give up our stuff, our families, our great jobs, etc. Let alone being tortured or dying for our faith.
I recently finished reading a book called Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.  Talk about eye-opening! Christians around the world are being tortured DAILY for Christ, and they do it joyfully. That is what being a true follower of Christ should look like. To think that I would love God so much that I joyfully endure torture for His name. That hits me right between the eyes and in the heart. It broke my heart to see how those Christians were and are being treated in other countries, but.... amazing things happened because of their witness. Many of the people who tortured them ending up believing and following Jesus because of their witness. Some of them even ended up in the same cells with those whom they had tortured previously, dying beside the men who brought them to their Heavenly Father. Amazing! I was really challenged by this book. My faith has waned over the years. I found myself pretty far away from God for a few years, but Thank God He brought me back to Himself. I'm learning what it is like to love God and truly want to follow Him. It is not easy by any means, but it is completely rewarding. It can be painful, but at the same time I feel peace and joy in doing it.
God gave me a heart of compassion, but... because I found it embarrassing to cry in front of other people and found myself being terribly hurt by those I was the closest to, my heart started hardening. I had not realized the severity of it until I came back from Mexico. It really bothered me that I was not even able to cry. I WANTED to cry, but I just couldn't. My heart had been so hardened. I hated it. I asked some friends of mine to pray for me :-) and within a few days, God began softening my heart again. IT's still a work in progress, but I am so thankful that He is giving me another chance.  I really have a heart for the hurting, especially kids. I have always loved working with kids. It breaks my heart to see pictures of kids living in orphanages who go without food, etc. I am hoping some day God will allow me to help some of these kids.
Anyway, I guess that is enough for now. I could probably write a sermon on what God has been teaching me over the past few weeks, but, for now, I will sign off.