NOTE: For the record, I really tried to keep it short. REALLY!
Recently I have been trying to put the finishing touches on my first sermon (4 months ago I never thought I’d be saying anything close to that…love how God works). Element Church’s Youth Pastor, Andy Hazlet (Blog Love HERE) has given me my first opportunity to preach on April 14th to the high school youth. The sermon, based largely on the events of the past 7 months, is very close to my heart.
Writing this sermon has been pretty therapeutic for me. It’s really opened the door to a lot of stuff that I needed to think about and not only give to God, but give thanks to God for. It’s allowed me to look at all the events of the past 7 months in a different light, with a different perspective if you will. Kutless has a song called “Perspectives”. In that song they ask, “Why can't you see that freedom is sometimes simply another perspective away? Who could you be if your lens was changed for a moment, would you still be the same?” I’ve been able to see through the lens a little differently. I’ve seen the person I’m meant to be and who God is leading me to be, and I’ll tell you this, he is not the same guy I was.
When all this started, all I wanted to do was blame God, I’d been looking for a reason to run from him (really I don’t know why though), and I finally had one. I could have very easily run and wallowed in my self-pity. I could have run from God, slowly let my hurt and anger turn to hate and let it destroy me. But, because of my kids asking if we could still go to church (they really are my heroes, they rescued me before I even realized I needed it), I kept going. Just going to church allowed God to refine and readjust the lens that I was looking at life through. Slowly, but surely, God tweaked that lens just enough to let me see things differently, more focused…better.
Before Dana left, I was not the person God desired for me to be. God changed my lens, just a little and it completely changed the person I am and I am becoming. I don’t think I’m exactly where God wants me, yet. But I am leaps and bounds closer to becoming the person He has always intended me to be. Don’t misunderstand, I still wish that it didn’t take Dana leaving for me to get where I’m at, to share this journey with her would have been wonderful. However, I do believe that her leaving was the catalyst God used to walk me down the road He had for me. Without all the trials and sorrow over the last several months, I think it may have been a long time (if ever) for me to hear and actually answer Him.
On Friday, theSHIFT (Blog HERE) talked about luggage. Not like suitcases, but the baggage or wounds that each of us carry around. My boys and I have a lot of wounds; we have enough baggage that we could probably be considered the equivalent to an airplane cargo hold. I have told myself, and Dana, that I forgive her for what she has already done and continues to do; I have even put that forgiveness into action, definitely more than she deserves. But Friday night, it was said that forgiveness really isn’t fully given until you can wish that person well. Uh, I’m not there yet. I have tried, I’ve even slipped while praying for her and actually corrected myself, I took it back (I figure me slipping and wishing her blessed was God’s way of telling me that I needed to do it). I know it’s not about me being ready to forgive her completely, because if I wait until I am, I’ll probably never be ready. I know when I do start praying that for her, God will do the rest. Even if it’s not for her (which I’ve blogged about this before HERE), I can NOT have that hate or hurt or anger or any of it control my life. I need one controlling force in my life and that’s Christ. He can NOT do His job, if I cloud the rest of my spirit with the fog of anger.
So, God has changed my lens. I am seeing things clearer and more vibrant than ever before. I am a different person. And soon I’ll be different than I am now. But here is what God has shown me the most through working on this sermon. All the trash that I have had to sift through, all the muck I’ve had to trudge through and all the pain I’ve had to experience is absolutely NOTHING compared to the blessings he has heaped on my boys and I.
I have a stronger and deeper relationship with my Lord, my God Jesus, more so than ever in my life (it’s a love like nothing I’ve ever experienced). I have a church family that I love and I know without a doubt loves me. I have friends (both new and old) that have impacted EVERY area of my life, all in a positive way. I have a new calling from God; I finally know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know exactly how I will fit into God’s ministry, but I know that next to my relationship with Him and helping my boys grow to be men after God’s heart, it is the best and most important thing I’ll ever do. Who could orchestrate a comeback like that, but God
I don’t know what my life lived for Christ will end up looking like. In 3 to 5 years I could be happily married again, have a happy family, serving Christ here in Cheyenne or I could be happily single (making the point that God provides that happiness, not someone else), living with my boys and doing missionary work in Uganda. I don’t know, but the point is, whatever my life looks like in the future, one thing is certain, it will be fully grounded in and consumed by Christ.
I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning!
It’s a new morning, folks. I’m finally awake and His joy really has come!!!
Looking through a new lens,