****Originally Posted September 2007****
Revised and posted for P31 Woman magazine contest.
I have a favorite song that we sing at church. "You are Good! All the time, you are good." It is the kind of song that when our worship team sings it, I want to raise my hands to God to worship Him. I am not normally a "hand-raising" kind of worshiper. I prefer to fold my hands in prayer and close my eyes most of the time. I guess I am more quiet in that way and that's really the only way.
Anyway, that's how I feel coming off the weekend we had, like raising my hands to God to thank Him for being good. All the time. The blessings that are in my life seem to be like a fountain that just keeps spitting out cool clean water. My husband was baptized this past weekend. He shared his story of why he made the decision to be baptized, again as an adult, that brought me and many others to tears. I guess it was that he spoke from his heart and shared that how he surrendered his life to God. For so long he has sought peace in his life. I think he finally realized that the peace was there all the time and all he had to do was believe and have faith. I have to say that there is not much in life that could make me love my husband more than to see him publicly share his love for Jesus. I just wanted to run up on stage and wrap myself around him. To see a grown man surrender and let go of the control that he has tried to maintain over his life is just a beautiful thing. This brings me to one of my favorite verses and a little history.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) - "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plants to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future."
For a long time I read that verse without reading the rest of the passage. I framed the verse. I said it was my life verse. It was the only verse in the bible that I actually quoted word for word. That verse was something I hung onto so that I could...well... hang on! I so wanted to live out the promise of the future God had planned for me and He was telling me with this verse to hang on to that hope.
At the time in my life where I just begun to actively seek God, many things in my life were in turmoil. My husband was suffering through a major trial in his life and I was dealing with much anger and frustration in my life that had not yet been determined from where it was coming. My marriage was suffering, of course, and honestly, I just kept looking for something to make it all better. I would look at other families lives, their homes and even other cities, just seeking a better place for us to live. I thought it was all because of our very busy business and the things we had accumulated in our life that were holding us back from living a more peaceful life. My husband worked so hard so we could have all this stuff thinking it would make us happy. I guess we fell into that trap like so many other young couples. The stuff was clearly not making us happy, though.
I would often tell my husband that we should sell it all and move to a place in the middle of the country somewhere. Maybe buy a farm or a little double wide with a big garden behind it. Our kids could run around the land without worry and we could sell vegetables by the side of the road. Not that there is anything wrong with this. I still wonder if this simpler way of life would not just be a welcome respite in this busy world we live in. BUT, that was not what I was seeking. It was not what my husband was seeking.
A good friend of mine, who's had a great deal of influence in my Christian walk, would often share with me the rest of the passage where my favorite verse is and specifically Jeremiah 29:13(NIV), "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Ah ha. It took me some years to figure this part out. And my husband too. I think in his story this past weekend, this is what he was saying. We were seeking peace in all the wrong places. Hey, isn't there a country song about that?
Anyway, the funniest thing has happened in our life. It is busier. So much busier, than it was those years ago I was talking about earlier. Our business has grown, we have an additional kid and they are busy, we have family close by now, we have many more friends and we have a great church that we are actively involved in. Our life is full by many standards. But we don't want to move anymore. We don't seek a more peaceful life by running away from it all. I don't look to other families and want what they have.
I want MY family.
MY LIFE! The one God gave me and wants me to live and enjoy.
I want to be who He wants me and my family to be right now. HERE and NOW. TODAY.
The difference between now and then is that I think we seek God first and the peace only He can bring. Our full life is full of God and His blessings. They are everywhere.
So today, as the Fall weather starts to blow in and the sun shines in the bluest Carolina sky I have ever seen, I feel peace. I feel joy. I feel God affirming our life and where we are going. It is a hand raising, full out day to worship my God. He is good! All the time, he is good!
Seek With All Your Heart has never been published and only posted on my blog. I give permission to P31 Ministries to it. Word count is 1021
Friday, January 18, 2008
****Originally Posted September 2007****