Sunday, January 21, 2007

a busy week and sharing at church

Geez, has it really been an entire week since I've written? Wow, how time flies. I spent some "me" time this past week and it gets me through the crazy times. I went to breakfast one day ALONE and read my favorite Quilting Arts magazine. Another morning, I went to Starbucks for my most favorite coffee: pumpkin spice latte'! I sat and wrote my "morning pages", which is my daily assignment as I go through a class of 'The Artists Way'. IT was nice. I spent too much of my time this week in malls shopping for coordinating stuff for family pictures. I really don't like shopping! The weird thing is, we had planned to do family pictures today, outside... and this morning, it was pouring buckets of rain! My brother-in-law is a photographer and was in town just for the weekend. I had a friend pray with me at church this morning and she prayed for the sky to clear. And guess what? The clouds rolled back, the sun came out, and with just enough time for us to get outside near the mountains and take pictures... then the clouds rolled back in and it started raining again! Thank you God! And thanks to Donna for praying with me!

Yesterday, I went on an all day silent prayer retreat! It was soooo needed and a special blessing. I'll have to upload some pictures and tell all about my day.

This morning at church, we have finally started a teaching series on prayer which is leading up to our week of 24/7 prayer coming up next month. I was asked to be the sharer this morning. I was quite nervous as I know I'll cry and I hate crying in front of hundreds of people. After I did cry through the first service sharing time, I changed my prayer. I asked God that if he wasn't going to rescue me from the tears, which obvouisly have some purpose or He would have stopped the flow, then I asked that he'd at least make me be able to speak clearly through them so people would be able to understand what I was saying. THAT prayer he did answer faithfully, through all three services. I cried through every time I shared. I hate that but there was nothing I could do to stop the tears. I don't understand why I didn't cry when I wrote this part of my testimony out but boy, did I cry reading it. Tears are suppose to be cleansing though, right? Maybe they just went with the rain! Anyway, here's what I shared this morning:

For most of my life, I felt that other Christians seemed to “know” something about God that I didn’t, even though I’d been in church learning about God my whole life. I felt like there was a secret and I was the only one who didn’t know what it was. This left me feeling alienated from God. He seemed so far away. Gradually, this became more and more frustrating for me and I became very dissatisfied with my relationship with God.
A few years ago, I really began crying out to God. Angie Warren had written a song based on Jeremiah 29:13 and this song became my anthem that I found my heart singing even in the middle of the night. The words are: “If you seek me, you will find me. Search for me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” This promise from God was what I so longed for. God began showing Himself to me everywhere!
I then took a prayer class taught by Paula Walberer at Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study. What I learned in this class blew God out of a box for me! I saw many misconceptions I had about prayer and about God. I slowly began to hear and understand God’s voice speaking to me. Prayer became a two way conversation! As an artist, God has been increasingly using my artwork as an outlet of expression of things He is or wants to teach me about His truth.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been attending another Tuesday morning Women’s Bible study led by Billie Filleman and Martha Wenzel. This class has been a powerful tool teaching me how to be intentional to continue bringing God out of the various little boxes I had him in as well as my own relationship with Him. I’m learning how to be in God’s presence in the moments of the daily grind of life as a stay-at-home mom and artist. Since God is always with us, the gift comes in the recognition and acknowledgment of His presence. Learning the fine art of “silence” has been both challenging and powerful. It is in the silence that God’s voice is the loudest and most recognizable. It’s in these moments that I feel the most peace.
As I continue to seek Him, I feel that I live in an almost continuous “Aha!” moment. I’m learning to “be still” before Him and allow Him to teach me about Himself through a prayer journey completely and uniquely mine and His, and it looks like no other.
The secrets I that I thought were being withheld from me are being revealed as I truly seek Him and come to know the One True God. His light is shining in the dark places of my heart and revealing the misconceptions I have about Him. He has let me in on the ultimate “secret”. It’s ALL about Him! But there never really was a secret. I was just looking in all the wrong places. I am coming to understand His truth and I am being set free! And after all this time, all I had to do was ask!

Now, my boys are waiting for me to watch a movie with them so I guess I"d better go. I"ll write more about my silent retreat later...

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