February 26, 2014

Out of the Blue ~ Pt 2

NOTE: I have had this blog post written for a couple weeks now but held off publishing because I just didn't like it. Something didn't feel quite right. So I waited....

I don't want to just write words without purpose or least of all for my own purposes. I want to write them out of the overflow of my relationship with God and foremost for His purposes- to serve Him, not myself.

So, here's my revision, with a heart to serve and a prayer that the privilege He has given, will encourage others...

Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

...in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Satan's business is to destroy us. His plans are not random. They are well thought out schemes; organized tactics with a purpose. His intent is to take us out; to stop us from doing what God has called us to do.

I believe that's just what he set out to do beginning that very week I returned from the women's retreat.

Spirits were high. Women went home excited, encouraged and renewed with tools and truth for believing what God says about our value and self worth.

I too was very excited but quickly lost focus and began to doubt. Fear found its place and soon overwhelmed me with uncertainty, clouding God's vision and direction

Was this God? Or was it me? Was I forcing an opportunity or was I being disobedient? Why me? Who am I? What do I want? More importantly, what does God want? 

Problem was, I couldn't hear Him. These confusing questions and lack of God's whisper led to a season of depression...

While God had been working in me the last couple of years doing something new in me, He gave opportunity to work through me as I surrendered to His call. Far from anything I had ever considered or desired before, it was way beyond my comfy place!

Yet, it was exciting, because I was not doing it, God was. He was asking me to follow and then gave me the strength to do it when I stepped out in courage to obey.

God has made himself known and shown up in big, amazing ways as I have been given the opportunity and privilege to speak at church on Mother's Day, at our retreat last fall and with women one on one. Read about the Mother's Day message here or Watch & Listen here }

But this season of God's seeming quietness led to a depression that left me feeling as if I would never find again, that place where He was once calling me to places only He could take me.

As I stated in part 1 of this post, I often have a pattern of falling easily and sometimes hard into a downward spiral after experiencing a life's high. But this time, it was different. I needed badly to hear from God. I knew He had been doing something very different in me but I wasn't hearing Him...I had to get that back.

Thankfully, I am no longer in that place. I am hearing His whisper and seeing Him work. 
This is what I learned and what ultimately helped me walk out of that valley:
~ I am more keenly aware of my pattern to become emotionally low after an emotional high.
~ I am easily distracted and overwhelmed not only by negative but also a diversity of thoughts. Philippians 4:8
~ Understanding why I get there helps me get out of it. Ask myself what was the cause and stay alert so I can act in a preventative manner. Ephesians 6:10-12
~ This is about spiritual warfare- a battle of the mind. 2 Corinthians 2:11;2 Corinthians 10:3-6
~ Satan wants to stop anything and anyone God is using for His purposes. It's a Kingdom battle. I must remember Who I belong to! Isaiah 43:1
~ Never stop seeking- praying for God's help and listening for His voice in the midst of the struggle. Philippians 4:6-7
~ I must continually keep my eyes focused on Christ and keep moving forward. Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:12-14
~ I must remember that I follow only the One who is calling me. Sometimes well-intended ideas and
opinions, both positive & negative, can blur the vision God has for me.
~ I am nothing without Him. John 15:5
Don't minimize or underestimate the season or struggle you may be in; whatever season or circumstance, no matter how good or difficult life may be right now, God wants to and can use everything to teach us and reveal more of Himself to us. Don't let go of the hope we have in Him. Hebrews 10:22-23, Romans 5:1-5

And so out of this, out of the blue, comes a more joyful place of following God which leads me to my word for 2014, abide. 

Are you in a season of discouragement, frustration or overwhelming circumstances? Are you seeking the One who can move you beyond the dark and into His light? What favorite scripture do you hold onto while you struggle to find peace? What is stopping you from moving forward? My Mother's day message is titled Forward, Focus, Favor - take the time to 'Watch & Listen' as I believe it can also encourage with this topic.  

*If you are experiencing depression that you cannot shake or has you in a place of dysfunction, please do not hesitate to get the professional counseling that can help you through it.

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