Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Choices or Chosen

I began this blog post about 10 days ago for my other blog ... at the start of a few very rough days in my life.  I debated about erasing this post but realized that so much of it relates to so many areas of life and was very much worth sharing.....

Tonight I am having a hard time with a few things and am really finding myself struggling.  I've been in prayer off and on for a good chunk of the night and I will admit I have shed a few tears tonight.  The reasons are unimportant...well actually they are very important but they won't be shared here in too many details.  Suffice to say I feel emotionally and physically drained and yet so full of questions for the Lord and so much in need of scripture.  I decided that I needed to work my way through this and found myself here...knowing that sometimes writing it is better then thinking it, praying it on 'paper' is more fulfilling (and less likely to be forgotten too)
Tonight my heart is filled with questions about the choices I have made and need to make and the life that God has chosen for me.  I am really struggling with some of this.  I am really questioning if I made the right choices a few times in my past or if I am making the right choice now.  I have tried  to pray and give it over to God but I am not sure what is my own free will telling me what I should do and what is the voice of God.  The fact is, I know the choice I need to make but, dammit, I don't know if I can keep it, don't know if I can do the 'right' thing.  
Do you ever wonder that... is this really what you want from me Lord? Is this really all there is?  Do you really want this for me? 
My answer to those questions has been a resounding NO...this can't be what he wants, this can't be all there is.  This choice hurts to much, this choice makes me feel judged, alone, angry, bitter... the list could go on but the jist of it is that I just can't imagine that this pain is what God wants for me. 
This morning we began a six part series in women's ministry on Jonah.  Here is a peek at it....

The first session focused on what we do when God interrupts our lives...and for many people, like Jonah, we run.  But the real focus was on their interruptions and how we needed to look at them... not as a negative thing, not as a dreaded thing or something we wish to run from. But rather as a privilege...as the gift from God that they are.  But oh how hard that is.  How hard it is to look at your life and see the path it is on and know where you plan to take it... only to have God change that plan, put a big road block on your path and shove you hard down his.  

Jeremiah 29:11-14

New Living Translation (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

I feel, tonight and other times too, that just when I think I have figured the next step in God's plan out, a huge wrench will be thrown into it.  But more then that, I find myself wanting to run from where he seems to be pushing me towards tonight.  I find myself asking him so many questions...Is this really what you want from me? Is this really what I am meant to do?  And even when I answer those with a resounding yes (because deep down my heart knows this is the plan God has for me and the choices I am thinking of would not be of God) I still say 'really Lord, really.  There is no way I can keep doing this'.  I want to make the choices, I want to be in control of that.
We were asked today if we are managers or owners. Do we manage the life that God has given us or do we try to own that life and run it ourselves.  Tonight I was just wanted so bad to be an owner.  I don't want to manage this life under God's direction, I want to take it to where I need it to go right now... a place that isn't so hard, painful and confusing.  I want to make the choices not have then chosen for me.

Proverbs 19:21

New International Version (NIV)
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

But that's not how it is because we are a chosen people not a people of choice.  Accepting that is hard at times.  Giving it all over to him and trusting him completely isn't easy and it isn't where my mind is telling me to go.
We discussed this morning about where God wants us to be, why he interrupts our lives with these privileges, who are the people God wants you share this interruption with. The presenter asked us to think of people in our communities who God might be calling us to minister too...despite us not wanting to be there.  When Jonah was called to Ninevah.  He didn't want to go. Ninevah was full of immoral and unlawful people, it was full of people who did not know God and did not care to know God.  Jonah didn't like those people and he didn't want to go to save them. And so this morning we were asked where our Ninevah was and if we could remember places it had been in the past.
There are a few obvious ones for me in the past...I certainly didn't want to join the grieving parents group.  I would never have wished that on anyone, I still wouldn't.   But the fact is I wasn't given a choice and I didn't even know that God was calling me there... to my Ninevah. I look back now at the time when I was called there by God and how much I fought him.  I remember thinking after Cole died that I had things all figured out...I knew why God gave me this crappy situation, this horrible loss and subsequent hospitalization... it was, I was certain, to fix my family...to bring us closer together and get us working together.  And I was determined to make sure I followed this.  I was in control don't you know.  Oh how wrong I was and how hurt I got.  I hated my life then and could not bring myself to look at the bible, talk to God or even talk to others who had a relationship with Christ. I had so many opportunities, so many books offered to me, music given, words shared.  And still I ran and hid.  And hid and hid.  I know that just a few days ago I shared where my grief blog first started.  In it I finally seemed to hear God and finally seemed to work myself towards my Ninevah.  I am not sure when I finally got there, finally really immersed myself in the world of grief support through the words of Christ but it has been a journey for certain.  A few years ago I would NEVER have considered writing like this, sharing anything 'religious' online.  A bit after that I would but it was guarded and was what I thought people thought I should share or say.  Now I don't care how hard it is to bare my soul and open the wounds of my heart to others as I share our story and how loss brought me to Christ.  I don't hesitate to tell anyone that I am praying for them and/or their babies and I also don't really hesitate to share how God is working in their life.  That was my Ninevah but given that it isn't so hard for me to do anymore I am pretty sure that God has a new one for me.
And right now I don't know if I am hearing the Ninevah God is calling me to.  Somedays I think that it could easily be mental health ministry.  God knows how much this has been put on my heart, put in my life.  God knows how in the middle of this I am right now.  But I SUCK at it...so this can't be where God is calling me...can it??? I am afraid of the unknown it brings me to, afraid of the failure that seems to happen over and over and over again.  So this can't be it...right??? How do you know???
The simple answer is prayer.  God will show you if that is the place where you should be.  Want to know how he will show you...he will give you the skills, the strength, the knowledge, the compassion, the empathy, the love and the understanding to be there.  Even when it doesn't seem that way all the time..if it seems like it is EVER working...then God has got your back there...he's called you to this Ninevah and he wants you to stay.  Are you willing?  Will you take up the challenge?
The choice is really yours...free will gives us that ability.  The question is do you want to choose or do you want to be chosen?

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