Living a Life of PRAISE



In process

I’ve never written a blog like this where I ask you to get your bible but if you have one, I strongly encourage you to open it up to Daniel 4. God has changed my life with this passage. Before I begin, I must tell you where I have been. Up until this weekend I have been restless, confused, annoyed, exhausted, and broken. I have felt heavy, dark, down cast, and tense. I was seeking God with everything in me, trying to get a word from Him as to what was going on. It was then I remembered the scripture I was memorizing and begin praying for myself:

SEARCH ME, O GOD, AND KNOW MY HEART; TEST ME AND KNOW MY THOUGHTS. POINT OUT ANYTHING IN ME THAT OFFENDS YOU, AND LEAD ME ALONG THE PATH OF EVERLASTING LIFE. Psalm 139:23, 24

Why I pray some of the things I do, I’ll never know, except it is what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do at the time. So here I was, over life and myself and others, and I remember what I have been asking God for-search me! Show me my sin. Go deep into my heart and clean it. And lead me to a joyous place, a heavenly place-everlasting life.

During this time I have never felt so ugly, gross, and slobbish. No matter what I did, I did not like what I saw in the mirror. God was/is stripping me. He is making me over. No more finding my identity in outer things. No more chasing an image that I can’t even nail down. No more super flashy clothes and stuff. I want to be in the background. I want to be humble. I want a beauty, no radiance, that only comes from God. I don’t want to be known for cool hair or shoes. I want to be known for a deep love relationship with Jesus. I want to be known for having such a fire and passion for Him, its contagious. I want to serve others and reach the lost. I want to get out of my comfort zone, my church box. I think of people I know who have been on the mission field. When they wake up the first thing they do is SERVE and continue to do this all day. They don’t spend hours in front of the mirror or stressing all day about how they look and what others are thinking. These are some of the most beautiful people I know! There has to be more, and God is just beginning to show me.

THE SUFFERING YOU SENT WAS GOOD FOR ME, FOR IT TAUGHT ME TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PRINCIPLES. Psalm 119:17

In Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream he wants Daniel to interpret. He explains his dream like this:

“I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see…Then a messenger came down from heaven shouting-Cut down the tree; lop off its branches! Shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit!…Leave the stump and roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live like an animal among the plants of the fields…” Daniel 4:10-15.

This passage brought such clarity to where we have been and what I have been asking God to help me understand. You see we were the tree here in Wilmington. Just as King Nebuchadnezzar, we were living in “comfort and prosperity” (Daniel 4:4). People knew us. Matt was known and his music was widely accepted here. We had financial security, a house, insurance, and everything else the world says you need to have in order to be comfortable or safe. Life was smooth. As we headed to Clarksville, tree in tact, slowly it began to get cut down. We weren’t known there. We didn’t have financial security. Matt’s music wasn’t taking off like we expected. With every let down, a branch was chopped down. As the pain increased, we got closer and closer to the root. Just as “God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart” (2 Chron. 32:31) so he did with us. So we returned to Wilmington as stumps. From the outside it can appear to look like failure but on the inside it was success. Do you want to know why? Because we have been changed. We have seen what pride can do. We have seen the importance of accountability in all areas of life. We have seen the need for others to speak truth into our lives, especially in areas we are weak in. We have seen the need for order to be in the home, without that nothing we do really matters. We have seen the blessings and freedom that flows when all secrets are out on the table. And we have experienced the unexplainable grace that comes from believing in Jesus.

“In process” is how someone recently described Matt and I and I thought to myself-what an awesome compliment! I looked up the definition for process and this is what it said:

a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result

How awesome is that! I mean that’s exactly what I am here for-in hopes of constantly changing more and more into my Savior by the way I think, respond, and live. The “gradual change” leads me to knowing Him more and loving Him with all that’s in me-heart, body, and soul. That “leads towards” the hope I have in seeing Him face to face one day and everything being made complete. The fact someone sees this brings me great joy. It shows there has to be more than just the outside and why would I spend more time on that then what really counts at the end of this life.

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