Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preparation

I have been sitting at my computer now for over an hour, trying to research and write one of my papers for school that is due this week.  But the Lord has been pouring His blessings into my life over the past week and a half and has laid a 'message' on my heart to share, and I will not be able to fully concentrate until I do as He wants me to!!

April 4, 2010, Easter Sunday, I stayed home from church.  I was scheduled to go into the hospital that next morning for the induction of our sixth child, and quite frankly was not looking forward to it.  I do not use pain medication when I give birth, and it was not the first time I was to be induced, so I pretty much knew what was in store.  I was not fearful, but simply ready for it to be over - I dreaded it.  Most of all, though, I did not feel adequately prepared for the pain I was about to endure.  I needed rest; I needed Jesus to take this heavy burden I was feeling, but I was at a loss of how to give it to Him.

About a week or two prior to this, a new friend lent me a book I had been wanting to read from the Hearts at Home Conference we had attended in March.  It is called Real Moms...Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands by Jill Savage.  I had been to her seminar, but strongly desired to read this book to see how Jesus could really relate to not only a woman, but to a worn-out mama!!  As I have been reading this book, He has opened my eyes to the various and wonderful ways He CAN relate to me!  He was woken up in the middle of the night, "while His head was on a pillow", because the disciples were scared of a storm, everywhere He went, EVERYONE wanted a piece of Him, to touch Him, to talk to Him, He was surrounded with a bunch of disciples that He was constantly teaching and yet, at times, they just didn't get it!

But this Easter Sunday, as I sat in the floor crying because I was so overwhelmed with a heavy burden, I saw that book.  I turned to the last chapter entitled "I need a break!" and "The truth about surrending"  I thought, yes, that is what I need!  A BREAK!!  She recommended reading Matthew chapters 26, 27 and 28, so I read about Christ's journey before, during, and after the cross.  Then I read the chapter in her book.  God spoke to me in such a powerful way, and that began my week of overflowing blessing!  He spurred me to read the Cross journey in Mark, Luke and John as well, and that is when He showed me this:

"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.' Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly." Luke 22:41-44.  Did you see that?  An angel came to strengthen our Lord in His time of need.  I had never seen this (or paid attention) before.  This sparked a sense of hope within me.  I was not alone, Christ did not experience child birth, what He experienced was FAR worse, but He knew what I was feeling.  He understood.

Jill Savage outlines a few bits of wisdom as Christ prepared for His upcoming day toward the cross:

1. He took some of the disciples to the Garden with Him as He prayed, He didn't go alone.  We don't have to do things alone, either.  That is why it is so important to have sisters and brothers in Christ that can hold us accountable and be there for us in our times of need and vice versa.

2. Jesus was honest with the Father.  God already knew what Jesus was feeling.  He was NOT looking forward to that day!!!  I had an idea of what I was about to face with the delivery of our next child, but Jesus knew exactly what was about to happen.  Even though He was obviously dreading it, He accepted it, faced it and most of all, placed it in the Father's hands.

3. Jesus sought God's will above His own.  When we seek and desire God's will above our own, that doesn't mean things are going to run smoothly, it means He will provide the preparation we need for what He knows we will have to endure.  Isaac's delivery was the absolute most difficult of all my children, but my Lord kept my mind aware and His presence was steady as I endured the pain.  Just as the angel strengthened Jesus in His time of need, He provided that for me as well.

4. Jesus asked His disciples to pray.  It is okay to ask for others to pray for you.  It is needed, just as we are to pray for others as we are asked to or as God leads us to, God has given us relationships to lift one another up.

5. Jesus recognized the battle as a spiritual battle.  We most often want to stand on our own two feet, and not rely on a 'crutch'.  But we are NOT strong enough for that.  When we think we are strong, is when we are most weak and fall the furthest.  That has been very true in my life, and I still struggle with the toddler mentality of "I'll do it myself!"  I am so thankful I listened to God this time and allowed Him to prepare me as needed!

6. Jesus submitted to God's direction.  We cannot see the big picture, there will be times that we must endure trials and temptations for reason's we may never know or understand.  Our understanding is not the point.  Our obedience to His plan is the point.  He will not take us where He will not provide for us.  If even a glimpse of our obedience through a trial is witnessed and impacts one person for Christ, it is worth it.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE?  There are times, like my most recent delivery, when we can anticipate a trial, but there are also times when our lives change in an instant with no warning.  Be still before your Creator daily, He provides the preparation, even if we don't know what is coming - He does know.  Trust Him, rely on Him, talk to Him, have a Relationship with Him.  You can be married, but if you never talk to your spouse or come home to your spouse, what type of relationship will you have with them?  Talk to Christ, go to His house and mingle with His people!

Have a blessed day!

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