So . . . I've been away for a few weeks and had fully intended to give a rundown of where I'd been and what I'd been up to. Funny thing. God changed all that. I have something more pressing to share with you today.
A friend of mine, a dear, sweet, Christian homeschooling mama, sent a link to me yesterday for a YouTube video called Cardboard Testimonies. I really had no clue what it was going to be about . . . now I'm just sorry I didn't watch it sooner.
As I watched the video, several thoughts were running through my head (what else is new?):
- What would my cardboard testimony be?
- We never know what crosses other people are bearing.
- We never know how our trials can touch others and bring glory to God.
- It is amazing what God does in the lives of man, though man doesn't deserve any of it.
- God's grace is utterly AMAZING!
- I am thankful for second, third, fiftieth, hundredth, and millionth chances!
- I am glad God doesn't give up on us.
- I am so unworthy. Not worthless, just unworthy.
I think my cardboard testimony would be that I have lived in constant fear and worry for most of my life. But recently I've really begun to understand that I'm really not in control of ANYTHING in my life, except how much trust and faith I put in the Someone who loves me more than anyone else in this world loves me. Peace doesn't come from a life free from trials and tribulations. This is where it comes from:
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Philippians 4:6, 7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
To live in peace regardless of my circumstances, I must: keep my mind on God and trust Him; make sure I am not dwelling my my problems; pray, petition God, & give thanks to Him.
Not so long ago, while struggling foolishly with a decision regarding the coming school year, I realized that I cannot always wait for God to show me what's going to happen before I step out on faith and follow Him.
Think about Abram. He had no clue where he was going, but he was obedient to God, packing up his little family, and setting out to go wherever God led him. And though he utterly trusted God, it was not always easy, I'm sure. What about his son Isaac? God had promised him this son for years and years and years. He also promised that his seed would be as the sand of the earth. But then God asked him to sacrifice that very son. Again, obedience reigned, though I am certain he was wondering what God was up to. At the last minute, God spared the son and provided a ram in the thicket.
Obedience and sacrifice, or the willingness to do so, often go hand-in-hand. In many situations, I really believe that God wants to see how far we're willing to go in order to be obedient to Him. Obedience often requries us to humble ourselves before God, which will ease our trial if we're willing to do so. What I also believe the Bible teaches is that obedience, sacrifice, and humility bring us blessings we do not expect to find.
Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
We have many trying experiences (tribulations) in this life. God says that they should make us steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity (patient) and bring us gained knowledge through direct participation (experience), and, ultimately, trust, reliance, confidence, dependence (hope) and maturity and soundness (perfection).
So, this is my cardboard testimony:
A life lived in fear of the unknown. (FRONT)
PEACE in my heart and mind! (BACK)
Now that you know my cardboard testimony, will you share yours with me?
Love you all,