Six months living in our new South Carolina home and I am content. We’ve found our church home. We’ve made friends we can share a meal or a cup of coffee with. I’ve found a favorite grocery store and . . . dream of dreams . . . my favorite “junque” store! We have four times as many sunny days as we did back in Washington State and when I walk outdoors, even on the coldest winter day, the sun makes me smile . . . and smiling on the outside brings a smile right down into my insides. It is good. Most of the time . . .
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A new devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts. Why? Because though once bound in chains Christ has set me free – FREE to live, to love, to dance, to sing, to be who God created me to be!
When I began this Freedom Friday series my very first post was about Feeling Lonely, an emotion that wasn’t unexpected given that we’d just moved clear across the country to a place I didn’t really know.
My next post was on Friendship With God, where I talked about the challenge I gave myself to become more intimate with God by spending more time in His presence and waiting on Him to reveal Himself to me. Would that change me? It did. It has. God has brought me to a deeper knowledge of Him through the reading of His Word and journaling what He has been saying to me. What a luxury it has been to have more time with Him then I did when I was so busy. How blessed I’ve been to be able to spend extended time in God’s Presence.
Though my husband’s demanding work schedule prevents us from beginning a ministry like Freedom Session right now, smaller one-on-one ministry opportunities have opened up to us. We LOVE and believe in Freedom Session so much that it is sometimes disappointing to think that the door may not open for us to be involved in that same ministry again, and I’ve had to lay it all down and say, “Lord, I surrender the future to you and whatever you have for us is okay.”
In my intimate times with Him, God has been saying to me from Isaiah:
“Rest in me; in quietness and trust you will find strength; I am waiting to answer you; in waiting for Me you will find happiness. And when the answer comes He will say: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go. I will see to it that your efforts are fruitful.”
Is this right Lord? Do you really have something more in store for us? I rest content in this place of “cocooning”, allowing God to minister to and strengthen me after four years of pouring out. It is good, very good. I believe that He does indeed have more for us because the story of healing He has done in our individual lives and in our marriage will not be wasted. So I wait with expectation . . .
until . . . just this week . . . the doubts began to flood over me again, making me feel like the opportunity to minister the way we used to might never come again.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to throw me off balance:
I’m at the pool where I’m taking water aerobic classes. The pool is warm, I love to swim, and I’m one of the younger class participants so it makes me feel great about donning my swimsuit! After class I go into the locker room to change and see myself in the mirror. How cruel to put a fun house mirror in the dressing room. My thighs and tummy look larger than they do in the mirrors at home and there are dimples everywhere! My skin looks just like the skin of an old woman.
But the mirror doesn’t lie. It’s me . . . the almost 60-year-old Patti who (on the inside) still feels like the 17-year-old Patti who loved swimming in the cold lake, then lying on the dock afterwards to warm herself in the summer sun.
This thought pops into my head, “You are old!” I get dressed and head home where my husband is waiting for me. The thoughts continue and increase in volume as I drive, “Don’t you think you are getting a bit old to do any type of effective ministry? You’re reaching the age where no one will listen to what you have to say, especially young people. You aren’t strong enough to do a ministry like Freedom Session anymore. You don’t have what it takes. You are finished.”
“You are IRREVELANT!”
So with that word ringing in my head, a word that has been assaulting me over and over for the past couple of weeks, I walk in the door of my home. My husband sees my face and asks how I am, to which I answer, “I am old and IRRELEVANT!”
“Whoa! Where is that coming from?”
No answer from me for several minutes . . . then, “I want to retire.”
I don’t even work a job outside the home anymore but in in my head I’m thinking that I want to retire from responsibility, from caring about people, from pouring into the lives of others . . . from ministry . . . because I’m pretty sure that what I have to offer is of no interest to anyone. It doesn’t matter that I have a story to tell, that I have hope to offer to the hurting, or that I’ve seen the power of a redemption story shared. It doesn’t matter because I am old and irrelevant!
Then I ask my husband, “Am I delusional? Are all of these Scriptures I’ve been reading just a lie? Is all of the encouragement God has been giving me just in my head?”
“Absolutely not!” he answers. “We can’t live our lives to the fullest if we aren’t giving back!”
“But look at all of the old people who seem to disappear into the background of the churches, becoming invisible.”
“They are only invisible because they allow themselves to become that way,” my wise husband answers.
And I remember our dear friends Roger and Connie, still active in ministry to others. I think of Elder Pete and his wife Barb who are so key in the support they give to young Pastor Peter. I think of my own sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and John, who are still actively leading others through weekly Bible studies. All people in their 70’s.
I go in to take a shower and as the water pours over me I hear in my spirit another voice saying, “We are not called to be relevant, we are called to be salt.” The very words I typed into my iPhone notes on Sunday as our Pastor Roy spoke.
Awww . . . yes Lord. I am not called to be relevant to the way the world operates today. We Christ followers are a peculiar people. Set apart. Different. And it really doesn’t matter if I’m not relevant because I’m called to be SALT!
Sometimes I speak to myself in disparaging ways and I need to remind myself of who I am in Christ!
Sometimes it is the enemy of my soul who speaks lies to me and I may even believe the lies . . . for a little while . . . but I refuse to stay there, listening to the voice of defeat, because I have the very God of the Universe living inside me and He always turns me back toward the Truth!
Check out these verses. They are for YOU and for ME, because I know everyone gets discouraged:
- I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).
- I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
- I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
- I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).
- I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).
- I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
- I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
- I have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
- I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
- I have received the gift of righteousness and reign as a king in life by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
- I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18).
- I have received the power of the Holy Spirit to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, to cast out demons, to speak with new tongues. I have power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:17-19).
- I have put off the old man and have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him Who created me (Colossians 3:9-10).
- I have given, and it is given to me; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men give into my bosom (Luke 6:38).
- I have no lack for my God supplies all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
- I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).
- I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).
- I show forth the praises of God Who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
- I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23).
- I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
- I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- I am a spirit being alive to God (Romans 6:11;1 Thessalonians 5:23).
- I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions (James 1:22,25).
- I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
- I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).
- I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).
- I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
- I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
- I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).
- I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- I am the temple of the Holy Spirit; I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19).
- I am the head and not the tail; I am above only and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).
- I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
- I am His elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12).
- I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).
- I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
- I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 3:13).
- I am firmly rooted, built up, established in my faith and overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2:7).
- I am called of God to be the voice of His praise (Psalm 66:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).
- I am healed by the stripes of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
- I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12).
- I am greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
- I am strengthened with all might according to His glorious power (Colossians 1:11).
- I am submitted to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).
- I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Philippians 3:14).
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
- It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
List taken from: Joyce Meyer Ministries
So this is the real me this week. An inspirational blogger who has her ups and downs just like every other Christ follower. A ministry person who is having a time of refreshing while waiting for the next thing. A woman entering her 60th year believing that the things that God has planned for her future are greater than she could even imagine.
Prayer: Papa God, thank you that you give us discernment to know the truth from a lie. Thank you for your promises that tell us who we are in you and that you always KEEP your promises. For anyone reading this who may be listening to the lies of the enemy I ask that you would bind, gag and muzzle the enemy in their lives in Jesus name, and speak truth into their spirits, truth that would pour down into the very depths of their beings and change who they believe themselves to be. Speak to them who they really are in You! Lord, please restore hope to those who are feeling hopeless and give them a glimpse of what you have in store for those who love you. We lean on you for strength as we wait for the new thing you want to do in each of our lives. No looking back but looking ahead to what you have for each of us in Your Kingdom. Amen.
My dear friends, God loves you so very much and so do I.
All photos taken at Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina
I have been know to link to the following Inspirational Parties: