Monday, March 9, 2009

A more serious post...

If you're not in the mood for a more serious post, just pass this post right on by! lol

As a child, I had very severe leg pains. I was finally diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, but for a long time we were told it was "growing pains". I remember being 5, 6 and 7 and lying in bed, writhing in pain while my mom rubbed my legs. The 24 hours before a storm were the worse. Still to this day I have horrible leg pain a day or two before a T-storm comes.

Growing pains are, well, very painful sometimes.

For years now, every time I pray, somewhere in my prayer I say, "Lord, create within me a clean heart. Renew within me a right spirit. Make me more like You." I never ever pray without saying this, a tiny bit out of habit but more so out of a sincere desire to be pure in heart and to be Christ-like.

Little did I know that praying to be more Christ-like would cause such growing pains.

A few years ago, we found ourselves in a situation that was clothed in turmoil in many different ways. Some at the surface, some under the surface. We held on as long as we could and then began praying for God to remove us from this situation because the people causing the turmoil had no intentions of changing. We prayed to be removed from the situation. God said no. We continued serving and continued asking. In the meantime, this person causing the turmoil wrecked havoc in many ways that affected many people. As I prayed for this person, I prayed about the qualities in this person that I did NOT like (no one did!) and it was like God turned His mirror around, so that I could see into it. And after praying for this other person and all these things in this persons life that I didn't like, I looked up into the mirror and I saw myself. WHAT?? I expected to see this
other person, not myself!! I wasn't praying about me! And as I looked into that "mirror" I saw so many of the qualities in my own life that I didn't like in the other person's life! And the growing pains began.

As I began to pray about these things in my own life and make a concentrated effort to change, the pain was great. It was unexpected. It hurt my feelings. It shook me up. But, I had, after all prayed hundreds of times, "Lord, make me more like You."

This continued on for 3 years until finally, the Lord removed us from the situation. And even though we're removed from it, the pain still lingers.

The time since has been filled with pain as we try to sort out things in our minds and hearts of the why's and how's and wish we could've's and so forth. It's going to take time. Sometimes we say in frustration that we should have just removed ourselves from the situation, but then we recall that we prayed about it and God said to stay and so, we take comfort in the fact that we were obedient.

I heard something today on the radio that really helped me. A lady said, "God doesn't waste your pain. Something will come out of your pain that gives Him honor!"

This lady said 3 years ago, she lost her farmer husband of 46 years in a tragic accident. He died in a grain bin. She said one thing she's learned through this tragedy is that God will not waste the pain we go through. He will use it for His glory.

Once again, I find someone in my life who has some real issues that are affecting everyone and everything. This person is the way he/she is because of pain from the past, but my goodness, it makes life difficult now. And, once again, as I pray for the things in this person's life that are causing the pain and that are the results of the pain, I find myself looking back into that same old mirror and seeing things I didn't want to see in myself and the growing pains start all over again.

But this time, I'll go through the pain remembering that He won't let me feel these growing pains for nothing and maybe in a little while, I'll be just a little more like Him.
Our assistant pastor, Tim Pedigo wrote a song that sort of became a prayer of mine over a decade ago. It's called "Make me in Your image". The lyrics are:

Looking in the mirror of Your Word it's plain to see
That I don't always measure up to what I should be
I take a few steps forward and it seems I'm gaining ground
So easily I falter and again I'm falling down
Lord I want to be a witness and I want to prove I'm strong
But I find each day the strength I have comes from you alone
So I give myself away
Lord, do what You must do
Take my life and make me more like You.

Make me in Your image
Wash me white as snow
Purify this heart of mine
Lord, I'm giving You control
Let me be a vessel
One that's worthy to be used
Make me in Your image, Lord, make me more like You

Help me to look forward
With my eyes upon the prize
And keep Your holy purpose always focused in my mind.
Help me catch the vision of what You would have me be
And realize I'm not just here to fulfill my hopes and dreams
I give up my ambitions for the cause I've found in You
I willingly laid down my life for what You've have me do
So with all my heart I say
Do what only you can do
Take my life and make me more like you

Make me in Your image
Wash me white as snow
Purify this heart of mine
Lord, I'm giving You control
Let me be a vessel
One that's worthy to be used
Make me in Your image, make me more like You

Take all my treasures
Make my heart new
I just want to be more like You

Make me in Your image
Wash me white as snow
Purify this heart of mine
Lord, I'm giving You control
Let me be a vessel
One that's worthy to be used
Make me in Your image, Lord, make me more like You

A minister put together a one man drama set to this song. You can see it here: video
The minister doing the drama is Terry Vik. The man singing is my assistant Pastor, Tim Pedigo.

1 Kind words & kindred thoughts::

ohiofarmgirl said...

Oh how my heart aches when I read your blog. Eight years ago we went through something so gives me cold chills to think about it. Even though we too have been released and we are now at a different church the pain remains...
I am trusting that there was a real purpose it all of it but really...I feel so abandoned and lonely. My friends are now in many different churches and I feel what we started has now been lost.
I know that God could still use me for His service but for now I continue to sit in the pews and wonder why I am at a church where I am invisible???
I pray you have made a better transition than I have...Dianntha