Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Living Gratefully

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I haven't been posting much in my dear little blog lately, and for that, I'm sorry.  I have about six posts started, though, so hopefully there will be more reading material here soon!

What I have been doing instead of posting, though, has been incredible.  I've been living - living in the fullness of the incredible blessings God has graciously showered on me in the last eight months or so.  It is an amazing season in my life - one in which God is being glorified in ways I've been praying and believing for since I spent my year in the wilderness with Him in England in 2006.  That year when He took me, molded me, pounded on me, worked in me, softened me, and began what I didn't know would be a five-year process of turning me into Who I Needed To Be for that next step.

I can hardly believe it, but that next step is now.

Ministry.  Partnership.  Art.  Inspiration.  Edification.  Leadership.  Love.  In 2006, God spoke to me about all these things, telling me that in the future He would bring me together with someone who would be a leader in ministry and with whom I would share many passions about art, theater, writing, and faith.  We would work together in active, powerful ways to bring others closer to our Lord - work we couldn't do alone.  One would be strong where the other was weak.  One would be faithful when the other struggled.  He dragged me into that place of isolation to work on me and gave me glimpses of the future in order to help me get through the desert.

Some of the things God told me during that time were, "You can't do it.  I have to do it. Let Me do it,"  "It will be hard, but it will be worth it," and "Your future life is going to look completely different from anything you could ever imagine."

Oh my, but how true that all was.

Seven months ago, I walked into a local coffee shop and met a smiling young man after a week of exchanging long emails and deep thoughts.  That night, we ended up sitting in his car until after 2 in the morning talking about God.  And we've been talking about Him ever since.

Our relationship didn't happen overnight. (That's another story - or several - for another time!)  But it has so clearly been God's will this whole time.  He spoke to both of us individually, many times.  He spoke to us together - and still does, every week when we go to two church services together.  We ended up building our relationship on deep friendship and mutual faith, and the strength of the foundation we have is something I praise God for every day.

Now, I am proud and honored to call him so much more than my boyfriend.  He is my ministry partner, my inspiration, and quite often my spiritual leader.  We are working in ministry together in ways I never dreamed of or thought possible.  We are bringing people together in supportive faith who would never be so otherwise.  With God's help, we are walking out His will side by side.  Even more, I am watching everything that God spoke to me in 2006 become reality.

I wake up every morning praising God for His blessings, and spend every day praying about all that He is doing.  As so often happens in life, things are uncertain right now about our ministry and our future.  If I choose to let myself, I could get completely stymied in fear and not be able to keep going with what I know needs to be done.  It's a real temptation for me - but I know that would not be Respecting the Blessing, or the God who has given it.

So I am choosing to live gratefully.  God deserves praise and honor and glory for everything He is doing.  He also deserves my respect and trust to take care of everything according to His will.  It's not easy for me (though it should be, after more than 20 years of knowing God), but I am choosing to trust Him.  "Chill out, sweetie - just trust Me!" is what He has been saying this whole time.  And that has proven, obviously, to be the best thing indeed.

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" -Numbers 23:19

It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true. -Rascal Flatts

Stay tuned - there will be more to come!