I was walking through the Christian living section at our local Hastings tonight. There were a lot of books I wanted. Some were devotional books, some were those "help yourself" books, others were just simple good reads [like C.S. Lewis]. All of a sudden as I picked up a Beth Moore book that is an oldie, but one I'd never read, God spoke to me... and this is what I heard. "It doesn't matter how many of these books anyone reads. If their relationship with me is not top priority, and the most important thing, then books aren't going to help them." Ouch. Except it didn't hurt me. It liberated me! For so long I lived a life that I read book after book on how to not be insecure, how to win the battle over my mind, how to forgive, and so on. It wasn't until I made Christ my center and living for Him with every breath of my being, that my world started falling into place. Do I still have moments where I'm insecure or struggle with my mind? Yes. In fact, I have to pray for my mind on a daily basis. That's the key though... prayer. Just because Jesus is my center doesn't mean my world doesn't seem chaotic, but in the middle of that storm I know who I can turn and run to. The one shelter I ran FROM for so long. Too long. Truth be told I could dwell on all that wasted time I used running and rebelling. Do I wish I hadn't done that? Yeah. However, if it weren't for that crazy path of turmoil I took myself on... I wouldn't be where I am right now. Which is exactly where I need to be, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Every single thing I've gone through [whether by my own fault or someone else's] has molded me, and given me ways to help others. It wasn't the most conventional, but it was my choice that God allowed me to make.
Here's the thing... all those books... most of them are fabulous. Beth Moore. Phenomenal writer. Such an anointing. I'll continue to read her books, and many other Christian authors books. The difference is that now I read those books for growth... not a spiritual fix. They're to aid in taking me deeper in my walk, not pacifying a haphazard, lukewarm walk of rebellion... which is exactly what I did before.
Change of subject...
We didn't have church last night. I typically don't like when we cancel, but I got to spend the afternoon with my second momma, and one of our friends from church. We went shopping and out to eat, and just had an all around good time of worship and laughter. We dropped Carrie off about 7:30ish, and were driving back to Cindy's house. We had the windows down, Jesus Cultures "Consumed" cd blaring, and were just worshiping. We could smell the rain that looked like it was inevitable. We love rain!! :) We pull into her driveway, and neither one of us moves. We just sit. Singing. Praising. Soaking in His presence. We didn't want to get out of the car. So Cindy put it in reverse, and we drove. For nearly two hours. We sang at the top of our lungs. Cindy had to practice great self control since she was driving, and not close her eyes. The Holy Spirit was so heavy in that vehicle that at times all I could do was take a deep breath in and let it out. Every once in a while, if we were in a spot that was okay to do so, we'd stop and as the breeze came over whichever hill we were on, the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle would flow into the car. At other times we'd smell the scent of something burning [whether it was a grill or a burn pile].
As she drove she started going down roads I wasn't familiar with. At one point she asked if I was uncomfortable, and my response was, "No. I trust you." Then I followed with, "I do this a lot at night when I can't settle down, and just need to drive. I don't go down unknown roads alone at night because it isn't safe. My car may break down and I may not have reception on my phone." We kept driving. I was so lost, and at one point I made a comment about a place she'd stopped on a back road. I said, "What if someone tops that hill? They can't see us, and are going to rear-end us!" She just looked at me and said, " Do you trust me?", "Yes.", "Okay then. I can see if someone is coming up behind us. You are perfectly safe." So we drove and drove. Nothing looked familiar. Then all of a sudden we pull to the end of a road, and Cindy said, "Do you know where you're at now?", "No.", "Just look around at your surroundings." I did, and nearly cried... we were in her hometown. It's where my mom now lives. Where my Cindy's family lives. A place we both spend time. Cindy looks at me and says, "Even if God takes you on a path that you aren't familiar with... it may be bumpy with lots of twists and turn. You may not have a clue where you're at sometimes. He'll always bring you back to familiar territory." That drive left me breathless. After we were back in familiar territory again she took me on back-roads in that town, and said, "Look around. You don't even venture to see the beauty that is right here at your fingertips." She was right. On a huge spiritual level. I get so caught up in the "now" that I miss the simple beauty of the things He is doing around me.
I can truly say that I've never EVER been on a car ride like that one. We go back to her house, and I just laid down on her bed. I was disappointed. I felt like I was a disappointment because it's taking forever for some things to happen that aren't in my control on any level. [Told you I had to pray over my mind yesterday!] Cindy had laid down on the other side and just looked at me. She told me that we'd just spent nearly 2 hours in God's presence, and that I didn't think I'd gotten anything! It was that "being focused on one thing" issue. I was so focused on one thing, that I struggled to enjoy just basking in His presence.
Just like any momma... I had to text her when I got home. I told her that I HAD learned something during that ride... Remember when she asked if I was uncomfortable, and I told her no because I trusted her? And that I didn't venture down unknown roads alone at night? IT'S THE SAME WITH GOD! If I let Him guide me on the unknown roads I'll always come out in familiar territory. BUT if I just use my own devices and sense of direction I'm bound to end up in the middle of nowhere, broken down, with no reception.
Then today He got me again... that sweet fragrance of honeysuckle. The strong aroma of sacrifice [the grill or burn pile... not a real sacrifice. It's just a metaphor.] At one point last night during that ride the two scents mingled together. I got a whiff of the burning, and then all of a sudden there was that sweet smell of honeysuckle. Is that not just like God? Just when we thing we've done all the sacrificing we can do, all of a sudden we get that fragrance of new life. Spring. Something new.
GOD IS SO GOOD!!! He's blowing my mind teaching me stuff. Who needs self help books?! Not I! Ha!
This is long enough for now. I'm sure no one even made it to the end.