Friday, April 26, 2013

Faithfulness Even If the Answer Is No

My heart has been yearning for discernment and peace in a particular part of my life lately.  My emotions are all over the place, and the one motivating factor is love.  Pure love.  The love that Jesus gives is the love I want to give ... and receive.  I took this picture yesterday while in Yosemite National Park.  It brings me peace just looking at it.  It's symbolic of so much.

I recently visited a church, and wouldn't you know that the subject they have been studying is marriage.  Great.  Just what I wanted to talk about.  NOT!  It was like putting a spotlight on me saying, "Here's Alyson who desires with her whole heart to love and be loved by a forever companion - a husband - who loves Jesus and puts Him first in everything."  Why do I always get in situations like this?  Funny how God speaks to us when we need to hear it (even though the subject of marriage that was being preached wasn't exactly speaking to the part of yearning for companionship.)

God has always been first in my life.  Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  I certainly have my laundry list of mistakes, poor choices, and things I did even though I knew not to.  But I try in all that I do to put God first.  I was not aware that at an early age I was unknowingly elected to be the spiritual leader of my household.  By the grace of God, my steadfastness with the Lord has brought all of my family members to Christ at different times, but it's a big burden to carry as a young girl.  At that age, I felt it was my responsibility to do what was right.  I was a "by the book" kind of girl.  I rarely wavered.

Yet through my devotion and dedication to the Lord, bad things still happened.  My family has had their ups and downs, and I have had my share of set backs, medical issues, financial debt, lied to, been told untruths to people I don't even know, and felt "less than."  But through it all, I know that God has been there with me.  He's been the only person, the only entity, the only Truth that has been consistent in my life.  Praise God!

My birthday is quickly approaching, and birthday's are a huge deal to me for anyone having a birthday!  Reason being is that if that person hadn't have been born, I would have never had the chance to befriend them.  So birthday's, anniversaries, celebrations, special occasions - they are all a big deal to me.

But this year is different.  I'm in a setting where I don't really know anyone to celebrate with or anyone who knows me.  It's also a year that is reminding me I'm getting older - and that I'm still single.  I have been praying for my husband since I was 9 years old.  I'm not even kidding.  I remember praying for him in whatever he was doing at that moment that Jesus would protect him and allow him to grow in the Lord.  I'd pray that he would go through circumstances in life so that he would understand me and be ready for me.  At the same time, I would pray that God would make me ready for my husband, that I would be put through things that would prepare me for my husband so I could support and understand him.  All of this at 9 years old!!

I was recently asked a question that tore my heart apart - but it's what I needed to hear.  I was asked "What if God calls you to be single?"  I know that not to be true.  It's my hearts desire and has been since I was a little girl.  I have no desire to do life alone.  But the question that tore my heart apart and that I've been dwelling on since being asked is, "What if the answer is 'no' - by God - to the person you feel deep in your heart that you want to marry?"  Whew.  I felt as if the wind was knocked out of me and my heart was completely drained.  Why would God bring someone in my life, confirm to me that this was who I am to marry, and then say "no"?  I'm still trying to mull this over.  But God calls us to put all things aside and put HIM first.  Also, God speaks to people at different times.  So having to put my husband, or the idea of who my husband is, secondary to Christ's will and desire is a humbling experience and a true test in trust.

So many times in the Bible there are stories of sacrifice.  In the Old Testament, there are so many which is due to the Law during that time.  You were to sacrifice your best to the Lord - whether it be a sheep, oil, or your only child like Abraham was asked to do of his son, Isaac (Genesis 22).  Can you imagine being asked to sacrifice your one and only child?  And not just asked, but commanded by God to do so?  Yet Abraham didn't question God.  In faith, he bound his son to the planks over the fire, and just as he drew his knife up in the air to pierce into his son's chest, the Lord stopped Him and told him to not harm Isaac and that God knew now that Abraham feared the Lord.  Within seconds, a ram was caught int he bushes, and Abraham offered that up to the Lord as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.  From that point on, that Abraham named that place on the mountain as "The Lord will provide."  (Read earlier in Genesis in how Abraham and his wife, Sarah, weren't even supposed to have a child, yet God was faithful to give him a son.)

Read in Hebrews 11 of all the sacrifices that were recounted and the faithfulness that these people had to have for the Lord.  And each time, the Lord provided, even if it wasn't in their lifetime. For it says in Hebrews 11:6 that, "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek Him."

Haven't I sacrificed enough, God?  Haven't I given you my legs and the opportunity to walk, yet still trust you and have faith in you that you'll reward me?  Haven't I held my tongue when I would have rather shared my true feelings?  Haven't I been obedient enough?  Where did I screw up, Lord?  There are people that are married now with children who don't desire to be in the "situation" they are in.  So for me to be asked, "What if the answer is 'no' - by God - to the person you feel deep in your heart that you are to marry?" ...  my heart hurts.  A deep hurt, and a deep pain and feeling of loss.  But God requires me to offer him up to Him as a sacrifice, and through my faithfulness, God will provide in His time.  It may not be the person I hope for.  It may be someone completely different.  It may be the person I desire.  But it was made clear to me that right now, I have to offer him up to the Lord and pray for him every day as well as pray for myself and God's will for my life.  Just like when I was 9 years old.

I read Psalm 20 tonight, and it brought tears to my eyes because it is how I feel.  I feel like I have given my life and offerings (verse 3), and because of that, I pray verse 4!  "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans" and further on in verse 5, "may the Lord fulfill all your petitions!" Oh, how I pray these things over myself.  The rest of the chapter is David acknowledging God's power and salvation and that the only way we "win" is with Jesus.  My desire first needs to be Jesus.  My heart should first be focused on Jesus.  My wants should first be what Jesus wants for my life.  It's the only way it works.

So even though I'm reminded that God hears our prayers, answers our hearts desires, and is a God of Provision, I have to first continue to constantly submit myself to the Lord first and ask for His will to be done in my life.  Though my flesh desires that of what I want, only time, prayer, sacrifice, and faithfulness will show if that's what the Lord also wants for my life.  But believe me - this will be a daily sacrifice that I will struggle with.  (There's a whole other blog I could write on the gifts that God has given me.  So when I feel something as strongly as I do, I know it's from the Lord.  But sometimes I have to wait a few months or a few years for it to come to fruition.)

Lord, to you I offer my husband - whoever he may be - to you.  You know how difficult this is for me.  But, I choose to put you first, and I ask that when my flesh wants to rush ahead of you that you would hold me back and remind me of the blessings that come from patience.  I pray that if I am ever to marry, that it be forever.  I pray he knows how to be the head of the household as Christ is the head of the church, that he also would put you first before me, that he would be a godly example to his/our children, and that we would both seek you together every day in all we do.  And as I was reminded, Lord, you are the Bridegroom.  You pursue us relentlessly, even when we resist.  I pray that I would pursue you and that whoever my husband is to be would also pursue you first and with your guidance and permission, pursue me with all he has with the love of God and not give up until I say YES!  :)  Thank you for your provision in my life and for always knowing what's best for me.

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