Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Mountain and the Valley

God is busy at work on my heart. I can feel a stirring; however I know that it is beginning to turn into direction and vision. Not specific, but simple things, simple steps on the journey until He reveals the details. I feel so encouraged and connected to my Father. Neat things have happened over the past few weeks. I have picked up books that I am in the middle of to read for a few quiet moments and they all speak directly to me. I have done my BSF lesson and I have heard God speak through His word to me about the exact things He has been challenging me with. Trace and I met with a Christian lady we respect and she spoke the exact words that God challenged me with very clearly two years ago. Words I have clung to because I just know they are from God. I feel Trace and I are on the same page. I am encouraged by that and the fact that God is working in both of our hearts to bring us to the same place.

I am in close communion with my Father. He is teaching, He is leading and that is clear to me. I could describe this as a mountaintop experience. I know God is pushing us and changing us and that is scary at times, but I am so very comforted by the fact that He has to be close enough to touch me so that He can push me. I will hold on to the closeness while I walk through the fear. I will hold onto His goodness, when the doubt creeps in. I will proclaim my belief in Him, and ask for help with the unbelief.

I am going to a women's retreat that is hosted by our church. It is my 4th retreat to go to and the theme of the retreat this year is From Fear to Freedom. When I first heard the topic it did little for me, I just knew that I had gone in the past and I wanted to go again. It had always been a fun time of connecting with other ladies and being challenged. I signed up and I committed to praying for the retreat. They have asked us to pray for the speaker and her health, the worship music that we will have, that the details will come together and the right people will be there.

So I have prayed, but then I got an updated list and it said something about praying for the message to be heard personally by the ladies that attend. That their hearts will be prepared and that every bit of fear that exists will be rooted out of their hearts so they can walk in freedom. I have had no problem praying that for the other ladies, but for some reason I have been fearful to pray that for myself (although I have) and if I am completely honest I must say that I am not all that excited about the retreat, but rather that I am a bit trepidatious. I mean, I am looking forward to time with the ladies, but I just keep sensing that the Lord has a message for me to hear. The places that Trace and I are beginning to sense the Lord leading are out of our comfort zone...way out of our comfort zone. I keep thinking that He is asking me to run away with Him and let Him minister to me, let Him teach me, let Him speak. That is great, I love the mountain. However, when you are on it you also know that you have to come back down and I am not sure I am ready for what we may be coming back down to.

This week the BSF lesson has been on Matthew 17. Part of what is discussed in this chapter is Jesus' transfiguration on the top of a mountain. The 3 disciples that were with Him got a glimpse of His glory and majesty. It was truly a mountaintop experience for the three of them as well as for Jesus. Right after this experience, that would produce awe, fear, and reverence for the Lord, these three men were lead back down the mountain into the valley. Jesus came back down with the express purpose of dieing on a cross, which was nearing. The disciples came back to the valley and were witnesses of both his death and resurrection. Talk about producing some fear, to watch your Lord die and not understand the implications of this. Jesus does not take us up to the mountain to leave us there, but rather to lead us back down to the valley to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew16:24-25).

This is what the BSF notes that I read today said..."Mountaintop Christian Conferences are for our encouragement and strengthening. Everyday situations test the reality of the mountaintop experience". That jumped out to me as I prepare, with a little bit of fear, to go to a retreat this weekend. God is not going to keep me on the mountain forever. He will lead me back into the valley so that I can live and love those He leads me to, so that I can walk in obedience to His calling. He will be with me, but He will be leading me to my cross more and more all the time. He will be giving me life, true life that comes from Him, as I put do death my ways, my heart, my desires, my hopes, and yes my fears and I follow Him. He will lead to freedom, but the journey to get there could get rather bumpy. Oh, how thankful I am to know that after the cross Jesus experienced the resurrection. He may ask me to die, but in that death joy comes. Life is truly given and can be embraced! Lord help me to always remember that you give me the mountaintop so that I can live freely and boldly in the valley with the promise that resurrection is right around the corner. With that truth, freedom is possible!!!


Hannah E. said...

I so hear you on the hesitations about the retreat...I sense some of that too, as I know God will want to address some things in my heart that prevent me from fully living out His dreams for me. It could get ugly...
But I'm choosing excitement. And I'm choosing to be open and willing to hear from Him this weekend and let Him change me. I'm already emotional about it. And just so you know....since you already put yourself out there with this on your blog, I'm going to make you talk to me more about it this weekend! :) You won't be able to escape me! HAHA. And you can make me do the same. See you tomorrow! What time are you planning on getting there?

Hannah E. said...

I'm aiming to be there by 5:45. I think Kate and Ame will be a little later than that. Probably closer to dinnertime.