Good Morning Ladies (and few gents),
Today’s devotion included below, “I Surrender! Part 1”, is a reminder from GiG Mary that, “When we come to Jesus Christ in complete surrender and begin the journey of becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ, we are redeemed by His forgiveness, made whole by His grace, and marked with His love through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.”
GiG Mary’s story cited below may be your story or that of someone you know.
My aim in life is to live authentically, transparent rather than parade around in a Mardi Gras mask. This is a purposed transparency moment; once upon a time a very similar story was my story. As many of you know, my earthly father was a preacher’s kid, the oldest son, but the prodigal son. That didn’t go over very well because we lived next door to my grandfather. Although the two properties were an acre apart, that was considered “next door” nonetheless.
I did what I thought were the right things to gain my grandfather’s love. In my youth I attended church every time the doors were open; mind you, this was without my parents and we had “all day” services. I attended early morning for Sunday School, then morning service, after service we’d go down to the basement where the kitchen and tables were located for lunch, leave for home only to return for evening service and sometimes return back to the basement for a late dinner.
Oh, I earned perfect attendance awards, sang in the youth choir, helped direct the children’s choir, visited other churches where my grandfather would be the visiting preacher, you get the picture. All of this to no avail, my grandfather, some of my relatives, and even my heavenly father seemed cold and distant.
I was a Christian, by all outward appearances. Even scarier, I thought I was a Christian too because of all the things I was doing for God. Yup, I had fallen for the lie of all lies, doing for Jesus and being in Jesus or rightly said having Jesus in me are two completely different concepts.
In my late teens I stopped trying to gain relatives approval, stop doing for God and decided I didn’t need my grandfather, other relatives, or God. I walked away from it all. Yes, the prodigal son unknowingly trained up a prodigal daughter that followed in many of his footsteps instead of me doing as the psalmist instructs, “Be still, and know that I am God”Psalm 46:10a.
For all who ask, "Where has my struggle led me?" or maybe you need words for someone you know who is “on the road” having had the courage to embark on the journey back home, share these words from Henri Nouwen’s 1994 book, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming,
“I have to kneel before the Father, put my ear against his chest, and listen without interruption to the heartbeat of God; then and only then can I say carefully and gently what I hear. I know now that I have to speak from eternity into time from lasting joy into the passing reality of my short existence in this world, from the house of love into the houses of fear, from God’s abode to the dwellings of human beings, looking at people in this world through the eyes of God.”
Now due to the length of this devotion already, we’ll pick back up where we left off tomorrow. And as radio announcer Paul Harvey would say…the rest of the story.
May we be encouraged to evaluate our lives. Honestly asking God if we’re being still before Him. GiG, we can try and “fake it to we make it” or embrace the truth that God is seeking us no matter what we’re feeling because He loves us without strings attached.
God’s Got It…so we can GROW—One of the best ways to persuade others is with our ears—by listening to them. David Dean Rusk (2nd longest serving U.S. Secretary of State)
Have a “Stop, Listen, and Less Talk” Tuesday, February 19, 2019—there are hurting people in our circle of influence who need to be heard.
Called to serve and encouraging others to thrive,
DEA: Embracing a Work-Hard, Rest-Well Life and Loving My Priorities, Loving My Life