Today, Good Friday, is a day of stillness and reflection for me. When I was a young girl, and first learned about Jesus’ death on the cross, I didn’t believe that He had suffered and experienced great pain. It was Jesus, right? My Sunday school teacher’s read me fascinating stories of His healings and supernatural powers, surely He could have helped himself and turned down the degree of pain He felt.
I don’t know why I thought that way. Maybe I was naive or it was a coping mechanism I developed to lessen the harsh reality of my Saviors’ sacrifice. Somehow I was able to keep His suffering at a superficial level for awhile–not allowing the depth of His sacrifice to penetrate my heart.
While I matured in faith and got deeper in the Word, I realized, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the scriptures and their meanings carried deep emotion and depth. It was as though the Words had life! Psalm 119:18 describes what happened to me perfectly: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (NIV). Physically my eyes were open. However, I wasn’t seeing everything there was to be seen in God’s word. It’s like seeing everything in black and white vs. TECHNICOLOR. An amazing thing happens when we ask the Holy Spirit to be present in every aspect of our life. He is.
I encourage you to take some time today to pray and be still in the presence of God. Pray for a fresh renewing of the Holy Spirit as you reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary.
I’d like to share a favorite song of mine: “This Man” by Jeremy Camp. (Click on “This Man” to see the powerful video).
Fire Bible: Global Study Edition. New International Version, Life Publishers Edition, 2009.
Laying prone on the carpet of my bedroom floor, I could not contain the overflow of tears drenching my face and racking my body with sobs. I had just began my Advanced Creative Writing class and submitted the first half of my twenty-five page non-fiction memoir. My professor’s comments were devastating. Here is my journal entry for the following day:
July 3, 2016
Last night was rough. After dinner, I checked my school website and discovered the grade my teacher gave me for my final paper. I got all the points–because I had the correct page count–but she really did not understand my paper. It felt like she hadn’t really read it based on the comments and questions she made. God, I really need your wisdom, guidance, and peace over this. I do not want to take the wrong steps and make a costly mistake. Please give me favor as I finish this class. Let your words be my words. If it’s your will I want to write for you.
I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me–I will be looking through the eyes of faith!
While laying on the floor sobbing, I spoke to God in a deep, gut wrenching way pleading for the power of the Holy Spirit to step in and lead me on the path God was giving me. It was complete surrender, I had nothing left in me anymore to try to do this on my own. I continued to rest in His presence, got out all my anguish, and began to feel peace within me. Once I calmed down, God laid on my heart what to do next: get a second opinion.
My next step was something I had never done before. I uploaded my paper to the University writing lab and asked for their critique. I really wanted to know the truth, so I asked more than one person. At that moment, it seemed to be the best way to figure out what I did wrong. Even better if they came back with the same outcome, right? I received the results a little more than a week later and received confirmation, from both, that what I believed about myself was right:
“You have a clear focus, and you have included good details in your paper to illustrate your point. Your conversational tone in your memoir is engaging and keeps the reader’s interest. Your paper is well -organized with each paragraph focusing on developing one main point or theme. Nice work!”
Writing can be so subjective, but I knew the basic framework of what I was trying to articulate was there. Armed with this knowledge; I kept writing, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, believing in what God had started in me, and paying close attention to the comments my professor gave to me. Just because I did not believe in her first assessment, I still very much respected her. I worked very hard in this class, but it was the Holy Spirit in me, when I was in complete surrender, that took over and allowed me to tap into the supernatural power that can only be given through Jesus.
The hard work paid off and my final paper turned out exactly as I had hoped it would. You see, this memoir was very important to me because it detailed the last few weeks of my mother’s life. My mom’s faith, the miracles that we experienced, and my relationship with her permeated the pages with smiles, tears, and, yes, a few laughs. I am happy to say that my final grade was a 100%, thank you Jesus!! But that wasn’t the best blessing I received. The smile, tears, and love reflected on the face of my father, as he read my memoir, was the ultimate gift.
Oswald Chamber’s touched on this beautifully in his devotional, “My Utmost For His Highest.”
“When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such a miraculous power that we are able to ‘arise from the dead…,’ and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the power comes after we ‘get up and get going.'”
God’s inspiration is the Holy Spirit, and many times we need to step out in faith and obedience before the power is unleashed. Is there an area in your life, like me, where God has asked you to step out in obedience to Him? I urge you to take the initiative and take that first step. The holy spirit will be there to give you “such a miraculous power” to complete what He has called you to (Chambers).
I’d love to hear from you. In this fallen world, the hope and encouragement we can give each other can be such a miraculous thing! Share the hope of Jesus in your life with someone you know, it may change their life!
By the way, want to see the POWER of the holy spirit at work through me? Check out my teachers final comments!!
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. “The Inspiration of the Spiritual Initiative, February 16.” Discovery House, 1992.
Today I start on a journey of obedience. Trust me, if the step I am about to take was only about me, I would stay safely on the shore. My feet solidly planted in the sand, several feet away from the unknown waters I am CALLED to jump in.
However, my heart belongs to Jesus. No, Jesus IS my heart and that is why this journey is no longer about me. It is about faith and an unmistakable vision He planted in me years ago.
“Greeting cards?! Are you serious, God?” My thoughts, while my husband and I drove towards the freeway, were all over the place. How could God have placed writing on my heart when I have never kept a journal OR ever aspired to writing, well, anything that I wasn’t told I had to write? Like in school or college. Not ONLY did God place it in my heart to write, He told me what to call it–Heaven Sent Sentiments. Wow. The seed for Heaven Sent Sentiments was planted that day in 2010, and God has been ever gently watering the vision He gave me into existence.
My “watering” began with a deep thirst to be in His word, prayer, and presence unlike anything I had ever known. If I am being completely transparent with you, I believe this was my first test of obedience. Some days were harder than others initially, but the closeness I began to have with my Heavenly Father was far greater than the time I was giving “up” to experience my life with Him. My proximity to Jesus resulted in a deeper awareness of Him around me and the promptings on where He was leading me next.
There was no denying my next step…higher education to get a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing! Yup, I was back in college around the same time my oldest daughter would be applying for college herself. God sometimes has an amazing sense of humor on His timing, but it is always on time. Several “God moments” and levels of obedience occurred during this stage and I will definitely highlight those moments on a future blog. Let’s just say I was brought down on my knees when I thought I could not go any further…on my own. Can you relate? This is where the power of the Holy Spirit steps in….when we allow him to.
Obedience on the call God gave me now focused on writing, writing and more….reading. Sorry. Had to throw that in to make sure you were paying attention. So… journaling, screenwriting, non-fiction stories, and memoirs became the focus of my days….greeting cards did not. Remember, that is what God initially laid on my heart to write. I believe he will lead me there when He is ready. Right now, He gave me a very clear indication of what He wants me to do: write a blog.
Friends, this is where you and I come together in an amazing way: to share this journey that God placed in my heart. This blog is a place to share the hope of Jesus through my experiences, your experiences, and the daily way God speaks in us, through us, and around us. Is there a moment like mine when you stepped out in complete obedience or faith? I would love to hear your thoughts, encouragements, and stories!
Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to step out in faith and pure obedience, knowing that you are with me every step of the way. Whether five people read this or five hundred–this is for You! Let your words be my words and may those words be set on fire by the Holy Spirit. Amen!!
God is first and foremost in my life.
my husband Steve, daughters Suzanne and Savannah,
my AMAZING family and friends,
the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest,
traveling and camping,
a GREAT cup of coffee with my morning devotionals,
and my Sumner Family Church family. :)