Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Week 6: YES to GOD Tuesday study

CHAPTER 6: If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth doing

Continuing our on line study together of Lysa TerKeurst's book,"What Happens When Women Say Yes to God?" If you missed the Q&A with here as she really blessed us.

February 3rd on Super Bowl Sunday my husband's back went out when he helped me move a sectional couch to the basement. He had back problems for 2 years, but he felt he was okay to help me. Wrong.

Finally, after dealing with a local doctor and getting no progress, we headed to Omaha at the suggestion of the company nurse where he works. I have to admit when I'm inconvenienced, I tend to display probably the ugliest side of me that I have. I'm sure God just wants to sit me in time out when I behave the way I do.

Well, on March 4th He did just that. I took off work to take my in pain 24/7 man up to Omaha to meet with his new doctor. Now, keep in mind leading up to this appointment, I did not even attempt to make Gene's life easy. The man could not bend, lift, really do anything and yet I had him scared to ask me for a glass of water. Poor thing was probably dehydrated.

See, while my husband was injured and couldn't even breathe without being in pain, couldn't drive let alone barely walk, I was busy attending the pity party I was throwing for myself. With no success, I tried inviting others to join me by doing everything except scream, "Forget Gene, look at poor me doing all that I am!" I was so pathetic just because I was having to do more than my usual list of doing everything for everybody, and honestly, I didn't like it. As I was looking like Superwoman to others in public, in my heart I knew the private hell I was putting my husband through. Looking back on how I acted like a spoiled toddler, I am very ashamed of me.

So, here we are sitting in the waiting room of the Nebraska Spine Center and I open my book to read chapter 6. Before starting the on line study, I had read the book so I had an idea of what I'd be leading and am now re-reading it and doing the study. So anyway, I'm reading and suddenly my eyes are so filled with tears I can barely see the pages.

My husband is a big guy, not fat by any means...muscular. I've always felt so safe next to him and not that I've ever been in harms way, but if I was I know I'd be okay. He just gives me that sense of protection a woman longs for. My Gene was a football player out of Orlando recruited on a full scholarship back in '83 by the Nebraska Cornhuskers. So the athlete within him was very frustrated that his body was not cooperating with him and not to mention dealing with a wife focused on herself. This is what I read sitting next to my injured athletic husband...

Lysa shared with us how her husband Art's knee had gone out and how God didn't answer their prayers that it would be minor. Instead, he needed major surgery...

A real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God not for comfort and convenience but for purpose and perspective.

Our changed perspective helps us see God in everything. I am convinced that Satan wants to keep my perspective in a place where my heart is discouraged and my mind is questioning God. Yet God's Word calls me to a different action:

Romans 5:3

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This is the part that filled my eyes with tears because I couldn't see past my own selfishness to ask any of these questions Lysa asked herself...

What do we do with the fact that my very athletic husband is out of commission for several months? What does he do about missing many weeks of work and having his life totally interrupted? What do I do with my feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated because I need his help? What do I do with the fact that he can't drive, is in extreme pain, and needs my unconditional love and support---even on the day when I'm too tired to give it?

Okay, God, where are You?

I tell you I about lost myself in the waiting room that morning.

God knew what I would be reading that morning and strategically had me reading it while in the midst of my inconvenience, sitting right next to his injured child that I failed to treat with dignity and love.
While in time out, God got my attention that morning.

Lysa goes on to tell us about Provision, Protection and Process.

Provision: How can He be our Ultimate Provider if we aren't ever lacking and in need?

Protection: As I look back and reflect on our difficult times, I can see how He protected us.

Process: We want to live the totally sold-out life for Christ, yet there are things pulling at us, enticing us, calling out to us----causing our indecision.
In times where the road diverges in front of us, we can either fall away from God or fall toward Him.

There was so much more in this chapter I just had to re-read, underline, star and highlight, but I'll let you share too. Let me close with this line from Lysa...

Obedience stops being a dutiful obligation and starts becoming a delight you crave.

When a woman says yes to God,
she discovers a thrilling way to live.

If only I had said Yes to God instead of attending my pity party, how I would've had tears of joy that day in the waiting room instead of shame. God had something for me through Gene's injury and it wasn't inconvenience. WHAT did I miss? WHAT did my selfishness cause my family to miss out on? WHAT was my husband's heart response to my behavior---did he draw near to Jesus or shut down?
Gene drew near and was forgiving and sweet to me in the waiting room that day.
Something I honestly didn't deserve.

Please post a comment on what God is doing in your life as you say Yes to Him and sign up if you have more to share on your own blog then sign up below.

~Blessed to be walking this YES path with you~


Amy said...

Hi Lelia,

The devotion post that I put in Mr. Linky today is one about Anna. Her marriage was cut short by the death of her husband only seven years into their marriage......only seven years. Yet she did not let that discourage her; instead she devoted her life to God...

I know when much less difficult circumstances hit me in my life, much like what you shared, I throw a pity party with drinks, snacks, and sad music, but no one ever shows up.:) I would love to say that I always run to God first, but that would not be true.

Anna, however, did only that....She gave her life solely to God; trusting in Him for her every need....not her every want.

It's humbling.
Anna said, "Yes!" to God, and He honored her. Not only is she mentioned by name in the Bible, she is one of the first few people who got to see Jesus.

God Bless,

Joyful said...

Lelia, thanks for sharing your personal story and your heart. It reminded me of caring for my mom last year when she had her hip replacement. I was at my parent's home for 12 hour days, week after week - and although outwardly being helpful, inwardly I was resentful that I seemed to be the family member doing the most and missing time with my husband and son. The Lord totally provided for my family at that time, and I wish now I had served with a more willing, loving heart.

Lysa challenges us in her questions to think about the difference between serving out of duty or delight. I just had a conversation with a friend about this very thing. As I shared about my delight in some of the areas where I am serving, she questioned whether I should also be "taking up my cross" and following - doing something more out of duty. A wise friend of mine shared this verse with me - "for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross". Sometimes we will be called to say 'yes' to things that we wouldn't automatically jump to do, but if we have the assurance that God desires us to serve in that area, it can still be a delight because we know we are obeying Him.

Psalm 37:3-4 encourages us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. "By the time God makes Himself the seekers delight, the once self-seeking treasure hunter has been transformed. God becomes the desire of our heart. When He is our delight, we begin to want what He wants. We trust His best. We become wise enough to ask Him to over-ride any desire that would ultimately betray us. We no longer want anything that lacks His approval. Until we learn to delight in the Lord, we cannot trust the desires of our hearts. Our hearts can lead us astray (Jer.17:9).

Lysa also asks about what "I can'ts" we have in our life. I think of of the verse in John 15, "Apart from God I can do NOTHING." BUT...."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." On my own I can do nothing, but through Christ nothing is impossible.

The questions also asked us to consider a tough situation we'd faced recently and what we learned when God said 'no'. While reading this chapter God did give me a 'no' that seemed SO disappointing, but what I didn't know was that God had something even better in store for me. I learned that I can trust God with His 'no's. His 'no's aren't always no forever...sometimes just 'not yet'.

On the bottom of page 100, Lysa talks about the joy of seeing her children pursue their own relationship with the Lord, "rather than just buying into the God thing because of family tradition". If you are able, Lysa shared a great post on her blog back on Sunday, January 27, 2008 of a stand her daughter Hope took with her personal, godly convictions. It's a great example and a wonderful read. (Sorry, I don't know how to post a link on a comment.)

Finally, I loved the prayer Lysa wrote on page 103. Powerful words and the prayer of my heart.

Thanks for letting me share.

MrsJoeB said...

Lelia-loving this study! Thank you for hosting it. Thank you for sharing. It truly takes radical obedience-being willing to see through the pain and suffering to ehat God has in store to us that brings the joy. I have said I wouldn't change my past because of where I am with Christ. Some have said that is selfish of me because others involved were hurt because of my poor decisions. But I am forgiven and God can use it all to bring Him glory if I am but willing. I am willing. I say "YES Lord". Just like you. Just like all these others ladies in this study and visiting our blogs. What a blessing we have in each other!!
In His Graces~Pamela

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks so much for your insight and vulnerability. I appreciate it. It is so encouraging to read everyone's thoughts.

MrsJoeB said...

Lelia-that is what it is all about. I am not comfortable with where He is leading me. I don't need to be. If I let Him control my words, my actions, my heart, He will use me for His kingdom. It's not about me. It's about Him!!
I am blessed my words are being used by you.

In His Graces~Pamela

Lizerd said...

Thank you, Lelia, and everyone else.
I can relate to Lelia's story and Joy's. There have been a couple of big events in my life recently where I was threw a couple of pity parties of my own. One, my husband was layed off for 18 months. I worked full time while he did handy man jobs. At times, I felt very sorry for myself. Looking back, I can see that it was one of the sweetest and most peaceful times in our marriage. God used that time to mold me (and my husband) into what He wanted us to be. I finally said YES to God in my attitude and then when my husband found a job that moved us across the country. Six weeks after we got here, the second situation occurred. My mom and her husband were on a motorcycle and hit by a car. My mom almost lost her life, her leg and she did lose her husband. I cried out to God that this was not the Norman Rockwell homecoming that I desired. In saying YES to God this time, while spending two months with my mom as she was in the hospital, I saw God work in my life and in the lives of other's that I would not change for anything. I wish my step dad were still here and my mother still does not have full use of her leg, but God provided, He protected, and I agreed to be part of the both situations. Had I known that I was going to have to walk through those circumstances, I would have certainly said, "I can't!" And when I found myself in the midst of them, I did say, "I can't". But my Lord said, "Yes you can. And I will be with you." I only wonder what I would have learned if I had said yes earlier in those times. Either way, I love Him more and more as He walks me through the Yes's, even though I want to say no. He is faithful!

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

I know very well the pity party. My husband seemed to have a major surgery every time I had a baby. I remember he had ACL surgery and the day he was released from the hospital I went out bowling. We had 4 very little kids at the time. I'm chalking that up to youth (I wasn't even 30 yet). He had a back surgery the following year and a colon surgery not long after that. At this point he needs to have his knee "scoped" and of course I haven't been overly anxious for that. He was (thinks he still is) a baseball player. I think our husbands would get along marvelously! We should plan a get together sometime. Till then, we can keep encouraging one another to keep saying YES!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this with us. I can also be a "spoiled toddler" with my family. I have a lot of patience with others but unfortunately my family gets the "nasties" from me. I will be taking this issue to the Lord in prayer today!

Kim from PA

tiggerdaisy said...

Oh boy. Yes, I can relate to the "Look what I'm doing! Won't you praise me for what I'm doing? Why, oh why, do I have to do this? This SO isn't fair! ETC., ETC., ETC., Attitude!" Why do we do that? God always corrects us, we always feel why do we do it?

I really loved this chapter. I think it's my favorite so far! The part that really spoke to me was about Art's injury and how Lysa dealt with it. So many times I have wondered why I was stopped by EVERY red light between here and yonder. And I can get pretty frustrated. Then I think...did God do that? Did he protect me? Case in point. My husband, daughter and I were travelling to my mother's for a visit. Well, on the way out of our driveway, I couldn't remember if I had turned the stove off. So we turned around and went back to the house. Mind you, I have a 3/4 mile long driveway so it took a while. Well, the stove was turned off and all was well. However, we had wasted about 15 minutes of time. As I was driving along about 40 minutes into the trip, I noticed thick black smoke ahead. There were a few cars at the scene of what appeared to be a fire in the woods, but both lanes of a two lane road were blocked. Medical personnel and firemen were pulling up left and right. Unfortunately, it was no rogue fire, it was a car accident. I started praying for whoever was involved in the accident, their family members, and the rescue personnel. Eventually, we were told to turn around and find an alternate route. What should have been a 2 hour and 45 minute drive, turned into a little over 4 hours. When we returned home a few days later, I looked up the accident on the local news website. The driver, a 31 year old woman, died on the scene when her car left the road, hit a tree, and burst into flames. The two passengers were air lifted to a hospital that dealt with burns...they were in critical condition. The wreck happened just about 10 or 15 minutes before my husband and I arrived on the scene. Yes, I think it was God's protection that made me think about the stove and turn around. Because if I hadn't...

So, some things that get under our skin, really shouldn't. And yes, I wanted to scream at the above circumstance because I was not prepared for a longer trip, a screaming baby, etc. Yet, I must praise God and trust God even through difficult circumstances.

One more thing...I really loved Lysa's poem. Really loved it! I would take God's path any day! :)

Prayers and Blessings, y'all!

P.S. I hope this post makes sense. I'm so very tired right now. I think I'm about to hit the hay! :)

Laura said...

I so identified with your story about your husband that it brought tears to my eyes! And Lysa's words were sooo convicting! OK, I'm praying to turn to Him in everything, to let go of my selfishness and my expectations, to seek Him in the midst of the storms of life. Thank you, friend!

SweetPea said...

I love the things you said in blue like:" A real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God not for comfort and convenience but for purpose and perspective." That's powerful!

I think focusing on His purpose and perspective makes our load lighter.

I love the Provision Lysa speaks can God be our Ultimate Provider if we aren't ever in need?

I'm learning so much about the purpose, perspective, and opportunities that only come through trials by being in a huge trial! As painful as it is to be in a trial and suffering, it enables our eyes to be opened to what He wants us to truly take from the trial instead of just the pain.

It is so true that the more we learn about God through different issues in life and by drawing close to Him, we first see the benefit of being obedient to Him. Then we realize that we enjoy being obedient to Him and it is a joy to 'crave'.

I've not had the privelege to do this study along with you ladies but I'm glad to have found your site.
In His Grasp,