I have had an epiphany as of late. I am completely clueless and powerless to run my life–marriage, ministry, fertility, relationships, leadership, etc. You may be saying, “duh!” However, do not all of us have this false sense of control from time to time? We think we have it covered…oh yeah, I have done this thousands of times, and then–pow, right between the eyes we are humbled with the truth.
I spend my days walking with and leading young women to grow in fellowship with Christ. You may think–“oh, hard job…what do you drink coffee and talk about relationships woes?” Yes, but that is not the point of our time together. My goal is to teach and shepherd and equip them with the word of Christ and the tools to grow in Him and surrender to Him and glorify Him in all things. That is not advice or a system–it is a lifestyle and it involves the heart. Religion says “clean this up, do this and you are good.” The heart changed by the gospel of Christ is surrendered and examining and searching and repenting. It is so much easier to talk religion and advice–but it is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic–pointless.
This summer, I have taken a month and a half off from one on one meetings with young women. Greg “encouraged” me to do it, and he was right. The emotional toll that intense relational discipleship takes is hard to measure. This has been good for me. However, as I look toward the fall, I see that the work to be done and the growth to be cultivated is bigger than conversations and Bible study and memorizing scripture. With each young woman, there are things screaming in opposition to her affections for Christ. The enemy is subtle to us and we are blind–and that is dangerous. I look toward this next season of output on my part and see that discipline and faithfulness to prayer and dependence are imperative. I can only plant and fertilize and be faithful in loving each young woman, but I have to wait on God to water and grow. The Spirit has to reveal sin to the person’s heart and call for repentance. Sure, I speak the truth in love and grace, but all the while, I depend. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
This makes me think of marriage. We have NO control over our partners. I have had several conversations in the last few weeks about other’s marital woes that feel impossible. I have been there myself at times. You know the “why try, it is pointless” feeling? God then reminds me that He awakened my dead heart to love and know Him. He is about doing the impossible. So, I am on my knees for my friends and myself. Apart from Him I can do nothing.
This makes me think of children–the inability so far for me to conceive and even more so, the complete heartbrokenness of friends over their own children’s choices and hard heartedness. The feeling that those children’s ears are closed to truth–that there is an impossible situation–why not just give up? And, I remember God who brought forth life out of Sarah’s womb . She was as good as dead–just as some of the children I know–just as we all are without God’s grace. I am on my knees for myself that God would open my dead womb. I am especially on my knees for friends that God would break those children and bring those to repentance who are unwilling and hardhearted to wisdom and truth. I am crying out for the hearts of those parents. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.
The more I live, the more I see religion and rules and a checklist are bogus–powerless–pointless. We are people in need of heart change–heart transplants. We are blind to our own sin–and the Spirit who is placed within us, gives us eyes. I cannot give another their eyes or heart, but I can be obedient to love and share truth and grace again and again ALL in dependence upon the One who brings the change. When we look too far beyong today, it can get overwhelming. We need our manna from Him today to love and share and depend and praise Him today.
All this to say–boy do I need Him. Pray for me to be entrenched in His word and dependent upon His Spirit as I love Greg and love and shepherd my girls and encourage my firends who have pains and struggles and needs. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.