The third challenge is coming to close, and like times before, I am in reflection mode. Only this time, things feel much different. I’m not sure it can be explained, but let’s just say I have had an experience that has planted a seed, allowed that seed to take root, and grow – all within the matter of about five worship songs on my way home from work. This encounter has left me with an unshakeable conviction of what I will be seeing about in the next several months to come.
Before the first challenge, I sensed I was to write a book. Needless to say, I was swept up in the challenge, and the days that followed. Within those same days after, I came away with a clear direction on the idea of a shepherdess rising up. This led to a spirt-led study of David. During the second challenge, I again was in reflection mode, and sensed it was time to pray and stow away for a while. Again, the book came up. Not long after our third challenge began, “shepherdess rise up” began to stir within me. Great, big, grand, godly ideas have arisen with each challenge. This one has been no different, yet it has.
The spiritual intensity of this challenge has been experienced from the outset! I sensed God taking the caliber of my offering to a new and higher level, and I did my best to follow. Things like creating an actual real life recipe book, weekly video chats (WAY outside my comfort zone) with the gals in our group, and being even more available than before. It stretched me, but caused me to grow. I also knew I would have less time (compared to previous challenges) due to fall sports for both daughters, and a couple other commitments. It tested my wherewithal. Being sick for nearly two weeks and seemingly recuperating for yet another week or so, added to the fire. An out of left field attack on one of my closest friendships fueled the fire to even grander heights. Finally, last week’s event made me feel like things were straight up white hot blazing!
But you know what – and I say this with all honesty – God’s peace has taken a stronger hold within my soul with each piece of kindling the enemy meant for my destruction. And I do mean enemy. God has literally taken each tinder, and snuffed its contribution to the blaze by helping me learn and see so much. But most importantly, He has emblazoned His faithfulness so searing upon my heart, I cannot doubt His goodness – and I surely must move forward in what I know He is calling me to work on His behalf.
Where I felt I had no time, He created time by lightening my workload and establishing a connection with another gal willing to assist in my purposes. When I was sick, He created as sense of rest and well-being as He invited me into His presence, within the space of my home. When my dear friendship was under attack, He helped me to see it for what it was, and moved us to give no more ground to an enemy that had already been having a hay day! As my heart sank at the uncertainty of my experience last week, He reminded me He is good and provided peace through my husband, children, and sister in Christ. As part of that goodness, He has shown me the legacy I am to leave behind will not come in the form of material goods or wealth or even reputation. No, His legacy in my life will be captured upon pages, written out and shared – perhaps only for my daughters and future grand and great-grandchildren. But they will know all that has transpired in hopes for their future.
I’d love to say I’m going on a sabbatical (I really tried to convince God this was a good idea), because it can be so tiring to keep trudging forward on some days, especially when most, if not all of what is done, is behind the scenes. There is never a post to boast – in fact most times God whispers, “even if I am the only one Who ever knows all that you live for Me, let that be enough”. Meaning, let His joy in my obedience, trump accolades I may or may not receive from others. And it has been. I now empathize more than ever with pastors truly living after God’s heart in an effort to effectively lead their congregation. The personal challenges, coupled with family trials, joined by the needs of friends, as well as the responsibilities to a congregation with their own array of opinion, needs, points of faith and so on – and I won’t even get into the burden felt for the community, state, country and world at large.
I empathize with them and feel like I now know a secret – trust God’s Holy Spirit to lead and guide in each moment, for each soul, during each second of each day. This is part of the written Shepherdess Rise Up legacy soon to be captured and shared…
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