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(Part 5)

July 22, 2017

Y’all. I got up at 6:15 on a Saturday. That never happens, like ever. But I did and I had this urge to get up. So I did, and without a second thought, I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and a pen, and ran downstairs.

As I watched the sun wake up and stretch its rays over the rooftops and kiss the leaves “good morning”, I was reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness. His mercies are new like the new day dawning. He is more faithful than the sun that rises and sets day in and day out. I spent the hour copying James 2 in my journal, and writing my prayers to the Lord. I remember feeling refreshed. I wasn’t tired one bit, even though I went to bed late and woke up an hour or two earlier than usual.

Later on in the day, I was able to talk to Mrs. Avis. She is my dear friend, mentor, and prayer partner. I cannot begin to tell you how much the Lord has used her in my life. I have only seen her in person maybe three times. Her health issues have kept her home-bound for the time being, but that doesn’t stop the Lord from using her. I admire her faith and her love for Him so much. She has encouraged me so much through text messages, emails, and the occasional phone call. She is one who asks the hard questions. You know, those deep questions that you need to take a good look inside yourself and inside the Scriptures to find the answers to. She always, always listens to what is on your heart and she does not speak until you’re finished. She is so kind and compassionate and loving. With every struggle that I have shared with her, she has encouraged me to use the shield of faith to quench the devil’s fiery darts and to use the sword of the Spirit to combat the lies I have let myself believe.

During this particular conversation, I was amazed at how the Lord had so intricately worked in both of our lives. The spiritual struggles I was having were struggles that Mrs. Avis had experienced either years ago or just recently. We both were asking the Lord, “why?!?!? What do You want from me?” The emotions we felt were so alike. Though our circumstances were so different, the Lord had paralleled our lives in such an astounding way that comforted my heart. There was someone who understood the questions I was asking. There was someone who felt the same way I did. There was someone who experienced the same hurt and frustration I was feeling, made it to the other side and was telling me the outcome of it. There was someone who could say, “I’ve been there. I know how you feel. This sucks, but God is faithful.

I appreciated how Mrs. Avis reminded me that the Lord never wastes an opportunity to teach us more about Himself. The place that we are in no matter how difficult or easy it is, is the classroom that the Lord has picked to teach us a lesson that we need to learn. These lessons are for our good and for His glory and though it may hurt now, one day we will look back and see how God’s hand was at work in our lives.

I love how after we talked and listened and cried, we took turns praying together. I remember as Mrs. Avis prayed for my grumpy neighbors, I didn’t have any anger or hatred or bitterness clinging to my heart. I was still sad, but I was okay. I had finally let go and said, “Lord, this is in Your hands. I love You and I trust You.”

It’s at times like these when we’re open and honest and vulnerable that our love for each other grows. When you see what the Lord has done in the other person’s life and you see how far they have come to know Him, you cannot help but rejoice with them and praise the Lord for His marvelous works. On the flip side, if you have found someone who has heard the nitty-gritty, not-so-proud-moments of your life and still loves you the same, (if not even more), you, friend, have found a treasure. I am so grateful for Mrs. Avis and the community in my life that consists of people from all different seasons of life and different phases of faith that have encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. Without these people, I would not be the girl I am today.

I would highly recommend finding a spiritual mentor, accountability partner, or prayer partner. Find someone you know and trust who is older and has been actively walking with the Lord longer than you have. I would suggest looking for one who is two or three seasons ahead of you. You know who that person is. Be honest with them. Listen to what they have to say. Search the Scriptures together. Pray together. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ together. This is what the body of Christ is supposed to look like. It is a community of broken people who have been healed and restored by the Creator of the universe and who have committed their lives to know Him and make Him known.

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