Barbara writes: "The message of the Bible is clear: Jesus Christ is Lord! It's a fact. Bringing our lives into submission to His will in everything is the key to being a godly woman. It is also the path to joy." Later she also writes: "It is the love of God that motivates us to follow Christ's example and enables us to loosen our grip on our plans for our lives, placing ourselves squarely under God's loving rule each day.....We can fully entrust ourselves to our Father's beautiful plan for us."
As I read those words, I realized with frightening clarity that I don't submit to God's will in EVERYTHING and that I have a strong grip on my plans for my life and that I really don't FULLY entrust myself to my Father's plan for me.
The last few years have been especially frustrating for me. I have such a deep desire to serve God through overseas missions. I firmly believe that He has called me to be a missionary and that is His will for my life. However, when we made plans to apply through Mission to the World to go into full-time foreign missions and pursued serving in Bulgaria a few years ago, we felt as is our lives came crashing down around us forcing us to come to a screeching halt in our application process and abandon all hope of going to a foreign field any time soon. David's health had worsened to the point where he required weekly antibody transfusions. Josh's struggle with Autism and a newly developing mood disorder made him quite unstable. I was bedridden for 3 straight months with a migraine doctors could not control or figure out which also led to the discovery of a brain lesion. Tim had his own battles.
Needless to say, my trust in God was shaken. God had been slowly leading us along this missions path for years, and finally the doors were wide open. We found ourselves walking through them frighteningly fast only to get through several and have the next door slam in our face. How could God do this? Why was Satan winning this battle? In my desire to have answers and get to God's plan for my life, I picked up the pieces of my life lying around me and tried to manipulate circumstances, details, people, and ultimately God to make things work.
Obviously, my efforts got me nowhere closer to my end goal, but God used that time to teach me volumes of truths about Him. Satan wins only if I lose all hope in God and my desire to serve as a missionary. God is not finished preparing me for foreign ministry. I am a missionary right where God has me and in the midst of life's struggles and THROUGH my struggles. Now three years later, I finally come to the realization that God's ULTIMATE will for my life is for me to live in total submission trusting Him in all things. It's been a hard lesson to learn but so important.
After that Bible study in March, I began seriously praying asking God to change my heart and help me release my grip on my life and live in total submission abandoning all hope in myself and my abilities and fully relying on Him and Him alone. As the weeks have passed, I have felt weights fall off of my shoulders. I feel light enough to soar like an eagle. I have a greater joy in my heart than I have felt in a very long time. I don't feel as stressed nor do I feel as anxious.
Being a person who likes to plan ahead and know what to expect and have control of circumstances (yes, I can partially relate with Josh in his own struggles with this due to his Autism), this has not been an easy thing for me to do. I pray for help daily to place myself "under God's loving rule each day." Some days, especially when the stress increases, I start to reclaim the grip on my life. That's when I pray harder asking God to help me keep my hands off of His responsibilities.
There is no better place to be than in total submission of my Maker, King, and Father. No matter the circumstances around me, I have joy, peace, and God's blessings. I pray that God will continue to help me live out this important lesson.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:7-8