Thursday, April 21, 2011

my life verses

i want to share with you about an experience i had that has changed my life and the way i see myself. this is very personal to me, but something i want to share. i don't expect everyone to fully understand so i'll share it as best as i can.

last fall i spent some time praying with my pastor's wife stefanie, who also happens to be a very dear friend of mine. i was lamenting on how i was struggling with my purpose and who i was supposed to be. i had this picture of myself as a cardboard box sitting on a shelf in a grocery store just waiting to be "chosen." i shared that with her and she thought it made a lot of sense given what i was feeling. i've always tried to fit myself into what others want me to be or need me to be. it's like i'm saying, "oh you need 'such-and-such'? yeah i can be that!" or "you need 'this kind of person'? i'm your girl!" so rather than letting who i am dictate what i do, i'm letting what i do dictate who i am.

we prayed for a while that day and stef encouraged me to ask God who he says i am. i'm a firm believer that God speaks to us in many ways- visions, dreams, words, etc. he spoke very clearly to my heart that day and showed me a beautiful oak tree standing on a hillside. no, that can't be me i thought right away. in his gentle way the Father assured me that indeed it was. i shared that with stef, who thought that was amazing. she quickly asked me, "susan? what are boxes made of?" 

"cardboard," i replied.

"and what is cardboard?"

now the words came tumbling out so quickly, "cardboard is made from wood... from trees... that have been cut down and choppped up and hard pressed... and OH MY GOSH!"

it all came together so fast. i was meant to be an oak tree and i had allowed myself to become a cardboard box... a twisted version of my original design. a box has no roots to keep it standing during a storm. a box has no shady branches to comfort others. i'm not supposed to be a box! it might sound crazy, but in that moment so many things came together for me.

stef opened up her bible and began to read from isaiah 61. as she read it the words were just jumping off the pages and my heart was crying, "yes! yes!" i knew that this was my calling. isaiah 61 speaks of justice and restoration and joy... and the end of verse 3 says "they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." God has called me to be an oak tree for the display of HIS splendor. not so that others will look at me and say, "wow look how great Susan is," but rather, "wow look at what God has done/is doing/will do in Susan!" all for his glory! that is the cry of my heart. to point others to the all-consuming, irrefutable, undeniable love of God. to withstand the testing, to remain strong on the windiest of days, to be rooted deeply in the knowledge of God.

ever since that day God has shown me over and over again that this is who i am. that these are my life verses. the sunday after that revelation stef was sharing at church. she opened up her bible and an oak leaf fell out. she stopped what she was doing and handed it to me excitedly. she had been given that leaf weeks prior at a conference, stuck it in her bible and forgotten about it. i love when God works like that. it was just another confirmation that i had indeed heard from him and that's how it's been ever since.

like this morning.

i subscribe to a daily devotion called "girlfriends in God." it gets emailed to me every day and it's a great reminder to stop and take time to reflect. this morning it was about how we are the bride of christ and this paragraph stopped me in my tracks:
In Isaiah 61:3, the prophet describes what God will do for the Bride of Christ. He will bestow on her a crown of beauty instead of ashes, anoint her with the oil of gladness instead of mourning and place on her shoulders a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Are you feeling brokenhearted because of broken dreams? Have you been in mourning because your dream of being a bride has not turned out like you had hoped? God desires to blow away the ashes and place the crown of a royal bride on your head. So lift your head dear one, and accept your crown from the King of Kings.
there it was again. a reference to isaiah 61 and completely relatable to where i am today. i love when God does that! when he meets us right where we are and speaks exactly what our heart needs to hear. this is the God we serve. one who longs to comfort us in our pain and rejoice in our victories- alongside us. what a privilege and an honor!

be blessed today,



Katie @ Loves of Life said...

Wowww sister. I love that. I already knew the oak tree story, but I love the Girlfriends post, too. YOU my dear, are a blessing. love you!

Kristen said...

Amen sister! What a blessing that the Lord shows us who we are in Him in such tangible ways. Praying for you through this season.

Lucy Marie said...

Wow. You are such an inpsiration and encouragement to me. The depth of your thoughts continually amazes me and I appreciate you sharing some of them with us. I am learning a lot from you.

Kishah said...

Such an amazing testimony! It speaks to me! Thank you for sharing!

Hailey @ Me and My Boys said...

LOVE it when God does cool stuff like that. :) And this was so well written. Could've been written for incourage. You're amazing and if this wasn't a big "I love you" from the Father, I don't know what is. :)

Ruth Witmer said...

Wow, this is what the Lord did at group a week ago. He gave you the vision of removing your garment of mourning for a new garment of Praise! He wanted to tell you again just how much He loves you!! You are His bride, receive His crown!!

a blog full of weldons. said...

wow, this is really powerful! i almost cried reading about the cardboarb box! what a beautiful revelation!