Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Graduation Season Has Started!

With graduation in the June air, I'd like to ask you to share your most important or memorable Spiritual Graduation Moment -- something that was hard to do, but you did it out of obedience to God!!

NOT INCLUDING: Your salvation.

I'm looking more for surrender and spiritual growth stories -- that will bless other Christians who may be struggling, while reading this BLOG.

Think discipleship, not evangelism!

Can't wait to hear about Your Moment of Truth! - but remember not to include confidential details,


RosalieG said...

When my 2nd child went off to school, I found myself at home grieving deeply when I realized not only was his life changing (being supervised by someone other than mom), but my entire identity of at-home mom was also about to change. Folding up his little summer outfits did nothing to ease the pain. I realized that, unlike grownups who put away our summer clothes and then pull them out the following year, my little boy would never fit into his summer clothes again!

God spoke to my heart to say my pain was fairly normal, and it was called "grief". He taught me it's not only okay to grieve, it is healthy. Second, he suggested to me to start putting long time journal writings about being an at-home mom into the computer to shape a book and somehow use my experiences to encourage other moms. Third, he inspired me to write up a graduation certificate. My certificate was given to myself in a quiet moment by myself...and read something like this:

"This certificate is to declare Rosalie has successfully completed several years of parenting newborns and preschoolers, and is now ready to embark on a new phase....."

You know, that little ceremony I had in my downstairs family room - just me & God in attendance - was pivotal in helping me to move on.

I suspect I will be issuing yet another certificate when my children leave home.

Julie said...

The Lord is taking me through the process of surrendering my need to be in control of my family's schedule.

I am a person who likes to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest time possible. This usually results in constant reminding, pestering and frustating outbursts on my part. In short, when Mom is in charge of the schedule there is very little peace in the family.

Last March I truly felt the Lord asking me to surrender that to Him, to give my family's schedule to Him and trust Him with it. I was upset by this - wasn't I the one who made sure we were to church on time? Wasn't I was the one who made sure family vacations were planned? Without me, these things just didn't happen. But God was clear and so I slowly started to let go.

Let me tell you, this wasn't easy. Not only was I asked to surrender the schedule, it was clear to me that I could not act the part of a matyr either. It's one thing to let go of the schedule, as long as you are free to complain and be uncooperative. But when the Lord takes that option away - all you can do it sit! We left on a one week vacation shortly afterwards and truthfully, I spent the entire first day of the drive, sitting in the car, not talking. When I did speak, I was pleasant enough. But inside I was seething that no one was watching the time, caring about when we ate meals. Really, those things are important!

As the days of our vacation passed, I watched the Lord work out our schedule, every time. We visited every site we planned, on the day we planned. It wasn't always at the time we had planned, but it WAS always in peace. God's grace and goodness just washed over me as I understood why I needed to let go of something that He could manage so much better than I.

I am still working on this area. Some days I take back control, because it's a very old habit. But the more I see of God's time management, the easier it is to let go.

Ceri Harris said...

For many years whilst working with women in our churh community I had called out to God for the need of a good resource that helped women to see who they were in God and start living with freedom. Each time I said this to God, I felt him say "Why don't you write one".

Two years ago on a December evening I went out to post a letter, as I returned I tripped over a bike that had fallen down and broke my arm. After a visit to hospital, I was told I would be in plaster for four months, which seemed like an eternity. No driving, none of my normal activities I thought I might go mad!!

I prayed that I would be able to use the time well, and that God would give me a vision for those four months. That turned out to be a scary prayer! God started to challenge me about the resource I had longed for, and prompted me to write what he had put on my heart. "You have got to be kidding God" was my reply. I had plenty of good reasons why he had got the wrong person.

Every time I came to God, he would again lay this on my heart. "Lord I am scared, what do I know about anything, how on earth do you expect me to write anything?" and then my definitive answer, "but I don't have time." God replied, "You have four months".

I tried many times to convince God it wasn't a good idea for me to do this, and he kept challenging me. Eventually I realised that I had to say "ok I will do it." I would like to say that I said it with great grace, but I think it was more through gritted teeth!

I started to read and put down ideas on paper. Each day I would walk and talk to God, and he would plot for me what was next and what I should be doing. The process of writing and birthing this course for my church was an amazing journey of trust and obedience. God has used the course to bring freedom to many women, and I am still amazed that he chose me.

The Bible is full of stories of God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and as I saw women changing as a result of coming on the course, I was so grateful to God that he chose to use this ordinary person to punch holes in the darkness and let the light in.

It took a broken arm and four months enforced rest to finally get me to do what God had laid on my heart for many years, but those four months will always remain for me a time of growth in obedience and trust and a time in which God showed once again that he is faithful.

Stephanie said...

I've decided to no longer be satisfied with the status quo.

It came to me as an epiphany in the shower – my best time for thinking:

Everything I do or come in contact with can, and will, make an impression on my mind, heart, soul and body.

When I shower early in the day – I feel clean, rejuvenated.
When I wait until I “have time” – I feel dirty, lazy, hot

When I lose my temper and yell at my kids – There’s instant guilt and I have needy, whiny, frustrated children. They yell at each other.
When I choose to have fun with them, have patience and show them grace – they are loving, gentle, and communicative.

When I exercise regularly – I have energy, motivation. I feel healthy.
When I skip exercising – I feel tired, I’m unable to concentrate, and the mirror says I’m fat.

When I pray and read the Bible – I have hope. I’m focused and in tune with my Creator, who loves me and guides me through the day.
When I don’t take the time to connect with the Lord – I’m listless, without direction. I allow myself to portray the martyr who doesn’t have control over her life. At every moment I feel the tyranny of the urgent.

When I watch too much TV – I’m pulled into a fantasy world that amounts to escapism.
When I turn it off – It enables quiet moments to reflect on my day and take stock of where I am in the real world.

Seems like a huge burden to carry – reading the list pulls me to pursue perfectionism. But I know that’s a pit. Only the Father can lead me to do the right thing.

We are weighed down by sin and the natural state of gravity too much. Either I’m stretching up, drawing closer to the Father, or I’m falling down, away from Him – there is no status quo. It’s not about rules, either. Grace fits into this; I can’t do it on my own. It’s a paradox : If I allow Christ to live through me and not worry about being perfect and obeying all the rules, I can then be free to make good choices that will lead me to follow the “rules of living” that lead to joy and fulfillment.

I am not a drifter. My choices matter. I am not a victim or a martyr. Who I will be in 5 years does not depend on my husband, my children, or my circumstances. It’s about living and breathing the Lord and his purpose for me today.

Arlene Larson said...

Arlene said...
After graduation from H.S. I entered junior college. I had my heart set on becoming a teacher. I was doing well in all my classes except US history. I was getting D's & F's on the tests. I decided to make an appointment to see if the professor could help me. I will never forget that day. He told me that my problem was that I was not college material and that I should quit. In so many words he told me I was stupid just like his wife.
It was like a light went on in my head and now I knew why I was having so much trouble - I now knew I was officially stupid.
I quit and decided I had better come up with a plan B. The only other thing I had wanted to be was a nurse but now I was too stupid for that because it required a college degree. I enrolled in a medical assistants program and graduated #1 in my class but it meant nothing to me because it wasn't college.
This had a great affect on my self image. It took me 16 years to prove to myself that I wasn't stupid. At the urging of a college professor friend of mine I went back to school in order to be able to move on with my life. I got an A in all the classes I took so I decided the real test would be if I could pass US history. I ended up with a B in the class. I realized that I wasn't stupid to begin with but it took several experiences to really believe it in my heart.
I never was angry at God as I knew He had something special already planned for my life. I went on to become the Children's Ministry Director of a large church and have taught a Senior Ladies Bible Study for 26 years. I set out to be a teacher and God granted the desires of my heart.
I just returned from spending one month in Kenya training Pastor's wife and leaders how to use the Life Purpose Coaching materials. I feel so blessed. Our lives may take a bend in the road but God truly makes all things beautiful in His time if we put our trust and confidence in Him.