#ISaidYes

My last Blog Hop entry for the online Bible study, “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa TerKeurst.

I just made up a new word, God-incidence. Definition: What some would call coincidence. But I know God is in control and He is the one that makes it all work together.

This new word came to me as I was finishing the last chapter of the Bible study book. Just that morning I was thinking and praying about how I am sometimes too concerned with my own comfort – whether it be physical comfort (I hate to sweat) or social comfort aka a situational comfort zone. Then I read in the book,
    “Life isn’t about being comfortable and taking the easy route. It’s 
    about living to give our lives away and make a real impact in this
    world.” -Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Say Yes To
    God.
I was once again reminded that this life is not about me, it’s about Jesus. “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30 NASB. Saying yes to God is a continual thing. Each day, each moment brings opportunities to say yes to something God wants to do in us or through us.

When we started this study I was at a point where I had lost my passion and lost sight of my vision – the dream God had given me. I had already been praying for God to renew the passion for writing and the vision He had given to me. I had been staled and feeling overwhelmed by the feeling that I need to get this book finished. I would get frustrated waiting for God to show me the next step toward fulfilling His vision for me. I kept hearing, “finish the step you’re on,” which IS the book. That added to my anxiety, because I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I heard Him telling me that I needed to take a step and start working on writing again and THEN He would show up and renew the passion. We always have something to do, some step of faith to take, before God does His part. He want us to put that faith and trust to work even when we can’t yet see or feel Him working. That is the essence of faith.

God has used the opportunities to blog and comment during Facebook parties and daily emails to stir up the writing desire within me once again. God showed up just as He said He would. I am feeling much more peace in my heart and a renewed passion for writing. One day as I was commenting on something I was re-posting on my own Facebook page I realized that what I was writing was the answer to the part of the book that was just not working. I had started what I was writing with, ” Yes Lord. Here I am Lord.” And did He ever show up. When we say Yes to God with humble and sincere hearts God shows up in amazing and unusual ways.

Taking a step of faith requires us to get out of our comfort zones. I have started noticing that when God is leading us to step out of our own comforts He will start making us less comfortable in that “zone.” I have to admit I watch too much television. Even if I’m not sitting in front of it I often keep it on for “company.” The trouble is with that worldly noise filling the air it makes it hard to hear the still small voice of the Lord. He has been making me less comfortable with TV and shows I really like are not as interesting to me as they once were. As I keep saying yes to God, He keeps changing me and my priorities. I am turning off the TV more, and listening for God’s voice even more. When I want to sing and dance and praise the Lord I put on Christian music and when I need a little background noise to help me concentrate (I’m sure I was not the only teen who had to listen to music while I studied), I have been putting on the light classical Music Choice channel softly in the background. I’m not sure why this works for me, but it does. I have a tendency to be easily distracted. I guess the music occupies that part of my brain, so I can concentrate better. Anyway, changing things up and yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit may take me out of my “comfort zone,” but it leaves me with a feeling of peace and rest in my heart when I have completed the task, as though my heart is hearing my heavenly Father say well done my child. Welcome to the new comfort zone – Radical Obedience.

I was already planning to lead this study with my small group this Fall when I saw the opportunity to do this study online with y’all. I was led to say yes to this amazing adventure. You wonderful ladies from all over this country and around the world have prayed for me and encouraged me through comments on my blog and the life stories you’ve shared on your own blogs. I’ve learned new things, like verse mapping, which I can share with my group. And I know that God is going to do amazing things in and through each of us – the 24,000 women from every corner of this world – as we continue to say YES to God each day. Our radical obedience to a God who radically loves us will lead to many radical blessings, which will equip us even more to be a blessing to others. I’m looking forward to doing “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope with y’all next.

Much love to all my sisters,
Julia

http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/

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Radical Obedience – Saying #YesToGod

This blog post is in response to the online Bible Study of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” for the week two blog hop.

Back in 2007, we were considering renovations on our house in California. One day as I was trying to figure out how to best layout our great room I clearly heard God’s voice in my heart/spirit saying, “Don’t worry about it you won’t be here.” I somehow got it in my head that it would be 18 months from then. I had always wanted to move to the Central coast of California. Our favorite vacation spot is Cambria. That’s where “I” wanted to move. Our youngest child got married in September 2008. I was certain that we would be moving soon after that. It didn’t happen. I figured I heard God wrong and put it out of my head.

Fast forward to August 2009, I was laid off from my job. At first I was devastated, not to mention our budget. It was a very stressful job, which only got worse for the people who were left behind to pick up the slack left by all the people who were laid off. I was so stressed prior to the lay off that being laid of was actually less stressful for me and I found peace and rest. The severance package we got in the lay off helped cushion the blow. In the whole experience I saw God’s hand of provision in our finances and my peace of mind.

That same year Jim’s employer filed bankruptcy. Just before Christmas we found out the business was for sale as part of the bankruptcy and a local company looked sure to win the bidding. When hubby went back to work after the New Year the owners were there – Surprise! – a company from Missouri. They were moving the whole operation to their facility in St. Louis. They asked Jim to go, too.

When Jim came home and asked me if I was willing to move to Missouri my first thought was no, but then God reminded me of what he told me years before, and I heard myself saying yes. Missouri, not exactly the coastal oasis “I planned on.”  Jim was put in charge of the move on the California end. It took until July to get the move completed.

The end of June 2010, one week before we left California we found out our baby girl and her husband were expecting their first child/our first grandchild. We had been looking so forward to being grandparents and now we were moving away. I was heartbroken. That last Sunday in California during worship I cried out to God asking why we had to move away. He said to me, You can choose to stay, but if you want to see (my heart’s desire) you have to go. I’m not ready to reveal this desire, as it has not come to pass yet. Of course, I knew in my heart that we had to go, for so many reasons, but most of all I did not want to disobey God. Nothing good ever comes from that. It was not easy, for sure, but following God isn’t always easy. That’s where faith really comes into play. Trusting that the Lord’s plan is better than your plan/desires. Over the last three years I have experienced quite a bit of depression, primarily when I focus too much on me, my feelings, and how much I miss our ever-growing family. But I have also experienced much joy and fulfillment in obeying the Lord, not only in coming here, but in following Him in the way I live and serve Him.

But there are still some things I still have to learn about completing what God gives me to do (like the book I’ve been supposed to be writing now for too many years) and waiting on His timing in other things. I’m realizing that until I complete the book, some of the other parts of the ministry/calling God has on my life will not move forward. He’s not going to show me the next step, until I complete the one I’m on. I ask all my #YesToGod sisters to keep me in prayer, so I can find the courage to complete the book and move forward with the Lord’s plan for my life. 

On 1-17-04 I was having breakfast “with God” at a McDonald’s when a young man came up to me and asked to see my Bible. He opened it to Joshua 1:1-9. He pointed to it and told me, “Take it, take it.” These verses are where God is commissioning Joshua to take over as leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. Three times God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. For years I questioned how these verses could be for me. I have a past. I never went to college. I’m not a pastor. Who am I to teach others, be a leader? When I finally started seeking God on this He showed me that it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s about how God equips me through His Spirit and His Word, not about who I am. I just need to be strong and courageous and make myself available to Him, say YES to Him. Yet, sometimes I still waiver and allow my circumstances to get me so down that I don’t do what I know I need to do. Even more, what I enjoy doing. I love being in the Word. I love seeing how God uses me, even in small things, to touch other people’s lives. We all have our ups and downs, but hopefully we’re still moving forward through those peaks and valleys.

A friend recently pointed out that maybe God had to move me here, fsr from my family, because I would be such a devoted grandma that i might lose my focus on the ministry God is giving me. God has given me a small group of sister-friends here in Missouri that encourage and support me in where God is leading. I didn’t have that so much in California. God is good and provides what we need.

God has a plan and a purpose for each person, young old, male, female. My oldest daughter’s church is even training children to work in the healing rooms. It’s not about our abilities, but our availability to God’s work and trusting Him to see the work completed in and through us with “Radical Obedience.”

Blessings and peace,
Julia

http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/