Thursday, July 25, 2013

Discerning The Call For Action

God plants seeds within all of us from the moment we are created. He plants seeds to develop for His purposes. God developed Moses' character by molding his actions towards His will. Moses was a reactor. When conflict arose, he reacted. God taught Moses the correct way to react, to fulfill His purpose. This was possible because Moses chose to pray. Through prayer we are opening our hearts up to God’s will. 

Through prayer, Moses learned to obey God. This is not saying that Moses never experienced disobedience – he did, once. We see this truth in the fact that Moses was not permitted into the Promised Land. But through his obedience to God throughout his life, Moses became a better person, reacting in ways that aligned with God's will. The story of Moses  referenced within the prayer study, found under Paisley's Wings  shows us how God shaped Moses into a great man, but without changing who he was. In fact, God took the seeds He planted within Moses and fed and watered them until they were suited to His purposes. He nurtured the seeds planted within Moses’ heart.

When I pray, I am asking God to intervene in my life as it fits His plan. One of the seeds God has planted within my heart is an artistic ability. I have always had a passion for art, whether in the form of drawing and painting, or writing and singing. I love to express myself in many avenues of art. God planted this seed within me. I began drawing from a young age, practicing by copying images I liked. A little older, I would take whole summers and focus on a particular subject: one summer it was animals, the next people. I got better. Then I began experimenting with different mediums, learning how each was different and how I could manipulate them. I drew, painted, crafted. I even sang, wrote poetry and songs. I continued to practice. Not just to get better, but because I loved how I felt when I did these things. I felt closer to myself, and closer to God. There was an unspoken understanding between myself and my heart. 

This is a gift that wasn't fostered. After being conditioned that there was no place in the world for me to use my artistic talents, I fell out of practice. In my inability to know what was right for me, as God chose, I allowed my artistic seed to be ignored, unwittingly allowing another's idea of what was best for me, what I was supposed to be, become the voice I listened to, instead of God’s. I forsook my passion for art to become what I was not, for the sake of others. My seed was placed in a dry dark place, left untouched.

The past few years, I have been called to pray for my God given identity. While my God given identity transcends the seed of my artistic talents, for the sake of this article, I am going to focus the content on my passion of artistic expression. Much of my God given identity has had to do with the severing of ties to influential people within my life. Currently, I am not ready to divulge the intimate details of these intense relationships. So, while most of us have all experienced such relationships in our lives where those relationships have attempted to destroy a God given seed, whether they know it or not, I am asking you to pull the deeper meaning from the avenue of which I choose to focus this topic on: the art of writing; Which is very much a part of me, and definitely a seed God intended to flourish within His hands to use for His purpose.

For a time, I was to be inactive in the sense that I was to wait on God: Active in prayer, inactive in many other things of life; Active in my role as a wife, mother, and friend, but inactive in much of anything else. I had to wait. Remember Be Still? And Seeking Silence andSolitude?

I am often shown the image of a seed under topsoil, seeing it in the form of a section drawing. 
All the time being still, living in silence and solitude, is used for God to nurture the root system of my faith, my trust, my relationship with God. 
Once the roots have reached deep into the earth, substantiating themselves within the sanctuary of the earth, reaching the water needed to keep them growing, the seed bursts in the other direction revealing the green stalk of the plant to come. 

That's when everything began to change. I caught glimpses into the work the Lord had performed on my heart. I saw moments of my truth being revealed to me. At first, this seemed to happen slowly, God easing me into the person He always intended for me to be. There was a division within my life, the feeling that something big was about to happen. A part of me ready for the big leap this was all leading to, yet fearful of the leap itself. I felt confined, and stretched. I was lost, yet found. I understood, but was confused. I knew God needed me to share Him with the world, to share the relationship I had with Him, with others. I was to use my journey of faith to help His children know they are not alone.

I got the itch to write a novel, and I did. I thought that was how I was going to get His message out. You know that book that is in my heart I know I am meant to write? Well, I believe that book is to be written later in my life (not sure how much later), and that much research will be involved. I thought that getting published would open the door to allowing the opportunity to permit me to write this book in my heart and share it. I was not successful in taking the typical avenues of getting published with my first book, though knowing that paying for self-publishing was not the way I was meant to go – I never had the funds available to put towards this particular venture. 

Not getting the agent, which I thought I needed, really threw a monkey wrench into my understanding of God's plan for me. Here I am, acting: I actively wrote a book; I actively sought out representation. But this was a time for inactivity – Side note of a current example: there was a venture I was interested in. I felt very open to the idea of this particular event, and prayed because I was also confused at the thoughts and emotions I was feeling. I prayed for God to give me a clear answer. Now, I pray for the money I need before and during every one of my serving shifts, that way I don't stress over the tips I make. Of course, I certainly have moments of disappointment. When it came to this particular venture, God ensured I did not have the money to act on this feeling. That was a clear answer to my prayer – Eventually, I stopped trying to get represented, after querying over 30 agents. 

But something else was revealed to my heart during all of this work. I gained the understanding that at some point in time in my future, I was to create a website around spirituality. It was to be a forum for people to come together and share their spiritual journeys and/or questions. I thought that I was to minister, potentially becoming an actual minister by way of classes. But again, this was meant to be way off in the future – after I got an agent and then became published. I have no idea why, but I really believed that my true writing career would begin when those two things happened. 

The stalk of my seed is beginning to break through the topsoil, reaching for the light from the sun, eager to reach the height necessary to blossom into a beautiful flower. 
My stalk pushes through the soil, a leaf is born. 
After all of that time, waiting patiently under ground, letting my roots be drawn deeper into the earth and strengthened, I expect to shoot up through the soil and grow quickly, until I touch the sky...
but, my growth is leaf at a time... 

After a while, inactivity became hard to endure. I was ready for a change, ready for something to happen. God wanted me to share myself with the world, though I did not want to. I knew enough of what God wanted from me to continue praying about it, but was so concerned at what this meant for me. How I would be perceived, how much would I have to share, and in what regard I am to do all of this. So, as much as I wanted change, I wasn't sure I wanted it in the way it appeared God was going to deliver it. So I prayed for God to change my heart to align with His wants.

I remember on March 12th, 2013, God awakening the idea of writing and sharing again. But that awakening was so incredibly strong, it was overwhelming. He wanted me to create a website…Now! And it was to be a blog. A blog!!!! What? I don't even have a facebook account...I don't use twitter...I have no online identity what so ever, and have no desire! Why in the world would God want ME to create a blog site?! I honestly did not want to do it.

But the command was just that: A Command!
I talked to my sister. God spoke through her, emphasizing I was ready for this, and I had to do it. 
I talked to my husband in great length, filling him in on the call I was receiving and the conversation I had with my sister. The first words out of his mouth: That's awesome! I think you should do it. 
The responses from those two really shook me up.

There is a moment in the notes of my bible from Exodus 14 that really touched me: They explain that God was ready for Moses to move. While prayer must have a vital place in our lives, we also need to know when to act; that there are times we know what action we are to take, but are stalling and instead pray for guidance.

I have been there in that place where I fear the action I am to take, questioning God’s reasoning behind it.

So, in my last ditch effort to no longer question the action, and to follow through with the action and gain resolve, I asked God: Is this really what you want me to do? 

I was scared. I have never been so vulnerable. What would people think? What would I think? What was God going to do with me? I have never been comfortable with putting myself out there!

In that moment, God gave me a vision: I was walking down the beach, Jesus between me and the ocean. I could see us from the back; I am on Jesus' right side. The sun is out, the waves are licking the shore, and the sand is smooth, save our footprints. As we are walking, Jesus steps directly into me. What was once a solid being, became a spirit that became one with me. We walk as one, Jesus residing within. In that moment, I began crying. God’s answer to this question was so blatant; I had no choice but to obey. This journey is about Jesus. And he is with me.

I started the quest for creating a blog site that very moment: it was 7 pm. I stayed up until 1 am researching which site to affiliate myself with, God very clear on that; then I began designing my site. My first post was up the following morning, March 13th. 

My stalk has reached great heights, leaves abundant. 
As it sways in the breeze, the head of a flower is born, waiting to reveal the grace within. 
Slowly, petal by petal, the layers of color and beauty are peeled back. 
My seed is beginning to bloom. 
As I reach for the light, the more I blossom. 

Ezekiel 36:26-27
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

When we except Jesus into our hearts, living with him day in and day out, we have taken the first step towards a heart of flesh. When we see Jesus as the Superior Being, we need for nothing else. When we walk with Jesus, there is no reason for fear. When Jesus is present, we have what is necessary to take action where God needs, how God needs, and when God needs.

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