Thursday, January 24, 2013

Letting Go of the Reins

A few weeks ago my daughter was atop a large horse, preparing for her weekly riding lesson. She has been riding now for over a year and still tends to lose focus :). Her mission seemed quite simple to the naked eye of an observer: she was to guide her horse into a small frame on the floor and turn him around without leaving the frame. She was unsuccessful at this task....six times. Each time she would trot to the box she would begin to pull back on the reins. This act causes the horse to stop because the reins pull the bit in his mouth. Finally, her instructor said "Sweetheart, if you want to move forward you HAVE to loosen your hold on the reins". One simple statement that changed my perspective...

Who knew Mister John was so wise? I wrote that statement down right then as I was assured it applied to my own life. How many times have I begged God to take my life forward only to pull tight to the reins because I was afraid of what might happen if I let loose? What if people expected more from me? What if I let others down? What if I was forced out of my comfort zone? I love zones. Honestly, a zone of ANY kind is my friend. The end zone indicates my team has scored. A speed zone gives me the heads up to proceed with caution. My comfort zone keeps me safe from everything that I am afraid of in life.

I am naturally not an extremely social person. The thought of my life being forced to merge with other lives nearly makes me break out into hives. I also hate flying. Why? Um, people are too close to you, people tend to fall asleep on you (even if they don't know you....rude), the bathroom is SMALL, and you are in a big hunk of metal in the sky....with people you do not know. I'm not afraid of dying in an airplane as I am aware of statistics, I just hate flying. Cold weather does not agree with me and I would just assume keep my distance. In all honesty the temperatures of Africa are far more appealing to me than the frigid air in Eastern Europe.....So why on Earth am I here?

My entire life has been spent white knuckling the reins. I believed for brief periods that I could truly control the outcome. Even in my childhood I exhibited tendencies towards controlling behavior. I home schooled through my high school years because I endured such terrible verbal abuse in school I wanted to become a hermit. I held a job from the age of 13 and at 17 I received my early graduation so I could take care of my dying mother. I still fooled myself into thinking I was in control. Deep inside the inner pockets of my mind a war was raging for my life though.

I always felt unworthy. Please do not misunderstand this. I had a very LOVING, Christian family. My mother and father provided the world for my brother and myself and I was never without love. There was a foot hold placed in my mind by Satan that would haunt my every thought for decades though. By the time I was 18, I had already suffered thoughts of suicide and attempted to kill myself twice. Once was by drinking heavily and then purposefully driving myself around hoping to get into a wreck. The other was mixing prescription drugs and alcohol. The lowest point was one night when I was 23 years old. I was married to a handsome, loving man and had 2 very young children. I battled the voices in my head daily and would spend hours locked in the bathroom banging my head against the wall. One night I decided that my entire family would benefit much more from my total absence. So, I took my husband's gun down, sat on the floor, and placed the barrel in my mouth. Shouts emerged from my head as clear as day saying "DO IT! Everybody is better off without you! You are worth NOTHING!" As my finger tried to muster up the strength to pull the trigger, I heard a very quiet voice whisper...."Give me one more day. I am not through with you yet..."

For reasons unknown, I stood and placed the gun back, then I went to bed. I can hardly describe the following morning. My life circumstances had not changed, but my head was...quiet. The thought of being unworthy were still for once. God Himself reached down and spared my life that night. Through a series of events that can only be described as miraculous, I became who I am today. Over a year ago, I had another tragedy strike. As I mourned the loss of my third child, I laid on the floor and told my husband that I had no purpose in life. For a few weeks God was very patient with my pity party, until one day during worship I heard the same voice from so many nights ago...."Child, I love you. What happened was not something that happened to you, it happened for others. Are you done yet? Because I could use you now.."

And this friends, is why I found myself flying to a very cold place :). I have a purpose. I do not have to agree with the purpose. I do not have to enjoy the means by which I arrive to my purpose. All I have to do is be willing to serve. Yes, Jesus gave His very life to save mine. God saw potential in a very broken human being. As long as He puts oxygen in my lungs, I will follow. He saved my very life many times and He is not through with me yet. I strive not to wallow in my circumstances, but to remember the future and hope I am promised in Him. It is my very present purpose to share such hope with those who think there is none left. God decides when He is through with us. I will honor the Savior of my life and train every day to fulfill my purpose.

So, if you are in a struggle I must ask this one question: Are you done yet? He is not through with you, so do NOT give up on Him.

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