***** I wrote this post over 2 weeks ago, read this then see my follow-up thoughts *****
Wednesday evening during Bible Study we were discussing how God's written word (the Bible) is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. My mind went back to November 2009...
(my journal entry)
Nov 16th, 2009
I felt like the Spirit got me out of bed this morning (it was very early) and invited me to have time with the Lord. I turned to John 15, this is what I feel like the Lord spoke to me after reading that scripture
"I (God) want to help you bear much fruit. I have big plans for your life, but I need you to stay grounded in me so I can prune you in the ways that will help you bear much fruit in the long run. You will be going through a pruning season. I have not left you, this is for your ultimate benefit and my glory. Please stay with me in this time. Please run to me in this time. Quiet yourself, turn to me, learn to need only me. Quietness is the key. Be slow to speak, quick to listen. Listen to my spirit, listen to my word, listen to others. I have entrusted you with much, I want you in great spiritual shape to be fit to fight the long battle. Steve will need you, I want you to be prepared and grounded in me so deeply.
I want to give you eyes more like mine, I want to break your heart with what breaks mine. I want to take you out of your box. This is to my glory, that you will bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciple.
Obey my commands, understand my commands more deeply. Erin, what does it really mean to you to love me and love others? I want to give you my joy, complete, not lacking"
Let me start by saying there have only been a few times in my life, where I have quieted my spirit and mind long enough to really hear something like that from the Lord. I did not hear an audible voice, I just wrote down what was coming to my mind.
I have to smile about the last 2 years, now that I am on this side of it. I am so thankful the Lord prepared me. I have gone through so many "internal" things the last few years. My world was not shaken by terrible events happening around me (I was a little worried what "pruning" looked like, was I going to loose things close to me). But my mind and attitude were pruned big time! Without sharing too much, because even though I believe in being so authentic there are still some things that aren't the world's business, I would definitely share details and my heart with someone if I thought it would help them on their journey, but to throw it all out there on a blog, where you really might not get it all, I would rather not.
God has delivered me from lies that I had believed for almost 15 years. I knew I had some "pain" from experiences from the days of high school, but the Lord showed me how the enemy so carefully strung lies into my story for the last 15 years, eventually affecting my marriage. Through Beth Moore's study Breakthrough, and with the favor of the Lord, I have been released from those lies and live in truth.
God has so helped my attitude towards certain people and situations. No those people and situations haven't changed, but my attitude has, what a difference that makes.
God has stripped away my dependence on others. Some of those relationships being my own family who are amazing people. God ultimately is the only one who will not let you down, being able to find purpose through him, has allowed me to free others from my expectations and personal need for fulfillment.
***** Follow-up 2 weeks later*****
I had shared some of that with my Monday morning Bible study that I am a part of. I was at such a great point of gratitude and contentment. I was living with the filter that my grass is just as green as the other side, it isn't about comparison or what we don't have, but being thankful for the many blessings.
Then I felt like I heard the Lord again. I have been experiencing intense pregnancy-like symptoms (nausea, fatigue, food adversity, lack of period, etc) and I really thought I was pregnant. Tests kept coming back negative, but I had no idea what was causing these symptoms. One morning in my quiet time I felt like I heard the Lord tell me that I had Cancer and I needed to go to the doctor right away. You can imagine that my heart sunk, I put down my pen, got down on my knees and cried out to God. Was this from him? Was this a physical thing, or spiritually did I have a foreign object that needed to be removed from my soul? Was this a word from Him, or something from the Prince of Darkness, the enemy that seeks to kill, steal and destroy?
One of the things on my 30 before Thirty list is to follow the promptings of God, even if they don't make sense. Something I learned along this journey is that if you think that you hear something from God, put it to the test. Ask him, seek verification in His Word. If it is physical, seek medical attention to test it. That is what I did.
Long story short, I went to my family Doctor (who is amazing Christian man) and I told him exactly what was going on. He was sensitive to it, I was a little nervous that he was going to think I was some crazy making up physical problems, but I was being obedient, and couldn't care. After 2 weeks of testing, poking and proding, there does not seem to be any physical reason for my symptoms and Cancer does not seem to be an issue. I did verify over and over that I wasn't pregnant.
(Just a heads up, this is a random side note) - I have not dealt with fertility issues or miscarriage. So many of my close friends have. Seems like more than not, have had to wrestle through pregnancy issues. For 1.5 weeks I really believed in my heart I was pregnant. All the signs pointed that way (even in the grocery the very sight of food made me want to vomit, and the man who walked by me in the produce section, his cologne made me want to hurry outside to hurl). So in my heart I really believed it, I was already planning things, the kiddos would be 18 months apart, I hope it is a boy so him and Buster can share a room since I have a great decorating idea (yes my mind goes there), I am so excited for another blessing, on and on and on. So when the initial blood work came back negative for pregnancy, I really experienced loss and disappointment. I understand that physically there really wasn't a baby inside of me, but my head and heart had felt otherwise. The disappointment stayed for awhile like a black cloud lingering over me, then another part of me had thought that if I am not pregnant, is it something serious like Cancer? Fear wanted to creep up inside, I had to pray hard for that to stay away. I do appreciate that going through this has made me more sensitive to women who have dealt with loss, I know I don't fully understand everyone's situation (really none of us know what it is like to walk in another's shoes, let's not forget that and start judging)
I do believe my hormones are just still way out of whack. Last Sunday was my worst day, I could barely peel myself off the couch, but each day this week has gotten better. I really never got any specific reason for the feelings, as far as the Cancer word, I have such peace that I tested it and it isn't true, so I believe it wasn't a word from God. Sometimes that is hard to decipher, so the best thing to do is put it to the test, and praise him the whole way through.
I don't believe that it is a coincidence that right when I am so grateful and content, trials come my way. Sure they weren't anything large, but little nuisances, testing to see how solid my foundation is. I pray that I learn through these smaller trials, so Lord help me, if something large comes my way, my roots are deep into my faith of my God.