Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays. We are studying Lysa TerKeurt's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". If it's your first week or you've been here the whole time, Welcome! This study is happening across several blogs. Be sure to stop by the leaders blog, Lelia, to see what all the other ladies are gleaming from this study. This week we are looking at Chapters 12 and 13.
Chapter 12 - Learning to Lead
Let's start with a quote from Lysa: "If you are influencing people, you are a leader." So to all the moms, you are a leader. Not only are you a leader to your own children but most likely to their friends as well, even if you don't feel like it. Do you have friends that call you for godly advice? You are a leader! Now, you may not feel like a leader, but you are! You are influencing people and that counts as leadership.
But, you may say, I feel inadequate! Well Lysa has a response for you: "God calls inadequate people so He can work through them and He can receive the glory that is only His." God is only asking us to respond to His call. He has all the other details under control! That will include making any needed changes in you and your thinking. Lysa talks about how our actions and reactions must reflect God in us. The more we walk in obedience and welcome God to change what is needed, that will happen. Count on it!
Lysa closes the chapter with this: "Take care of the possible and let Him take care of the impossible." I know I am guilty of trying to "do God's job". Like I really could anyway, you know? It reminds me of Abraham and Sarah trying to take care of the impossible, having a son, when God already had it worked out. So often I am like Abraham and Sarah. God is not asking me to do what only He can do. He's asking me to do what I can do, what He has called me to do, nothing more. Lysa asked "What step is God asking you to take?" Take that step. Don't worry about the what ifs and how in the worlds. Just take that one step. "Take care of the possible and let Him take care of the impossible."
Chapter 13 - Death Does Not Mean Defeat
In chapter 13 we leave the "Believing" Phase and enter the "Death" phase. Hmmmm...I could get discouraged here by the name, but Lysa instructs us not to. She says, "Death brings about a new life that can't be found any other way." This statement calls to mind two verses.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:13, NIV)
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, NIV)
The most significant thing it brings to mind though is my precious Savior Jesus. Jesus had to die so that I could have a new life that can't be found any other way than through Him. Now what Jesus suffered, what He gave up, is infinitely more significant than what I complain about. So God steered me in the direction of a completely different book than what I had imagined. Big deal! My little "vision" has to die in order for Him to birth His dream for me. What a small pittance compared to stepping down from the Heavenly Throne to die a horrid death on the cross.
Lysa tells the story of the guy she was sure she was going to marry. She had it all planned out. And then, he dumped her. That dream had to die. Lysa felt like she was dying. But, you see, God had Art in mind all the time. Lysa's idea of what she needed in a husband had to die so God could birth in her His criteria for her husband. Was it devastating to go through the death? I am sure it was. Was the death worth it? "Art is the perfect husband for me. God knew what I needed so much better than I did." I think that's a resounding yes.
In the personal study questions Lysa asked us to write about a time when you thought God was crazy or ignoring you (my paraphrase of course) but now you see He was working. Here is my very brief story:
When we moved to Raleigh, my husband's transfer fell through. He went through a period of unemployment or underemployment for 2 years. Because we had not made wise decisions, we were (and still are for right now) a two income family. So this was a devastating blow for us. The couple of times my husband got jobs, he was not able to keep them. This was not normal for him. He had a steady work history in Chicago. I felt, in the beginning and after every job loss, that Rick, the girls and I were forsaken. I was in utter disbelief that God would "let this happen." But He sure does know what He is doing. He used this time to bring my husband and I closer. We clung to each other and to our new church family. Most importantly we clung to God because who else were we going to turn to? Only He could change this situation. He did, after two years. My husband has held onto that job for 3 years now. Our finances are still shaky at times but we are making better decisions now. We are moving in God's direction for us financially. Each of us has deepened and strengthened our individual walks with the Lord. I do not believe we would be this close to God if our lives had gone the way we had planned. And as a further testimony, this experience is the very thing about which God has called me to write a book. He wants to use our experience to help other families. This is the step He has asked me to take: write the book.
So don't be afraid of death. God has a purpose in it. You may not see it right now but oh how you will rejoice later when you look back and recognize His hand at work. As Lysa put it, "This is not your defeat; this is your valley in the shadow of the mountain your soul longs to climb- a mountain of greater faith and closer intimacy with God than you ever thought possible." Put on your hiking boots! We have mountains to climb just as soon as we finish sloshing through the valley. Don't quit - keep going. The aroma of God's sweet presence is just a bit further along the road. Move toward it with confidence!