Friday, September 3, 2010

The Lessons Continue

Over a month ago, the Deaf Ministry agreed to read Ephesians together. I was a little delayed in starting, but I am, of course, amused (but not surprised) at how perfectly the content of that book correlates with the lessons I am being taught right now.

I have found myself recently in situations that I anticipated would be awkward at best, perhaps with an array of fiery darts headed my way. That day, I picked up my bible, searching for some guidance. Not knowing where else to turn, I opened to Ephesians. I found it difficult to focus on the Letter itself, and started reading my notes in the margins. Notes about redeeming the time and walking in Christ-likeness. What stood out to me when I read it was, chapter 6, verse 16. Donning the Full Armor of God. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I was reminded the Shield of Faith could extinguish (not deflect, but EXTINGUISH) those fiery darts, if I should take it up. (I did my very best)

Today I picked it up and was reminded of putting off my old self, and putting on the new. I am not the woman I once was. Of that I am sure. Thinking of it isn't even comfortable. It doesn't seem to make sense to me anymore. Yet sometimes I fear I will fall back into it. I appreciate Paul's reminders, written so long ago, and applicable still to me today.

As I read, I thought back to the music I had playing during my morning run. A band called Skillet, singing "Awake and Alive". Through it, I was comforted and encouraged. By the end of the run, I felt empowered again! I'd heard over and over again the story of being "at war with the world", trying to "pull [them] into the dark". But, they had "Decided In Advance" not to sell their souls. Still, they felt weak in their faith, and felt their strength fading fast... And just like happens with me, He comes in, breathes in His new life, and they are reminded again of their faith and their decision. As I signed "I'm awake and I'm alive", the 'awake' came off my hands as "open-hearted". Oh, yeah. That.

Add to that a reminder this evening that "no matter what the obstacle, we can push through it, as long as we continue to try." My head did one of those double takes where I nearly miss the words, knowing their purpose is to teach me on a level much deeper than is merely apparent. Fortunately, it was written down, and the paper was coming with me. I can push through these obstacles, with perseverance, and "through Him who gives me strength". (What the Deaf Ministry just FINISHED reading together... Philippians.)

I am grateful that He continues to stand by me, encourage me, strengthen me, renew me - through His Word, the words and music that touch my heart, and the people He sends to walk beside me on this earth.

Why I ever doubt, I will never know...

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