I have had several people ask me, "How do you come up with the things you write about in your blog?" and "Why do you wait so long between blogs?" The answer is always the same for both questions.
I write when the Lord lays something on my heart. Before I am asked the follow up question, let me assure you....I have no problem distinguishing His voice from my own ego's. When it is of God, it is placed gently on my heart and grows steadily over time. I find myself not able to relax or put it out of my mind for any significant amount of time. This has been my experience over the last few days.
Several days ago, I came across some scripture that stayed with me and at the time, I had NO idea why. I kept going back to it time and time again. That little nagging thought of "God, You are trying to tell me something" remained in my spirit, yet I never asked what it was He wanted to tell me. Now, it has become crystal clear.
I have a brother that has truly been "out of God's will" for quite awhile. Drugs, drinking and heaven knows what else, became his idols of worship. Sadly, he lost much. No one knows that better than my brother. There were times I was so angry with him that I just severed all contact. Surely my ignoring him, denying him access to MY life and my child, a niece he loves dearly....would be the great wake up call he needed. Not only did I envision his "reawakening" but I could someday pat myself on the back for my small part in it.
Who in the heck did I think I was? As I kneel before the Throne of God now, I humbly beg His forgiveness for taking out a "Help Wanted" ad in His name and hiring myself to replace the Holy Spirit and God so that I could not only become Judge and Conscience....but, I also ask that He forgive me (and give me a swift kick in the pants) for having the audacity to think I, Julia, a sinner, could possibly think for one moment that I know more than HE, almighty, all knowing God!
I hear it now...."But Julia, you are a pastor's wife. You attend church. You read and study your Bible daily. You pray for others. You don't do drugs and drink and lie to others. You were just doing what you had to do." Don't be ridiculous! (You do realize I am speaking to myself!) I not only hired myself, I immediately gave myself a promotion to TRY and elevate myself to the position of my Father. I cringe as I write this.
As I said before, I love my brother, but I have come to the heartbreaking realization, I have not loved him unconditionally, as God has loved me. Don't get me wrong, at times in our lives, we must distance ourselves if those we love maintain a life style that goes against God and our beliefs. It is scary when someone you love is on drugs. My brother became someone I did not even recognize when he was on a binge. Recently, he has rediscovered the joy of his salvation....just as David did so long ago. There are things that are being reawakened in him, that have NOTHING to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with God. Have we gone down this road before with my brother? Absolutely. I found myself allowing him back in, only to lose him to the world. I refuse to be "guardedly optimistic." I will rejoice with him. I will be his biggest cheerleader (well, actually, our mother is captain of that squad!) I'm claiming all of the promises that God made to our mother regarding her children long ago as she and our dad raised us in God's House and taught us to love Him. My parents know that they merely planted the seeds in us...God did all the hard work.
As I lay in my bed wide awake last night.....the same Scripture played over and over in my head and heart from Proverbs. ""For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin." (Prov 5:21-22)
What do I take away from that? I hear God speaking to me, ever so lovingly, "Julia, I love you and you are my child. However, I see ALL. I do not need for you to do MY job. I will let you know what I need for you to do. Work on being less judgemental and critical.....and I will help YOU with that."
Thank you Lord for loving me the most when I deserve it the least. Most of all, I thank You for forgiving me the many, many times I've been less than perfect in others eyes....yet, when You saw me through Christ, I was perfect to you! (Oh, and THANK YOU Michael, for always loving your big sister, despite my many flaws! I love you!)