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Friday, June 25, 2010

Grace ~ raising my Ebenezer...

Themes tend to emerge in my consciousness, and I often find them relating to my current experiences. Such is the case with the concept of GRACE. I told you a few days ago that I would share with you soon about a few things, and one of them was God's grace. So, here it is.

It started off when I saw a statement on a friend's Facebook page. He said:

"By not trusting nor understanding
God's grace in my life causes discouragement.
So often I catch myself "trying harder" to grow deeper spiritually,
believing that the harder I try, the closer I will get to God.
This is actually living in bondage.
It's not about how hard I try but it's about His grace!!"

When I read this, I thought about how true it really is. I DO find myself discouraged so often because I place the focus on trying to control my own circumstances (which I can't) instead of accepting God's grace to work out His perfect plan (which He can!).

Then, the other day, D.T. and I were in the car listening to the new CD we received from Women of Faith. Let me tell you, it just keeps getting better and better! I really like it! :o) Anywho, we were listening specifically to the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and having a conversation about the verse that says:

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;

We certainly don't talk like that these days, and we wondered about the meaning behind it. So, I looked it up. D.T. actually recalled a bit about it, but it was all new to me. I found a good explanation here, so if you have a few minutes you might want to read it. If not, though, here it is in a nutshell. Ebenezer refers to the stone the prophet Samuel set up (1 Samuel 7:12) as an altar to remember how God had helped the Israelite nation to secure a victory over the Philistines in battle. So, to say "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I've come." is to acknowledge God's help and victory in one's life.

That is what I would like to do today. There have been several more recent instances of God bringing His grace to my attention, but I won't go on about those. The point is that I recognize that God has been incredibly gracious to me. He has given me far more than I deserve. He has also been merciful, in that He has NOT given me what I DO deserve. For both of these, I am SO grateful. He is so good to me, despite the fact that I am not good to Him. In fact, I have realized in this last week or so that having a child has become an idol for me. So, when I realized this, I asked Him to help me. To put aside this idol. To help me control my emotions, because I can't. From my studies in counseling, I understand that I can control my behavior, and even my thoughts. Unfortunately, my emotions are another story entirely. I cannot control them. So, I asked God to help me, and He did. So much so, that I am actually rather numb to my feelings at the moment, and I guess that is a good thing. I am not saying that we won't have a child some day. We MAY, but I need to separate myself from it for a while. Up until the other day, it had become more important to me than God, and that is not right. I guess I could lie and say that God is more important, because that is the spiritual thing that I should say, but it's not true. He wasn't more important to me, or at least I was not doing or saying anything to acknowledge His importance. Quite the contrary, actually.

I guess a good example of all of this is the story of Abraham and Isaac. God knew that Abraham loved his son, but He also wanted to see how much Abraham loved Him. Did he love Him more than his son? Would he put aside his desire for his son in order to do what God asked? Well, Abraham passed the idol test, but right now, I am FAILing miserably. So, until I can get my priorities under control, I could use y'all's help. I am going to make a few minor changes to my blog in the upcoming days. I am going to temporarily take off everything related to our pursuit of a child. I guess that's not really much. Just the small picture I have on the right that talks about when we submitted our adoption profile. The way you could help me, though, is by not asking me about it... here online... in the hallways. In Sunday School. Wherever. I know it's my fault that people do ask me, because I've put it out there. It would just be easiest right now in order to help me put it aside. Ask me about something else in my life. Tell me about your life. Just help me to not only be the "person waiting for a baby." There really is more to me than that. I promise, if something happens that is worthy of an update, I'll post it. I promise!

You know, I had a conversation with a friend the other day, and I told them that I don't really want to be like Sarah and Abraham, in that I don't want to be really old parents. My friend, though, pointed out how much faith Abraham had and that it really wouldn't be such a bad thing to pattern myself after him. I argued, though, ('cause I enjoy it ;-)) that Abraham did some really stupid things in his lifetime, too. So, I'm not sure. Sure, Abraham had faith, and Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, but he also stepped ahead of God's plan, a decision we are all still paying for today. Oh, well. I digress.

I guess that's about all I have to say for the moment. Do any of you have an Ebenezer in your life? A time when God helped you to secure victory over a battle that you were facing? Please, do share! :o)

Thanks for listening to all this, and thanks for understanding.

Oh, to grace
how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be;

Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.


Anonymous said...

This is quite appropriate for my life right now! Been struggling a lot with worry to the point where it has been overwhelming. God had to bring me to a place in my life this past month to show me that He is in control. It's all or nothing--I either believe Him or I don't. I either trust or I don't. You can't sit on the fence and believe one day and not the next. It's been eye opening to see just how much worry is unbelief! The only way through all of this is to search God with ALL of my heart and to cry out to Him like I never have before. Though some days were hard, God brought me through and I've learned so much more about Him in the process. Didn't realize how much I was a slave to worry until it was almost crippling! It felt like there was an intense battle in my mind b/w God vs. worry/Satan. The victory seemed impossible. But, God has helped me each time (sometimes each moment) get through the fog. There have been a lot of daily victories but there's still a long way to go! Definitely Ebenezer-worthy bcs the only one that could help in this situation was God!!

Sheryl said...

wow....have you been in my mind.

almost everything in my life right now is more important than God. i have talked with several people about it and can't put a finger on it. i don't like being this way but it's my reality right now! there are other idols in my life, whether they be relationships, conflicts or worries.

HIS GRACE: i'm not sure that we can really grasp it. bet if we could then it would be easier to get our priorities in place.

i have always loved the story of the ebenezer stone. i have many...but the one that stands out the most is when i finished doing Breaking Free for the FIFTH time and finally grasped God's love for me.

proud of you, my friend!!

Beth in NC said...

Thank you for explaining the Ebenezer stone CC!

I am still standing and believing for victories in my own life. Our God is on the Throne.

God bless you! Have a great weekend!

Stephanie Harbin said...

Wow...all I can say is - wow. Total honesty and humility. Grace is a wonderful thing. I have sang that song many times and never even thought about it much.

CC you inspire me so much. I wish we lived close and could be best friends and you could inspire me all the time.

I read a blog somewhere that gave me something to think about that I am still thinking about. The girl said something about getting to the point where being a christian was not about what you couldn't do in your life,(sins) but what you could do in your life. I am still chewing on that and asking God to grow me.

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