Okay, so Beth Moore is amazing... God is even more amazing. I am loving how He is using this study this week to really speak to me. I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to rest in His word the past few days... okay, so new revelation building up from yesterday's devotional time...
Ephesians 3:14-21 (New Living Translation) Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen."
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: "Draw a tree planted in soil to represent how rooted you would estimate your life to be in the soil, or assurance, of God's love. Beside the diagram, write an explanation for the depth (or lack of depth) of your roots."
Okay, so I wish I could draw you a picture of my tree, but you will just have to imagine it yourself. It is a tall tree with many roots and branches. Each branch is a different size and has smaller branches coming out of it. There are no leaves on the tree. In the center of the tree is a carving of a heart. The roots appear to be a reflection of the branches: each a different length and depth and smaller roots coming out of larger ones. The roots are named after who God is to me and their depth is comparable to the depth of that characteristic of God evidenced in my life... God as Father, Savior, Comforter, friend, healer, provider, faithful, and unfailing love.
This assignment made me realize how amazing (and accurate!) the image of a tree is as an analogy for the spiritual life. Although some branches and even some smaller roots may break and die in a storm, fire, flood, or drought, there are still many strong roots that are deep and firmly planted that do not allow the tree to be moved or destroyed. Through time and the trials of life, even shallow roots grow deeper and weak roots become stronger and new roots form and grow. God uses the storms and fires of life to trim us so that he can grow us in the way that he sees is best for his plan. Matthew and I have been two tall trees rooted firmly in our own paths and plans for life. We have been through some difficult and dry seasons and many branches have broken, but as new life and branches form, the trees grow closer together and become one tree. This is not an instant process, but a long and sometimes painful one. But it is not the only purpose for the trimming. God cuts back the unhealthy branches so that the tree can grow and live and eventually produce fruit. God is the Master Gardener. As a tree, can I tell him that I do not want to be pruned today? He only works so that I may have an abundant life in Him and that I would produce fruit for His kingdom. If I work against Him and do not allow Him to prune me, I will only suffer more. There is freedom in resting in the Master's hands.
God as the Master Gardener does not only prune, but He waters His creation with His Spirit. Beth Moore said "Through the filling of the Holy Spirit, He desires to permeate every inch of your life and fill up every hollow place with the fullness of His love." (Breaking Free, week 8, day 3).Indeed, this is how I feel today - although there is still sadness at the loss of another child, God has filled the empty place with His love. As I surrender to Him, His love casts out my fears and fills me with His Spirit, peace and love.
Psalm 90:14 "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
As Beth Moore says, "If we're not experiencing satisfaction, a hindrance exists and we want to identify it and ask God to remove it. Ordinarily, the primary hindrance to satisfaction in our lives is refusing Him access to our empty places."
I realized today that I have been refusing to let God fill my empty places because my desire for a child overwhelmed me. Even more, I thought my desires (and timing) was in line with His plans and promises for my life, so I denied Him access to those empty places. Now that I have surrendered to Him, He has satisfied me beyond my wildest imaginings!
Not that I do not continue to feel sadness at the loss of life so desired and so precious to us, but that I do not have an insatiable obsession for having a child. That empty place has been filled with the only One who could ever have filled it in the first place - God. There is such freedom in allowing Him to fill this place. Freedom to serve, freedom to live, freedom to be who I am without fear of failure or inadequacy. Freedom to live without shame or fear. Satisfaction in Christ is not like satisfaction of this world. It does not fade away in light of the next thing. It is complete. I feel a wholeness I have never known before. Thank you Jesus for this gift.
A new passion for God's word has been birthed from the last few days' treasures. I am so looking forward to what tomorrow will bring! It truly is an amazing adventure with God... each new day full of truth and life from His word. This is a new season in the journey. One I was not expecting, but one I am so grateful for.