Hellooo, long lost blog friends! How I’ve missed you all over the past few weeks! I can’t believe it’s already been a month here at Patmos. To tell you I’ve been stretched beyond what I can handle is an understatement. Signing up for this discipleship program, I never realized just how intense it would be. At the same time, seeing how weak I am is revealing to me just how powerful Christ can be in me, if I choose to live in His strength rather than mine.
I would be lying if I told you it’s been all fun and games. My weeks here are filled with mixed emotions- excitement about what I have the opportunity to learn, fear about what is to come, and a longing to be home with family and friends…back in my comfort zone.
This is exactly where God wants me, though- outside of the realm of typical life. Pastor Chet said the first week that Patmos is normally for those stubborn enough to try on their own instead of letting God do the work He wants to do in the first place. Guilty, as charged. Doesn’t it seem like you know better than Him? Deep down, I know it’s a lie from Satan, but losing control seems scarier than maintaining it.
We’ve been challenged to get in the Word and hide it in our hearts. We have memory verses each day and must know them. I am learning what it means to truly meditate upon the Word, and I find that whenever I review a verse, God reveals something new and different about it that I never got before. It’s amazing how God can create a new experience each time with just a few words from Him. Without giving away information that I’m not supposed to, let’s just say that if you don’t know your verses, it hurts…physically and emotionally. It can not only affect you personally, but also your teammates. That happened to me today. I was off by one word for my verse. I suffered, and the team suffered with me. I felt horrible and blamed myself that everyone had to go through it. It was my fault. But, I wouldn’t have learned what I’m about to share.
The verse I had to recite was 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, “But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us THROUGH His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” I replaced the word “through” with the word “by.” I know what you’re probably thinking- that’s not really a big deal. But, when I thought about it, it was major conviction personally. That’s exactly what happens to me…I don’t work THROUGH the power of the Holy Spirit, I work on my own strength with the Holy Spirit BY me. He’s only my Helper when I specifically give Him access. Just like when I recited my verse. I never stopped to ask the Lord to help me, instead I relied on my studying and mental abilities to carry me through. That obviously failed. Slowly, I’m learning to change. God has to be my Everything all the time, not only when I feel like it.
That’s another thing that God’s been convicting me of lately. I realized just how consumed I am by my feelings and the circumstances around me. I allow what’s happening to determine my attitude, instead of focusing on the unwavering hope offered in Christ. “This hope we have an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters in the Presence behind the veil…” (Hebrews 6:19). Hope in the Lord draws me into His presence, and if that’s where I reside, I have no reason to fear or fret. Psalm 46 has been my theme here lately. When I feel like giving in because of all that is happening to me and around me, I remember:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
There are many other lessons I could tell, but time just doesn’t permit. I can’t wait to share many more with you once I get the opportunity to see you at home. Please forgive me for not keeping up with the blog or emails, as I promised I would. I never realized how little time I would have to do so, and our email accounts make it difficult to start a list for updates.
Lastly, I cannot stress how truly thankful I am for all of the encouraging words and prayers you are sending me. You have no idea how those acts of kindness hit me at just the right time and remind me of the purpose in the midst of the confusion.
This rare occasion to write made my day : ) Please know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers. Seek hard after Him, “…for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).