May 1, 2008

Stretch me Lord

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Hymn- The Solid Rock
Edward Mote-1832
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Today I am going to talk about how God has stretched me. It again is personal and will reveal a bit of more of who I am in Christ. I am excited to get to share with you how He alone has changed me.

I have shared about that shy, scared high school student, the square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Impossible right? Let me just share how awesome and amazing God is!! No matter how much you think you are that square peg, when God comes into your life, He molds and shapes you until you fit into that round hole. When you stand in His truth, allow Him control of your life, and are obedient to Him, He changes you. Suddenly you become usable, a vessel that is doing work for a King. WOW!!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2Corinthians 5:17

Due to my lack of self-esteem, I would have never thought to find myself in front of people speaking or singing. It is not even something that I wanted to do but God began working on that area in my life after my first child was born. I began singing on the worship team at my church back home, which was a huge step for me putting that microphone in my hand, standing on a stage and singing. I was afraid that someone in the crowd would actually hear and judge me and it terrified me. So much so that freedom in my worship was lacking.

Now, fast-forward two years to my church in North Carolina. I now am under the teaching of my mentor and my worship pastor growing and finding my freedom in Christ. Suddenly there is freedom in my worship (clapping, raising my hands, etc) without fearing what others think about me because my security was in Christ. Now, I still had the microphone and still had the fear that someone was going to hear me but felt a bit more secure because I was singing with seven other people.

Fast forward four more years to an invitation from a youth pastor friend from back home. He invited me to go with his group to summer camp and asked me to speak to a group of teenage girls. Imagine the laughter from me when those words left his lips. He was asking me to not only stand up in front of a group of girls and women counselors and speak but also to write what it was I was going to share. Could there have been anything more ridiculous. Here enters obedience. I told him I would pray about it and get back to him. As soon as I got off the phone, I was in my chair praying when the words started pouring onto the paper. Two months passed and I had the opportunity to stand in front of a large group of girls at different times pouring out my heart and what God had shown me over the past two months. IT WAS AMAZING!! This is when the awakening began.

How many times do we put limits on God or withdraw when a situation gets uncomfortable? It is amazing what God can do when we freely and finally let Him. You see I have learned that He can stretch me far beyond my comfort zone when I am obedient. It is not anything I ever do on my own but it’s through His strength that He makes all things possible in our lives. (Philippians 4:13) He has already gone before us and He knows the outcome of all we will do so He prepares the way for us. I have learned that the moment we find ourselves saying never is the moment He will begin to work and show us how wrong we truly are and exactly who is in control. The sad thing is our lack of obedience. If we are not obedient then I believe He allows things (sickness/injuries, job loss, financial burden, struggles in relationships) to bring us to a point of brokenness until we submit and follow His plan for our life. I’ve been to that bridge and I’ve had to cross it and it was not pleasant but on the other side was a wonderful blessing from my Father. Now when He calls, I hear Him and have a desire to obey because He made me into a new creation with a confidence and boldness that brings me security in knowing that He has it in His hands.


Again, fast forward four more years to just these past few months when this blog started. One of my biggest strongholds was that of fearing what others thought of my writing. This led me to seeking the approval of everything I wrote. When this blog began, Satan used peopleand so many times I wanted to give up but God used a friend who encouraged me not to give up and so God began to work boldness in my walk and took that fear of man out of my heart. Now don’t get me wrong, that fear constantly tries to sneak back in but now I recognize it, take it captive, and think on what is true.
He stretched me even further just this past Sunday when I sang my first solo. The moment the opportunity presented itself, the fear of man crept right in and consumed me not to mention the immediate feeling of wanting to be sick. If it were not for the people around me encouraging me and loving on me I think my fear would have won in the end. Praise the Lord that He puts people in our lives at those moments that He asks us to stretch. He always makes a way and He always provides when we focus on Him and truth.

Has He ever stretched you in this way? Have you allowed Him to stretch you? This process of being stretched is never complete. It will not be complete until we stand in His presence but in the mean time, we have to allow Him control over our lives to shape and mold us into whatever He has planned and no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. For myself I do not ever want to look back at my life and ask myself whether I gave every part of myself for Him or kept Him from stretching me to my full potential in Him. He is awesome and life changing!!!

“Father, mold me and shape me into the creation You have planned. Thank You for preparing the way and going before me in all that You have laid out for my life. Through You I can do all things in Your strength. Help me to never forget how perfect Your strength is in my life.”

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