For the past few weeks I have found myself pulling further away from my time with God. Sure I manage to sneak in a quick 2 minute devotional read, but I really haven't spent any quality time with him. If you know me, you know that Christ is a big part of my life and I would like to say He is one of my very best friends. But honestly, these days- I suck at being a friend back to Him. I don't answer His calls, He tries to connect with me through His word, music, books, news articles, Sunday Sermons, my children. He speaks in ways that I will hear Him best, ways that speak to my heart and say "Hey, I have something I want to share with you- are you there?" He always gets a busy signal and He is always leaving messages for me, the problem is I am too busy to listen to those messages or hear what He wants to share with me.
Last year in August, a whorl wind of trouble began raining down in multiple areas of my life and it pretty much lasted until this April. Every month a new attack presented itself and every time I felt like my head was above water, something or someone pulled me back under. There were many times when I felt like I wouldn't make it, it appeared as if I was living in an eternal season of winter. I felt like I was poked, prodded, shoved, pushed, pulled in every direction. But the one thing that got me through was my faith in Jesus Christ. He was my rescuer from the water, His hand pulled me up to keep me from drowning. The warmth of His love, kept that season of winter from making my heart cold and killing my relationship with Him. He stayed by my side and provided food for my soul daily. When I felt like I had nothing left in me to give, He refreshed me with living water. He was in all ways my rock and my salvation. When April came, changes began and I felt some of the chains that bound me breaking free...I felt joy again in my heart and I flew as high as I could and embraced the new challenges He set before me.
I didn't doubt, I didn't fear, I just pressed forward...the problem is I got to far ahead of Him and now it is hard to see Him. I ran ahead, forgetting what He had done and where I came from, only to find myself with this new feeling of melancholy and frustrations. I am admitting there is not much joy in my heart, where joy was is now replaced by grouchiness, irritability, frustration, anger and down right bad attitude. Why? Where did this come from? What is my problem? Today I opened my e-mail and I was thump-thudded and I realized what was going on...so why am I writing this? To encourage you, as I have been encouraged! The following comes from Max Lucado, one of my favorite Christian writers of all time. He is a modern day parablist, whose writing always manages to speak to my heart, I pray it speaks to yours too.
Week of July 22
When a potter bakes a pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it “sings,” it’s ready. If it “thuds,” it’s placed back in the oven.
The character of a person is also checked by thumping. Been thumped lately?
Late-night phone calls. Grouchy teacher. Grumpy moms. Burnt meals. Flat tires. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding deadlines. Those are thumps. Thumps are those irritating inconveniences that trigger the worst in us. They catch us off guard. Flat-footed. They aren’t big enough to be crises, but if you get enough of them, watch out! Traffic jams. Long lines. Empty mailboxes. Dirty clothes on the floor. Even as I write this, I’m being thumped. Because of interruptions, it has taken me almost two hours to write these two paragraphs. Thump. Thump. Thump.
How do I respond? Do I sing? Or do I thud?
Jesus said that out of the nature of the heart a man speaks (Luke 6:45). There’s nothing like a good thump to reveal the nature of a heart. The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living.
If you have a tendency to thud more than you sing, take heart.
The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to day living.
There is hope for us “thudders”:
1. Begin by thanking God for thumps. I don’t mean a half-hearted thank-you. I mean a rejoicing, jumping-for-joy thank-you from the bottom of your heart (James 1:2). Chances are that God is doing the thumping. And he’s doing it for your own good. So every thump is a reminder that God is molding you (Heb. 12:5–8).
2. Learn from each thump. Face up to the fact that you are not “thump-proof.” You are going to be tested from now on. You might as well learn from the thumps—you can’t avoid them. Look upon each inconvenience as an opportunity to develop patience and persistence. Each thump will help you or hurt you, depending on how you use it.
3. Be aware of “thump-slump” times. Know your pressure periods. For me Mondays are infamous for causing thump-slumps. Fridays can be just as bad. For all of us, there are times during the week when we can anticipate an unusual amount of thumping. The best way to handle thump-slump times? Head on. Bolster yourself with extra prayer, and don’t give up.
Remember, no thump is disastrous. All thumps work for good if we are loving and obeying God.