My heart is bursting to share so many things with you.
The Lord blessed me with safety to and from Lynchburg today - about 6 1/2 hours of driving in the fog and rain.
Our family prays together in the van before we leave on a long trip of any sort, but in all honesty it often feels like a courtesy prayer. I'm not trying to be disrespectful. We truly do want God to watch over us and He ALWAYS has, even when there has been car trouble, but sometimes I think we take that safety for granted. Tonight my prayers for safety were urgent. I didn't want to drive back home. I wondered if it was because I was enjoying the college kids while sitting in the cafeteria chatting after dinner. I sat back and looked around the large room and thought, "I need to go home, but I don't want to." It struck me that it wasn't because I wanted to STAY there either...5 hours was more than enough of their fun and crazy antics. :) I worried that maybe I was anxious about leaving my son there for the weekend. I made my college-age daughter promise me to check up on him and make sure he was ok throughout the four day visit. Then as I drove off the campus I called home to tell my husband that I was leaving so he would know when to expect my arrival. He put my little girls on the speaker phone and I asked them about their day and then I asked them to pray for mommy that she would have a safe trip home. It wasn't a request I would normally make. I drove less than 5 miles down the road listening to praise music as loud as it could comfortably go and fear just gripped me. I prayed that God would get me home to my family. I tightened the seat belt and slowed to the speed limit, which I continued to keep for the rest of the night. If you know me at all...that's UNUSUAL!
A long time ago the Holy Spirit had prompted me to slow down around a very dangerous curve that I drove every day. Back then I drove with the attitude of invincibility, but I immediately braked to a crawl just as a semi truck came barreling around that curve into MY lane. I had the capacity to move off onto the shoulder because of the Holy Spirit's prompting and avoided almost certain death. I felt like something like that might happen tonight. I was genuinely anxious.
For a solid hour I listened to a playlist of my favorite worship songs and just enjoyed singing to the Lord in private. Then right about the second hour mark I popped in a cassette my mom had given me of Beth Moore talking about the passion of God. The past couple of weeks I have enjoyed some truths that Beth has "nailed home" for me in my Esther study, but she also has shared some thoughts/ideas that I found to be "out there" so I was curious to see what she would teach re: the passion of God. I made it through both sides of cassette 1 and side A of cassette 2 and had about 45 minutes more until I got home when I turned over cassette 2 to side B. What she shared about Jacob wrestling with God was profound in my life at the moment.
She said that Jacob was finally having an honest struggle...no cheating allowed in this match up. He hung on through the night, clinging to God. When God asked him his name, he replied, "Jacob." He had to admit that he was the supplanter, the cheater. Then God gave Him a new name. She made the point that God wants to transform our lives-to give us new names, so to speak. He doesn't want us to identify with our old self, but to become new in Him. Jacob's tenacity, his hanging on, while God stripped away the old and made something new out of the man was critical to Jacob fulfilling His calling. Then she used other illustrations from the Bible, David being the most recognizable. He was anointed King and then sent to the "wilderness," spiritually speaking, while Saul was chasing after him and trying to kill him. David remained faithful and his tenacity, his hanging on to the PROMISES OF GOD, allowed God to fulfill a great destiny in him.
I sobbed for 45 minutes straight. Not little tears from a poignant thought, but true bondage-breaking, hope-inducing sobs. I can't truly wrap my brain around all the God is revealing to me and what He is trying to strip away (that I so desperately hold on to), but Beth shared how God is walking you through this time of destroying the old, not for Himself, but FOR YOU. He's not in Heaven just wishing we'd hurry up and obey so He can do His work, He wants to strip away our old man, and yes, have our obedience, so that WE have the victory. He lavishly loves us and wants to save us - not just from Hell, but from ourselves, our sinful nature. He wants to create a new woman in me. What am I hanging onto and why? What do I believe about God, truly, if I can't trust Him with my baggage?
I don't have the answers for you or for me. I just know that I desperately want Him to keep doing that work in me. That I don't want to be the old Angie; I NEED Him to make me anew.
Beth shared a side note about her daughter, Melissa, sharing as a young woman, how profound a certain truth had struck her in Psalm 23. As best as I can remember through the crying, Melissa said, "Mom, Do you realize that God forces my enemies to sit and watch me eat at God's banquet table where every good thing is given to me? My enemies have to watch as God anoints my head with oil. He is showing my enemies that I have all I need to fulfill my calling and have the victory."
How do we forget how awesome God is? How do we forget that in Him we have all that we will ever need? I believe tonight the enemy knew that the Holy Spirit was going to "nail one home," and he sure didn't want me to get the message. My drive, even through dense fog and curvy roads, was completely uneventful. I would like to surmise that it seemed the roads were emptier than I had ever seen them. I was safely in the hands of God, both in my car and in my heart. I hope that you too have experienced his loving care in your life.