Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Green Leaves.

This past January, the ladies in our small group began going through a book together called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  I first read this book many years ago when I found it at my parent's house one day during a particularly difficult season in my life---we were struggling with getting pregnant and I was very consumed and fearful about being able to have children.  I read the book and learned so much and benefited tremendously from the wisdom and encouragement it provided.  Since that time, I've referred to it over and over again.  The past six months, as we've been going through this book together, I have rediscovered so much truth, so much application, and have grown in such depth of relationship with my girlfriends as the discussions of contentment (or lack thereof), fear, anxiety, and trusting the Lord have brought us together. 

Never has this book been more timely than in the past six weeks or so.  After reading several chapters on anxiety and how to walk out putting to death the sin of anxiety, the Lord has brought a trial into our family's life that has allowed me to put my faith to work.  I am so thankful for the foresight the Lord had in having me be reminded of his commands, saying, "Do not fear!" 

This morning, I woke up early to read and was slammed with a flood of encouragement from the Lord.  I opened my Calm My Anxious Heart book to the next chapter in our assignment, and it immediately felt as if the chapter were written for me.  For this season.  For today, specifically.  I am so blown away by the kindness of the Lord.  I sense his care and friendship.  He is so specific sometimes and so intentional, and I just want to remember this.  He has been so faithful the past several weeks, even when I am not.  He has carried me when I am low and sad and scared, and in the midst of all of those emotions, he has not left my side.  I have sensed His presence, His voice, His sovereignty there, just patiently waiting to remind me of His goodness. 

Here are somethings the Lord greeted me with this morning:

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The author of the book wrote a prayer based on these verses that she prayed over and over again during a long trial, which I am copying and planning to make my heart's prayer during this time:

Please, God, teach me what it means to not only trust You but make You my total trust.  I long to become that blessed woman whose roots are planted deep by Your river.  As the heat of the trials increase, I long to trust instead of fear, to be content instead of anxious.  Please keep my eyes focused on You so that my leaves will stay green and fruit will be produced in the midst of the what ifs, the trials, and the hardest days ahead.
Here are some other scriptures from the chapter that build my faith:

Isaiah 41:10
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! 

Psalm 112:7
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

The Lord is trustworthy.  I can trust him with my life, my circumstances, and the future because I trust HIM and his character and his heart.  I can thank God that He has everything under control and that He is orchestrating all things.

Finally, this quote:

"Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past, nor in anxiety and forecasting to the future, but lie quiet under His hand, having no will but His."  H. E. Manning, as quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in her book Keep and Quiet Heart

I know I am being vague in this post regarding specifics, but there will be a time when I share specifically the things these words reference.  Thank you for your patience.

In the meantime, I am praying that my leaves will stay green!