Thursday, November 21, 2013

Because God Made Me That Way

" You have searched me, Lord, and you know me." Psalm 139:1

It's hard to believe sometimes, isn't it, that the Lord knows us so much better than we even know ourselves.  Well, I thank the Lord that He does know me inside and out, good stuff and bad, the entire package, yet He loves me all the same.  He doesn't compare me to anyone because He made me exactly the way He wanted me to be.  Even though I'm far from being able to say that I never compare myself to anyone, I learned a long time ago that life is much sweeter when we embrace who we are, not who we think we should be or who someone else thinks we should be.  

I do things the way I do them and say things the way I say them because God made me the way He made me!

He's our biggest and brightest cheerleader.  He's God, and everything He does is perfect.  

Now onto this awesome online Bible study...a wonderful that God opened for me over a year ago which has changed my life completely.  It is such a blessing! 
This week, our inspirational verse is Psalm 139:1 and what a powerful message in just a few words.  But then again, that's God, isn't it?  
This week has been awesome because it really opened up an opportunity to discover a lot about myself, Our author, Renee Swope, really broke down this chapter in an awesome way to help me really understand what God made me the way he did from the inside out.

This week focused a lot on personality types, abilities, and spiritual gifts.  I'm pretty confident in my abilities and spiritual gifts, but I asked my husband for help when trying to decide what type of personality I have.  Though there are four different types, I found pieces of me in each one.  After reading each personality type, my husband decided than I am the "Melancholy type: Desires perfection." He knows me pretty well at this point, and I believe that he is right.  He made sure that I understood that all of the "Relational Challenges" didn't necessarily fit me, but some of them do.  For instance, I don't get easily depressed and I'm thrifty, but not to what I would consider an extreme, and I'm content in most situations I'm I find myself.  I actually feel that contentment is one of the most important blessings God has given us.  But I do lack spontaneity, I can be hard to please, and I am a perfectionist in the things I do most of the time.  That trait, I will tell you, is exhausting.  But it is who God made me!  

My strengths as a Melancholy-Perfectionist Type are pretty accurate.  I do work well alone, but to be honest, I don't like being a lone for long periods of time.  Aside from my quiet times in the morning and sometimes at night, or when I'm really trying to concentrate on something (perfectionist!) I really enjoy the company of people.  
I am a planner and I'm pretty organized (except for my car and our computer room).  Treating others fairly is very important to me and I try my hardest to put myself in another person's shoes as opposed to judging what they are doing and why they are doing it.  And creative...I am creative.  I love to quilt, craft, cook new things, decorate,  I love it.  I've found creativity to be an awesome way to express myself.

My God-given abilities go along with most of my strengths...creativity, singing, talking, listening.  One of my favorite abilities that God has given me is to be able to see God's greatness and wonder in the simplest of things.  Take snow, for example.  Snow, to me, is one of the most magical things God has created.  It's peaceful, quiet, and there is absolutely nothing humans can do to mess up the beauty of falling matter how hard we try.  This time of year, I'm known to wait by the window when the forecast calls for snow.  I just love it!

Before I talk about spiritual gifts, check out the Bible verse that describes them way better than I ever could!

" it is with Christ's body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.  In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.  If it is giving, give generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have the gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." 
-Romans 12:5-8 NLT

At first, discovering my spiritual was a little difficult.  Just like the personality types, I found little bits of myself in each gift.  But after reading them, re-reading them, and really thinking and praying about it, I decided that serving is my spiritual gift.  Whether it me family, friends, or complete strangers, I love to help and serve others.  I love it so much I became a nurse so I could serve others all day long.  But it's not just about's about serving others, and helping them in ways they may not be able to do for themselves.  I do that as a nurse, as a mother, as a wife, as a church member, and as a friend.  I can think of very few things that bring me as much joy...true I experience when I am serving others.  Not it isn't always a picnic, I'll admit.  Especially when someone I'm trying to help doesn't want to be helped.  But most of the time, it is a blessing.  I've said for a long time that I truly believe God put me on this earth to help others.  That is my spiritual gift.  
What has been really awesome about this week is discovering how God gave me a certain personality type, special abilities, and spiritual gifts just so that He could impact the lives of other people through me.  Little old me.  And He did it all on purpose, knowing exactly what He was doing the whole time.  I love Him for it.  He made each of us that way.  We just have to slow down long enough to figure just how special He made each and every one of us so we can make His world a wonderful place the way He intended us to.  And with that, I'll leave you with another awesome verse that just shows how special God made us and how much He loves us.  God Bless!
"...and the whole body depends on Him.  All the parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work.  This causes the whole body to grow and be stronger in love." Ephesians 4:16 ERV 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Being A Child of God

Well here we are in week 4 of "A Confident Heart" online Bible study. This week our inspirational Bible verse is John 1:12:

"Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."

I wanted to dig a little deeper into this verse by sharing some of the other translations:

"But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become children of God, that is to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, rely on) His name." Amplified

"But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God." Easy-to-Read Version

"However, He gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in Him."
God's Word Translation

"But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God." Tree of Life Version

Now here is the same verse in the New International Reader's Version, but I decided to go another verse deeper in this translation because I found it so meaningful:

"12Some people did accept Him. They believed in His name and gave them the right to become children of God. 13To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants the to be born. They are born because of what God does."

Once I read all of these translations, I started thinking about what it really means to be a "Child of God". Does being a child of God mean you have to walk a straight line in everything you say and do? Does it mean we need to lead the perfect Christian example? No. To me, being a child of God doesn't mean any of those things. Actually, we would be setting ourselves up for a pretty big failure if we tried to be children of God by doing those things because we are far from perfect and we are going to make mistake after mistake...just the way God intended. As the verse clearly spells out, we are all born as children of God because of what God does not because of anything that we do. I think we mess up with what we don't do. God is always present and willing for us to receive Him. He never goes anywhere, and He is everywhere. He is a constant. We are the ones who must accept Him, believe in Him, trust in His Holy name. I know as well as anyone else that trusting God isn't exactly a cake walk because I'm just as flawed as the next girl...on some days even more.

When I think about being a child of God, I often think about my daughter. She is a beautiful three year old gift from God who thankfully still has plenty of innocence and her heart and mind haven't been tainted with much negativity at this point. We have raised her knowing God and praying to God, and teach her how important it is to talk to God everyday and that she can go to Him with anything. If something really great has happened, she can thank Him. If someone is sick or in trouble, she can pray for God to help them. She, herself, was in the midst of a terrible cold this week, so before bed, we said a special prayer that God would heal her and make her better. She's had restful nights of sleep ever since. When we talked about her getting better the next day, we said "God made you better! Isn't that great?" She was so excited, and it's things like that which make me think about what it means to be a child of God. Though she may not have a true grasp what it means to trust God and have faith in His promises, if I ask her, "Caroline, when we are sick, who makes us better?" She immediately shouts, "God!" Not doctors (even though they sure help) or medicine or even Mommy and Daddy. Just God. 

How I wish I could be like Caroline and immediately think of God and what He will do in the midst of always know without a doubt that He will not fail. Instead, many times I rely on what I or someone else can do to fix the trouble. But being a child of God doesn't mean that we are never going to make mistakes or that we are never going to try and "fix" things ourselves before remembering that God is still here waiting. But to me, it means that we know in spite of all that, in spite of all our mistakes and mess ups, we know that God loves us still, and just as He promised, He will not leave or forsake us no matter what we say or do. We have loads of Bible stories and hopefully stories from our own lives that show just how much God loves us and is here for us. We just have to trust in His very name! I love being a child of God!