Walking in my house on Saturday, I entered with an expectation that things would be in order…that I would find my house the way I left it because my kids knew my parents were coming over for dinner that night. To my surprise, I did NOT find my expectations fulfilled. I walked into a kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink, the den floor littered with toys and trash and my 5 year old was sitting on the couch eating mayonnaise out of the jar! I had a meltdown. Let me just be real for a second and say I cried. I had so much going on this past week that I was already barely holding on by a thread. It’s been times like this in my life that I’ve defined myself. Times that you think you’ve instilled wisdom in your kids about responsibility, but you come home to a mess, or the times I’ve been angry with God for allowing me to be in difficult situations, or allowing the times I’ve struggled with my health to dictate my mood. It’s amazing to me how much I’ve allowed silly, small things to stop my life in its tracks. One moment of overwhelm and I just give up and jump to the conclusion that my life has no purpose and my confidence is shaken.
Yesterday at LifeSong I had the rare honor of joining my husband on stage to share my heart with a very special group of people…the ladies at LifeSong. For someone that has struggled to grasp how God would continually place me in extraordinary situations where God would choose to use me, I entered into yesterday’s message humbled and praying that He would be seen and not me. I’m beyond thankful that God gives us so many great examples of people that have lived extraordinary lives, who, too, most likely questioned their purpose. One such person was Lydia. Lydia found herself in a good place in life despite her social status of being a widow. Lydia found herself weekly under the teaching and influence of the Lord. Each Sabbath she went down by the river and prayed with other groups of women, all while never accepting the message of hope that being a Christ-follower offers. She had a great job as the seller of the finest material, purple. We see Lydia putting herself in the right places…good situations, if you will. I saw myself in Lydia. God has put me in really great places. I’m often under great teaching, have a great group of friends that edify me, I love my calling to be home with my kids, I have a great marriage. It’s interesting to point out that not only in our negative circumstances, but even in our good circumstances, we find ourselves without hope. For Lydia, placing herself where she could hear the message of hope every Sabbath was not enough. This particular day, as Acts 16:14 points out, that she went down to the river again, this time she heard the message and believed! Amazing!! That’s MY story. For me, regardless of hearing the message and believing at age 7, I still find myself believing my story, my circumstances, my successes and failures over GOD’S story for me. The day that Lydia believed, her story never remained the same. Sure, she kept putting herself in really great situations, but she no longer continued to go down by the river, although that would not have led her astray. After all, it’s down by the river she found hope. Lydia took her story a step further…God took her story a step further. Lydia became an IMMEDIATE servant. She didn’t go looking for her purpose in the things of this world – a better house, a new relationship, a new job or even constantly needing to be in the spotlight. Instead, she allowed God to shine the spotlight on the steadfastness of being who she had always been…a servant, but now allowing God to use her home to bless others. The scripture says she “persuaded” Paul and Silas, along with others, to return to her home so she could better serve them. What an amazing example Lydia is to those of us that convince ourselves that the small things we do don’t matter. Listen to me…when Jesus becomes our stories, serving Him in the big AND small things do matter! Ladies, let’s know allow the world, circumstances, failures and the such define us. Let’s live the name that Christ gives us. There is never a reason to give up on our dreams, never a reason to stop pursuing our goals, when Jesus is at the Center. As I read this week, “We can never recover from never being willing to make a mistake, but we CAN recover from making them.” Life is not without starts and re-starts, but when we stop living in the confidence that it is God who has changed us, and not anything of ourselves, we often quit and never fulfill our purpose. I implore you…Let God become YOUR story. Let Him change your life…be the LORD of your life. I rejoice in the 21 lives that were changed yesterday…the 21 lives that said YES to Jesus as Lord of their lives. Know what this says to me? There is HOPE in the name of Jesus. There are many of us searching for HOPE and yesterday God answered the prayer of my heart to use me in spite of myself…to show the people in my life that God has changed my story….has become my story…and I will NEVER be the same! Listen to the message yesterday and know I’ve prayed for you and I believe in you!