Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Must Decrease, So He Can Increase.

Isaac dreams. Those dreams we've long prayed for.
They come.  Full-blown with blessing.
The rains come and suddenly, nothing is as we thought.
Our altars are prepared.  Our knives are ready.
We pray for deliverance, yet our eyes are so small.
The picture we see is a dim shadow.
Our hearts wonder if we heard wrong.
With tears flowing, the rains come in, washing our dreams.
We kneel.  We release.  We ache for letting go.
Doubt is large, and questions are abundant.
Our faith is small.
Eyes close, pain etched into our faces.
Yet we trust, trust that something greater will come.
We stand, knife lifted, ready for the death of a dream.
The time has come.  But.  Wait.
Our eyes light upon that ram.  Caught deep in a bush.
The sacrifice.
The sun shines down on our faces.
Our hearts, humbled by grace.
Our dreams,they were always His.

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THIS IS A STORY OF BRAGGING ON JESUS:
Lately, a theme in my life has been <being small, so God's glory can shine>.  (a.k.a. I must decrease, so He can increase.)  I had been praying for the last six months or so that Jesus would show me His glory, never dreaming that He would show me in a very specific and personal way.  I had been learning just how small my faith was, when I started reading an exceptional book called White Umbrella. 

I've had an on-going and changing dream for the last six or seven years to work with women of all kinds, but particularly women out of abuse.  As I was reading the book mentioned above, my heart started to get quite involved in the stories written in its pages.  I got to the end of the book, inspired and hopeful.  I was paging through its final pages and happened to see something that struck my attention.  It was a page describing a program specifically for working in ministry for women specifically from sex-trafficking.  I had the half-crazy though that I would check it out and see if I could apply to the program.  (Now I have to tell you, I am the type of person that starts a project or gets a wild dream and doesn't necessarily have the determination to finish it.)  I started looking into it, and found that it was something I was actually incredibly drawn to.  I started to pray and talk about it with my parents, and the next thing I knew, my dad and I were on our way to Chicago to check out the campus.  (That was the end of this May).  I had prayed that if it was something that was God's will for my life that He would allow my dad to bless me in pursuing an education in that program.  Traveling home from Chicago, my dad gave his blessing; and the next day I scheduled all my GED tests.  I passed all my tests and continued looking into what all I would need to do to finish applying.  I believe I finished the entire application process around the first of July.  Since this is all new to me, it's been an exciting journey of figuring out how to apply for financial aid, student loans, and how to enroll in classes, etc.

So bringing the journey up to just a few weeks ago.  I was planning to apply for grants and student loans, should be easy right?  I had it all planned out, but God had other plans.  I was not awarded grants of any kind; and due to the fact that I was out in Colorado for roughly a year and a half volunteering, I had two years that, to financial institutions, made me look incredibly bad. Therefore, I was not granted student loans.  I can laugh now, but at the time, I seriously second-guessed whether I had heard God right or not.  I had known that the school I'll be going to highly discourages student loans because of going into ministry where at times it may be volunteer, so in very small faith and in large doubt, I had sent a message to some friends, asking them to pray, most importantly for God's leading, but also for the financial end.  I confess my faith in God and what He could do was so small.

Bring you up to the beginning of this week.  Monday.  (Keep in mind, my classes start this coming Tuesday, and at this point I still had nothing in hopes of actually going to my classes).  Monday I still had hope, I got home from work to a check.  My heart was amazed, and my tears abundant.  Tuesday, I started to give up.  I called my dad and asked him what his gut instinct was on whether or not I should just wait.  He gently told me that he thinks it would maybe be a good thing to wait a little while.  So, I started the process of letting go, which was tremendously painful.  I had to let go of feeling like maybe somehow, I had gone out from under the authority of God, and gone my own way.  And like a child, I was offended in my heart, that maybe God was not quite as good as He told me.  (I say this, only to be real.  I know that offense was nothing of God.  I am so grateful that He knows my heart in all this.)  So, not trying to put Him in a box, but knowing that I either would have funds or I would need to drop out of classes, I gave God until Wednesday evening to show up.  And let me tell you friends.  He did.  His glory. Wow.  I got home from work that day to a check that humbled me so greatly, I could only cry.  I look back and I see such a gracious Father, especially after my offended heart had been speaking to Him.  He knew I would be upset on Tuesday, that I would be angry, scared, hurt; and yet, He chose to bless me.  Blessed and loved I am.

I spoke with my dad the next morning about the payment plan the school has set up, and he told me that he could completely bless me in continuing the journey.  And let me tell you, every day this week so far, be it in prayers or in finances, people poured out blessing on me.  Is my semester all paid for?  No, but I am at peace.  It may never get paid for, I may have to give up my dream again.  But, I am convinced that nothing is impossible through Jesus.  Through Jesus and Jesus alone.  And I see, I must decrease, I must be so small, I must have nothing, so that He can increase, so that His glory can shine. 

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<So I will run to the arms of the One who carries me,
I will fall in the hands of the Healer and believe,
In the strength of the Saviour, who loves like no other,
It's true.       -Casey Darnell>

2 comments:

  1. What a beautiful beautiful story!!! I know you don't know me, and I don't remember how I came across your blog, but this story is truly an encouragement to me. Thank you so much for being willing to share!

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