Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015: The Year of Prayer - Week 7 - A Recap So Far

No longer be conformed to the image of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...Romans 12:2 (my version)

The pruning continues, but a change is in the wind.  You see, in talking to my friend Leslie, I realized I've been focused mainly on the areas the Holy Spirit has been cutting off.  Those hurt, so it is easy to put your attention on them.  Pruning isn't fun and has, at times, brought out the worst in me.  But that's only part of the story. 

You see, when you snip off the "bad," leaves/stems/fruit/blooms, the way I understand it, there is more nutrition for the healthy part of the plant.  I'd already had in mind to write a short synopsis on the fruit that is blooming and this idea was confirmation.  I don't do every thing well and I am facing challenges.

But in the current analysis, these struggles are "light and momentary afflictions," especially compared to what we've been through and what is coming.  God's mercies are abundantly new EVERY MORNING, PRAISE GOD.  We keep getting chances to start over and as my pastor likes to say, If you are still breathing, there is still hope. Not all the fruit is ripe but there is joy in seeing it grow and change color.  This process is able to take place because the bad is coming off and the good is getting more time, attention, care and feeding. 

So far in the Year of Prayer, strange and wonderful things have been happening.

I'm more intentional about my prayer and spiritual life.  I have more joy in it and I have more of a hunger for God.  My hands are staying cleaner, my heart is turning more and more to the Lord instead of others.  My eyes stay open longer each day (some days that is literally).  I am more easily able to let go of the things of this world, the enemy and the flesh - to pour into the Spirit. 

I'm centered in on what God wants as my priorities: my marriage, my children, my church and those currently in my sphere of influence.  I am better able to love them, be there for them, have compassion for them and treat them as the Lord desires me to treat them.

My (older) children are beginning to really see what it means to live for Christ in a world that increasingly doesn't.  They are experiencing the goodness of God for themselves, in their own struggles.  They, too, are growing to bear fruit.  (I know because of their desire for God, their little sister will also find her place in His Kingdom when she is old enough.)

My church is growing - physically, spiritually and emotionally.  We are seeing miracles as He builds up this Body of Christ to do the work He has specifically assigned for us.  Our hearts are being knitted tighter together, in preparation for the work, challenges, trials and rewards yet to come.

I'm writing every single day.  That's new for me and it is really cool to know I don't have to be a slave to a word count, but I do need to walk in faithfulness to these gifts He's given.

We have more peace in our lives.  We have more favor.  We have more blessings.  We are being made aware of how we are currently conformed, yet still needing conformation to the character, love and work of Christ.

The Year of Prayer has not been without its fits and starts but fear, frustration, sin and stress are being replaced with faith.  There have been some pretty major dust ups and failings, but I am not discouraged.  I know each day is an opportunity to see God's hand.

Now it is Lent.  This is always an intense season and I'm looking forward to it like never before.  It has a beginning and an end and some of the testing and trials going into this season will end with it. I'm really looking forward to that.

I'm looking forward to looking back.  Easter Sunday (my 40th birthday...which makes me feel legit :)) will be around Week 13, so I'll try to do another recap then.  In the meantime, stay encouraged.  The battle isn't over but it is already won.  With that victory comes freedom and the chance to do something really great - something God will make sure that lasts.

Let me know how your year is going and keep going.  We are seeing the fruit begin to bud and only more is yet to sprout!

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