Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gratituesday...Spiritual Mentors

I have had to think about what to write about today- it’s not that I’m not grateful for everything in my life (even though sometimes things in our lives are not pleasant…). But because I have been struggling so much these past three weeks after my grandma’s death and all the stuff that happened with that- it’s been hard to see past the what if's and bitter memories that Satan keeps throwing back up at me. (And can it only have been three weeks ago- it seems like a lot longer…) But today I am thankful for God putting people in our lives to care for us as friends, and as spiritual mentors. I have one of those who I love dearly- I call her my second mom. And I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing part of an email she sent me the other day, because it meant soooo very much to me! (I took out all the identifying info…) This is what she had to say:

“You are so right about Satan. He always makes us second guess ourselves. We can so easily get caught in the "if only" cycle. I have been caught there too lately. .. You know Satan catches us in a place where we really can't go back and fix anything, but the thoughts, doubts, and self recriminations keep coming back to haunt us. I know that the serenity prayer is very simple, but it is a good one to keep in mind when one is caught in a cycle like this. You are probably familiar with it, but I am going to send it to you anyway. It is a great; yet simple thought that sometimes helps keep the dogs of self loathing at bay. It goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I have to get ready for work now, but I wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you.”

It also got me to thinking about people in the Bible. Didn’t God give us His written word to be a support and blessing to us- to give us examples to live by??? And then my mind wandered on to Paul. He killed Christians!!! He thought he had the right intentions for God – but then Christ told him differently- he repented and was blessed, but what a horrible burden to carry! He had to have times where he could not breath with the weight of what he had done bearing on him- even after all the good he had done for the church. Is that part of the ”thorn in his side” he talked about in 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 (NASB) (“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”)? But he did give me an example of going on too- in Phillipians 3:12-17 (NASB) he says ” Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

The thing that keeps popping out to me is the FORGETTING, not forgotten, but forgetting- which to me means it’s a continual act- not a once for all. He had to keep forgetting what he had done in order to keep on towards the goal. Which to me says that Satan kept using it to try and hold him back from accomplishing the things that God had planned for him. And Satan has been doing that in me too.

So today I am thankful for those who went before me and have suffered similar trials in order that I might be strengthened by their examples, and continue to serve Christ because of them.

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Join us over at HeavenlyHomemakers and share!


Laura said...

What WOULD we do without the spiritual mentors who are able to identify with our experiences and encourage us to handle our trials in a godly way? Thanks for the great reminder...to be thankful for those wonderful people God has put in our lives!

Jayme said...

hey you...you are always so hard on yourself. You have gotta learn to unconditionally love that amazing suzeque that we do. If Jesus loves us anyway...ugliness and all...who are WE to complain. :) love you!

Char said...

I'm glad you have someone who can be there for you - I'm sure this is a tremendously difficult time. Thank you for sharing, it was very encouraging to me!