Sunday, June 11, 2017

All Things To All People

Hey Friend,

First, a quick update for those of you who have continued to lift me up in prayer. At my four week post-op doctor visit, the x-rays looked good.  Things seem to be healing nicely.  Two more weeks of non weight bearing and if I get the green light, I can begin to bear weight with the help of a boot and crutches.  This will be the true test of the success of the surgery.

The bruises from the fall, and the shingles have pretty much cleared up.  No new maladies to report, though I have wondered if a plague of frogs or locusts would be next??

During this down time, I have been spending a lot of time in God's Word, wondering what He would have me learn with this surgery?  With my first knee surgery, I started my blog so as not to climb the walls.  Another surgery birthed the beginnings of a non-profit ministry to serve orphans and impoverished children in the Middle East.    

So what this time, Lord?

“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.
I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
1 Corinthians 9:22

I have been reading through the book of 1 Corinthians, and when I came upon Chapter 9, I was struck by this verse.  To be honest, when I first read the part about "becoming all things to all people," that flat wore me out.  "But, Lord," I protested, "how can I possibly be all things to all people?  That's just not possible."

God, in His patient grace, took me on a little journey down memory lane to help me remember all the things that have happened in my life that I have tried to write and speak about openly and honestly so that others might be encouraged.

I've written about being a recovering perfectionist which struck a chord with many and I have developed a relationship online with others who struggle with this themselves.

I wrote about the hell I went through with divorce and how God was faithful to bring me THROUGH this valley to the other side.  By sharing this, along with my faith struggles and doubts as well as God's answers and abiding faithfulness, I was able to minister to several women who came behind me and I believe that God used me in some way to minister to them because I spoke their language.  I knew, firsthand, their pain.

I've shared the heartbreak of a mother's heart for her prodigal child.  In a Facebook world where only the shining successes are hailed, there are a lot of mothers who struggle with the nagging question of "Where did I go wrong? Why, when I tried so hard, did my child have to take this path?"  

I allowed myself, as well, to be ministered to, and like a volley in tennis, we lobbed encouraging words back and forth to one another.  When one was up, we lifted the one who was down.  

I've shared about my perpetual battle with my weight - talk about a lot of women who speak and know the language of emotional eating.  We were/are able to break melba toast together (fewer calories) and share our struggles and victories.

I've been frank and honest about living my life with mental illness (OCD & depression). Do you know just how many people resonate with this and how few truly understand it?  We need kindred spirits.

Lately, through all this surgery - especially this one to hopefully correct years of chronic nerve pain - I have hopefully earned the privilege to speak to others about chronic pain and disability and finding hope in it.  People are fighting battles everyday with chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, joint and nerve pain, mental illness, gastrointestinal illnesses, deafness, blindness, and the list goes on. 

Many fight on more than one front, and they don't need Polyanna platitudes, sermons, or cliche phrases.  Even scripture needs to be served up with mercy and grace so that it will build up the one suffering rather than puff up the purveyor.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I see more clearly why God has allowed all these things in my life.  Sure, there have been times when I've adopted the "Why me" attitude, but then God brings to mind the people with whom He has allowed my path to cross, and how He has given me strength to share Jesus with them - the one and only reason for my hope.  Through these bonds, God brings beauty from the ashes for both of us.

God has allowed me to to be all these things to all these people, so that in doing so, I might save some.  

And so as to not get too lofty - that they might save me too!

God has also allowed me to share with others in joy, and gladness, and victory. This spiritual honey is especially sweet...rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

But, no matter what, He continues to remind me to be Jesus to all these people as that is what He has called me (and you) to do.

What things have happened in your life, that might give you an invitation to be Jesus to someone else?  What does "becoming all things to all people" look like in your life? Who has come alongside you?  Who might God have you come alongside?

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for your faithfulness to ALWAYS walk with me through the valleys.  Thank you for your promises to strengthen me, and help me, and uphold me with you righteous right 
hand.  Hang on to me always and when I come through, give me compassion to help those who now walk the path I've walked.  Give me patience, and love, and your Truth to share.  Enable me to listen and weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.  Give me a vision of what it means to become all things to all people and let me walk in your ways.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed....