"You are the Salt of the earth" Matthew 5:13a, and God is telling me "You better start sharing some stories of how I have been spicing up you life!". AMEN!
Quick back ground.....Raised in a wonderful Christian home, Grandparents & Great Grandparents were/are Christians on both sides of my family. Truly began seeking a relationship with the living God at age 16, at a youth camp 86 hours, run by Planet Wisdom (http://planetwisdom.com/) (Mark Matlock is the speaker- so great!!!). I am a FIRM believer in church camp....getting away from the distractions of every day life and focusing on the TRUE meaning of life. I later served on the Rec Team at this camp and my husband proposed to me there. Very fond memories of Camp.
Anyways, moved to Michigan on a whim in 2003, and OBVIOUSLY never left, but I am a southern girl at heart, I still have a hard time calling soda: "POP". I never thought I would, but I was wrong, they sucked me in! Haha! Before I came to the north I remember someone telling me that it is different from the south, you won't find a good church up there. Well that didn't turn out to be true, well the church part, I am not going to lie it is DEFINITELY different up here! But I love it all the same! Bring on the 6 months of winter and aggressive drivers! I joined a bible study almost as soon as I came up north. WOW! It changed my life! I typically read the bible sporadically through out the week, if I could find the time, but being in a study you had to be reading it almost every day. I was being challenged during the week and on Sundays. My relationship got deeper and deeper with the Lord, and I was truly enjoying spending time in his presence.
After getting married I noticed my husband would read his bible every morning at breakfast, as his dad, my awesome father in law still does to this day. He said he loved seeing that every morning and wanted his kids see him doing the same thing. We all read ours at the breakfast table each morning, Emma even has her picture bible. Drew has the Action Bible- SO PERFECT for little boys! So being in God's word has become a part of our lives, something we strive to be in every day.
A few years ago I was mentoring a few girls (Sam, Erica, Debbie - Love you girls and that time with you was so special) in the high school group at our church and God led us to do the Beth Moore bible study: Living beyond yourself....Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. It was my first Beth Moore study, AMAZING! It still is my favorite study of all time. I think that is mostly because I have been taught a lot about God, and Jesus (and still have WAY WAY WAY more to learn) but I knew very little about the Holy Spirit and the role he plays in our lives. Well this past summer I committed to a women's bible study before knowing what the material would be. The leader chose to do "Living Beyond Yourself....Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit". My first thought was "Oh bummer! I have already done that study!" But I knew the leader was following hard after God and had truly prayed about what to do....turns out she had actually done the study before too. I felt a peace go to the study anyway, well that started quite an adventure.
I have lots of stories to share but I will leave you tonight with this: One of the early nights in that study this summer we were discussing how you can KNOW that it is the Holy Spirit talking to you or not. My friend Danielle said "I think when you hear Him, and act on what he says to do, the more you WILL hear him and the more obvious it will become that it is the Holy Spirit talking.....not just a random voice in your head." I thought "Could that be true?" So I decided to put it to the test.....
"Alright Lord, I am going to listen, tell me whatever and I will do it." My first opportunity to for sure follow this Spirit's leading was that week. I dropped off food to a friend's house who had a baby. I did not expect to stay but she invited me right in. Her delivery had been tough and needed a lot of physical healing. A new baby is quite an adjustment but being in severe pain doesn't help! I felt instantly the Spirit say, "Ask her if you can pray for her?!" Of course my natural instinct was to have an argument in my head. "What? No! She will think I am weird!!" And again very calmly "Ask her if you can pray with her." I fought it for another few minutes "AWKWARD! UNCOMFORTABLE!", but then relented after remembering my own words 'Tell me whatever and I will do it.' So I decided to step out of my comfort zone. "Hey, would you mind if I prayed for you?" She replied " Sure, that would be great." I began to pray and as I did, she started to cry! The Lord was moving. He prompted, I followed and He was glorified. We hugged afterwards and she thanked me. And I was thanking God, because He knew she needed that, I didn't! That was back in June, so there are many more stories to come!
I encourage you to follow the Spirit's leading. Go, when he says Go, Speak when he says Speak, Be Quiet when he says Be Quiet (that is a hard one for me sometimes- haha!) "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galations 5:25 So if you haven't tried it yet, start acting on everything He says, no matter how awkward, because it gets crazy exciting when you do!!!!
This song is a great reminder of that: I WILL FOLLOW (Click link to listen)