Friday, January 16, 2015

What is yours?

Every life has its ups and downs. We each have our own areas in which we have sinned and rebelled.

God has used unique methods to bring each of us to Him. What method/s did He use for you?

Your story helps and encourages us just as our stories help you.

Please share with us.

A Normal Life

by Betty Sue

My story begins with my parent’s salvation. They both came to God before they met. In fact, their love story is a testimony to God’s provision and guidance.

My father became a pastor when I was very young. In fact, I have very few memories of attending any church but his. My parents live what they preach. What you see is what you get. They are very honest, compassionate people.

I gave my heart to the Lord at age four. I remember the incident quite clearly. Dad had preached a salvation message and made an alter call. I remember thinking “I haven’t promised Jesus that I would always serve Him. I had better do that.” I went up and gave my heart to the Lord knowing full well I was making a commitment for life.

I asked to be baptized shortly after that, but my parents felt I was too young to really understand. I am an introvert by nature and couldn’t explain to them that I really did understand, but God took care of it. I received the Holy Ghost at youth camp when I was seven. If God felt I knew what I was talking about enough to give me this Gift, then I obviously knew enough to be baptized.

I have served God ever since. Oh, I’m human and have made plenty of mistakes, of course. But the whole theme of my life has been service to God. Recently during a sermon, Dad asked each of us what our favorite verse was and which verse is the one that describes our lives best. I choose the same for both; “In the beginning, God.” (Genesis 1:1) Every decision in my life has begun with “What does God want?”

I took the test for the Gifted program in our district (I was about twelve, which is kind of old for the test.) I remember while walking home from the test feeling the impression to pray about the results. It was almost as if God was asking “What do you really want with your life? What do you want the results of the test to be?”

I could picture the possibilities; famous speaker, horse breeder, teacher, musician, baseball player (what can I say? I was twelve.)

But I knew in my heart what I wanted more than anything else. “God, I want to be normal.”

I heard Him in my heart just about as clearly as if He had spoke out loud, “Normal to the world or Normal to Me?”

I hadn’t realized until that point that they are not the same thing. I chose Normal to God, not knowing for sure what that would look like. I knew what “Normal” was to the world, but “Normal” to God…?

I met my husband when I was a freshman in high school (oddly, we went to the same Jr High, even had the same PE classes, and hung out at the same park where my brother played Little League, but never met until High School) It took awhile for me to notice him (too busy getting my bearings and learning about my new beef steer:-) But once I did, I knew he was something special.

The next fall, his parents were killed in a car accident (hit by a drunk driver) and he was in need of someone who was his. God had me in the right place at the right time for him. We dated for the remaining three years of my high school education and married the next December. That was twenty-seven years ago. We have never threatened divorce, or even considered it.

We have had our ups and downs, of course. Two imperfect humans living in the same house are bound to have problems occasionally. But we have had the best marriage I believe humans can have.

When the time came to fill out my college application, I had trouble making myself do it. I finally sat down and did some praying and soul searching. I decided God wanted me to be a homemaker. Was I upset? Disappointed? Frustrated? No. I felt FREE! It was no longer my job to pick what would make me happy or best support my family. That was up to God to provide.

In the course of any normal relationship it takes time to work out all the dynamics. While figuring out how I should relate to my hubby, God put several books in my path that taught a level of submission I had never really known before (much like a sergeant to a major or a secretary to the CEO). I realized that my obedience to God was not dependent on my hubby’s making good decisions or being in a good mood, or even on how much he obeyed God. I was responsible to obey, yes I said OBEY, my husband as God commanded no matter what hubby did.

Once again I experienced an overwhelming sense of freedom. I didn’t have to depend on hubby for my obedience. I didn’t even have to worry about whether our decisions were right or not. That wasn’t my business. My job, the entirety of my job, was to do what God and hubby wanted me to.

Brainless? Not at all. God told me to be my hubby’s help meet. A brainless twit is not a help. She’s a burden. I have actively tried to educate myself even more in order to be the best helper to my hubby I can be.

The result is that hubby talks everything over with me and nine times out of ten does what I think is right; not because I bully him into it but because he sees I am right and trusts my opinion. When he does disagree, I do my part to help him in his chosen course. If it fails because of my lack of help that failure is my fault. If it fails because it was a bad idea it is his fault and has nothing to do with me. I can’t tell you how free this makes me. I can focus on those things that are my delegated areas (homeschooling our children, learning nutrition to keep us all healthy, creating a restful supportive atmosphere for my family to launch from, etc) and don’t have to worry about the outcomes anymore than the sergeant has to worry if they are taking the right hill or not. He just has to do his best to support the general’s choices.

When it came to children, we used birth control for a few years. We did have a couple of children eventually. But there came a point when I was praying about how many children God wanted us to have. “In the beginning, God.” “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.” It dawned on me that it was none of my business how many children we had. That was entirely between hubby an God. Now, hubby, being the godly man he is, took my opinions into account. But the ultimate decision was in his hands. I was free to just enjoy my pregnancies and babies and if there were more, great! If there wasn’t, great! (By the way, that was six children ago and I still feel that way.) I am free from this decision as well as all the worry and fuss of birth control.

How should we raise our children? What school should we send them to? What kind of discipline should we use? All these questions I took to my Bible first. Because the answers are plainly written in there, I was free from the burden of choosing what was right for us. All I had to do was obey to the best of my ability and God was responsible to take care of the rest.

Today, I am 45 years old, the mother of nine children, wife to the same man for 27 years.

I was reading a short article the other day that was talking about how following God requires sacrifice. You know, I haven’t sacrificed anything. Oh, I’m not a vet or an accountant today. I don’t even have the big farm I always dreamed of. I had to give those things up.

But I did so willingly and God has blessed me beyond measure. My life is so full and so free today that there is no way I would make any other choices even if God offered to send me back in time to change things. God knew my true desires and fulfilled every one of them. He knew much better than I did what I really wanted.

This is what serving God is all about. We are His slaves. He has the right to tell us to do whatever He wants to. We forfeited our rights the minute we chose to sin. He bought those rights with His own blood. Because He is love He has set up a system that produces the maximum happiness for all concerned. This system is found in the Bible;

If we want to gain our lives, we must loose them.

If we want to be great, we must become a slave.

If we want mature faith, we must trust like a child.

If we want to prosper, we must give.

If we want freedom, we must submit…

Submit to God. Submit to each other (Ephesians 5). Submit to our hubbies.

Only in this way will we have the true desires of our hearts. As one who has achieved that, you can take my word for it.

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