A few weeks ago, I attended our Regional Young Life Leadership Conference in Ocean Shores. I went to this last year, and the Lord spoke very clearly to me at that time, about where I was at a year ago. So grateful for that. I was excited to see what He had in store for me this time! As I have shared I had been struggling. And I don't think I realized how much I had been struggling until this particular weekend. Because you see, Jesus set me free! I was reminded of this this morning at church, as we sang, "In the Name of Jesus, there is life and healing. Chains are broken, in YOUR Name." I was again, so grateful that Jesus had broken the chains of darkness that had been hanging over me. I realized that we often don't see the mess that we are in, while we are in the mess. Or we don't see how bad it is, until we are no longer in the mess. Hindsight, I guess. But I see now, and am so so grateful to God for the healing that He brought about that weekend.......
Angel Ruiz is one of our divisional vice presidents for Young Life, and was the keynote speaker for this weekend. He talked about going BIG, and what we have to do, or release in our lives, to be able to grab hold of what God has for us, in order for us to Go Big. Go Big in Jesus, and in the ministry. What is holding us back? He shared his story, about how God spoke clearly to he and his wife that it was time to pick up and move their family across the country to L.A. That there are kids in L.A. who need to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! They obeyed and moved and are there, but had no idea what they were doing. I thought, that is me! Brian and I know that God called me back on staff with Young Life full time, but it was not our plan, and frankly I was scared. I have been scared thinking of how it will all work out, and when kids come into the picture, can I really do it? Can I work full time and raise a family? I believe that the enemy began using that doubt and those questions, to begin to "build a fortress" and set up camp in my life, to cause me anxiety, and fear as I thought about the future. So interesting..........clear leading, clear calling, and open doors and affirmation. AND STILL, I began to doubt, to try to humanly understand, what is not my job to understand!!! I read Proverbs 3: 5-6. "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Lean NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, in ALL your ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and HE will make your paths straight." I am thankful for God's WORD. When I try to understand, think about, process the future, that is when I am weakened! That is not my job. I am not supposed to understand HOW it will all work out, I am supposed to trust the ONE who knows THAT it will work out, and it will be good. My job is to trust. How many times have I said that to myself? I was in such a negative place. I was looking at God like a family was what God was not allowing me to have, RATHER, than trusting him and WAITING expectantly for Him and HIS plan and HIS timing. The day after I got back from this weekend, Jesus Calling said this, Jan. 9. "Much, much stress results in your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert my Sovereignty is in the timing of events." Wow! I said, thank you thank you God! Thank you that you are in control and have the plan, and again, I wait on Him. God graciously shows me that again, and again, when we get to these major points in life. And so this weekend, I knew in a minute what I was holding onto, and what I needed to release in order to Go Big, and allow Jesus to do with me what he wants. Angel asked us to get on our knees and physically hold our hands out, with whatever "that thing" was that we needed to release, so that God could replace in our hands what HE wants. Oh God did it. He took it from me, as I layed my desire, my plan, my timing for a family in HIS hands, and opened my hand to take HIM. I felt like God was saying, "Monica, you have allowed this desire to take the #1 place. I need to be your #1, and your family, and everything else has to come after." Seek first HIS kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. I had gotten my priorities out of order. And isn't this what the evil one wants. He wants us to get distracted by lesser things! Not that having a family is a bad desire, but if that desire comes before Jesus, then things are out of whack! The enemy wants us to get distracted by our own desires, worries, fears. And he sets up camp. The rest of this weekend was amazing. After this release, I began to see Jesus fulfilling in me, what He had called me to do. Had awesome time with the leaders, I have the privilege of leading. And God used the story of one of our leaders to increase my faith in his timing and his plan. He didn't call me to this job because I have everything I need for it, or because I am qualified. He called me and promised to qualify me! What a gift! I am learning to trust Him more, to trust what He can do in and through me, and not rely so much on myself. I know that whatever he brings me to, I can handle because He will give me what I need. Not before, but as I need him and his strength.
As I drove home from this weekend, I felt free. I felt like I was floating home! The previous week, I had not slept well, was experiencing fear and anxiety, and as I drove home, I knew it was gone! I was free. I thought, is this what people feel like when they first receive Christ, maybe those who have lived a bit longer and have more that they realize they have been forgiven for!? That is what I felt like. And it was nothing I did, but everything Jesus did. All I had to do was release what I was hanging on to.........I look forward to what God has in store. But daily, I need to go to HIS WORD for encouragement and strength to battle the enemy, because he knows that is an area of weakness. We must use our weapons from the LORD to battle the very real enemy....with His Word, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit and Worship HIM daily! The devil hates Worship.
I encourage you today......Is there something in your life that you need to release to Jesus, so that you can Go Big in this life? What has he called you to do, and are you doing it? Sometimes we have to let go of something, so he can fulfill His purposes in our lives, which will be AMAZING! Praise the Lord he doesn't give up on us!