Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We Need Each Other

God has been reminding me over and over again over the past few months that He created me for relationships.  God exists in relationship (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and created me in His image.  When we are out of relationship with God or other people, we feel the void.  We were not created to be individualistic.  We need each other.  Here are three examples of how God has been revealing this to me.

1.  In early June, our family was experiencing a few days of discord.  There was NOT a spirit of unity in our home.  The kids were quarrelling and antagonizing each other.  Curt and I didn’t respond in a Godly way and our irritation sparked more of the same with the kids.  It was an ugly cycle.  We prayed about it as a family without an incredible amount of improvement.  I was desperate when God reminded me, “Don’t be an individual.  Ask for help.” I emailed my Inner Circle, unveiled the ugliness we were all battling and asked them to pray.  Within hours, a spirit of peace invaded our home.  There was no denying such a direct answer to prayer.

2.  The past three weeks my training runs have been terrible.  I lost over a minute per mile on my pace, felt like I weighed twice my body weight, and struggled to regulate my breathing.  I battled side aches and stomach pain.  It was so consistently bad that I began to think something was wrong with me.  During house church prayer time, I said, “ I know this seems so insignificant in light of real hurts people deal with every day, but my running has been terrible and I’m wondering if something is wrong with me.”  Immediately a friend who knows me well piped up, “Well that makes sense.  You’ve said running is your time when you connect with God. You’re going to Haiti to serve Jesus and you just sent out your letter asking for support.  We have a real enemy and this sounds like an attack.  If you’re so distracted when you’re running that you can’t connect to God, that’s a victory for the enemy.”  I hadn’t thought of it in that light and quite honestly was pretty skeptical that my laborious breathing and side aches were a result of spiritual warfare.  However, I asked my friends to pray for me and was so blessed as I listened to them petition God on my behalf for such a simple thing.

The next time I ran was still a struggle, but it was a noticeable improvement from the previous two weeks.  I ran last night and regained my pace, but my breathing still sounded like a cow in labor.  This morning I tackled the mountain behind my house.  When I ran this route two weeks ago, I almost cried coming home because I was so miserable.  Today I felt like I was flying.  My breathing was smooth and even, my body felt light and easy to move up the mountain in spite of the 1,100 vertical feet I gained, and I never once had any side or stomach pain.  Jesus and I conversed the entire run and with every breath, I praised my Savior for caring about the little things.   It was with great joy that I emailed my prayer group that God had answered YES to our request.

3.  I’m going to Haiti in October with a group of women from my church.  We’ve been in training and planning mode since the late spring and I am stoked to see how God is directing our steps.  When our team leader told us that each woman would be required to raise $1,600 to go on the trip, I was apprehensive.  What 36-year-old sends out support letters for a short-term mission?  It seemed so embarrassing.  But our team leader presented another perspective.  She said, “I don’t want anyone going on this trip covering the cost themselves.  Even if you are independently wealthy, I want you to raise support.  Our team has the great privilege of inviting our Circle of Influence to come with us on this trip.  Why deny them the chance to join you on this journey?”

I sent out my support letter with fear and trembling (and a big chunk of technical difficulty).   I didn’t want anyone to be offended that I was asking for money, but clung to the reminder that I wasn’t just asking for money.  I was inviting my friends and family to join me in what God is already doing.

Yesterday I bought some beautiful stationary, hoping to use it to write thank you notes.  This morning after my awesome run, I checked email and was brought to tears by a support update that awaited me.  Money is already coming in for my trip and in the most creative ways.  My support team so far consists of a college student who is giving sacrificially from her summer job, a Jewish friend willing to support something outside her circle of faith, a former colleague that I haven’t seen in years, a family member, and a mentor.  I love God’s creativity and can’t wait to bust out my new stationary to thank them individually.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”  We need each other!  How grateful I am for this continual reminder.  Thank you Jesus!

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