Anytime I hear the word pieces, I think of Reese’s Pieces. Although they are not my favorite candy, I do like them sprinkled in popcorn at the movie theater. If there was some random trail of them on the ground, I would definitely follow it to see if there were some that had escaped the fall and still available on some counter ready to be eaten.
My life has mainly happened in three places in this order: Corpus Christi, Houston, Kingsville, Houston, Kingsville/Corpus, Houston.
Traveling to Corpus this weekend, has definitely led me reflecting back on my life in these places and the pieces that have created my life today. Some are broken and crushed, but some are whole. Either way, they are a peek into my path’s purpose.
It’s quite amazing, to get to an age where what seemed so random has actually created a pattern of clear purpose for God. Drizzled among everyday life, but present in memories, are needed acquired skills and experiences for future ministry. They are pieces that have created a trail I must follow.
To God be the Glory
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I stumbled across a beautiful butterfly one day on a blade of grass.Not being one to pass up on a close-up photo opportunity of an insect, I quickly got out my phone to get the camera ready. Feeling really blessed, I quickly snapped many shots of the butterfly up close and from different angles. I thought to myself, ” I wonder why it is letting me get so close?” I passed it off on the cooler weather, when all of a sudden my blessing changed and it tried to fly off.
Laying an inch closer to the ground then it was originally, it became apparent why I was given permission to be in close proximity. “Oh, a wing is broken,”I surprisingly whispered to myself. I tried to pick it up by gently placing my finger under its legs and lifting up, but it would try flying and stumble off. Realizing that I was probably causing more unintentional damage, I left it alone and walked off and decided that the circle of life would take its course.
With that image still stuck in my mind for about a week, I realized that there was a lesson God was trying to teach me.
A prodigal is like that butterfly. They will appear to be whole and complete and can do it very well. (In fact, we all do.) This comes from a spirit of pride which prevents them from choosing to be under our Father’s care. Praying for a prodigal can be very frustrating as you watch them walk further and further away from the hand of God. It then becomes our pride that tries to encourage change and in a way force the prodigal out of hiding and expose his/her broken wings before he/she is ready. Our encroaching proximity to their brokenness is threatening. They will instinctively try to “fly away” when we get too close. This is exactly what the enemy wants. Distance between you and them.
God on the other hand, does not force the prodigal back to His protection. He waits. He reminds. He nudges. He loves. He teaches. He disciplines. He knows the moment that it will all click, thus releasing the wings which humbly reveals the prodigal’s brokenness. It is at this moment, He will heal and send the prodigal flying to people that bear the fruit of God.
So my final conclusions of the Lord’s lesson to me were:
It is ok to acknowledge that a prodigal, no matter what state it is in, is still a beautiful creature created by God.
Trying to help the prodigal causes more damage, even though that is not your intention.
Pray without ceasing, but walk away and know that I the Lord am God.
Bear the fruit of the Spirit to attract any and all prodigals who are returning home.
You have your own brokenness that I (God) need to work out, so walk away and check your own wings. 🙂
Let God be the Glory
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
In 2011, I took a similar picture on this porch with my husband. We were celebrating our first Thanksgiving in our new house. It was almost a dream come true. It was almost what I had always pictured. I thought the goal in life was to be happily married, have good jobs, and buy a nice house. The only thing missing from this picture were the kids we never had. However, beyond the image, what was hidden inside was real life. A real struggle and spiritual battle that had existed almost since the beginning. And, why wouldn’t it. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Marriage is his #1 target.
So today, Thanksgiving 2016, I take a picture that isn’t…. what I pictured. What sits behind me is an empty home with various types of memories and a dying dream. It appears that the enemy is winning and tearing apart what should never be torn apart and Biblically never will. However, beyond this image, what is hidden inside is real faith. Faith that I couldn’t have dreamed of having without this trial. Mainly, because the forgiveness that is now in my heart is authentic. Mainly, because more than ever have I grasped the importance of being a praying wife and cherish my remaining days as my husband’s wife to do just that. Mainly, because the story of the Prodigal Son that I hated so dearly in the Bible (since I’ve always empathized with the older brother), has now become my favorite because I now have the heart of the father.
This is not what I pictured my future would be, but I also would have never pictured this new level of conviction I have moving forward to stand for God’s truth and truly believe He can conquer all. This isn’t what I had pictured, but I know this picture rests in God’s hands.
To God Be the Glory
Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone an give them a heart of flesh.