Friday, July 24, 2015

Tightening up Ship by Special Guest Writer Amy Koller

I've known Amy most my life...the kind of person you don't remember not knowing. I welcome her words and perspective here today.

When you know there is a storm coming, you prepare. If cartoons have taught us nothing else, it’s that we should be more like dutiful ants than procrastinating grasshoppers. As Christ Followers, we are told that in this life, we will face trails. There is no “might” thrown in to that verse to give us any false hope of smooth sailing. So why then do we not keep vigilant and prepare always? Maybe you do, and that’s great. But I tend to be more of the last minute looter – raiding the shelves of the Walmart while the wind throws cows across the parking lot.  
My recent storm had lots of precursory warnings. The Spirit sent me alerts and flags at many different stages leading up to it. I would hear bits of a message on the radio and think, “Yikes – was that meant for me?” Our pastor even shared a sermon that spoke directly to my situation. It was about how God loves us too much not to expose our sin. My response was to ask God to tell my husband about it. Basically, I used his Spiritual Leadership of our family as a way to avoid personal responsibility for any comfortable habits that I wanted to keep.
The final move by the Spirit to bolster me for the coming waves was a billboard we encountered while on vacation 470 miles away from home. Small waves had already begun to land on my beaches by the time I raised my eyes to the two story tall Jesus beckoning me to trust Him.

I thought it odd that there was a billboard with a huge picture of Jesus and the words, “I trust in You”. I nodded and thought to myself, “I do.” But just hours later when the biggest waves pounded my shores, I realized how conditional my trust of Jesus truly had been. I trusted Him with my salvation. Jesus, you’ve got me on that final check-in day right? And Jesus, I’m counting on you for those things unseen; the spiritual Superbowls ahead. But Jesus, I’ve got this day to day part ok. I spoke to God daily; often multiple times throughout the day. I praised Him. I thanked Him. I beseeched Him. But I really trusted in me and my ability to process daily life. I had been through 20 years as an adult and I see now that I had made security my god. I had turned blessings into idols, and contentment into a religion. God had been preparing me for a cleaning that I did not want. Instability was my enemy and I had done all that I could to weed it out of my life. Instability made me question my sanity – literally.
I had been through many storms, and I had called out to God and been rescued. He grew me through those trials and I trusted Him to carry me through them. Yet, I realized that it was the everyday that needed an overhaul. I was deep in another storm, and Jesus was my anchor once again. But this time, the Spirit was begging with me to keep hold of that anchor after the waves died down and the clouds broke apart.
1 Peter 1:17 (The Message) You call out to God for help and he helps – he is a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.
I was definitely living sloppy, spiritually speaking. And my loving Father was not pleased. My gratitude was dead and my praise was tired. He had gently asked me to clean up my act for months. But I had used Grace as a giant rug to sweep everything under. When confronted, I mourned my ignorance and my eyes were opened. I was ashamed, afraid, and humbled, which is the beginning of wisdom.
Peter goes on in verse 18 to warn us that, “Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.” I love that! It doesn’t say that God is to be regarded as a handrail that we grab on to when we stumble. He’s not an 800 number we call when times get tough. He’s not a cash advance store where we can get an advance on our own strength. He is my strength! He is my plan. He is my Captain. “I say to God, ‘Be my Lord!’ Without You, nothing makes sense.” Psalm 16:2 (The Message)
As I emerge from this storm into clearer skies, I will keep hold of God’s hand which has supported me so fully through this time. I want to continue to walk hand in hand so that I’m not just grasping for it in desperation as I’m sinking. Because there will be a next time, and a next time after that. But I know my anchor holds. Yes Jesus, I trust in You!

Amy Koller - Jesus, Family, and whatever other adventures come my way

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