Last weekend I was “handpicked” by God to attend a women’s retreat. My friend, Johnetta, had the task placed on her heart by God to have this, and unlike what I would likely do… she listened. She knew God would hand-pick women to attend, and I am so blessed I was one of them. I honestly still get tears in my eyes from the experience. The numbers were not huge… but GOD WAS THERE!!! As we laughed, cried, laughed, sang, ate, fellowshipped, and shared in God’s love. Over and over in my mind, I have replayed the weekend. These three things are on replay. It wasn’t just one speaker, but the combination of speakers who chose different scripture from the Old and New Testament, that melded together…
BE STILL (when I Google Be still scripture, there are 36 incredible verses that come up) – my two favorites are
Psalms 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God
Exodus 14:14 – The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
For the last several weeks, I have started a new habit of prayer and often just being still. Almost every morning (sometimes evening and sometimes both), on my porch swing, I sit and pour out my praise and my heart. I am still… I listen… I breathe… and my soul calms. It can last minutes or long stretches of time. I usually have a song come to mind and I sing with the deepest of my heart. I am changed. I think that change took me into last weekend like a sponge… ready to receive… without my typical mind wandering of all the other things I should be doing… In all honesty, I have sat in retreats and church and made my list mentally and on paper of all the things that needed done for the day. Not this one ….
I have learned stillness is vital to my life – for my spiritual and mental wellbeing. However, I have also learned I need more than just those few moments of stillness… I need to remain in them… In the promises… In the peace…
Being still is great. However, too many times the stillness was short term. I would then return to my every day life after that time and got pulled back in. Then life would get the best of me and I would return to be still for just a few moments. Last Saturday, I heard scripture I had heard a hundred times before… John 15:4-7: vs 4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” And it became part of life addition problem for me.
Being still is great – but I must remain there… For the last several weeks I have been blessed to re-center life. Most of the external factors of work, people, and appointments have been removed. I controlled the calendar and filled it with family, friends, and church. I find when issues or concerns arise, instead of worrying and dwelling on it, I become still. Still and my life were not words that would have been used in the same sentence. I think it is me learning to REMAIN in the stillness. REMAIN in HIM and not the craziness of the world. When I need to re-center life, I find me returning to the moments I had spent with Him that morning and the days before.
I think of all the people who have posted this month things they are thankful for. I love them! But after the month, many get back in their routines
Have you ever had an amazing moment / memory where you can close your eyes and visualize it? Well, my porch time has become that daily moment when all it takes is for me to close my eyes and I can return to that feeling I had while being still. If I don’t have it that day, it is a little hard to re-center myself and a little easier to get pulled into the craziness of life and brought down by the worries of my heart.
He is ABLE
Ephesians 3:20 – 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
Hearing Priscilla Shirer speak on this scripture brought it to life for me. [That is how God works and why it is important that I keep reading and hearing His word. “Old” scriptures can have new life based on the circumstances I am going through.] I tend to put God in a box. I pray to Him with a specific need, and wait (often impatiently) for the answer. Priscilla spoke of God being able to go beyond and beyond. All this time, I confined Him to my thoughts when He can go way beyond that, because HE IS ABLE! All this time, I didn’t even take things to Him because I didn’t want to burden Him, bother Him, rely on Him, wait on Him, and the list goes on. I kept many things in my own little ability, and think now how much more He could have done had I given it to Him. Definitely more than I did on my own!
I have been seeking God for direction in areas of my life. I went to scripture for answers (wow imagine that concept). I found several scriptures that my heart needed to read and put them in a collage picture on Facebook. Then I put what I had to do and His return on my investment. It is pretty amazing (and I only chose 13 scriptures of the 31,103 verses in the Bible). [Great time investment to use Google to search for scriptures that lead me to more scripture than spending that time less wisely – ie facebook]
If I do 2 things – BE STILL (seek Him and listen) and REMAIN (trusting, waiting) [not my own pattern where being Still would be a few minutes and go on my way]
HE gives me 11 things (and there are many more in scripture) – PEACE, HOPE, FUTURE, WORKING things together for good, DIRECTION, ENDURANCE, STRENGTH, RENEWAL, NEW THINGS, COUNSEL, and going BEYOND BEYOND what I could do on my own….
BE STILL (Sheri) * this does not mean that I don’t do my part and just wait for Him to do everything – it’s seeking Him before the world and being quiet and aware enough to Him
+ REMAIN in ME (not in the world or your problems, Sheri!)
= 4 I AM ABLE (Beyond, beyond your imagination, Sheri!)