Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it's a matter of the heart. ~Tracie Miles
Have you noticed the pattern of our lives? Each life tells it's own story. I sat in a circle with some wonderful Jesus girls this week and we took each other down the paths that were our lives. As you can imagine we all had one thing in common. Not a single story was without circumstances that affected us emotionally ~ that affected our hearts.
This week in our Stressed-Less bible study we met Hannah. Hannah was the barren wife of Elkanah, but she was not his only wife. Elkanah was also married to Peninnah who had multiple children. The family lives in the book of 1st Samuel which carries us through the trials and tribulations Hannah faced. She was barren, Peninnah was not. The marriage alone was difficult, although acceptable in biblical times ~ can you imagine sharing your husband? To make things even more difficult, Peninnah taunted Hannah constantly. This was not a marriage 'made in heaven' or was it?
I grew up in a great neighborhood with girlfriends to play with. I have some awesome memories of amateur concerts in my basement singing along side of Captain and Tennille, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, The Beetles (it was the 70's what can I say!). Beside our house was a long open grassy field that hosted many of the neighborhood football games, and hanging on the power lines were chestnuts connected by twine that had been thrown up around the lines. We played kick the can after dark, our one street light being 'home' base. The Bills stadium was close enough that we could ride bikes to it and did. I remember watching OJ Simpson (in better days) during open practice times through a chain link fence. Even today I feel all warm inside as I remember those times.
Unfortunately, the pattern of our lives is that each life comes with circumstances ~ mine was no exception. My family was a bit on the dysfunctional side - well, maybe a lot on the dysfunctional side. We had daily circumstances that eventually led to divorce after 19 years, my father struggled with alcohol, and I lost my mother in a car accident at 12 years old. I was moved 750 miles away to another state, and my 'big' brother stayed behind to continue his life in the only place we had ever known. That separation was devastating. I didn't realize how much until I became an adult and knew I had missed out on a relationship with my brother. Not to mention, I would never bond with my niece and nephews. It was yet another tragic loss. With the move I met with a culture I didn't know, and started with yet another set of life's circumstances ~ a pattern ~ just in another time and another place.
I now know we serve a powerful and mighty God. A God that can change any and every circumstance that arises if he chooses to. How many of us went through life (and maybe still do) crying out to God to take away the circumstances, to change them, or just MAKE THEM STOP? I used to. If I'm honest I still do at times. Tracie teaches us in this chapter that God is not interested in changing circumstances, He is interested in changing US through those circumstances. WOW.
As a result of our circumstances, we have stories to tell. We have testimonies of redemption. REDEMPTION! The turmoil of our past or the circumstances of our future do not have to not set the bar for how we live our lives today. Our heavenly father is begging us to come to Him for all things. His heart breaks when we are blind to His grace and mercy. A grace and mercy that can forever set us free from the bondage caused by circumstances. When we open our hearts to Him and reach out to Him for all things we will come to know peace and joy. We will have the ability to face circumstances in a whole new light. A powerful and never-ending light. The light of our Heavenly Father. He is a Father looking to change our hearts, not our circumstances.
~ Dear God, today I reach out to all that are suffering today as a result of circumstances. I pray Father that their hearts be softened and that they reach for your light in the midst of whatever they may be facing. We know you are the answer Father. The ultimate and only solution to every situation. We thank you Father for being our Rock. We thank you for the opportunity for everlasting life in a place we can only imagine, with You. Thank you for each person here that has a story to tell, a story you planned. Thank you for Tracie, for sharing her heart with us and opening our eyes to ways through you we can battle the stress that we face every day while living on this earth. We love you Father. We worship you. It is in your Holy and Most precious name we pray. Amen
If you don't know our Heavenly Father as your light, reach out today. Right now. Ask Him to come into your heart, to change your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins. and let today be the day of a new beginning. A beginning with a Father that is always there, always with us and regardless of our circumstances can fill us with peace and joy. FREE - there is no price to pay. He already paid this price for us when he died on that heavy dreadful cross, yet a cross that signifies promises of everlasting life with Him in a place we can only imagine.
In His Precious Light I Stand,