Friday, June 24, 2011

Freedom

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

This week has been interesting. Monday was a super encouraging day. I met up to with a friend and her mom to help out with a ministry that makes food for the homeless. We talked while we made peanut butter sandwiches. I was able to tell them what is going on in my life and the ups and downs I have been having. My friends mom spoke truth and encouragement into my life. She asked me do you have a fear of control when it comes to your family? Do you struggle not being in control of the situation in regards to my brother? I realized I do have a fear of control. I have no control on what is happening and can't change it. She was telling me that releasing the situation over to God is so freeing. When we don't surrender, in a way, we are saying we don't fully trust God and don't think He is capable to control the situation. It was a good wake up call to surrender and trust God. That night I went to a ministry that goes to pray and worship with sick kids, people with cancer, hurting, etc. I haven't been in a really long time but had the night off and felt the need to turn my focus off myself and my family and be able to love on others. Before we go out we always have a time of prayer to prepare our hearts. There were only 3 of us going that night and so we were able to spend more time praying for each other and our night. They asked me how I was doing. The woman that leads the ministry told me that I seem to carry the presence of peace with me and went on to explain that as Christians we all tend to carry a different presence with us. It was encouraging to know that I carried a sense of God's peace and had been encouraged that day, but in the depths of my soul I was hurting and worried about my brother. They both prayed over me and as we prayed, the woman asked me to picture my brother and ask God where He was in relation to my brother. I saw my brother surrounded by a huge cloud of God's presence. It was so encouraging that God reminded me that my brother is not alone that God is surrounding him and loving him. :) After our time of prayer we went to visit a friend's mom who was diagnosed with cancer around March. We worshiped and prayed with her. In what seemed contrasting to the situation of cancer, I just had an overwhelming sense of joy for this family and knowing that God was working. I totally saw God working that night and left even more encouraged. 
           Even though I had a day of encouragement on Monday this week I have felt lonely and a struggle. Honestly, I don't even know fully why I feel this way. I lack motivation to be exercising which is more then just working out but a time that I clear my head, listen to worship music, and talk with God. I have just felt alone but allowed myself to wallow in it this week. I am struggling to keep pressing into God. This time with my brother situation and my struggles I don't want to push Him away and feel numb, but I want to press into Him. I just feel like it is a fight though this week. Also, I have been pondering where my community is. I would love to just live in community with people all the time that encourages and strengthens each other to follow Christ wholeheartedly. I think I have just felt distant from people this week and so I have a longing for community. I love Circles and Rock Harbor, but don't know where I belong exactly ... I am just rambling at this point. I really don't know what I feel and why. 
        This morning my friend invited me to go to a Bible study at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. For some reason I really wrestled with going. Last night I kept thinking well I have had a long week and I would love to just sleep in, but I felt like what else was I going to do in the morning once I woke up. I thought maybe I would just check it out. Well, it ended up being exactly what I needed to hear. The talk today was all about Freedom. She asked us do you really know that Jesus loves you, all of you? Do you not just know in your head that He loves you, but in the depths of your soul? I sat there questioning if I really did. She continued to say that the desire to satisfy or fill our lives with other things besides Christ shows we are lacking in knowing His full love for us. It is the power of His love that will set us free! The disciples were not radical followers, but followers of Christ that were radically changed by His love and transformed in the process. When we fully grasp the love Christ has for us that brings us to freedom and transformation. We should look like radical authentic followers of Christ that are transformed by His love. It was such an awesome message! I feel like God keeps bringing up freedom and love in my life.  This is what we have been talking about at Rock Harbor. I want to live in a life of freedom and transforming love, but I am not quite there yet. I know God is working. It has just been tough recently. 

 God break down whatever is holding me back from freedom! I want to surrender the doubts, loneliness, and fears, and let You consume my heart with Your love. I want to be so consumed by Your love that I am transformed and become a 'radical' follower. I want to live in freedom. God I ask that You will break down walls holding me back from full surrender and giving up control. I want to trust You! I want my identity and life to reflect You! Please fill and consume me. May Your Spirit reign in this place, that there may be freedom!! 

6 comments:

  1. this encouraged me so much ashley. thank you. thank you. and you totally have a spirit of peace all the time, rad :)

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  2. Girl, I hear that! One of my fav books is Hinds Feet on High Places ... Might be something you want to grab, and if you do, I wanna hear about it :)!

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  3. ash, times like these are uncomfortable and difficult to push through but the enemy of your soul wants nothing more than for you to feel alone and without purpose, he wants you to be gripped by fear of relinquishing control, he wants you to doubt the providence of God, he wants you to wallow in self depreciating thoughts and feelings instead of pressing into God. keep fighting. some days are gonna be like monday, but honestly i think most days are gonna be like the rest of your week. as you become more and more of a beacon of peace of God, a war has been waged on your soul. take it as a compliment, God is using you to usher His presence of peace to those who need to know Him. keep fighting. i love you, i love seeing where God is bringing you.

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  4. I could really, really relate to this. I've been mentoring my sister all my life, it seems like, and during this summer while she's with me, I've been spending a lot more time with her. I've realized lately that I've been trying to control different aspects about her life, and though I was doing it out of good intentions, controlling her out of fear and doubt was a reflection of my fears and doubts about myself, and what God has planned for my life.

    Lately I've been letting go of my worries and just praying for her, trusting God that he will guide her. I was thinking about Francis Chan's message about how we have dozens of different "tricks" and methods to try to keep everything running perfectly, but in the end it's all about loving God and loving others.

    Encouragements are also huge in my life - I think I've heard many encouragements much in my life (or I've been deaf towards them), but when I do hear an encouragement, I don't think I ever forget them. They are just a great source of strength, not that I need to lean on those to raise my value, but it's almost like an awesome reminder about who God is, and who I am in God. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. To be transformed by Christ's LOVE. May we all experience this. May we press in. May freedom reign in your life.
    "Freedom reigns in this place. Showers of mercy & grace falling on every face. There is freedom." just keeps playing in my head after reading your last sentence. Ash, I'm sorry you have been so discouraged lately. I'm sorry that you seem to be a little lost & maybe dazed. But, through your words and the stories & the encouragement that you have been receiving God is so present in your life, just in what seems like a weird (we don't understand) kinda way. Anyways, darling girl, I am praying for you & I plan to see you @ Church AND at pancakes on Monday - which I am so excited about. Love to you.

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  6. See that He is working through your openness and seeking heart, Ash. I was encouraged by this, too.
    Praying that you will be able to point the enemy's lies to the cross and tell him that he's wrong.
    You and your brother are His beloved, nothing can touch that.

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