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Posts Tagged ‘choosing God’

It was difficult to ignore her emaciated appearance. Ribs pressed through a fine layer of white fur and, despite the cat’s apparent lack of ownership, she should have been plump and healthy. Our early 1960’s-era cul-de-sac was strangely situated among the thick pine trees of upper Florida between a clogging dance studio and a henhouse. Scores of mice and other animals flourished in the underbrush.

But Vanilla, as she had become known, remained gaunt and listless.

Today she greeted me with a sway of her tail, mewling softly as I slid a bowl of milk onto the surface of the patio. I watched as her small, greedy tongue moved rapidly from mouth to container until the creamy liquid had disappeared.

Poor kitty, I thought. Why would someone abandon such a sweet animal?

Since childhood, I have been a rescuer of the abandoned.

I had once discovered a rejected hatchling. His pink, vein-threaded body and featherless head were defenseless against the heat of the plains and I had run home with the tiny bird in my hands, my childish heart in anguish over the plight of the tiny creature.  Of course, I was ill-equipped to care for the chick and he had died within hours.

Feeling as though I should honor his short life, I tucked him in a soft bed of green leaves and wildflowers inside an empty shoebox. Then beneath the waning summer sun, the simple words of a child’s prayer poured from my lips as easily as the dry prairie soil slid from the garden shovel, covering his shallow grave beneath the copse of Russian Olive trees.

The Pain of Abandonment

I didn’t want the baby bird to be alone. Discarded.

If I’m honest with you, abandonment is one of my triggers. For years, feelings of abandonment took up residence in my heart while fear of abandonment drove my actions. Can you relate?

For some, abandonment’s pain comes disguised in the form of conditional love while others experience the loss through divorce, emotional neglect, or any other number of ways.

I’ve been pondering the story of Esther and I believe this heroine knew the emotion’s gut-wrenching ache. If you’re familiar with the story, you probably recall that Esther was a young woman God raised up to help rescue her people from the evil plot of Haman, who served the king–Esther’s husband.

A deeper dive into scripture reveals that God’s people had been sent into captivity nearly seventy years before. God’s chosen ones seemed to have lost everything and Esther was no different. Still a teenager, this young woman knew heartache.

Both of Esther’s parents had died when she was a child and then the king had cast his net–choosing her as one of the women who might be beautiful enough to be considered as the next queen. First, she’d been stripped of family, then of freedom.

Perhaps God had abandoned Esther in the same way He seemed to have removed His presence from the people of Israel.

The Perception of Appearance

Though he was a hard, arrogant man, Esther found “grace and favor” with the king and she was chosen to sit on the throne. But her rise to position only caused consternation for the young orphan when a plot to kill all Jews in the kingdom was uncovered.

Surely, God doesn’t expect me to do anything. The king doesn’t even know I’m one of God’s people. These thoughts must have tempted Esther as she considered the choices she had to make.

But her cousin Mordecai exhorted, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise…from another place.” (Esther 4:13 NKJV)

Esther had two choices. She could deny God and choose her life or choose God and sacrifice personal safety.

What do I mean? The queen was only allowed into the king’s presence when she’d been summoned. If Esther approached the throne without permission, her death was imminent except for his mercy.

No matter our perceptions, God never removes His presence from those He loves. The question is whether we will abandon Him under duress. Click To Tweet

Courageous young Esther determined that God and her countrymen were worth risking her life. As a result, circumstances that had appeared irredeemable were wrested from the hand of the enemy and proved God had never lost sight of those He loved.

What Does This Mean for Us?

I still weep over the forgotten and forsaken, but for different reasons than I once did. I no longer carry the ache of abandonment in my heart. Instead, I bear the blessing of having been carried from the place of damaged to delivered.

Although I once believed God had closed His eyes to my pain or vacated His position, the truth is that our heavenly Father never remains indifferent nor unaware. Click To Tweet

Although I once believed God had closed His eyes to my pain or vacated His position, the truth is that our heavenly Father never remains indifferent nor unaware. He is fully acquainted with the ways of the Enemy and able to work accordingly.

I believe that is the call of the Church today. “…you may have been chosen…for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Click To Tweet

As with Esther, we are called to trust Him. To pray. To join in His mission of offering freedom to hurting hearts. I believe that is the call of the Church today. “…you may have been chosen…for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P. S. I often linkup with these other wonderful bloggers.

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsMandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

Read Full Post »

 

Each of them drew strength from the other. We might have done the same if our lives had been stripped of our closest companions, comfort, and convenience.

Poverty and starvation loomed in the future and, desperate, the women were forced to leave the home they’d shared with those who now lay shrouded in graveclothes—the men who once offered love and protection.

Some of you might relate to the Old Testament figures of Naomi and Ruth. Perhaps you’ve been widowed or dealt with the pain of divorce. Maybe you know the struggles of an empty bank account and bare cupboard. The heartache of an empty womb or the imprint of soil wedged beneath your knees as you weep at your child’s graveside.

Emotional pain can drive us to become someone we never imagined we might become; a person coddling and stroking feelings that only grow more intense and hurtful unless given over to the truth of scripture.

In Naomi’s case, bitterness toward God consumed her life and impacted her faith. She said, “…the Almighty  has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:21 NKJV)

I empathize with this dear lady. I’m not much different. In fact, seven years ago I’d repackaged her words as, “Why me, God? Why my children?”

I once walked in Naomi’s bitter shoes, blaming God for the assaults the enemy sent my direction through various avenues. But there is a way to rediscover hope in a season of suffering. Like Ruth, who affirmed her commitment to both her mother-in-law and God, we can cling to our faith.

Ruth was a remarkable young woman. She’d suffered the same circumstances as her mother-in-law but approached them differently. Rather than blame-shifting or abandoning either her new family or her budding faith, she doubled-down on commitment. Ruth famously said, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NKJ)

She might have returned to the comforts and familiarity of family and to the gods she’d worshipped as a child. Instead, Ruth chose the companionship of a grieving woman, a land filled with people who considered her an enemy, and a God who would bless her bloodline for her faithfulness.

Though it may be tattered or worn thin, He is able to increase even a mustard seed faith (Matthew 17:20) and grow beauty through hardship and perseverance.

When we walk through a season of suffering, we have a choice. Will we choose bitterness or faith?

 

A prayer if you’re struggling with faith today-

Father,

Life has been so difficult and my spirit is grieved. Some days, I feel as though my faith lies in tatters and I’m not sure it will ever recover. I know you “have plans to give me a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) and I ask you to help me believe that will mend what is broken and restore what has been stolen. Give me a mustard seed faith, Lord, to trust you in all circumstances and root out any bitterness or other emotion that dishonors you.

In the powerful name of Christ, Amen

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P. S. I often linkup with these other wonderful bloggers.

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsMandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

Read Full Post »

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