I love this part of the year because it's a time that forces you to reflect. Lately, I've been going through my old journals, and reliving some conversations with God from the past few years. It's weird because I find myself getting mad, and I find myself realizing things about myself and how God has painted my personality and character into who I am today-- into who He wants me to be.
As I read, I realized how much I used to draw on the people around me, particularly Laura, for my self-esteem. I knew it at the time, and commented to God about it. I asked Him to forgive me and help me place Him as the only object of veneration. (Just so you know, you should be very cautious about what you ask Him for... I should have just been content to be an idolater. My life would have been easier!)
Well, as you know, since then, God has broken me completely down. When I got back from Iraq, Laura left me. My sources of esteem failed me, and I went through a major depression. I was considering hurting myself in some serious ways just so that I could feel pain on the outside in order to drown out the pain that was inside.
I constantly asked God to show me that He was there and that He cared. At one point, I asked Him that, and some verses came to mind that I had never read. And I went to that passage and was struck by how He was the conquerer who was already marching in victory. He knows that He wins in my life.
My feet had hurt constantly from the deployment. When I went to Guatemala last summer I asked Him to heal my feet so that I could help build this orphanage more effectively, and while I was standing in the shower one day, the pain went away completely.
Still that wasn't enough. I didn't trust Him. I told Him that He I could swear those and many other instances away as coincedence.
So one day, I quit. I decided to leave Him. I told Him that I no longer believed Him. I didn't think He cared. So an opportunity presented itself for me to leave Him in a very physical way. And I decided to do it. I told Him that night that I was done, I was going to go have some fun and do what I wanted to do. I hopped in my car to go have some "fun" and was driving on an empty road in North Dakota at 1030 at night when a car whipped out of a used car parking lot and nailed my car. He completely totalled my car. And that night, I knew it was God. He had litterally reached into my life physically and there was no way to swear it off anymore.
So I asked Him, "What do You want me to do?" I heard only one word in reply, "Run!" It was weird cause it was one of those sorta audible, but silent kind of things. I don't know if you know what I mean, but I was clear that it was Him and no one else. I didn't know what to do.
Litterally the next day, Ben called and asked me to come to California to help him with his shop. So I put in my two weeks, got out of my lease and moved.
Most of you know the story from there, but God put my in an amazing church working with awesome, supportive people. My relationship with my brother is fantastic. And my walk with God is solid. I can only get my self-esteem from Him. And I know if I try to go somewhere else for self-esteem, He'll total my car, and I don't want that.
So that's my story, and I would encourage you this Christmas to think back through what God has done for You. Maybe he's sheltered you from evil like He has me. Or maybe He pulled you out of some lifestyle. Whatever the case, I would encourage you to write it down and keep it. It's so cool to see where God can bring you.
Sorry this is so long.