Started Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Devo today. The first year we did the Jesse Tree we used her version. It's beautiful. Of course we never made it through that first year. I think it took us till our third year to actually finish a Jesse Tree Devo from start to finish. Third time is the charm eh? The only bummer about going back to this version is that it doesn't match up with the ornaments I have. As I got things ready today to start the JT I got stressed out. Not having things ready till today has made me feel super far behind on Christmas. I feel anxious that this season is going to pass us right by. I feel anxious that I'm going to miss opportunity or better yet screw it all up.
Yesterday the Sermon of the Prodigal Son hit me. I still struggle with shame and guilt. I don't wallow in it like I used to but it's undertones are always there. The rotten fruit that it bears is perfectionism, self reliance, insecurity and pride. Yummy! Frankly I can't do anything to change the fruit I'm bearing. I need the vine dresser to prune back the rotten fruit so that good fruit and abundant fruit will come forth. It all goes back to one simple thing: abiding. Am I abiding in Him? Apart from Him I'll bear nothing but junk. It's in this abiding that the shackles and chains of shame, perfectionism, self reliance, insecurity and pride fall away. Oh to breath in deep to the very breath of Jesus. To drink deep from His fountain that never runs dry.
I haven't been abiding. I've tried but my many questions have kept me distant.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11 ESV)
Although I've seen God's provision in many ways there has been a part of my soul that has remained stuck on "why". Yesterday for the first time my "I'm trying to trust you" has finally yielded to "I don't understand but I trust you". I trust you God with my precious boy. I wish that this would be my hardest obstacle to placing my child on the altar but I know this is the first of many. Of the three opportunities I've had this year to surrender my children over this one has been the hardest. After all of this I realize just how frail I truly am. I am simply nothing without Jesus. I know this and yet I know tomorrow I will still choose to pick up my heavy mantle of self reliance. This is where the abiding and cease striving once again reminds me that I am frail and weak and yet it's okay. I'm surrounded by the love of the King of Kings who came to rescue the frail and the weak.
These verses caught my eye and tied together from tonight's JT about looking for the hearts that need to know Jesus.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. (Acts 17:16-17 ESV)
God may my heart be provoked within me when I see people who desperately need you. Give me courage to love boldly and to proclaim truth boldly. Give me eyes to see the lonely, the broken hearted and the desperate. Give me eyes that see and words upon my tongue.
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