Monday, June 24, 2013

Resting in His furious love...{and a look at my bookshelf}

Life for me, these past few weeks, has been a series of layers....layers of my heart being peeled back by my Savior, as I give up fears, insecurities, and desires, in exchange for His plans, purposes, and rest for me.  It has been difficult, incredible, and unexpected.  I didn't suppose that I'd find myself in a restful state, as life swirled around me, threatening to pull me into the fray.  It's really quite a miracle, nothing I could have accomplished on my own.  Several books have led me down this journey, and I will share them with you here....

It all started with the book, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul .  Author Jennie Allen takes us down the path she traveled when she and her husband started praying that they would do 'anything' that God led them into.  It is a scary thing to pray, but also a wonderful journey of surrender on which to embark!  However, something in my flesh rose up and motivated me to 'do more' as I read this.  Instead of seeing this as God beckoning me to more joy in Him and the adventure He has planned for my life, I started dreaming of all I could do for God, and hoping He'd ask me to do something amazing.  Underlying that was a desire for my own glory, rather than His.  I am also reading Don't Waste Your Life , by John Piper, which heightened my desire to see God glorified, rather than myself, and brought on much confession, but still I felt a need to 'do more'.  I continued reading these books, but also picked up Holley Gerth's, You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be .  I found this to be a huge encouragement, as I realized God was not asking for more of me, but He was awakening what He has already put inside me, to use for His glory, and not my own.  I don't have to try harder!!  As I reflected on the end of my school year, I picked up Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching , and realized that I can break free from the negative thought life that often plagues me....oh what sweet relief...but again, this can't be done in my own strength!  God and His power, sufficiency, and perfect timing must all be the motivators.

The book that is really ministering to me now, however, is one I have read before, but turned to again these past few days as I've grieved over losing my grandmother so suddenly--Brennan Manning's, The Furious Longing of God .  I've struggled with self-imposed, false guilt that I could have done more for her, that somehow I had not given enough, despite all the affirmation I've received from friends and family to the contrary.  I shouldn't find it surprising that this book is changing my understanding of Jesus and His Gospel of Grace, as prior to picking it up, I was praying that God would deepen my understanding of the Gospel.  Oh, how He answers!  One particularly moving section refers to the story of Don Quixote and Aldonsa (also known as Dulcinea) as He compares this to the healing power and love Christ offers us....which, once experienced, can flow into the lives of others and profoundly mark their lives.

I am thankful for summer days, in which I can linger over words, listen to beautiful piano music, relax by the pool, and enjoy the company of friends and family.  But more than that, I am eager to see how God uses these days of rest to impact the busyness that will resume when the weather cools and life gets back to 'normal'.  Walking closely with Christ always transforms, and I'm thankful for the ladies I'm walking with through this journey in our Anything book study, one-on-one times with dear friends old and new, and of course heart-to-hearts with my love, and life companion, sweet Paul.

Thanking Jesus for Grace....Resting in His love...and wishing the same for you....


{The book links in this post are 'affliate links'; if you purchase any of the books using those links, I will receive a small portion of the sale.  Thank you for supporting my writing efforts!}