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07
The Glorious Unfolding
September 7, 2014
A Final Call to Surrender…

"I love you, O LORD, my strength…my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, my fortress, my deliverer…I call upon the LORD who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies...In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help.  From his temple he heard my voice and my cry to him reached his ears…He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me…They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me…For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness" (Excerpts from Psalm 18)

Did you ever wake to find the sun sitting on the horizon just where it’s supposed to be in the morning, but it`s the only thing in your life that seems normal?  Something has changed…everything has changed!  I woke to one of those mornings this past May, and every morning since then.   We were in the midst of probably the most difficult season in our family’s life.  We had been struggling for a while as relationships crumbled in front of my eyes and I prayed for a “but God” story of redemption to tell on the other side of this season.   All the praying in the world didn’t change the decision that shattered our little family; the decision my husband made to pack his bags and walk out the door.   I cannot blame God for what happened.  In fact, what has happened in the aftermath of that storm has been the start of my “but God” story.  

I will always remember waking up that first morning in May.  I looked over at the other side of the bed where the man I love had slept for the past 25 years.  It was empty, and it would be empty every day after that.  I forced my legs to the side of the bed and hesitated there until I could muster the strength to get up.  I made my way to the coffee pot, which on Saturdaymornings was always something he did for us.   There would be no more of those mornings.  

What happened in the days that followed threatened my emotions, security, future and finances.  My mind began reeling at the thoughts of the overwhelming decisions I was going to have to make.   It was unnerving to say the least and then there were the feelings of rejection that brought tears and heartache.  I thought of the years I had committed to being a devoted wife.  How could it all end like this?  

As I focused on what was, I took time to thank God for my children who, even in their own pain and heartache, drew as close as possible as we began to walk this out together, loving, praying for and supporting each other.  They spent time with me every day.  I will be forever indebted to them for their love during these days.   It would not be possible to love them more than I do.  God shows me every day, in new ways, the incredible gift from him that they are!

I praised him for a faithful group of sisters who had been praying specifically for a long time and now would walk this out with me.  Sisters that were there when I really needed a friend, who laughed and cried with me, called regularly, listened over a cup of tea or coffee,  wrote cards, went to the movies and lunch, sisters who sent emails and were always “just a text away”.  And then there was my faithful, encouraging Pastor who met with me when I needed to, and continued to speak Godly wisdom into my life, challenging me to be “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove”.  Matthew 10:16

Like you, I am not a stranger to challenges and heartaches.  I have walked with God for many, many years as he taught me through these experiences about his character, love and promises.  When these circumstances presented themselves, I always turned to God and trusted his wisdom, faithfulness and direction to get me through.  I wasn’t big on “surrender”, preferring instead to bargain with him and suggest ways to see an end to the difficulty sooner than it always seemed to take.   After all, why take the long way to a solution when in fact, the shorter way would allow me to get back to my plans.  

Some would say I’m a slow learner!  Now thirty years into my walk with the Lord, I have embarked on a journey I was not prepared for.  God was calling me to a relationship with him that would require all the trust I had within me.  I had never been this broken, tired or fearful.    

There was no bargaining with God this time, no suggestions on how to make it easier and finding a faster way through this nightmare.  It was too big; too far beyond me to do anything but surrender it all to the God who had been faithful so many times in the past.  As I opened the scriptures and poured out my heart to him I received the reassurance that it is the LORD your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6;   And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28; Haven’t I commanded you:  be strong and courageous?  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go Joshua 1:9.  I trusted him and continued to surrender all the painful circumstances that came, day after day.  

Many times I felt the rug pulled out from under my feet as the financial situation of my now “littler” family was compromised.  I was going to have to sell the house.  When?  And where would we live?  And how would I make ends meet, financially?  Surrender.  And so I did.   On one particular day when finances were very tight a bouquet of flowers arrived “anonymously” on my doorstep with a beautiful card and a gift of money.  I had not shared these circumstances of my finances with anyone and so I knew that God had faithfully brought an angel to help me out.    

I had not had a “vacation” in a very long time and I felt the Lord calling me away with my grown children for just a couple of days together.  I felt convicted that we needed to start making some new “family” memories and not wait until we “arrived” down the road many months from now when maybe things were better, to begin a new life.  God wanted me to live life in the midst of the pain and uncertainty.  And so we planned a couple of nights at a cottage.  But again, my finances were attacked and the funds I thought were available for a little get-away no longer existed.  I asked God if I should cancel the time away, totally surrendering the plan if he wanted me to.  The next day a beautiful card arrived in the mail from across the country with the exact amount I needed to pay for the cottage.  The fear and anxiety were soon replaced with joy! Joy that stayed every day after that.  

I could not get enough of God and I could not spend enough time in his Word.  I surrendered my heart, mind and spirit to what he would teach me.  In my prayers I committed my life to trusting him and asking that he not allow me to waste this experience; that I would allow him to transform me.  Surrender.  I was willing to go wherever he took me and trust him with the lessons he had for me.  I was not afraid!   I felt him bring the peace that surpasses all understanding.  Peace that stayed every day after that.  

I thank God every day for a journey that has allowed me to know him to a depth I would have never thought possible.  David’s Psalm 18 has taken on new meaning in this season.  I love the idea that he wrote this song on the day the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  I am grateful that I am able to proclaim it today, in themidst of the battle, trusting that I too will experience a final day of rescue from the hand of my enemies.   

If today you are in the midst of struggle, are afraid to trust God and believe that he loves you and wants his very best for you, may I challenge you to spend time in the scriptures and get quiet in his presence.  It is when I focus on being quiet with the Lord and his scriptures, and not do all the talking, that I am most likely to hear that still, small voice.  Don’t wait 30 years to know the depth of God that he longs to share with you when you surrender your life to him.  Allow him to rescue you from whatever it is you need rescuing from…today.  

I have been blessed by the friends who have shared worship songs that have brought great comfort in the midst of the storm.  The Glorious Unfolding (Steven Curtis Chapman) has become my anthem and it ministers to me every time I hear it.  Today I am thinking of you and wondering what is happening in your world that is going to bring you to a surrendered life with the Lord and a glorious unfolding…

 

The Glorious Unfolding (Steven Curtis Chapman)

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding

Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

Father, we are so grateful for your relentless love towards us that continually calls us to surrender.   For many of us the very word surrender brings about resistance, but your call to surrender is not one to give up, it is a call to come rest in the lavish grace of our Lord.  Many of the women coming to the simulcast are coming from lives of brokenness.  Some may be just holding on so desperate for their "But God" story.  We pray that as we come together to worship you, you would draw each one into your rest where she can know who she is in Christ.  Each of us are already living our "But God' stories.  Our lives are a glorious unfolding of your perfect goodness.  In the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, amen

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