Welcome to those linking over from my P31 devotion. As I shared, my heart needs lots of repairs and Jesus is always there offering to do them. But sometimes it's to doubt it's possible. Or we doubt ourselves and our futures when our lives feel broken; our dreams shattered. For years I allowed the pain of my past to keep me from believing God had hope for my future. I let insecurities and doubts keep me from living in the assurance of God’s promises and the confidence of God’s love.
Give-away and Mini-Survey
Now I sense God calling me to help other women walk out of the shadows of their doubts and live in the confidence of who God has created and called them to be. I'm writing a book on the topic of a woman's doubts. I know that publishers want to hear what a woman is thinking and feeling, and needing for encouragement. So, I created a mini-survey (6 questions) that will help determine the focus of each chapter.
Pretty please, would you take two minutes to complete the short survey and then come back to let me know you did. As my thanks to you, I’ll be giving away 4 autographed copies of Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? So, please take the survey and leave a comment below this post telling me you did it. I'm praying for 500+ responses!!! You can help by telling friends and sending a link. If you get others to complete it, tell me and you'll have two chances to win. I'll do the drawing Monday! THANK YOU so much!!!
When God Takes Broken and Makes it Beautiful
My dearest friend’s husband, one of my favorite pastors, had been told his position was being eliminated. She would be moving - hours away. This was the woman who had believed in me. Invested in me. Encouraged me. Prayed for me, and stood beside me as I walked through my fears and doubts to follow God's calling to write and speak.
This was my women's ministry leader. The one I was going to serve alongside until we both shriveled up and went to be with Jesus. This was the woman had built one of the most amazing women's ministries in the country. And now it was broken!
My heart was broken, too. I didn't know how to process my pain.
I thought yard work might be a good distraction for my despair. As I walked into our backyard, I noticed a rose bush the previous homeowner had planted in the center of our split rail fence. It was in full bloom, expressing her glory through the display of gorgeous pink blossoms across the center of the fence.
How did that happen? I wondered.
Although I'd never used it, I knew we had rose food in our shed so I decided to fertilize the bush to help her sustain her blossoms.
As I pulled the weeds back, clearing the way for plant food to sink into the soil, I noticed the root ball divided into four sections. Then a thought ran through my mind. Should I leave them all together, or pull them apart and place them at different posts on the fence? If I separated them and planted the sections in fertile soil at separate posts, their vines would eventually connect and create a blanket of pink draped across the whole fence.
I knelt before the blossoming beauty and pressed my hands into the dirt, trying to find the right places to separate the root ball. That's when I felt God whisper to my heart.
Renee, do you see this plant? It's what I see when I look at you and the women's ministry you love. Each of you serving on the ministry team has been carefully planted in your giftedness, nurtured and encouraged through prayer, equipped through training, fertilized by opportunities to serve and you have produced fruit...fruit that will last!
But, like this plant, you have reached the fullness of My glory in your current soil. You and the rest of the team are ready to divided into separate plants so that my glory in each of you will be more fully displayed as you are uniquely and individually planted in new places of ministry.
What? Surely MaryAnn leaving wasn't the only uprooting I was about to experience? I couldn't bear the thought. More pruning? More breaking up of what has taken years to establish?
I had just gotten to where I was comfortable and felt courage to step and do more in ministry. I was surrounded by women who loved me. We were a team and I just couldn't do it without them. Yet, as I imagined God's glory like that of the rose bush being more fully displayed, my heart settled into a place that felt very right. It wasn’t my plan, but if it was for His glory, wasn’t that what I wanted? Would I trust Him to heal the brokenness and pain and bring something good from it?
That day I knelt on Holy ground in front of my rose bush and surrendered the broken dreams in my heart. Even if it meant letting go of what I loved so deeply, it would be worth it if others would see HIM more clearly. Somehow I knew that with God's care, our vines would cross again in the Kingdom, and His beauty would be more gloriously seen in these new places where He was about to plant each of us.
That was five years ago. I honestly don't think I'd be who I am today if God had not uprooted my plans and redefined my dreams.
It's hard when God allows our hopes to be shattered, our hearts to be broken, our relationships to be fractured, our fears to be realized. I really doubted any good could come from such loss. I doubted that I could make it through the pain.
Like the uprooting of that rose bush some of my leaves wilted, some stems were cut back, petals fell to the ground and some branches had more thorns than blossoms for a while. It took time for me to get re-established in new soil. But God plan for His glory became evident each day that I surrendered to His power and trusted His plans more than mine.
I didn’t think I could make it but God took my doubts and created absolute dependence on Him. I pray that somehow today you see His glory more fully in me and in yourself as we depend more fully on Him, to take our broken and make something beautiful.
If you haven't yet, please complete my short survey and then leave a comment below so I can enter you for a chance in the give-away! My hope and prayer is to have 500 surveys for my book research. THANK YOU!!!