This post is to answer the discussion questions for the I AM online Bible Study Lisa at The Preacher’s Wife has so wonderfully put together. It isn’t too late to join, so feel free to hop over and join in.
From the Lesson: When circumstances do not fall in line with our preconceived notions of what is best for us, how do we react? Do you, in my Southern slang, pitch a hissy fit? Do you become angry, bitter, or lash out? Or do you mope, pout, and withdraw?
This is something I think we should stop and ask ourselves several times daily. It can be a real “wake-up” call to some on how they react to certain things. I know personally in the past, I’ve watched my own children react in a way that I did not particularly care for, and figure out that they’ve learned that reaction from me, their Dad, other family members, or other people… it’s not easy to swallow when you look in a “mirror” at your own child.
- By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months.
- By faith Moses refused to be called a Prince of Egypt.
- By faith Moses denied the passing pleasures of sin.
- By faith Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
- By faith Moses recognized a greater reward.
- By faith Moses endured because he saw Him who is Unseen.
Sisters, when things do not work out like we planned, when the diagnosis is not what we wanted, when the child is in trouble, when the bills are not paid, when the job is just too stressful, when the loved one continues to reject the Lord, the only way we can endure is following hard after the One who is Unseen. Trust in the One who is refining and preparing you to either be delivered or to be a deliverer. On any given day, you will always fall on one side of that line or the other. No matter which it is on this day, the only way to endure is by Faith.
RETAIN – I pray that I can retain this information and remember how much faith Moses had. Continue to learn and grow in my faither – I thank our heavenly Father for giving the Holy Spirit to guide us… for being with us, molding us like clay and refining and preparing the way to be delievered His way, His Will!
Just my thoughts before moving onto the discussion questions:
1. I am going to present to you a little acrostic to begin our discussion today. What is your latest NLIP? (Not Like I Planned?)
There are a few I’ve been dealing with, and it’s amazing how God will use things in our lives to remind us it’s time to refocus on Him.
My Little one:
My daily schedule is not working out as I planned. I’ve had to learn that things don’t work out to my timing, but only to His timing. It’s hard to give up control – even today.
My Big one:
I made plans several years ago to move forward in my career to become a major executive, but God had other plans for me to primarily stay at home to care for my children and disabled mother. I thank God every day for the opportunity that I’ve had to be here for them! And look forward to getting a part-time job outside of the home here shortly, if that’s what He has planned for me next, which is what I’m seeing happening!
2. How did you react to your NLIP? Are you still upset about it? Happy about it? Baffled by it? Explain.
My reactions to my schedule not going as planned depend on the circumstances… Sometimes I’m content with what is going on, and deal with my emotions later about what I didn’t accomplish. Which is not always good, because I can be my own worst enemy. Other times, I get irritated easily and have to remind myself to “Be Still,” as I get upset. Prayer is my crutch.
3. Have you ever attempted to step into an area of ministry and found your desire rejected? Did this cause you to question God and yourself? Perhaps distrust what you perceived to be your calling?
When I attended church during childhood and youth years, I was always in the chior, as I love to sing! As an adult, I’ve wanted to step back into being in the worship team, but it seems as though timing does not work for me right now. The practices are when I teach, and on another night that is not good for husband. Plus, for some reason, since I “put it out there” that I wanted to join, I could not until the last month get myself to church on time. So I made a promise with myself when I realized that was happening; that I would not pursue this worship team any further until I could get to church ontime for three months straight… I’m two months away! In the mean time, I’ve used my other gift with teaching and helping computer word processing wise within the church. I have so much fun creating newsletters, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
4. Do you harbor any bitterness towards any individual or situation which you believe waylaid your best laid plans?
I try my best to give my irritability, bitterness, anger, you name it to God and ask His help for me to see the situation with grace.
5. Have you had a life experience or trial that left you with a shaken faith because it ended in an NLIP? Please share if you feel free.
My miscarriage… of course I did not plan to not be with my baby. I’m not sure I have enough room to share this here. See if I can make this as short as possible:
Before my pregnancy I had already stepped away from the church due to confusion that I did not even realize at the time. Even though I was not going to church, I was still reading my Bible and praying (but I’ve learned over all these years – that is not enough, I need fellowship). So, when I lost my baby all I kept asking was, “How could You take my baby from me? What did I do so awful for You to take my baby away? Help me see my sin, so that I can confess. …” I thought I’d never again step foot in another church. I felt dead. I couldn’t bring myself to picking up my Bible – I just wanted to hollar (and I did) at God. It took several months for me to come out of this depression, the hold that Satan had on me; even though, I became pregnant again just two months after my miscarriage. It was hard for me to be joyous in the second pregnancy, as I was mourning my loss and scared I’d loose that one too. It wasn’t until a co-worker of mine shared the following with me that I understood God was still with me. He said, “How do you think God gets His highest angels by His side? What does it take to be an Arch Angel?” I had no idea where he was going with this… but I thank him for this! “Think about it, to be right by God’s side, you’d have to be “like” Jesus – is that possible for any human being?” I just sat there listening and crying. He continued, “In order to be pure, clean, whole, holy, His blessing, you have to be untouched. If that baby was born of this earth, it would not be clean any longer, as soon as human hands touched it. So, it’s okay to mourn, but we also need to praise God for taking your angel out of this awful world, for cradeling him and making him healthy in His arms. For bringing him up as his angel – pure, untouched, clean, holy…” I felt relief, and could eventually then be happy for the second pregnancy. I ended up writing all of this down at the time and reading it in front of my congregation, asking forgiveness for being so angry.
Now – don’t get me wrong, I know there are more then this way to become one of God’s angels. But this is what got me through and out of my depression. To think, my baby was sitting in God’s arms & I will see him when He chooses it’s time to call me home, that was incredible to me. I still mourn my loss, but also remember – I wouldn’t have my oldest son now, had I not had that miscarriage; and I wouldn’t give up my oldest for nothing! But I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older as well – I wouldn’t give up my miscarriage, the bitterness of that loss is gone. I’ve been able to help so many others with this same “journey” of their baby — had I not gone through it, I wouldn’t be able to touch others lives as I have. It doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t make it wrong, it just helps us see, there is another purpose for our child, other then our purpose. God’s purpose is what matters.
6. Based on Moses’ response of faith to his own rejection, how will you re-evaluate your own experiences or look at future ones differently if a NLIP presents itself?
I’ve learned that I cannot walk away when trails come. That I need to prepare myself before they come – stay in His Word; so that I can fight with His Word.
WOW, how I needed these reminders.
God Bless, HL