Tuesday, February 2, 2010

His: Fully and Completely, Forever

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays for the last time as I temporarily host for sweet Lelia the online study of Lysa Terkeurst's wonderful book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.

Chapter 18: Forever

I cannot believe that I've been reading Lysa's awesome book for eighteen weeks. Eighteen. That's 1-8. Four and a half months. Wow. It's been a blessing for sure. Thanks to Lysa for her willingness to be real, open, and honest. But mostly, thanks to her for being obedient to God in writing this book. Fortunately, I won't be saying goodbye to Lysa nor this topic. I will be leading my ladies' small group in the Bible study that accompanies this book. We begin next week and I've been anticipating and excited since November when I found out she was writing a study.

Lysa's first sentence in this last chapter struck me. "It was one of the most beautiful marriage ceremonies I'd ever attended." In my heart of hearts, I thought, just like mine. Many people said mine was so beautiful and meaningful. I was told that there wasn't a dry eye in the church. We created our own ceremony and it was filled with God everywhere. We were both asked if we had committed our lives to Jesus Christ and then also had words of committed to Jesus throughout our marriage. That may sound very hypocritical considering the state of our union now: still united in God's eyes but not everything as God would desire at this point. My life as it is now, I can't focus on being a bride to a man but rather for this time I'm a bride to my Bridegroom Jesus alone.

I love what Lysa says here: "We were made for the greatest love story of them all. We were made to fall in love with Jesus." Those to me are such sweet words. We were made to fall in love with Jesus. And praise the Lord that I've done that. If I've done nothing else right in my life, I'm thankful that He led me to Himself. That He wooed me with His love. That He captivated my heart.

Stay with me as I process this. But Lysa touches on something that Beth Moore has been saying in her study, Esther. I'm going to try to formulate and process it as I write these words. Lysa shares how she had regrets and had not saved herself for her wedding day. She's not alone in that one, I'm positive. However, she's made peace with her past and realizes we cannot go back and change things. Oh how I'd love to change some of my past. To make right my wrongs. "My journey through life helped me grow a heart totally and purely devoted to Him." Beth says "we cannot amputate our history and fulfill our destiny." She is saying we can't be all that God wants us to be without our past, without our history, without our mistakes and regrets. I can hear Beth's sweet southern drawl (from her CDs) on this emphasis as she repeatedly says "are you hearin' me ladies? Are you gettin' this ladies?" Do we? Do we get what both of these ladies are saying? We can't be the person God is preparing us to be without the journey, without the history. We aren't going to be the person destined to be without journeying through life with our experiences, good and bad, in tote.

Now let's get back to this business of falling in love. Just like with any one and any relationship, love doesn't just happen. We don't just wake up saying "I love you" without putting action behind it. Relationships take time being invested, spent, and shared together. Jesus wants the same. "We will only fall in love when we draw close, deepened our understanding of Him, and seek to do life with Him." Seek to do life with Him.

Lysa momentarily touches on the imperfect heroes of faith. My mind immediately thought of David. I did the study, A Man After God's Heart, this past summer. I'm awed, yet blown away, yet fascinated that a man who could do such terrible things could also have this "title" placed upon him. A man who slept with another man's wife. A man who killed. A man who was deceptive. Yet. Yet, he was a man after God's own heart. To me there is no greater honor than to be called a man or woman after God's own heart. But David was a sinner. He had a past, a terrible past. He had ugliness in his history. That doesn't matter. Just like our pasts. They are what they are. We cannot dwell there but rather live today. Live today with Jesus. Life with Jesus.

The next subtitle Lysa has is Abandon. Oh how I don't like that word. It brings pain to my heart. It brings memories of the worst time in my heart. Is there anything more heartbreaking than to be abandoned. Whether it is from a parent, a friend, a spouse. I've experienced the latter two of those and I'd not wish that on anyone. Abandonment is worse than death. Worse than being separated by death is to be separated by abandonment. It is defined as "to leave completely, to forsake." Just that word makes my toes curl. To forsake someone. On the flip side, I know that no matter who else may forsake me in this life, Jesus will NEVER forsake me.

If we look at all sides of the word abandon, Lysa says it also plays a crucial role in every love story. Love? How can we associate such a negative word with such a joyous experience? Because it shows up in most all wedding vows. In sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful as long as you both shall live. "This forsaking all others is vital to a successful marriage...Leaving behind anything that would hinder the commitment." Wow. Those are very tough words to hear as I long for my failed marriage to be restored to a successful one, where all else is forsaken. If only these truths would have been made known and clear...

"Everything I have. Everything I own. Everything I hope for. Everything I fear. Everything I love. Everything I dream. It's all Yours, Jesus. I trust You in complete and utter abandon."

I abandon it all for the sake of the call.

Let's never be like the rich young ruler in Luke 18. "Instead of forsaking the trappings of this world, he chose to forsake the love his soul was made for."

Utterly surrendered to God's plans. That is exactly what I want to be. I want to do what causes God to pause: complete abandon to my will and utterly surrendered to Yours, God. Utterly surrendered. Utterly. Surrendered.

I can sometimes be goal oriented. Or at least I can set goals and set desires to complete certain things but I may not complete them as quickly as I'd desire. That gush of motivation gets beat down by life, laziness, and lack of motivation. Goals are all fine and well as long as they are kept in the right perspective and priority. "But when having a goal takes your focus off God and His daily intentions for you, it can cause trouble." Basically, when we are too busy focused on the future and on the things we've just got to complete, then we don't focus on today, the moment right now, or this second. Lord, may I always be open to your unfolding invitations.

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

"Becoming more than a good Bible study girl means that we desire God's revelations in our life more than we desire our own carefully constructed plans."

Striving to say and be...Yours God.
Fully and Completely. Forever.
If you have more to share on your blog, please use MckLinky below to hook up. I would greatly welcome any comments even if you are not doing the study. You don't have to be reading this book to share your wisdom and insight to this post. I love comments.
© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.


Joyfulsister said...

Hi Paula,
Dropped by to say hello and praying all is well with you. I have to catch up with my visits been so out of the loop lately. Wonderful post and I see your heart in your studies, keep it up and may the continue to use you as he is doing for such a time as this..

Hugz Lorie

Erin said...

What a great post! I am so grateful you have been doing a series on that book, I would have never known about the book without visiting your blog, I bought it, read it and just loved it!

Sharon said...

Heyyyy were you talking to meeeeeeee, well whether you know it or not, I say you were!! What a heart pondering post to me. I have been out of the loop for awhile, and I'm trying to get back in the groove of my road.

Missed ya!!
Have a blessed and joyfilled weekend

Happy Valentines :)

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Paula!

Why is it so hard for us sometimes to just put our will aside and let God have His divine will? It is always a constant battle. I pray I can do better in this area and let God's will unfold for my life.

I have been a firm believer in being thankful for and enjoying the present moment. So many times people have said "Oh the good old days, to be back there again" and I have always said NO I am thankful for the blessing of THIS moment, THIS time, THIS lesson, THIS experience to let it be all that God wants it to be.

Thank you for such inspiration in your words and the love that comes from your heart.

Blessings & hugs, Sherry

Paula said...

Hi Paula! I LOVE this post! Wow! I can relate to everything you have written, and you've helped cement some thoughts in my mind about my past and my relationship with Jesus. I have a little something for you on my blog today. Love you much! xoxo

Sharon said...

I was looking at your site, checking to see if you have slipped anything in lately, I know this month has been hard for you, know that I prayed for you all last week!! and now today!
I LOVEEEEE that picture of you! You are a beautiful woman, inside and out!

Have a terrific weekend my friend :)

myletterstoemily said...

what a sweet study. thank you for sharing
from your heart.


天台 said...


Lelia Chealey said...

Hey Miss Paula...beautiful post. I love how real you are about what you've gone through. You deserve God's best and your continuous surrendered heart I know just pleases Him to pieces.
Love ya!!!! And thank you so much for helping this girl out of the pit she was in! xoxo

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Hi Paula...

I am very honored by your study of my book and the comments you wove throughout your post.


Seriously wow.

Thank you for leading women through this study. Thank you for your tender heart toward women and your sweet love for our Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Great words. I've been on this journey for 25 years--marriage that is. Raised in a Christian home, born again two years after I was married--imagine that. I knew God as my Husband and Bridegroom (see Isaiah 54) in 1999, twelve years after I was born again. He reveals Himself little by little as we seek Him. Then and only then was I able to be the wife He wanted me to be all along to my earthly husband. It is not so much because we know Him as our Bridegroom that we can't focus on being a bride to a man, but rather because we know Him as our Bridegrrom, we can then be a bride to a man as it pleases God.

Thank you so much for sharing.
Blessings to you.

sanjeet said...

keep it up and may the continue to use you as he is doing for such a time as this.
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