It's been a beautiful week in Texas. The weather has definitely felt more like April than January. I have enjoyed being able to run several days this week in the great outdoors before the weather changes next week. While I run, I spend time in prayer and worship. For a little while I have no stress or worries, or if I do, I can spend time talking to God about them without any interruptions or distractions. His ideas about my life are always much better than mine. Having the time alone with God this week made me much more ready to encounter Him in worship this morning.
Sometimes the way that God chooses to move in my life is quite strange. Today Shawn was preaching the gospel message of salvation. I knew this, and while I enjoy hearing the story of Christ dying for my sins, it is certainly not a message I expected to bring change in my life, as I am already a believer. I was certainly in prayer for God to move in the hearts of those who were not believers, but did not expect a life changing moment for myself. The worship set was fairly straight forward - focused on God, the cross, and praising Him for salvation. While a great set, again, I did not expect to be personally greatly affected.
Then as Shawn prayed over our people at the beginning of the services, I began to weep. I cried all through the worship set, struggling to read the music well enough to play along, and continued through much of the sermon. I was overwhelmed by the absolute tangible presence of God's love today. It was as if God had scooped me up in his lap and was holding me like I hold my children when they are hurting. His love was just that present and powerful this morning in my life.
Like many woman, I spend a lot of time seeking to be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, nice enough, and to work hard enough, in order to earn people's love. Like everyone else, I often feel that I fall short of the expectations of others and don't quite measure up. I know that my value is found in Christ and that he sets me free from having to conform to others' expectations, but the desire to be pleasing is hard to overcome. This week I have felt very inadequate and overwhelmed, primarily due to challenges at work. I discovered this week that a third of our population is significantly below grade level, and that I will be redoing my schedule to be able to service about 20 additional children in reading groups to try to get them caught up. This will be tough - probably more challenging than anything I've had to do as a teacher.
Today, God said the most beautiful thing ever. As Shawn prayed, I was surprised by God's voice saying to my heart, "I love you. I believe in you." Over and over throughout the service today, God continued to affirm that statement, "I believe in you. You are enough." It was amazing. I was awed all over again that the God of the universe loves me. Personally. Intimately. It was amazing to hear someone say "I believe in you." Everybody needs a cheerleader in their life, rooting for them to find victory over sin, but more than that to be victorious in life - to dream big dreams and chase them down - it was beautiful that God stepped into that void in my life today.
Tonight we got to baptize five more new believers in a friend's hot tub. I love seeing God at work in people's lives at The Crossroads. It is an amazing experience to be a part of what God is doing in Anna, Texas. I am privileged indeed.