Prone to Wander Lord I feel it…

Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope, by thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love,
Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee

Hymn Come Thou Fount

Tuesday was a difficult day as it was my first day that one of the ladies chose to leave the center before their year was complete. I had heard stories of others before I arrived leaving but this was my first encounter and all I can say is it floored me! The emotions that I encountered today were pretty much every emotion God has every created all wrapped up in an emotional basket with a bow of sadness wrapped around the handle.

I wasn’t even aware that she left until another student divulged the information as I came out of my room. It was like a sucker punch in the gut!

I had gotten pretty close to this student in the beginning of my time here however in the last month or so I had noticed this student pull away from me. After several times of asking the student if there was something wrong or if I had done anything to cause tension in the relationship and her telling me there was nothing wrong I stopped asking. Of course my first thought when I heard the news was to belittle and condemn myself in that I should have known, done something more or pushed harder to find out what was going on in her heart and mind. In the process of my self-condemnation God spoke through to me several things and those I want to share with you.

Our hearts are prone to wander… By nature we as humans want to find the easiest, safest and quickest way through a trying circumstance and then find ways to justify our desire and attempts to get out of that circumstance as quick as possible. I see this process that the women go through in the first couple months of arriving.

At first they may be angry they are in the program.

They don’t need to be here.

There is nothing wrong with them.

Denial.

Then they accept that there may be something that they need to work on.

They have a breakthrough

An encounter with God, if you will.

Then they feel they have gotten what they need from the program to be able to continue on successfully. Maybe because they had been to other rehab centers and never had that encounter with God so they feel that is the key to it all. Since they have the key, to lets say the storage closet,  they feel they don’t need the people that God has set up who have the master keys.  However God wants to give them the keys to the whole mansion he has prepared for them in His timing.

The disheartening part is they only have the key to the storage closet where all of their baggage exists.

The only reason I can identify the above is because I did it for so many years! I would have a breakthrough with God and then think that I knew it all. I would continue down the path of life with out God as the pilot and get off track because my walk wasn’t an intimate walk with the King of Kings! I let my heart wander. I didn’t continue in the revelation to let it unfold completely in my life and with that I was easily swayed, led a astray or just plan chose what was bad for myself.

The other thing that God taught me is that we as people with having had addictions have a crack in our foundation that we need to identify and correct. If we don’t go through the hard process of examining each and every nook and cranny to find the hairline fracture we will continue to let the water seep in of going back to those addictions that have controlled our lives continually!

God is continually working with me in my time here showing me where my foundation was cracked and how  the elements of dysfunction found their way into my thinking and life.  An example of a crack in my foundation was that leadership was untrustworthy in general and didn’t always hold up their end of promises because they were in the leadership position and didn’t have to. Through a series of events here God has shown me how my distrust created and began to breed the same environment that I was fearful of. As I got to know the ladies and heard the rumors of the staff it was easy for me to be swayed in this way. God in his loving kindness showed me this crack and I was able to earnestly seek to submit to authority God has placed me under and to seek ways to lift up and support the staff. In doing so I have began to build relationships with the staff, learn their hearts and see how they love and seek to do God’s will! Does that mean they do everything correct?? By all means, NO! They are still sinners saved by grace and will let others down, however it teaches us to lean on God ultimately and not put leaders above or on the same level as God.

The last thing that God taught me today is that I am here to help the women but God is the ONLY one that can change a heart, heal a heart and transform a life. I can only be a willing vessel to be used by God to minister love and support to the ladies here. I can be a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold and a sister to pray with. I was never meant to be a savior or redeemer! That job was filled when Jesus came to die for me and each and every women that is here and will come through the doors. There will be more that will come and go before its time and all I can do is continue to intercede to God on their behalf.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Third Month in Missoula Montana

3 months!
How time flies when you are doing God’s work!

I don’t even know where to begin as so much has happened in the month that I have written. I completed my second course through the TCMI training that I am taking and finished with an A+! I started a new course doing the workbook Experiencing God and am working on my orientation course work that every intern must complete. That alone has kept me pretty busy.

God is really teaching me so many things! I am unearthing the authentic meaning of love according to 1 Corinthians 13 and boy is it a challenging verse to learn. People in our society throw the words “I love you” around so flippantly however few can truly say that they live out the majority of the characteristics of love that are mentioned in that verse. I know I haven’t been able to! I am a runner! When love gets hard I flee!

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
How many times have I quoted this verse? A hundred.. maybe more!
How many times have I thought that I am loving others like this yet in my heart I am jealous of where God has them in their life?

Or wished something upon someone that did something to me that hurt?

This world views an enemy as someone that we no longer have to love however it says in Luke 6: 27-28

But to you who are listening I say
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

I don’t know what I expected coming out here but God opened my eyes to the fact that these women, myself included, are broken, hurt, scared, and scarred individuals who don’t know what it means to give or receive true love. Many of us have not been shown authentic love by anyone in our lives or only by one or two others and the bad has out weighed the good.

This season of my life I am learning to love women who don’t trust, who struggle with wondering what others intentions are every time someone does something and who quite frankly have a hard time loving me back. Which is a challenge for me as being loved and accepted has been a life long pursuit that I am learning has to be filled with God first before anyone else can be let in to fill the rest of our heart. The God shaped hole has to be filled first before we can truly love others authentically and completely!

Another lesson that God is teaching me is in light of the devastating bombing that happened in Boston yesterday. The women at the center that I am interning for can not watch anything on TV other than the news and a few other center approved things. Though I had seen it plastered all over Facebook I didn’t want to tell them what was going on partly due to wanting to protect them from heart wrenching news like that and also I didn’t want to voice what happened. I could feel my emotions going on auto-pilot and this feeling of apathy coming back. One of the ladies came and said she heard about the bombings on the radio and wanted to watch the news. I cringed at the thought and didn’t want to watch knowing that my heart was hurting with the little amount that I did know. The ironic and sad thing is that we turned on the news and the story allotment the local news gave it was about a minute but no more than two minutes! They assured Montana residents that no person from Montana was hurt at the race and all were accounted for. Then moved on to Grizzly football…

As I lay in bed last night and prayed about my response to all that had happened God prompted my heart that I should have hit my knees with the ladies that were in the house and we should have interceded for the families that were affected! How quickly I am to try and sweep my emotional hurts under the rug, not wanting to break down and feel the pain of what happened.

Romans 12:15 says

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

God wants us to experience life with each other and share in those emotional things that touch those around us or even affect a nation. It is healthy to mourn the loss of a young child that was waiting for his father at the finish line! That child’s life was cut short due to an evil person doing a heinous act. The light at the end of the tunnel is to know that there are more good people in the world than the few bad people. The amount of people that rushed to aid others was awe inspiring! These people know some form of love and I want to be more like that!

Those lessons are some pretty big things! On top of all that is my daily responsibilities or what the ladies hate to refer it to but what others would know as my job. We had our annual banquet this last Friday which was my 3 month “anniversary” here in Montana. Our annual Banquet is the main event that helps us to raise as much money as possible to continue the ministry through out the coming year. It is a stress packed time making sure we have as many items, donations and package getaways as possible to make the silent auction and live auction the most successful it can be. At fifty dollars per seat we have to make it as much as possible worth someone paying that much and showing them how we are using their hard earned money for the good of each and every women that comes to our Center. The weeks preceding the Banquet were jam packed with tasks and assisting where needed. It also marked the end of the other interns time here and the start of God teaching me what it looks like to be the only intern. All in all you can say it was a challenging couple weeks!

Through it all God was faithful to show up! Even down to the night of the event and the hotel calling the house to tell me, the measly intern, as all the staff were home getting ready themselves, that the power was out at the hotel and they didn’t know when it would come back on!! Oh Lord! Boy did the girls start praying and reminding the devil that he had no place not only at the house but also at the hotel where the banquet was being held. It was so awesome to see the women praying as they were getting all dressed up, putting on makeup and getting their hair done! I am so blessed to be able to see awesome moments like that and so many more. It makes it all worth while when I see the ladies who are new creations in Christ exerting their God given rights to tell the devil where to go!! =)
I am honored to be learning all of these awesome lessons God is teaching me right along side these women who remind me so much of the way that I was and in some areas still struggle. I am learning though that God is not finished with us yet and together we will run the race set before us!