“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Butterflies In My Stomach

An Altar:  Christopher's Beanie Baby from the NICU

Yesterday, I got to teach.  And I had a lot of fun.  I had been asked to teach on Abraham for our Tuesday Ladies' Bible Study.  It was like being on a favorite roller coaster for 45 minutes... with ups and downs and turns and twists and best of all... butterflies in my stomach.

And yes, I did wear the pink feather boa.  I thought I wouldn't have to... I felt so calm and at ease yesterday morning... I felt your prayers... but as I began to speak the blood started pumping quicker and quicker and I thought I might faint... so I put it on... and ended up keeping it on.

Jackie, one of my new BFFs from the SSMTC reminded me that it wasn't about me... and with or without me God was going to do His thang...
Sheri, we had our Loving Well Retreat Friday and Saturday.  Beth was saying right at the beginning how nervous she was because there was 19,000 women in the arena. In classic Bethese, she said that God told her "you're not good enough to mess this up. I'm (God) going to be there. You can come if you want or you can stay home."
And I am so glad that I did not stay home!  God had prepared me early on talk about the altars that Abraham built for God.  I had been listening to a podcast by one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson... and God let me know that this was what I was to share... but I was to make it mine.  To make it personal.  Because I am in the habit of setting up altars.

To me an altar is something that reminds me of God's faithfulness.  Perhaps a pink feather boa that reminds me that it is okay to go out of my comfort zone.  Or a Beanie Baby that newborn baby Christopher was given in the NICU... where God miraculously healed him.  Or a book like "Anonymous" or "Conquering Depression" that changed my thinking... and my life.  Or my many journals (and now my blogging) which mark the path where God has taken me from... and where He is taking me to...

Abraham would set up altars after a spiritually significant encounter with the Lord.  Whether the Lord appeared to Abraham or revealed more details on His plans for Abraham or brought Abraham to a point of decision... and sometimes Abraham even ended up worshiping at an altar that he had built years before.

If we don't have some type of reminder... we will forget.  You know I have a baby book for Christopher... because in all honesty... I don't remember when he took his first step...  But I can open the book and find out.  As I look back at the reminders of my pregnancy or depression or spiritual growth... they remind me that I have had some difficult times in my past... and I can see God's hand upon me... and the difference between then and now... Thank YOU, God!  And if I ever go through another time like that... I have proof of God's faithfulness in my past, so I can count on His faithfulness in the future.

When we look back on Abraham's life, it wasn't easy.  He was not raised to believe in The Most High God... he had been raised in a polytheistic home. (Joshua 24:2) His brother died at a young age (Genesis 11:28) and Abraham became like a son to him. (Genesis 12:4)  His wife was barren. (Genesis 11:30) He was a foreigner in the land God promised his offspring. (Hebrews 11:9)  He was tested by God.  (Hebrews 11:17) He only saw his offspring to the 2nd generation.  (Genesis 25:7-8) Yet, he is known as a friend of God.  (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23)  And here is the thing... he never got his hands on what was promised.  (Hebrews 11:39)

But God took every moment of Abraham's life... God didn't waste a moment of it.  Through all of the trials and tests and sufferings and WAITING... Ultimately, Abraham became a father of a great nation and his name became great and the people on earth were blessed through him...

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ 
the son of David, 
the son of Abraham." 
Matthew 1:1

Is there an altar you can build today?  Perhaps it is a photo or a journal or even a particular Bible verse... and it reminds you of God's faithfulness?  We need to remember... because we are prone to forget.

Today my challenge is to find a way to mark my path... to set up a spiritual stepping stone... of the roller coaster I was on yesterday.  Because it is not something I want to forget... ever.  And I have a feeling that it is just the beginning...


Diane said...

This is my first time on your blog...and loved it! Great lesson on Abraham , and God's faithfulness to you as He continues to 'grow you' !! Building my altars......or "God stops" as Beth has taught!
Thanks! I plan on being back! :=)

Amy said...

Again, God definitely spoke through you - in spite of the butterflies in your stomach - yesterday morning. I was deeply touched and challenged by the word your shared with us.

rooney said...

awesome Sheri. i got chills throughout your entire post. God is definitely using you to challenge me. You spoke Truth and the Holy Spirit in me resonated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing with us. It is always good to have reminders for GODs faithfuness. I am always amazed when I read back thru my journals at what he has done in my life.

Yolanda said...

Did you come away saying, Lord I poured out and I did so afraid, but I did so knowing that was what You and YOU alone were asking of me?

I feel that in the depth of my being each time I write as well as co-facilitate a bible study.


Tammy said...

Great post on Abraham. I learned so much as I am sure your sweet ladies did as well. Thanks for sharing

blessings my friend

Anonymous said...

Sheri, You have no idea how much needed to hear these words today...as I am in the midst of prepaing for when I havetospeak on worship. I really like the quote from Beth. I keep the pink boa with me all the time...the little one in front of the calendar. I say a prayer for you when I see it.

elizabeth embracing life said...

I have often looked at those times that God has stepped into my life in the physical form as faith building trophies. I know what the inscription says on each one. They have been privately on a shelf for years that I can visit and bask in HIS faithfulness. My how God changed the location of those trophies.

I was challenged several years ago to open up my heart and share what amazing things God was doing in my life, but in sharing it meant it would show more of my inabilities in life, my weakness, my frustrations.....God these are my victories with You and only You....I don't want to share this stuff. The first time I shared a trophy was with a stranger...playing it safe. I could see how my story changed that stranger that day and in return changed me. I am no Abraham, and my stories are not so big like his, but God has been present in my life. My burning bush experiences alwasy come back to two words..."I AM". And since HE IS....I am going to share those things that God has taught me, shed, challenged, and perhaps one person may begin to see HIM more clear. whos sorry so long.