Last summer before I left for Iceland I was a little troubled as to what to do with my car. I thought about selling it and using the money for my YWAM trip to Iceland, but then I felt like God was impressing on me to give it away. “Give my car away?!” was my first reaction. That seemed a bit radical and extreme. So I told God to open my eyes to someone who needed a car as sort of my fleece before the Lord. Sure enough not shortly after (I think it was even in the same week) a friend’s mom informed me that her daughter needed a car—there it was…and then came the second hesitation, wondering whether I had really heard God or if it was all a coincidence. Yeah right. So the night before I left I gave her my car…..keep this in mind and keep reading…
This week/weekend has been a hard one. Starting with this past weekend in Virginia Beach. Aside from all the fun at the beach and spending time with good friends it had a bit of challenges strung within. Funny because on my birthday (the day we left) I was spending time with Papa and asking him about what this next year was going to hold. I felt like he was telling me that it was going to hold a lot of challenges in unexpected areas—areas where I thought I was smooth sailing. During this weekend I struggled with the way others were wired—that being different than my own. You see, I’m a bit of a left-brainer. I make lots of plans, lists, I try extremely hard to never be late and I am also pretty directionally gifted. I can be free-spirited and laid back when needed but normally within the structure of a plan; which I know is a bit contradictory. The people I was with this weekend (and have been with constantly in my trips to Iceland & Kenya) are by default more on the free-spirited side of things. So it sent my left-brain into overdrive. I couldn’t sleep when someone was driving for fear they would get us lost, I felt I needed to make plans for the day or nothing would happen, and I essentially spent a lot of time judging them for their lack (what I thought was lack) of organization. I wasn’t having a grace for the way they were wired and essentially I was being a bit selfish in my thinking. Just because they’re not wired the same way I am does not make them wrong. God showed me some ungodly beliefs attached to that: 1. “I can’t trust others to do what they say they will so I must plan for their failure ahead of time and do it myself.” Not true (obviously that’s why its a UGB).
We returned to Nashville late Monday evening and Tuesday morning I had to wake up pretty early to Nanny. I plugged in my phone and set 2 alarms on it to make sure I’d wake up. I woke up, looked at my phone and it was dead…it hadn’t charged all night. Panicked, I ran to the kitchen and sure enough it was 30 minutes after I was supposed to be at work. I rushed around and drove a little speedily to their house, unable to call them because my phone was dead and I didn’t have their number or a phone to use if I did (this is where landlines come in handy). By the time I got there she had already called in a sub for her class (she’s a teacher) and I know they were both pretty frustrated. “My phone died” is not a very good reason to be that late. Both of them did a very good job at displaying the fathers grace, although frustrated they encouraged me not to be too hard on myself and remember we all make mistakes. Along with some good pointers to be prepared—-like having an alarm clock in addition to my phone. :)
I tell that story for the direct connection between my judgments about seemingly lack of organization all weekend and then my “failure” the next day. I reaped the judgments I had sown almost immediately. I learned though. Not only to be more prepared, but also a reminder that you really do reap what you sow.
Reaping what you sow has great benefits though. Remember the car I gave away? Well the girl I gave it to moved back to Israel and so she returned it to me (which was quite helpful) not long after I got back from Iceland. In addition Tyler was just given a car to use as long as he needs. He reaped blessing from what I had sown. How cool is that?
Sorry I’m jumping all over the place with my stories…but all of these are connected to the overall epiphany of cause & effect this week.
Today I was talking with the Father of the child I nanny for and he was telling me how he was reading Psalm 107 (probably my favorite Psalm) that morning and what he noticed was how often it says “Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!”—4 times to be exact. Lets break it down..
21Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! 22And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing! 23Some go down to the sea and travel over it in ships to do business in great waters; 24These see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep. 25For He commands and raises up the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. 26[Those aboard] mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the deeps; their courage melts away because of their plight. 27They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing]. 28Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. 29He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still. 30Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven. 31Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!
Do you see the cause and effect there? The men waited until all their strength and wisdom ran out to call on the Lord and of course being the good daddy he is, he rescues them. Then they rejoiced and gave praise, Then the Lord guided them to the harbor they longed for. I believe the Lord would still have guided them to the harbor had they not thanked him, but I’m not sure that their eyes would’ve been open to it. They might still be complaining about something or other. But with their thankful heart they were guided to the harbor their hearts cried out for. It’s beautiful really, how our praise and thanksgiving opens way to fresh and joyful perspective. I know from my own experience thankfulness and praise open way for joy. While focusing on what you think God hasn’t done yet only leads to frustration.
Moral of the story: you reap what you sow. What you do, how you think (or judge), & your attitude of praise can make way for not-so-fun lessons to learn or incredible joy & blessing!
Do you have any awesome testimonies about reaping & sowing? Share ’em in the comments below!