Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grateful Heart

Everyone gets their study, CD, Bible,
steno pad, and a pen. All set!
I wouldn't say I'm ungrateful. I could say, I don't think about being grateful. I'm a take-it-for-granted kind of person at times. I suppose we all are. 


Lately, I've been acutely aware of how blessed I am. I wrote a blog post titled FORWARD several weeks ago. You can read it and see all the cool pictures HERE! I talked about letting hurts go. How I had to let some of mine go and when I did, God opened up an amazing opportunity for me at my church.


The last few months, while still working on my novels and getting them off to critique partners, I've been writing a study for new and growing believers. If you've been around the last couple of months, here or on fb, you know this. (Plug: Please stop by and "like" my facebook page. You can click "like" on the sidebar right here on my site!)


The week before I went on vacation, my BFF "Jane", and I printed the studies, coversheets, bound them  and then burned and labeled CDs. Yep, I made a mixed tape (giggle) for my class. One or two worship songs that go along with the chapters of study I wrote. 


As Jane handed me the books and I bound them, we listened to the CD. And in the middle of it God, with a powerful force, stopped me in my tracks. 


BAM! 


And this is what I heard inside me.


"This will be the first Bible study most of these people have ever done. And they're your words. My words. Our words."


The weight of that overwhelmed me like a tidal wave. At that moment it was like the song says, "If grace is an ocean we're all sinking..."


I looked at "Jane" and she stopped gathering books and stared at me. I couldn't even speak what I'd heard, the raw emotion had gathered in my throat and squeezed. But somehow she knew. And she cried with me. For me. Because of me.


I seriously doubt any of those people coming to this study will ever know the magnitude of gratefulness I feel or the love I have for them. I so desperately want to see them succeed to live a consistent Christian life. I want them to find the treasure of God's Word to see it vividly come alive in their hearts, in their minds, and in their lives (same in fiction). I know it's what "Jane" wants as well. 


I doubt they will realize how blessed I am and will be to see them work through the pages of the study. 


I don't deserve it. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be used. 


And you know what? 


I can honestly say, that while I've been writing fiction--I haven't been discontent. I haven't whined and wondered, "When Lord? How much longer will I have to wait to see our message, our stories in print?" (Because as an inspirational writer, I feel like God nudges me in the right direction and gives me ideas and words to say so they're mine and His--Ours.)


Tonight Jane and I will start our first class. We might have five, we might have 25. I'm not sure. We might have 1. Doesn't matter. 


What matters is growing and maturing in God. Learning and living His Word. Knowing Him intimately. Using what He's given you to bless others. And whoever shows up in that class tonight has made their first step forward. 


“I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.” Philippians 3:12-14 MSG



What have you been doing to bless others in your church, to move forward? What has someone done to bless you? 

Join me over at Living By Grace on Facebook and encourage other women. Come be a blessing! (You can find and "Like" Living By Grace to sidebar of the site!)

27 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm so proud of you! You're doing awesome things!

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    1. Thank, friend! I appreciate your support!

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  2. I have chills from head to toe and tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing this. I am overwhelmed by HIM. Love you lots.

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    1. Love you lots too. We'll both be teaching growth on Wednesdays. How cool is that?!

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  3. You encouraged and nudged me so much today. God and I have been working on some stuff (okay, He's been working, trying to push me and I've been wondering just what He's up to)...I'll be praying for lives to be touched Jess! For the right people to be there tonight and for words to flow through you - a Holy Spirit Smackdown on you, if you will:) Blessings, Jess.

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    1. I'm so glad it nudged you and thank you so much for your prayers! I love that "Holy Spirit Smackdown!" Yes, indeed, friend. Yes, indeed!

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  4. I admit to a David perspective. I struggle with the whys. The whens. All of it. But God knows and He loves me through it. Really trying to live what faith demonstrated through love looks like.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. I think we all struggle with those. It's human nature. Sometimes, like lately, I've struggled less. :) Hugs!

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  5. Awe-some, Jess. I'm excited for you Bible study...wish I could hop in my car, drive down and join you all. But even from a distance, it's awesome to see God using a friend (even if it's a friend I've never technically met!)...I'm excited for you and for what God is going to do in the lives of the ladies attending your study.

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    1. I wish you could hop in the car and come see me too. :)

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  6. I simply love you! Your heart for God is just so clear. I'm praying you have an amazing night and that God is there with you, guiding you, prompting you, leading you.

    I'm blessed to be used in our church's music ministry. When people come up to me to tell me that I sang the perfect song for what they were going through, to bless them, I know it wasn't me who did the blessing. But I love to watch God work.

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    1. Love you, sweet one! You'll have to sing for me at ACFW or on a vlog or call me and serenade!

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  7. How exciting for you!!! I'm so amazed that you wrote a study (but totally not surprised). I think tonight is going to be incredible for everyone. I've been blessed a lot by so many people, both with things they've done and things they've said. I hope I bless others too.

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I think you are blessing for sure!

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  8. Congrats on your Bible Study, Jessica! I wish I could be close enough to attend - just watching you and "Jane" together would make me happy. :) I love how you state that your work is "ours" - because you're absolutely right. We work hand in hand with God and He allows us to have the earthly recognition and it's our job to make sure others see that it's Him all the way!

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    1. Love your insight, Gabe! I also loved your romance story on Keli's blog today!

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  9. What a beautiful thing! Congratulations! It's always humbling and amazing when God uses us as His instruments. There's a saying I love about how God does notice us and loves us, and how sometimes He answers our prayers through other people.

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  10. Hi Jessica! So nice to "meet" you, and how wonderful to see how God is using you and your words. Wow. Sending up a prayer for you and your study tonight. It looks awesome!

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    1. Welcome, Heidi! Thanks for hanging out. Feel welcome anytime. I appreciate your prayers so much. Thank you!

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  11. Great work, Jess! Congrats! Thanks for sharing such a personal and intimate story. I love when God speaks to our heart.

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  12. Bravo, Jess! Thanks for being obedient to the still, small voice of the Savior. Whether you're ministering to 1 or 101, the Lord has given you a gift to be used for His honor and glory - and that's what you're doing! Keep us posted on how the Lord uses you in this much-needed study, and the growth in the precious ladies He sends your way! Praying for you! Love & Hugs~

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  13. May God bless your work and all who are touched by it.

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  14. Wow, you're starting the first class tonight!! I'm so So SO proud of you, Jessica! Your heart for God and His Word, along with your passion to mentor is absolutely stunning. I'd have cried with you had I been there with you in that raw emotion moment. Writing this cirriculum has been such a desire God has placed on your heart. To see it come to fruition is amaZing - through your words, His words, and together. You bless me, Fiend! Hugs!!

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  15. So, so proud of you, Jess. I'm super excited to see the fruit of this work you and "Jane" have been engaged in!

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  16. Oh, honey... I love this post. Your heart is so beautiful. You are so wide open to Him. You're a mighty woman of God and I'm so honored to call you friend. You go, girl!

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