Wednesday, June 4, 2008

THERE IS A SEASON

I was recently sharing with a blog friend how very grateful I was that for a number of years now Mickey & I have begun each day spending 1 1/2 hours in Bible study and prayer time together. She then asked me what I did when I had small children. I thought it was a very thought provoking question. One you don't stop to think about until someone asks you!!! So I've been pondering it the last few days and decided to blog on the subject and my walk with God.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1


This is my story and how God has been at work in my life these many years.


We were a family that always attended church. I have worked most of my life since I was 19 up until about 8 years ago. I have had some short periods of not working off and on during that time. One of the longest was the 2 years I did not work after our first son was born.

So when asked by this friend what I did about Bible reading and prayer time when my children were young I had to come to the sad realization that as a family we did not do much. We always attended all church services, and we always said grace at the table, still do. We always said the little night time prayers with the children and taught them to pray them. We talked a lot about our beliefs and stressed them to the children. But as far as family devotions we never did that......I am ashamed and sorry to say this....but it's the truth.

I was saved at the age of 18, on September 24, 1956. My Christian growth has been slow, but progressive. Looking back over the years I can see God's hand so clearly. There are several things the Lord has used primarily in this.

First, is the written word, both God's and others. I have always been an avid reader. Right after I was saved a woman at the Church hand me the complete and unabridged edition of THE CHRISTIAN'S SECRET OF A HAPPY LIFE by Hannah Whitall Smith. Hannah was a Quaker and her book was first published in 1870. The simplicity of Hannah's writing as she talks about our LOVING FATHER GOD and the fact I had such a wonderful relationship with my earthly father was used greatly from the beginning for me to grasp and plant deep in my heart how much I was loved and cared for by God. It is a basic truth that has never left me, even in my darkest moments and trials.

Contrary to some people God has seen fit to move us from church to church and from denomination to denomination. In doing so I have been blessed with some wonderful pastors and teaching. I was saved in a small Independent Baptist Church. After Mickey & I met and married in 1958 we continued there and our two closest friends also began attending with us. On Sunday night AFTER church the 8 of us (Pastor Charlie and his wife, Jean, my forever friend Joan and her husband, my newly made friend, who would also become a forever friend, Bev and her husband, and Mickey & I) would gather around our kitchen table and discuss and study the Bible. . Charlie was aware we were 6 young adults who were eager to follow God and learn all we could. He truly discipled us!!!

Being a reader it was easy for me to quickly develop reading the Bible regularly. I was also devouring one religious book after another. I seldom read anything else and quite often had 2 or 3 books going at the same time. This habit has continued all these years. I have learned much and been blessed much in reading.

After moving to Tulsa in 1964 I discovered Christian radio and learned a great deal by listening to various preachers and teachers. One 1/2 hour teaching after another 1/2 hour teaching.

Over the years we have attended the following churches: Independent Baptist, Southern Baptist, Bible, Vineyard, 3 non-denominational, and currently Assembly of God. I was employed at Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, in the accounting department, for 3 years. At that time they had Chapel Services every Friday and that was my first exposure to Pentecostal. We were blessed to attend the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida twice in 1999. God has used these various avenues to stretch us, to grow us and to give me a view of the true Body of Christ and Universal Church that I address often.


In 1977 we decided to put our two sons in private christian schools which were connected to a Bible Church. We transferred our church membership there. This was a wonderful move for us. The pastor was a great bible teacher and they promoted Bible Memory Association. I immediately signed up and completed 3 courses of Bible Memory work. So after being a faithful Christian, church goer, Bible reader, and religious book reader the Word of God suddenly became alive to me. I fell in love with the WORD. I have never lost that love and excitement about the Word of God and it has grown consistently throughout these years.


In 1984 our family began to face very serious family problems which ended up affecting our marriage of 25 years. It was the worst period of my life and it was only my strong faith in God and his WORD and truths that helped me stay and fight for my marriage. At this time I discovered TBN and other religious broadcasting which I listened to & absorbed hour after hour. It was also the support of my two close Christian forever friends who helped me stay the course and win the battle.

Although faithful in the Word and "jiding the word in my heart that I might not sin against him" I suddenly realized although I prayed, and prayed a lot, I didn't know the first thing about prayer or how to pray. I began to ask God to show me and teach me about praying as He prayed and wanted us to pray. I began reading every book I could on prayer and seeking His face about it. Slowly the prayer world began to open up to me. Getting to know Jesus on a one-to-one personal level. Not only as Savior, and then Lord, but as Friend!!!

At this same time we started attending a Vineyard church. It was Vineyard that exposed and showed us about true worship of God through song. It was during our years at Vineyard that we participated and learned about Cell Groups. It was at Vineyard that the second most important event in my walk with Jesus occurred when I was filled with the Holy Spirit on July 20, 1986. Valuable experiences that grew me and stretched me yet more.

My prayer life was increasing as God began to answer my prayer. You know "He gives us the desires of our heart." When we "Seek Him with your whole heart you shall find Him."

These last years, since moving to Coweta in 1998, we have attended non-denominational churches and now The Assembly of God. It was in 2000 that the second most important book of my Christian walk came to my hands. ANDREW MURRAY ON PRAYER. If you are a regular reader you know I have mentioned this book over and over again.

In 2004 after fasting for 12 days in the Arizona desert His word to us was Colossians 4: 5 & 6 - "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how we ought to answer every man." We parked the RV in May 2004 and we have been endeavoring to redeem the time as we have been instructed by His WORD.

I've gone into a lot more than just what we did when our children were young, but I felt it was important to share with you how God has worked and is working in my life..

2008 has been another pivotal year for us. On January 1st our Church theme for the year was "I WANT MORE" of God. As we have pressed into that God has moved us into the middle of what He is doing and speaking, on a world-wide level, now to THE CHURCH "Pray without ceasing". So we truly are seeking to "Redeem the time & pray without ceasing."


Please join me in both!




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10 comments:

Sidharth said...

I love this Susan. Genuiness of walking with God is seen very less in the Church. Much of what is seen is just "good" words, than the living, active and dynamic Presence of God that can be manifested through prayer.


Thanks for your story...

Sid

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I'm trying to find out where I can see some of your old blogs so I can find out what happened to you knee. If I can't find it, I'll call you.....hope all is well.

Love, Dolores.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Your spiritual walk/journey is very moving, Susan and I can tell you are so moved and excited about The Word! I love reading your blog posts. You're a true inspiration to me.

Sharon said...

Thank you for being so honest and sharing your testimony with us. The one constant thing is the Lord! When I was a young mother, I got up early (I still do) and got my DH off to work and then studied for about one hour. Then I would read the Bible or a devotional book to my children sometime later in the day.

Have a great day,

Sharon

retha said...

I agree with Sharon. I was also thinking about your honesty! This is something I appreciate about your writings.

The Olson's: said...

There is something valuable in looking back over one's life and looking for God's hand at work. When I look back over the past number of years of my life, I can see very clear, strong, distinct areas that God's hand has guided Jeremy & I.

Today, actually, is one of those days that I am leaning on the knowledge that God is in control; even though I can't see the big picture and it doesn't seem to make sense right now ~ I know that He is guiding us.

Thanks for the examples from your life ~ one that has been seeking God for many years. Thank you!
~ Leanne

annie said...

Our walks with God are definitely guided!

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

Because our children went to a Christian school we never had morning devotions....big mistake! I'm so sorry we didn't instill that in our girls at a young age. I am thankful that two of them have found a deep hunger for the Lord and we will continue to pray for the third.

By the way, I'm reading The Shack right now.

diana said...

thanks for sharing some of your history. i hope it helps those with young children realize that where they are is just a season of their life.

there are things you can do with young kids and there's things you can't. do what you can and know that with each phase comes a change in what your home life and devotional life looks like.

Our Peculiar Life said...

I ordered that book from the library! You are definitely keeping me in books! :-)