I have just spent two wonderful days at the FaithLife Women’s Conference. Wow, it’s been a long time since a speaker, let alone several speakers, directly spoke to my heart and caused immediate change. Sadly I have acquired some knowledge of God’s Word, but the applications sometimes stay on the surface of my life. Today I went to a workshop on biblical counseling thinking that I might be called upon to do a little counseling in my ministry, but it was I who needed the counseling today and I didn’t even realized it until right in the middle of the class. So let me take you on this very honest journey of 45min during my day.
Gwen Smith was on stage singing a new blues sounding song about God being The God through all generations. She had the whole auditorium stepping to the right then stepping to the left and I was just clapping and singing my heart out. It was the kind of worship were women were feeling free to raise their hands and not just the timid half raise that you sometimes see. These women were lovin on their savior. Who doesn’t feel their spirit lifted up and feel full of life during those moments and those moments carry us throughout the following days? The worship time had ended and I was looking over my next options for a workshop. I glanced over the counselling class because frankly I’m not good at quickly pulling the best scripture out of my head at a moment’s notice to help someone who is looking for relief from their struggles. If God puts someone in my path that needs an ear, I’m there listening. I don’t shrug off people’s problems, I go find someone else that I feel could serve them better than me. So the counseling topic wasn’t jumping out at me, but neither were the other topics. I got up to start walking down the hallway and I found myself standing before this counseling class and I thought well, I might learn a few pointers to be of some help to someone. Some help from me is better than no help, right? I had just sat down when the speaker started so I didn’t even have a chance to decide to go to another class. The speaker got right down to business quickly. She said every person that comes in to talk with her has behavior issues, but it’s the heart that really has the issue and that issue is a specific sin. She unfolds a method of counseling that she uses to get to the sinful heart issues. I was thinking that this would be a good pattern to learn so I started to pay attention really well. She took this water bottle that looked normal and shook it. It turned dirty and she reminded us that the dirt was always at the bottom and the agitation just revealed what was always there in the bottle but not plainly seen. Then she dived into the following scripture from Matthew:
12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit. 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. 12:35 The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. 12:36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
She gave an example of a man who verbally abused his wife and he said that his wife was the one who caused him to be angry. She reminded us of the top three things that most of us “worship” and this man worshiped control. It’s not that control or planning is necessarily bad, it’s what you do when that control is lost that is important. When control is stripped out of your hands, what comes out of your mouth is what is lying there in your heart. So his wife was not the main problem, the problem was his pride over having control. His wife was the agitator that showed his dirt.
My heart was crushed. It took everything within me not to burst out crying. I’m just like that man. Other people look at me and may see the good things that I do for God or they may see me struggle some when things get really hard. But I just had my heart revealed today and it contains evil. Not what I thought I would learn from this class. You see, I like control too. I generally temper it with the understanding that ultimately God is in control and I don’t freak out when God does things different in most areas of my life. However, I do seem to freak out when I lose control over my children. I don’t exercise that wonderful, long suffering ability to be abundantly gracious with my children. I yell at them to just stop and obey when I’ve had it. I have said to myself and to my husband that my kids make me mad and are disobedient. Now, discipline is needed, but I have the chance to discipline in love rather than anger. I could be the example of Christ to my children. My boys could be see how a goodly mom and wife responds. Rather I have shown to them the unforgiving side of sinful, prideful control. They have not caused me to be mad, they have been used by God to be the agitator of my life right now that is revealing an ugly sin.
I held it together until later, when broke down, alone in my car on the drive home, and cried to God for forgiveness. Isn’t that what our Heavenly Father wants? Isn’t that what I want from my boys? Repentance? How amazing to know that because of Christ’s blood, I’m already forgiven of this sinful heart. Now that I’ve given this over to God, I can partner with him to heal this evil in my heart. I can’t wait to see the difference in how I react to my children, what words come forth from my heart and mouth and to know I’m teaching my boys the righteous ways of a godly woman.
I know someone out there will read this and rush in to say, please give yourself grace and you are being to harsh on yourself. My reply is that sin is sin and sin is evil. There’s no way around it biblically. I don’t leave it just there, the grace comes through the repentance and being restored.
So my mercy today was a class that I wasn’t expecting that much out of. Thankfully I heard the holy spirit and I faced what my children have revealed of my heart. Is there something that your children do that “makes” you mad? Is there a different agitator in your life that is revealing your heart? Take a look, like me, you might be surprise to see what’s there.