Thank you for joining me on lessons I have learned. This was an unexpected road. We thought we were going to be in one country for a long time, then suddenly things changed in a moment.
My faith has gone up and down during this time of waiting. As of today I can declare that I have had several breakthroughs in my faith that leave me with complete peace that the Bible is the absolute truth! That the Bible and the scriptures have all the power to accomplish what it says it will. The Holy Spirit will work it’s power in and through me as my heart is soft and yielded to Him! I have no doubt God’s Word will be fulfilled in my life!
Nov 2012 When we were in Kenya the Lord had me write a paper (mainly for myself) about the cost of following Jesus! That was a spiritual high for me. 2 months prior to that the Holy Spirit had me write a 30 page paper on “Being Filled with the Spirit-More of Jesus”-just 1 week before Matthew’s situation happened. The Lord confirmed a lot to me through those.I have those papers for anyone who would like them! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for it.
Dec 2012 So far everything is great! My faith is well. God is good. So what started my heart becoming hardened some was when Matthew got sick with Meningitis while he was in S. S.dan in March of 2013. Because of the extra stress that it put on me while I was dealing with everything at my parents house (my current home), I allowed my heart to be wounded without knowing it. Disappointments and frustrations can lead to our hearts getting wounded. I don’t think I really dealt with my heart. So slowly but surely a little hardening of the heart started to happen.
Then one thing after the other hit us quickly:dealing with confronting false teaching, moving out of our location within 2 days, then moving again 1 month later, miscarriage, the Lord having shut so many doors to our future, not knowing still what the future held, adjusting to living with my mother in law (who by the way is wonderful..but adjustments are always needed). (We all go through these trials don’t we!?)
With these things happening right after my heart was wounded only set up my heart to continue becoming harder without really realizing what was happening.
Thanksgiving to the Lord: if we take time to remember what the Lord has done for us during seasons of trial we are more apt to praise and thank Him
The Lord is so faithful to us! He will always bring something to our lives to help our hearts get back on track so we don’t fall off the ladder!
1.He was faithful to bring me a friend from another country. My conversations with her challenged me to think about the gospel more!
2. Short version the Lord used her to have me write another paper that took me 4 months! The paper is all about explaining the Gospel with pictures in a way that is easily understood by other religions. This kept me on fire for God!
3.I’m thankful the Lord also sent a couple our way who knew all about health! They helped changed our mindsets about eating! So God used them to encourage our lives!
4. I had a breakthrough in my thinking and in my obedience to Christ when He opened my heart to truly practice hospitality the way He desires me to here in America! I started opening my home more to foreigners and others.
5.Matthew and I did have debriefing in Kenya after crisis. We did go to 2 marriage conferences that encouraged us. We did go to a deep healing 2 day event at Gateway church. So God did a lot there! God used those things in our lives to keep us going!
More Trials brought my heart back to a hardened state:
My kids started public school. This frustrated me because of the drastic change it caused our family in our time of transition. It was good, but my heart was not happy. I found myself complaining more and more over small things every day! I knew it wasn’t like me to do this, but I couldn’t stop! I tried reading the Word and praying, but there was something deeper going on.Â Struggles with my health still. Then got pregnant with 4th child in Dec 2013 which brings hormonal changes. Pregnancy comes with a hard first trimester in eating. But it wasn’t that bad praise God.Â My mindset still adjusting to living with my mother. (It was a struggle for me, but it made me a better person to bend and be flexible. I am so thankful God used this time to help us live together here before living overseas together.) Our Church was going through MAJOR transition just as we were in transition still. I started homeschooling in Jan of 2014. This was actually helping my heart. It causes some stress, but not as much as you think. But it’s a lot of work for sure! They will be going back to public school in Aug 2014 either in new country or here until we get the visas. Homeschooling was needed and God ordained for Spring of 2014. God really used it! Also, our future and the timing of leaving is still unknown because of waiting on the visa. Having to be flexible with timing is not easy. I also had 3 or 4 times of truly grieving for the loss of the country we were in. Just releasing the emotion was necessary to continue.
—These trials can really weigh us down. All of us go through trials. I realized looking back because my heart was not soft and humble constantly through it all-the Word of God wasn’t able to produce the fruit God desired! God doesn’t want me to complain as I go through trials! Sure I am human, but since we have the Holy Spirit living in us we have power from Him to overcome and not complain. Phil 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing…” So if the Word says this we should be able to do it through Christ, not of ourselves of course.
—Small sins crept in. Then the Lord allowed me to go through a 2 week bought of sickness with a cold and coughing. It really hurt my health in more complicated ways. I recognized the Lord’s discipline toward the end of the sickness after I read the story of Achan in Joshua chapter 7Â to my 6 yr daughter Abigail one morning. The Lord told me, “Tabitha- I love you. I can’t allow you to continue in sin so I allowed Satan to inflict this sickness upon you.” Sometimes consequences are the only thing that truly help us make that choice to stop and give it all to the Lord. God may allow a short discipline or consequence to prevent some long term damage that sin might cause. Hebrews 12 is a great chapter to read about God’s discipline with us as a loving Father.
So my advice to all is to really know when it is the Lord’s discipline in your life or if it is just a trial that is testing your faith.
After I truly repented and turned 100%–I started having small breakthroughs here and there. Slowly but surely the Word of God was working in my life again.
Sin affects our heart in a way that prevents the Word of God from truly working! During the trials when my heart was harder I would think things like…”I am reading scripture, but it’s not working this time for me! What is wrong!!! Something is wrong and I can’t figure it out.”
The moment I felt like I could write about it in my blog was after two things: 1st I went to a prayer meeting with some really humble mature Christians who were radical in their faith and obedience to Christ. I didn’t even want to go at first because I felt I wasn’t doing GREAT spiritually. I went and God showed me through that prayer meeting how hard my heart was. I hadn’t realized pride that was there until it was exposed. We stood outside and wrote our sins on an index card and repented for our own sin, for the sin of our family, and for the sin of our nation. Then we prayed and burned them as a symbol. The people there were so humble and contrite. I needed to be around their spirits of humility to see my pride. It moved me and convicted me. The 2nd thing is I heard the sermon from Robert Morris called “Lordship” http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons/213521Â Â Â It was the sermon on April 12th 2014. This sermon is all about our heart! Matthew 13 explains the seed goes into the ground which represents our heart! Our heart is the ground.
I realized from the sermon I lost a hunger and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit because my heart was wounded and I didn’t truly get victory in my heart.Â This season has been a necessary pruning season. It’s been unlike any other season. We have gone through a lot, but so many people do. James 1 is very clear how we are to respond to trials. I believe God is pruning me to be able to respond the way James 1 tells us to respond through every and any trial.
I have really learned that every day I have to check my heart! Is it soft or hard? Are there wounds from the day? Do I have any unforgiveness? Have I praised God today?
Then I declare that if I keep my part–keep my heart soft–then the Word of God in and through me will produce the fruit God desires because it is the Word of God that has power!! Is 55:11
The parable of the seed and the sower–it says it’s the Word of God that produces fruit in the believers life! The seed is God’s Word. I’m just the ground. I don’t have to produce anything. God waters it and grows things in me. My job is to remain in the Vine and keep my heart (the ground) soft for Him. Isaiah 57:15Â says
â€œI live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
Proverbs 4:23 says
“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”
Robert Morris shared 3 points for our hearts to be: HUMBLE HEARTS— HOLY HEARTS— HEAVENLY MINDED HEARTS
I won’t share the whole sermon, but if you listen to the point of the Holy Heart it will encourage you. Sometimes we think perfection is what He is looking for, but Pastor Robert clears this up.
Praise Report since truly dealing with sin in my heart of pride and idolatry and my heart becoming soft again:
I can burst out in praise now! It is so wonderful to be in the flow of the Spirit and hearing Him more.
We are doing more m*n*stry as a family with the children! We listen to the Lord together and ask Him where He wants us to go and share about His love.
I complain much less. It is just easier. It’s not me fixing it or just stopping. It is the result of my heart change and the Lord working through me.
My health is getting better. My mindset in eating right is easier. It’s Him–His grace flowing.
I pray your heart will be massaged by the Lord today. If you have wounds from the past that may be minor–I pray that you will pray through those wounds and ask the Lord to heal your heart. It is your choice to humble yourself. Sometimes it takes getting around humble people who love the Lord for you to see that your own heart needs to be softer. When sin is broken and repented of Jesus will take it far away and remove it. He saves us from the destruction of sin. His grace is abundant–He will do the work in our lives!
Thank you for reading!