Friday, September 21, 2012

A Sacrifice of Praise



Wow.  I am amazed at how many of you read this blog.  After I made it public, I immediately felt a mixture of regret and anxiety.  It has been easy to keep my thoughts private, and even easier to tell myself that “one day” I will write.  But now that it’s done, I have all of these feelings ranging from “Will anyone even care?” to “Oh my goodness, how will I ever be able to keep up with this!”  But when the dust settled, I realized that I am actually a little bit excited.

I have decided on a loose format.  If left to my own devices, this will turn into a once a month rambling session, which neither you nor I would want to read.  So I have decided to blog on Fridays and Tuesdays.  Fridays will be devoted to deeper thoughts and issues ranging from following the Lord to growing a marriage to raising children.  Tuesdays will be called TMT-“Talk to Me Tuesday”  (I can tell you are impressed with my powers of alliteration).  This will mainly be a Q&A session.  I get asked a lot of questions about my life, and many of them get asked repeatedly, so I figured I would take Tuesday to answer one or two questions at a time.  And if there are any questions you want to ask, feel free to e-mail me at artyler@mail.com or just ask it in the comment section of one of my blog posts.  So Tuesdays will be short and light, while Fridays we will delve a bit deeper.  Sound good?

Well it’s Friday, so let’s get to it.  I am not going to go for the gusto and try real hard to impress you...first of all, that’s not my style, and second of all if I show you my whole hand then you will have no reason to come back!  No...I am simply going to share what has been on my heart this week.  

The character of God.  I think that if you ask 50 different people to describe God in one word then you will get 50 different words.  God is different things at different times.  When you are hurt, He is you Comforter.  When you are sick, He is your Healer.  When you are joyful, He is your Hallelujah Song.  When you are lost, He is your way Home.  Up until 2 years ago I thought I knew God.

I have never had a hard time following the Lord.  I gave my life to Him when I was 10 and never looked back.  I was determined to serve Him wholeheartedly, whether things were good or bad.  Things have not always been easy, but over the years I knew that He was with me and He was leading me.  Then we moved to Amsterdam.  We spent 5 years in ministry in Albany and while it was very hard, God was near to us at every moment...so when He called us to leave Albany and move to Amsterdam, I simply assumed He would continue to guide us.  The first thing God told us when we finished in Albany was that we were to go to Amsterdam to serve at Calvary church and we were to wait.  So we moved here and began to wait.  And wait.  Jeff got a job, we had babies, and we served at the church.  And waited.  And waited some more.  We get asked what we see for our future, what our plans are, and why we are here.  We don’t answer; we wait.  As of this writing, our moving here was the last time God spoke to us.  

Did we miss something?  Why is God so silent?  Why, when we have dedicated ourselves to serving Him, is He choosing to be so silent?  Why is He sitting by watching us suffer?  Why is He letting us look like fools?  Where are the promises He gave to us so long ago?

These past couple of years have challenged my faith beyond what I have ever experienced before.  For the first time in my life I wondered if God really was good.  If He really was faithful.  If He really could be trusted.  It also challenged everything I thought to be true about myself as well.  Would I continue to serve God even when it gets hard?  Would I continue to know Him based on who He is rather than who I see Him to be?  If He slays me, will I still trust Him?  Job 13:15 is one of my favorite verses...one I have never fully understood until now.  And even now I am not sure I entirely know it's depth.

I still don’t have any answers...but I have wrestled.  Oh, how I have wrestled.  When Jacob wrestled with the angel he came out with a limp and a blessing.  I get it.  These past few years of wrestling have left me limping...but it also left me blessed.  I know He is still there.  I know He is who He says He is.  I know I can trust Him.  I may be a bit bruised and a little more raw then I used to be, but it’s a small price to pay for grabbing hold of God.  

Don’t fear a silent God.  A silent God is just a God who is not seen, not a God who isn’t there.  And with every gut-wrenching moment of silence comes a chance for you to truly worship the Lord.  A chance to make the sacrifice of praise.  A chance to have your life’s walk be more than just a catchy cliche’.  

It doesn’t matter how wide your life has been lived...it matters how deep it has gone.

1 comment:

  1. You have set the bar very high for me Ashley. God may be silent to you but the light of Jesus shines through you like crazy. Keep the faith, girlfriend. <3

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