If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

~Genesis 4:7~

How many times have you cheated yourself out of what was best for you?  Can you think of times in your life when you knew that you had done the right thing, but let something or someone convince you that you were wrong?  At times, this has been a running theme in my life.  I’ve struggled with things and I’ve been on the fence and I’ve made some decisions that meant changing the entire format of my life.  What I once thought was meant to be turned out to be the exact wrong thing and by the time I was ready to do what was right, there seemed to be no good way to approach it. 

At those times, I had to put all of my fears aside and go with what felt right in my heart.  I didn’t realize that this often meant that I was following what God wanted me to do.  For a long time, I didn’t even consider that God was part of the equation.  My focus was on myself and on what would further the goals I had set for me.  I was ignorant to the fact that God was actually pulling me toward where He wanted me to be the whole time.  I put up road blocks, I lived in denial of the fact that He was in control.  And I suffered.  Through it all, I wondered why I could never get all of the pieces to fit together at the same time.  My life was like a puzzle whose pieces had been cut from two or three different patterns.  They looked like they went together, but when you lay them all out on the table, it was clear that it just wasn’t going to work.  

And so, as I struggled to make them fit one another, I became more and more discouraged.  I let it get me down and to make matters worse, I even blamed God for the fact that my life wasn’t what I had hoped it would be.  I let anger and fear drive me deeper into disappointment.  But then something happened.  Something amazing!  I remembered a time when I had felt a happiness in my soul.  I remembered back to when I was in church as a young girl.  Though my experience had come to a sad end after a rash of gossip and hatefulness had swept through the church, if I let myself, I could still remember how great it had been to spend my Sundays worshipping the Lord and singing and spending time with family and friends.  I had been holding onto the bad memories for so long that I had pushed the really, truly good ones away.  I had been too young to fully understand that my happiness then had come from being in God’s arms and that by leaving the safety He provided, I was setting myself up for a lifetime of misery.  It took me over twenty years to get back to a place where I could feel that happiness again.  And as I sat in church last Sunday, listening to our wonderful worship team singing Lead Me To The Cross, I knew that I was home again. 

God had forgiven me long ago.  Even before I had done any of the things for which I later carried so much guilt around with me.  God had already decided that I was worth His love.  But as I was entrenched in my own ideas about what my life needed to be, I made no room for His love when I needed it the most.  When I was a victim of rape, I made no room for Him.  I only made room for misery as I set out to take back my power.  And in doing so, lost complete control of my life.  And later, when I lost five babies in six years, I made no room to reach out to Him.  I only made room for pain and sorrow.  And that, sadly, was such a waste of time that could have been spent repairing my relationship with Him.  But I had to go through these things the way that I did in order for the lessons to be learned. 

Although I now know and understand that God is a forgiving God and that He loves me unconditionally, I still go through moments where I doubt whether or not I have made good decisions.  But the truth is, you never really know.  You just have to have faith in His plan for you and know that He is still there.  You can’t control what someone else’s reaction will be to the decisions you make for your own good.  Although someone may protest or otherwise try to convince you that you’ve made a mistake, you need to stay strong in the knowledge that if your heart was in the right place, you were as right as you can be and God will give you what you need to get through the hardest part of the struggle.  Don’t cheat yourself out of grace by second-guessing what God has led you to do.  He has a plan.  He has His reasons.  He has a neverending supply of love and mercy for us all.  If what you think is best isn’t working out, chances are that you just heard Him wrong and that you need to step back and let Him do His job. 

May God bless you as you finish out your week.~

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,  for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.

Proverbs 3:11-14 (New International Version)

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