Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well Work

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

In October of 1997 when God woke me up (spiritually and physically!!) I began to crave His word like never before. I could not get enough of it. Those quick little non-convicting, sugar coated devotionals just weren't enough. Oddly enough, as I took those steps to go a little deeper, I found that I was VERY uncomfortable when I spent time in the Word and I was even more uncomfortable when I heard the Christians around me talk about their walk and journey with the Lord. I didn't tell anyone what I was feeling, I was afraid they would think less of me, judge me. After all, I was a pastor's daughter, I knew ALL the right answers. Right??? My head knew all the right answers and yes, my heart knew the right answers.

I picture my spiritual heart like a well in the core of my being. During that two year time, I depleted that well. For 22 years, my well had been filled on a regular basis, but for two years, I just used what I had in reserve. I was filling it up all right, but it wasn't replenished with the Living water, the Word ~ Jesus. It was filled with all sorts of hurt, bitterness, anger, get the idea. A whole lot of unholy junk. I woke up in the middle of a Water crisis! A drought, better yet, the desert!

God placed us in a church where carnal Christianity wasn't tolerated. No sugar coating here. Do you know how uncomfortable I was? Some Sundays I felt like I needed to go home and shine my shoes because that Pastor had just stepped all over my toes. At first, I had these thoughts during his sermons, "What about the love, or the Bible says not to judge....." Boy, was I wrong. He was saying exactly what God told Him to say, I just didn't want to hear it.

One Sunday He was quite frank about the big "S" word. S.I.N. and our need for daily confession of sin. I sat up a little straighter as God began to peel layer after layer off of my heart to show me why I was so uncomfortable. I was under conviction. Plain and simple, I was running from in depth Bible Study, small group fellowship, and prayer because I was under conviction.

My well was full of unconfessed sin. Somewhere I knew that I had to empty it out and ask God to fill and consume every crevice of my well. I did what my mentor told me to do. I waited until Chad went out of town again, then I grabbed a legal pad, a pen and my Bible. I read Psalm 139, several passages out of Proverbs and then I prayed. "God I want to feel forgiven. I want to be clean before you. Show me what I need to confess." Honestly, I thought I might have one or two things three at the most. Ha! Ha! Ha!

A couple of pages later literally, the thoughts stopped. I sat there for a few minutes overwhelmed. Then I heard Him say, "I want you to speak it". I was to go down that list and say OUT LOUD "Please forgive me for......." Hellooooooo!! It felt a little awkward at first and then I got it. As I spoke these things out loud, the power they had over my life seemed to fade. It was as if I could feel the Lord pumping that junk out of my well.

It was one of the most intimate and sacred times of my life. Our God is so powerful. After that my prayer life became more like a conversation with God, not just me asking for the things I wanted. It's amazing what listening will do for a relationship. He still had a LOT of heart work to do, and until I get to glory, He'll be working on me. I am completely okay with that. His work, His ways, His plan is so much better than the carnal activity I had filled my well with.

(And by the was roughly 2 weeks after this point in my life that I found out I was pregnant.....this time though, God gave us Chloe....)

Whether you intend to or not, you ARE filling your spiritual well, even now. The question is what are you filling it with. Can I encourage you to ask God to show you if there unconfessed sin in your life? I promise, the freedom that comes after confession is so much better than the "freedom" you think you have right now.


Renee said...

What a powerful and moving post. It takes a lot of courage to share the hard things that God does in our hearts, and I respect your desire to share with us, and to encourage us.

Confession is something I am always working on. It is definitely easy to stay in the shallow end, and not be too exposed. But I'm learning that if I stay in the shallow end, I'll never experience the exhilirating feeling of being totally immersed.

This was encouraging to me. Thank you.

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing this...I really needed it. Sometimes I feel my well running dry, and although I know where to run for Living Water, I don't do it nearly enough.
And the confession part is a work in progress for me. Thanks for your honesty, Stephanie!

Mommy Dot Com said...

I want to get closer with God and I know there is some stuff I didn't even bother to discuss with the Lord. I just let some stuff accumlate. Well, now I know what I need to do. Thanks, Steph. This is a very powerful step that I have neglegted on some issues. You talking about it makes me want to run and get a pad and paper and pour out, so He can pour in.

Leah said...

Oh girl, I can so identify with these two posts. I ran from the Lord for many years. It was my "prodigal daughter" period and it was so very prodigal. He was always right there, just waiting on me to return!! Praise Him!!

Now I don't ever want to go back to where i was. NEVER!!!

Thanks for sharing your heart with us.


Carol said...

Ooooh! That was good stuff! This is an area I am constantly working on. As a teenager I used to say "forgive me for aaaalll my sins" and be done with the matter. Then God laid on my heart that if I took the time to commit these individual sins then I could certainly take the time to ask forgiveness for them. Now I'm always searching my heart for ones I don't know about. Sadly enough, I always seem to find some. Ouch! Thanks for this today.

BethAnne said...

I so identify with this post. I think we have all been there. Running away while others think we are at the foot of the cross.....I fear that it's the story of so many people in our churches today. People need to read this and see that even "the preacher's daughter" has been there. Thanks for sharing!

Earen said...

Thank you for your post today. I think that as believes we all need to hear this & be refined & encouraged in our walk. Thank you for reminding of us the basics & that they are the most powerful things in our walk...Great post!

Fran said...

Hey girl...
I've read this a couple of times this week and I keep thinking about what we are filling ourselves up with....I've been both places I'm sure a lot of us have...

Each day I ask God to show me what I'm doing or not doing that is not fruitful....Its amazing what He'll bring to mind that I wasn't even aware of.....

We need us some daily cleansing don't we? Thank you for your honesty.

I love ya!

jennyhope said...

I just posted on the SAME thing I think it was even yesterday! Girl I have been back to my pen and paper asking Him to search me again. Seems like we are always on the same page.

Mariel said...

Great great post! Spoke right to my heart...when I met Jesus, I was so starved fro His Word I plunged deep into the was convicting but the pain I had brought on myself without Jesus was MUCH worse!

Thanks for visiting my tamarisk tree post...I left you a note there, because I, too would love to plant a tamarisk tree in my yard. seeing as i can't remember to water a fern...I sure will not remember to pour 1500 gal of water on a tamarisk tree. But I did print out and frame a pic of one,as a 'water-conserving' reminder!!

Blessings, mariel

Meg said...

Hi Stephanie. Been reading for a couple weeks and have not commented. You are an encrougament to me. Thanks for sharing! Love, Meg