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Garden with split stone path and colorful flowers on either side of the walkway. Colors include many shades of greens, orange, yellow, and some pink.

Photo by Martha G. Brady

This is continued from Tueday’s post. It is Part II.

As we talked about our areas of spiritual gifts, I learned that discernment and encouragement are hers, among others. My gifts lie for sure, in those two areas as well. We attended a small Christian school in Ft. Lauderdale, FL back when Christian schools were not common or popular. (My dad was principal.) We memorized lots of scripture and I know it contributed to developing discernment, possibly some wisdom over the years. In discussing the ensuing years since we grew up and had married, we could see how our sovereign God had led us in ways we weren’t even aware of at the time.

God sovereignly used my right decisions made for wrong reasons and later untangled them as I dealt with resentment against others over my decisions. They didn’t force me to make those decisions.

As I reflected more on our conversation, I realized that over time, God sovereignly overruled our personal idols, to protect us from many dangers. Since that statement sounds a bit bizarre, I’ll probably need to give an illustration. Each of us could have had one, but I’ll use one from my life. (I didn’t get to discuss my use of hers with her.) My idol to please others whether family members or others in authority, often caused me to make the right decision but for wrong reasons. It was not always because I wanted to please God or out of love for Him and appreciation for His work of grace in my life but because I wanted to please people. I knew what decision would make them happy so that was what I did!

Of course, at some point I developed resentment against those people and sometimes became depressed from all the anger, resentment and feelings of powerlessness I was carrying around. But they didn’t make me make those decisions. I made the decisions. At some point, I had to learn to take personal responsibility for the decisions I made. God used my idol to protect me from terrible consequences, but later in life, He dealt with the idol itself. It was a lot like the difference between pulling out a weed at ground level and pulling out the weed with the root!

We have traveled a long way from two little girls spending nights with each other and talking trivia to two grown women in their 60’s who are now grandmothers, looking back over our lives.

What is the point? That God has been graciously guiding us all through our lives. At the time, we thought our Christian life, or the living of it, was all up to us. At times, we grew up in a legalistic church setting that looked way more at the outside wrapping than at the gift itself. At this stage in our lives, we can look back and see how a gracious and loving God has guided us through a variety of life circumstances. We have raised daughters, have buried our parents, dealt with many aspects of resentment from childhood, and are now grandparenting. We discussed a number of people we went to school with…all of whom have died from cancer it turns out! (That was weird and a little spooky…we’re way too young for that…I say with a wry smile.) All the time, God has graciously been orchestrating our sanctification and changing us. Now He is changing our children through circumstances that are at times difficult for us to watch. But He is changing them and making them into the people He wants them to be for His glory.

Written June 14, 2010 on first blog Scraps and Rambles.