~~ Romans 15:13 (NIV84) ~~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
by Carley Cooper
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There’s a married couple that I know that has a great story of how he led her to Christ. As they tell it, when they started dating he was already a Christian who was totally in love with Jesus. She saw a happiness and peace inside him, and decided almost right away “I want what he has”. I’ve often thought about that since I first heard them tell that story. It reminds me of days gone by in my own history. There was a time when I felt happy and at peace. I dated several guys during that time and they all told me the same thing; that they fell in love with me because I was “bubbly”. It fascinated me that each one used that same word, not knowing what the others had said. Over the years I’ve often wondered where that bubbly young spirit disappeared to? Somewhere along the line, the bubbles were popped.
What is it that you want others to see in you? Have you ever really thought about it? When it comes to other people, I think what I want most is for someone to see that bubbly nature, but I also want them to see the peace of the Holy Spirit. Since I have come to understand and feel that I have a relationship with Jesus, I have come to know that peace. I have a 2012 calendar on my wall and the page for March quotes John 14: 27 “My peace I give to you.” It also says “Inner Peace – Nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul.” I know that feeling of peace, and I know that others have seen it in me. Last year, despite a few rough patches, was a great year for me in regards to feeling God’s peace within me. It was the first time in many years that I felt that calm. I knew God was telling me that my bubbly character was emerging because I had a couple of people mention it to me. Again, they used that word, bubbly, not knowing what others before them had said. Only this time it was even better because I’m ‘bubbly’ for the Lord. Another time, one of the pastors at church said to me one day that I had a certain peace about me that he liked. As I walked into church one Sunday morning, about to take my seat, a woman said to me “Wow, look at you. You’re radiant!” Now that’s an awesome word, 'radiant!' God was confirming to me that I am changing. My heart is being molded by Him slowly. My true nature is coming back.
In recent weeks I have been in the midst of a struggle. Of course we know that these struggles are vital if we are to get closer to God. Hopefully it is one that I am learning from; that is helping me get closer to Him. Part of me feels like my bubbles have burst again. That calm has been upset. It has left me, at times, with the most uncomfortable feeling of coldness. After knowing the warmth and peace of the Holy Spirit, to go through an emotional experience where God feels far away has left me with an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. I know, that God is not actually far away because He never leaves us. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV84) says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” This struggle has taught me that if I’m feeling far from God it’s because I’m not letting Him in. In my quiet times with Him, He’s been telling me to “lay it at the cross”. I have a sun catcher that hangs in my window that says “Let God & Let God”. I have to do that. Without it, the peace is impossible.
Truthfully, I miss that bubbly spirit so very much. I often look in the mirror and long for her to look back at me again. There’s one big difference though between that bubbly young girl of my youth, and the woman I am now. That is, Jesus. I didn’t know Him then. I knew OF Him, but I didn’t have a relationship with Him. For that matter, I didn’t know I could. As much as I want to be that bubbly person again, I don’t want it if it means being without Jesus, like I was so long ago. The cold, empty feeling that I’ve had because of my tail spin is something I don’t like. It is the most painful feeling in the world to me now. It is worse than the rejection by others ever was or could be. Things are getting better on a daily basis. All through the month of March, every day I would look at my calendar and be reminded that I have God’s assurance of peace within me and no one can break it or take it away from me. It was an incredible comfort to me. I am learning from this experience, and I am growing. Some days that’s easier to see than other days, but God has given me a stubborn nature to never give up. In this case, it has been a blessing because it assures me that I will bounce back. I always do.
What do I want others to see in me? Bubbles and peace for certain, which can be summed up in one word; Jesus!
~~ Dear God ~~ The journey You take us on to get closer to You, and to become more like Jesus is filled with struggles. Thank You Lord, for these struggles. Without them I would not be growing stronger and closer to You each day. Without them I would not be learning the value in knowing Your peace in my life. Please help me to grow to be that bubbly personality filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit that allows people to say “I want what she has”. In Jesus name, AMEN.