Walking in God’s Strength and Not My Own
Well, you may have noticed that I didn’t take much time away from blogging last month like I had originally planned. 🙂 I told you I needed to be away from here for a couple of reasons. One being that I had a speaking engagement I needed to prepare for and the other reason was because I wanted to finish my Wives of the Bible book. Well, some of you have asked about the book and here’s the update: it’s not complete and I stopped the writing of it for a number of reasons. Not what you expected to hear now, was it?
First, I gave myself the deadline so I wouldn’t procrastinate, but while I was working on the book I soon became stressed out over not meeting my deadline! And if there is one thing I have learned in ministry it is this…
Don’t serve the Lord in my own strength. (And being stressed in ministry is a clear indication of serving the Lord in the flesh rather than the spirit.)
I’m not interested in forcing words and ideas onto a page in order to complete a book. My dream is not to write a book, my dream is to be used by God; in His ways and in His timing.
Therefore, I’m not interested in writing a book in my strength.
And I don’t care to have my heart nor my limited understanding gracing the pages of a book that is written for my God.
What I desire is to have God’s heart on the pages of His book.
I want God’s infinite wisdom spread out from cover to cover.
I want the book to be written in His spirit, not my might nor my power.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. Zech. 4:6
Those were the words the Lord said to Zerubbabel about the rebuilding of the Temple. And that’s what God has placed on my heart as well. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed in ministry (and in life)! I think Zerubbabel probably had a taste of this. I’m sure he felt a tad bit overwhelmed about what lay before him as well. Piles and piles of rocks that needed to be picked up one by one in order to put the temple back together.
So in order for me to not serve in ministry through my own strength, I’m going to back off the writing of the book, meaning, I’m not going to push through the writing process just to get it done. What I’m going to do instead is get behind the Lord and follow His leading (as well as His timing.) After all, it’s His message that I desire for His daughters to read, not mine.
I’m going to decrease so God can increase.
And when that happens….God will be showing up in the pages of that book!
Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’ Zech. 4:7 (NLT)
But I will continue to be faithful to the call that God has placed on my heart, the call to minister to His daughters. And although at times this seems like an overwhelming task, I look at Zerubbabel who picked up one rock at a time as he was faithful in his task. My picking up of rocks will consist of being steadfast in prayer, seeking the Lord’s words, insights and wisdom for each wife that I write about and then putting those thoughts on page.
However, sometimes those small beginnings in our lives seem like they won’t make much of a difference, yet I know they will.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zech. 4:10 (NLT)
One day while I was praying and asking the Lord for guidance as to which wives of the Bible He wanted me to share on, the Lord spoke so clearly to me that He actually took my breath away with His choice. I gotta tell you, what He said to me was absolutely brilliant! It was one wife in particular that He told me about. She was the last wife of the book. I’m not going to tell you who she is because it’s a secret! 🙂 But I will tell you there are 28 wives that I’m writing on, one for each day of the 28 day journey. 25ish are set in stone but there are a few wives that the Lord hasn’t given me absolute clarity on just yet, so I’m waiting on Him.)
Another reason why I stopped the writing process of the book was because I was still receiving so many emails from women seeking counsel.
My heart has just been grieved by what women are going through and I truly want to help them. The parable that Jesus gave in Luke 15 kept coming to my mind all last month,
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4
Basically, I felt the Lord prompting me to leave the group of sheep here (the writing of the book) and go after the little lamb who was wandering or lost.
The ‘Ask Jolene’ section of my blog is very popular and sometimes I’m overwhelmed with all of the questions that are filling my inbox! I KNOW the Lord doesn’t want me to take it down because He keeps telling me to meet the women where they are at. Many times I think responding to their questions by email will save me time, but the reality is, it’s more efficient to respond to it here on the blog. This process allows others to glean if they have a similar question or struggle.
By the way, if you have contacted me seeking advice, please CHECK YOUR SPAM/BULK MAIL in box for a response. Earlier last month I responded to several women and one in particular said my email went into her spam box. Also, sometimes when women ask me questions I have to contact them again because I’m in need of more information before I can give them counsel. So you might want to add my email address to your address book!
It’s easy to go through life in our own strength, isn’t it? We wake up with intentions of tackling the day only to find out that the day has tackled us! I have found that there is so much of God’s joy running through my veins when I purpose to walk in His spirit.
Friend, I encourage you to walk in His spirit, too!
Live a poured out life for Christ,
I was blessed by your relinquishing your book to God and His timing. I know, as you do, that it will not bless if it is in your time and plan. I’ve rearranged my time, too. The Lord gave me a new position working with troubled high school students. It means a lot of change. I had worked in my old district 25 years. My husband was diagnosed with cancer this summer and had to move closer to medical facilities for 2 surgeries and recovery. All told, I, with the help of my kids and in His strength, moved our household and my school classroom in July. I did get a large pay cut, but I know I am where God wants me for now. My husband is cancer free and living at our home, and I stay in an RV Monday through Thursday nights and return to our home base for the weekends. I am so stress free, so I know I am where God wants me. I am still seeking His leadership in all areas of my life. I just turned 53, and as you can see by my email address, have had some serious injuries in my life. I also broke my back when I broke my neck the last time. With God’s healing and grace, I am riding a bike 30-50 miles per week, and probably starting to work out a gym. I lost 30-35 lbs, and need to lose 65 more at least, but I’m at peace about all of this, too. I love Him, and was so blessed this Easter for the reminder of His love and resurrecting power. He blesses daily with works of art in His creation, with the gift of love and laughter with the students He has given me. Thanks for your devotionals.
Sherry, what a wonderful blessing to hear that you are getting better, you’re stress free and your husband is cancer free! God is able and He’s faithful.
I will be praying for you and your family as you continue to follow His leading.
I don’t leave a comment often but I do read your posts and just wanted to say thank you for your amazing heart. You are a blessing.
With love, Beth
Jolene, your blogs so bless me. I’m 60 years old and in ministry myself and it is so refreshing and yet so rare to see young women submitted only to Him in all they do. I am so proud of you for surrendering to Him! Amen!
I’ve been in ministry for about 20 years and love to help young women. If I can ever help you in any way, I’m yours!
You so blessed my heart with your support and encouraging words! I will certainly give you a holler when I’m in need!
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