10 days prior – 14 days later / I’m happier now than ever

1:42 pm | | Comments 2

In 10 days, my in laws are moving in with us. Today, we moved a load of furniture & various items to our place. Having never acquired any furniture or sentimental items from my father or mother, I’m pretty excited to now have antique pieces that have been in my husband’s family for centuries!

Amongst these pieces are beautiful china, a plantation desk, & China cabinet. Steve and I rearranged furniture tonight so that the new pieces will fit. I can hardly wait to set up the China cabinet with the China & my artwork.

Though excited about my new family pieces of furniture & heirloom items, my day was bitter sweet coupled with the cancellation of a horse camping trip by my riding partner. A girls weekend away we’ve scheduled for months, I realized I need to stay focused on counting my blessing versus focusing on disappointment … ultimately trusting God to be sovereign over every detail of my life.

Over the past 15 years, and many prior to my rededication to lordship of Christ, I’ve learned it’s best to focus on the positive versus the negative,  which I still aspire to do regardless of the curve balls of disappointment that life manages to spin at me.

Contentment is a matter of the heart. It’s our choice to be grateful or to be in a perpetual state of wanting more, the ultimate fruit of a lack of contentment. Our human nature is to desire more attention, to be more popular, and to be desired as a role model.

Truth is that we are all role models to our spheres of influence, positively or negatively.  It’s our choice what type of leadership we will emulate.  Whether or not we will be content and grateful for what we’ve been blessed with or forever longing for more in one shape or form!  Longing for more leads to comparison, or perhaps it’s rooted in it?

The root is pride. It’s what got Satan and a 1/3 of the angels kicked out of heaven and eternally damned. Sadly, their quest now is to lure as many people as they can to spend eternity in hell with them. And how do they do it? What’s the strategy? One of the most effective is through comparison.

Comparison will either lead you to compare resulting in pride that we have more, have accomplished more, done more or that we’re not good enough, missed the mark and that feeds the cancer of a low self esteem. Either way, they are traps. Deadly, to say the least.

How do we resist the temptation to compare? Personally, I believe it’s by establishing a solid base of identity on who we are in Christ versus who we are in the world. When we are confident on our identity as a child of God, nothing can alter that confidence.

That confidence, in Christ, is who were destined to be.  We are to love ourselves and others to the point, that if necessary, we lay down our lives, our desires, our wants in order to live the life worthy of the calling we’ve received.

How do we do that?  We do so by being completely humble, gentle, patient and bearing with one another in love.  We’re to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, according to Ephesians 4:1-3.

Truth is, for me at least, I cannot do this without the help of the Holy Spirit. My flesh wants to do the exact opposite and unless I learn to die to self, fulfilling the life worthy of the calling I’ve received is impossible.

The good news is that with God, all things are possible! Through Christ in me, I can do this. It is critical that I intentionally feed my spirit and starve my flesh, because my flesh must die. Feeding my spirit means intentionally listening to and/or watching material that feeds my spirit man.

In our home, since we first were married in 2003, we realized early in my healing journey that we needed to to intentionally block out the things of the world that are contrary to God’s Word. For example, because I struggled with nightmares, we decided to acquire the Bible on CD (the dramatized version) and we literally to this day play it 24/7 in our home (bedroom).  We realized the power of God’s Word spoken in our home and to us would cultivate an atmosphere where our spirits were fed, even as we sleep. We also stopped listening to music and watching television or movies that don’t feed our spirits with a keen understanding and awareness of the old saying, “garbage in, garbage out”. We know that what we starve will die (our flesh) and what we feed, will grow (our spirit man).

It’s a process and it didn’t happen over night, but as we intentionally cultivated an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to grow and increase in our lives, the healing journey to increased freedom was the outcome.

Are we perfect?  No, not by any means, but we seek to live a life worthy of our calling.  We recognize that by seeking and putting God first in our lives (including setting aside time to read, study, and meditate on the Word) daily, all things do come together. This process helps us to be more Christ like, especially when we get hit with the unexpected, often hardballs, of life.

My calling changed dramatically when we invited my in laws to move in with us. God first, family second, ministry third. Now I understand why God has impressed on me all these years of marriage (14+) to put my husband first (although I’ve not always done this!).  My in laws aren’t saved, yet, though Steve and I stand on the Word of God with confidence that we and our household will be and we will serve the Lord.

It’s been exciting to watch how God has softened my heart towards them and given me an abundance of grace interacting with them. I absolutely love them. The amazing thing also is that God has given me the desires and secret petition of my heart in this process. For the first time in my memory, I live under one roof with my parents and am doing things with them I never did with my biological parents. The Lord has restored to me, family, something I longed for nearly my entire life (50+ years).

Their acceptance of the girls I mentor and disciple has made this process even more amazing. I can’t remember being more happy in my life than I am now. There is so much the Lord has blessed us with. It’s all exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what I ever dreamed of or asked for.  That’s God, my eternal Father, blessing His children.

The beautiful thing also is that He doesn’t play favorites, meaning Steve and I are no more special than you. He promises that what He does for one He’ll do for others, including you. All He asks is that we surrender our lives to Him. It’s a process often that includes giving up things, but He is faithful to restore above and beyond what we can ever imagine.

My prayer for you is that you’ll desire to do the same. Seek to know Him through His Word, realize that amazing love He has for you, and ultimately fall in love with Him.  He’ll fill that void … all the voids in our lives and bring us more peace and joy than we could ever imagine, when we surrender ourselves to Him, when we choose to feed our spirits and starve our flesh.

Thanks for reading this blog. It’s been a while since I posted, which I do apologize and promise that I’ll be more intentional to do so more often. If there is ANYTHING I can pray for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Prayer is powerful and it’s been key to my ability to embrace the journey. Know that I’m praying for you and remember no matter what that God loves you.  That mess in your life, with Him, can turn into your message for His glory, if you also embrace the journey.

P.S. This blog was started 10 days prior to the in laws moving in. I finished writing it 14 days after they moved in. Like I said, I promise to get better at this. Please pray I do and be sure to sign up to receive notices of when I do blog.  🙂

 

 

Comments

  1. Janice Chambers-Maple says:

    Oh, Julie! I am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to read this blog, and hear how incredibly happy you are with your “new” family! God is SO FAITHFUL, SO AMAZING, & SUCH a GOOD, GOOD FATHER!! GO GOD! I Thank you for saving the entire Shematz household, and for allowing them to truly encounter You, God; that they’d never be the same!

    1. julieshematz says:

      Janice – I just read your comment. Thanks! The hardest year of my life is behind me and I’m looking forward to each day the Lord gives me, blessed beyond measure than what mere words can describe. He is a good and faithful Father who has blessed us with so much. We thank God for you and how you ministered to Andy and Mindy during the hurricane. We love you and look forward to your return to the sanctuary.

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