Friday, April 19, 2013

Living Life to its Fullest

...I came to give life—life in all its fullness. ~ JOHN 10:10

Ever since I was a young girl I wanted to live an adventuresome life. The books I read and the dreams I dreamt were usually full of twisting plots and  unexpected turns. The main characters were always exploring uncharted paths and venturing to interesting places all over the world. I prayed that God would allow me to live a life full of adventures. can probably imagine my excitement when I began my career as a Flight Attendant. Talk about my life “taking off” on an adventure! 

The Lord blessed my adventuresome spirit even more when He gave Brad to be my husband. Brad's career as a professional photographer may have found his feet on the ground...but, he had a very adventuresome spirit that willingly took off with me in my love of travel. We both embraced most of the twist and turns of traveling with great resilience! We loved pursuing the unknown more than we disliked the trials that often accompanied traveling.

Brad and I not only shared a love for travel adventures...we shared an even greater love for the adventures we experienced in serving Jesus with all our hearts. 
My husband's love for Jesus led him to leave his successful photography business to answer God's calling to be in ministry full time. Brad had a beautiful singing voice as well as a musical background. The Lord obviously had prepared Brad for his calling to lead others to know Jesus through music by becoming a Worship and Music minister. 
Brad's ministry eventually led us to move away from our established roots and leave behind all the people we loved...traveling over 800 miles away to serve at a church where we knew no one!  
We both embarked on this new journey anticipating all the unknown adventures we were about to experience in following God’s plans instead of our own...never imagining that in six shorts months of arriving that Brad would be diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. 

This was not an adventure I ever dreamed of or desired to explore. Nor was it one I wanted to experience. If given a choice ahead of time, I’d likely have tossed that travel brochure aside and said; “No...this cancer adventure is not for me!” 
Never in any of my dreams of living an adventuresome life did I consider experiencing my husband's battle with cancer and his eventual death 5 years later, to be something worth exploring. 

 I mean really...other than a creative story writer...who would ever add deadly illness and death to a perfectly good story about living life to it's fullest? 

Hmmm...come to think of it...I believe God’s Word is just such a Book.

The Bible is filled with true accounts about numerous chosen followers of God living very adventurous lives! Among them are; David, Esther and Daniel. There is Paul, Peter, Mary, and John as well. Each one accepting God’s adventure plans over their own. Every one of them had to “let go” of their plans to “live fully ' the life God planned for them.
To live a life full of godly adventure came at a cost to them. They all had to move away from their established roots. They didn’t escape life’s hardships and trials...nor were they shielded from the heartbreaking pain caused by illnesses and death. 
I feel very certain when we all meet in Heaven, not one person who followed God’s path for their life will tell us they wish they had said “no” to God’s plans over their own...including ourselves! 
Through my husband’s battle with cancer and since his death, I have learned I can trust God’s plan for my life...even if I don’t always like what He has allowed.  

After writing these thoughts down, I paused to reflect on what I’d written and how God has taught me so much about trusting Him for my future. It was in these quiet moments that God gently revealed to my heart that for nearly 5 years now I have still been holding on to...even if only by a thin thread...a couple of longtime plans I made for my life with Brad that I know can never happen this side of Heaven. 
The Lord lovingly pointed out to me this truth. I cannot go where He leads...if I do not let go of what I'm holding onto that is not of His plan.
So with tears of faith and trust in Jesus, I asked God to help me cut the last threads that have held me back from my full devotion to His will for my life. As my tears gently fell...I felt a bittersweet release as the threads were cut. 

“From now on...” I heard my Savior whisper to my heart; “you no longer have to limp through this life tangled up by the threads of your own plans, missing out on experiencing the full adventure that I have already laid before you. I am with you always and I’ll never leave your side”

"I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 CEV

What plans (or people) are you holding tightly on to? Just because you loosen your grip,and place them trustingly into God’s Will doesn’t mean you love them means you trust God’s plan more. I’ll never regret following God!

Jesus offers an abundant life to live here on earth that He does not want us to miss out on! When we focus on our wants...or on what we don't have or can't have...we open ourselves up to Satan providing us with a counterfeit contentment in the things of this world that can not satisfy us.  

Yet, when we choose to trust God in all circumstances and to desire His Will, refocusing our thoughts & hearts away from our losses and onto our resurrected lives with Jesus...we are able to surrender our false security and gain the "real thing” in Christ. He generously gives true and lasting contentment in all our circumstances. 

Dear Lord,
I Praise Your Name! Thank you for making the way for all who believe in you to see that Your plans for our lives are good and give us hope. Not even death can steal us away from your promises. When death comes to your’s not the end of our’s a flight we gladly take which lifts us away from a world where our dreams and adventures an eternal place where our dreams and adventures forever and fully expand. 

...I came to give life—life in all its fullness.~ JOHN 10:10



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