"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55
Are you ever surprised at the extravagance of all God offers us? I’ve spent many years stuck in not knowing how to access His abundant bounty; seeing the beauty from a distance while I experienced leanness of life.
I don’t presume to have all of life figured out, but I am absolutely astounded by this new experience of freedom, security, beauty and spaciousness in life and I’m thrilled to broadcast to anyone who seems remotely interested what I can identify as being pivotal in getting me from there to here.
As ironic as it may seem, the single-most significant ingredient for freedom has been simply choosing to obey my Heavenly Father – no matter what; to let Him be the boss of me; to yield to His authority over every aspect of life. It seems ironic, because who would ever equate anything but throwing off every shackle with freedom. Leave it to the All-Sufficient-One to bring unparalleled freedom to the child who willingly shackles herself to Him. It doesn’t make a lick of sense from our perspective, does it? I like reason and perhaps presumptuously consider myself to be a reasonable woman. As I write this, I’m shaking my head because I know it sounds completely unreasonable – but there you have it. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."1 A yoke definitely ties you to another and interestingly, this yoke was only designed for two. Finally, after almost 30 years as His child, I’ve ‘tied’ myself to my Savior and at last my heart and soul have discovered the freedom, rest and satisfaction I had heard of so many times! Let me tell you, I never want to be unyoked from Him again. Ever.
To pick up the story from where “Adventure Unleashed” left off, it was exactly two weeks later when I asked Tim if we could stop at the beach so I could tell him what the “something” was. I was tempted to say nothing; just carry on as we were. Once I told him what I was doing I would be completely vulnerable and if Tim decided to take advantage of my submission I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I wanted to keep my word. God is the God of Truth so I trusted Him to honor the truth, but there was definitely some anxiety…
Once parked and looking out over the ocean, I turned to him and said something like, “This ‘thing’ I’ve been trying for the last 2 weeks … well, I have chosen to obey God by submitting to you. I’m trying to notice what you’d like, what would be helpful for you and in my heart I’m choosing to submit to your leadership in our marriage.”
Tim’s response was uncharacteristically low-key. He just sat quietly and then said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to do anything to take advantage of you. I don’t want to hurt you or lord it over you.”
God in His grace gave me a very tangible expression of this relationship working well in an opportunity that came up during those 2 weeks. I was asked to be the accompanist for a choir that pays well. It would be an easy extra $350/mo for about 8 hours of my time. There were a few political issues in the group, but I figured that for the money I could just steer clear of it all. I mentioned it to Tim, and given some stories I had told him about the group he said he didn’t think I should do it. Normally that would have really bugged me, and it did rub the wrong way, but I chose (against all my better judgment) to give the opportunity up. I told them I wasn’t available. Inside myself I was definitely complaining to God – “You’re kidding!” “It’s such easy money and You know we could use that now.” “Father, I hate it when someone tells me what I can and can’t do…”
About a week later, all the politics hit the proverbial fan and man oh man it was uuuhgly! I may have laughed out loud at the relief of having no part in any of it. It was the best thing for me to have no connection to the group at all; it turns out I was being well taken care of by my Heavenly Father through something my husband could see. So much for ‘my better judgment!’
As for the bedroom suite, one day just out of the blue Tim said it would be fine if we bought only a mattress to put into our waterbed frame. We went shopping again, found a great mattress for a reasonable price and now enjoy great sleeps, happy backs and didn’t add a whopping amount to our debt! The renovation idea hasn’t come up again recently. We both realize it will be great to do when we’re better off financially. They both ended up being a non-issue.
After all these changes for good, I want nothing more than to be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life. The apostle Peter told his readers,
- So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.2
I certainly know better now. I hope you can catch a glimpse of God’s faithful goodness in my life, and I pray that in your own journey you will trust Him implicitly and be amazed at the life and beauty He infuses into your situation as you choose to simply obey Him.
Simply Susan1 Matthew 11:28, 29
2 1 Peter 1:13-16