SHAKE ALL OVER YOU!
Updated: Feb 6
Many years ago, in fact 20 years, I had been praying specifically and seeking the Lord’s direction on how He wanted me to use the gifts and talents He had given me. I had picked up a shaker salad from McDonald’s that particular day in an effort to gain a little extra time to myself and after pouring the packet of dressing on top of lettuce I started shaking it. Well, apparently, I hadn’t put the lid on tightly and the salad flew everywhere! Chuckling to myself I said, “What a mess!” and as I looked down a leaf covered in dressing landed on the page of my Bible I had been reading. As I picked it up, I read the Scripture beneath the sticky mess which read, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) As I sheepishly looked down, upon my bosom was a huge piece of lettuce covered in dressing. It shook me to the core! (Especially since I’m a visual learner with a fairly good sense of humor.)
In view of this verse, it was a clear to me after cleaning the salad which flew all over me, my Bible, the desk, and the floor that God was specifically saying to me, “You can’t outdo Me. Just try Me on this but measure well. Your desire to be used in ministry is good, but make sure your motives are in the right place and you invest wisely.” Wow, God!!
Within a week later, in the middle of the night, I was awakened out of a deep sleep to write my very first song, melody and lyrics, from start to finish! Never wrote one before and since then have written many including a CD of originals. Then later in the year I had completed the whole glossary for the study I wrote later on the life of Peter, although this required a lot of hard work, time, study and a few tears; it was an inspiring journey! I saw God attesting to my burden while He was opening my heart and mind to greater possibilities of ministry. I share this not to boast about myself, but to boast about what God is capable of doing through us if we are willing to be used by Him and I really believe God sincerely longs to grant extravagantly the desires of our heart especially if the desire glorifies Him. Psalms 20:4 implies this truth which says, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose.”
Within the past few months, my heart has been broken and challenged, I have to be honest I did say to the Lord, “Why?”, but have been praying and just finishing up the study by Kelly Minter on Nehemiah (I would highly recommend it! I think of my hubby as a modern-day Nehemiah. It’s all about doing the right thing no matter the outcome. Oh, and did I mention I was praying for a study to do online and I just happened to get the email from Lifeway and it started as one was ending). The Lord, as He does, knows how to get to me and what some may consider coincidences, have been moments of encouragement and just an overwhelming amount of affirmation. I’m honestly not one to look at signs as God’s way of doing things but He certainly knows what we need and even in the most difficult times He speaks to us in a very personal and intimate way, so we know it’s from Him.
I for one love my family. This includes my husband, kids, Dad, Mom (who gives me the most godly, sound advice and is the BEST listener) aunts and uncles, cousins, close friends and church family. I adore them all! God chose to speak to my great pleasure in their fellowship. He used them to reassure me not once but I’ve lost count how many different times in the last month! Wow, God!! That’s all I can say...from a visit with an aunt (and her family) to dinner with friends, an amazing two-week trip where I got to spend time with my son and his family, another random visit from family members while out in Missouri, another visit with precious family friends, and my husband planning, months ago, a solid week with our precious grandson experiencing God‘s amazingly creative beauty out in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons! The list goes on…while listening to a Jeremy Camp Cd we “just happened” to be driving into the valley where the scenery of the Grand Tetons is fully revealed and the chorus began ...”Savior, He can move the mountains. Our God is mighty to save. He is mighty to save!” Not to mention coming home to a timely note from dear friends. Just overwhelming! Why God? Why not? He knows my deepest needs, thrills, joys, sorrows, flesh, thoughts, and what makes me laugh so hard I cry!
Okay, so I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Well, God has clearly stated in His Word you may not understand the “why”, but He is still on the throne and still over it all. Still the God who spoke all things in existence and is still able to shake all over you the desires of your heart! And He’s willing to give wisdom generously when you need to persevere the “why”. James 1:2-5 reminds us, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him.”
Maybe you have a heavy heart right now. Please know the Lord is faithful and knows you intimately. He knows what you need and when. In my deepest heartbreak I have just called out His name and said, “Oh, Lord!” He hears our cries as He did the people in Israel when they were imprisoned in Egypt (Ex. 3:7). Truthfully, I don’t always know what to ask, but I find comfort in knowing the Spirit interprets my heart’s cry and intercedes for me. Romans 8:26-28 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
I encourage you to begin reminiscing about the way God has gotten your attention to live for Him, how He has used you to minister to other people, and how He has blessed you beyond measure in whatever way you understand it’s from Him. Write it down and date it. If you are not doing what you believe God has put on your heart, make yourself accountable to someone and to the Lord. Pray and ask the Lord for opportunities and be creative.
I would love to hear from you about ways you have been ministering to others during this strange and unfamiliar time.