"Therefore if any person is in Christ he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" ... 2 Corinthians 5:17
Many years ago, Tom and I volunteered to help our pastor with his tiny 'city mission church' which he also pastored. So Tom sang and played the guitar on the worship team and I taught kids' church and a women's home group. I'd done much teaching in the other church and that's mostly what I was all about. Teaching.
But one day our pastor asked me and another woman, 'Belinda', if we'd be in charge of a wedding reception for a couple in this small church who'd been living together for 20+ years but had decided to get married. The reception would be a small affair for only around 30 people.
Well, I'd had a little experience planning parties, but it wasn't my favorite thing (way, way preferring teaching) and I agreed to this only out of respect for my pastor. Belinda and I sat down to make reception plans and mostly my duties were to buy the decorations, including tablecloths. She would be in charge of the rest, including ordering a cake and buying punch. We wrote down our tasks upon paper then parted happily. A couple weeks later we met early at the church to set-up everything together and after the short, simple wedding, the reception and clean-up went fine. No problems.
Or so I thought.
A week later when Belinda and I arrived early at the church, she approached me pretty much all wild-eyed. She accused me of taking over the reception. Of doing nearly everything, including her part.
Ack! I told her I did nothing besides what we agreed to (in one accord) on our lists that first day of planning. And reeling, I stood there trying to understand what she was saying. She then said perhaps I was mad at her because of something else--but when she named that 'something else' she saw by my chin dropping three inches that I'd never even thought of that, so she said, "Well, ok... maybe that wasn't it."
And then she said this, "It's just that I've had to fight for everything I've ever gotten and I resent anyone who tries to take anything away from me."
Oh dear. That's when I calmed down, relaxed my shoulders and just felt sad for her. Her last statement bothered me, didn't sound right, but at that time I couldn't quite pin-point why. All these years later, I think I can.
I believe God desires that we stop the fighting, the struggling--and instead--learn how to receive from Him.
How to receive His unconditional, just-because love. How to receive acceptance of who we are today with a belief that--with His life-altering help--we'll become better tomorrow. How we miss out on nothing important, but have peace and rest and joy in the meantime, no racing around for approval and respect or trinkets from other people, necessary.
And how to receive trust and a calm assurance that--as long as I have God--everything inside me is going to be ok.
Those 14 years ago God had just begun working those things inside me and I only wish I could have explained them to Belinda. But you know? Only God can make that new creation within us and only after we cease the struggle to make ourselves over, by ourselves. We do not become new by being talked into it. We become new when we let God carry away the old so He'll have room for a new work.
All these years later I've learned that, experienced it, and I'm believing Belinda has, too.
"Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]." ... John 6:29
Two more coupons:
Save 50 cents off of two packages of Kraft shredded cheese. Use zipcode 30303. Click on foods. You can print two. For a better deal, I'll wait for a sale (BuyOneGetOneFree, most likely) then take these to my store which doubles them.
$1 off 1 Emerald Breakfast on the Go. Use your back button to print an extra one. (Oh, these puppies taste good!)