Thursday, October 24, 2013

Voices

I have never had the opportunity to counsel anyone in my practice who was actively hearing voices in their head. In private practice I am not afforded the luxury of having a back-up crisis intervention team to deal with the challenges that psychosis presents. I can only imagine how uncomfortable and scary it must be to hear someone or something speaking to you that no one else hears.    And although it is in no way a close comparison, when we are bombarded with the opinions of others trying to help us discern God's will in a particular situation, it can feel like you're "going crazy." That's how I've been feeling lately regarding this church plant. So many well meaning people are trying to offer their guidance on what to do and how to proceed based on their experiences. Some have even questioned if this is really God's will for me and I ask that same question of God on a frequent basis. So, I include this poem as my "psalm" to the Lord at this very challenging time. 
Blessed Be the Name of The Lord!
Pastor Sheree


Voices

So many voices that I hear,
Each one telling me, “draw near,
“I’ll tell you where to go today,
And promise not to lead you astray.”
But still confusion crowds my mind,
God, would you please show me a sign?
You promised that you would be true,
And tell me clearly what to do.
But sometimes when I try to rest,
I’m overcome with emptiness.
I want so much to do Your will, 
To know You’re God and to be still.
But Lord I’m feeling so afraid,
To step out on the churning waves.
I cannot see the solid ground,
And voices tell me,”you may drown.”
So, come to me O Lord Most High,
Hear my desperation cry.
Cover me with grace this day,
Point me towards Your holy way.
Bid Your Spirit to draw near,
So You’re the only voice I hear.

(Sheree A. Harrington, October 24, 2013)



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lost in the Shadow

I was reading a meditation last week from one of my favorite devotionals ("Streams In The Desert") when my attention was drawn to a story written by the great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon. The story in a nutshell described a little plant whose growth was stunted because it lived in the shadow of a giant oak tree. The plant was not disturbed because of the mighty oak but relished the quiet rest that the oak provided it. The story goes on to describe how the mighty oak was felled one day by the axe of a woodsman. The plant panicked, fearing it would now remain unprotected from the fierce winds which threatened to uproot it. However, the plant had a guardian angel which comforted and reassured the plant that its exposure was a great blessing. The guardian angel informed the plant that now it would receive the full power of sunlight and receive an abundance of water when showers fell. As a result the plant would spring up into loveliness and flowers that had previously been hampered from displaying their full beauty would now flourish. Moreover, people would now notice the beauty of the plant which up until now was ignored as a result of being hidden in the shade. What spoke to my heart was one of the questions that the meditation posed at the end of the story, "Is the Lord uncovering your gifts and causing them to grow?" I confess that I have been like that little plant covered up in the shadow of others. I have been content to rest in the quiet unassuming position of allowing others to lead and shepherd God's people while I watched in the background. Now that the Lord has removed those "oaks" and moved me towards a church plant, I feel exposed and vulnerable. I fear that I will be victimized by all who do not believe I should be planting a church or leading because I am a woman. However, I too have One who is watching over me and I hear His words speak to my spirit using the words that the guardian angel spoke to the plant, "Now your stunted form will spring up into loveliness and your flowers, which could never have grown to full perfection in the shade, will laugh in the sunshine. And people in amazement will say, 'Look how that plant has grown! How gloriously beautiful it has become by removing that which was its shade and its delight." (Charles H. Spurgeon) The Lord needed to move me from under the shadow of others, in essence out of my comfort zone, so I can fully mature by walking through the difficult places depending solely on Him. A second question at the end of the story further challenged me, "Should you not then use every gift and weapon He has given you to become a conqueror?" The answer is yes! Paul reminds us, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37) Additionally, David implores God to,"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 17:8) In God's shadow there is protection against oppression and His "wings" are a metaphor for the protective outreach of His power. So what about you? Are your gifts lost in the shadows or is the power of the Most High overshadowing you? Is he calling you out of complacency to experience complete and full growth in His Son? Come out of the shadows and let the world see the beauty of God reflected in your life.
Peace In Christ!
Pastor Sheree