Overwhelmed & Uninspired
My life has come at me hard and fast lately which is one reason I haven’t written for a couple weeks. No excuse, I know. I’m sure you all understand what it’s like to get caught up in the whirlwind of life. Because of my current circumstances, I found myself looking for some of my old writings. I thought since I’m feeling overwhelmed and uninspired that maybe I could share with you all some of my past writings. As my husband and I agreed this morning, most of the time I share from a place of ‘lessons learned’, and I’m just not there yet. I like to share some grand epiphany I gained from a situation or experience. I’m still waiting on that grand epiphany. Right now, I’m still in the ‘learning’ phase of my situation. So I set out to find the folder that held some of my old writing. (I won’t even get into what it took to find it. That’s a weird story in and of itself.) I had a particular writing in mind. It was a writing called “My Cup Runs Over” and it was written for an invitation I had received to speak at a church on a Sunday morning where ladies would be facilitating the entire service.
My Life Back Then
Before I share what I said that day, I would like to tell you about what my life looked like and how I came to be invited to share that morning. It was 2006 and it was a dark, dark time in my life, probably one of the worst, really. I had basically given up most of my material possessions with the exception of my car. I had moved to Charlotte (aka The Big City). Much of my family wanted nothing to do with me for multiple reasons. I was hurt and I was broken, and much of it was my own fault. From my perspective I had nothing, I was nothing, and I had nothing to offer. But God…yes, but God revealed Himself to me mightily. I believe now that what happened in this invitation to speak was a glimpse of what was and is coming. It was Jesus using someone else to extend hope to me while I was in a hopeless state. I think He used some ladies at this church to help me see I did have something to offer through the power of Christ. I recently read about the importance of ladies exposing a sister’s potential instead of their weakness. That is exactly what the ladies at this church did for me.
One Sunday after church service, all the ladies were asked to stay after service to brainstorm and plan an upcoming service that would be completely conducted and facilitated by the ladies of the church. As we sat there that Sunday afternoon, the pastor’s wife shared her thoughts and ideas about what she envisioned that Sunday to look like. Instead of having just one lady speak, she would like three to five ladies to speak for about 5-10 minutes each. The theme of the Sunday service would be, “My Cup Runs Over”. I sat there silently. I remember thinking at the time what a great way to give the ladies a voice in the church and to share the riches of their blessings. So the pastor’s wife asked the question, “Who will be willing to speak?” At first no one answered. And then, one said, “I will.” And another said, “I will.” Okay, great! Ladies are volunteering. I still sat silently thinking maybe I could assist with cleanup after the luncheon to follow the service. The pastor’s wife asked again, “Can I get just one more lady willing to speak?” Silence. And then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was no one there tapping me. (Could this be a Holy Spirit nudge?) Again, she asked, “Just one more lady to speak, please?” Again, crickets chirping. I felt myself getting fidgety in my seat. And then…another tap on my shoulder. I turned once again to find no one tapping me. The silence seemed to go on forever, but I’m sure it was only a minute. Then something happened that I totally did not see coming. The pastor’s wife said, “I was thinking Amanda would be a good one to speak.” And then another lady said, “That’s what I was thinking.” And then another. Suddenly, it felt like all eyes were on me waiting for my answer. What could I say? I was not equipped to speak in front of the congregation. I definitely couldn’t speak on ‘My Cup Runs Over’ in the midst of the extreme loss I was suffering. Haha, God! Very funny! So I said the only thing I could say, “Ummmm…I don’t know.” Way to go, Amanda! What a profound answer! Looking back it’s pretty funny, but at the time I was traumatized just a little. That great answer was followed with, “Okay, I’ll do it.”
I Am So Blessed; My Cup Runs Over
So this is what I wrote to share:
First of all, the fact that I am here standing in God’s beautiful house speaking is a blessing in itself. When Wanda first presented this idea to the ladies, I thought it was a great idea, but really had no intentions of participating. I am not comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. However, God had other plans for me. Sometimes He has a way of nudging us out of our comfort zones. I realize that He does this so that we can go out and minister to others that may really need the inspiration or a touch from His Spirit.
God gave me this nudge, so to speak, last Sunday knowing what my upcoming week would entail. I have been through a lot in the past few months in my personal and spiritual life. I have grown stronger in my faith through my difficulties. This week has been one of the worst weeks of my life when I speak of circumstances. However, at the same time, God has helped me see the beauty of this trying time. In the midst of the difficult time this week, all I could think about was speaking about ‘I Am So Blessed’.
I could stand here for hours and talk about all the ways God has blessed me in my life. Don’t worry I’m not going to do that. I have experienced God in so many ways in good times and bad. I have been brought, by God’s hand, off the road to hell to a path of righteousness more than once. I have been healed of serious medical conditions. And I have seen family saved that blatantly told me they would never have any part of my “religion”.
I cannot say that the path my life has taken has always been easy or even right in God’s eyes. I experienced hardship in my life at an early age. However, I can say, looking back, God was always present. Even though I didn’t always invite Him in, He was always present.
Reflecting on life, sometimes it is filled with laughter, gladness, and happiness. Other times life is filled with anxiety, sadness, despair, and grief. The blessing of my lifetime is learning that regardless of the circumstances in my life, my God is equally and abundantly sufficient. I have learned that in times of happiness, Jesus increases our joy. And in times of grief and despair, He consoles, comforts, and provides a joy and peace beyond the understanding of this world. What a beautiful blessing! I have also learned that whatever my current circumstances, it will not last forever and God is always present. What a blessing to know that I can share my joy with Jesus letting him increase the joy in the good times. What a blessing to know that Jesus will comfort and strengthen me in times of despair.
My circumstances have led me here to God’s house in His presence. So I have to say I am truly and abundantly blessed in Jesus’ promise to always be present in whatever my circumstances, good or bad.
Something happened when I read this writing from my past. I started thinking about what was going on in 2006. It was bad. I mean real bad. As I read what I wrote which doesn’t quite include everything I said that morning, I realized the amount of healing I have gone through. I also realized that my circumstances now are a big deal to me, but they’re really minor in comparison to what I have already come through. This is just a little rain in comparison to the tornado-hurricane-typhoon thing of my past. Yes, something happened inside of me when I read ‘I Am So Blessed; My Cup Runs Over’. I not only felt the healing I had experienced from my past, but I remember something that happened around the same time I wrote this. Around that time, I received a promise from the Holy Spirit. It was a promise for the good of my family, and it was straight from the Spirit. With that promise came a hope for a future, an ability to dream big God-sized dreams again.
That morning after service the pastor’s wife presented each lady with a teacup and saucer to remind us that our cup runs over. The ladies that spoke that morning received a special teacup with a gold rim. I keep that on my dresser because it’s a great reminder. This regular little white teacup has a thin gold line, a silver lining if you will. And under it sits a saucer to catch the ‘run over’. I’m reminded that God has filled me to overflowing. I love when someone comes close enough to catch the ‘run over’. Lord, let me be consistently overflowing all the good you have poured into me.
So it’s tough right now, but I am so blessed and honestly it could be so much worse. The doubts and fears? They have disappeared in the light of the hope Christ offers me, has always offered me. Maybe things are not great for you. If not, think on the promises God offers. Stand close enough to someone to catch some overflow. Someone that can help you see that it will not always be this way. Christ offers hope and He makes promises. Sometimes those promises come by a Holy Spirit nudge. Sometimes they come straight from His Word. Either way, I encourage you to do what I have reminded myself to do. Read His word, pray, and look for the blessing in the midst of the storm.