Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Confession #75 - The Last Seven Years

In God's economy seven is a Holy number.  In the old testament seven years represents the Sabbath or Shmita year which is the year of rest.   At the end of seven years God's intention was for the land to have rest and the poor to eat, for his people to be debt-free, and Israelite slaves were to be set free. Here's just a few verses about it in the Bible:

"You may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it. The needy among you will then be able to eat just as you do, and whatever is left over can be eaten by wild animals. This also applies to your vineyard and your olive grove." (Exodus 23:10–11)

"At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the remission year. The idea of the remission year is that every creditor shall remit any debt owed by his neighbor and brother when God's remission year comes around. You may collect from the alien, but if you have any claim against your brother for a debt, you must relinquish it. ..." (Deuteronomy 15:1–6)  

"Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying: "At the end of seven years ye shall let go every man his brother that is a Hebrew, that hath been sold unto thee, and hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee"; but your fathers hearkened not unto Me, neither inclined their ear." (Jeremiah 34:13–14)

I  believe God still holds a purpose for the seventh year and today I realized that it's my Shmita and that God has set me free...

This morning, like many, my body woke me up at 5:00 am.  I don't have to be up until 7:00; I wish someone would tell that to my internal clock.  As I lay there I started to think about my daughter and when we first got her.

Our first weekend with Lexi
I remember that day pretty well; a week before, we had met her for the first time.  She was only two years old and we were introduced as mommy and daddy.  After a wonderful weekend "playing" parents we got her forever a week later.  Over the last seven years I've seen this remarkable child become someone wonderful.  Then I got tears in my eyes thinking of all the mistakes I've made.

I wouldn't categorize myself as neglectful, she always has everything she needs and wants, is fed and clothed and bathed and very loved.  But truthfully, I don't spend enough time with her; I never did.  So I lay there thinking of how, if given the opportunity, I would go back and do it better.  Then I realized what going back to the last seven years would actually mean.  Could I live through that hell again?

These last seven years have been seriously hard, in fact the hardest of my life.  I severely struggled with being a parent, nearly ended my marriage, destroyed a friendship, went broke and claimed bankruptcy, almost ruined a relationship with my sister, and gained back lots of weight I had lost prior to adopting our daughter just to mention a few...

Would I do it all differently again if I could?  I suppose only if I had the knowledge and wisdom I have today.  But then what would happen?  I would destroy my incredible and blessed present by "fixing" the most significant things that God used to shape and mold me into who I am today.

Teaching at Women's Event
The last seven years have been very difficult, but there have also been some wonderful things as well.  I found a church and bible study where I regained my relationship with the Lord.  I began teaching, writing, and speaking for the Lord.  I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. I wrote a put on a play and other women's ministry events.  I helped restart a women's ministry at my new church.  And just yesterday I was told by a dear friend how I've ministered to her and blessed her.  I humbly admit that's been said to me a few times before.  The dirty christian woman would have never been created if it weren't for these regrets.  I shutter to think what my life would be if it were for these last seven years.  I am certain I wouldn't be the same person I am.

I confess, I haven't written in this blog for a long while.  I've been so upset and frustrated by that, but I haven't had words to give.  Now, I believe that's because God was doing some work on my heart.  I needed to face the regrets and realities of the last seven years in order to move forward.  I had to mentally go back and accept what has happened in order to embrace and appreciate every last bit of it as blessing.

Lexi today
Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses and I particularly love the Amplified translation, "And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose."  Today I've been set free from my regret and my mistakes because I see how God was using them for my good to create something special,  He used my past to bring Him glory and others to Christ.  I also realize that it's never too late for me to right a wrong so on that note I think I'll  play dolls with my 9 year old when she gets home from school today.

What about you?  Are you living with the continual regret of your past mistakes?  You must know that  you are forgiven by an amazing God who never looks upon us with resentment.  He loves us in a way we just cannot comprehend.  It doesn't matter what our sins are, God forgives them.  Perhaps you haven't forgiven yourself.  That has to happen for you to move forward.  You must embrace that time, and see what God had done with you through it.  You may have scars, you may have dents, you may never forget but God WILL use it for His good because he has a plan for your life and the lives of the people you touch. "For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11

It's over the period of turmoil is over; and you are free.  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" John 8:36.  Don't stop moving forward in your dream!

Thank you Lord for you great and mighty plan and for the end of the struggle.  Thank you for bringing me to terms with my past so I can move forward and thank you for all that you have blessed me with throughout this time.  I pray now for the ladies reading this who have lived with deep regret and sorrow from their past.  I pray that they begin to embrace their experience as a blessing in disguise and to know that your plans and purposes are still in the works for them.  I pray that the Shmita is cancelling all the debt, and enslavement they've had in the past and that they will finally feel the freedom you sent Jesus to bring for them.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  Amen.

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