OK, Here’s the farm girl coming out in me. I’ve been participating in an online Bible study of the book A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. I’ve been getting ‘stuck’, like these tractors in the pictures above. I feel that I have already moved forward from the “muck” in my life. However, Ii see all around me that many women are still “stuck in the muck” of their past. As a pastor’s wife, my heart goes out to these women, but I could never put my finger on how to pass my learning experience on to them and maybe help them out. This is my third attempt to write something meaningful. Three’s a charm right? So here goes …
On the farm, we would occasionally get a truck or tractor stuck in the mud. You learn quickly that the more gas you give it, the deeper you go into the mud. Most times, another tractor would be needed to pull it out. The tractor would be covered with mud. But that didn’t de-value the tractor. We didn’t take the tractor to the scrap pile and buy a new one. We just gave it a good washing and continued with the work on the farm. We learned to avoid the mud hole and still get the work done. Now the tractor didn’t stay clean, sometime dust from the mud hole flew up on the tractor and other times we would get a much-needed rain and the mud would return and splatter the tractor. But all it took was another washing and the tractor was as good as new.
OK, Mandy what in the world does that have to do with my past, you may ask. Let’s say the mud represents your past all the things that bog us down and keep us from going forward. The tractor is us. The help we receive is God and maybe others like counselors, pastors, and Christian friends that point us to God. I think most of us “get this part”. God is our salvation. He forgives and forgets. It’s all in the sea of forgetfulness for Him. But we have a tough time forgiving ourselves and forgetting the past. How do we do that? Drawing from Psalm 40, I would like to share a few steps to help us Move Forward.
So often when trials come or when Satan slings the proverbial mud at us, we want to run or fight or do something. I’m reminded of a time working in the strawberry fields. I came into a swarm of bees. My head kept telling me to be still, but my arms and legs were flying in every direction! LOL! It’s a funny picture now, but isn’t that what we do when trials come? We have to make ourselves get still and look to Jesus. Cry out to Jesus and like he did for Peter on the Sea of Galilee, he will save us!
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
We want to erase the past; but, if we ‘forget’ the past, we have also forgotten that God helped us through it. We need to find things to praise him for. Philippians 4:8 says to think on whatever is good. When we are praising God for what He has brought us through, we are witnessing to others and they are in return encouraged to move forward. I relate this to the washing off of the mud. When we praise God, His Spirit flows down in waves of living water and washes our soul.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Don’t Dwell There
I once did research on the word forget in the Bible. I found one reference to forgetting the past (Philippians 3:3). I comes with a command to go forward. But it has many, many scriptures about what not to forget. a) God’s deeds (Deut. 4:9); b) His Covenant (Deut 4:23); c) His Commandments (Psalm 119: 61,83,93,109,141); d) His Benefits (Psalm 103)
4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.
One thing I have learned is when we begin to serve others or whatever ministry God is calling you to, we forget about ourselves. We see that we are not the only ones with struggles, we usually come away from service feeling much better. Somehow when we help others, we are the ones that get the help!
6b Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
7 Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
8 I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”
Keep Singing That New Song, Mandy
Or Maybe this Old One!