It's a very busy time for us at the moment as we are about to build two residential units and going to do this as owner builders. 😯 Choosing to be owner builders is an unexpected turn of events prompted by the fact that the quotes from builders were out of our budget. There is quite a building boom where we live.
We originally decided to buy a block of land to build units on as therapy for me as I feel the need to have a project for my mind. Leaving the organisation has been an upheaval of the most epic kind and having a mental distraction for me is very therapeutic. Unfortunately the project has been a pain in the neck up until now due to two things: the reams of paperwork and certification required and the failure of others to do their job right, in particular building designers. But ..... happily the paper trail has finished and the plans look great thanks to a proficient building designer we found. This next step - the actual building - will be easy compared to what we've been through.
We built two units about 7 years ago and vowed we'd never do it again because of the paperwork involved but we thought that it would be easier this time having done it previously. We were wrong. It would seem that more 'red tape' is required now. Anyway ..... I feel excited about being owner builders because we can select our own tradespersons and source all the materials ourselves. I love researching and finding bargains! 😀
I didn't actually come here to tell you all about that but .... rather ..... I came here to share some encouraging experiences with you. However, in contemplation, why not share what is happening in our lives? I'm here to share with you, not to give a sermon 😊. I can't help but feel that the internet is FULL of people wanting to set themselves up as religious authority figures and have people look to them for guidance and direction. Even if they are not part of an organised religion, their words often indicate that they want to be viewed as an authority. But .... true Christians are all brothers and sisters with ONE leader, Jesus Christ. I guess in a way, writing what I have leads nicely to the encouraging experiences I would like to share with you since what I learned from these experiences was exactly this point! We are all brothers and sisters. Jesus is the leader and he can use whomever he wants, whenever he wants to accomplish an outcome. It is so comforting to be humbled and realise that I do not have an obligation to lead anyone. In the organisation, I lived with constant pressure as I always felt burdened by the feeling that I was responsible for other people. I was a very unusual child, teenager and adult being thrust into the limelight in many ways. I enjoyed being involved because I felt that having 'privileges' was proof of Jehovah's approval of me. I gave my first talk at the age of 10 and no one helped me prepare it. In fact, no one ever helped me prepare a talk. Instead, I spent my life in the organisation helping other people prepare talks (even brothers) and this happened right up until the day I left in July 2015. Even when I moved congregation, I had a sister who always rang me for help with her talks and I did help her out of love.
I was always filling in for talks too. I was the 'go-to' person for talks when they were needed at short notice. A couple of times, I filled in with only 15mins notice. Every time I did this, my faith was strengthened enormously as I felt Jehovah's spirit with me in response to my fervent prayers for his help.
I used to be assigned to work on my own in the field ministry from the age of about 13. I started pioneering at the age of 17 and from then on I was almost always involved in demonstrations and interviews at Circuit Assemblies and District Conventions etc which often involved going to practice sessions prior.
I became proficient in my ministry but the more proficient I became, the less other sisters wanted to do the doors when they worked with me because they felt nervous. There seemed to be nothing I could do to ease their fears. I did not feel an ounce of pride about my abilities but actually felt sad that my proficiency made others feel inadequate. What could I do about it? 😔 There seemed to be nothing I could do to allay their fears so, out of love, I just did all the doors. Then, the more I did the doors, the more proficient I became and thus the cycle continued. I cannot tell you how draining it was to do all the preaching. Nonetheless .... love dictated that I must do this for my sisters.
I think you can understand why then, with this sort of background, I revel in the relief that the real truth has brought me. I am not responsible anymore for all these heavy burdens! Yay!!! 😀 I can just be your sister, one individual member of the body of Christ bringing whatever encouragement I can to others as my heart impels me to, rather than in a prescribed way outlined by men - godless men.
And here are the two experiences I wanted to share with you ..... finally! 😄
I have a friend who is emerging from the organisation along with her husband and she is just learning about the new and wonderful news that Christ's blood does cover our sins and we can in fact be God's sons and daughters. To encourage her, I sent her an e-card and I had a scripture in mind that I wanted to write at the bottom about the fact that 'we all belong to one another'. I tried to find the scripture but couldn't, despite the fact that I used a concordance. After spending quite a bit of time trying to find that scripture, I accepted defeat and selected another nice scripture instead from Proverbs. My friend thanked me for the card and a few days later, she told me about a wonderful chapter she had been reading ROMANS 12. How she loved that chapter! I thought, "I must read that chapter myself." The next day she mentioned the chapter again and told me that she wanted to memorise it such was the impact it had on her. That night I thought, "I must read that chapter in ROMANS and see what it says." I knew the famous words about not returning evil for evil were contained in that chapter but could not think of what else was there. Well .... I went to bed and put on the audio bible and shut my eyes to listen to Paul's words and when I heard verse 5 my heart jumped! That verse says,
"so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
There was the scripture!!! The scripture I had spent so much time looking for! Of all the chapters in the bible that my friend could have read, this was the chapter that she was telling me about - the very chapter that held the words I'd been searching for! How thrilled I was that she was used to tell me. It was like our Father and Jesus had withheld that scripture from me (I spent a lot of time looking for it) and given that privilege to my friend. How beautiful! 🦋 Especially since my friend struggles so much with seeing her worth. I was SO encouraged by this gift from our father.
The second experience was a little similar:
My husband and I were talking about the fact that in the organisation, the only title we used with regularity regarding Jesus was 'The Great Teacher'. My husband commented, "We never called him 'Lord'". What an interesting point that is and a true point. We did not call him 'Lord' often did we? Perhaps when ending a prayer a brother would say, "through our Lord Jesus Christ' but even that was just said in a parrot-like fashion. Well just after sharing those thoughts, we went to bed and put on the audio bible as we often do, to listen to a chapter of the bible and selected 'by coincidence' 1 COR 12. Once again, can you imagine our surprise when we heard verse 3?
"Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."
Wow! That's just what we had been talking about! How encouraging that was. When we acknowledge in our hearts and express with our lips that Jesus is Lord, then this is evidence that we are being guided by the Holy Spirit.
These experiences warm our hearts as we see the Holy Spirit guiding us. We do not, and should not, look to any particular human or group of humans as a guiding light. Jesus is the Light. He is our Leader and Master and brother and King. We can see that he is guiding us all. No matter who we are, when we enter the New Covenant, we are part of the body of Christ and thus united with all other members. No one is more important than the other. We all have differing roles but all are important just as ROMANS 12 says.
Oh how I love my new life with Jesus as Lord and true brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding me. This is how it is supposed to be! This is TRUTH! 🌺🌸🌻