The best advice I ever received was…

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The best advice I ever received was…

The best advice I ever received? Okay. It goes along with what Mikayla has been sharing on facebook this last week about her testimony, and how our story of faith isn’t just about one moment, but about all the moments that bring you closer to Christ, and about all the choices you make that testify to the Resurrection and the Life.

Many years ago, in a church that was falling apart (literally and spiritually), I told a story to a friend.

I had been struggling with the idea of “God’s will.” What did He want me to pursue? What did He want me to accomplish? What did He have for me? What was I supposed to “do with my life”? These are heavy questions for a teenager—especially when her heart is in something like music, and she doesn’t have the years of lessons that other music students have had. I had been praying for weeks (which felt like an eternity at the time, as I was trying to answer questions at school about where I was going with my life). One night, in a fit of frustration, I did something crazy. I was on the floor, literally on my knees, crying and praying, and I told God that if He wanted me to pursue music, He had to show me—clearly. With blurry eyes squinted shut, I flung my Bible open and let my finger fall on the page. It landed on a Psalm 30:10-12. I have read the verses a million times since then:

                   Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.

                   You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

There is no way you could have convinced me that this was not an answer from God. It spoke volumes to me—not just about music, but…firstly about music. But it birthed a million new questions: did the pursuit of music mean studying it at college? Did I really believe that God gave this verse to me, or was it a fluke occurrence? And what in the world was sackcloth?

When I finished my story, Mark Bradshaw looked me square in the eye and said something I could not have anticipated. He said, “You’re going to want to write this story down and commit those verses to memory.”

I’ve received a lot of really great advice in my thirty years, but none has shaped my actions quite like Mark’s words did in that moment. Over the next year, I re-read the Old Testament, and was amazed to read about all the instances where God would speak or act, and His people would build an altar. It served to honor God, to offer Him sacrifices of thanksgiving. But it also served as a remembrance to His people. They didn’t name places things like “Jehovah Jireh” to remind God what a great provider He was; they named it so they would remember that He had provided for them in their need (and always would). That is essentially what Mark had said to me—build an altar; praise God; remember what He’s done; and trust what He’s doing.

 

All my love,

Aunt Sarah

 

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