It's amazing to me how endings and beginnings have incredible relationships. As we near the end of chapters in our lives and begin new ones, I believe it is what we carry over from one to the other that encourages us, helps us to grow, makes us stronger.
This is the last week of an online Bible study that helped me to begin a wonderful and new journey. With Melissa Taylor and her team of stress busters (including the great Tracie Miles whose book Stressed-Less Living is transforming), I have opened doors to understanding that I didn't have before. The learnings and growth that not only myself, but others, have had through this experience have been life-changing. It is freeing to know that the weight of the world "can" be lifted off your shoulders, that you can have peace and that your life can be filled with goodness.
Although the book, truly each chapter, has many moments of learning, I believe my breakthrough moment came as early as the 2nd and 3rd chapters. It was then that I realized that "I" control my stress and all I needed to do was to let go and let God. It seems simple enough to say, but for us "control freaks" out there (come on, you can admit it), it is a very hard thing to do. It is our desire in life for everything to be controlled by us, through daily lists, tasks and stress-filled moments.
It was then that I realized that when I go to God first, when I make him my priority, the rest of my life files in right behind it. What an incredible feeling it is. Tonight, I went back through my "journal of hope" as I called it, to review where I was and how far I have come. Below I will share an entry I wrote over two months ago, a entry I wrote as if God was speaking to me:
All you need to do, Susan, is to let go. Your control is not yours to own. Give it to me, and I will give you peace. The joy you feel when peace surrounds you is me giving you the hug of understanding & release. Put your head on my shoulder and hold my hand. Let my peace rush through you. The trials you encounter are mine when you have the courage to give them to me.
I continue to try to do this. It isn't easy and it is a journey. Yet, God's word, and the verses that we continue to learn about, bring me the peace that I now feel. I have already purchased copies of this book and shared it with some co-workers. It was my Mother's Day gift to them. I pray it makes the impact in their lives that it had in mine.
I thought Bible Studies needed to be around a kitchen table or in a church fellowship hall. I have learned that God has an entire world of friends for me to be supported by. I just hope I can support them as well. My favorite verse that was shared through this study is how I will end . . .
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (NIV) Exodus 33:14