"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Same but different

Today I was sharing a prayer request with a friend. She noted that my request sounded all too familiar. "This is the same thing you have been asking for years, Stephanie".


Yes, I know. Then she said something sweet for my heart, "Steph, though, the request does sound a little different. It is shared from a different place." The same request from a different place.

Same but different.

While I lived in Turkey, "Mamma Jo" was my teammate. She was a wonderful mother figure to me and a grandmother to my children those 5 years. She was "seasoned" and had been a Christian for most of her life. Years. 50 years. 50+ years as a Christian.

Mamma gave me many gifts through the years of being on team together. One of the greatest gifts she gave me was perspective on my struggles. She would remind me that she, too, struggled with the same old issues in her life.

This reminder wasn't always the encouragement that she meant it to be. Although I know this on one level, in my mind somewhere I believe that I will one day soon be perfect! Okay... maybe not perfect; but, certainly I will move on past these issues, right!? (I fondly call them my 15-year-old-girl struggles. They are still with me!)

Certainly, I won't still be asking to grow in trust, surrender, pride and awareness of His presence, right?! I would ask Mamma this and she would look at me with that "Mamma Jo-look". I would know her answer without words. "Honey", she would say with tenderness... "No, you won't be perfect. You won't be perfect this side of heaven".

Although in part this was discouraging... What?!! Mamma Jo still struggled with the same stuff after all these years!... there was a deep, lasting encouragement in Mamma's words and life.

For though she testified to struggling with the same old issues... I knew that she trusted more, she believed more fervently, and she turned to the Father more tenderly and more quickly than I did. Just one look at her life and I knew that she was further down the road.

The same struggles, maybe,... but different.

She was living a life of victory upon victory.

I know I am living a life of more victory, too. If I look at the map of my life, my walk with the Lord, I know that I trust more, I surrender more and am more aware of His presence than I was in years past. I do see the victories over the years. I do see victories this past week! This encourages my heart and it is good to look back a bit to see from where I have come.

Okay, Mamma Jo, so I won't be perfect. Not yet. And I may share the same prayer requests week after week... But, I am sharing them from a different place on the road. No leaps forward. Just steps forward on the road.

Yes, I am the same... but I am also different.

Father, help me to follow Your son one step at a time. Help me to rely on You, Your strength, You work in my heart and to trust You with my growth... to trust You with my victories. Thank you for grace and mercy when I fail. Lord, thank You for knowing the way forward and showing me the way, the truth and the light of this journey. For You have begun this good work in me and You will bring it to completion. Have Your way with me, Lord!
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