Half Obedience Part 2: Are you there, God? I’m ready.

half obedience part 2 Starr haigler

Yesterday was a milestone for me. I finally punched fear and guilt and a bit of the unknown in the face. I followed the unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach at the fact that I was not even being half obedient…you can read more about that here if you missed it.

So, I wrote. And today, I write again.

Friends. Can I stop right here and tell you…no, I need to SHOUT something? Ya’ll. You may think God doesn’t do stuff like this. But I’m here to tell you that HE DOES!

HE SHOWS UP WHEN WE OBEY!! Did you hear me? I think I need to repeat myself. HE SHOWS UP AND SHOWS OUT WHEN WE OBEY THAT STILL SMALL VOICE THAT TUGS AND STIRS DEEP DOWN INSIDE OUR SOULS!!! Yes, I’m yelling. In case you were wondering…

If I could be on top of a mountain right now, I would shout those all caps letters up there to the top of my lungs. I’d yell it as loud as I could for everyone to hear. Don’t miss this.

{I’m warning you that the words below ended up being WAYYY more lengthy than I anticipated. I even told Brian that I just needed to sit down for 10 minutes and jot some notes down before I forget. And….an hour and a half later….ooops}

Here’s where this story begins. Actually, it really began 15 years ago sitting in an auditorium listening to Chonda Pierce on her Soapbox – but that is WAY off topic for this moment and totally for another day.

Friday morning I woke up and started reading. I’ve gotten in the habit of starting my first few crusty eyed moments everyday by connecting with God. This has not been the norm for me, but something I felt that He was asking me to do on a continual basis because it is such a sacrifice and out of my comfort zone. And it STILL is. Sometimes it is all I can do to look at one itty bitty scripture and not fall asleep ya’ll. The struggle is real. Every. Day.

And usually I try my best to finish up this quick moment by sending out a text to my “morning text” group – a random selection of friends that help keep me accountable, whether they asked to do that or not…hahaha. Some of them asked to help. Some did not. They got volunteered. And there is not currently an unsubscribe button.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes I feel unsettled about what to send my morning text group. I ask God to lead me to what I’m supposed to send. And if I don’t feel like I can find the right thing, I don’t do it. Yes, I may have had my devotional time (and honestly sometimes I haven’t had it because I just flat out fail and miss because I’m lazy – yup). But, if I don’t have a good feeling about what I’m supposed to send to my friends, I don’t do it. I wait.

And I didn’t get that good feeling Friday morning. So, I decided instead to linger a few minutes longer with God in His Word. I opened my Bible App to a Plan that I started, ahem, about 40 days before Easter. It was a 40-day plan to read through the entire New Testament. And I didn’t finish it. Don’t act like ya’ll don’t do this in your Bible App. Thankfully there is this fabulous little button called, “Catch me Up” for people like me that are so incredibly motivated to start 20 new devotion plans all ON THE SAME DAY. Who does that? Me.

My New Testament plan took me back to day 24 of 40. Just keepin’ it real, friends. I was in the book of Acts, Chapter 10.

It told the story of a man named Cornelius. I was intrigued because he had a vision. And God told him very specifically in this vision about what he was supposed to do: Send men from his house to travel to a town called Joppa and get a man named Peter and bring him back. Cornelius didn’t know Peter. But God told him exactly who Peter was staying with and where the house was. Specific instructions.

And Cornelius was a man who obeyed God. And the Bible tells us: {He prayed to God regularly. Acts 10:2} He was also a Gentile – a leader of the Roman soldiers.

At the same exact moment in a town about 30 miles away, Peter was about to eat lunch. He decided to go up on the roof and pray. Ya’ll – Peter prayed a lot too, duh. I would hope you pray like it’s your job if you’ve just lived through walking and talking and seeing the risen JESUS CHRIST!

As he was praying, he also had a vision. His vision wasn’t as understandable, but still very specific. He saw a sheet held in the four corners coming down from heaven full of wild animals. Animals that he didn’t eat because he was Jewish and those animals were considered unclean to eat by their culture. God told Peter to kill those animals and eat them. And Peter kindly reminded God that he couldn’t actually eat those animals because they were unclean. And God very kindly explained to Peter that if He made them and said they weren’t unclean, then they are not unclean. Don’t we always try to remind God of things we think He’s forgotten? Who are we, people??

I guess that maybe Peter was a bit like me, hard headed. So, God actually sent this same vision 3 times, over and over and over. God never has to tell me something over and over and over…

As Peter awakens from his vision, the 3 guys that Cornelius sent were knocking at the door. The Holy Spirit quickens Peter and tells him that there are 3 men standing at the door looking for him. Not to worry, I’ve sent them – you are to go with them.

We’ll ok. The next morning they leave and travel back to see Cornelius.

What happens here is that God set up a divine appointment. Peter should have NEVER entered the home of Cornelius. He was a Gentile. They don’t mix culturally. They aren’t even allowed to eat the same foods…hmmm.

And in that instant Peter understands what his vision(s) were about. He understands that God has chosen him to carry the message of Jesus Christ outside of the Jewish community. And with this obedience to step out, God sends down the Holy Spirit to Cornelius and all of his family and friends that have gathered. Peter realizes that the same Holy Spirit that came to them before in the Upper Room, was in this place too – Gentiles and all!

And this opened the message of Jesus Christ to non-Jews. That’s probably most of us that are currently reading this extremely too long blog post.

Get to the point, Starr. Get to the point.

I don’t ever remember reading this story in the Bible. Yes, I just said that. It has never stuck out to me. I’ve never heard a sermon preached on this. I don’t think I’ve ever taught a Children’s church lesson on Cornelius and Peter. I became so incredibly captivated and intrigued with what happened here. The words started coming alive.

A few hours later on Friday morning, I sat across the table from a friend that is helping me to sort out this thing called life. She is a life coach and I have spent the last year and a half meeting with her regularly to dream, brainstorm and ask questions. And she is so stinkin’ good at what she does…(she has to be to help me!!!).

At one point we started talking about obedience in life. And how sometimes we might be called to be obedient in something and we won’t know the reason or the full picture of our obedience. And she asked me to think about people in the Bible that were obedient when it didn’t make sense.

And my mind went straight to Cornelius and Peter. Yes, they were both so obedient. And they didn’t know why they were following their instructions, but wow, what an outcome of that obedience! Because they both obeyed, the message of Jesus Christ spread across the world!!

I left our meeting still thinking about my 2 new Bible friends. And I opened my Bible App a couple more times throughout the day to read their story again. I read it in different translations; I simply couldn’t get enough of what God was trying to tell me in their story.

I read it again the next morning. And I read it again tonight. Still captivated by their obedience and what I need to learn from their examples.

I grabbed my Children’s Illustrated Bible (because cartoon drawings always help me understand the Word better, I’m just sayin’) and headed to the bathtub – one of the best places in my house to read and have some peace and quiet. Peace and quiet as long as the mini-me’s are in the bed already!

childrens illustrated bible acts 10

Children’s Illustrated Bible Cartoon of Acts 10!

I also grabbed a copy of a book I randomly picked up at the bookstore a few nights ago – Draw the Circle – the 40 Day Prayer Challenge. This book is a continuation of The Circle Maker – an incredible prayer book that I read a few months ago. I loved it so much that I thought this would be a good way to put into practice everything that the author taught me about praying.

As I slipped into the bathtub – I took the required few minutes of clearing out Dora and her friends and the plastic frying pans. The struggle is real. Do whatever you gotta do, mamas. (Side note: Did you know our nightly prayers randomly include Dora, Dora’s mom, Dora’s dad? Kylie has no discrimination in her prayers – we pray for all people, real or make believe.)

I picked up the book and my thumb accidentally hit the start of Day 1 of the Prayer Challenge. I hadn’t even read the introduction or the instructions yet, but something instantly caught my eye on that page and my eyes were WIDE OPEN at the scripture text.

Are you ready?

Draw the Circle Starr Haigler

Draw the Circle – The 40 Day Prayer Challenge

He prayed to God regularly. Acts 10:2

Hey….I know that guy!!! His name is Cornelius and he is one of my new Bible friends!!!!!

This stuff happens. I’m not making this up.

And I proceed to read Day 1 as the author shares about this amazing story about a divine appointment that changed history with two men who were obedient to God: Cornelius and Peter.

My heart was racing. I could hardly stay in the bathtub. Dora even did a dance, “We did it, we did it, we really, really DID IT!”

And then I opened up a Prayer Journal that my mom gave me 11 years ago – Christmas 2003, my first year of marriage. I’ve written one time in that prayer journal: A 2006 goal list…HA HA HA. Obviously my prayer journal needs a “Catch Me Up” button like my Bible App.

prayer journal Starr haigler

A Gentle Spirit Devotional Journal

The time is now. The journal entry for today, August 16, 2014, talked about the relationship we have with our friends. I’m talking about that kind of friend that you want to be with all the time. You are so energized just by simply being around this friend. You want to know them better. You’ve even watched this friend so closely and followed them so much that you start to act like them. Ya’ll know these friends.

The devotional then finished by saying this: “Jesus wants that kind of relationship with you. He wants you to get to know Him better by reading His words and talking to Him; He wants you to feel His power in your life so you can overcome your weakness. He wants you to spend so much time together that you become like Him.” – A Gentle Spirit Devotional Journal

And at that moment 3 photos fell out of my Children’s Illustrated Bible.

Meet my 5 year old self and my bff, Ashley Roberts.

ashley and Starr mad face

ashley and Starr cheesy

ashley and Starr chairs

It is painfully obvious that I was WAYYY more excited about being Ashley’s friend than she was about being mine. Look at that – we were the kind of friends that wanted to be together all the time (at least I did!). We were energized by simply being around each other (again, maybe more me for the energized part). We followed each other so much and so closely that we started to act alike. I even wanted my mom and dad to change my name to Ashley. Not joking.

THIS is what Jesus wants. And unlike Ashley, He will be HAPPY in photos we take of our matching pajamas and boots. He won’t even make grumpy faces and cross His arms. No, He will not.

God, you are SOOO faithful to show up when I obey. And tonight I am thankful. Thank you for confirming that THIS is what You have called me for – to listen to You and obey. To do what You are calling me to do, even when I can’t see the entire plan or outcome of my obedience. And I sooo long to see that plan. But, Cornelius and Peter didn’t need the full plan, and neither do I.

Let’s do this again tomorrow, God. I’m ready.

~Starr

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Interested in reading more lengthy blog posts like these??? Ahhh, just kidding. My normal posts are WAYY shorter than this. I’d love to send you emails when I post something new – sign up by scrolling to the bottom of this page and enter your email where it says, Follow This Blog 🙂

 

2 thoughts on “Half Obedience Part 2: Are you there, God? I’m ready.

  1. You always bless me with everything that you write, today brought a few tears…Don’t ask me why or what..all of a sudden tears were there..love you

    Like

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