Tearing Down the Awning

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting. I enjoy crocheting for many reasons. First, it’s a creative outlet. I have no idea how to read a pattern, but I love finding ideas on Pinterest and seeing if I can recreate it. Second, it helps me feel productive. As a mom of 5, some days just seem like I am surviving my duties to my family.

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But one of the reasons I enjoy crocheting so much is because I can literally crochet anywhere. As long as I have a comfortable spot, I can crochet for hours. If my husband wants to work in the shop, I can grab a ball of yarn and a hook, go to the shop, and enjoy some time together. If there is a long car-ride coming up, I can grab a project to work on. If my kids are playing outside on a nice day, I can take my project out back and watch them play.

I recently went out back to crochet, and I was very uncomfortable. Mind you, I have been crocheting for about 4 years, and we have lived in our house for almost 8 years now. I went to my normal comfortable spot- (my husband’s riding lawn mower), kicked my feet up, and began to craft my project. But the sun was hot. I could feel my skin burning. I honestly sat there for a few minutes not understanding how the sun could be so hot…

Then it suddenly clicked… I know why… our back porch used to be covered by an awning… after a storm left a tree in the middle of it, my husband and I decided to tear it down last fall. It was an eye-sore anyways. It really did not look that great, and we did not really use the area. However, by taking down the awning, I lost my comfort that I used to have in the shade while I watched my kids play. An area that was once comfortable was now completely uncomfortable, because we modified our home as an improvement.

So, as I sat out back realizing why I was suddenly burning in the sunlight, I got a lawn chair and moved to the side of the house where the shade was located.

This reminds me so much of my own life. Areas of my life that were just comfortable quickly became uncomfortable as I began to truly walk with Christ. People, places, and even hobbies that once seemed normal, now needed modified as an improvement in my life.

Some of these areas of improvement were quickly convicted and recognized. Some of them, the Holy Spirit is still working out in me. One thing is for sure, I am not the person I was six years ago.

Once my eyes were opened to the Lord, the Holy Spirit began tearing down many awnings in my life. From conversations I held, to the entertainment I allowed to influence my mind, to misconceptions I had about being a wife and a mother.

I’ll never forget that first awning that was torn down. Not long after my husband and I finally realized what it meant to walk with Christ, we had an anniversary coming up. Knowing that we wanted to start this chapter of our lives with Christ at the center, I decided to take some of our wedding photos and put Bible quotes on them. Now, I grew up claiming to be Christian, I went to a Christian school, I attended Sunday services, but I never opened the Bible unless I had to for a class. This Bible was foreign to me.

So, what does a girl in 2012 do when she doesn’t know how to do something? She asked Google. So, I Googled, “Bible verse + marriage.” When those results did not give me what I wanted, I Googled, “Bible verses + wife.” As I read the verses, I suddenly realized I was not a biblical wife. In fact, I was not following the Bible at all. I kept running into Proverbs 31… man, I did not even come close… even in my best thoughts… I was not this person…

I was shocked… the Bible did not say what I wanted it to say. In fact, it did not say anything about marriage that I thought it may. So, I took a couple of the verses about love, put them on a picture or two, and gave them to my husband for our 3-year anniversary present.

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But I was not ok with not knowing what the Bible said. How could I follow God and His word if I didn’t know it? The obvious answer is- Renee open your Bible…However, this thing was still so foreign to me. What should I do?  Where should I start?

Praise God, He put some great resources in front of me. For the first time in my life, I became a reader. I stumbled upon an excellent book called Not a Fan. After reading that book in a few days, I wanted more. So, I searched the library catalog for books on the Bible. Some how I managed to find The Bad Girls of the Bible series by Liz Curtis Higgs. (To say I loved these books would be an understatement.) She led me to find Proverbs 31 Ministry. I was introduced to many amazing women sharing their faith through blogs and books. And slowly, with encouragement from my husband (who bought and tabbed me a new Bible), I began opening that Bible to see where their references came from. Slowly I was prompted to open the Bible and read for my own study. The Bible that was once scary and foreign, was now covered in highlighted marks and notes.  After a few months of doing this, I was completely comfortable opening the Bible and reading it on my own.

Tearing down that awning was ridiculously uncomfortable, but the benefits of being forced outside my comfort zone have been amazing.  I was completely comfortable living my life as I pleased. It never bothered me one bit that I had never really read the Bible. But as soon as that awning came down, I was convicted that a change was needed.

If you are in a similar situation, I highly encourage you to find a small group to break open God’s word together. Being the proud introvert that I am, I chose to find books and women online to follow. While the Holy Spirit did use these tools to begin the process of refining me, I truly believe being connected with other believers is a key component in the growth process. As Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered the it, but God has been making it grow (1 Cor 3:6).”

Be honest. Be real. Jesus said it is the sick who need a doctor. There’s no point in faking it. We are all sick- sin sick.  Jesus is that doctor! God can make that seed grow!

 

 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3: 17-18

 

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