Bounty Through Obedience

The following is a guest blog from Laurie Coombs. Laurie is a writer who encourages others to draw closer to the heart of Jesus. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband, Travis. They have two little girls and are in the process of adopting one or two more children from Ethiopia. Read more on her Blog and visit her on Twitter and Facebook.

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I knew something happened. Shaking my head, I adamantly whispered, “No. no. no. no…” But with tear-filled eyes they told me. “Laurie, your dad was murdered last night. He’s dead.”

Startled, my eyes began to dart around the room, not knowing what to do with I had been told. As my new reality began closing in around me, I felt the shackles of a heavy burden weighing me down, but there was no escape. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I wanted to hit something, throw something. This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening, I thought.

But it did happen. And in that moment, my life was forever changed.

About a month before my dad died, he took me out to dinner. It was a welcomed treat for a poor college student. I sat across a small table from him. And after a bit of small talk, he asked me, “So, whatch ya going to do after you graduate?”

“I don’t know,” I said, putting my fork down. I was a year away from getting my bachelors degree, and the thought of getting into “real life” excited me. “I’d like to see what kind of a job I can get first, but maybe I’ll go on to law school. Or maybe I could get my teaching credentials and become a history teacher,” I added with enthusiasm. “What do you think?”

“I think that’s up to you,” he responded with a grin and a look that made my heart smile.

Soon, our conversation turned, and with a spark that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, my dad told me about a woman he’d been dating. I asked some questions about her, and my dad did his best to answer them. “She’s a good Christian woman,” he told me.  And he went on to tell me that he started going to church again.

“Oh, good,” I said. But then tried to change the subject. I wasn’t a Christian at the time. In fact, I was far from it.

But then my dad said this, “Laurie, when I die, I want people to remember me for who I am. I don’t want anyone turning me into something I’m not.”

“Okay,” I responded slowly, thinking it was a bit of an odd remark.

“It’s just that, when someone dies,” he continued, “people only want to talk about the good parts of that person. But that’s not who they really are. There are good parts and bad parts to everyone.”

He has a point, I thought. Yet, I had no way of knowing the significance of what he was saying.

A month later, my dad died. And the conversation that we had over dinner became engraved upon my heart. I tried to honor my dad’s request to be known as he was. It weighed heavy on my heart as I wrote his eulogy a few short days after his death. And each time I spoke or wrote about his life and death, it was on my mind. Still, the significance of his words alluded me––that is, until I began to write more about my past and, more importantly, about the beauty and redemption that God has created out of it. It was then that I knew without a doubt that the Holy Spirit encouraged my dad to speak those words to me, over a decade before I needed them, to give me the freedom to write with the transparency needed to help others.

I have no desire to write about myself. But I cannot keep quiet about what God has done in and through my life. I have learned a lot about the heart of Jesus. He truly is our Redeemer. And it is His desire to lift us out of our despair and our pain and bring us to a new place. A place that is rich in beauty and blessing.

Yet, God has shown me that in order to get there, we must choose, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, to say yes. To say yes, my Lord, I will follow You. Yes, my Lord, I will obey Your commands. For, it is when we lay down our fear, our pride, and our resistance that we are able to experience life as He intended. The life that Jesus died for us to have.

This is where redemption happens.

It is only through the grace of God that I chose to say yes. I chose to follow Jesus when He told me that it was time to love and forgive the man who murdered my dad. What happened after this, was nothing less than a work of God. He brought good out of evil, love out of hate, and peace out of despair.

Still, this story began with a tragedy. With the loss of my dad. And I have to be honest––there is a part of me doesn’t want this to be my story. I don’t want to be a murder victim’s daughter. But I am. What I want is to have my dad back. I want to be able to feel him pull me abruptly toward him to receive one of his great big bear hugs as he often liked to do.

But that’s not the story that God intended to tell. And I know in my heart that the stories that God creates are far richer than anything we can conceive of in our finite minds.

The story that God has created is a story of the grace, mercy, healing, forgiveness, and redemption that can only be given through Jesus. But ultimately, it’s a story that displays the glory of our amazing God. And I pray that it encourages you to say yes to whatever Jesus calls you to and to embark on your own Jesus-led story.

{The fruit of obedience is bountiful if we will simply obey.}

How has God blessed you when you were obedient to His word or His call?
Leave a comment below!
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15 thoughts on “Bounty Through Obedience

  1. This has motivated me to think about the ways I can say YES in the midst of a cancer story I don’t want to be living. If our mindset is such that God be glorified in everything, he can do amazing things with our lives – even the bad parts. Great post!

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    1. That He can, Rachel! I NEVER thought God would do what He did with my dad’s death and the trials that resulted, but I have learned so much about the heart of our God. He doesn’t leave us in our trials, He doesn’t just bring us through our trials (though He does certainly do this), but instead, He redeems our trials and uses them for GOOD. Keep pressing on, Rachel. Trust in the goodness our our Savior. He WILL bring good out of your situation. I’ll be praying…

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  2. Laurie and Heather… you have no idea how timely this is in my life. Laurie, not only has your writing moved me… but having had the blessing of learning a bit more about your obedience and how God has honored it (forgiving and loving the murderer? Really?!) I have a new set of eyes to see what God has in front of me. I want to follow your lead and go out on a ledge for God! Thank you both. You have blessed me beyond measure.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your words” For, it is when we lay down our fear, our pride, and our resistance that we are able to experience life as He intended. The life that Jesus died for us to have” we’re especially encouraging. I am learning that the Lord has so much more for me than I have ever had for myself. The sweetest part is that it is far better than I could have ever dreamed. He continues to pour out his goodness in my life and I stand in awe of how generously great my God is.

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    1. It’s so difficult to fully submit! I hate how our flesh just seems to rise up against the one who simply knows best and wants to take us into our own “promise lands,” if you will. But when we do lay it all down and follow with all that we have, the blessings are unimaginable. God can do, and does do, great things in and through us when we are in this place. Blessings, Jena!

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  4. Laurie, thank you for listening to God and obeying what you heard. You are a shining of example of God’s promises that He makes all things new and that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose. May He take your steps obedience and fill them with bountiful blessings. May He take your words and bring hope and courage to many who are struggling to understand their own painful life circumstances. So thankful I stopped by today.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

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    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement, Wendy! It is my prayer that He uses me to bring many the healing that they so desperately need through the beautiful story that He has weaved together in my life. What an wonderful God we serve! Blessings…

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  5. Heather, this was such a wonderful message. ‘Not keeping quiet about what God has done’ is SO meaningful to me! I, along with two other ladies, recently completed a bible study around forgiveness where each of us was finally able to let go of the guilt and shame of past abortions. Telling others about this great redemption has been such an incredible experience!! The more we talk about the more we see other women coming to understand that there is healing and forgiveness from anything. For us to keep this joy from others would be a shame! Thank you for the reminder – I look forward to reading more of what you have to share.

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    1. Transparency is a beautiful thing! And it is only when we are completely transparent, showing both the good and the bad, that we can be used mightily by God for His glory! I commend you, Carolyn, for sharing with others. God will use it! Blessings!!

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