James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's a Narrow Gate Traveller Anyway?

I am what the Bible refers to as a born again Christian, so my blog will undoubtably have a Christian world view to it. I explained to someone today, I am Christian.  I don't see being Christian as a religion, it is my culture.  A way of life, a lifestyle so to speak.  It's who I am.

I haven't always had this understanding of Christianity though, in fact early on when I first became a "Born Again" Christian in 1998, I really looked at it as a choice to be or not be a Christian.  I guess in the beginning it kind of is.  However, as I've grown and become more and more committed to God and what I believe to be true about Him, I've changed my view of things.   It seems even if I want to run away from God or chose not to follow Him any longer, it's not so easy to do that.  When you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, He's there to stay.  He doesn't just give up on you when you have doubts, or question what you believe.  I've come to realize it takes an awful lot to make God leave your presence once you've committed to following Him.

The above scripture on the front page is what inspired the name for my blog.  I am a traveller of sorts in this world, I'm on a spiritual journey to finding a deeper revelation of who I am and who God is to me.  Early on, I discovered this gate that Jesus speaks about in this scripture and I choose to walk through it.

Like the picture on my blog page, I see my spiritual journey, more like a road then a gate.  I did once think of it funny as it sounds now, like a magical gate that once I chose to walk through I would be transformed into the person that I wanted to be, I would be happier, complete so to speak.  I think a lot of new believers think this when they first get saved, at least I did.

Over the years, I've often felt like I'd failed as a Christian, you see I hadn't transformed magically when I entered through the gate, I still was so broken and lost in many ways.  Thanks to God's grace, He's shown me that the gate was only the beginning and I've come to see it more like a road in which you journey on then a gate with a destination, like Gramma's house.  Once through the gate, the road goes on a long way leading to many new discoveries about yourself, some pain, some joy, ultimately a deeper understanding of God, myself and my reason for existing.

In September of 1998, I choice the narrow gate and I continue to walk the road that leads from it.  It's not a very wide road and sometimes it feels like I'm gonna fall off and often I stop and think I can't go on.  I don't want to continue and sometimes I've even turned back to look and wished I'd taken the wide road instead, the one that appears easier.

The wide road however (which I did travel on for many years) appears easier, but looks are very deceiving.  For it ultimately leads you no where; around and around in circles, feeling confused and lost, eventually leading to destruction.  What destruction? Perhaps never really knowing the person God created you to be and most of all a lifeless void where God cannot exist in His true form.  My emotions say, "Yes, but this road looks easier."  It seems on that road I can say and do and act as I please, but the reality is that there is no peace for me on the wide road.

The narrow road can also be a place of pain, struggle and loneliness but the Good News is, it's a journey you don't have to take alone because Jesus is always with you.  You also don't have to stay in any place long, unless you choose to or need to.  I've stalled on the narrow road or chose to turn back in rebellion or re-walked parts of the road and it's those times when I've questioned God's existence and when I've wished I'd taken the wide road instead.

The narrow road can feel harder sometimes but it's also where I have found peace, choosing to be loving, when I don't want to be, forgiving when it's the last thing I would ever think of doing.  Choosing to heal instead of hurt, choosing to let go and surrender my preconceived notions of what my life should become.

One day the Lord showed me a vision of myself on the narrow road trying to lug all my baggage with me and slowly I'm throwing it over the cliff because it's beginning to slow me down and causing me to almost fall from the cliff.  I realize if I don't drop this baggage, I'm not gonna get to where I need to go.  The baggage is worthless in comparison to what lies ahead, so I surrender my will and my way and I start throwing the baggage over the cliff and journey on.  I am free and alive like never before!  Hallelujah!  Now I'm eager to travel the narrow road.

The truth is on the narrow road we are transformed because there is no room for selfishness, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy or strife, miraculously and as I keep on going the narrow road always lead to a good place. As I continue to travel the narrow road I have experienced great peace, grace and understanding, and deep revelation of who God is and who I really am and what His plan for me is.

Joyce Myers talks about the narrow path, this way: "No matter what has happened to you in your lifetime, even if you have been abandoned by your spouse or abused by your parents or hurt by your children or others, if you'll stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy, and fulfillment you seek."

So where are you today?  Have you even chosen a road yet?  If you haven't asked Jesus into your heart yet and want to, you can just pray this simple prayer and start your journey on the narrow road with Him.  Say: Lord I need you, I surrender my life to you and I want to walk the narrow road with you.  Come into my heart and make me a new person. Amen!  If you prayed that prayer send me an email I'd love to hear about your decision and help you anyway I can.

Are you already on the narrow road? Maybe you are like I was trying to lug all your baggage and you're not getting anywhere.  Maybe you've turned back in fear and your repeating the same parts of the road again.  I urge you to keep going and trust God.  Just let go and let God!  Keep believing in His goodness and keep on the journey and rest in the fact that if you are truly committed to the narrow road, God won't let you fall off the road completely, He might allow you to turn back for a time, but ultimately He will keep you going forward and eventually you'll stop looking back wishing for the easier way.

Bottom line...there is no easy way!

~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~ www.narrowgatetraveller.com

Prayer: Lord help us to keep on keeping on, even when all we can see is darkness.  Thank you that your Word is always a lamp unto our feet.  Help us when we stumble or feel like giving up.  Most of all Lord, would we trust in your way and surrender our will to you willingly today!  In Jesus Name Amen!

 

What's a Narrow Gate Traveller Anyway?

I am what the Bible refers to as a born again Christian, so my blog will undoubtably have a Christian world view to it. I explained to someone today, I am Christian.  I don't see being Christian as a religion, it is my culture.  A way of life, a lifestyle so to speak.  It's who I am.

I haven't always had this understanding of Christianity though, in fact early on when I first became a Christian I really looked at it as a choice to be or not be a Christian.  I guess in the beginning it kind of is.  However, as I've grown and become more and more committed to God and what I believe to be true about Him I've changed my view of things.   It seems even if I want to run away from God or chose not to follow Him any longer, it's not so easy to do that.  When you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, He's there to stay.  He doesn't just give up on you when you have doubts, or question what you believe.  I've come to realize it takes an awful lot to make God leave your presence once you've committed to following Him. 

The above scripture on the front page is what inspired the name for my blog.  I am a traveller of sorts in this world, I'm on a spiritual journey to finding a deeper revelation of who I am and who God is in relation to me.  Early on, I discovered this gate that Jesus speaks about in this scripture and I choose to walk through it.

Like the picture on my blog page, I see my spiritual journey, more like a road then a gate.  I did however, think of it once more like a magical gate that once I choose to walk through I would be transformed into the person that I wanted to be, I would be happier, complete so to speak.  Over the years, I've often felt like I'd failed as a Christian, you see I hadn't transformed magically when I entered through the gate, I still was so broken and lost in many ways.  Thanks to God's grace, He's shown me that the gate was only the beginning and I've come to see it more like a road in which you journey on then a gate with a final destination, like Gramma's house.  Once through the gate, the road goes on a long way leading to many new discoveries about yourself, some pain, some joy, ultimately a deeper understanding of God, myself and my reason for existing.

In September of 1998, I choice the narrow gate and I continue to walk the road that leads from it.  It's not a very wide road and sometimes it feels like I'm gonna fall off and often I stop and think I can't go on.  I don't want to continue and sometimes I've even turned back to look at the wishing I had taken the wide road instead, the one that appears easier.  

The wide road however (which I did travel on for many years) appears easier, but looks are very deceiving.  For it ultimately leads you no where; around and around in circles and confusion and lostness, eventually leading to destruction.  What destruction? Perhaps never really knowing the person God created you to be and most of all a lifeless void where God cannot exist in His true form.  My emotions say, "Yes, but this road looks easier."  It seems on that road I can say and do and act as I please, but the reality is that there is no peace for me on the wide road.

It's the narrow road where I have found peace, choosing to be loving, when I don't want to be, forgiving when it's the last thing I would ever think of doing.  Choosing to heal instead of hurt, choosing to let go and surrender my preconceived notions of what my life should become.  On the narrow road I am transformed because there is no room for selfishness, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy or strife.  Oh yes, the narrow road can be a place of pain, struggle and lonliness but because it's a journey you don't have to stay in that place long, unless you choose to or need to.  I've stalled on the narrow road or choose to turn back and rewalk parts of the road and it's those times when I've questioned God's exsistence and when I've wished I'd taken the easy road instead.  My experience has shown me, that when I keep on going the narrow road always leads to a good place.  It's when I continue to travel the narrow road that I have experienced times of great peace, understanding and revelation of who God is and who I really am and what His plan for me is.

In my devotion today Joyce Myers talked about this scripture, she says: "No matter what has happened to you in your lifetime, even if you have been abandoned by your spouse or abused by your parents or hurt by your children or others, if you'll stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy, and fulfillment you seek."

When I read this, I saw a vision of myself on the narrow road trying to lug all this baggage with me and slowly I'm throwing it over the cliff because it's beginning to slow me down and cause me to almost fall from the cliff and I realize if I don't drop this baggage, I'm not gonna get to my destination.  The baggage is worthless in comparison to what lies ahead, so I surrender my will and my way and I throw the baggage over the cliff and journey on. 

So where are you today?  Have you even choosen a road yet?  Are you like me on the narrow road? Are you trying to lug all your baggage and your not getting anywhere.  Maybe you've turned back in fear and your repeating the same parts of the road again.  I encourage you to trust God.  Let Go!  Keep trusting and keep on the journey and rest in the fact that if you are truly committed to the narrow road, God won't let you fall off the road completely, He might allow you to turn back for a time, but ultimately He will keep you going forward and eventually you'll stop looking back wishing for the easier way.   Bottom line...there is no easy way!!

To Write or Not to Write

To write or not to write that surely has been my question for a long time. 

I've always had this desire to be a writer, this feeling like God created me with something people might actually want to read.  I could feel it in my bones.  I have to thank my not so encouraging grade 8 English teacher for stunting my growth as a writer though.  I can still hear her discouraging words telling me basically that I sucked at writing, and her recommendation that I transfer to a lower level class.  I can remember how devastated I was, because at that point I thought I had something to say, I thought I was the next Salinger.  I didn't know then nor did the school system that I had a learning disability that made it hard for me to express myself on paper.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out in a way that was pleasing to Mrs. Bell.  I must say moving to the "dummy class" (as we referred to them back then) my marks shot through the roof thanks to a wonderful teacher Mrs. Conrad, she found a way to get it out and onto paper. 

I've come to realize through testing in my early 20's and a recent diagnosis, as well as having affected children, that I do have a learning disability and Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder.  All of which has been helpful in explaining why I always felt like I was smart but was always was left feeling dumb when it came to performing in school.  Why I had a hard time reading and doing assignments and why school just seemed so hard to me.  I can remember as a kid having such a hard time paying attention, and my parents scoulding me after reading once again in my report card, "Laura could do well in school if she just applied herself."  Oh how frustrating it was that they didn't get how hard it was to apply myself with all the distractions of a class room.  I suppose this is one of the reasons I've been a relentless advocate for my children, and believe me in some ways the school system still needs parent's like me advocating for their kids.  It's getting better but we have a long way to go!

Anyway, with all that said I feel like I'm stepping out on a limb because of this never ending feeling to write and express myself and today is the day to start blogging.  I've read many blogs on the Internet and I get that most of the time it's just conversation and someones perspective on this thing we call life.  I figure I can do that.  I have kind of blogged in the past when my children were in the hospital, and I find it if nothing else, very therapeutic and helps me to release the never ending thoughts that ramble around in an ADHD mind.  So I ask your grace if I don't get it right and if you find my opinions don't make sense or match yours.  It's just me and my perspective on things.  I don't profess to be an expert on anything and I'm not sure what I'll write about quite yet or if there will be a theme.  So welcome  and I hope you find my words entertaining, uplifting and inspiring to you as you journey through this life also.

To Write or Not to Write

To write or not to write that surely has been my question for a long time. 

I've always had this desire to be a writer, this feeling like God created me with something people might actually want to read.  I could feel it in my bones.  I have to thank my not so encouraging grade 8 English teacher for stunting my growth as a writer though.  I can still hear her discouraging words telling me basically that I sucked at writing, and her recommendation that I transfer to a lower level class.  I can remember how devastated I was, because at that point I thought I had something to say, I thought I was the next Salinger.  I didn't know then nor did the school system that I had a learning disability that made it hard for me to express myself on paper.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out in a way that was pleasing to Mrs. Bell.  I must say moving to the "dummy class" (as we referred to them back then) my marks shot through the roof thanks to a wonderful teacher Mrs. Conrad, she found a way to get it out and onto paper. 

I've come to realize through testing in my early 20's and a recent diagnosis, as well as having affected children, that I do have a learning disability and Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder.  All of which has been helpful in explaining why I always felt like I was smart but was always was left feeling dumb when it came to performing in school.  Why I had a hard time reading and doing assignments and why school just seemed so hard to me.  I can remember as a kid having such a hard time paying attention, and my parents scoulding me after reading once again in my report card, "Laura could do well in school if she just applied herself."  Oh how frustrating it was that they didn't get how hard it was to apply myself with all the distractions of a class room.  I suppose this is one of the reasons I've been a relentless advocate for my children, and believe me in some ways the school system still needs parent's like me advocating for their kids.  It's getting better but we have a long way to go!

Anyway, with all that said I feel like I'm stepping out on a limb because of this never ending feeling to write and express myself and today is the day to start blogging.  I've read many blogs on the Internet and I get that most of the time it's just conversation and someones perspective on this thing we call life.  I figure I can do that.  I have kind of blogged in the past when my children were in the hospital, and I find it if nothing else, very therapeutic and helps me to release the never ending thoughts that ramble around in an ADHD mind.  So I ask your grace if I don't get it right and if you find my opinions don't make sense or match yours.  It's just me and my perspective on things.  I don't profess to be an expert on anything and I'm not sure what I'll write about quite yet or if there will be a theme.  So welcome  and I hope you find my words entertaining, uplifting and inspiring to you as you journey through this life also.