Tuesday, March 1, 2011


And just like that, February was gone. Seriously. When my mama used to say, "Don't wish your life away... time flies when you get older," she wasn't lying.

I haven't spent as much time in the Word this past week as I like to. I've been working on some things with my hands, and I've been writing (YAY!), but I haven't done my normal amount of reading. Usually the couple of days before I pick my verse for the memory challenge, I find a book or chapter in my Bible to read and seek out the special one to commit to my heart. But this morning, I found myself just perusing the high lighted passages in both of my Bibles looking for just the right one...

Romans is my stand-by book of the Bible. It's my fave in the New Testament, and that's funny to say because every time I read it, I am convicted by the words and challenges written by the Apostle Paul. So, this morning, this verse really spoke to me and where I am today:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

There's so much going on in one verse there that I am not sure I can get it all out in one post. If I were still taking that fun Advanced English Grammar class I took so many, many years ago at AUM, I would love to diagram this sentence. That was back at a time when I could tell you what official role each word held in the verse; now all I can tell you is why I like the words.

May the God of hope fill you...
That first bit tells me that God is active. He is the filler. He will fill me up. I envision a car on the side of I-65, empty tank of gas, traffic whizzing by, hazards flashing. God rolls up behind, twists open the gas cap and simply sticks His finger in. Just like that, the tank's full.

... with all joy and peace...
So, the God of hope is filling me up with all joy and peace. Funny how Paul didn't mention there being any room for fear, doubt, resentment, bitterness, shame (one of my personal favorites), insecurity, hatred. No... pretty much God is gonna fill me up with ALL joy and peace. I don't think there'll be any room left for the other stuff when God reaches the top of my tank.

... as you trust in him...
Now my part comes in. So God is the filler, and I am the truster. Trust is a tough one for me. You? When I think trust, I think in human terms, and most of the time when another human being asks me to trust them, it signifies I shouldn't. But what I've been working on in my mind lately is keeping in mind that God is anything but human ~ He is as far away from human as possible and perfect in every way. He doesn't request my trust; He deserves it, and He is the only entity that will never let me down when I rely on Him. In this verse, I finally realized that He will fill me to the point of my trust in Him. If I am only at a 50% trust mark, if I am doubting God can pull me through or provide or make His vision for my life complete, then I'll only receive half of His blessing of joy and peace. But the day I learn to just surrender all my earthly plans and fears and shame (oooooooohhhhhh, that hurts me to say) and insecurities, then the joy and peace found only through Him will spill over... I skipped ahead of myself. That's why I love this one so much.

... so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (emphasis added by me)
Have you ever overflowed your gas tank? Well, I have. I was standing at the Shell near my house, nozzle securely in the tank, watching the numbers tick, tick, tick, tick. I had the auto thing-a-ma-bob set ~ you know, the one that never works when it's 20 degrees outside and you have to stop for gas and you want to sit in a warm car while the gas is flowing, but on the most beautiful days when you want to stay outside with the gas, it works brilliantly. Well, on this day, it was a lovely spring day, and so I rested my back on my vehicle listening to the sound of the pump. In my daze, I heard the strangest sound, like water spilling, and I looked down to discover that the pump had not registered that my tank was full, and there was gas spilling onto the concrete below. I didn't know what to do. It wasn't a lot, but I felt weird leaving gas on the ground. I cleaned up the side of my car where it had flown down, and then I dropped the paper towels to the ground soaking up as much as I could. Then I found myself giggling out loud at myself (which is something I have learned to do, and I must look pretty crazy laughing out loud to myself at myself). So that's the message I think Paul wants me to have in this passage ~ Tamara, if you'll just trust God, honey, you will have so much hope, joy and peace that it will overflow your tank and you'll find yourself laughing out loud and wondering what to do next. I like the idea of God's hope overflowing out of me and leaving little puddles and trails everywhere I go, too. I like that a lot.

I can't not talk about the other person in this scripture, though. The Holy Spirit. He's someone that I remain perplexed about. He's everywhere. Literally. In me, through me, around me, just like His other two counterparts. He talks to me, He talks to God for me, He is a most precious gift. I've always heard Him, even before I knew He was there. I always heard that little voice inside of me, though there were multiple times I chose not to listen to what He had to say. But looking back, I see that had I listened, things would have been less painful. In this verse, it says I will overflow by the Spirit's power. I'm not quite sure what that means, kinda like I don't understand that automatic lever on the gas nozzles. Why does it work sometimes and other times does not? Why do some gas stations have it and others don't? Why was I well into my twenties before I understood how some people could sit in their car while the gas pumped while I stood there squeezing the nozzle for all fifteen gallons? Maybe I am trivializing the role of the Holy Spirit, but I promise I am not trying to be blasphemous. What I am getting to is this: it doesn't really matter to me how or why or what the Spirit does. I firmly believe that He simply does, that He is. I don't have to get it all to enjoy the benefits, and I am not going to get hung up on all the details of the Holy Spirit while I am here on earth. I will simply add those questions to the long list going in my mind of what to ask when I get to heaven.

So there's my fifth verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. Hope anyone reading this gets something out of my blabbering. See, for me, writing is my therapy. I can sort through things with my fingers that seem impossible to my mouth. I learn through my own writing thought process. As I type these words, especially those related to my faith and love of the Lord, my only hope is that it draws one person closer to the Love found in Jesus, one that is beginning to overflow in my heart. That's my only hope... to overflow and leave puddles.


vmlm said...

Thank you so SO MUCH!
I was struggling this morning for a verse for my 5th. Still not sure if I will use the same as yours but your breakdown of the scripture really has my mind going!
I LOVE how you put it and it's almost like you know me, cause, truthfully, that sounds like me!
Thanks for sharing and showing your heart through your words. Beautiful post!

Kristin said...

I love Francis Chan's book Forgotten God about the Holy Spirit. You might enjoy it, too... and I may need to revisit it. :)