What does passionately pursuing God look like for you?
I think the best way to tell you how I am pursuing Christ right now is to talk about where I have come from. As with most of you, we are always trying to figure out where our gifting is and then what ministry/calling the Lord has for us. This was, and has been, my pursuit for so long. Mike has clearly been called to shepherd and pastor. I have never seen myself as a “pastor’s wife” and in some ways, even rebelled a bit from the stereotype. Mike is quite gifted in so many areas and living in the shadow of this has been a growing experience.
I have dived into Women’s Ministry, mom’s groups, been a small group leader, and presently in Children’s Ministry. (My heart is always being tugged toward children and their spiritual development.) Although, to be honest with you, I feel like I have ministered out of either gifting or riding on the coat tails of others-including Mike’s. In all of this, I have also struggled physically with a chronic autoimmune condition. I have seen the Holy Spirit work in my life and others around me, but I have not “SEEN” my Savior in the new way He is manifesting himself to both Mike and I at present.
The last 4 years have been really hard for me. I have felt like I have been in an extremely dry season. I heard a speaker once say that you are either in “manifestation” – the time you feel God’s presence, or “hiddenness” – the time you need to just believe. I have been in a rut with my walk and had an overwhelming sense that it is never going to change. I am going to be totally honest and say that I have not yet arrived. I get to still feel all of those “stuck” feelings, but now I have shorter “hiddenness”. And now, my belief in a Good Father is genuine.
I love getting to the practicality of asking, “How do I change?” How do I hear the Holy Spirit’s voice and be able to discern what He has for me in my present?
First, the Lord has not changed any of my circumstances. What He has taught me and given me are tools to be able to step out of my circumstances and step into His reality.
I am either focused on all the things that will make my life better, or all the things I did in the past that made my life miserable. (Basically, the wrong choices I have made.) I’m sure we have all made the statement, “If and when the Lord does _____, I can minister so much better.” My unending phrase would be, “If I was healed and could come out of this depression, I will have arrived.”
So, what is my shift? My shift is staying in the now, stop “doing”, and rest.
I tend to live in fear of the “what ifs” and “should haves”. Which keeps me in a constant state of disappointment and control. The Lord took my control away with the health issues and I now have discovered I have the gift of tears!! There is no control or resemblance of having it all together when you find yourself “ugly crying” all the time.
For years, I told myself that I couldn’t even trust God because why would He leave my circumstances in such a state that I couldn’t minister to others effectively out of them? So, I built a wall around me to not allow myself to feel or get hurt.
My wake-up call was: I can only minister to others and know Him in my extreme brokenness.
I always hated those books that wrote about how they have arrived and thus give a testimony of victory. Well ladies, like I said, I have not arrived. Nor even figured it out. I am in a process of discovery and hopefully will be the rest of my life. I’m realizing that my reality needs to stop overshadowing the truth. So, the first thing I need to do is discover what the truth is.
Not a morning person. At all. So, when my Father is asking me to get up early to spend time with Him, I continually push back. But He is asking me to start a habit with Him. I know that Jesus is going to ask each of you to walk with Him in your own way. My hope is that some of what I share may resonate with you and that you can just start by asking the Lord what He is asking of you. He is asking me to spend time with Him – to start my day with Him and end it with Him.
The more I have stepped into this habit, the more I hear Him.
Each day, I am starting to see Him in everything and am purposefully shifting my lens to see where He fits in all of my daily activities. And there are three things that I am asking Him on a daily basis:
- I want to be possessed by Him.
- I want to see what He sees.
- I declare that I am excited to see what He is going to do today.
(That last one is important to me because Mike would say that I have a hard time getting excited about things. I tend to think negatively. I say I’m a Realist.)
I pray every day for healing, but then I thank Him for the process even if I don’t like it. I have found many things each day to thank Him for, so that I forget about the negative. I am learning to listen and discern what he is saying as he takes me out of my comfort zone. I listen to Worship music to be in His presence. I am also learning the importance of saying things out loud, calling on the Holy Spirit, and declaring a verse or a phrase of who I am in Christ.
As I go to battle with the enemy every day, I have been asking the Lord to have His hand on the small things, so I can trust Him, without hesitation, with the big things. The Lord is asking all of us to step out and take a risk-to see others how He sees them and asking Him what His heart is for them.
In Proverbs 23:7 it says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” A mindset cannot be changed; it must be replaced.
Graham Cooke said, “It is the object of our focus that has the most power over us.” My focus used to be on the things around me that either didn’t make sense or the things I was suffering with. I still have these thoughts, but I am learning to renounce them and shift my thoughts on the goodness of my Father. I am so thankful for the women in my life that I get the privilege of doing life with. The women that see me and still love and affirm me in my messiness.
My prayer for you is that you have women in your life that are “life givers” for you soul and always point you toward His Spirit whispering to you.
Bernadette Tatlock is married to Pastor Mike Tatlock and they have two amazing children, Mikiah and Jadon. She loves Jesus, loves sharing God’s love, loves her Grace Chapel family and loves running after the Lord with Mike.