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Friday, March 14, 2014

When it's time to die....

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It is the season of Lent.  Growing up, I was in a denomination that not only did not practice Lent, it was never even mentioned or acknowledged.  Lent has always been the thing that other people do.  We started attending Hope Fellowship a couple of years ago.  Last year our Pastor spoke about Lent and encouraged us to participate.  I just wasn’t there.  This year, however, I am in a place in my walk with Christ that I have just been compelled to participate.  I have also added a “Devotions for Lent” to my morning quiet time. (It is available from Youversion).  Yesterday, after reading Psalm 51, the devotion was one sentence.  That sentence stopped me in my tracks with the truth and power behind it.  E.M Bounds wrote: “All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them and all His plans have death to self in them.” 
Why have I never thought about that before?  All of God’s plans have death to self in them.  ALL of His plans!  So we spend time praying God’s will be done, that He will lead us down His paths.  However, when trials come that cause us to change and grow and trust in Him, then we cry out to Him about how difficult it is.  And yet…when we are praying for His will and to walk in His plans, we are essentially asking Him to take us into places that will cause us to stretch and grow.  Why?  Because God’s ultimate goal for us is that we will completely die to ourselves, die to our flesh, die to our wants and desires.  He wants us to die to ourselves so that we will truly live for Him.  That we will trust in Him, that we will walk His way, that we will reflect Christ in everything we say and do.  We can’t do that when we are still relying on ourselves to get through life.

Essentially, when I ask the Lord to have His way, I am asking Him to bring it on – take me through the trials so that I can die to self that He might be glorified.  That is some powerful stuff and it requires much faith and trust in Him. 
The AimeeLouise Photography that exists today was something I never would have thought or imagined.  God has blessed me abundantly.  But with that abundant blessing comes huge responsibility.  Each morning when I arrive at my studio I spend time in prayer and in God’s word.  Each morning I walk through the studio and offices and pray that God will use me and will use my staff, and use this business to glorify Him.  I pray that He will touch each person that walks through our doors.  I ask Him to bless our family of clients and keep them safe.  Above all, I pray that God will have His way here whatever that means, because ultimately I don’t want to spend my time doing anything that doesn’t ultimately glorify Christ.  Essentially, the entire time I have been asking the Lord to bring on whatever He needs to do to cause me to die to self – because that is part of His plan. 

 So the question before me is: now that I know what I am asking, do I continue to pray that God will bring His plans and purposes for AimeeLouise Photography?  Of course my answer is “yes” but now as I pray for Him to do His will in this place, I will now know that I am allowing Him to do whatever He needs to do in ME in order to accomplish His plans.  That is sobering and exciting at the same time.
Years ago my BFF and very wise friend Debbie Gatti (who also owns the best cupcake bakery in the world in the Houston area – Mrs. Gatti’s Gourmet) made a statement to me that has stayed with me always.  She said: “God is interested in your CHARACTER, not in your COMFORT.”  Essentially, God is interested in us dying to self, not having an easy life.

And so I pray: “Lord – may Your will be done in my life and in my business.  I desire that Your plans and purposes will be done with AimeeLouise Photography.  I don’t know where you plan to take my business from here, but wherever it is Lord, I only want to walk the paths that You have for me.  Your blessings only mean something if we are walking down the path that You have chosen for us.  May everything we say and everything we do bring glory to you, Lord.”
 
 
Have a blessed weekend,

Aimee

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