Hello Living Hope family, thanks for pondering with us!  Today it’s my honor to hand things over to Nicole Sizemore.  God has truly gifted Nicole with an ability to express His truth through the written word.  You will be seeing Nicole on the blog from time to time and I hope you will enjoy her insights as much as I do!  So…sit back and prepare to ponder!

Do you have an Egypt? You know that place or thing that even though it may not be the best for you, the healthiest, or it’s even down right bad, it’s comfortable and you are reluctant to let it go? Then one day you’re going along and all of a sudden something inside you says, “Why am I doing this?”, “Why am I here?”, “I can do better!”, “I should do better!”, “I want more!” Then your Father seizes on that moment to speak out and say “Let my child go!”. Because all those things we rely on to avoid our problems, get us through or keep us from facing what our life has become.  In the end aren’t these all forms of slavery?

Are you a slave to food? To money? To lust? To possessions? Do you watch TV all day or escape into a virtual world where you can be the hero over and over for 12 hours at a time? Drugs, alcohol, gossip…the list goes on for ways to avoid our problems.

Don’t get me wrong I think God enjoys it when we relax, unwind and have nice things and eat.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about when our enemy takes something God meant for good, and twists it around to enslave us, to keep us in our Egypt.  God is patient and by our side all along while we endure this slavery, seizing the moment when we open ourselves up to that little ray of hope for something more, and then He sets us free. At first, most of us are excited. We race out into the desert ready for our new life.  We start our gym membership, our rehabilitation program, our new budget and we feel unstoppable.  We have God on our side and a head full of dreams about what our future will be as a person who is free.

 Then we come to our red sea, our first craving, our impulse buy, a marathon of our favorite show.  It doesn’t matter how small it is in actuality, we are opening the dam for the massive expanse of treacherous water that we can’t hope to conquer. Not on our own anyway!  In our fear we often forget, we are of course never alone.  Then there we are panicking amongst the unknown, fearing what will happen next and how far we’ve come seems insignificant.  What God has done seems like almost a dream and our enemy whispers “Just go back to Egypt…you knew you couldn’t do this.  After all you are a slave and you always will be.  Go back to Egypt and at least you know what you’re in for.  You know where you stand.  Your God doesn’t love you beacsue he has left you alone.  So just go on back – take a hit, head on down to the strip club, have a bite of that pie, buy those boots even though you don’t need them, come on its cozy here.”

I have to admit as mad as I get at the Israelites, I have fallen into the same trap too many times to count. Most recently my Egypt has become my couch. Around a year ago God started speaking to me about going back to school. He started subtly at first then he got louder and so I was excited! He had my back and things were going my way.  Then in early fall depression washed over me, my heart was hurting and things weren’t going the way I thought they would or should.  I started telling myself “I can’t do this. It’s too much. I’m too lazy.  Why did I think I could go to school, raise these kids and work? Who was I fooling?” So I took to my couch.  I avoided people.  I flat out lied about school and how I was doing. I stopped going to counseling. I held on to my sobriety like a kite in a storm. I kept hold, but barely. I forgot the most important thing about eating elephants…you can only do it one bite at a time.  Why?  Because when you start to focus on how big it is, how hard it is to chew or how you are behind schedule, you lose sight of God .  He meant for us in our smallness to do things one day at a time.

Pastor Jon inspired me when he said take that next step. That is the only thing you have to do to stay out of Egypt, one step, one day, one bite at a time.  God didn’t create us with the ability to handle past, present, and future all at the same time. He equipped us with a memory to learn from our mistakes, and recall our joy;  not to live in a past that will never be in again. He gave us hope for a future and He didn’t mean for us to try to squeeze the enormity or that future into today. He blessed us with today, and the ability to take that next step.  With his presence if that day’s journey is just too much He will take us in his arms.  My prayer for you is that you never ever go back to Egypt.  That you never forget how loved you are.  To know that you are not alone and that you are only promised this day anyway.

Today is the day He made.  So if nothing else, rejoice in that and take that next step. I pray I can do the same.


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