Rivers of Life

A few weeks ago I read that the lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing. God has placed many people in my life who have blessed me, whether they know it or not. I could go through a list of all of the people who have been a blessing to me, but quite frankly, I don’t think we have the time for that. So really, I just want to elaborate on a few things.

I have been attending Celebrate Recovery for 11 months now. It is a ministry that has changed my life and I constantly thank God for the ministry itself and for the people it has brought into my life. CR is the first place I’d ever been in my life where I felt safe. No judgment. No criticism. No condemnation. No rejection. Just acceptance, love, encouragement, and support. It’s a wonderful and amazing place where I have learned to be able to share the hurts in my life with other hurting people.

Among the wonderful people I have met, there’s one woman who stands out above the rest. A woman who has encouraged me and been a blessing since the first day I met her. There was something about this woman on our first meeting that made me think, “I need to know this woman; there is something about her that I want…joy and peace. I want that!” Without saying a word, she quickly took all the misconceptions I had about God and shattered them by showing me love. She helped turn this agnostic in a believer. She encouraged me and motivated me, just by her actions.

Hebrews 13:7 – Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

My point is that she has blessed my life more than she will ever know. I have often prayed before that God will use me in someone else’s life the way He has used her in mine. I don’t know if it sounds selfish or not, but I’ve wanted to be able to use the past hurts in my life to support and encourage someone the way she has done for me. I don’t want my hurts to have been in vain; if I can help one person because of what I’ve been through – then it will have all been worth it. And I know that God doesn’t waste a hurt, so He will use mine. But it also may not be the way I expect to see it.

I learned something this morning that shocked my heart. It makes total, logical sense, but I guess I just never thought about it. “Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, ‘rivers of living water’ will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even ‘to the end of the earth’ regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow – ‘This is the work of God, that you believe’. God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.”

John 7:38 – Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

Like the source of a river doesn’t know where it’ll end up, we don’t necessarily know where our blessings will end up. A river is victorious, it rages through or around obstacles to complete its journey. Sometimes it can be frustrating to see God using the lives of the people around me to glorify Him and I’m left wondering, “What about me, God?” It’s moments like this that I think it’s important to remember that we need to focus on the Source of our river. We may be at an obstacle that is impeding our flow, but the Source will give us the power to go through it or push us around it. We may not see how He is using us, but it’s vital to recognize that just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

The rivers of life have unbelievable power, whether we know it or not. I think me writing a blog is a perfect example of that. WordPress tells me how many people view my blog and what countries they’re from and sometimes I find myself wondering about the people who read what I post. Because when I first started this blog, I just assumed the only people who would read would be my own family and friends. Oh, how wrong I was. God has taken my minimalistic thinking and made it bigger than I would’ve thought. I’ve had people leave me comments about how I’ve encouraged or inspired them, and my first thought is generally, “wow, really? I did that?” I think I underestimate God a lot. God didn’t give me a dream of writing without having, in advance, an audience planned out for me. He already knows who will read my blog (and if I ever quit being lazy and write my book, He knows who’ll read that too) and He knows what I’m going to write even before I write it. He knows who it will be a blessing to even if I don’t…and I guess I’m okay with that. And when I share my testimony for the first time in November (I’m already really nervous and filled with butterflies about this and it’s not for 2 more months) I know God will use it to make a difference, even if I don’t see it.

I want to be a humble person, so I’m okay with not knowing where my rivers of life extend to. I’m okay with not knowing how much of a blessing I can be in other people’s lives. Knowing those things may only cause my ego to swell. So I’m okay with letting God be in charge of things. After all, He does have a better perspective than I do.

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