November 2015 Final Issue
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A Testimony About Deeper

“I do not trust that God has my best interest at heart!” Whew, there, I said it! I cried in the arms of Betty Ringeisen at the last DEEPER Conference over this very thing. If I told you how many times I’ve tried to let God handle every area of my life, you would laugh at me, think I’m CRAZY, or just get tired of hearing it. I tell myself, “Ok! It’s time to give this to God. He is smarter than you. He sees the bigger picture!” After that, I’d do okay for a day or two and then …  there I am holding the reins again. Then I would get upset with myself for NOT letting God have control. And the whole vicious cycle would start again. How do I stop this? How do I, once and for all, finally let God have control over every area of my life?

Well, I’m surely not here to pretend that I have all the answers because the truth is that I have no clue. But one thing that I AM sure about is that it is nearly impossible to trust someone that you don’t even know. I spent a lot of years pretending. It’s not that I didn’t love and know God – I did. It was just very limited. While I am sad for the time that I missed, I am so thankful that God continued pursuing me, even when I turned my back on Him. I’m also thankful for Beth Moore, the DEEPER Women’s Conference, and the friends and family who helped me begin to sort this out.

I used to get frustrated when people would give me the “Jesus answer.” I would think, I KNOW Jesus is the answer! I just don’t know how to GET to Him! I didn’t know how to get to know Him.

I’m not sure there is a formula that works for everyone. God was so specific, accurate, and attentive to detail in creating us – how could there be a “one size fits all” way to get to know Him? But I do think the basics are always the same. Spend time with Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, and learn to enjoy His presence. Sounds easy, right? The first step for me was to find someone I admired in terms of their relationship with Jesus. That was Beth Moore. I was in total awe of her love for Jesus and her ability to  study the Bible. She has written many good studies, and she drags you along to understand how she got every point she makes. It doesn’t matter whom you admire as long as they ALWAYS point you to Jesus and ALWAYS point you to the Bible.

In our children’s ministry, we tell kids that prayer is just talking to Jesus. That seems simple. Almost TOO simple. God created us because He wanted relationships. In relationships, we tell people about our day. We tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. If God created us, surely He can handle our ugly. So let’s give God what He wants – US! When you have an urge to call up your best friend to vent or to share something exciting, call God first. His line is NEVER busy, and you don’t have to wait forever for Him to text you back. People have created formulas for prayer to try to make it easier, but what could be easier than just talking? God is available day or night and ready and willing to listen to and talk to you.

Listening to Him is not so simple. I used to think I couldn’t hear God’s voice. I’d sit and wait for Him to say something, but my mind was all over the place. I didn’t know if what I heard were my own thoughts, something someone else had told me, or if it was truly God trying to talk to me. I know that the model for church is that some guy gets up on the stage and gives a message based on what God has revealed to him. We can learn from what God is teaching someone else. It’s often how it begins. But our own conversations with God should be more, well, conversational. If you see a recurring pattern in your life – pay attention. God is trying to tell you something. Simply ask: “God, what are you trying to tell me about . . . ?” And then wait.

Finally, I’ve learned that God doesn’t care HOW you spend time with Him; He only cares that you do it! Sometimes I read my Bible. Sometimes I do my Beth Moore study (which includes Bible study). Sometimes I listen to worship music and try to pay attention to the words and what they mean. Sometimes I talk to Him in my car. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or a really good sermon.

This past weekend, we taught our fourth and fifth graders at church that they can listen to worship music while creating something to worship God. Sometimes I talk to my friends about God and what He’s been doing in my life. God doesn’t teach us things for us to keep them to ourselves. He wants ALL of us to be free. To live in the freedom that Jesus paid SUCH a high price for. And I would imagine that is a MAJOR reason that God wanted me to share my process with you . . . so that you can learn from my mistakes and benefit from what God is teaching me.

I have more to say about the joy, the peace, the love that I have found in this process, but my mom taught me to never overstay my welcome. In all of this, I am simply trying to say that I have learned who God is and that makes it so much easier to trust Him with my life. He is so trustworthy, so faithful, so competent, and so constant that even when I “don’t feel like it,” I have to remind myself to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

On November 14, 2015, I’ll be attending the next DEEPER Conference and asking God to take me to a deeper level of trusting in Him. See you there!

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About Toni Schwarting

Toni Schwarting
Toni Schwarting is an office manager with University Painters and also works part time at Christian Fellowship Church with Route 54, the ministry to 4th and 5th grade students. She is the daughter of a Baptist pastor and grew up in the church. She has five full and four half siblings and sixteen nieces and nephews with one on the way. Toni has been working the last year to break free from strongholds and fully rely on God to be her everything!

2 comments

  1. I love you, Toni! I love that you are beautiful and real and earnestly seeking the Father. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Priscilla Tipeni

    Thank you Toni for your transparency I think many of us have lived many years saying we know Jesus, but do we really KNOW the Father. I believe this is why he is constantly telling me to look for his character in the word when I read and in real life situations. What a blessing it is that he continues to pursue us as you pointed out, I appreciate your letter of encouragement. Lord help us stay the path to Him!

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