Saturday, March 31, 2012

10,000 Reasons

"If mommy doesn't get a little Jesus time this morning, none of us are going to have a good day."

These were the words I hurled into the living room as my boys were fighting over who got to use the computer I was currently using. I can't find my ipod so I was listening to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman in the itunes on my computer, trying to fill up on peace and quiet that would carry me through this day.

Close your eyes and listen to this song; I pray that the worship of Him continues long after the music is over.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My youngest son just turned six and has decided he is far too old and cool for his Spiderman bike helmet. When we took him to pick out a new one, this is how he explained it to me:

"When I was little, Spidahman and supah heroes were ok. Now I need one that looks oldah because I am oldah. (He has a little speech impediment...makes him sound like Ahnold Schwarzenegger.)  When I get to heaven, I won't need a helmet because God and Jesus will be my helmet."

Whoa....what did he say? He's actually right...we are to wear the helmet of salvation which comes through the blood of Jesus. I am waiting for him to tell me about the new belt he will be wearing one of these days.

The Armor of God
  10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Watching Paint Dry

Have you ever just stood and watched paint dry? Maybe the cable was out, maybe you needed to do other things in the room...but have you ever just watched? Besides being a little boring, watching a second coat dry is a little nerve-wracking. Paint does not dry uniformly; blotches show up as one section fades into the previous coat, while two inches down, the fresh paint stands out like a sore thumb. I have to resist the urge to keep going over it with the roller, trying to blend it in myself. If I leave the room and come back, as opposed to standing there glassy-eyed staring it down, I get to see the finished product and realize that it has worked itself out without my help.

Watching my husband grow in his faith with Jesus Christ is a little like watching paint dry. His accepting of Christ as His Savior was a bit of a process for Him. Recognizing that he couldn't reach heaven by being a pretty good guy was step one, so He walked across that bridge that Jesus offers. The layers and second coats have been going on for awhile, and seldom have I resisted an opportunity to get out my roller and try to hasten the process.

At some point, I stopped staring at his process. And His process, for that matter. I stopped trying to be his "holy spirit", and showed a little respect for the abilities of God to work in the hubby's life. This past week has been interesting...

Tuesday, the hubs says to me, "Did you know that the line Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel) says at the end of his show, 'Let not your hearts be troubled' actually comes from John 14?"

"Uh...yeah. I did. How do you know that?"

"It's in the reading we are supposed to be doing for church."

Yesterday he brought his Billy Graham "Gospel of John" with him to the doctor's office because the assignment was to read John 13-17. When I commented, he said "Don't go getting all excited now" with a goofy smile on his face. I can't help it...I'm all excited. It's been a long road.

I know there will be blotches and unevenness in this process and that I will have to resist the urge to step in and "fix" things, but I can see the promise of what lies ahead: a beautiful work of art infused with the breath of God that looks alot like my husband.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busy for Jesus?

I came across some meeting notes from last year with prayer requests scrawled across the bottom. My request was for direction.

Huh. My request at the meeting the other day was for direction. And a few months ago. Am I really like a compass without a magnet, or have I just lost my way? I asked some friends the other day that I serve with if sometimes they just want to be "normal." Mind you, I know that normal is a loaded word. One person's normal is another person's worst nightmare.

What I was trying to say, without actually saying it, is don't you ever just want to be anonymous and without responsibilities. Sometimes I feel like God has saddled me down with dreams, hopes, and visions that I have no idea how to achieve. Saddled is not the most gracious word I realize, but that's how I was feel sometimes. Burdened. I am wrecked for the average normal, because I know there is so much more to life. I've seen the freedom that waits for the soul bound by failure, shame, and fear, and I have no idea what to do with it. I am burdened by the awareness of the lost that surround me.

"Just tell me what to do, God. Work on the book? Work on the event You've given me the vision for? Update my bio sheet? Just send me and I'll go."

Burdened. Tired. Weary. Out of sorts and cranky. Generally just a mess, with a smile and a laugh on most days.

Then I hear His voice offering the direction I long for..."Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Wait...isn't the rest for those who don't know You yet? Aren't I supposed to be leading them to You?

I think back to Mary and Martha, and my heart too is troubled about many things. I've made much ado about the tasks at hand, the opportunities yet to become realities, and let the relationship take a back seat.

Once again, I reach out, take His Hand, and slow down. Rest awhile in the sunshine with Him, and know this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Glory Revealed

Powerless is not a word that sits well with me. The idea that I can't do something, or may need help with something, generally doesn't enter my thought process. This weekend at our women's retreat, that notion was stripped away.

I look forward to the retreat every year, knowing that I will hear from God in a fresh way. Friday night came and went, and truthfully, while I was enjoying myself, there was no great outpouring of insight or revelation. Saturday morning, I began to think it just wasn't my year. Good information from a delightful speaker, but nothing earth-shattering. Nothing to make me examine my life.

At the start of the evening session, the Holy Spirit gave me an image, and it shook me out of my doldrums. I'll spare you the details, but in that moment, I knew what was standing between me and God. Mercifully, it was something I could address right then and there, and was able to repent and return to full fellowship with the Lord. You see, it is not Him who was failing to deliver. It was my sin that was interfering with the connection. He does not expect perfection, that is what grace is for. He does expect me to do my best and bring the rest to Him. The author of Hebrews says that we have not resisted our sin to the point of shedding blood (Hebrews 12:4). I had not even resisted my sin to the point of personal inconvenience. Ouch.

At the point of repentence, the foot of the cross, the Lord met me hard. In my shame at failing again, I wanted to avoid Him, just hang around on the surface of "God is so good." He would have none of that. In the prayer room Sunday morning, Who He is became so clear. His Glory was revealed to me as never before. I thought I "got it" already, but this was different; I saw with the eyes of my heart Who He is.  Here is an excerpt from my journal, written with tears streaming and nose running, making loud snuffly noises in the corner. There was no turning back, no more hanging around on the surface.

"Final morning of the women's retreat. God, You have shown me my sin. Soemtimes I feel like I've got it all together, I don't need to be dependent on you.

Then I see my sin.

Father, I need you. On my own I am powerless. I am only looking for what satisfies me. Lord, thank you for the mercy that allows me to come to You. You overcame sin because I couldn't. Lord, help me to live in the freedom that is already mine. You are the Living Christ, Taker of my sin, Deliverer of my Freedom. I almost can't look at the throne, yet you still tell me to come to You. Oh my God, it is You.

Never forget this day, seeing His Holiness more clearly than ever before, listening to Jeremy Camp's Overcome. The weight and magnitude of His glory, barely a glimpse I realize, overpowers. Can't even fathom what eternity feels like."

He continued to bury me, drown me, overwhelm me with His Spirit for the rest of the retreat. Leaving to come home was bittersweet, but I KNOW that He goes with me wherever I go. I just need to keep looking at Him and stop living in my own strength. Stop living in my own power, but live in His Glory revealed.