Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When pleasing God is not your habit.

  It has been months since I felt the slightest tug, the slightest inspiration, the slightest motivation to write. I wonder why, I think to myself between the mounds of duties through out the day. Am I just at a busy stage of life? Please don't tell me I'm still comparing my writings to others that say all the right things? But they really do. Don't we outgrow that 'comparing' phase in highschool? Will I ever grow up? 

I'm surprised God is still bothering with me.

These scattered thoughts pile high as I recollect the miserable failings I had that day. Maybe it was when I lost my cool and yelled earlier. Why can I not get around to hosting friends for dinner again? I keep forgetting to return so and so's phone call. I meant to remember her birthday this year, what a lame friend I am. Why does the mud room seem to resemble all the rooms this week?  

 It's no wonder I haven't been inspired, how can I encourage others when I'm sitting in the middle of a big ol' mess created by my lack of grace and good nature. 

I'm just admitting I'm not perfect. I'm just admitting I get uninspired. I'm just stating the raw truth of my frail, dust made being. I'm simply confessing that I sometimes strive more to please YOU than....Him. 

And when I do that, I find I cannot please. I cannot write good enough, I cannot get more inspired, I cannot keep up, I find that I am dirt made and feel the reality of it. 

But amongst all the imperfect, I get a nudge--a stir--a whisper. Do you not love how the Lord woos us back to Him? How He Invites us back to commune with Him? Our filthy rags and all. 

We walk right across our muddy floors (maybe it's just mine) and past the blaring calendar of missed birthdays, past the open laptop of awesome blog posts of those ladies that probably really do have it right, past the iphone lit up with missed calls and notifications and find the feet we so desperately need to bow to, cling to, yield to, cry to, pour to.... 

It's like the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and poured OUT her most valuable item she owned, on one she knew was worth more than a thousand bottles of perfume. Yes, it's like her. The one whose life was in shambles. The one who carried guilt from the day's preceding, from the weeks preceding, the years...

It's exactly like her. The one who knew she could never please her on lookers. But she didn't try. She knew her worth without the critics. But what's humbling is she ran to the one with whom she did not have to pretend. The one who knew it all, saw it all, felt it all, forgave it all, and covered it all. 

Her on lookers saw a wretched mess...a life out of order...a person who did not have it together on the outside as did they...but wouldn't you agree she had it going on when it came to the inside? Was it she or the on lookers that left whole that day? Was it she or the on lookers that felt like they had pleased someone that day, maybe for the first time? She had let everyone around her down, more so than that, disgraced them, but she left that day pleasing her savior...finally, the only one worth pleasing. 

How often can we say this of us? Are you failing at pleasing? Can you not keep up? Is it vitally important to keep everyone liking you? Do you ever look around and see a mess and wonder what you've been doing because you feel exhausted? 

Maybe, just maybe, its time for you and I to uncover our sinful priorities, those priorities that seem so important but leave us empty as the on lookers, and bend a knee to the only one worth our effort. Here in do we get the satisfaction of finally doing something right. Finally pleasing. Not only do I want to be pleasing but I want to be pleasant. The aroma of that perfume was pleasant to all those around---so go ahead, give up! Throw in the towel. We'll both be so very glad we did. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

To Not Drown in Shallow Waters.

  It's thinking back to those first few years, well, weeks for us, that everything you ever wanted would come true...a time to be completely self centered, self absorbed, ambitious, and lay ground work for more dreams to become a reality. Two months into our very young marriage we would be invaded by a precious little girl. Our hearts were no where near parenting...we still wanted to change the world (for God, of course).  Somehow down this road, starting there, nothing has been how we planned. We've found ourselves holding onto God for dear life & at times crawling. Here's us now:

This is almost eight years later. The smiles you see on our faces are real and the joy is there. But it did not happen blissfully and overnight for us. Thank God. I look back to our beginnings and shake my head. I had no idea how to change the world, God knew this, that is why He radically changed mine. These eight years have  proven us, and what God means to us, more than all the fifteen years of simply knowing each other ever could. There has been nightmares where we really did not know if we'd have each other in the future; there have been emotional roller coasters with our kids that made us hurt more than our broken marriage. There has been loss, much pain, and a nearness of Christ that we would have never experienced any other way. In eight years Christ has seared our bond and we truly live a three cord strand. He has been our glue, our healer, our guide, & our strength. Here's the truth: 
It may be a great love story but Christ will always be the ultimate love story! You put that cross, that sacrifice, that blood, that agony, that forgiveness, that heart, that love right smack dab in the middle of your story & it is swallowed up in victory. There are things you walk through with someone that make you know there could never be another; there are testimonies that go so deep you cannot share them, but both of you know. There is a dark place you both have walked to with Christ. Those times you and your spouse don't know each other anymore, are the times you seek to know the only one who is worth knowing. How else does God make two, one? How else does God lay two self centered people down and raise one soul walking hand in hand? 

Our "first years" have most definitely not been common, but God knew I would otherwise drown in shallow waters. Had we had a normal beginning with all the pleasures of seeking to make us happy, we'd die. Die spiritually. Somehow in the uncommon, quite young,  dark beginnings I found my soul mate, and the creator of my soul. God used our past, our marriage, & our children to radically wake us up to Him. It may not have been the road we talked about for ourselves--but God by His great mercy saw fit to take us another route; one a little more steep; a little harder to climb; a little foggier; and with a much better view. 

I do not claim to have all the answers but be encouraged here. There is nothing too far out of reach that God cannot restore, heal, cover, cleanse & make new. There is no pain too unbearable that He cannot ultimately take. There is no wrong done against you too big that He cannot give you the power to forgive. 

I have recently been thinking of Shad- rack, Me- shack & Ab- indigo. Three Hebrew men thrown in the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal. The only thing burned off of them was their bonds. The son of God in the midst of them, they walk out free. How casual we take these testimonies. How small we see our God. Have you come to a place to see Him as He really is? Over all, in all and working through all. If we really saw God in control of all, would our faith not stir a little, and would we shake the water off from the shallow, safe end and follow Him to the depths. Do we trust Him with something small as our relationships, and even bigger, our lives? Or our kids' lives? What a relief if we saw God as those in the early days did; Sovereign and mighty to save! Why is faith a shield? Why does faith literally protect from fiery darts? But here's the thing...i can't just choose to have faith in faith itself....I need my eyes opened to who i'm actually serving. There's a mighty big difference in having faith and having faith in God! The true living God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the God I long to know. The God of the Bible who has graciously made Himself known in so many small areas of my life; I want the faith to know Him in bigger. 

What about you? How has He held out His hand and asked you to walk out of the shallow waters of life & follow Him to the depths? 


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