Saturday, October 30, 2010

God Burnt my Blue Print



God has me in this place where I simply do not know the next step. Ever been there? Have you ever been in that place where you simply don't have a plan, a reliable inclination, or a flashing neon sign that says "This is it!"?



I have always been a woman with a plan. I take great comfort in writing a blue print of my life, content to let God build it as He sees fit. However, in this particular season of life, God has basically just taken away my blue print, which has left me to trust the construction of Jesus's work in my life.

With Jesus as our foundation, we can not be shaken; our lives cannot be broken to the ground. With this truth in mind, I'm aware of the fact that the heavy natural elements of life have a way of rattling our house, sometimes to the point where we wonder if our house will remain in tact. With the Lord as our cornerstone, we cannot be moved, despite the fact that everything else around us is spinning out of control, blowing, burning,and drowning in floods of humanity.
I have come to learn that it is when I am out of control that God builds something truly breath taking in my life; adding details and features that I could not have ever dreamt up on my own.

Build your life on Jesus. Hand Him your blue print; surrender your plans. Trust that His construction is reliable, and that brick by brick, you will be able to see that His work is the most trusted of them all.






Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lack


As Christians, we have the promise and the hope that Jesus is all that we need. In the "I centered" world of pain, bitterness, materialism, disease and hardship, we seek refuge in the pages of His love letter to us; the Bible. We turn to fellow believers for encouragement and hope, and we fill the pews of churches all across the world in an effort to give and receive that which God has blessed us with.
As of late, I've had a very rude spiritual awakening. I've realized that God has allowed me to walk through a season in which I am facing my greatest fear: the fear of not having enough; the fear of "lack". I've been learning that the very thing we fear is the very thing that God will use to show us how infinitely greater He is. That if we take stock and comfort in having "enough" in this world, we are fooling ourselves and setting ourselves up for self distruction.

As with previous posts, I take the risk in divulging personal details in my life in an effort to bless, encourage and inspire my readers; this post is no different.

I grew up in a home where there was much "lack". There were many ways in which it didn't lack, so much so, that that which I did not lack wasn't made obvious to me until many, many years later, when I found myself trying to find fulfillment in things other than my relationship with Jesus Christ. It was this empty hole that I wasn't aware of, and as a result, I formed unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with things in life that were normal to me, but were in fact, not normal. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to reach that place of truly believing with everything in me, that Jesus is all that I need.


Have you been there?


If you have been there, then you know what a shock it is to the heart to see that what you thought was normal, "o.k." and even "healthy", was all a facade. It is an even greater shock to realize that there was absolutely nothing that you could do about it; that as a child, you were practically helpless, and unable to know what you know now. There used to be a time that I was bitter about this, and very angry. I asked God "why?!", and struggled to trust Him and His provision in my life. I said I trusted God with my whole heart, but the truth was, I trusted Him as my Father, my Shepherd, My Healer, My friend, my Lover and my Teacher, but I did not trust Him as my Provider. Wow. Just seeing those words typed in black and white humbles me, and is threatening to make me bawl in front of all the fellow customers in Caribou Coffee.


If you think about it, why would we trust God in the role of our lives that we didn't experience here on earth? The answer is, in our humanity, we can't. Apart from Him, we simply can't do it. In fact, apart from Him, we are drawn to the very thing that we are trying so hard to avoid; the very thing that we are trying to escape. We can only trust Him to be and do for us what He promises, through HIS strength and HIS power. When we see and accept these kinds of truths, we are humbly drawn into the only healthy co-dependent relationship that exists; our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we acknowledge that we are a bi-product of sin and without His blood, without His grace, without His Holy Spirit actively working in our hearts, we are bound for a life of sin and self distruction, with no hope....no hope at all.


My prayer for you is, that like me, God will clearly reveal to you the specific role that God is in your life that you are flat out rejecting, due to fear and ignorance that is preventing you from acknowledging that truth. Is it the role of Healer? Do you flat out choose to believe that He will not heal you of an emotional, physical, spiritual disease or wound? Or is it the role of Teacher? Do you struggle to believe that God will actually teach you everything you need to know to navigate the life that you have been given? Perhaps it is God's role of being the ultimate Lover in your life. Do you struggle to believe that you are worth loving, that God loves you with an intensity that you can't even begin to fathom? Whatever role it is, may you be humbled to the point where you are flat on your face in tears, that God DOES fulfill that role. May you repent of your sins that only cause guilt, greed, arrogance, pride and ultimately, pain.


May the "lack" that you have experienced in your life serve as a means to turn to the One who, in Him, you will lack absolutely nothing in this world or the next.


"Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Then the Lord will take care of me."-Psalm 27:10


"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. "-Matthew 6:33


"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withold from those whose walk is blameless."-Psalm 84:11


"...For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."-Matthew 6:8


"If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!"-Luke 12:28



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dreaming with Jesus


As children, many of us have wished upon a shooting star or that single, solitary star that hangs in the sky, as if it's only purpose to be there is to have someone wish on it. And, if you are being honest, you will admit to the fact that at some point in your adulthood you have wished upon a star.

Being the strong dreamer that I am, I believe that dreaming is a neccesity to surviving the real world. Hopefully at some point we will find that difficult balance of dreaming with our whole hearts, and accepting life on life's terms; and what a balance that is.

As we draw closer to the heart of God, I believe that He plants dreams in our hearts; dreams that honor Him, dreams that may not come to fruition in the way that we envision them to arrive, but as we dream with our Jesus, we can trust that the excitement, beauty and joy of the fulfillment of His dreams for our lives will vastly outweigh anything that we could dream up on our own.

In the Bible there are accounts of God speaking to people in nocturnal dreams, and there are many accounts of people who believe that God has and does speak to them in this same manner. But, here's a thought: Not only does God speak to us through those dreams, but also through the "wish upon a star" dreams. We can rest in the fact that He has so carefully and uniquely crafted us in His image. What a joy to know that He has created us to be the men and women that we are, and that He hears our child-like wishes and desires and takes them into account.

In the brokeness of dreams that have not "come true" yet or ever, God calls us to give Him those broken stars, and to trust and believe that His dreams for our lives are all we ever need to wish for.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's Your Walker?

One of the things that I love about life is that concepts and lessons that we are faced with are never actually mastered. We don't just learn something, and that's the end of it; we continue to get faced with the same concepts and lessons, but in the form of a different experience and in different times in our lives. I think a reoccurring concept in my life and the lives of so many others is trust. Trusting in God, trusting people and trusting ourselves. Trust is such a small word, but God tends to use the small things to teach us big lessons.

Last week I took a handful of my residents on an evening picnic adventure in Red Wing. The weather was fabulous, and the beauty of fall was evident as we drove down the windey road to our destination. After a truly joyful, meaningful meal, complimented with laughter, reminiscing and the enjoyment of one another's company, we loaded the bus to top our evening off with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee at Perkins.
As we were loading into the bus, one of my residents pushed her walker all the way to the entrance of the bus steps, completely blocking the entry. As I gently tried to move the walker out of the way, she clung to it, saying "I need this, or I'm going to fall." I softly told her that she needed to let go of her walker in order to get into the bus, and that she could grab my arm for stability as she made her way up the steps. Once she realized the reality of the situation, she let go of her walker, grabbed my arm, and made it safely up the steps.

Friends, what is "your walker"? What is something that you are hanging onto so tightly, that it is that very thing that is preventing you from moving forward in your life? In my residents case, it was fear. She had such an intense grip on her walker, due to her fear of falling. I can safely say that though the "walker's" may take different forms, fear is the sole demon that keeps us hanging on for dear life.
As a result, I believe that intense fear can actually create illusions and self deception.When we are afraid, we often use somebody or something to clothe that fear in. In our humanity, we have the potential to subconsciously believe that if we use something good, pretty, attractive, practical and/or acceptable to hide the grotesque nature of fear, we create a reality that doesn't really exist. When we don't face our fears, we don't face ourselves; and for many, facing ourselves is our greatest fear.
As children of God, we have been delivered from the bondage of fear. When we "give Him our walkers", He stabilizes us with His strength, compassion and forgiveness. Fear is the absence of trust. Complete trust in God is impossible when we are afraid.
Just like the milky way and host of stars that were lit bright enough to lead the African American slaves to freedom, so does God shine His light on the deception and darkness in our lives.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"-Psalm 27:1

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I will trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal men do to me?"-Psalm 56:4

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10

"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."-Matthew 10:26

"because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship..."-Romans 8:14-15

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."-1st John 4:18

As my resident trusted me with her walker, may you in a more deeply and profound nature hand your "walkers" to the God of your heart who so desperately wants you to trust Him with the entire existence of your body, soul and spirit. May you find the freedom and the peace that is yours to claim as a dearly and beloved child of the King.