Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning To Be The Light

A few months ago, I read a book that revolutionized the way I viewed Christianity.  The author suggested that if I wanted to see God do some radical things in my spiritual journey, all I needed to do was pray a prayer that consisted of one request.  It was, "Lord, give me a holy passion."  I had no idea what that prayer would mean for me at the time.  But as each day is coming to pass, I am learning more and more about what that is starting to look like for me.

I have always grown up in the church.  I've been saved for as long as I can remember.  I've attended Vacation Bible School in the Baptist church and have been confirmed in the Methodist church.  I've also been baptized twice just to be safe and have probably sung every hymn written in the church pew hymnal.  Church has been a way of life for me since conception so you can imagine my horror when I started having feelings that left me wondering if going to church really mattered as much as I have always thought it to matter.  It became downright frightening when the more I involved myself at church, the more empty I felt.  I tried to overcompensate by teaching Sunday School and helping with Women's Ministry.  But that only caused me to get sick of the sound of my own voice.  The more involved I got, the more frustrated I became.  And the empty feeling became like a ghost haunting my heart and my mind week in and week out. 

I went straight to the Lord with these issues.  And little by little, I started realizing that most of my time was spent blessing the blessed.  No wonder I felt empty.  I think it's ok to involve yourself in church.  I think it's wonderful to invest into the lives of other believers.  But for me, I was spending my energy and most of my time investing in that one area.  It just felt like there had to be more.  In the Bible, Jesus asked Peter repeatedly Peter, do you love me?  Peter, over and over, said Yes, Lord, of course I love You.  Jesus, each time, told Peter Then, feed my sheep.  I thought I knew what Jesus' sheep looked like.  But I'm learning more each day, my impression was wrong.  God is leading me to His flock.  And with each step of the journey, He's teaching me how to feed them.  You'd be amazed at what His lambs look like.

Jesus says in Matthew, Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.  It's funny how God reveals His Son to me.  The other day Jesus looked a lot like Mr. Brown, an elderly homeless man suffering from Alzheimer's walking the street every day and every night with no where to lay his head.  Did you know Jesus also looks like a single mother of 5 trying to get a fresh start in life?  She came by the local homeless ministry the other day looking for warm clothes for all 5 of her children.  Jesus also resembles the face of a dear seven-year-old girl who needed shoes that fit.  She chose a pair with a princess on each shoe.  I told her she was as pretty to me as a princess.  Her eyes lit up with the light of God.  And in that moment, I realized my holy passion.  To be the Light.  That's it.  That's all He wants from me. 

So, instead of giving those around me a list of what to do and what not to do, instead of trying to melt their icy hearts with my human advice, instead of inviting them to church when I know they probably aren't going to come anyway, instead, I am going to them.  I'm gonna build my city on a hill, place my light in the window sill, and just love on' em.  I am going to just love on 'em.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Daddy's Lap

When I was a girl the safest place in the entire world was in my daddy's lap.  I knew that while in his lap, nothing could get me, nothing could hurt me, nothing could touch me.  I cried a lot of tears in my daddy's lap, but I also laughed a lot of laughs.  My daddy loved me, and I knew that because he made me feel cherished.  Life happens to people, ya know?  And when life gets tainted by the works of the enemy, those sweet moments of being in daddy's lap become distant memories.  Distant enough where I almost question if they ever even happened in the first place.

As an adult, I became keenly aware of the importance of God's presence in my life.  When I became a mother, my level of need and dependency deepened to a depth I never knew existed.  I was so grateful for that realization, because I came to love Jesus so much and started to learn how to receive the love He had for me.  My earthly father is no longer a part of my life.  But my Heavenly Daddy, Jesus, has become my life.  And as mystical as this sounds, my most favorite moments in my journey with the Lord have been the times when Abba God has allowed me to climb in His lap.  It is in His lap where I am reminded of the love, the safety, and the security that comes with abiding in Him.  Not only is in His lap the safest place for me, His daughter, to be.  It is my most favorite place to be.

Dear Jesus,
I sure love this life you've given me.  And I'm sure not in a hurry to see it end.  But oh, how I long for the day when I see you face-to-face.  How I can't wait for you to motion over to me to come and climb in your lap.  This girl of yours is going to run to you.  I'm going to run and jump up in your lap, Father.  And it will be in that moment, the moment where I feel your heartbeat, the moment where I get to lay back and breathe against your chest.  It will be in that moment when I know that you had this divine appointment scheduled for the two of us all along.  I love you, Jesus.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am wishing for a different personality today.  A personality where life is always good, everyone likes me, I love everybody, I am always energetic, I am always in a good mood, I see the good in every situation, I make time to play with my children, I bake cookies for my family, and I have perfect hair, perfect skin, and a perfect body.  Not too much to ask, right?  Life's been interesting lately, and I'm tired of fighting.  The weekend is almost here, and I just want to take my family and go climb under a rock until Monday (maybe later).  I have the personality to easily get distracted by the bad things that are happening around me rather than focusing on the good things.  The good things almost always outweigh the bad.  So today, I'm going to work real hard at noticing my blessings.  Here are just a few...

1.  My husband is so handsome and loves me more than I deserve.  He brings me presents for no reason and he is the bestest friend anyone could have.
2.  My children are precious and always keep me laughing.  They are healthy and smart and know how to love.  What more could I want?
3.  I have more than I need to make life, food, warm bed, etc.
4.  I am surrounded my family and friends almost everywhere I go.
5.  I live where I can practice my faith without fear. 
6.  Jesus loves me so much He died for me so that I could spend eternity with Him.
And finally...
7.  I am getting my hair cut and highlighted today along with a fresh eyebrow wax.

See?  Blessed, indeed!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bad Christianity. There is such a thing.

Some days I wake up and think to myself, "Wow, Christians have really messed up this thing called Christianity."  Recently I was struck with how bizarre it must sound to others, especially non-believers, when we believers sit around in church services singing songs about sitting on a cloud with Jesus.  It must sound crazy to them when they hear us tell our children "Bible" stories that insinuate Heaven to be in the sky and Hell to be under the ground.  It must be awful and terribly confusing to non-Christians when we Christians justify our hate crimes, our ridicule, our condemnation of others with talk of God's will and God's purpose for this world.  It has got to look ridiculous, laughable almost, when we put a pretty smile on our faces on Sundays, praise the Lord with both hands raised in worship, and shout "amen" and "praise the Lord' when our pastor says something we agree with, just to show up to work on Monday morning taking our Lord's name in vain, gossipping about our co-worker, and bragging about how we told "so and so" off last night for letting his dog come in our yard and poop in our flower bed.  It is no wonder we've become a joke to the non-Christian world.  I have found myself so incredibly embarrassed at how I and others have represented Christ to this world.  In fact, I'm downright disgusted and offended at people who claim to be followers of Christ yet continue to live their lives in ways that only spit in God's face.

And then I'm reminded I am no better.  No different.  It wasn't all that long ago that my life reflected everything and anything but God.  Jesus extended His grace to me.  I took it after fighting Him on it for a long time.  I let Him reveal His love for me and I never was the same after that.  I was reminded just yesterday that we as Christians are called to extend the same amount of grace to others that has been given to us.  That can be challenging for someone like me who struggles with receiving grace from anyone.  But everything good in my life...every single blessing I have received and will receive...all of it...are examples of God's grace in my life.  It is true.  Christians are to blame for their role in the misrepresentation of Christianity.  But with God's grace we can fix that.  It is my prayer and my hope that God will reveal to us just how He wants us to be to others.  I have a feeling it doesn't look like what we've thought it to look like all of this time.  Let's be willing to listen.  Let's be willing to change.  Let's be willing to accept the call before it's too late.

Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.  Whoever speaks, let it be with God's words.  Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NET)