Monday, September 1, 2014

Sweet Surrender

My spirit is overwhelmed with the lessons God has been pressing into my heart lately.  To be honest it's been more of a digging out of my heart as I have been challenging God to a wrestling match of surrender.  But I cannot ignore the presence of Almighty God in my life and the moving of His Spirit which engulfs me.  As He digs out my pride, He plants humbleness.  He roots out  my selfness and replaces it with contentedness. When His Spirit blows out the dust of my lonely places, He fills it with desire for the eternal.  It's been a process of submission, brokeness, and sweet surrender.

It's no secret that we have moved a lot.  While I would go in obedience and try to fulfill whatever God had planned for us, there has always been a part of my heart so homesick that if I allowed myself to curl up in that dark corner, my spirit would give up and depression would envade.  So I built a wall.  Don't think about home.  Don't let people get too close, I might have to say goodbye, again.  In the last month there were concerns for Matt & I as to whether we were going to stay in Florida.  Then a radio station close to home contacted Matt about an opening.  Matt decided that we would stay in Florida; God wasn't done with us here.  The race may be difficult, but we will run it with endurance.  My carefully constructed wall crumbled and every selfish, angry emotion cried to go home. I belive my exact words to God were, "I have done everything You have asked me to.  When do I get what I want?  When is it enough? What about me?" Rather than striking me with lightening, His reponse was a gentle whisper.  

"I know you.  I created you.  I have placed eternity
in you.  What you really crave is me."

He has determined my pre appointed times & boundaries
of my dwelling, so that I shall
seek the Lord and in hope grope for Him and find Him...
for in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:26b-27, 28a

I'd like to say my attituded changed and I bowed in willing & joyful obedience.  Remember I said it's been a process for me.  It was more like grudgingly submitting.  To finalize the deal, hehe, we started house hunting.  My tantrum continued because there wasn't a house out there that fit what I deemed necesary for me.  If I was going to live in this place, then the least you could do is give me the house of my dreams.  

"I know you.  I created you.  I have placed eternity in you.
What you really crave is heaven."

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, 
I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

We fought for a week over one house and finally put in an offer only to loose it to a cash buyer.  What the heck, Lord!!! I submit and it still doesn't work out.  

Then comes the moment God reveals Himself & His plan.  We put in an offer on another house yesterday.  It was accepted this afternoon.  Here's the cool part.  This sweet little family we are buying the home from are being relocated due to work.  They have only owned the home for the last 13 months and didn't plan on the move.  Man, does that sound familiar! Because Matt & I understand their situation we want to share our story with them and send them on their way with a little extra blessing.  It dawned on me, what if the only reason Jesus had me staying in Florida was to buy this house and share His love with these people?  I am humbled beyond belief that despite my pride & selfishness the Lord would use me in His plan.  To say I cried would undermine the amount of emotion that poured out in Sweet Surrender

This life, here today, really isn't about the present.  It is about the eternal.  We were created by an eternal God, for an eternal relationship.  When we truly understand this concept the house, the job, even how we spend our day takes on new meaning and there is a shift in our focus.  He wants us to be aware of His kingdom in each moment of our day, because...

He knows you.  He created you.  He has placed eternity in you.
What you really crave is a relationship with Him.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Beautiful Mess

A morning run is a luxury in my life. Matty is up and out the door before the sun shares its smiling face.  The other morning however, he went in to work a little later and I had a carpe diem moment.  While I could go for a run in the afternoon, there is something serene about the early morning.  It's quiet and still.  Peaceful.

While I was running, er walking, um...moving in a forward motion; I passed this amazing tree.  I love the trees in south Florida. They're narly, with all of their branches wrapped around each other.  They are a mess. They are beautiful. I paused my forward motion and reflected on the moment. It was a beautiful mess, but it stood strong and tall. Behind it the canal was like glass and it was surrounded by the calm.  In a few hours the calm will dissipate and the noise of the day will invaded.  But still it will stand unmoving.

Further down the path while passing over the canal I noticed how smooth and still it was. But beneath the surface it was chaotic, muddy and moving. A whole other world was living and breathing there. It was beautiful. It was messy.

Isn't that how life is - a tangled, muddy, beautiful mess? It wears us out. It wears us down. Here is the key though; the quiet moments.

Be still and know that I am God.

It does not matter how crazy messy life gets.  If we can remember to be still and know our God we can stand as strong as that tree.  We can continue to flow freely with life. Breathe deep, soak in the moment, embrace your beautiful mess and be at peace.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Right Enough

A little over a year ago, my little sister began the adventure of motherhood.  She and I talk often and it has been a sweet reminder of some of the first lessons of mothering. Recently she and the hubby have been working on sleep training their 15 month old.  It's been rough and she has asked for prayer.  While txting her this morning to inquire how the night went, she shared this thought; "with all of the work we've been doing, I just thought He (God) would respond in a big, only God could have done that way."  Isn't that the way we tend to think.  I know I do.  If I do everything right, check off the right amount of boxes then God can't help but answer my prayers.  Here's the thing though, God doesn't repond to us based on what we do.  Thinking like that can rob us of what He truly wants to accomplish.  It creates a self-righteouness. As if our works are good enough for God.  As moms we want so much to get everything right, to not fail, to be supermom.  But that is not what we are really called to.  We are not called to perfection.  We are called to love them and be Jesus' love to them.  I can't say that I have figured out how to do that and still accomplish all the things demanded of me as a mom, but when I get my thoughts twisted like that it makes it even worse.

I can't tell you how many times I have cried out to God to heal them when they are sick or change them when they are acting out and heard nothing but silence.  I have come to the conclusion that it's not that He can't or doesn't want to, but that He has a more eternal goal.  Sometimes things on earth have to run their earthly course.  It's a part of the curse of sin.  What matters is what we do with those situations.  What fruit is He trying to grow in our hearts?  Is it patience, humility or compassion?

Here's the other thing...If God always moved in big miraculous ways our faith would be shallow.  Sometimes God holds back because He wants to build in us that deep faith that cannot be shaken. It's the type of faith that keeps moving forward knowing the character of our God and His promise to complete what He started.

One last thought...we can never truly measure up to God's righteousness.  We can not do things "right enough".  So like our pastor stated in church this morning (funny how God weaves things together), "the law was not meant to be an external checklist, but rather the means by which we are aware of our need for faith in Jesus." So mommys (and non-mommys) do your best and then lean back and rest in the grace of Jesus.