“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Somewhere between.

"He drew me out of the deep waters..." 

I just finished watching Session 10 of Beth Moore's David:  Seeking a Heart Like His.  And was listening to her speak about King David penning these words
"He reached down from on high and took hold of me;  
he drew me out of deep waters."  2 Samuel 22:17 

And it reminded me of how He was with me when I was in the deep waters.  And how He just keeps reaching down and taking a hold of me.  Which reminded me of Isaiah 43:2-3.  Which reminded me of this post.

Originally posted on Monday, September 27, 2010

Somewhere between.


I am hiding today.  The weather is beautiful.  I am sitting in my garden.  And I am working on my Breaking Free Bible Study.  And I have been studying about experiencing God's peace... and enjoying God's presence.  And today I need that.  Because I am somewhere between the dailiness of life... and the sacredness of life.  Somewhere between folding the laundry... and reading the Bible.  Somewhere between hanging on Facebook... and praying for a friend.  Somewhere between soaking in the sun... and raising money to build churches in Ethiopia.

Somewhere between.

I easily get frustrated with the daily life.  The routine of it all. Fretting over what to wear or how late I will be or why certain commercials are shown during sports programs or why someone didn't speak to me or my plants didn't ripen or when will this road construction end or who do I call to clean the gutters or will the Republicans win the House.

And I wonder how to balance it with the fact that a dear friend just had a stroke... or is struggling to quit smoking... or is wondering when her wayward husband will return... or is wondering when her husband will no longer be addicted to alcohol... or is wondering if she will ever be the love of her husband's life... or will she ever find a husband... or will she get through this depression... or survive this breast cancer...

Perspective.  Peace.  Presence.  All given by a Holy God. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and 
when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3
I admit that I more readily turn to God to grant me perspective, peace and presence in the circumstances that I cannot control.  I cannot heal someone... or free them from an addiction... or mend a broken relationship.  But I know He can.

Somewhere between.

But for those circumstances that He has allowed me to have some control over... "those far less strenuous circumstances" where I am "not as desperate" I find myself struggling without perspective, without peace or without sensing His presence.  Because I have not sought Him on these things.  And I struggle somewhere between my need to control a situation and my need to relinquish control over a situation I deem not overwhelming enough to hand over to a Holy God.

So, today... while I am hiding in His presence... and asking for peace and perspective on the things I cannot control... I have decided to ask for His peace and His perspective on things that I think I need to control.

That He would grant peace and perspective
for this and
for that and
for everything between.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the text

the text
"I'm not sure you know just how important you were to me in high school. 
You are a big reason that I am working with high school kids at our church."

It feels like a different lifetime ago.  So long ago that I have to even wonder when it happened.  Almost 20 years ago?  Yes, it must be... because she graduated from high school in 1995.

We were part of a small church at that time in Maryland.  Small?  Well, is that the word for it?  A church plant.  We met in an elementary school and had to set up each Sunday morning and tear down after each service.  Everybody had multiple ministries.  Each member filled in multiple parts of the church body.  And for me?  I was the Senior High School Sunday School Teacher. 

And although there were times that the class had an influx of a student, it was usually just a class of one.  A class of her.  A class for her.  The pastor's oldest daughter.  We adored our pastor and his wife and, of course, their two daughters.  We were loved by them and loved them.  And I loved her.

A class of one.  Me and a teenager.  I was in my mid-twenties at the time.  And I felt the call to be her teacher.  To offer her a Sunday School class.  Curriculum?  Yup, I tried that.  But then sometimes it was just a cup of coffee and some conversation.

And I didn't feel worthy.  Wasn't even sure we connected on some days.  And it was during one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  A season full of poor choices.  A season of poor health.  And I knew I was not the one who should be teaching her during that time because I was a poor example.  Although she didn't know I was, I knew it.  And I thought I was betraying her by being her Sunday School teacher.  But her dad insisted that I was still a good example to her.  Still to be her teacher.

And about a year or so later Anthony and I move to Portland.  Leave.  We keep in touch with her parents for a while.  But distance brings distance.  And time brings time.

And a lifetime passes.   Yes, almost 20 years since I was her High School Sunday School teacher. 

We got to see each other in person yesterday.  A brief moment.  She and her parents went out of their way to see us.  We have been keeping in touch via Facebook and she has told me this before, but she sent me the text yesterday. 
 "I'm not sure you know just how important you were to me in high school. 
You are a big reason that I am working with high school kids at our church."
And this time when she told me... it brought up the memories.  The memories of my feelings of inadequacy.  The memories that I had served and tried even though at the time I didn't think I was making a difference.  I might have wanted to make a difference.  I just didn't know if I did. 

But for her to tell me, again.  For it to be important for her to tell me.  For it to mean something to her so much that she had to tell me, again.  For her to connect me with her current desire to minister to High Schoolers that she had to tell me.

She had to tell.  And I had to listen.  I had to listen and know that even during a time that I thought I was offering nothing, I was offering something.  Perhaps it was not as I thought it should be packaged.  Not what I thought it should look like.  But it was something.  And something meant everything to her.  It meant enough to her to remember and to tell me.  And to tell me, again.

And it encouraged me.
That even when we are weary
and uncertain
we can still plant a crop.

"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. 
At the right time we will harvest a good crop 
if we don’t give up, or quit. 

Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, 
let us work for the benefit of all, 
starting with the people closest to us
 in the community of faith."

Galatians 6:9-10 MSG

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Kryptonite

My Kryptonite

I hate it the most.

                          Being misunderstood.

Often I will not participate in the discussion,
But would rather listen.
And encourage.
Then to be misunderstood.

It happened yesterday.
And once misunderstood
There is no going back.
There is no fixing it.
And when the tears come
I am lost.
They take over and won't leave me alone.

And no matter how much I rethink the matter.
It doesn't matter.
I feel weak
    and helpless...
       and pathetic...
And the rebuilding begins.

The rebuilding begins.
And what does that look like?
Put the walls up.
Keep the mouth shut.
Prevent being misunderstood at all costs.
No matter what.

Being vulnerable.
There's a high price to pay.

It is much easier to sit here
Typing my thoughts.
Letting them float around the web.
Because comments are few
And that is a lot easier to manage
Than sitting face to face
And being misunderstood
And feeling utterly helpless.

I am vulnerable.
I am transparent.
And it is not easy.
It is not a gift.
And often it is painful.

And so here I am... boasting about my weakness.
Praying that the power of Christ can work through me
And accepting that His grace is all I need.

Each time he said,  
“My grace is all you need. 
My power works best in weakness.” 
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ can work through me.  
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT