I laughed when I realized how many years it took to discover who I am.... by first zealously exploring who I am not

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Broken Heart

I have discovered these past few weeks that I feel like I have multiple personalities. I'm always amazed that at times when I'm broken, devastated and struggling is when I also seem spiritually strong (weak), Wise (so not) and close to God (where is He again). I feel so undone in my life right now. Don't be nice to me, I might start sobbing on you. Don't be mean... same result. I went to a football game for our hometown that we moved from a year ago and yelled "Go Indians" and promptly burst into tears. It's a dicey road friends let me tell you.... you should probably pray for my husband.

Yesterday as I drove home, I ended up alone in my car and had the ability to just spend some time with the music off and thinking. I do my best thinking in my car. Maybe it's the silence and  the ability to be undisturbed that allows our minds to wonder and see into where we are. My conversation yesterday started with just a cry from my heart going God, I can't handle any more heartbreak. I saw in my minds eye every piece of my heart laying around me. Shattered, broken into pieces. I'm frantically grabbing them, pulling them toward me, desperately trying to put them together again. Trying to make them fit together to form a whole. As I meditated on this picture I heard very clearly God say to me "Stop. Stop trying to fix your heart. I can't use you unless it's broken." (yes, I'm already crying as I type this)

Is it easy? No, it hurts. Can I just tell you... it hurts. It is a pain that I hate experiencing, I hate walking through. I hate watching relationships in my life change and people in my life move in and out and look differently. I hate not being able to control what is going to happen. But I know, I know, I know that God uses brokenness as a means to make us aware. He  has opened my eyes to things that I miss. Things like:

-People at church that I never make time to speak to b/c I'm so busy with the people I've been close too. 
- The mother at Wal mart that I saw adding her items in her grocery cart trying to decide if she can afford that gallon of milk.
- The friend on facebook that I see is crying out for attention b/c they are lonely and feels like no one cares but would never admit it out loud.
- That person that has always wanted to be my friend but I never saw them because their quiet spirit was lost around so many others in my life that were so loud.

And these are just things in my immediate life that need a radical encounter with the Jesus that I say I love so much.

God is putting my heart together again. I firmly believe that as He is putting together he is joining the pieces with a true love for His people around me.  Do you know what I've realized? All my friends that I am around on a daily basis are Christians. I don't want that anymore. I love my church, and I love the people that walk this faith life with me. But I can't justify anywhere in the Bible that tells me to cloister myself in a group of people just like me all the live long day. It tells me to love my neighbor. It tells me to love my enemies. It tells me that the very Spirit of God is on me to take good news to the poor and offer freedom for the captives. If our churches are hospitals and we as believers are the caregivers.... where are the sick people. They are laying on the street dying and no one ever sees. I haven't seen. I walk right by them every day. At the grocery store, at Wal-Mart, at the gas station. People are bleeding and dying and I miss it. Oh God I miss it. So while my broken heart is painful- it is bringing out a radical awakening in my life. What is it going to look like as I walk it out? I have no earthly idea. I just know I can't live a grand commitment to religiosity anymore. I must live a life committed to Christ-whatever it looks like, whatever it costs.

So this is a new journey.... I think I've decided to take a jump off that cliff. Here goes nothing. Here is everything. Use me Lord. Just use me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jumping off a cliff.....

It's coming. I feel it. I have visions of the opening sequence of Mary Poppins where the wind blows and the shift happens. I feel it. For weeks I have felt undone... disconnected... I blamed it on different things happening in my life but now I can't. I know this feeling, yet it is different and new. I can already tell that this one is going to cost me. I've been on this slippery slope for a while and I know that I'm close to going over the edge. And there is a scary, very real, possibility I can never come back fromvcliff. A place that is either all in or all out but you can't just hang around and look over the edge. Which I think is where I've been the last three years. I know that this place is going to cost me relationships and people that I hold dear. I'm in the process of counting the cost and honestly don't know if I'm ready but I know that I can't stay where I'm at anymore.

God wants me. He wants all of me. He doesn't want my theology, he doesn't want my pretty life that is ordered with my kids in church and all is well. I think he wants me in the mud, in the water, drowning going GOD I KNOW YOU WILL SAVE ME! He wants me in that place where someone just needs someone to love them and I want it to. I can't stay here. I want to find the homeless man on the street that smells and give him a sandwich and just sit and let him tell me about his family- because he has one. I want to find the homosexual and share a meal and tell him that I love him just the way he is and that there is a Father with a radical love for him. I don't have to change him to love him. I simply have to love him. I want to go to the lady that walks in the sanctuary on Sunday and maybe her dress is a little low cut and maybe she's a little too friendly but I want to welcome her and tell her how glad I am that she's there. I want to find the group of kids that sit in the corner and dare anyone to talk to them. I want to buy them coffee and send it over so they know I get it but that someone is still there when they are ready. I want to move anywhere, sell anything and love anyone that you want me too. Without hesitation. Without the trappings of this life that I have built for myself. God free me from all that holds me and keeps me from being free to follow you. Including myself. My pride, my need for approval, my need for the friends I love. My need for anything that is greater than my need for you. Because I've had all those things and I still have deep empty places in my life. Places I know that only you can fill. Places that I know you have put a destiny and purpose inside of that I haven't even begun to discover or dig up. I want what the world calls RADICAL but you call GRACE. What the world is so busy protecting and hiding you call out in the open to be transparent and honest so that through our brokenness you are revealed because we are just like the world- we just happen to know the Healer.

I'm not sure how to get to this place. I have a feeling it just starts with me hurtling myself over and going all in. Help my Lord to take that step. To be that person. Help to not care when the persecution comes, when no one understands because it's about you. Not me. So here's to jumping off the cliff. I wouldn't dare ask anyone to come with me. Only to know that all are welcome.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To the kid that called my son the "N" word today......

To the kid that called my son the "N" word in front of me today,

I will admit it. My first thought was to grab you and not in a loving, kind way. More of a jerk a knot in your tail kind of way. Show you that you do not act that way young man and march you to the principal myself. But you took off down the hall in your bright orange shirt for all the world to see and acted like it was nothing to you to belittle and use such a horrific word toward someone.. namely my son. I ruminated on your comment most of the afternoon as I ran from place to place. Lucky for you (and me) I love Jesus and today chose to listen to Him and not my flesh or it might have ended badly in the hallway of Wilbanks Middle School, for both of us.

As I walked with my son from class to class I continued a conversation that I have had every day for the last year. He tells me how bad his school is and I tell him that the world is all searching for Jesus. And then you happened. He looked at me with a "SEE MOM" face that made me want to cry for the lost innocence that happens in middle school when kids make bad decisions and share the discovery of them with everyone they come in contact with. It really is a place of darkness. But you know what? My son is a light in that darkness. I'm a light in that darkness. Anyone who lives with kindness and love for those around them has the ability to be light. We just finished vacation bible school at our church and the theme was SHINE! One of songs was part of the old Sunday school song that said "this little light, this little light, gonna let it shine". Individually our lights may seem small. A candle emits very little light. But in a darkened room, no matter the size even the tiniest light cuts through the darkness and makes a difference. God calls christians to be part of the world, but separate. I think we miss it by separating ourselves but never being a part. We are the salt, the light, we are what God uses to bring about change to those in darkness. We have to be part of the world to do that. I told someone tonight that sometimes we take the high road and place ourselves so high that no one can reach us much less be affected by us. I'm even more convinced that there is far more done in the trenches in the dirt than from the pew on Sunday morning, surrounded by people just like us, who really never challenge us at all. My answer to my son today was simply this. Pray for him. Love him. It's not your job to tell him what he did was wrong. It's your job to be different, respond differently and know that God can use you to change him.

Did you know young man that you make a difference, good or bad to the world around you. I want you to know that you are on my radar. Every time I set foot in the school I'm going to look for you, speak to you, smile at you, offer to buy you popcorn at the football game. I'm going to show you that you matter in an inordinate amount to every one you meet. I pray that at some point during the next year, that you realize that you have a candle in your hand and will allow Christ to light it so that you too will be part of a group of kids that shine light in the darkness that you walk through every day at school.

And thank God that he is stronger than my fleshly responses. I'm going to do that to.


A little light that just wants to Shine

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Camp Meetin' Time

It's Sunday afternoon which is typically homework time for me. However in typical fashion I am watching So You Think You Can Dance and distracted from doing my homework. In an effort to stay distracted I thought oh yes, I should write a blog. So here is my distraction....

Friday night I attended an old fashioned pentecostal campmeeting. If you don't know what that is let me tell you... it usually runs from Friday to Friday at a campground that has been there for about 100 years. Many families have been coming to campmeeting for generations, they stay in cabins on the property and the whole family comes. They eat together, some as families some in groups at the camp meeting dining facility. I had a friend who had a lady that came with them every year to cook for the family in their cabins. It is quite the tradition. Many denominations, including the Methodists and the Congregational Holiness participate in this wonderful part of history.

One thing that all campgrounds have is the tabernacle. This is the place where morning and nightly services are held. Many are still open air with large rafters and open sides to let in the breeze, while some have been enclosed with modern conveniences such as A/C... which is a blessing in the sweltering GA heat.

So back to Friday night. At this particular meeting this family got up to sing- that had been singing at camp meeting for over 50 years, I admit I did an eyeroll. In spite of me loving the history of camp meeting I don't always enjoy the fact that almost 100% of the music is what most would call old fashioned. What I do know however is that God uses the most crazy things to speak to me. As this family was singing their dad, who was so feeble he was being held up by his children, sang with them. He talked about his wife who was at their cabin on the campground but unable to attend service and then began to sing about heaven. Suddenly he stood up straighter, and threw his hands up in the air, cane and all. In that moment... that one beautiful moment I saw my parents in heaven and what it must be like for them.

I don't have the when we all get to heaven gene. When my parents passed away I never understood the whole "you will see them again so have joy" mentality. I would rather see them here. But sitting in that large tabernacle, with tradition so rich you could actually see the old time religion written on the walls and feel the presence of the saints that had been there before, for the first time I felt at peace and unbelievably happy at the joy they must have at being in the presence of Jesus.

I'll be going back to camp meeting this week. I want to sit in the place where thousands have been saved through out the years and where they sing about heaven and the place where we will all meet Jesus. I think it's good for the soul.