Monday, February 27, 2012

He won't relent

Tonight at our prayer and praise night for compelled, the worship leader lead us in a song called You Won't Relent The words are as follows:

"You won't relent until you have it all - my heart is yours.
I'll set you as a seal upon my heart,
as a seal upon my arms.
For there is love that is as strong as death;
Jealousy demanding as the grave;
and many waters cannot quench this love.

Come be the fire inside of me,
come be the flame upon my heart
come be the fire inside of me
until you and I are one

I don't want to talk about you like you're not in this room;
I wanna look right at you, wanna sing right to you

You won't relent until you have it all -my heart is yours."

I have sung this song before. And as a worship team leader I am constantly scouring youtube, worship boards and other places to find new songs to introduce. I see many! And being a person who is highly affected by music and the lyrics, I like many of them. But tonight as we sang this one, the words penetrated deeply. There is so much meaning to this song, but the words that lept out to me were the ones about what I wanted, not what God desired and did. Not the response a worship song usually has on me, to be sure.

These last few years I have often felt as though God was quiet to me. Too quiet. My relationship with him had always been one of almost audible communication both ways. I heard him and felt him as though he were right there- as he is. But it seems that he wanted me to experience him as a still, small voice - and sometimes even a complete silence. I knew in my head that this was a good thing. I want to experience God in new depths and ways that I have not before. I desire deep, intimate relationship with my Savior. Yet, after three years of "the silent treatment" I was at a point where I was begging him to let me know him in that way again. As the song lyrics said, "I don't wanna talk about you like you're not in this room. I wanna look right at you, wanna sing right to you." I had known this relationship with my Jesus for most of my life, and I missed it, longed for it, prayed for it again.

Today, on the way up to my phlebotomy class (which is an hour and15 minute drive) I turned the music off and just started praying. And as I did, something started breaking in me. I could feel these weights lifted. I was weeping-not with sadness, but rather with that overflowing emotion of understanding and feeling and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt his love for me. and it was so intense!

Nothing changed. God is the same today as he was yesterday, the same as these last three years, and who he will be tomorrow, regardless of how he chooses to meet me. I did not do anything different than I have been doing for years. I prayed and waited. I relinquished things and people to him - not the first time, and certainly not the last. I confessed and sang and prayed and wept and laughed. I rebuked spirits not from him and felt the lightness that accompanies a soul newly clean. And I remembered that in all this time of silence, he did not leave me, he did not relent in his love and passion and joy for me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friendships

In this life God has given me special friends at each place we have lived. Those friends have been lifelines in my walk with Him, and I am so thankful for them and the ways they have shown God to me, helped me along in my walk, and understood this crazy, homeschooling, adventure-loving, not-desiring-after-the house-and-picket-fence woman that I am. They may not agree - but they "get me." That is so important!

Two of those people that he has blessed me with here are women who are also outside-of-the-norm thinkers. They are on this crazy ride with God as Episcopal priests who are starting a mission, learning to love Him and people more and more in the ups and downs of life, and are never quite sure what the future holds. they "get me." We understand each other. And they both love Africa. What more could I ask for?

We are going to be meeting each week to pray, talk about the things that He is telling us and guiding us in, and just allow each other to be real. I am so excited about this, because I need this so badly in my life - especially right now with this year ahead being so full of change, uncertainty, and need for faith! I am so thankful for these gifts he has given!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Growing Up

Growing pains hurt. With each of my kids there have been times of waking up in the night while they had leg cramps and aches that sent them either into a hot bath or us scrambling around looking for the hot water bottle. My mother in law recalls a time when my brother in law was growing so quickly this was normal occurrence-along with a grocery and clothing bill going through the roof! I guess growing pains can be painful no matter what side of it you are standing on. Whether it's watching my kids in physical pain as their bodies grow, seeing them learn how to emotionally navigate the next phase in their lives, or simply upping the grocery bill monthly to attempt to keep growing bodies filled - I feel the pain alongside them.

God is doing a growing time in me recently, too. Physically I am done growing (please, please, please...lol) but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally God is stretching me in ways I have not experienced before. And it often hurts. And often I think, "I didn't ask for this." There have been a number of "honest conversations" between God and myself recently! As we raise kids, raise these churches, and raise funds and I feel in over my head each day, he is bringing me to the end of myself. Some days I get it right away and am able to surrender that to him and find relief from the burdens that I try so hard to carry around. More often then not, though, there is a time of fighting it and insisting on being on my own and having things done my way. I take on a lot of responsibility in that- and that can bruise me in ways that are painful for a lot longer than if I had just surrendered them to begin with. Doing the things God has called us to and feeling the weight of the world versus feeling the privilege of this life is separated only by how quickly I am willing to surrender to the growing process and learn what he wants me to understand at the moment. When I insist on holding on to that complete responsibility I am insisting on holding on to childish pride and selfishness - the world actually does NOT revolve around me. Who knew? So God allows those growing pains to help me understand what I am doing.

And he grows me. No, that is not quite right. He gives me opportunities to grow. I can choose to remain a baby - but those growing pains will keep coming.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Confidence

This evening I started training to get a certification in Phlebotomy. (Go ahead, make all the vampire jokes - I have heard them all!) It is something I have wanted to do for quite a while, but as a home schooling mom of 4, I have not had a lot of time to do more education myself. This opportunity came up at exactly the right time, and I am very excited about it! One of the first things that I was told was that I need to look confident in what I am doing. I realized it is true - who wants to walk into a place to get your blood drawn and have a person with a nervous laugh and shaky hand come to help? So I will practice, practice, practice - on a pillow, a towel - anything that is not actually alive right now. Then, when I get the hang of it and feel a little more confident, I will take a turn on a person. (Insert nervous breath here.) No, really, it will all be good!

In talking to our support coach for missions today, she also reminded me that despite things sometimes feeling discouraging, or the fact that support isn't pouring in by the droves, but rather slow and steady (I have never been very patient)that I need to remain confident in what God has called us too. And I am. I am confident that God will have our family serving him in South Sudan. And I am excited about this!

This confidence is something that I find I lack whenever I am wandering from Jesus...whether in apathy, anger, or laziness. When I have been away from him and his promises of who I am in him and what I can do (all things) through him, I become a very non-confident person. I become snippy and aggravated because I feel like I have something to prove - at the very least to myself, and oftentimes to others. And I fall short - because I am not relying on those promises and so I am not standing in his strength.

So thanks Merrielynn and Jennifer, for reminding me of that today. And thank you, Jesus, that it is all about you.