Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here am I. Send me!

"I need your messy story… and you need your messy story. So tell me your story, not your sermons, tell me your thrashing, and not just your theology. Tell me about your questions – and not just your quest. Because we read so that that we know that we aren’t the only ones."

I read this quote on Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. First of all, you should follow her blog. It is IN.CRED.IBLE. I've been re-reading this quote for 2 months... wondering what to do with it. 

And then, Pastor Matt's challenge to the church was to "share your story" this week.

Ever feel like you keep asking God to make it more clear to you just cuz you wanna drag your feet about obeying? 

Yeah... well, I have. And the thing is... He is answering my prayers. He's making it more clear.

But there is this voice that tells me I'm not ready. I'm not "out of the woods" or maybe still in danger of going off a cliff or something. Perhaps. And so I asked God if that was true... if I needed Him to do more in me before I was useful to Him.

And He brought to mind, Jonah. The man He used to save a great, evil city from destruction. It's pretty clear that Jonah had a LONG way to go when God used him to do that. The more I thought about it, the more amazed I was about the whole story. God chose to use a self-centered, proud, whiny, immature, want-the-comfortable-life guy(this description hits a little too close to home) to make HIS GLORY known. 

Yes, He has a LOT more to do in me. And I'm certain He will for a long time. That's what made me excited when I remembered this:

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.." Philippians 1:6

As I struggle(hopefully with my face turned upward to my Savior), to move these leaden feet forward in obedience.... I grab hold of these truths and cling for dear life.

And may I be honest? IT. SCARES. ME.

And I know why people don't talk about it. And I don't want to. But God is relentlessly laying it on my heart...and I have a lot of excuses and so many justifications but He says "obey Me". And this process of laying my life before Him and inviting Him to prune me- it. really. hurts.

If I've been asked to lay down anything, it has been and is pride.
And those people I run into, the ones I imagine talking about me and my messy life... God whispers,

"Forgive. Don't hold any grudge or resentment. My Spirit wants to FILL you and there is not room for a record of wrongs. And all that worldly logic of 'protecting' yourself- that's for the birds and when you are filled with Me and you love like Me- you. will. hurt. and it's messy and I will call you to lay down your pride time and again but this life I've given you isn't to make you look good --- it's about declaring MY goodness. I gave My Son over to people who were spitting and jeering and mocking, because I loved them."

And He places His loved ones in my life who share this with me:

"Oh give thanks to the LORD , call upon His name; Make known is deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders... Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised..." 1 Chronicles 16:8-9, 23b-25a

This life is so messy. Isn't it? And yet, it's in this ugly disaster that I've seen the LORD. And how does one remain silent after that???

"'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.'....Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" Isaiah 6:5,8

And it makes me wanna sing that song I used to giggle about... Yes Lord, Yes Lord. Yes, Yes Lord.
But really....
Lord, YES.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

"I cast all my cares upon You...
I lay all of my burdens, down at Your Feet...
And when I don't know, what I should do...
I cast all of my cares upon You..."

My precious, 4-year-old Payslie sang this all morning.

She blesses me.

Today I read an update on some answered prayers... "God is so good!!!" Indeed, He is. Yes, our God is so so good.

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.

In every moment, every circumstance, every unknown.... the Jehovah God does not change. He is always GOOD.

And as hard as it is for me to accept and believe this: He uses every circumstance in my life for my good and His glory.

Isn't that awesome???

Today I choose to believe and declare that my God is GOOD.
Today I choose to believe and trust that He uses all things for my good and for His glory.
Today I choose to cast all my cares upon my Lord.
Today, whatever is in front of me, I choose to sing hallelujah.