Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My "Yes"

For me it was easy; choose a life with God that may be uncomfortable and scary and unpredictable and incredibly painful at times OR choose the life I was living. One of destruction and abuse and addiction.
For me it was easy. I said yes to God in a moment. In a room full of women, women who I didn't know, I said yes to God, a God I didn't know either. I began to confess the sin I had been living in for years, that NO ONE knew about. I wasn't exactly sure why I was telling these strangers my deepest, darkest, most protected and guarded secrets, but I knew I could trust them.

When I look back on this moment, I recognize that it was my first TRUE encounter with God. He was there in that living room, pushing me toward His heart, urging me to be vulnerable and honest and real with these women who He wanted to use in my life.
From that moment, when I said yes to God, I haven't looked back. Sure, there have been moments when I have wondered if life would be "easier" living in the shadows and the darkness again. But then I remember all of the celebration-worthy things in my life. And those thoughts vanish.
My "yes" to God was an easy one, but it hasn't always pretty and tidy and perfect. In fact, it's been just the opposite. It's been messy and incredibly hard. God doesn't just want part of us, he wants all of us. He wants the most secret, protected, scary parts of us. In the past year I've walked through some insane stuff. And it's been agonizing and heartbreaking, but in the midst of the pain God has brought healing and freedom and redemption. These are the celebration-worth things I cling to. I know that, as I continue to say yes to God, he will continue to refine me and make me more like Him. It's probably the hardest thing I'll ever go through, but it's an easy yes for me. And I say yes everyday to him. I'm reading this book, and found this quote. It spoke so perfectly to my life and my season. I wanted to share it:
"As Christians we know, in theory at least, that in the life of a child of God there are no second causes, that even the most unjust and cruel things, as well as all seemingly pointless and undeserving sufferings, have been permitted by God as a glorious opportunity for us to react to them in such a way that our Lord and Savior is able to produce in us, little by little, his own lovely character."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My secret...

I have this jar on my desk.
It's my Celebration jar.
It holds about 40 strips of paper.
On those strips of paper are my favorite verses, quotes, words of encouragement... things that help me. Things that remind me to Celebrate.
When I'm having a hard day, I reach my had in that jar and pull out a strip of paper.
When things are kind of sucky, I pull out a strip of paper.
When I need a good laugh (there MAY be a Chuck Norris joke or two in there), I grab a strip of that paper.
Pretty much, every day my hand is in that jar.
Usually, the words that I read are exactly what I needed to hear. So I tend to share them with the world (via Twitter/Facebook... guilty).
In the past few days, people have responded to my posts, telling me the words I've been sharing are EXACTLY the words they needed. My big secret is this- those words are exactly the words I needed, too. God has a great way of giving me exactly the words I need to hear.
I'm convinced EVERYONE needs a Celebration Jar on their desk/counter-top/bed-side table. It's easy: Find a jar, fill it with your favorite verses (and a joke or two), reach your hand in when you need to celebrate.
That's my secret :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kids: My love.

If you know me, you know I love children. I love the way their minds work, and the way they love with their WHOLE hearts, and the way they say what they're thinking, and the way they hug your legs like it's the last time they'll see you, and they way they write you love notes.
I love kids.
They capture my heart.
I feel the most alive when I'm around kids.
God has been really bringing this passion to life in my heart lately. My constant prayer is for this generation of children to truly and completely know their identity in Christ. That they would be so deeply rooted in HIS love, that they would never question their place in this family. Wouldn't that change everything? If an entire generation grew up knowing that their Father's love is never-ending, never-failing and all-consuming. If they knew that they belonged with God, and that nothing ever can or will take that away from them. I have such faith for this. I just know that I will get to see this in my day. I will get to see these boys and girls grow up into men and women and I will get to see them step into their callings, knowing that their identity is completely rooted in who God says they are.
I love the fact that, as I pray, I get to pray for the faces of these little ones. As I ask God to capture their hearts, I see their amazing smiles. I get to pray for them by name. I get to ask God to change their lives. What a treat. I am constantly moved to tears thinking about what an honor it is to join with God and the families at the Stirring in the shaping of their children.
I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, God has given me the story he has to keep my heart extra sensitive to these little ones. I grew up with my identity rooted in many things, none of which were God. I never truly felt like I belonged. Anywhere. It drastically changed the way I lived my life, and not in a good way. Thankfully, God rescued me. He gave me a new identity and a new song to sing. One full of joy and love and belonging. What if ever child we see at the Stirring never has to experience that? What if they knew in their heart and their mind that they are a child of God, and that who He says they are is all that matters? Wouldn't that just be the most beautiful thing ever?

Images by Freepik