July 18, 2017, Thoughts on Being In Jesus

I recently found something I wrote last July.  I didn’t share it at the time, because it felt unfinished.

I then found something I wrote from a short time later where the Lord had started showing me that things don’t have to be finished to be presentable. The process is the helpful part.

And then, I forgot. As humans do…

Here is what I wrote almost a year ago, that still calls to me:

 

7/18/17

I thought this would be a brief exhortation, encouragement. And I set my fingers to the keys, intending to make a brief statement where the encouragement was coming from, and I couldn’t.  It’s coming from this whole year so far…the events have been wild to me. The wildness is in the transformation. I hope the transformation of me, but really the transformation of my outlook and what has happened around and to me. I don’t know if I can make this a short story. I don’t like being long-winded. I don’t like using more than the essential words. It’s unnecessary, silly and sometimes very obnoxious. I think that’s why sometimes I slur. I am trying to get my thought out quickly, and in the haste, I blend a couple of words at a time.

Background, I guess that would be a good idea, to understand the story that started to take shape in January. Jim and I had been out of church for a number of years. We knew that we should be with other believers. We knew we should be in community. But there were simply no churches that felt anything other than weird. It just felt weird to be in church. It didn’t fit. During the years spent outside of church, we were de-programmed from all of the church-ness. All of the things and ways of doing things that have found their way into church to keep the model relevant. They’re not (all) bad or anything, they just didn’t fit us at all anymore. We were boiled down to the gospel. The simple life and love of Jesus. Love. We can do and have and be a lot of things, but without love, it’s nothing.

We had longed, and I mean Longed to live in Central Oregon for years. The door finally opened last July. And this door didn’t just open, it flew off the hinges. So many doors thrust themselves out of our way last year. After years of our heads banging into walls and deep deep disappointments, there was no stopping movement.

In January, we were somewhat settled in our new house. The holidays were out of the way, and our schedule could breathe again. We decided we would check out a church our friends had told us about. We were ready to be looking for months to find a church. That’s usually the way it goes. And from what we had heard, Redmond had some amazing churches. However, we went to one service at Grace Gate, and felt at home. We hadn’t felt that in YEARS!!!! Years! I ached to feel that again. I ached, literally in my soul and heart. I so desperately wanted that home again. The home of people. The home of no expectations and permission to be yourself. And every step along the way, it has been like this. We are free to be where we’re at. That’s a rare gem of a feeling!

Finding a home church has been lovely. We are learning again how to be involved, how to be in community. For myself, I’ve always wanted to tell the truth. I want my yes to be yes and my no to be no. However, I don’t know what my yes and no are right now. So I’m learning. Learning takes failure. So as I’ve been jumping into things, and then realizing I should have maybe stepped, I’ve been feeling like a rip-roaring idiot and failure. I know better.  At least I thought I did. I really thought I knew better.

I hate saying yes, and then having to say no. It makes me say yes rarely in all honesty. With all of the new things and changes that have occurred in less than a year, I still don’t know very many of my yesses and no’s.

This has thoroughly pre-occupied me for months now. I have been distracted. And harassed, I believe, by the accuser. He’d like me to feel that I don’t belong and I’ve messed up and ruined a good thing.

Jim always helps me back off myself. I, like most women I believe, am ready and willing at all times to heap pressure and expectations on myself. I’ve got them ready. Jim always helps me see where I’ve done that again; where I’ve imagined scenarios where the outcome is my failure.

Honestly, I want to laugh writing this! Thank you God for love, thank you God for outside perspectives, for people you put in our lives who can see way better than we can. For people who love us and can point out the way we help the enemy accuse us.

This brings me around to another thing I helped the enemy discourage me with. All of what I have written about, I have been through before. We’ve all learned these lessons. Sometimes, it’s years between when we can identify our aha moments. Sometimes, it’s on repeat for months and months. But I knew I had learned all of this before. I had this experience. I had the understanding that I can’t and should not jump right in. That I should do these things with the Lord, not for the Lord and myself. With. With. That is the key word. That is the key spot I want to be in, with my Jesus. But I rushed on ahead. And I knew not to, but I did it, foolishly, recklessly.  Reckless is a word I like! I like this word a lot!  Knowing the Lord, and living with him, many things will appear and feel reckless. This is not a word I am afraid of. However, I had failed again. Repeatedly. I had made more room for sin and lack of love, than for Love.

The final challenge that has come along with finding church and community again is the constant supply of resources.

Now, I strive to be an un-busy person. I say strive on purpose, because rest is still an aim of mine, and I don’t claim to have mastered it yet. I value and treasure rest. I really do. Being back in a church, there is so much more information to absorb than there was for a long time in our lives. Books, sermons, podcasts, new people, building relationships…The list goes on, for what is now being added back into our lives. And we have a house that is in no way ready for all that we want to do with it. Houses are a lot of work, for crying out loud!

All of this new-ness has given me ample opportunity to feel like crap. To feel like I’m not nearly caught up, busy enough, too busy…Basically, the idea of anything being enough, let alone more than enough, can be a painful one this season. Part of the issue, is that I’m so very hungry. I’M HUNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!! If Jesus can be found in something, some place, whatever…I want to find Him there! He’s beautiful and there are so many different ways to know and see and experience and understand my Jesus! And I want it all. But I’m tired. I have to know where He is with me and for me now.

This spring, I finally let Him help me let go of something I should have years ago. And I’m getting better at it. This lesson is being applied in many other places now. Because I want Jesus…I want to chase Him. But He is different with all of us I think. I am learning to not put expectations on someone else to do what I believe needs to be done, or be where I think the right place to be is. And I am learning not to pick up the expectations of others for the same.

The encouragement I wanted to share needed this story to give it the perspective it had for me. I’ve been really worried about being IN Jesus. Being in His presence. Just being IN and With Him.

The Lord stopped me the other day, He said He is the one who keeps me In Him. He accomplishes it. It isn’t something I can do. He keeps me In Him.

Such a long story, for such a simple encouragement.

There are many opportunities to miss the mark, or simply to feel we have missed the mark. But it is the Lord who keeps us in Him.

 

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learning to love

I was talking with my sister in law the other day, and she mentioned that I should post something that I wrote. I quickly shut it down. I said that I didn’t need to do that because God would lead people in His own way and own timing.

This morning, I have been sitting with some music on and just reflecting on the last couple of days. That situation came back to my mind, and I felt that God showed me what I actually did.

I shut down the idea of speaking, sharing, encouraging, letting what is inside out the door of my heart. I was being selfish. I was using something He has been teaching me as a defense against doing what He has told me in the past to do. For a while now, I have been trying to crawl my way back to solitary confinement, without God noticing. Besides this being flat wrong, it’s stupid. I would much rather be me, and freely so.

It’s November 2015, and what I hear and see my Jesus doing is calling us to true religion. James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

In the gospels, Jesus’ message is LOVE. He is love. We are here to learn to love, to be like Jesus, who walked the earth as Love, Himself.

As we look around at our world, it can look hopeless. Humans are trafficked, executed, sold into slavery, taken hostage, murdered. This list of atrocities goes on. There is famine and near genocide happening today.

We want an answer. What do we do about all of this injustice?

We have been created for love. It is reason for our existence. It is the answer to the question “what is the meaning of life?”.  When we learn to love, Love Himself will have His day and He will win everything. Love is the answer. Love must have it’s way.

Love is the most powerful force in existence. It is more powerful than hate and destruction. We get to let this fill us and we pray that the Love of God and His Son would be revealed. That every heart would know this great Love.

We are alive to learn to be like my Jesus. He was and is and will forever be, Love.

There is much to discover about this love and I intend to go deeper and share. There are no good reasons to stay quiet. I have seen others’ writings and messages throughout the years, and they have gotten me where I am. It is time to join them.

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Wrestling

11-22-14 Wrestiling with something massive

Is there anything left to look forward to?

In my 20’s, i was absolutely positive that I would change the world. I would see the nations, i would see dead men come back to life, blind eyes opened and i would make sure my children were a part of this mayhem. I knew i would be a wife, i knew i would be a mother.

No image ever contained just a desk.

I believed without shame in God’s hugeness, wild ability, and insane love. I believed i really was standing on a rock in the middle of that ocean of love, with wave after wave crashing on me, while i stood laughing, surrounded and completely unbroken by His all. I would be a world changer, a fire starter…all of those roles that are prayed over a person in charismatic circles.

In all honesty, i believe these things still. I just feel a bit of shame now. I’ve seen the world and what it contains; soul and dream crushing realities. I know God is bigger than what is in this world. I know that with Him, i am bigger than it too. But i can’t feel it anymore.

I wonder if our 20’s are for shamelessness, and our 30’s are for fear?

Was i cripplingly wrong about myself and the future i imagined, prayed for, fought for, dreamt of and believed in?

This isn’t anything that can be answered. I think it’s just a demon (or a demon and a few of his friends) that needs to be faced. NOW. Before another day passes at the desk i resent with all my heart.

I hope that what i end up being wrong about is this fear. I want hope back. I want naiivete back. I want fearlessness and silliness back. I want to go boldly into unknown parts of this earth and see gates thrown open…to Jesus and me.

I have dreamt of gates in the middle east opening. I have dreamt of finding Jesus there. He was simple and glorious, and he just loved.

Is this wrestling all for a mission that must be recovered? I hope it is.

As i march on, with trembling, further into life, will i get to recover that former glory? Will this episode turn into a blip on the radar that brought about greater humility and taught me to be more shameless than i would have ever imagined 10 years ago? I hope that is the future. I hope it doesn’t take another ten years to realize this season is a different level of that untamed life i long to live.

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From February 2013 – Some Encouragement

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the Lord was showing me when I wrote this older blog lately.

I originally posted this in February 2013. But I feel like the Lord is still saying this. I feel He is always saying it, but it’s sticking up out of the ground of surrounding circumstances lately.

The only addition I want to make, is the encouragement to explore. I believe this might be one of the most important things I have to say with my life: There is no reason not to go after something you want. So, whether you have very little room to explore your options and your interests, or you have a multitude of room in your life to explore. Just start looking and moving around and seeing things from a different angle. The reason is, WHY NOT. Think about it. Why not look into what you want. The only reason is Fear. Fear is a feeling and state of being, but not a fact that affects your circumstances.

February, 2013 Some Encouragement

Hello,

I just have this little bit of encouragement on my heart today. Last night Jim and I were talking about how we really need to enjoy this time in our life. Things are going very well and this year we have the opportunity to do things we have never gotten to do in our marriage yet. We have waited a VERY long time and watched other couples do things we simply never could.

So we discussed really enjoying this time because it won’t last forever. Life is all about the ups and downs. As my mom calls it, the test of poverty and the test of prosperity. We have huge responsibilities and OPPORTUNITIES with both!

If things are going well-ENJOY THEM! Laugh it up! Have fun! Make memories! Build your foundation stronger!

Don’t waste any time trying to predict the next dip in the road. Do not go borrowing trouble and pain from the future. Your present contains the VERY best God has for you. There are treasures aplenty that need your attention.

And if things are rough. Not working at all. Ripping your guts out and your skin off: This too shall pass! This is not your forever. The hard times pass just as the good times too. Have faith and hope. It is hard to have faith and hope. But the testing of our faith produces perseverance, and that is the key to growth and maturity. Which is our goal. James 1:3-5 (not lacking anything-yay!)

Also, 1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Hold on. This too shall pass.

Rejoice and again I say rejoice! Get excited about the good. Have faith for the hard. Life moves and flows like water-It’s messy and clean all at the same time.

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Hebrews 12:12-13

Hebrews 12:12-13

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (nkjv)

Zephaniah 3:16, 17 makes this encouragement we see in Hebrews possible for us. In light of His delight, that He sings over us, we can strenthen and make straight. After we have been somewhere, we can leave the condition of that place, so as to make others well. Make a place we travel, a healing place. Because he sings His delight on our heads. Because of His delight.

 

We can even be healed and made new as we continue to move along the path with our Jesus.

Lord, we bring you our hearts, our thoughts and longings. We know we can’t change our selves. We cannot change others and we cannot make external things bend to us. Only you can change us. Only You can touch our hearts and souls and make them to know You. You’re goodness, Your moves and ways. You make us to know you with your touch, and You in us makes the feeble and crooked straight and strong. Make us people so consumed with bringing Your goodness to wherever we are, that they become places where people are loved and made well. God is it You. You delight over us and we return Your delight and we will let You be You.

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i am an introvert

4/4/14

This is something that has been brewing in me, my soul for a bit – since reading the Matt Walsh article on the shy girl in the back of the class. I am an introvert. I absolutely love that about myself. I adore it. I get it, I value it, I use it and embrace it. It’s mine. I have nothing against extroverts…I really don’t. They have helped me a ton.

I used to be under lock and key. Terrified to speak or be heard. But desperately craving both. Now I know how to speak and be heard. To share and prophecy and teach…and just have fun without crying or a quivering lip.

It’s unreal to me that as an introverted adult, I still find the same amount of people who treat me like I need to change as I did when I was a teenager. No I do not usually join in in the shouting conversation. No I don’t push my opinion, if I feel like it hasn’t been heard yet.That doesn’t have a thing to do with being shy or quiet though. I can decide as a human who I trust and whose opinion I value. And if I’m not sharing my opinion with you, I probably don’t value yours. The only thing I may need to change is a judgmental attitude/heart.

AN INTROVERT WHO HAS EXPERIENCED ANY LEVEL OF FREEDOM FROM FEAR, HAS AN OCEAN TO SHARE. THE MORE FREEDOM, THE MORE OCEANS.  The process of healing is like literal surgery for someone who is introverted, and as a result shy and afraid. It is intense and deeper than anything else, the work the Lord does in someone to help them speak. It took years for me to not be afraid to talk to people. Like anyone who has something in their life they must overcome, it is the biggest mountain they’ll climb. And they may have to climb it multiple times in their life. There are deep wells of life in these people.

Don’t rush to assumptions before you’ve listened. No matter the personality or temperament of the person you are dealing with. This goes for me dealing with people who I would think are too free expressing their thoughts and opinions to anyone and everyone.

The thing that hurts, offends, upsets me off the most, is when people say they want to get to know me, but never ask me questions, or they don’t shut up long enough to hear my answer. I think there are many who can relate to this situation.

my conclusion=their statement was a lie. they don’t want to know me.

Now, they may have meant what they stated. But in the experience of this introvert (me), they usually have not meant it.  And I learned in my late teens and early 20’s to finally stop wasting my time and energy longing for them to mean it.

It’s true, introverts usually have fewer close friends. I can count on less that five fingers the number of people I know that I know know me, and I know them.

My ongoing flaw, sin, is I do in fact shut down and withhold if the above (not shutting up) is done to me on more than one occasion. My mind is made up, I will not trust that person. It is the tendency and temptation I fight every single time.

Image

How I used to write on the left. Totally controlled and perfect.
One the right, how I tend to write now. Able to express myself and freed up.

Again, I love being an introvert I love what the Lord has done in me and what he’s doing. I love watching Him deal with other introverts. Take them out of their shell, and show them their marvelous value. It’s one of the most exciting things I could ever witness.

In my life thus far, the Lord has lead me through a glorious process. It has involved dealing with deep, bloody pain and rejection, to being absolutely convinced I am liked. Not only loved, but liked.  We all have so much to learn and glean from each other. The point of this post, for me, is to caution against ignoring the quieter ones. The ones who take a little longer to be open. They should not be written off, any more than the one who more easily shares.

For my part, I feel a strength in my soul and I would love to love others with it and be a part of something glorious the Lord would do in them. It is a strength that has come from being in the cleft of the rock and going back there many times at His bidding. It’s a strength that has come from being quiet. I see it in others who wait to speak. That strength will not be moved.

This is the article I referenced at the beginning, every single word of which, I identified with and agreed:http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/03/24/to-the-quiet-boring-girl-in-class/

 

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praying for our leaders

3/15/14

Hosea 5:10 MSG-Israel’s rulers are crooks and theives, cheating the people of their land, and I’m angry, good and angry. Every inch of their bodies is going to feel my anger.

We do not war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

We must pray for our leaders. God does not stomach corrupt leaders. those who take advantage and use his people. and He says something to the effect that their whole body will feel his anger. That is frightening! We are to pray for our leaders that they will know the lord and know truth. That they will protect those they have charge over. We ought not pray to get rid of Obama, Putin, or Planned Parenthood, for example. We are to pray that the deception is lifted and people receive love and that truth has it’s way. That Jesus is lifted up in the earth. If you cut off one head of the beast, seven more will come in its place.

Like the sentiment: don’t raise your voice, raise your argument.

We are instructed to pray. To care. To act in love. To be motivated by love, compassion and mercy. To be like Jesus, and want those who are now corrupt to come to repentance and healing and the right path.

The Lord has made it very clear that he wants no one to perish, no one to miss out on knowing his love for them.

This part is up to us. We need to get with the program. We need to come to the truth that our anger at people is NOT righteous. anger with the lie and the harm to people is righteous. Anger with the usery of people and the usery of God Himself is righteous. As when Jesus overthrew tables in the temple. They were using God’s house for their own gain. I am angry when anyone in any position of authortiy uses those in their charge for their own personal gain.Iit’s shameful, and they will give an account. I pray that they repent before that day.

The church is not charged with bringing judgement to the earth and the nations in the last days. Our job is to host the Lord’s presence. To allow him to be so at home in and with us, that those coming to Him now have a place of refuge. We are to be a home, a hospital, a safe place. We are not the judge, and God is not helped by our opinions and judgements of people.

Go to the throne of God and participate. Pray with God that not one should perish.

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