recently we had company come into town.
if you are a wife/mom/homeowner, you know what that means.
clean, clean, clean. make it look presentable.
as I spent the entire morning going above and beyond for my guests, I seriously had a heart check.
why was I doing this?
honestly, I was doing it to APPEAR like I had it all together. to impress them. to show them that I could do it all AND have a clean house.
I mean, did I really need to clean the fish tank and re-organize the entire playroom? did I really think that doing these things would earn my guests love?
y’all, these “guests” were my parents. the people that on this earth that love me unconditionally. they’ve known me longer than any other human being, and love me more than I could realize.
it was such a heart check for me. I knew in my heart, I was cleaning up
a. to earn their approval [that I already have]
b. to please them
c. to appear like I have it all together
and it just hit me. I’m so thankful that we don’t have to “clean up our act” to go before the throne. we don’t have to impress God with our housewife skills for him to love us anymore than He already does. He meets us IN OUR MESS. Nothing we could do could ever make him love us any more, or any less.
Matthew 5:8 says, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.
I don’t know about you, but I want to see God. I want my heart to be pure. I want my motives to be in check. I want to put off “appearances” and truly desire to please the Lord above all else [and above all people].
if you aren’t following along with IF Equip as we journey through the Sermon on the Mount, join us! http://www.ifequip.com/
Wynne here, checking in for
therapy writing alone time. on this LAST day of school for the year….
I take a deep breath in and out, smile at the woman across from me at the coffee shop, take a big sip of my sweet eugene latte, blast austin stone worship in my ears and settle in….
It’s been quite a few months of transition. Time to sit down and process through writing has been limited, but as I stood in the parking lot with my new friend Tara this morning I’m reminded that God gave me this gift + this outlet, and I need to use it. I will not be the mom, friend, sister, mercy-giver that He’s made me to be unless I myself am filled up. In my filling up, I then overflow onto my children, my husband, our community, and the people the Lord has put in my path.
It’s purely the mercy of God that I am in this place. from the desert to this rainy town. there are days I look through old pictures from our former life in Midland and miss it deeply. I miss the familiarity, the known, the comfort, the rhythm, the people, my porch. I start to realize I don’t have all of those things here yet, or not fully yet. but looking back causes my heart to flutter, my hands to sweat, and me to doubt. but doubt what? doubt what I know. doubt the HOPE I have in Christ.
I know in my spirit that the Lord asked us to lay down our lives, leave what we knew, and HE alone called us here. it’s exciting, really. but after the excitement and newness wears off, real life begins. new rhythms, new people, new environment, and a level of un-comfofortableness that I used to crave [in theory].
you see, our lives have ALREADY been gloriously ruined. right? I got this. Our lives were flipped upside down before, remember? the whole adoption thing? the whole Africa missions thing? changing the way we purchase, recycle, give, live. Lord, I’ve already opened my hands for you to give and take. Now? We’ve got this. you’ve called us here, and we said yes! isn’t that enough Lord?
oh friends, even typing that I have knots in my stomach. to hear and feel the CLINCHED FISTS that I currently have. Why must I be so terrified to open them up and tell God he can have ANYTHING?
I know that the Lord moved us out of the desert to this town full of trees for a reason. for more than one reason. and while we’ve been obedient to COME and to say YES, there’s more that He wants from us. I know in my spirit WRECKING and RUINING is coming again. but with that…BREAKTHROUGH and more freedom than I can dare to imagine.
I know it is.
now is the time to open my clinched fists.
to tell the Lord He can do whatever He wants with us.
to present my body as a LIVING SACRIFICE. [romans 12:1]
there is such hope friends, even when we are afraid.
I clearly don’t have it figured out. I’m in the middle of the struggle yet again. I’m asking, searching the scripture, praying,
talking crying it out with good friends who listen and council me, shakily holding up my hands to the one who loves me and gave his life to set me free. victory is ours for the taking, friends.
I love that as I was browsing my pictures for this post, I came across this one. It makes me stop and actually breathe for the first time since I started writing. Isaiah 43:19 [not 44…]
what’s holding you back from giving Jesus all? and what’s a truth you can speak over your situation?
thankful to be walking this road alongside of you.
I want to live a truly good story.
and not for the reasons I might think. Upon further inspection, I realize I want to live a good story for me. for my family, for my children, for my transformation, for my character. not for others, or for acclimation, or fame.
God is the master storyteller and he handpicked this specific time on planet earth for me to dwell here. truly “for such a time as this”. it’s so easy for me to think I have control over my story and the timing of the story god is writing. but my life expiereces aren’t random. they are all apart of a bigger story.
the transformation God is working in my life is also for the people in my life. since I don’t live a life huddled up at home, my life and my people’s lives are intertwined.
if I change and transform, that spills out naturally from me and onto the people around me.
I’ve been re-reading a favorite book of mine, Donald Millers A million miles in a thousand years, and I love this quote about the transformation change…
“the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. The point of a story is the character arc, the change.”
I can say wholeheartedly that the story God is writing in my life, although it’s not one I would have dreamed up or chosen for myself, is indeed changing me. It’s transforming me, drawing me nearer to himself. The story of infertility that has been woven into my story the past 5-6 years has changed me. It’s made me different than I was before, and honestly if I would have skipped this part of my story somehow, I would not be the me I am now.
I am grateful for this part of my story, this event that drastically changed the course of my life has changed me. There came a point in the story that God asked me if I trusted him, if I trusted that He would write my story better than I ever could…and again and again I have to surrender my plans, my dreams, my life to him. for His ways are higher than my ways, his thoughts are higher than my thoughts as Isaiah 55 says.
and this story is NOT just about me.
I remember so vividly when our story was about to take a drastic left turn, God had led me on to this line of thinking.
just like his timing was perfect for MY life and my story, so was his timing for any future children he might bring into our family.
Once you get a taste for a truly good story, an epic adventure, a risk that turns into reward, you want more.
You want it not only for you, but for your friends, for your people. You want those around you to experience the joy and meaning that comes from taking risks, getting out of their comfort zones, and going on adventurers.
think about your own story – is it the story you want to live?
He is the master creator of the entire universe. He handpicked you and me to live in this time, in your city, in our country, for such a time as this. He is weaving your story into the fabric of your community, your church, your sphere of influence. He wants to use your story and unique gifts to create for Him! create relationships, tell stories, and make art that glorifies him.
Sounds easy right? As creatives we all know that this comes at a high price! When God has called and gifted you with specific tools and gifts, and asked you to use them, it’s pretty fair that you will face resistance of some sort. I always like to think that this resistance is a sure sign that I’m on the right track. Press on, press through, and trust that the God that called you to this will indeed equip and empower you to finish it.
I was re-reading one of my favorite books on story by Donald Miller, A million miles for a thousand years, and in it Don says this,
“If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story and put us with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you”
Doesn’t that set you free to create? To not only create, but create with joy and courage? God loves you! He created you for a specific purpose and he can use your mind, your hands, your art to glorify him in this big world.
Dream that dream, create that piece of art, tell that story, write that poem, pick up that camera…the world is waiting to see God through your eyes.
this morning I was sitting on the floor with my daughter, Asher, waiting patiently on daddy to get home with Sunday morning donuts when we engaged in a conversation about love + Jesus. She’s always asking me “hey, where’s Jesus?” and as I told her he’s alive in her heart, and mommy’s heart…[and every other family member + pet’s name she could say] we talked about how he loves her. and us.
somehow the conversation turned, and she told me she didn’t love me, she only loved daddy. [maybe because he was getting her donuts and I wasn’t?]
we’ve been practicing our emotions, and so she knows what it means when I make the “sad face”. I sat there on the floor genuinely sad. even though I know she didn’t mean it, even though I know in my heart she deeply loves me. but the words that came out of my mouth reminded me of someone who loves us all with their life.
me: “Asher! I love you with my whole life, can’t you just show me that you love me too?”
as my three year old proceeded to lay in my lap and snuggle up to me, showing me her love and affection I was reminded that that someone who lives in our hearts loved us with his entire life. can’t we just show him we love him? is that too much to ask?
it seems so simple, and maybe it is. love God with all our life.
“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.” – Romans 12:1-2, the message
I want to love God with my life. not because I’m supposed to, but because I love him. may my life “proclaim the excellencies of him who called me out of darkness into his marvelous light” as 1 peter 2:9 says. Isn’t that beautiful? he chose us, and called us out of darkness into his light? Let’s live in that light and proclaim that love with how we live our lives.
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