Monday, February 8, 2010

Heaven is a Scary Place

I have always been a little afraid of Heaven. Obviously I am more afraid of Hell, but still there has been that fear of Heaven that has lived in my heart... and I even know the verse where it says there is no fear in our perfect God. I began to search my heart and God's word as to why this fear I have exists. I started praying when God asked me to "be still, and listen." I am really really bad at this. I want to babble. I want to explain my self. But against all of my flesh, I stop and breathe and I am quite.

Things are still for a moment. Things are very very quite in my very very loud house. And I hear His voice whispering things to me. He is revealing things to me that only He can reveal in the quietness of my heart. He is showing me that my fear is because I can't imagine not having my husband hold my hand or place his arm around me. I can't imagine not being surrounded by three little people who give me joy in the middle of a storm. I can't imagine not calling my mom for a good chat, or the friends that have loved and encouraged us through our lives. And for some reason I feel like these things will be different in Heaven. Who knows, really?!.

I realize this sounds silly considering my puny human mind can't even begin to comprehend the luxuries and glory of Heaven. But what I am realizing is all of these things are what bring me joy. They bring me joy and fill my heart and guess what?? can all be gone in an instant. God is showing me why my joy fades when George and I have an argument (or intense fellowship as we like to call it). It fades when the three little people become the storm instead of the peace in the midst of it. Or when that friend is hurtful and discouraging instead of encouraging. Then I am just a hurt, sorry, tired person. And so, my joy is no longer. And that, my friend is where I still struggle...finding joy in the things of this world.

My joy should completely and utterly come from the Lord. So when the storms hit and the people fail, I still have the joy and peace and love that only Christ is able to give. And until I can come to a place where God alone is my joy and my all and my fulfillment, I will always be a little afraid of Heaven. I know when I fully grasp what it means to have nothing but the joy of the Lord, I will be like Paul, and long for the day I get to be in paradise with my Saviour. My journey has so many mountains ahead, but my prayer is that over one of those mountains is the valley of the joy of the Lord. I trust through my journey I will arrive there someday and long for the day where my joy will be complete and have no end.

But until that day, I will keep resting in the arms of Jesus! Trusting He is the author and perfecter of my faith and He will continue to show me what true joy looks like, even when I am having a stubborn, fearful moment. Thank you God, for being joy when all else fails. May I believe it and live it so I long for the day to be with you in Heaven. Because really, who is afraid of Heaven??

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is God Enough?

Tears are flowing. I can't catch a breath. Emotions are running ramped through the core of my soul as I begin to ask myself such a scary question, "Is God enough." I want to believe my answer will always be yes. I want to believe that no matter what happens to my marriage, my kids, my health, my family, my friends, or my church that God is enough. But there is always that little doubt that if something immeasurably awful might happen I could still believe in my heart of hearts that God was enough.

One of our favorite pastor's, Matt Chandler, recently had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor. He is one of the most unbelievable pastor's George and I have experienced in our short time in ministry and he is quite possibly facing the immeasurably awful. A 35 year old man who has done nothing but believe God, preach the gospel, and live a life full of grace and love. He has led hundreds if not thousands into eternity with God the Father and here he faces the immeasurable. My flesh wants to scream out, "it is not fair." My heart wants to plead with God, "why, why, why?" But Matt reminds me that for him, if he never gets to watch his son play football, walk his daughter down the aisle, or kiss his wife again, that God is enough. And I am humbled to my knees.

I realize that as a couple on the front lines of ministry, the enemy is always on attack. I watched it happen on Sunday. Saturday night both of my girls were vomiting violently. They were sick, sick, sick. And I knew all it was, was the enemy fighting against something that was going to be more powerful and more glorious than he could handle. Sunday was glorious. Sunday was amazing. God was powerful. And here we were being attacked to keep it from happening. I have experienced it time and time again. And if I am totally honest, as I tend to be, it scares me. I know our family will always be the target of attack. Our health, our relationships, our love for the Lord will be the big red target for the enemy.

And so I ask myself, is God enough? Will He be enough when the attack comes? Will He be enough if I lose it all? Will He be enough and all I need or want. I want to believe that I love Him enough to always say yes. But it scares me. I know the kind of love He has for me and believe that He loves me enough to use me for His glory alone. And whatever that looks like I am willing to endure because His grace is sufficient for me. It is sufficient for me in the moment, but not a minute before. And when I am in the moment He will be enough. But if I endure with Him, because He is enough, I will have nothing to fear. I believe this. I do, I really do. But I wouldn't be completely honest, or completely me, if I didn't say it scares me.

We need your prayers. We need your support as we face attacks and we face the enemy and his schemes to destroy us. Pray that God is enough. Pray that God is all we need. Pray that God will be glorified when the storms come. And then Praise Him. Praise Him that even if the world is crumbling around us, He is enough. That He is a God who is so loving, so wonderful, so merciful and so perfect, that even facing the immeasurable HE IS ENOUGH!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus Shouldn't Be the Most Important Thing

I have been living my life where Christ is the most important thing. Claiming to put Him first before my family, friends, wants, needs and desires, but what I am realizing is He doesn't need to be the most important thing in my life. Jesus should be the only thing in my life. Everything I do should ooze of Jesus. Should have His fragrance all over it. Should be about the love I have for the Man who loved me first, and yet, I live my life so differently.

I am in a place where I realize my relationship about Jesus is mostly about me and my effort and my time and my needs and my desires and my, my, my!! I use Him for my own benefit and gain, and then I wonder why when things fail, or I am hurt or frustrated I begin to lose sight of what matters most. What He wants from me is not a show, or perfection, or a mask, a lifetime of ministry, or even to know about Him, what He wants is for me to know Him.

It is amazing that after almost 18 years of knowing Jesus as my Savior, I still find myself boasting in how much I know about Him instead of truly knowing Him. When I go through the day I don't just listen to the Rabbi's heartbeat. I don't keep my heart inclined with the love and spirit of Jesus, if I am truly honest. I don't bring everything to Him. I try to tackle most of life without even considering listening to the Jesus I claim to love more than anything. I think because I am pastor's wife I have truly convinced myself that it all should just be innate in me. I should know the right things to say, how to pray, how to think, how to raise my kids, how to do anything that is remotely spiritual and so I pretend that I know how to. I have done such a good job of performing the art of pretending I have even convinced myself I know how. And all it does is lead to self-righteousness and self-dependency.

So here I am, once again, broken before the Lord, realizing the distractions of life and the role I play, has kept me from Jesus. From really hearing his heartbeat. I have fooled myself but have only saddened my sweet Lord. I read about a Jewish man named Mordecai who was this rambunctious lover of the world. He loved the lakes he swam in and the trees he climbed and refused to go to the synagogue to worship because he did not want to leave what he loved. Jesus came to his village and asked to be left alone with the boy. He picked Mordecai up and held him silently against his heart. Jesus said nothing. Just held him. The next day the boy began going to the synagogue before the lakes and woods he loved so much. You see Jesus became one with the world Mordecai loved all because He heard the heart of Jesus.

I love my world. I love my husband, my kids, my family, my habits (good and bad), my church, my world. And I love Jesus first. But that isn't what He wants. He wants me to understand that I am the one that Jesus loves. That even in the midst of my flesh laying against His breast is where I find myself because I am the one Jesus loves. In my authentic true person He created for His pleasure, I am the one that Jesus loves. Our hearts will begin to beat together as one when I just lay against His breast and listen to his heartbeat even in the midst of sin and selfishness and rebellion and know that I am the one that Jesus loves.

Jesus shouldn't be the most important thing, He should be the only thing. And yet I don't live this way, and until heaven, I never fully will. But even knowing that, I am learning to lay against His breast and breathe in that I am the one that Jesus loves. And slowly my world will become one with Jesus, my unbelievable, Jesus. And then and only then does Jesus become not the most important thing, but the only thing.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Caught in the Net

I keep hearing the Lord whisper in my ear, "One step at a time, Megan. Just take it one step at a time." This is in response to my frazzled mind wondering how am I going to "do better" next time when it comes to sin. There is always that one thing in your life that becomes the incessant thorn in your side that you wonder how you are going to let go of because it is such a part of you. That sin that you have dealt with for years and years ago you thought surely by 30 or 40 or 50 you wouldn't still have this "problem." You know what I am talking about. For me it is Performance and Perfection, two very nasty things I have come to despise. For you it might be gossip, pessimism, doubt, control, pride, fear...just to name a few. And whatever it is seems to be the driving force in your life.

I have come to a place of exhaustion and I ask myself why, Lord, why can't this just go away. Why do I still battle with the same things over and over again. You would think I would get it by now. And I keep hearing Him say to me, "One step at a time, Megan." But here is the clincher it has to be "one step at a time while you fix your eyes on me." Oh, you mean I have to get my eyes off myself (who I am pitying at the moment) and fix them on Jesus? I have to get my eyes off of the sin than entangles me in its nasty web. So for the moment I start to fix my eyes on Jesus. Whispering His name over and over again and peace is there for a moment. And then, I hear that nagging voice in my head that says, "What about next week when you are in this situation? Or what about when you encounter this person? Or what if you wake up one day and find that this has happened?" You can fill in the blanks for yourself because we all do it. And I start to panic, taking my eyes off the prize and back onto self, sin and the web I am caught in.

And a few days ago I am reading God's word and it's like He shouts at me through the pages. Psalm 25:15 says "My eyes are CONTINUALLY toward the Lord, For He will pluck my feet out of the net." I sit. I breath. I listen and let God speak. I envision myself caught in this net like a bird. Fingers, toes, head, legs, arms all twisted and caught in this web that is keeping me from freedom. Freedom to be me. Freedom to be complete. Freedom to be used for God's glory. I am so sad. Sad because I am so caught up in this net. I long to be plucked. And the Lord shows me something gently and kindly. He slowly unravels one finger as our eyes meet and I see such compassion and grace and mercy in His sweet face. Then He unravels another and another and another. Then He moves to my toes when I begin to realize He is just at my toes and I have a whole body to unravel!! Panic sets in and I start to squirm. Reaching to help Him, He who needs no help, I am desperately seeking to quickly unravel my toes when my eyes turned away from Jesus and back onto my self. And in that process I have managed to get my fingers, the very same fingers that God himself untangled, right back in the net, caught up and twisted and entangled once again.

This seems to be the theme for so many of us that live life in the net. We long to be plucked out of it and yet we are working and weaving so hard to get ourselves out of it we panic only to find ourselves right back where we started, and sometimes, even more tangled than before. So I have a new goal. My goal is different this time. Instead of setting actual, tangible self-improvements I will just focus on Jesus. I will be aware of the risen Christ even while in the web. I will improve what it means to have the discipline of awareness of the present risenness of Jesus. I will know that if I just keep my eyes on Him, He will slowly, but surely untangle me. Then He will pluck me from the web that keeps me from being all that God desires.

God promises to pluck me out of the net if my eyes are on Him. All the while He is doing it "one step at a time." Thank you Lord that you want to do the unravelling yourself. All you ask of me is to look into your eyes CONTINUALLY. Keep me from myself, Lord. And keep my eyes on yours; eyes full of love, grace, mercy and peace. Teach me this Lord. Please teach me this.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suburbia is Killing Me

I can't believe it has really been 6 weeks since I allowed the time to indulge myself in some mind-clearing, gut wrenching blogging. Summer is crazy in the Wright house as I am sure it is in most homes. Vacations, pools, playgrounds, friends, barbecues and sunscreen eat up most of our time in the months of June and July. Running around trying to cram it all in before the days start to get shorter and the weather begins to get cooler. Just trying to do the all-American thing that most families do during summer vacation. I get caught up in the busyness of it all. Packing for two weeks at the beach for five people seems utterly overwhelming and exhausting at the moment. Picking out the right out-fits for all of us to wear for great beach pics! Applying sunscreen, then re-applying sunscreen. Making sure lunches are packed and ready to be toted to the pool. Everything seems

I mean, really, does it really matter that all of us wear coordinating colors for beach pictures? Or that everyone has a different outfit to wear each day on vacation. The things I work myself up over are, needless to say, RIDICULOUS! And then, my sweet, godly, righteous husband says it all to me during a Sunday afternoon stroll, "I think Suburbia is killing us. It is the worst thing for our walk with the Lord and the kids." What! I mean how can Suburbia be bad for our family? We live in a great neighborhood with lots of families and kids and fun and....and....and....he is right. It is killing us.

I am justifying desperately seeking the complacent life because I really like Suburbia. I freely admit I like the comfort of it all. The friendly neighbors, the good schools, and even, dare I say it, "keeping up with the Jones." Not like we can even begin to keep up, but at least the "Jones" keep me informed of what ever is the popular at the moment. And as I begin to pray about it, I am completely convicted that it really taints what it means to be a follower of Christ. Please hear me when I say, there is nothing wrong with Suburbia, but it keeps us all so comfortable. We like the comfort. We begin to forget what it is like to step out on faith and rely on the Lord for everything. We get comfortable in our homes, our circumstances, our faith. We compare ourselves to the "Jones" next door and at least we are going to church and have a relationship with the Lord. We become so comfortable in our lives in Suburbia we forget to deny it all for the sake of the cross.

So now our goal has become familiarity and contentment. I find myself teaching my children the things that are really unimportant. Oh, Lord forgive me for loving Suburbia. I want to be willing to keep my faith fresh and real and I want my children to desire that instead of good schools and constant entertainment. I really do want them to know that He is all we need. But I do such a poor job at it. I want them to have the "best" just like everyone else. And yet all it is teaching them is the opposite of Jesus. Focused on self and the things of this world. Material things don't matter, education doesn't matter, pretty houses and cars don't matter, and heaven help me, cute children's clothes don't matter.

So my prayer has become "Lord, please don't let Suburbia kill us, the Wright family of five." Don't let it kill the passion we have to save those who don't know Jesus. Don't let it kill the the desire to be content in ALL circumstances. Don't let it kill my understanding of what is important. Don't let it kill this house who chooses to serve the Lord our God. And please don't let it kill the hearts of our church.

I have so far to go...but acknowledgment is the first step to healing from this sneaky illness called Suburbia.

Until next time,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have a little Compassion

I have been hurt. Hurt by words and speculations of people who don't really know me. They only see the person I am from afar on any given Sunday or the person at the pool trying to survive the summer with 3 small children. I hear comments and remarks made about me that hurt to the core. In fact, they hurt to the point I feel as if my heart is bleeding. I have learned through the power of the Lord to be resilient and pull myself up again and move on, but then someone reminds me of the hurtful words and assumptions again and I am right back where I started. I understand I break the mold. I am not your average pastor's wife nor am I your typical mother of three. I am who I am. A girl just trying to be the women God loves. And yet, I realize how painful people's judgements and assumptions can be. They are only assuming things from what they see at a distance and on the surface. Any mistakes that I make are magnified by life in the fish bowl. And I often wonder, when I will be able to come up and take a breath.

I am realizing how little compassion we have as people. And the unfortunate thing is, most of the people with judgement are the people who say they know Jesus. The very people who have received the greatest, largest capacity of compassion that has ever been displayed and yet they tend to be the ones who throw the stones. I am so grateful that my Jesus doesn't throw stones. In fact He is always there ready to pick me up when I fall, not one to push me back down when I try to get up. He has compassion. He loves me in spite of my mistakes and sin and He will keep loving me through both. So why do we do it? Why are we such judgemental, hurtful people who forget who had compassion on us? Why can't we love like Jesus loves? Why doesn't our hearts extend the grace and compassion that our Jesus does?

Sometimes I wonder if the assumption is, once you've become a Christian you should have it all together...or at least act like we do. Then we begin the performance cycle that just takes us down a path that leads us to self-righteousness and we become our own god. We look down on others who call themselves Christians who have "messed up." We are so disappointed in their foolish decisions and in turn we end up making ourselves feel better because we seem to have it all together. And then we start living a life Jesusless. I think the entire reason people fall away from the Lord is simply because we as believers do such a poor job of loving and showing people who Jesus really is; A God who loves us in the pit, through the pit, and out of the pit.

I want to have compassion. I am tired of the assumptions and the accusations that tear people apart. I want to love like Jesus. I want to extend the grace like He did. I realize I am nothing but a ragamuffin fully pleasing to God in spite of my flaws. And yet their are expectations we place on people and are so disappointed when they fail us. We are quick to judge and slow to extend grace. I will always fail you. I am human and full of flesh. But I do love the Lord. I am trying by His grace and power to be the obedient women He needs me to be. Isn't that all He asks of me? So why are we so quick to ask perfection? I am just as guilty, considering my LARGEST FLAW is the battle with perfection.

So just have some compassion, you who call yourselves believers. The kind of compassion that extends the hand to the mom in the grocery store who has lost her cool because her kids are running circles around her instead of snarling at her because she raised her voice! The kind of compassion that loves the addict through yet another painful fall off the wagon instead of wondering when are they ever going to "get it." The kind of compassion that judges not from the outside but gives a person the chance to show you their heart instead of making assumptions about who they are based on appearance.

Jesus says "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, Holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." Ah, if we would only do what Jesus asks of us then no one would deny the love of our Savior. No one!!

Until next time,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stony Soul, Thorny Flesh

I have this person in my life (a godly woman, at that) who is always commenting on women who have had multiple children at once, or like myself, has had many children in a short time frame. Her comments are of sympathy, yet they tend to take the "what a crazy woman" and "her life will never be the same" tone. For some odd reason, it has driven me bonkers to hear her say it. It is not encouraging statements to a girl who had 3 children in 3 1/2 years! And its the fact that this person seems to think their lives are only going to get worse. How sad I often think. Even she, who should know Christ enough to know better, is still missing IT. But wait...don't I miss IT too?!. And how so often I am just like this person, which is why I think God allowed it to erk me so badly. I am a die-hard, love the Lord with all I have kinda gal, and I find myself judging others situations and thinking to myself, "man, their life will never be the same." In that same tone I have heard from this particular person...and I start to examine myself. We get so hung up on logistics, facts, finances, and demands that we take things that are meant to be blessings and we make them into thorns. We forget that the Lord is Sovereign and He is ultimately in control.

When things don't go as we like, we immediately indulge in feelings of anger, resentment and frustration over the circumstances and we miss the point. God wants us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand. He wants us to believe that His ways are better than ours. But we get caught up in our world around us and we turn our eyes away from Jesus. They keep staring at the "problem" and we forget that God has a purpose for all of it. It is so hard to see what the Lord is doing through these "thorns" when all of our focus is on the pain and hardship. Some thorns are the child who just won't obey (I have a couple of those!) and some are for a an illness or a financial hardship. But I really believe God gives us these thorns to make us who He wants us to be. Trust me, I was not planning on having 3 children so quickly, but I have already seen God grow me through the demands of having 3 so close together.

Someone once told me that the removal of small stones which encumber fields does not always increase the crop. In fact they are an advantage because they attract moisture and radiate heat. Their was once an experiment where they removed all of the stones to improve the soil and they ultimately had to bring the stones back because the soil began to function so poorly. How often do we cry out to God and ask Him to remove the stones in our life. The thorns that hurt and cause us to be weak and tired. Sometimes, they even cause us to sin, to stumble and fall. But if we turn our eyes to Christ we see that sometimes it is better that they remain. So God can use them to make us into a richer, deeper, more nutrient soil.

Is it easy? No. But I would love to know where it says in the bible that life as a Christian would be easy, comfortable and safe. It sure sounds appealing, but the beauty of who God is tells us that we could not be the fruit-bearing people He wants us to be without hardships and pruning. And isn't that our ultimate goal, anyways? The goal is the journey to becoming more like Jesus. So I will bear my thorns with the strength that God gives me and I will remember that it is to become more like Jesus that matters. Although my eyes may wonder at times to the problem or overwhelming circumstance I will eventually remember that to Him be the glory for He knows that this is what I need to be WHO He needs me to be. And I will fix my eyes on Him when I find myself thinking, "Their life will never be the same," and my tone will sound different this time. One that reflects joy and hope and not discouragement or despair.

So to the Christians who see the circumstances instead of Jesus let us remember
2 Corinthians 12:10 "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults (I get lots of these as a pastor's wife who breaks the mold), persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Remind me of this when I am hurting, groaning with such pain it feels as if the Lord has turned His back on me. Remind me when one of my children is lost. Remind me of this when our finances remain so tight it feels as if we can't quite make it. Remind me of this when my eyes turn away from the Lord and to self. Remind me of this when I think the goal is comfort, ease and safety. Remind me of this when I see that person with difficult circumstances and think "man, their life will never be the same." Remind me that the stony soul and thorny flesh are what make me more like Jesus, and that my friend is my goal.

Until next time,