Friday, February 20, 2009

Serving an Audience of One

God is moving in me! He is stirring up things, shaking me to the core of who I am as a Christian. He is reminding me of why He has given George and I this vision of the local church. He has met me with his Holy Spirit in such a manner these past few days all I have felt is His holy Hand upon me. All I can smell is the fragrance of my King. All I can feel is the undeniable love my Savior has for me. And I am reminded that all I am called to do is share it with those around me.

I lose sight of what God has called us, meaning believers, to do. I get consumed with the thoughts and opinions of those around me wondering if their perspective of me is good, bad or indifferent. I get bogged down with the minor things...the daily grind of being a mom and a pastor's wife. I get tired. But God is reminding me that it is a HOLY privilege to serve Him. My husband has been anointed by Jesus Christ and we are called to share Him with the world. We are privileged to go into the world and be used by the Lord through our gifts to lead people to Him. He is gently, lovingly showing me that it is NOT the perspective of the church that matters to me, it is God's perspective of me. It is like this new found freedom I have found in this basic lesson in Christianity.

We tell people all the time we are free in Christ. But then we as Christians, find ourselves being enslaved to others opinions, especially to those who ARE Christians. We let those opinions get in the way of who we are serving. See we forget that the only audience we serve is ONE. Not our church, our family, our friends, our ministry, our kids, but ONE God and ONE King. That is so freeing to me. And the one thing God, the only one I serve, has asked us to do is share His love and sacrifice to those who do not know him. That is what makes the heavens shake. Nothing else matters. Do we get this believers? Do we really get this when we find ourselves complaining about how the church isn't doing this, or isn't doing that? Are people coming to know God? I mean people who didn't know Him before. Because my concern isn't for the healed it is for the sick. And if you are truly healed then your concern should be about the sick as well...not about yourself! OUCH!

What are we doing to bring those around us to know Christ? Are we reaching out to the people who are hurting or are we spending our time trying to fix something that isn't broken in the first place? I want to go where other people won't go. I want to have the church that people feel welcomed in and loved because God shows up there. Not where people are concerned about themselves and what is in this for them. I want Jesus. I want to see lives changed. I want to stop doing church for the church people and start doing it for the one's who are lost. Bet I stepped on some toes there! I want to serve an audience of ONE. I want God to transform the heart's of the people in our church to want these things too. I want there to be a movement in Dallas/Acworth Georgia that people can't resist because Christians are acting like Christians. They are caring about others instead of themselves. Where the local church is a safe place for those who aren't welcomed anywhere else.

All I want is Jesus! What if... just what if that is ALL we, who call ourselves Christians, wanted too? Then maybe those who didn't know Christ would actually know Him if we stopped letting ourselves get in the way of Jesus.

Lord shove me aside and make it about You, only You, and then let me tell the world!!

Until next time,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Naked and Unashamed

After years of counseling, I have discovered my biggest struggle....CONTROL. Which inevitably rears its ugly head into the form of perfectionism. We moms don't view this as a bad thing, in fact we feed the monster. Constantly comparing ourselves to the other, praising each other when our houses are immaculate, kids are always cute and bows in tact, food is perfectly prepared....and then we get tired. And we realize a ball is going to have to drop or else we will! So I listen to the advise, once again from that older wiser mom, to let the cobwebs go. Don't worry if the bed isn't made or I am not dressed and showered until 5 pm on most days. So I swallow my pride and let it go. And then comes the ugly monster again...CONTROL.

See, this is all an illusion. The cobwebs, the unmade beds, the cereal bowls in the sink, its all an illusion. I am only trying to convince myself and others around me I DO NOT struggle with control anymore. Then why am I always frustrated? Angry? Bitter? Because I can't function in chaos. I can't function until things look perfect, or pretty close to it. So instead of being exhausted from perfectionism I am frustrated from lack of control. Frustrated I can't manage to make the house sparkle 24/7. Frustrated I can't seem to leave the house without leaving pajamas on the floor from the night before. Frustrated I can't get ANYWHERE on time. Frustrated because I am afraid. Afraid of what? Of FAILURE! It all boils down to fear for me. Fear of Failure. Failure to be a good mom, a good wife, a good homemaker, a good minister, a good daughter, a good friend. The list goes on. I live most of my days frustrated with the world around me because it doesn't fit into my box.

And then I realize, with the help of my counselor (man, I love counselors) I am letting my fear of failure dictate how I feel about myself. It controls me! It prevents me from inviting a friend over because I am too afraid of what they might thing if the house looks the way it does. And if I try to take the "high road" and invite them anyway (convincing myself I have over come this monster of control) I remain frustrated with the situation and finding myself apologizing for the mess. Who has three kids under 4 and lives in perfect peace and serenity anyways?? So I live frustrated all of the time. Frustrated with myself, my kids, my husband because they are the reason I can't make it all look perfect. Or at least good.

And then I read God's word. In Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestles with an angel...and loses. He is wounded and hurt. Which is where most of our failures leave us. Wounded and hurt. Ashamed that we can't live up to our own expectations of ourselves or of the expectations of those around us. Then, the most beautiful thing happens. The angel blesses Jacob. And we aren't talking about just any blessing. He names him Israel, which means Gods chosen people. Um hello. Jacob failed and God blessed him...majorly!! So am fearing what? Yes, the instant wound or hurt or scar, but I am preventing the lasting blessing that comes through failure. God wants us to fail. It shows us we are in need of a Savior. We can't do this thing called life on our own. But I mask it with the facade of control. In fact I am so in control, I masked the issue of control it self by trying to look as if I didn't need to be (hence the dirty dishes in my sink this very moment), only secretely leaving me void and frustrated.

So when I fail, and I will say when because it will happen daily, I will know there is a blessing from the Lord right behind it. It might show up in the form of grace, comfort, love, endurance, peace, whatever it is God wants to use to make me more like Jesus in the process. So I am going to let my fear go, one step at a time. I will not miss out on God's blessing because I am frustrated and disappointed in myself and those around me. I will not miss out! Hold me to this, I love the Lord and the people around me too much to live like this. I am breaking this cycle of sin that has passed itself down from generation to generation in my family. May I drop naked and unashamed into the hands of Christ full of admitted failure so he might bless me and in turn bless those around me.

God is beautiful, free, unashamed, and ready for me to run to him imperfections and all.

Until next time,


Monday, February 2, 2009

When I grow up, I don't want to be a Mommy!

I asked McKenna, my oldest and by far my most challenging child thus far, (could be because she is myself in toddler form!) "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Her response was something deafening to any mothers ears, "Well, I don't want to be a mommy." "Why not," I asked her. Her cool, calm response was, "Because I don't want to be like, you."

Stab, punch, jab, hurl right through the heart. My eyes welled up with tears, but I quickly put my pride back together and like any "good" mother responded, "Fine, well then don't be a mommy when you grow up. See if I care." Lie, lie, lie!! Not to mention I became 4 again as I responded to her with such elementary emphasis. My four year old has once again managed to bring me to my knees with piercing words that cut right through my core.

I am driving home after dropping her off at preschool rehashing the conversation over and over in my head and I am deeply hurt by the words of my four year old little girl. My baby. The pride and joy of my life. The same kind of hurt that makes you pause and do a soul search. What is wrong with me? Am I really that bad? What do I need to change? When I remember what God's Word says about the tongue. James 3: 5-6 "So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the VERY word of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." You better believe my whole body was on fire... and it was my four year old who sent it a blazin'!

Words are so incredibly powerful. As women we use thousands of words a day. Not to mention thousands more words then men in just ONE day, which is probably why we set so many more fires than they do. We talk bad about it each other. We just can't help ourselves. And half of the time it is about those we love the most. We poke, prod, jab with a little dose of sugar, after all we do live in the sweet south, and feel like we aren't hurtin'any feelings if we end it with "bless their hearts." But bottom line, WORDS can HURT no matter what you season them with. Words have made me who I am. The good and the bad. The spoken words of those I love and the Word of God have molded me into the woman I am today.

So I am on a mission. If my four year old can hurt me like this, then I know I can do some serious damage, too! I want to heal with words, not hurt with them. I want to encourage people. I want to love with my lips. Isn't it the most amazing feeling when someone tells you how incredible you are. How much they love you. Isn't it soul feeding to hear scripture being prayed over you through the lips of a loved one. Almost like it's pouring down your throat like warm hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. It makes us feel cozy, comfortable in how God made us and accepted. This is why the Lord tells us "Encourage one another, and build each other up, don't tear each other down."

Think of how the non-believing person would gravitate to us if we really did this for each other. It would be revolutionary if we actually started building towers of encouragement for one another instead of setting them on fire. And it starts at home. It starts with the ones we love the most. Even if they are four, feisty and ready for battle guns a blazin.' So from here on out I am going to try my hardest to love with my tongue. God help me when I revert to four again. I just can't seem to help myself!

Until next time,