Friday, December 21, 2007
i got to the airport with plenty of time to spare (two hours early). i waited in line for two hours to check my bags. luckily (and not so) within those two hours, my plane managed to be reported as delayed twice. if things go as they predict, we should be in the air within the next hour.
i admit though, i was not happy as i stood in line and heard that i was delayed. i thought a few things, and even said a number of comments under my breath and to the people around me. i purposely gave airport workers dissatisfied looks, and threw negative comments out about the people around me who didn't know how to use the check-in computers.
after walking through security, and getting some food, i found a little spot to sit in order to update the blog (where i am at the moment). i then began thinking...
i had no right to act the way that i did. it's embarassing to think about, let alone express my actions via blog.
the more i thought about my behavior, the stronger the Lord spoke in my heart. i have the privilage of knowing a Savior. i have been rescued and given grace. i know God. i have chosen to give Him my heart, and i have stood delcaring the name of Jesus. i have dedicated my life to living for Jesus Christ, and to enhancing His Kingdom. if all of this is indeed true, then i must act like it. even when i find myself in an airport, surrounded by crabby people who turn to me and say "does that moron even know what he's doing!?" i must live how i say that i live.
but then my heart began to ache. and i couldn't help but ask, 'what would it be like to not know that my heart belonged to the Father?'
how would that change me? who would i be? how would i talk? and how would i act while awaiting a flight to o'hare in the wichita airport?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
it began to snow.
my mom had been telling me that for the past few weeks, chicago has been getting flurries and serious snow was in the radar. i was jealous. it snows in kansas, but nothing like chicago snow.
just the other day it was 75 degrees in wichita. and as far as i know, there is no snow predicted in the near future.
so if someone were to ask me what's one thing that i'm thankful for this thanksgiving, as ridiculous as it may seem, i'd say that i'm thankful for snow. you don't realize how much something means to you until you don't have it... and in this instance, moving permanently away from chicago and des moines, i've moved away from big snows.
i think i will go out and build a snowman.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Yet, after this weekend you may find a number of bruises, cuts, scratches, and chipped fingernails covering my hands… and arms… and feet… and legs…
I spent the weekend helping Matt work on his new house. He’s not building it himself, but he’s doing a good amount on his own. One of those things included tiling. A lot of tiling… with complicated designs. Yesterday we finished up with the front entry way, the fireplace, the laundry room, and the master bath (bathtub and an entire shower).
I’d be okay if I never saw tile again…
Men are definitely built more for that kind of stuff. I was able to do it, and surprisingly, I did it well… but… I’m exhausted. My hands are sore, my back aches, my feet hurt, and I still have some putty in my hair that I can’t get out… [sigh].
There were times when I found myself wanting to go home and to stop helping because I was so tired, and then thought to myself, ‘“serving” isn’t one of my spiritual gifts’… And then I realized how ridiculously lame that logic was.
“Serving isn’t my gifting, so I’m just not gonna do it.”
I get tired of people, particularly myself, using the “that’s not my spiritual gift” excuse in order to not do something, or get by with not doing it well. I understand that the Lord has gifted some people with one thing more than another, but to say that something isn’t “my strongest gift”, in order to squeeze my way out of it, is absolutely ridiculous.
We are called to be like Christ, right? Therefore, I have to ask myself a simple question, ‘did Jesus serve people while He was here on earth?’
It says in Ephesians 5, “Be imitators of God…”
Be imitators… imitate God. Be LIKE God. Aim high, and be as Christ is; live as Christ lived.
That’s a pretty high expectation to live up to… really high. Too high in fact. Yet, we are called to that role.
Ephesians 4: 22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds by letting the Holy Spirit dwell within you; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (my own words in bold).
I do not need to walk around looking for manual labor work in order to be like Christ or to serve people well, but when I do find myself in positions of “getting my hands dirty”, I will do it with a joyful heart.
My ultimate desire is to be like my Father. To do so, I must do as He does. Serve as Christ served. Pray as Christ prayed. And Love as He Loves. Again, too high of an expectation, but I will do whatever I need to in order to be transformed, even if that involves “service”.
So as I sit here, I look down at my hands, and at the large bruise that has overtaken my left arm, and see a reminder of my hard work over the weekend, and of the transformation that is continuing to take place deep within my heart.
Again, I don’t have a great gifting of service (especially service dealing with manual labor), but I desire to. “Eagerly desire spiritual gifts…” (1 Corinthians 14:1). The Lord says to ask, and it will be given to us; perhaps not in the way that we expect, but something will change. As an attitude changes, so does the heart. Thus begins the process of a greater understanding, and a greater resemblance to Jesus.
Perhaps I should stay clear of getting a manicure for a while…
Saturday, October 27, 2007
i've found myself thinking back to what my life was like in high school, as i went through college, the start of my "official" adult working life from this summer, and where i am now.
sometimes i wonder, 'how the heck did i get here?'
it's been one crazy ride, that's for sure
high school is where i began to be shaped. where i allowed the Heavenly Father to truly take a hold of me and begin work within. after four years of attending [glorious] lake forest high school, and being one step closer to who the Lord desired for me to be, i remember packing up my junk into my mom's tahoe and moving to des moines, iowa to begin the next step.
des moines suited me;
drake suited me.
i made incredible friends, attended a God-driven church, found myself being challenged spiritually in ways i never had before, and for the first time, heard the calling He put over my life.
just a a year ago i was mentally preparing myself for student teaching, i was in a relationship with a man who held the Lord's heart in his hand, i was forming new friendships with some incredible people, and i was wondering how the heck God's dream for my life would ever become reality while in iowa.
i knew that He desired more for me, but i was comfortable then.
i was satisfied.
i was fearful of the unknown.
and i was trying to reject the change that was entering in.
throughout my entire life, the Lord shifts the world at the very moment that i fall back into those places. He knows, and i know now, that if i continue to be "comfortable" or be "satisfied" with where i am, i will remain there, rejecting the Beauty that He has planned.
though there are some days i wish to return to "how things were", i also know that it's only because it's what i knew. i was familiar with "then." i am not familiar with "now."
i still have great love for the people from my past, even if we've lost communication. each person, and every situation, my God has used to form this child into what He desires.
because it's all about Him.
everything is about Him. He's not trying to give your life "make over" because you're getting too comfortable and enjoying life too much; He's shifting gears because it's about Him. He's not speaking the end of relationships (both friends and romantic) because they aren't healthy, or because they're not good enough, or because they're too perfect... He approves, or disapproves, those relationships because it's all about Him.
the Father wants all the worship, all the glory, and all the praise. He will do whatever it takes to be recognized, and for the world to see that it's all about Him.
so i can sit around and desire to return to how things were my freshman year of college, or to when i was five, but when i do, that is when i begin to make everything about me.
and it's not.
nothing is about me.
it's about Him.
so to try and answer my question, 'how the heck did i get here?' i can say, i am where i am today because it's all about Him.
at this moment, i stand in a place where i can recognize and make it, all about Him. i trust that the moment i begin to move away from this understanding and begin desiring something for myself, He will rush it, drastically change my life; with the purpose only of, reminding me who this world is about.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This heart constantly being challenged.
But I'm tired...
Sometimes wanting to give up; it's difficult to not give in.
He said to stay strong.
"But I'm tired.
I don't know how to go on."
He reminded me to be still.
Be still, and silent.
"Let My words speak deeply to your heart.
And be still."
Waking up early, coming home late.
Kids not behaving, raising my voice.
Serving, praying, worshiping.
Searching for motivation...
Restoring a heart.
Your heart... my heart.
Love being renewed.
New love being discovered.
He knows the pain and confusion,
but reminds you of the passion.
He says to be still.
"Remember to be still.
Be still and know who I Am."
I will continue.
I will be still.
I will recognize my Father.
I will not give in.
I will let Love enter my heart,
and I will love with complete abandon.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Living room/view of loft
My office in the loft
1/2 bath off of the kitchen
My pretty bathroom
Monday, July 09, 2007
An old friend of mine from high school, Tyler, and his friend who I [unfortunately] do not know, Disney, graduated from college in New York this May with no job and no plan.
So... what did they decide to do? What any recently graduated college students would do... buy an ambulance and road trip across the country.
Tyler and Disney are currently making their way across the United States in an ambulance whom they have named Tammy. As they make their trek, they have posted blogs and videos to help keep the public updated on their whereabouts/run-ins.
I have enjoyed reading and watching bits and pieces of this road trip take place.
Their videos are on YouTube, as well as on their own personal blog. You can also find them on MySpace and in a group on Facebook, all in which are dedicated to this phenomenal idea.
Sit back, relax, watch, laugh, cry, love, and join the trip across the states with the genius' who are Tyler Schwartz and Andrew Disney.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
"We're going to be here a while."
Last weekend I took a huge step... I bought a condo. My dear friend Stephanie had a dream a while back about me wanting to buy a condo, and in her dream I found one that I really wanted and was "a mansion condo" (don't ask me how that works).
Well, I think I found it. And with the Lord's permission, I bought it.
I had a target price I wanted to get the guy at, but I had a feeling I was going to have to offer way less then my desired price. So I did. Long story short, after a few offers and much intercession happening at the exact moment the seller was contemplating, he soon after accepted my target price. I signed the papers, I was officially approved for my loan, and by July 16th, I will officially be a home owner.
Daily He is reminding me and confirming that Wichita, Kansas is exactly where He wants me. Already I can look back over the past month and see the Hand of God in every moment of everyday that I wake up.
He is Faithful. And Good. And Gracious. And Magnificent. And Glorious. And Powerful. He is God. He is my King.
Sidenote: I'll put pictures up soon, but my condo is 1,450 square feet, 3 stories, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, newly remodeled (as in, it was gutted and everything is brand new), granite countertops, Italian tile, new stainless steel appliances, an amazing [huge] stone fireplace, and has a loft above the kitchen. The owner is still finishing it up, but it's beautiful.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Day in and day out my eyes are fixed upon the Words of my Father. I have never felt so eager to jump into His Book and discover new depths of His heart.
As my eyes go from left to right over each word, the verses have become alive... real... they have become flesh. I am able to see deep inside of the Lord's heart; Truth is being revealed.
He has ravished my heart with His Word.
I am hungry for more... I am thirsty to understand, fully. I want to grasp what He was speaking then, what He is speaking now, and what He has for the future. My desire is Jesus; to know Jesus. I search night and day for revelation... for His power... for Love. To know God is my hearts desire.
Yes, He has ravished my heart with His Word.
To know that I have been unfaithful to the One who cannot be unfaithful, breaks my heart. I cannot live a life without Him as my center - the center of my thoughts, actions, and words.
As I studied to preach on Hezekiah and Hannah these past couple of weeks, I was reminded of what it means to believe and trust in the Almighty. I want to stand my ground when the world is against me... and I want to pray with complete sincerity. I want streams to flow from my eyes as I meditate on His Holiness. I want to fall to my knees as I bring Him praise. I want to stand amazed as I think about His Grace. I want to be confident that I hear the words that He is [constantly] speaking.
I want my heart to break.
I want to find myself broken at His feet.
For He has ravished my heart.
Yes, He has ravished my heart.
You O Lord, have ravished my heart.
My God the King... You have captured a broken heart.
Friday, June 01, 2007
The state animal is the buffalo and the state insect is the honey bee.
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, and Topeka is the capital.
Kansas lies in the middle of "Tornado Alley."
Kansas won the award for most beautiful license plate, for the wheat plate design issued in 1981.
At one time, Kansas had a law against serving ice cream on top of cherry pie.
Kansas has the largest population of wild grouse in North America; wild grouse = prairie chicken
The first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita.
A ball of hail, weighing one and a half pounds, landed in Kansas.
Kansas was a part of the Oregon Trail.
The state song is "Home on the Range."
It is illegal to catch a fish with your bare hands.
It is illegal to leave your car running unattended.
Kansas has a Barbed Wire Fence Museum.
The Wizard of Oz Museum lies in Wamego, Kansas.
It is prohibited to urinate on the side of a building, and spitting on the sidewalk could get you arrested.
Musical car horns are banned.
Overland Park prohibits picketing of funerals.
Unfortunetly, Kansas is where Fred Phelps "church" resides.
Kansas is smack in the middle of the United States.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
As I drove down here a couple of days ago, the Lord said, "Jackie, who Am I?" What? God, what do you mean, 'who Am I?' "No Jackie, WHO AM I?"
I didn't get what He meant the first time He asked, but after my questioning of what He meant, He became more firm.
"WHO AM I?"
Oh, now I get it...
You are my God... the One who takes care of me... the One who stands next to me and walks with me daily... the One who loves me even when I'm being a complete moron... the One who says I'm beautiful and worthy of Love... the One who has called me to be apart of His Kingdom... the One who has freed me from death... You are my God. Creator. Savior. Father. You are my God. My... God.
I will not fear what lies a head of me. I will not fear living in a place that is unfamiliar. I will not fear... I will not fear...
I am being taken care of. There is nothing in me that says I haven't been called here. I trust and believe that my Lord would never lead me to a place that would not glorify Him, or a place that would completely destroy me. Of course, I must keep my eyes fixed upon Him in order to fully walk in His presence, but my being here is intended for Him to receive all praise and to enlarge His Kingdom.
"Who Am I?"
I like that God asked me that. I like that He challenged me to think beyond my earthly understanding of Him. I like that He reminded me of how I have nothing to fear because I am a daughter of God. And I like that I was reminded of the battle we must fight every day.
Children, who Am I? I ask you again... WHO AM I?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I began thinking about this question further. We all go through different seasons during our lives; therefore, changing who it is we can relate to during that specific time. I simply asked the Lord to show me who I "was" right now; at the place I'm standing at this moment of my life.
I was surprised by what the Lord spoke to me. I had a few in mind that I thought He's show me… but He took me to one of the last places I would have ever thought; 1 Kings:
Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, 'What do you want? Ask, and I will five it to you!'
Solomon replied, 'You showed faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued your faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.
Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn't know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?'
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, 'Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies – I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what did not ask for – riches and fame! No other king in the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David did, I will give you a long life.'
I'm not a male, and I'm certainly not a king, but as I read through these verses over and over again, I began to see why the Lord was speaking Solomon's name over my life right now. It's always cool when God surprises us.
So who are you most like? What person from the Bible can you most identify with at this moment?
Friday, April 20, 2007
... it hurts because His Heart hurts...
The hurt comes only from this world. The darkness is heavy today... it was heavy yesterday... it was heavy 8 years ago... 13 years ago... 2000 years ago...
... the heaviness doesn't disappear; some days I [unconsiously] choose to ignore it. But today I cannot, and I will not.
His Heart hurts, causing my heart to hurt... my heart hurts, causing His Heart to hurt. It's a beautiful cycle. To know Him, really know Him, is to fall into the center of His Heart. To be at the core, experiencing the storm with Him; the pain and the saddness... that is when He is known.
To know God is to know His heart.
Yet, joy presses through the storm... joy, reminding us, that our God is bigger than this world.
That is Enough.
Still, the darkness remains heavy. My heart hurts... His Heart hurts.
(... the death of Tim... seven high school classmates... thousands of strangers in New York... students from Littleton, Colorado... death in the Middle East... in Oklahoma City... students and professors from Virginia Tech... )
The darkness is heavy.
Our hearts hurt...
a [joyful] hurt.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Over the past month, I've been able to go see three of my favorite artists/bands live. Besides getting to see some great artists at OneThing (not a concert... but in a way it is...), it had been about five months since I had bought any tickets to any shows. March and April have been good to me concerning concerts. Not to mention, for every show I somehow managed to be leaning against the stage.
My concert-spree began with my beloved Justin Timberlake. Hands down, his show is the best show I've ever seen. There are no words to describe how phenomonal it was. Plus... getting to hold his hand pretty much made my life. As sick as it is, I've had a thing for Mr. JT since I was in 7th grade, so you can only imagine that I became a screaming 13 year old girl while at this show. It was great.
And the finale occured last night with Anberlin. They are nothing less than incredible musicians. I thought about crowd surfing just so I could get a hug from Steven, but voted against it in fear of being killed by the crazy fans. I've never been more sore and tired after a concert in my entire life. I even have bruises from the moshers who thought it would be okay to slam into me and push me against the stage for the entire show. Even though being in front hurt... a lot, it was well worth the view of Nathan Young. ; )
Surprisingly, I'm not concerted-out. I've actually been sad to think about the fact that I have no planned shows to attened in the near furture...
As into music I am, it's weird that, I myself, am not musically talented in any way. Listening to all these great artists and watching them perform, makes me want to become a musician. But alas, I have no music ability. God did not bless me what that gift. I suppose I will continue to be one of the people who just listens, enjoys, and rocks out when necessary.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Over the past couple of weeks, here is a glimpse of what the Father has been speaking to me for His children and myself.
...This is not only a time of acceleration but also elevation. You are moving higher in the realm of the Spirit. Yet, this upward movement will occasionally be interrupted by minor setbacks. Make sure that you do not allow discouragement to creep in, for that would certainly open a door for the enemy to attack and afflict you. Maintain emotional stability and peace, which will be vital to your progression...
...Refuse to allow the noise of difficult situations to drown out or overpower My voice. Stay calm and maintain peace, for surely I will lead you through this in victory if you will let Me lead. Do not take matters into your own hands or "go off half cocked." What you encounter at this time is another necessary step in bringing all things into divine order. This must be dealt with at this time...
...Trust Me to go before you to make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. Keep moving ahead, but be flexible. You must learn to hold everything with an open hand instead of a tight grip. I will lead you into My plans and purposes as you yield to My order. Be encouraged and go with My flow...
...Refuse to be distracted by the strange discomfort that tries to get you off balance. Transition is never easy or comfortable, but if you will stay focused on what you know to be truth and light and continue to trust Me, it won't be long until you come through to a new level of stability. You will arise to greater insights and revelation and will find new strength to move forward. You will also find renewed courage to accomplish all that I have set before you... (Psalms 27:14)
...Be strong and courageous; you are almost out of the woods. Keep pressing through and you will soon realize that the resistance that you have been pushing against in the spirit realm is gone. Don't give up, however, until you feel that release. You will find that the pushing and pressing you have had to do has made your stronger...
...Watch for the enemy to use situations against you to intimidate you and cause you to be afraid that you have made the wrong choice. But, I say to you, do not give in to these temptations to question your own judgment. I have led you thus far, and I will continue to take you into the place that I have appointed for you. Do not be afraid of what may seem to be overwhelming odds and insurmountable challenges, for I am with you to bring you through to absolute victory… When He spoke this, I couldn't help but think of David when he was face to face with Goliath.
...Look up, beloved, for I tell you truly that the clouds of confusion are going to part and you will step into the clear light of day. You are about to see with great clarity. The issues that have caused to you wonder what to do next will become crystal clear, and you will know exactly what your next step must be. Answers to your questions will come suddenly, but might not be what you expected. Get ready to receive...
Yet, even with all that said, I am still [sometimes] left unsure... and sad... and scared... and mad... and... confused. I so desperately want to crawl out of my human skin and join my God in my heavenly body, because this body, [sadly] still finds herself hesistant even after hearing those Promises and Truths spoken.
That definitely reminds me of how messed up our human minds are... and how badly the enemy attempts to corrupt and twist who the Creator is.
But the last thing He spoke sticks out to me greatly... "Get ready to receive"... He didn't ask if I wanted to receive, or He didn't ask if I was ready to receive, He just said "get ready".
He has Wisdom for you... get ready to receive it. He has Knowledge for you... get ready to take it. He has Grace for you... get ready to grasp it. He has Truth for you... get ready to hold onto it. And He has Answers for you... get ready to receive it.
Children, get ready.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Last week He asked me once again to look at Joshua, specifically Joshua 1:9.
A Great and Mighty transition has begun.
I was talking with a friend a couple of nights ago about how it seems everyone in our lives right now are going through radical transition. He said, and I quote, "There is too much going on with too many of our friends for it all to be a coincidence."
When God called Joshua to be the one to lead the Israelites into the land that the He had promised them years before, Joshua's whole life changed. An ordinary (and unlikely) boy became a huge part of the Almighty's plan.
You can image the fear that Joshua must have felt... I imagine him just hanging out at home, maybe tending to the cows or something, and God audibly saying to him, "Hey Joshua... so, since Moses is now dead, I'm going to have you take over and lead the Israelites the rest of the way... sound good?" Oh man...
Joshua was called to live higher. Joshua was called to live radically. Joshua was called to change the world.
I have a handful of friends who I see falling into the same situation as Joshua found himself in, along with myself. Maybe we aren't taking charge of a complete nation and leading them into a new land, but we are being handed specific groups of people to lead towards Christ. And it isn't just a "whenever you feel like it" type thing, but a complete lifestyle change.
Moving, leaving current jobs, walking away from volunteer positions, ending unhealthy or distracting relationships... all in order to focus solely on leading the Israelites of our day.
I love that my friends are abandoning the familiar and sprinting towards the unknown, simply because God has asked them to.
During Joshua's transition, the Lord reminded him of a few things...
"The time has come for you to lead these people..." (v. 2)
"I promise you what I promised Moses: 'Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you'" (v. 3)
"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you... I will not fail you or abandon you" (v. 5)
"Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people..." (v. 6)
"...obey all the instructions Moses gave you" (v. 7)
"Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night..." (v. 8)
"Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (v. 9)
Once God called Joshua into that role, He wanted to make sure that Joshua understood what He expected of him, and that he understood the importance of this position. For the first 9 verses in chapter 1, God leaves nothing out about his new mission. He tells him what he's taking over, He tells him that He will protect him, He tells him not to be afraid, and he tells him how to remain standing strong.
That is all Joshua needed to know. Perhaps at the time, Joshua asked God how he was going to lead the Israelites and what was going to happen, but all the Lord did was leave him with the few things that he needed to know.
Myself and all of my friends know nothing about how things are going to turn out or what steps we're all going to take while in these great callings, but we can rely on God's promises; the things we need to know.
He is faithful. He will protect us. We should not be afraid. And we must constantly study His Word.
It's all Joshua needed, and it's all we need; He walked blindedly believing that he had been called to be Great.
We shall do the same. We will step into these roles, unsure, but confident because we have been called by God.
I am excited to see everything that the Lord does in this new phase of my friends lives. I pray confidently for direction and trust as these people whom I love dearly stand face to face with the unfamiliar. I see incredible greatness in each one of them, and even as things are drastically changing and we can't see the end of the road, our God is fulfilling His plan.
This is you mission, if you chose to accept it.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Do you become the person who takes that brokenness and pushes it away, not willing to deal with it? Are you the one who holds on to the fact that your heart has been broken so strongly, that daily, your world seems to fall apart, and you feel like you’ll never be able to escape the vicious cycle? Or are you in the rarity who takes that brokenness, hands it to the Almighty, and continues walking with confidence, joy, praise, and unending hope?
When something wonderful happens in our life, we shine. We allow others to see our joy and we want others to celebrate with us. Yet… when brokenness occurs, we do all that we can to stay hidden. Hanging out with a group of friends means putting on that fake smile and “preparing” ourselves to be aware of our thoughts and actions the entire time we’re with them (this may be easier for some than for others).
Why does brokenness in our lives completely control us? Why does hurt rip us to shreds? Why when the littlest events occur in our lives, we’re left feeling as if we have nothing?
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing the cliché Christian responses when I or someone else is feeling broken.
[Insert sarcasm now…]
“God is good.”
“God has a plan.”
“God is in charge.”
“You’re going to get through this.”
Blah blah blah blah blah…
We throw those phrases around like pennies (and I hate pennies…). There’s a ton of them, they’re annoying, small little sentences that can “buy” me absolutely nothing.
I know God is good.
I know God has a plan.
I know God is in charge.
I know to pray.
I know that I’m going to get through this (whatever “this” is at the time).
Some people do need to hear these things at the appropriate time because they are true, but… by only hearing these phrases, you often begin to ignore and become unwilling to deal with the reality of the brokenness. Yes, God is still good when we are broken, but we have to deal with our pain because it’s real.
We have emotions. God gave us emotions. So let them out. If something sucks, tell Him it sucks. If you feel like you’re going to die from heartache, tell him you feel like you’re going to die. If you are confused about what He’s doing, tell Him. If you think He’s being unfaithful to you, ask Him to show you that He really is faithful.
The last thing someone wants to hear when they’re struggling is, “You’re fine. You’ll get through this because God is good” (well, at least that’s the case for me…).
That question at the top… who do you become when you find yourself face to face with a broken heart?
I don’t think we can become person number three until we’ve become person number one or two. We’re human; were going to get mad at God no matter how much we love Him. We’re going to get frustrated with what our Father allows to happen in our lives. We’re going to complain and be upset and cry and whine. We’re going to ignore what we’re facing. We’re human… you will do one of these.
We all need our time of grasping the brokenness. We have to take it by the neck, hold onto it, taste it, experience it, see reality in it; because otherwise we will never get to a point where we can become person number three. So once we enter the rink with our brokenness, we have a choice… go back to ignoring it, continue laying in it, or stand up to it, realize the reality and that it won’t be changing [right then], and sincerely proclaim that even though it sucks and hurts, you are serving a God who is more passionately in Love with you than you could ever comprehend.
There is so much more hurt occurring in the world then what is happening in my own little world. I’m sitting here in my nice little apartment in West Des Moines with a rooms full of stuff, with a Godly roommate whom I love dearly, thinking about my incredible family, reminding myself of my wonderful friends who are spread throughout the world… I’m here getting an incredible education with no loans to pay off when I’m through, about to graduate from college, will be starting an amazing job after graduation, and I can move wherever the heck I want come August.
Person number two is done.
While I’ve been person number two for the past month and a half, I’ve become blind to everything else happening around me and all that God is doing (and all that He wants me to be doing).
It’s important to go through and feel the hurt, but there comes a time to focus on the bigger and the greater things.
One of my students went missing yesterday… another was arrested yesterday morning for harassing another teacher… another is possibly pregnant… another explained that her mom sells their food stamps for drugs… another told me today that he hopes to be adopted soon…
No longer can I remain focused on my own hurt (which really, is nothing compared to what these kids have been going through everyday their entire lives). I spend 40 hours a week with 13 and 14 year olds who are more broken than I could ever understand; it’s time for them to be my focus. I want them to be my focus. I feel so sad for some of my students… I want to pray for them like I’ve never prayed before.
Unable to see this until recently, I am where I am because this is the only place I can stand and be effective and go through the preparation that I need, in order to be used in the ways God wants to use me. I know that He’d be able to use me if I was still where I was two months ago, but not as He intended. There would be distraction and hindrances that would effect my growth and how I serve in His Kingdom.
I’m not willing to let that happen.
I am going where my God calls me to go; no exceptions. If that means I lose friends, then I lose friends. If that means I’m single again, then I want to be single. If that means I move away, then I’ll move in a heartbeat.
I want to be in the small population of people who give up everything for Jesus. I want to seek God in ways that people don’t know how to. I want to hear the Lord in ways that is unimaginable. I want to be used like no one has been used.
As I still walk through my own hurts now and those in the future, I have to remember this moment. I have to remember what I live for and Who I live for. I will face the brokenness for the time needed, but my God has bigger plans for me then a broken heart.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I was running through a corn field eagerly looking for my GOD. I would not give up until I found Him. He said, "Here I Am." Though I could not see Him, I heard Him. I continued looking…
December 31, 2006
… keep praying – keep questioning – keep praying – keep searching…
January 1, 2007
… You asked me, "Will you keep running? Will you keep searching?" Yes GOD, my answer is yes…
January 2, 2007
I saw us playing hide-and-go-seek. It excited me. I knew that You were joyful and wanted me to continue looking for You. I felt so connected and near to You at that moment. I knew that I wanted to keep looking for You, even when I couldn't catch a glimpse of You.
January 10, 2007
You asked me something you asked me about week ago… "Will you keep running? Will you keep searching?" But today GOD, I am hesitant… you know why. I don't want my world to fall apart… but I want to and I will continue running and searching no matter the circumstance.
January 18, 2007
"Will you keep running? Will you keep searching?"
February 6, 2007
Even with my doubts and my fears and my uncertainties, I am going to continue running after my GOD, because even though I don't know Him, I trust Him.
I was walking around a city. Unknown. As I walked, my thoughts were heard out loud; "GOD, I don't know where I am and everything is so unfamiliar, but I know the You are here with me and I have peace."
February 20, 2007
"Remember what I asked you… will you keep running? Will you keep searching?"
He reminded me specifically of each of these moments. Flipping through each journal page, I had forgotten how many times He had asked me if I would continue looking for Him, or how many times He showed me searching intensely for Him.
Sometimes I forget how faithful He is.
These words play over and over and over in my head: "Will you keep running? Will you keep searching?"
Son or daughter… will you continue looking for me, even when I appear to be missing?
Son or daughter… will you continue searching for me, even when you can't hear me?
Son or daughter… will you still run after me, even when I take a beautiful thing away?
Son or daughter… will you still trust me, even when I take you into the unfamiliar?
Son or daughter… will you still go?
Son or daughter… will you?
I was reminded of Jesus commanding His people to follow Him. Jesus spoke the words "follow Me" 20 times in the Bible. It wasn't a "hey follow Me if you feel like it", but a command. Jesus didn't sit down and discuss with His people weather following Him was a good idea or not, He commanded that they follow. He didn't tell them to go do whatever they needed to, and then follow Him… but He said to follow Him right then and there.
A man wanted to bury his dead Father, Jesus said, "Follow Me" (Matthew 8:21-22)
Jesus asked Matthew the tax collector to follow Him, and he did (Matthew 9:9)
Jesus got into a boat, and they followed (Matthew 8:23)
He said follow, "at once they left their nets and followed" (Mark 1:17-18)
A man wanted to say goodbye to his family, Jesus said, "Follow Me" (Luke 9:61-62)
Following GOD is scary. It shouldn't be, but for some reason it is. He knows so much that we don't, and He would never lead us in a direction that wasn't intended for Good.
So here I am. Running and searching and following and pressing forward, harder and more intensely than I ever have before.
My GOD is faithful.
Leaving the familiar is terrifying… but entering the unknown is glorious.
There is so much good here, so much good. But… He's asking me to follow Him into the Greatness that lies in another place. So here I go, following my GOD; confident only in the fact that this is where He wants me to go. No understanding of what will happen or what He has for me there, but only because of two simple words He spoke [and is speaking], "Follow Me."
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
So two weeks ago when the Lord told me I needed to meet up with her to discuss one of the most recent changes in my life, I was shocked.
I refused. This included me whining, talking myself out of it, letting my pride stand in the way, and just being flat out scared.
God is funny.
After a very firm "get a hold of her" from the Lord after church on Sunday, I held my breath and emailed her. So when I received a response back from her the next day I was mortified to open it.
But again, God is funny.
She told me that ever since she briefly saw me at the OneThing Conference over New Years, the Lord had asked her to commit to praying for me. Coincidence? I think not. God asked her to start praying at the exact moment many many many things in my life were beginning to change. Little did I know during that time, the good and the bad that would occur later in January and up until today, but I'm now see that everything started at that conference; right when God wanted me to be covered.
He even wanted a friendship to start that wasn't possible before.
It was so wonderful to sit down with her and talk, and listen, and laugh. There was comfort during those couple of hours that was never been there before... there was honesty and sincerity... there was true joy... there was love... and Love... and there was a connection of friendship that we've never had.
I absolutely loved it.
As we talked, she told me many of the same things so many people have told me... but... it was as if I hadn't heard any of it before. Everything she said seemed all so new, even though I knew it wasn't. But I was finally able to understand. I have no doubt in my mind that God wanted to use her to get through to me because no one else could.
God is funny.
Now, I have a new friend whom I greatly look up to and respect. And the only way this friendship was even possible, is because of the Lord. I can't even express that enough, but it's true. So much healing had to take place before this meeting could've even been possible... and it has.
I love it.
Plus... now I have someone to talk pop music and Justin Timberlake with.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
“… change the way you see…”
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I don’t understand GOD. I only think I do, but in reality, I don’t. The only god that I understand is the one that the world has invented. This god isn’t necessarily a bad god by any means, he’s just… unrealistic. This god is too simple. I sit in services sometimes and feel like I’m being taught about this god; not GOD. Not my GOD. Not our GOD. Not the GOD in the Bible, but only a fairytale god to make life seem easy and simple.
GOD isn’t simple, and being a Christian isn’t easy... a couple of years ago I heard a speaker say this:
“The Christian life isn’t hard… the Christian life isn’t even difficult… the Christian life is impossible. There’s only one guy who was perfect at it, and it isn’t you and it certainly isn’t me…”
If we are unable to live the Christian life, then how could we ever fully understand the One who invented it and lived it out perfectly?
I don’t understand GOD… only the god that my world has made up.
If I knew GOD, like actually knew and understood GOD, I know for a fact that my life wouldn’t look the way that it does.
If I was able to grasp the broken heart that GOD feels on a daily basis for His people, my life would be different.
If I was able to comprehend how much GOD Loves His children, I know that I would be living a different life.
I think in my 21 years of living, I’ve only experienced and known GOD’s heart for a total of [maybe] 85 minutes. Specifically during one of these ever so brief moments, I was taken into the depths of His heart. I could feel His sadness. I could feel His joy. During this time I… slightly… understood GOD’s broken heart and His Love.
Think about it… if we really knew the sadness that our Father feels for His people, would we really continue to sit around watching 24 or playing Xbox for hours on end? I think a lot of Christians talk the talk, but rarely ever walk the walk… myself included.
I know that in those brief moments that I knew GOD’s heart, all I wanted to do was serve Him and change the world… but the feeling faded. I still want to serve Him and change the world for Him, but sadly… I confess that it’s not the only thing that I want to do… I get caught up in worldly important things.
And then there’s love… GOD is Love, so it only makes sense that we don’t understand Love or GOD. Because the only love I understand is the love the world tells me about. If worldly love is GOD, then I don’t want it.
But thankfully love and Love are completely different.
If I understood what real Love is, then my life would be different. I know that I wouldn’t be selfish… GOD isn’t selfish because GOD is Love. I know that I wouldn’t be rude… I wouldn’t be impatient… I wouldn’t be jealous… I wouldn’t be envious.
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to love, because as humans we do have the ability to love, yet it’s skewed. We can love, but we can’t Love. We cannot Love like GOD Loves because GOD is Love and we are not GOD. But even knowing that I don’t have the ability to Love like GOD Loves, so much do I desire to, and so much do I strive towards knowing that kind of Love.
I want my desire to know and understand true Love, to be so significant that my entire life changes.
I want another moment of slightly understanding GOD’s broken heart, but this time, that the affect of this moment hits me so hard that my entire life changes.
People say that love isn’t perfect, and you know what? They’re right… love isn’t perfect. But Love is perfect. GOD is Love and GOD is perfect. You do the math…
So do you understand GOD? Because I don’t…
We don’t serve a simple GOD… our GOD is too big… and too Great… and too Mighty for us to fully understand. Our human minds cannot grasp His Goodness, thus concluding that we cannot grasp Him.
“…change the way you see…”
If we understand God, we would live differently. We would never be offended by the things that He does.
If GOD asked you to quit your job in order to take a position working with the homeless, making a significantly less amount of money, without explanation, would you be offended that He would ask you to do such a thing?
Would you be offended if GOD asked you to break off a relationship, romantic or friendship, without explanation?
If GOD asked you to stop serving in a specific ministry position without giving you a significant reason, would you be offended?
If we understood GOD, we wouldn’t be.
But if we are offended… who are we serving?
Shouldn’t we believe and trust that all things our GOD calls us to do will ultimately serve His Kingdom and bring Him glory, even if we can’t see that at first? Do we really think that our GOD would call us to do something that would destroy us?
Maybe this distrust and disbelief in being taken care of comes from our understanding of love – the definition of love the world gives.
But Love… if we knew this Love, truly knew it, I guarantee that we would never be offended.
GOD isn’t simple… because if He was, we’d probably have this Christian thing down…
But we don’t.
I want my eyes to change.
I want to know brokenness.
I want to know Love.
I want to know GOD.
“There’s something bigger going on, there’s Someone bigger then me… so fill me with the knowledge of GOD, with the knowledge of You, with the knowledge of the Holy, Holy.”