Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the Heart of my God

As stated previously, something Big is going on. Something Devine, something Glorious.

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".

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

Your mission, if you chose to accept it...

A number of months ago, the Lord placed the book of Joshua on my heart. As I read, I became fascinated by the challenge God handed to a young man who was considered "ordinary". I was reminded of the people in my life. I saw many of friends as a "Joshua"; I could see the Lord moving and preparing to turn His ordinary children into mighty warriors.

Last week He asked me once again to look at Joshua, specifically Joshua 1:9.

"This is my command - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

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."

No doubt.

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

Complete Abandon

When your heart breaks, who do you become?

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.”
“Just pray.”
“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).
I know.

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.

* * * * * * *
During a drive home after having dinner with a friend, Something inside of me woke up to the reality I’ve been living in.

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.

"God is bigger than your hurt..."