Monday, June 27, 2011

Nothing to Fear but Fear itself

 About 7 years ago I took a pottery class at the Nashville Art House.  It was so much fun getting my hands in that clay, and just letting myself be creative.  I made several clay "boxes" and was trying to think of a theme for them.  So I thought to myself: If God could talk to me through this clay, what would He say?

The first one said "Dream BIG" the other simply said "LOVE"  and the third said, "Why do you fear failure?"
 The third was my favorite.  Mainly because this is a concept that I have dealt with every since I can remember.

I have an early memory of sitting in my mother's car while she ran an errand, crying my eyes out because I was convinced I would never pass the 4th grade, it was just too hard.  Even though I had no problems getting through the 3rd grade, I was just so afraid.  I have an even earlier memory (around the age of 5) of wanting so desperately to play soccer.  My mother signed me up for a community team, and when we arrived I sat in her lap crying, asking to go home.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be any good.  And if I didn't try, I wouldn't fail.  Right?

So what do we fear exactly?  We fear failure.  Rejection. 

As I grew into a teenager, I also grew quite a rebellious streak.  It was as if I was so rebellious, I was even going to rebel against myself.  Although fear was still on the forefront of my mind as I would venture into new things, if I felt fear, I would push myself right into whatever I was afraid of.  This of course wasn't the best idea, especially in my teenage years.

When I experienced the Grace Message for the first time 4 years ago my fear went through another transformation...

All of a sudden it wasn't about me anymore.  My failures were no longer the issue.  I could completely, utterly, and spectacularly fail and it didn't matter.  Because Jesus didn't.  In fact when I embraced that I could not please God through my own accomplishments, it freed me to be beautifully loved in a way I didn't think possible.  And amazingly it was that Love that enabled me to fail less.  I still fail.  Oh yes, and it is sometimes pretty ridiculous.  But after those failures I can get right back up, instead of living in shame, guilt, and condemnation; waiting for the moment "I" did enough to "feel" close to God again.  The separation I thought was there through my actions is gone.   And it allows me to run to the Arms of Love.

Fear is still there.  Sometimes trying to pull me back.  But I will not be ruled by it. 
" is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bent but not broken

I don't believe there is a "right" way to grieve.  For each person there is a time they need to heal.  I really like what my friend Joyce said, "Time doesn't heal.  Only God can heal."  But what will you do with that "time"?

There are many moments I have thought to myself: "This has the potential to destroy me."  I could stay in this grief forever.  I could ponder, cry, let my imagination run wild with what could have been.  All that we have done, accomplished, all that the Lord has brought us through could all be for not.  Just to stay in this pain.

There is guilt for wanting to stay in that pain.  There is guilt for desiring to move on.  

And although my heart is broken, I am only bent.  There is a Love that will sustain me.  It is the only Love that possibly could in moments like these.  It doesn't often rain in this area, but it rained all yesterday morning.  I couldn't help but think that Heaven was crying with me.  

But I cannot stay here.  Not forever.  I will allow myself what time I need.  And I may have a good cry about this from time to time for many years to come.  But I cannot stay here.  There are 2 wonderful, precious lives that God has entrusted Josh and I with.  Two boys that will know how loved they are.  

There are too many wonderful things to do, too many people to tell about how amazing (and sustaining) my Jesus is.  To see lives change under the power of the Holy Spirit. And I will have so many stories to tell our sweet child when I see her someday.

My flesh and my heart my fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26


Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Colorado Adventure Continues

From the experiences, good and bad, over the last 22 months my head is buzzing.  I am not sure if it was the rest I just received from our recent trip to Nashville, or the seemingly sudden changes that are always taking place, but I feel like I can't nail down a thought.  I just have too many of them to focus on one. Please bear with me as I try to convey my heart.  If you are uninterested in entering the deep (and sometimes ridiculous) recesses of my mind, please stop here.  No hard feelings.  :)

Well, its over.  Sometimes I can hardly believe its over.  Our 2 year experience at Charis Bible College came to a close the 3rd week of May.  As one of our professors said the first few weeks of school, "Bible college is the perfect place to inspire and frustrate."  And he was right.  Our feelings swung from one extreme to the other many times depending on our circumstances, disagreement of theology, courses being taught, the list goes on and on.  But one thing is certain: we wouldn't trade this experience for anything.  We know this was God's Will for our lives.  And there is no feeling that compares to that.

So, for the future?  You maybe wondering.  Well, so are we.  :)  We had every intention of moving back to Nashville.  In fact, we were beginning to make plans.  I cancelled the garbage pick up, Josh had informed his company, I had even begun to THINK about organizing the garage (although this never actually happened).  But then a nagging thought.  A slight lack of peace.  A remembrance from the Holy Spirit of a conversation Josh and I had many months ago.  We knew that the next season after school was not to strike out on our own, but to come under someone.  To be mentored by someone that has been in ministry alot longer than we have.  And because of some relationships in Nashville which were moving in different directions, we knew it wasn't there. 

So where now?  Several months ago, God orchestrated a connection with Dan & Penny Funkhouser.  They pastor Heartbeat Ministries International, a church started several years ago by the couple.  Dan also teaches several courses in 2nd and 3rd year at CBC.  They are awesome, and the things they have seen God do through them are amazing.  We knew in our hearts, and it was confirmed by a POWERFUL Word: this is what God had for the next season. 

What this EXACTLY means, or how long this season will be, we just don't know.  I can make plans, but whats the use?  God's plans are always better (and usually more uncomfortable) than mine.  We didn't exactly know what we were getting into when we moved here, but God is forever faithful, forever loving and guiding us.  We still have church planting in our hearts.  Europe.  But I trust in His timing. 

Ministry can look like a million different things.  We are waiting and watching as God reveals to us what our ministry will look like.  But this season is still training, preparation for what is to come.