Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good Thing I'm Not God... (a.k.a. The Dilemma of "Prophet" vs. "Mercy")

...because the person sitting 3 seats down from me in church today- the one carrying on an adulterous relationship with someone who is MARRIED- would have been smoke. Who do they think they are?? And what ever happened to good old-fashioned church discipline, and holding people accountable for their actions?? We're all so busy being nice and inclusive, and all-consumed with mercy, that we forget that the Bible speaks clearly about continuous, unrepentant sin within the Body. If now's not the time, then WHEN???

Back in the day, when I was in my old church's singles ministry, I took this "Spiritual Gifts Assessment". I didn't know anything about spiritual gifting at the time, but I was about to get schooled! After we'd answered the questions, we were supposed to find the two spiritual gifts that best matched our answers. So we're going around, saying what our "gifts" were, and it's my turn, and I say, "mine are Prophecy and Mercy". The lady leading us was like, "that's impossible- they're opposite gifts. You're not supposed to be both, just one or the other." But there was my score- something like 46 for prophecy and 44 for mercy (with remaining points going to "helps" and "giving").

People who've met me will be quick to agree that I've got the Prophet thing down. My close friends know, though, that Mercy guides my heart, and over-rides the Prophet often. So in today's case, how in the world will Mercy decide to show up and save the world from the relentless Prophet?

She came alright. Like a flash flood, She decimated the tower of Self Righteousness I was building all through the sermon today with the whisper of a reminder that I'm guilty of adultery too, albeit in a slightly different way. And if Jesus' blood can cover my own sin, it can cover anything- even- especially- the sins I want to think are unforgivable.

Those verses in Matthew 18 that speak of Church discipline are quickly followed by verses telling us how to forgive... Coincidence? No way.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape

I heard a voice through the discord of a deluge of passersby...
I saw one gaze frozen in time watching me passing by-
And I swear I'll know your face in the crowd
And I'll hear your voice so loud- when you're whispering...

"Hey Unfaithful I will teach you to be stronger.
Hey Ungraceful I will teach you to forgive one another.
Hey Unloving, I will love you.
I will love you.
I will love you."

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Never Know... (Part 2)

Someone who became my friend 5 years ago.
Someone who gained my trust.
Someone I loved dearly.
Someone who'd really supported and encouraged me.
Someone I prayed with and for regularly.
Someone I confided in.
Someone I looked forward to spending time with.
Someone I thought would be in my wedding some day- we would celebrate life's big moments together.
Severed her friendship with me 2 months ago, very suddenly, through one seriously polarizing, un-retractable act. I'm still struggling to comprehend how this happened.

The only thing I can turn to for any small amount of comfort or understanding is that GOD KNEW. He knew 5 years ago when we met, and He knew when we were growing our friendship. He knew every time I thanked Him for her that this is how things would turn out. So even though I'm appalled and hurt and miss my friend, I just keep going back to "He knew this before I did..." And because of the last point on the last post's list- "who will return"- I'm holding my breath. God can do anything.

I'm praying for some kind of Circle now- beyond my human mind's imagination or comprehension.

You Just Never Know...

There is no way of knowing who will play what role in your life.
Who will you meet?
Who will be your friend?
Who will you trust?
Who will trust you?
Who will you love?
Who will you be concerned about?
Who will be concerned for you?
Who will you be there for?
Who will be there for you?
Who will hurt you?
Who will stay?
Who will go?
Who will return?
This is just mind-blowing to me. 3 very recent examples, but just one for now:

A teacher I had for my first class in graduate school. Really non-important to me. I fell asleep in her class- I just wasn't quite ready to be a serious student. I ended up with a good grade, but because of the naps (and very bad memory) I ended up sitting in the class close to the end my grad school career, re-learning, and really LOVED it the second time! Still just a passing figure to me though.

Fast forward 6 years: my teacher is now my co-worker. What a blessing! I get to learn new things all the time at my job because of the strong and knowledgeable mentor/co-worker I gained. And if that wasn't enough, she was the one sitting right next to me when I got the call that my grandmother had died. So she was the one who held my hand while I cried, and hugged me, and comforted me. And that friends, is what first sparked this thought of "you really never know".

You really just have no way of knowing WHO is going to be important to you in the future. Who God's going to insert or re-insert into your story. Makes me want to treat the people I'm prone to think of as "unimportant" or just give passing glances to the best I can in the fleeting moments, 'cause who knows who they might become to me later.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Full Circle

Ever done something you didn't really feel like doing, but did it anyway, and then later realized that GOD was telling you to do that, and even more- He blesses you big-time BECAUSE of your obedience? Yeah. It's like that.

I have had this happen SEVERAL times. And though I really don't understand in the moment why a thought crosses my mind, or why I feel so compelled to do *whatever*, the "a-ha"/ lightbulb moment that follows is like a drug. Oh yeah- it is that good. And it makes obedience REALLY desirable. If you are so blessed as to see the fruit of your obedience, it will just drive you to want to obey more.

Two things must be said right here though:
1. "The fruit of my obedience is not my responsibility. My responsibility is to be obedient." - A quote from the pastor who shared the Gospel with James Dobson's grandfather, as told by the pastor's granddaughter to me on my first mission trip. You can't be obedient on your own, and you can't do it because you want a reward. That's not obedience- it's manipulation.

2. Beth Moore talked about "full circles", I think in "Believing God". I resented her words. But since reading them, I have seen several circles close- God bringing hurt, frustration, lack of understanding to an amazing -not conclusion- but culmination? Yeah that.

The Circle of the day though (the short version): 4 years ago, an old friend started dating this girl, and I was pretty jealous. In spite of my knee-jerk jealousy, God clearly told me to let go of resentment, and try being her friend. Hard to do in the moment, but it did come. Every time I'd see her, I made a point of talking to her, and before I even realized what'd happened, I was sincere. It was good to see her on our sporadic crossings. Now you're gonna laugh, but through the miracle of FaceBook- oh yes I said that, we connected again over the last year. We've never been super close, but I do love keeping in touch. I knew she was engaged now (different guy), and not living in O-Town anymore. Today I got a message saying "it'd be great if you could come to our wedding". Totally not expected. And the Circle closed. God asked me to do something small for His sake, He honored my obedience, then blessed it, and now I get to celebrate with her at her wedding- something I do not take lightly.

Final point: you never know who will play what role in your life- who will come, stay or go. More on this topic promised in the future. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lyrical Tuesday

ANYTHING reminds me of a song. I'm pretty sure my life comes with a soundtrack. And you know you've got a happy girl when she scurries the halls humming. Today was a humming kind of day :). So thanks Anne for bringing a song to mind, and "forcing" me into making today lyrical!

Your motives unstable, you're like an unwinding cable car...
Listening for voices, but it's the choices that make us who we are.
Go your own way- even seasons have changed,
Just burn those new leaves over.
So self-absorbed, you've seemed to ignore the prayers that have already come about.

Backing away from the problem of pain- you never had a home.
You've been misguided, you're hiding in shadows for so very long.
Don't you believe that you've been deceived! Or that you're no better than ___...
The hair in your eyes will never disguise what you're really thinking of.

You're so brilliant-
Don't soon forget grace marked your heart.

This is the correlation of Salvation and Love:
"Don't drop your arms, I'll guard your heart and with quiet words
I'll lead you in."


Anything that COULD possibly go wrong...

...DID go wrong in 2008. Ok, so maybe that's a tad dramatic... but I mean really- see for yourself! In order now:

My boss stopped talking to me.
My home church ended.
I got stuck on a mountain in snow so thick I couldn't see in front of or behind me.
My emotions frequently won the battle of heart versus mind.
I really alienated myself from some of my friends.
I was sick for like 3 weeks, and got the worst, most painful earache every felt by a human.
My friend and I stood up for what's right, and were estranged from our coworkers.
Same friend and I resigned from same job.
I started getting hate mail.
My last check was withheld.
I was threatened with defamation.
My computer died.
My mom drove me over the edge.
My credit limits were (almost) reached.
I was threatened with a lawsuit.
Work stopped coming in.
Home group challenge. Enough said.
My next door neighbor's son harassed one of my girlfriends.
My next door neighbor threatened to get a restraining order against me after I reported what'd happened.
I couldn't find a job to save myself.
I couldn't get myself out of bed.
I lost my church.
I lost my young adults ministry.
I lost my dear friend.
My trust was destroyed.
I lost my last grandmother.
I lost my home group.
I gave up any chance I had to return to PNG any time soon.
A lot of questions were left unanswered.
A lot of prayers were answered with a "no".
Things I never thought I'd lose are now gone.
People let me down.
I let a lot of people down.

It is totally fair to say when something hard happens, there's a refractory period. Could be 2 days, 2 months or 2 years even. This isn't even a full list, and where it stands here, this is like having one disastrous thing happen every 12 days for a whole year. Yeah, that's kind of how it feels too. Just one thing after another. So what's the refractory period for that?

The "alone" thing really weighed me down in all of this. I felt so. unbelievably. alone.

Before you give into the horridly unsympathetic urge to say "oh get over it", who hasn't had a season like this? This is not the post for anything else. But stay tuned. I won't be staying here.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Yeah, that's what my thoughts have been doing... This year has been really tough. And I've decided to put pieces of it here. I'd love your comments whenever possible- but I don't really think many people read this... :) Guess I'll find out!

God has really led me through 2008. The only logical explanation I have for having made it through thus far is that He took me by the hand and dragged me through. Or, well, at least He held my hand and walked a step ahead, hacking through the bush as we went along... A lot of this year I felt like I was so alone and unprotected- dealing with one insane thing after another by myself, and practically failing at everything. I'm single as this is written, so humanly speaking, I wasalone. If I'd been truly alone though, I think I'd have ended things. So it must have been God.

I can't narrow down the lessons to one monumental one. But I do want to share some of them, and will do so here. So read on, Dear One.