Friday, November 21, 2014

Did God really say?

It was a simple and sincere request from someone who loves my daughter - "Please reconsider". I'm planning on leaving my daughters with family for 10 weeks while I go to India, seemingly, because God has told me to. She is NOT the first, and won't be the last. And I especially respect that she was bold enough to say it rather than suggest things, make vague references, But...
"Please reconsider" can only be done if I'm doing this as part of my own desire, and not God's. But oh, reconsider I did, and do, often. "Did God really say?" may be what the devil tempted Eve with as he offered her the apple, but it's also something it seems I'm constantly hearing myself. Folks don't say it specifically - but it's implied when you suggest someone reconsider doing what God told you to do. "Did God really say?"
I went to Bible study Wednesday night and ended up in a great conversation with a missionary who, also, expressed her concerns for my children and we prayed together that God would make His way clear and "shut doors that I can't open, and open doors that I can't shut" so I follow where ever He wants.
And perhaps, I'm entirely wrong and India isn't what God is telling me to do.
But the next morning I woke up  feeling calmer about the separation (I generally have a curl-into-a-fetal-position-crying mindset just thinking about leaving my girls) and then I got to have breakfast with my 3 yr old.

Conversations with a 3 yr old are always interesting, and this one was no exception. But at the end I was halfway through my story when I realized the words I was saying:

"Michaela, you need to cover your mouth when you cough, otherwise your sickie germies can get on things and make Aunt Gigi, or Dubba, or Davie or Angel sick."
"But I can cough on my toys?"
"No, you shouldn't cough on your toys either, because then Aunt Gigi might pick it up and touch your germies and get sick. Mommy would have to wash it"
"In the washing machine?"
"No, the toys are hard they would break the machine. you can only wash soft things in the washing machine, not hard toys. Your pajamas are soft, so they could go in there, but not your cup, or bowl because they are hard."
"Could I put a piggy in the washing machine?"
"A piggy needs to breathe air, and in the washing machine a piggy would drown in the water"
(We go through various animals and their need for air)
"A fish would be the only animal that might not die in the washing machine because they can breathe water, they live in the water." I remind her of Marlin and Dori from "Finding Nemo" and how they live in the water.
She begins to tell me about how they might get eaten by a shark and how scary that would be.
So I tell her the story of Jonah and the whale. A man who got eaten by a huuuuuuge fish.
She's sitting at the table eating her Cheerio's while I"m running back and forth the kitchen showing how Jonah didn't want to go where God told him so he ran the other direction, then I'm vividly trying to describe the waves tossing the boat around and Jonah telling them to throw him overboard..
I'm telling her how right she is and describing his prayer in the belly of the fish when suddenly the words I'm saying hit me "Please Lord, get me out of this fish and I will go where you wanted me to go".
Talking with the missionary the night before I had mentioned how much safer I feel within the will of God. Regardless of what He might ask of me I feel confident of provision and His keeping, that things are going according to His best plan if I simply do as He asks. I said if I go other directions I don't have that confidence, and as a single mom feeling confident of His blessing and being in step with His will gives me a great feeling of security. She stressed to me that of course, God's love for me as a child doesn't change if I do something wrong, just as my love for my children doesn't change.
I didn't have a good answer for that last night, except that yes, God would still love me. But it's safer in His will than out of it.
It wasn't until I was telling a story of a man getting thrown overboard because God sent a storm to stop him from going the wrong direction that I realized what I wish I had remembered last night.
A prime example of how going the opposite direction God is pointing is a bad idea.
There's love regardless, but a certain amount of safety being in His will rather than out of it.

That said, I don't want to go to India.
I want to live a powerful life for Christ, own furniture, maybe get a puppy,and cook American pancakes on Saturday mornings for breakfast in my American little house, with my girls getting American education and learning about the wonders of Amusement parks and funnel cakes. But if I do that now, without having gone to India...I don't feel that same security of "everythings gonna be okay".
I don't know what the future holds. But I know that regardless of how much I like the timing, how necessary the money is that He may want me to give away, or how I don't have money to pay for some teen mothers hospital bills so that they don't abort their kid - If God is calling me to do it I need to do it and trust that the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills will be able to provide.

Meanwhile I also need to trust that He'll also comfort two little girls who I've been told will feel abandoned. That they'll forgive me for not considering them "enough of a ministry" and that He'll help them understand that they are not my "first priority". And that somehow, some day, these two kiddos that I'm gonna miss like all get out will want to be like my Jesus too. Despite me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The coin worth $5000

Today was one of those extra special days at work. Boss man is giving out task after task he wants done and then regularly interrupting the task giving to ask if you've completed any of the 8 tasks he'd given you 5 minutes prior. During all that, I foolishly mentioned the storage room and how during his upcoming 6 week absence it would be a good project to go through the boxes, scan the necessary items and discard the non-essential items.

This didn't go well.

He then decided to test my abilities of determining what HE would classify as "unessential". Obviously my simplistic point of view isn't going to mesh with his pack rat point of view. But once the train wreck is started, it won't stop till it's completely done...So page after page he pulls out and explains why this form or that form that's over 18 months old could provide value. How does it provide value you might ask? It makes him think about something that he could be doing that relates to this form. So we must keep the form that is no longer even able to be used (since all of the forms have long since been updated) so that it can perform the extra special task of making him think of something.

As he complained about my not seeing value in things, he mentioned I had this trait in common with his wife. He grumbled some about how his wife has a change jar and periodically takes it in and coverts it to cash. This genuinely bothers him. Why?
Because when you just dump them all together like that, you miss the fact that there could be a coin in there worth $5000. But, alas, you'll never know now.

I was overwhelmed when I left. Too much to do, and so many interruptions that you can't even begin completing anything before more work is given. Overwhelming.

But the minute I classified what I was feeling as "overwhelmed", I thought of the song by Big Daddy Weave "Overwhelmed" (video included in case you haven't seen it). The point of the song is simply how when the writer thinks of God and the amazing attributes of God, he's overwhelmed.

It was helpful for me to remember that song because I couldn't help but imagine that as stressful as it is to be overwhelmed by work, it is even more so exactly the opposite to be overwhelmed by how amazing God is. I began praying "God, please remind me of all the things about you that I'm just too busy to think about." And I began thinking of all the expressive things that David wrote about the vastness of God's goodness, mercy, power and love.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! PS 31:19
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. PS 59:16
I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.  Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, PS 17:6-8
See what I mean? My head feels better just reading those verses aloud. I want to be overwhelmed again. I remember, vividly singing a song called "When I think about the Lord"
It says simply this:
When I think about the Lord
How He saved me
How He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up and turned me around
And He placed my feet 
On solid ground.
It makes me wanna SHOUT!
Thank you Jesus!
Lord You're worthy
Of all the glory
And all the honor
And all the praise.
It makes me wanna SHOUT!

There's something mundane and seemingly pointless to digging through a great pile of coins and hoping to find a valuable one. But unlike a pile of coins with only the remote possibility of a valuable one being in the mix, when you meditate on the works of God you always find that prize, that treasure. Every thought, every memory is that $5000 coin. And when you meditate on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and consider the changes He's made in your life...that is when you become overwhelmed. That's when you go from simply feeling thankful for all Jesus has done to feeling overwhelmed and suddenly you want to shout, and dance as David did. You aren't just "thankful". You're overwhelmed and rich.

And that's a pretty great way to end a stressful day.

Hope you enjoy the song.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving your life away.

I've been considering something brought on, in part, by Veterans Day. It was a thought regarding our military men and women "giving their life away". They go where the government tells them to go, they train in whatever fashion the government chooses to tell them they must train, then they are required to do whatever the government tells them to do. If the government says sit here for 5 hours in the freezing cold and watch this building, sure 'nuff somebody's gonna catch a cold. No if, and's or but's. You do as your told. And you might die. There's no guarantees.

And I began thinking about how very much I want to give my life to God. Please Lord, send me, tell me, teach me, make me do whatever. I am fearful sometimes with having been to India recently, returning to India next month, and my further searches into Indonesia and living in other countries that I am following my own will more than God's. Not that I have a great desire to live in those countries, especially with small children(!)  but I am desperate to win a soul for Christ. To do something for Him. And the idea of living in suburbia, sending my kids to a good Christian school and working 8-5 is incredibly frightening to me. We're rewarded according to our works. I've always wanted to be an over-achiever and right now it feels like I'm in the bottom of the class. My prayer for the last few years has been pretty constant, "Make ME a blessing to YOU Lord".

I'm praying for leading. I'm praying for open doors and a heart that is bold to witness. I'm praying to be a good mother. I'm praying to be entrusted with more children that NEED a home. I'm praying that God will help me raise up my girls as servants. I pray God will burn away more of myself so that a true servants heart remains. God help us. God help those who haven't heard the gospel and surrendered. God help those who claim to know the Gospel yet deny the Jesus clearly shown in the Bible and build their own false Christ who accepts and tolerates sin. God help those who simply walk away because they see a lukewarm church of mediocrity. God help us. And send a fire of revival in our hearts. And let it begin in me.