Sunday, April 22, 2012

More of Him

Tonight . . . I just feel like writing.

Ephesians 4

"To Be Mature" (I do not use this paraphrase often or ever but The Message speaks this passage so well)

1-3 "In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences."

My heart can only be expressed some nights in the written form. I believe this to be because I talk so darn much that the impact of my feelings are often lost on even me, much less my listener. Haha! So tonight I take a break from my World Race driven posts to open up a bit . . .to delve into my soul for just a moment.

I do not wish to say that the World Race is away from the center of my current universe but mostly to say that it is an extension of who I am meant to be at this moment in God's time and can not define who I am outside of my current purpose on this earth. I am meant to go and yes, you are right in thinking that it is what I have exuded most the last little while while doing life here in this place. I have tried to live broadly but my verbal release is most often secluded within the realms of this grace driven journey around the world. I had to clarify about my continued love for the mission, while presently requesting to step outside of the confinement of its' much needed expression to lean into what God has been doing in my soul otherwise.

He's been doing a lot . . . and others have noticed. I must tell you.

To begin may I say that this weekend alone left me feeling enormously blessed to be still residing stateside for such a time as the EWomen's conference. What a blessing . . . and a reminder of a burden. My favorite speaker/author/woman of bravery of all time is Angela Thomas (If you have to say, "Who is she?" you must immediately google her name or click the link to the right of this post following the close of reading this to find out for yourself! Not only did I hear her speak for the 3rd time in person (Will never grow dull to me, nor could she to anyone) but we also served at tables backing up to one another, preaching our own mission . . .which are so very much the same at the heart: a woman breaking free from the bondage of sin and/or heartache and living a life of joy in Jesus Christ's glorious victory! She really is my unknown mentor as she serves to many women across the world. I pray for many, many blessings over her life, family, and ministry en-devours.

Angela gave me one word of advice when I spoke with her during one of our sessions breaks . . . finish your education. God has already spoken to my heart on this matter . . .really for years now so this was no shocking word and I completely intend to do just that when I return from my 11 months away. She gave hearty approval to the World Race and took my support card with her as she left Pensacola. I asked her to pray for me and I truly believe she will. Thankful am I for even a few minutes with her. She is a sinner saved by grace, just like you and I. I know this and I take joy in the fact that someone like us can accomplish so much with Christ at the helm . . .she is living her potential and that, to me, is most inspirational.

There were other speakers who spoke words that stood out to me at the EWomen's Conference. One of which was Lysa Terkeurst! Lysa serves as the president of the Proverbs 31 Ministry and I have heard her voice-overs on K-Love for years! To see her in person and to hear stories from her "normal" life were really fun and extremely helpful for my souls' requested answers.

Let me explain by telling you that I am known by those closest to me for some pretty radical "Freak Outs" as they have so sweetly been labeled! Haha! These outbursts are for real (I know, you're all shocked! Haha!) and they come usually associated with fear. Fear of loss, lack of control . . . something along those lines. I know we all have our "thing" that God has to chisel out of us and these Freak Outs are the area He has hammered hard on for a while. A pretty deep issue to be honest. A product of the past and a current crutch that I had not been willing to let go of. I needed to let go though . . .while they often make me feel better (Kind of like going for a run after an argument), they mostly left someone in the wake of my outburst feeling degraded and used. NOT at ALL my intention, however true story.

The last few months, really since about mid January, God has been breaking me of this bad habit. He told me clearly to let it go and it has been a painful process. Learning to be quiet when I want to speak and learning to move forward when I want to stay and fight . . .these are the things that He has been challenging me with and it was time to hear a word of inspiration on it and to formulate a solid plan for escape from this chain in my life. Now that I have laid that out there for the world to see and know, Lysa's words will make SO MUCH more sense to you and you will know immediately the relief I found in having a PLAN for the next time I come across the moment of decision before I decide to move forward in verbal assault!

Lysa told a story about her family's recent underwater adventure. They decided to all be certified as divers so they could share in this activity as a family. Upon certification, they went on a family dive. Quickly after reaching the bottom, a sea creature began to repeatedly attack one of her daughters, slamming itself into her head over and over! Her daughter panicked and then chaos ensued as Lysa herself began to panic for the safety of her children. Mamas, from what I understand, will do just about anything to protect their children. After an overly quickly swim to the top of the water, the diving "Master" as he was called sat the entire family down side by side (Including the parents) and spoke directly to them with these words, "When faced with the decision to "Freak Out" . . . look to the Master and see if He is freaking out. If the Master is not freaking out, you have no reason to either."

Yes, you see where this is going.

 I ask you to pray for Lysa, each of you reading this post, she is suffering from internal damage to her ears and has a constant ringing in her left ear after surgery to both of them. Her hearing loss is significant at this time all because of her quick assent to the top of the water. Apparently you must ascend gradually for your ears to adjust to the pressure properly. She did not take the time to do this and she is now suffering for that panic quite specifically. As a public speaker, you can imagine why this news brought her to soft tears as she told us this weekend. Her surgeries were only last week and this news of possible permanent major hearing loss is new to her heart. I thank you for your prayers, God is her healer :)

Her Dive Master's words wrung in my ears as if they were meant specifically for me. Not to be selfish but I needed to hear that if no one else in the room did!

. . . look to the Master and see if He is freaking out. If the Master is not freaking out, you have no reason to either.

My Master NEVER freaks out. So there ya go.

Philippians 3:13-16

"Focused on the Goal"

 12-14I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. 15-16So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Now, I am human and will make mistakes but now I have a plan. I've asked God to give me the forethought to pause and seek Him about His response to my circumstances or the words that have been spoken to me. To take the few seconds that could be the determining factor of whether or not someone gets hurt. I've committed to this. You know there's not much in listening to great words if you leave and never apply what you've learned and had pressed upon your spirit. Mine was this.

Amen to that word, Lysa!

Beyond this weekend, I will say that my joy has been full. I've written about this earlier in the year but I have quite decided that we are what we read. Since my devo focus this year so far has greatly surrounded the word "Joy" and all its' implications and applications, I have found that my personal outlook has greatly shifted  into this joyful direction as well! Jesus, the reason I exist, the very Person that my soul should accommodate, has made this sinner glad. I myself can do nothing, He, in me, can make change for joy! Jesus is the source. My disposition has been happier in general and my step has been that much more springy! People have noticed . . . and commented, as people do :)

I appreciate the comments, it's confirmation that the Lord is working and that I am allowing Him to mold my broken vessel into something beautiful and useful in His daily workings and what have you! The chiseled spirit is the contented spirit and the endurance brought from testing fires, is the brilliance in the end that brings forth  life-change and great living in desert or oasis!

I'm ready to change. I have to continue to change to be more like Christ. Part of this change is preemptive to my coming race but partly, it is what will happen after I leave. Change is happening and I know when and where. As to the how . . .well, "Only God knows and He ain't telling" (Only time I will ever use the word "aint" in my blogging, haha!). I used to be afraid of change but I've noticed recently that God brings beautiful things from natural change. Beautiful relationships, experiences . . .many things that would never have been noticed had change not occurred. Change is often difficult but what good thing isn't!

I'm smiling as I type mainly because I have opened up just a little. It feels good to tell you about the inner workings of my soul. I plan to do this a bit more, now that I am in a rhythmic posting system for WR. my story, His story will host a few more posts about God's current movements in my soul. He lives there and does a lot, as I'm sure He does in yours as well! He deserves to be talked about, really more than anything else for all eternity. May I walk what I talk and therefore talk about Jesus more and more.

Speaking of that, would you be willing to post a response below? Include your thoughts on this post, what has been addressed, and definitely anything God is doing in your life personally.

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