Sunday, July 10, 2011
(excerpt from my journal 7-9-11; I felt this spoke for itself)
I found a song - "Draw Me, Lord" by Selah. So holy, so simple, so beautiful. Only these lyrics set to gorgeous harmonies:
Oh draw me, Lord
Oh draw me, Lord
Oh draw me, Lord
And I'll run
May I lean close to that song.
I realized yesterday, after buying a boat load of Christian living books, that I am searching for that personal relationship with Jesus Christ the wrong way.
I read book after book, but I read more of those than I read The Book - the Bible. His Word.
And I listen eagerly to Faith Radio with Susie Larson and pastors like James McDonald and Chip Ingram. Those people might supplement my walk with Christ, but they won't lead me to His door, directly.
So these two things - reading the Bible and prayer - that's how I'll form - or rather find - my relationship with Jesus.
I can't make idols of my new phone, busy myself writing blogs about faith, can't read only books penned by mortals and listen to inspirational talk.
I need to get to the bare bones of it.
I can't do it Ann Voskamp's way or Jennifer Dukes Lee's way or Susie Larson's way or Stormie Omartian's way. I have to forge my own path to Jesus. I have to use my own voice to ask, talk, commune with God.
Those ladies I mentioned would want that, anyway. And, moreover, God wants that.
So Lord, I am coming after You. I am opening my ears and eyes and extending my arms. Meet me? Save me? Love me? I so want to have a right relationship with You. Beyond just wanting it because so many other Christians have it and say how wonderful it is. Besides and beyond that, I want You, Lord, to run my life. To guide me. To lift me up. I want to serve and love You.
Forever and ever,
Friday, July 1, 2011
Friends, I am sitting in a rare moment of calm. The house is still. Husband takes a nap and stepkids are downstairs playing quietly. Dog is at my feet. Cat probably hiding from dog.
Anyway, I'm full of the Spirit. I saw the movie, "Soul Surfer," today with 3 of my clients at work. Friday is movie-day for us and we were able to see this amazing true story.
Bethany Hamilton, a surfer since a little girl, had her arm bitten off by a shark. Amazingly, she conquered all odds and got back on the surfboard and now has won many titles and travels extensively both competing and working for charities. "Soul Surfer" was a book first and made into an incredible movie.
I saw this movie about a woman who becomes disabled WITH my disabled clients. The movie had a significant effect on one client especially who I'll call Andrea. Andrea has a rare seizure disorder. It's extremely frustrating and debilitating. She and I talked after the movie and she said she was so moved by it. I felt honored that I got to see this movie with her, especially. You CAN do anything, I told her and she smiled broadly.
Oh, the way God moves in our lives.
Moving from an inspirational movie to an inspirational radio podcast now:
Today on Susie Larson's "Live the Promise," Matthew Barnett. This is the intro written about the show by producer, Grace Rief:
Whether we realize it or not, each of us was created for a great cause—and we will never be truly fulfilled until we find and pursue it. Today Susie talks with Matthew Barnett, author of "The Cause Within You" and son of a well-known megachurch pastor. Matthew discovered his great cause when he relinquished his dream of building a big, successful church like his father’s and began listening for God’s dream for his life. Have you discovered what you were created for? Listen in!
I say, PLEASE listen to this interview. Matthew is an amazing inspiration for anyone questioning what their purpose is... how they can help this pained world by doing small - or HUGE - things. Listening to the program brought my heart beat race and tears to rise to the surface.
Here's the link to listen.
What struck me was the following:
Matthew had this big, grand idea of what he wanted to do when he arrived in L.A. at the age of 20 to start a church. He arrived and realized he was in way over his head and God had a very different plan for him.
I am increasingly reminded that our plans might not match up with God's. In Matthew's case, his plans started small. And then he gave his life over to God, to His will.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
That is, for me, a sort of "life verse." When I am having trouble, or Husband and I find ourselves facing a problem we can't solve, we realize we are leaning too much on our understanding and so we look to God for guidance. And just the word, "lean," makes me think of myself falling over a little bit and reminds me to picture God beside me and leaning on Him.
In Matthew's case, God's plan for him was to go to the poorest places in L.A. and serve the poor. This became the Dream Center, "a volunteer driven organization that finds and fills the needs of individuals and families alike...founded in 1994 and currently serves over 40,000 people each month."
He talked of helping people living in destitute conditions, human trafficking, rampant drug and alcohol use - taking all of them in and ministering to their needs. In the broadcast, he reveals how the Lord laid this on his heart.
I listened in rapture. What is your cause? That's the theme of his most recent book and the topic of the show. I thought about my own "causes." What has been laid on my heart?
I always thought I would help the world with my writing, particularly my poetry. I've published one book of poetry about Alzheimer's Disease, seeking to comfort and help those who care for dementia patients. Next year I'll have a poetry book published about the grief over my mother's death and my eventual rise out of the pit of despair. With that book, I hope to help the motherless, those who feel abandoned and scared and lonely.
I've also known that my history with depression has something to do with my "cause." I long to tell my story and assist others in their battle.
Similarly, my history with self-injury has led me to seek out ways to help those choosing that path. And the list goes on: stuttering, self-abuse, emotional abuse, psychiatric medication dependance, child and family poverty all over the world.
But those are my causes. Are they God's as well?
Matthew, on the broadcast, tells Susie that he needed to quiet his self and release all of his own notions of what he "had" or needed to do. He asked God what he needed to do, to place the cause on his heart.
To do that, you have to take a risk. You have to be ready to let go of your own notions and goals and ideas. Sometimes. Other times, you might be in alignment.
So in a quiet moment of your own, I place on your heart the idea of asking God what His plans are for your life. What is your cause?
I don't mean a charity you'd like to devote $20 to every month. I mean what will make your lifeline move? I mean to what tune will your lifesong be?
To be honest, I don't know if we are to have just one or more than one. Do we devote our whole soul to one cause or can we do multiple things? What are your ideas?
I've not written poetry in almost a year and that scares me. I wonder, is that lifesong gone? Have i lost the passion, the ability? What about my perceived notion that my poetry was meant to help people, much less myself? Am I moving out of a phase, a lifesong?
That grieves me to no end. I want to be a poet! I always have.
But perhaps God is leading me somewhere different, even for the time being. In fact, for the time being, I will quiet myself and ask God:
What do you wish to place on my heart? What am I uniquely here to do for Your glory?
Thank you Susie Larson for airing this broadcast with this amazing pastor and thank you Matthew Barnett for having that vision as a little boy, son of a pastor, of a church that is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Biggest blessings to you and a Happy Independence Day!