Recently I had the privilege of praying with some of my beautiful prayer warrior friends. One of them, I even call She-Rah: Prayer Warrior Princess. We are a part of a team at our church that gets to do personal prayer ministry with individuals. One and a half to two hours, just for one person. A long time ago God began using people to teach me about "the one". Jesus cares about everyONE. He wants us to invest in the ONE. I love this ministry because I get to focus on just one person at a time-to honor and care for in prayer. There are few places I'd rather be on those nights.
Sometimes our team gets together to do some training and practice. The other night these warrior princesses in my life ministered to me for a brief time during our practice. One person was leading that part and the rest of us were to ask a question: "Jesus, what lie am I believing about you?" I wasn't feeling well that night, so I had already decided that I wasn't really going to participate. (I live in a land called "Of Course", where God does things that I wouldn't have necessarily seen happening, but Daddy knows best and just goes for it. Because I choose to submit to Him-many times ;-)- He brings me along for a ride anyway!) So…of course I was the first person to get an answer, and that meant that I was the one that was supposed to receive ministry in that session. (sigh)
Literally, I sighed.
I didn't feel like participating. I just wanted to look in from the outside and coach them through it.
But, no. Jesus wanted to dispell a lie.
In my open-book transparency, I often still censor what I'm sharing with the world for good reason. Everyone just doesn't need to know everything, and there are plenty of women in my life with whom I share life with. For some reason though, this month has been highlighted to me as "Singles Awareness Month" @ my church (not really, but it just feels like it is) and I thought I'd share some thoughts for the sake of amazing women in my life.
The lie. "You think that I'm always going to be just your friend, but that I'm never going to be your groom."
Story of my freakin' life. How often do I say it? "I'm always the friend, but never the bride." "He thinks I'm such an incredible woman…sucks I'm not attractive enough." "I'll have great guy friends until the day I die…but am I ever going to have a husband?"
There I said it.
But does that really mean that because I've thought those things that I really don't think that Jesus is going to be my groom? The Bible tells us that Jesus is coming back someday, and that he is coming back for his bride. I believe that. I believe that Jesus is the ultimate Groom and that someday I will be with him in Heaven. I also believe that He's my friend; I've a friend in Jesus. (Click for a belly laugh).
What Jesus was telling me was that deep down I am actually relating my expectation of Him to my wonderings about whether I'll ever go from "awesome, incredible, amazing, sister in Christ" to bride. I just didn't think I was doing that…until I asked. Dang those questions!
So in this prayer session with my friends, I asked Jesus if there was anyone I needed to forgive for this lie being in my life. Together we walked through a couple of items there and then I gave that unforgiveness and frustration to Him. I asked Him what he would give me in exchange for that junk and do you know what he gave me?
Yes, He did. He gave me a stallion.
So I can wonder all I want to, whether I will ever make the transition from "amazing friend" to a bride someday, but I don't really have to. All that does is feed a lie that I already got rid of. I have to admit, it's still hard to believe. Really. But I choose to believe that my stallion is out there-or right around the corner; I have no clue.
In the meanwhile, I will continue to be aware of my singlesness because I can't seem to get away from it…at all. Might as well enjoy a great message on either marriage or singleness here. (March 3, 10, 17) 😉
Today we take a few moments
the life of a courageous little girl
whose brief touch on this earth has impacted more people
than a 2 1/2 year old typically has the chance to
the faith that it launched in people
the depth that it dug in people
the inner healing that will continue to abound in people
the GOODNESS of God
…because even in the midst of the pain that is felt…
for our LOSS
will continue to CELEBRATE
Ruby Joy (Rubes)
you were a delight to know
you were a champion
you gave me reasons to never give up hope
…to never lose heart
Through your life
mine was revived
Thank you for being a part of my life
It was a JOY to know you here
Can't wait to run with you someday
…let's dance together
Your legacy extends farther than any of us can see
and will last for eternity
You are a hero to me, Rubes
In memory of Ruby Joy Luse
July 10, 2009-March 14, 2012
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the Facebook newsfeed on my phone, when I came across a picture that was posted by my high school youth pastor. At first glace, on the tiny screen, I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at. Then I looked more closely and saw an apple. I got on my computer so that I could see the picture a bit bigger and saw an incredible site.
Now, take a moment to really look at this picture. Rob and his son, Noah, were chopping some wood that day, and when they chopped through one piece, they came across this. Beautiful.
My initial, gut reaction, was of course, "Wow." And I thought, you know, God's just showing Rob how pleased He is with his life. Rob and wife Kim just moved from Eureka, Illinois, to Rice Lake, Wisconsin to plant a church (and all my church planting friends say, "Awesome!") This is a couple that truly impacted my teenage years, and as if that investment were monetary stock…I feel like I'm reaping the millionaire rewards of their investment. They've raised this incredible family of kids that love Jesus and seem to make great life choices (their daughter went to our alma mater for college, after all). Rob always taught us about faith, big faith, and taking big risks. He always talked about taking big risks. I'm definitely not surprised to know that he moved to Rice Lake to plant a church. :-)
Back to the picture-I immediately thought, "Rob, God wants to remind you that you're the apple of His eye…in the center of His heart!" What a picture!
I was in a group of friends the next day and was sharing this picture and story with them-the picture alone is just really cool, but the thoughts behind are just a beautiful and even more meaningful. As I was talking about it, one of my friends said, "Kim, you are so excited about this! It's almost like God did that for you more than for your friend! You're talking about His words and thoughts…"…basically she went on to say that I was talking about it as I was sensing the Lord wooing my heart. As if He really did do that just for me.
All of a sudden I realized that my heart was beating fast and that I had that same sense about me as when I talk about an amazing man in my life, that I would not mind sitting next to on a couch for the rest of my life. :-) God is really wooing my heart and I love it! He even allowed me to experience this super cool piece of wood that He created…HIS CREATION calls out to me. So precious.
I love this picture quite a bit. It reminds me…I need the reminder. It's my new wallpaper and screensaver on my phone, so that every time I go to use my phone I am reminded of just how much God likes me. I am the apple of His eye. I'm His favorite. I'm centered in His heart and He delights in me, no matter how many times I screw up.
"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 17.8
This season brings out a lot of talk about WHO Jesus is. I love it. God simply says, "I AM."
I've also loved my time in Leviticus (I don't think I've ever love too much time in Leviticus, to be honest) these past couple of days, just mulling over Chapter 26 has been such a great reminder to me of the benefits God gives towards obedience, and also the contrary of the punishment for disobedience, as laid out in the Old Testament. Throughout this section of Scripture, He often says, "I will." When God says that He will do something, it's a promise. He doesn't lie.
He says things like:
"If you…are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit."
"I will grant peace in the land…"
"I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new."
"I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you…"
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enaled you to walk with heads held high."
…not sure if you'd want me to quote what he said would happen as a result of disobedience.
As I'm learning more and more to hear His voice, I'm in more of a position to obey Him more and more. Therefore, these promises are good to remember…so good to meditate on, and they're great reminders as to the benefits of obeying Him.
More focus of Jesus…His love, His calling, His discipline, His direction, HIM.
This afternoon I beat the traffic and headed up to Baltimore to hear one of my all-time favorite authors speak about his new book and some other great things to be apart of, like The Mentoring Project. It was well worth the $7 round-trip (says my GPS) to get there:) I enjoy reading and devouring Don Miller's work, so excited doesn't truly describe how I felt earlier today.
He writes well and I was confident he would also speak well, so I arrived with my journal…and here's my prelude…
I'm sitting in a Presbyterian church. It's pretty and uncomfortable. My back's been aching too much today…after 8 days of being pain-free. I thought this was gone, but I guess not completely. Anyway, the pews in this church are hard. Sure, there's pew-length-long foam cushions, but they don't offer much-plus they move. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. Leave me here long enough and I will surely find 300 things to critique…which is why I'll just amuse myself with my own writing instead…and I'll start reading Don's book for the 2nd time this month. It's worth reading once a month, but twice during the first one for sure.
…This older gentleman in a suit keeps walking people down the aisle to one of the doors to the side of the stage. I think he's taking them to the bathroom, since it's obviously the way to the rest of the building (the entrance was just the entrance). I'm not feeling super well and want to know where the bathroom is, but I'm afraid that I already know. So, what if I have to go while Don is speaking?
*I just realized that Colbie Callait is playing in the speakers. I love that. Do I need to explain why? I mean, they could be playing Rebecca St. James, which would be fine, but expected. I didn't expect Colbie. 🙂
Yea, so I'm nervous that I'll have to go while my favorite hero author guy is speaking. Could I let him know ahead of time-or slip him a note as I walk past him to exit to the john?
Sorry, Don. I really want to hear the whole thing, but the greasy pizza from Mamma Cucina's is not completely agreeing with my insides right now. Believe me, it would be a ton worse if I didn't go right now. You might just want to trust me on this one.
Your Biggest Fan,
The Cute Redhead in the 5th Row
One of the things that makes this church a little uncomfortable for me is that there's only one entrance/exit to each pew. I can see that they were trying to conserve aisle space, but it's just so awkward. I'm sitting on the end (due to said problem earlier), in the 5th row, and I know that people would love to take up more of this pew, but they feel weird asking if they can hop over me to sit on the other side of me. I certainly cannot offer to move in through, not now.
…And now my biggest fear is confirmed…"Sir, excuse me. Can you point me in the direction of the restrooms?" "Do you wanna go now?" "No." "Okay, you go through those doors, to the left, down the stairs. Go down the right hallway, take the next left, do 16 jumping jacks and 40 pushups, and it'll be on the right."…or was that "up the stairs?" Great, so not only will I have to disrupt my favorite author, just to go potty, but I'll also miss half the talk because I won't be able to find the bathroom! Maybe I should ask for a map. Or perhaps I should update my FB status right now to ask all of my Christian friends to pray that I don't have to go to the bathroom for the next 3 1/2 hours.
Finally-2 cool people just sat next to me. The guy made a joke about the doors on the pews. Did I mention that? The pews have doors on them. Do they not want people to leave? Do you have to hand in your tithe before they'll let you out? "No, ma'am. I'm sorry…that was only 9%. The pew door is staying closed until you cough up the rest." Why do I feel like trying to be a comedian tonight? And why do I sound so cynical? I'm not really, I'm just super intrigued by this church…But I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Donald Miller inspires me to write-good, bad, ugly-the guy inspires me to be real with my thoughts-even the ones that don't have a chance of coming through as super-holy. Hmm.
Ah, we're so close to starting…
So there you have it. My prelude. These were my thoughts as I sat in the very pretty church, waiting for the man-writer of my dreams Donald Miller, to come out!
I have to do a plug for Susan Isaacs, too, though. She had about 15 minutes on stage before Don came out, and she's just as gut-wrenchingly raw and honest as he is. She's the female version of him. I absolutely loved listening to her and truly look forward to buying her book, Angry Conversations with God, as well. I am working on my honesty too-beyond, "Yes, I really do like your hair. It looks great.":) Susan will challenge me with this. I encourage you to check out both of the books I've mentioned…and then read them twice.
How could I almost forget to mention this? So I'm totally starstruck by this guy, for dumb reasons because I know he's just normal…but the whole time he's talking I'm all excited about the thought of getting my book signed by him, and I'm trying to come up with the best thing to say when I go up and meet him. So what did I say? I get to the table, 4 things in my head to choose from and…"Thanks!" That was it. My big moment to say whatever I wanted and I said, "Thanks!" And I didn't even break out my camera. :(