Monday, October 10, 2011

It's easier said than done

It's easy to say and hard to do. "If you're going to really engage people, you have to be willing to get messy" is easy for me to spout off and sound like a great minister of the Gospel, but to actually step into people's filth is a completely different story.
Steven and I have made it our habit to have a running list of people we pray for every night before we go to bed. There are some that we pray would find a true relationship with Jesus, others we pray that the the Lord would ignite a fire that has grown dim and then there are our missionaries that we love and pray that the Lord would walk along side them during difficult and dark times.
Something unexpected seems to happen when we pray, God moves. You're thinking: Isn't that what you were asking him to do? YES... and no. YES, we're asking him to move, but NO I don't like how uncomfortable he makes ME stick my hands in their filth.
My husband loves dirt... and I mean actual dirt. He has no problem getting down and dirty to help other people out. He'll be the first one under the hood of a car and the last one to leave when a mess is left. One day on the way to the airport, Steven saw a woman stranded on the side of the road. We were already late, but that did not bother him. His first concern was that this woman was ok. He almost missed his flight. This is Steven.
I, on the other hand want to be a comfortable minister of the Gospel, and to be honest that is not how the Lord intended it. He called Paul to be imprisoned, stoned and beat for his faith, why? "So that whether by life or death, Christ might be glorified in my body." Oh how I struggle with this concept. I want to be comfortable! I want to tell stories of how dirty life is without getting dirty myself.
Through the people we pray for, we have gotten many opportunities to get dirty and to invest into the lives of others. It has been painful to love people through their self-destructing habits, but my husband has taught me something. Speak truth, even when it hurts. It's like scrubbing an infected wound - healing cannot happen if soap and elbow grease isn't applied. Steven's heart for the Gospel and making Jesus knows in dark places in nothing short of admirable. He listens when people need to be heard but speaks truth when it needs to be spoken all so that Christ would be glorified.
Thank you Lord for giving me a man who loves and follows after you, even when it's messy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking back...

"Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4: 6)
We must look back in order to remember. This weekend, the Lord walked me through my major milestones to show me his constant grace in my life.
As I sat in church yesterday at Baptism Sunday, Steve, our pastor said "As you hear the stories of those in the water, may you be reminded of your salvation story." Sitting and listening to these 4 people vulnerably sharing their struggles and how they "grew up in a Christian home" but never truly understood the gospel, I was rocketed back into my own childhood. It was as if I was looking at my six-year-old self sitting on the toilet praying for Jesus to be my Savior. Skipping ahead a few months, I remember playing with a little girl on a California beach telling her all about my Jesus. Some people look back on their childhood conversion as something they were talked into or didn't understand, but I look back and see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly transformed my life, even at a young age. THERE the Lord saved me.
After each passed through the waters of baptism, a pastor stood up to talk about Jesus' baptism and more important still, his temptation in the desert. He pointed out that Satan was after Jesus' identity and immediately, I was launched back to my college door room where I sat on the floor crying out to God asking him who I was. Who am I?! I said, partially out of frustration and partially out of fear. I felt so lost. I remember so clearly the gentle whisper of the Father, You are my daughter, so that makes you a princess. Are you acting like it? That moment was a reality check on so many levels. I believe it was when the Lord called me to a real purpose, to follow hard after him. It was then that I decided to get my tattoo as a reminder of my identity - a princess, a daughter of the King. THERE the Lord gave me identity.
As we went into worship and sang two of my favorite songs that I picked for my own wedding, I was reminded of the joy that I felt and the love that engulfed me the day I was married almost 10 months ago. That day reminds me of my commitment to my husband but more so, it reminds me of what one of those songs cries out: When we arrive on eternities shores where death is just a memory and tears are no more. We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring. Your bride will come together and we'll sing, you're beautiful. THERE the Lord gave me a glimpse into his love for me, his bride.
There are high points and low points in my walk with Christ. I look back on some with great joy at how he has grown me and yet others still bring me pain if I examine them too closely. Either way, I will not stop putting these markers in the ground to remind myself of the God I serve. The challenge: to remember to LOOK at those markers and say, THERE the Lord was faithful... and that will not change today, tomorrow or for eternity.