Darkness is all I can see. It has it’s own depth and weight. I blink a few times to make sure my eyes are open. Yep, they are open. Without the precious sense of sight, my other senses become heightened. I hear nothing except the rhythm of my own breath echoing off the space. This strange sonar gives me a sense that my prison must have some height and depth. I hear no natural sound. I am not outside, or even near to an outer wall. A cave? I hear no water dripping or trickling thru fissures in the earth. No mustiness lingers in the air caused by the constant presence of mist and dampness. In fact, I smell nothing at all. If I am underground, it is not a natural structure.
What am I laying on then? Oh, yes. I’ve just noticed I’m laying down. Strange. Complete darkness is so very disorienting. The floor is smooth like granite except, wait a minute. What are these? When I move my hands metallic clinks echo throughout the chamber. The cold, oval structures appear to be interlinked. Chills cause the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end as I recognize the shape: a chain large enough to anchor a ship to the bottom of the sea. With the same hand, I follow the links, the size of my palm, toward me to find their origin. The chills shoot through my body as I find the chain is not attached to my wrist by any kind of strap. It is growing from or was implanted there! With a gentle tug, pain shoots up my arm. An involuntary cry, the mixture of physical pain and rising panic, escapes my throat. Quick inspection reveals the other wrist in the same condition.
Momentarily incapacitated by fear, I evaluate my situation. Giving in to the panic will get me no where. Breathe. Just breathe. Get a hold of yourself. Chains have two ends. So, let’s see where the other end is. Yes, by now I have resorted to referring to myself in third person plural. You find chains coming out of your wrists and see how long you hold it together! With plans to investigate by way of crawling, I flip over on my stomache. Gripped by horror again, I gasp as pain shoots from my feet up my legs. I suck in air thru clenched teeth, willing the pain to subside. I try to control my trembling hand as I slowly, carefully, reach down to inspect. Though motion shoots fire through my body, I must confirm what I fear to find. Identical chains protrude from both ankles. With as little pain as I can manage, I scoot up, put my face on my knees, and succumb to all manor of deep despairing emotions. Time means little in complete darkness. I vacillate between why I am here and how I came to be at such a miserable place and condition. When I cannot reason the answers, I wallow in despair until it circles back to the questions of why and how.
A gentle touch on the crown of my head startles me out of my black revelry. So focused on my thoughts, I had not heard anyone approach. I look up, expecting to see only blackness. Instead, I find myself squinting at a man. My eyes had grown so accustomed to the dark, it hurts to look where any light exists. He is not holding a light, but he seems to be lit by daylight. It is strange. The light is radiating from within him. He is not gleaming or glowing. It’s like soft warmth in his being that needs no light. Instantly I notice his eyes. They are old with wisdom, filled with more knowledge and understanding than one human being should possess. His face holds an expression of peace that frankly, makes me want to slap him. As I consider if I should think this, he chuckles, shakes his head, and begins to sit along the wall. I gasp, afraid he will fall. He looks up with concern as he rests comfortably on a ledge I apparently did not see before he began to sit. Maybe it was a trick of the shadows.
“Hi.” I smile sadly as my eyes meet his again. This is not how I would have expected to greet the King of the Universe.
“Hi.” The warmth of his voice washes over me. I close my eyes and listen to it echo.
Glancing around I see my burdens are four round weights, roughly two feet in diameter, at the end of a five-foot chain. Etched in each weight is the name of an affliction I carry.
I look back at him with concern. He returns my concern with sadness. Unable to stand the distance any longer, I stand and gather up the chains to protect myself from pain as much as possible. With my head down I lean into the weight, bear the pain and pull with all the strength I can muster. The cavern is filled with the screech of metal on the floor. White hot pain courses thru every cell as sweat beads across my forehead.
“Please don’t,” he urges through gritted teeth.
Desperation in his voice causes me to look up, but I don’t stop. With each step, pain surges up each arm, each leg. Muscles spasm. With each stab of pain, I can see his face twitch, the muscles in his back, arms and legs convulse. It’s like looking in a mirror that transforms your reflection into the most precious person you can imagine. It is worse than any pain I can feel.
“Please stop.” He whispers again.
With relief for both of us, I drop my chains. There is still so much distance to cover. Still so little has been accomplished. Frustration sets in. “How do get there? What am I supposed to do? I can’t go anywhere when I’m weighed down like this. And it hurts. It hurts so much.” Tears fall, only now do I realize they have been falling thru the entire struggle. I turn my wrists over to show him where the chains enter my skin. They are now bleeding and bruised.
“I know,” he says and turns his wrists over, “the scars never really go away.”
I laugh through tears and cock my head to the side, “That’s not the same.”
“No?” He looks up from his wrists with just his eyes and wrinkles his brow. “Child, I did this for you.” Indicating toward the weight I claim as mine with a slight head tilt, he continued, “Those burdens I will take, when you are ready to give them up.”
“But I have asked you so many times to take them away. They are still here.” Tears run freely down my cheeks. This is a touchy subject, and we both know it. I turn away and begin running my fingers over the etchings in the weights.
“Sometimes giving me your burdens doesn’t mean they disappear. I will make ALL things new. Your scars, like mine, may have been made by horrific circumstances. But I can transform them into something beautiful. Let me have it. Let me do it.” These words are said with the gentleness of love, the authority of a command, and the want of a beg.
Tears still streaming down my face, “I do. I will. But I can’t promise I won’t steal them back.”
He stands. At the sound of his movement I jump, but I have no desire to run. After all, where would I go? He puts his hands on my shoulders and turns me to face him. With a rough hand on either cheek, he wipes away my tears. Forcing me to look into those wise old eyes he tells me, “I know. So until you are ready to give them up again, I’ll be here with you. Waiting. When you are ready, I will take it all over again.” He smiles. It brightens the whole room.
He kisses me on the forehead. I whisper, “Take it,” and I start giggling. His laughter is deep and full, filling the room with joy. With each breath the darkness surrounding us grows lighter. The sharp burning pain in my wrists and ankles has replaced the dull, bearable ache of healing. The weights have turned into balloons, each a different color. The chains are now strings. They are still attached to me, but the pain is substantially less. On each balloon is still written an affliction, but there is also hope, possibility, change, and potential written there.
It ends today. This is the last day you can hurt me. Just like all the days before, you were subtle in your comments. With carefully chosen words and actions, hoping I wouldn’t notice I am treated differently. I notice the subtle, a careful curator of the details. I see how you fawn and dote over the others. Cheerful greetings and lavish compliments are showered over the others, everyone but me. Today is the last day you make me question what is wrong with me. All my insecurities brought out by your presence. When I tried to do something nice for those you treated like children, I was harshly scolded. “Don’t let it bother you,” was the advice from others. Should I have to earn a thicker skin because of you? My tender hearted empathy is one of my dearest assets. It allows me to feel what others feel, to sense the emotional state of those with whom I am familiar. Today is the last day you turn my strengths into weaknesses. Though I feel I should hate you, I cannot. Though you have sent me to quietly weep in private, I have also wept over your sorrows. I have prayed for you; for the times you have been in pain and for your physical and spiritual health. No, I cannot hate you. I have spent too much time around you to hate you. Though you have hurt me enough that I will not let you close, I love you. Today was the last day you will hurt me. Today was my last chance to show you I love you. I am sorry I missed it. Farewell.
I don’t expect every new meeting to become a confidant.
But I wish my constant companion wasn’t loneliness.
I don’t expect a cure from this constant pain.
But I wish for momentary glimpses of relief.
I don’t expect you to be with me all the time.
But I wish you didn’t feel so distant.
I don’t expect you to know all the answers.
But I wish you would be still and listen when I speak.
I don’t expect you to understand.
But I wish I had no doubt you cared.
Through the loneliness, the pain, the isolation,
A calm voice whispers to the depths of my soul.
I know what loneliness is.
I AM your closest confidant.
I know every kind of pain.
I AM your relief.
I know sometimes I may seem distant.
I AM with you always.
I know questions seem to fall unheard.
I AM the answer when you are still to listen.
I know what it is to be misunderstood.
I AM wisdom and love.
I recently heard a message comparing Saul and David. One key point in this message was “God is looking for hearts that are all in.” Of course my first reaction was guilt. It’s just who I am, how I think. I want so badly to give my whole heart to God, serve him fully. But before you start thinking I’m holier than thou, realize the reason I sent myself on a guilt trip is because I started running passed all the things that were keeping me from 100% “all in” service to God. I realized all these stops on my little guilt trip were associated with fear. I willingly serve fear, when fear is so contrary to everything for which I claim to stand. God says step out on faith and do this thing for me. I am afraid my needs won’t be met as they currently are, so I drag my feet or just don’t take that step at all. Who am I serving if it is not God? If fear is the opposite of faith? Yeah, ouch.
But there is hope. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) There is hope in remembering God loves me. Yes, I will screw up but God never wants me to stop there. Imagine a perfect father turning his back on his child the first time they make a mistake. No, he turns the mistake into a lesson, hoping the child realizes their wrong and makes the necessary changes. These changes are necessary to build character, to improve both the child and the community.
Though it’s never to late to turn, to repent, to give your heart, there is one warning. Be certain you are ready to give it all. I don’t say this to be legalistic or demanding, but because this is the only way to experience God. If you only give a part of your heart, man, you’re missing out! When fear and guilt creeps in remember the angel’s first words to the shepherds on Christmas night: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10b This good news is the gift of God’s grace. Yes, we can expect God’s discipline when we mess up. But we do not have to fear God’s wrath. Jesus took that for us. It is beyond my comprehension, but He allows us to receive the rewards. So make that leap! Go heart first, ALL IN!
“Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” -C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
This truth just played out in my own experiences. Friendships and fun are good things that lift the human heart. When friendships usurp the God of all things from his throne, expect discipline. In my recent experiences, mental anguish should have been a twinge of warning that my heart needed to change. I needed an attitude check. However, as is usually the case with emotional pain, my instinctual reaction was to retreat inward, causing focus on Jesus to blur and blinding me to the needs of others.
Say what you will about the Church, and the problems with organized religion, God still moves there. He certainly did today. I also firmly believe that God enjoys irony. His Spirit moved through a set list that I put together to convict me of my failures and draw my heart back to His. It makes me laugh. I was so worried about these songs being appropriate for the sermon that Sunday, and going together well, and choosing the right Scriptures. Ha! Little did I know that God was going to use each and every song and Scripture to convict me! (Please don’t take this as me bragging about my ability. Far from it. No, I am in awe and amazed every time the God of the universe takes the time to work in my life. His love for me blows me away. Any goodness found in me is a reflection of Goodness Himself.)
Here are some of the words and verses that convicted me today in the order they were presented to me in our service. I pray that it may also help you on this journey through life.
From Unchanging by Chris Tomlin
Great is Your faithfulness
You never change You never fail O God
True are your promises
You never change You never fail O God
Wide is your love and grace
You never change You never fail O God.
Psalm 23: 1-3
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
From Forever by Chris Tomlin
Give thanks to the Lord
Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise sing praise
From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
And by the grace of God
We will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise sing praise
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
All of You is more than enough for all of me
For ev’ry thirst and ev’ry need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough
Even though I walkthrough the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and freeTurn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and graceThrough death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are
His Word shall not fail you He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Deuteronomy 30: 16-20
16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.Deuteronomy 8: 2-92 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your nameBlessed be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in
Lord still I will sayBlessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be Your nameBlessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your nameYou give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord blessed be Your name
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
And hear our cries Lord
Let ‘em rise
And it’s Your kindness Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord is our desire
And it’s Your beauty Lord
That makes us stand in silence
And Your love
Your love is better than life
We can feel Your mercy falling
You are turning our hearts back again
Hear our praises rise to heaven
And draw us near Lord
Meet us here
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours
My father who is
Always will be…
Hallowed be Your Name
Our Father in Heaven
Sent the Son
God with us
Sacrificed for us all
Ascended to Our Father
Sent the Spirit
Your Kingdom Come.
Your kingdom come
…is in the process of coming…
May your will be done down here
Exactly as it is where you are
May Our Father’s will be done by the
Wanting nothing more than
To Be Loved
Give us this day
Thank you, Father, for another day.
Give us what we need
To bless others
To see passed ourselves
Because life is broken.
Forgive our debts.
The ways we have hurt others.
May we forgive those who owe us
As You have forgiven us
By Death to self.
Our small foot inside your larger print
One step at a time
May we follow the narrow path
Away from temptation
Marching toward home.
Stretch your arms wide before us
May your sacrifice
From the onslaught of the
He only wishes to destroy
You long for restoration
We will one day live again
Too Important not to share…
It’s an embarrassing fact that the majority of Americans know who Justin Bieber is, but have no clue of the atrocities these children in Uganda face every day. This campaign is amazing! I think it has real potential. I am moved and motivated. Better yet, I want to join with some friends who are willing to get these kits and take a trip to Fort Wayne on April 20, or even some smaller towns closer to home, to get the word out about Kony. The world should know. These kids are not invisible. No one is.
Keeping those suffering in Uganda in my prayers,
I know I said one photo per day. But I ask you, how could I post one of these without the other? They make me smile. My husband, Matt, and I went to my brother’s house to watch their four kids while they took a well-deserved night out with friends. During the course of the night, the youngest, and only girl, Moriah, clung to Matt. It was so adorable! I will admit I was a little jealous because if I could have, I would have held Moriah all night and let Matt entertain the three boys! Moriah would only have Matt.
So I got out my camera. The night could not have gone better, but to the chagrin of both of our mothers, I can confidently say that it did not stir any parental inclinations in either of us. We put the kids to bed. Nate and Lisa came home. We went home and crashed in our beds. We are content to be Uncle Matt and Auntie Megan.
Specs: All three photos were taken with Nikon D200, Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 100, on-camera flash in red-eye reduction mode. Edited in PSE8 with RadLab plugin.
Driving home from, for now we’ll call it my “day job,” I commonly get stuck behind slow drivers. It’s not their fault really. They are probably lake-people who haven’t grown up driving these rough rural roads. Lake people really are a different breed around here. Most of them make twice my yearly income, drive fancy cars, and live in Fort Wayne or South Bend, or their suburbs, and own summer cottages on one of the many lakes around my home. You know, “Lake People” kind of sounds like a bad horror flick. But that’s another subject altogether. I’m not jealous. Moving on…
Unfortunately for others, sometimes I am the slow driver. After a long day, my brain cannot focus enough to keep my foot on the gas pedal while also avoid striking all the Amish buggies and bicycles without at the same time avoid colliding with oncoming traffic. Something must give. Usually I let up on the gas. Some days I simply end up in a daydream behind a one-horse-powered buggy going 15 miles an hour. I guess that frustrates people who have somewhere to be five minutes ago.
On one such day, I found myself behind a flatbed truck with a rather large rear bumper. It just so happened that I had no particular place to be, and I was worn out after a long work day. It took me a while to realize what I was doing. Though I was in no hurry, and had no intentions to pass this vehicle, I was by all state regulations and good sense, following much too close. In my normal daydream state I kept creeping up on this fellow’s bumper till I had to put on my brakes. I then eased off the MPH until I once again was lost in my thoughts and realized my bumper would give his a rude kiss if a furry four-legged specimen attempted to prove the evolutionist theory correct! Then the entire cycle would start over, that is until I was awakened from my waking dream. When I did notice what was happening, I reseeded into another daydream that went something like this…
Isn’t this how a lot of us follow Jesus? We get excited, perhaps we’ve just been introduced to this adventure we call Christianity. We run up behind him trying to get to know him. But in our zeal to learn, we forget to stop asking so many questions long enough to listen for the answer. Jesus just keeps walking along, laughing under his breath and slowly shaking his head, like a good big brother walking his freshman sibling to the first day of school. Maybe we have a great idea. But it’s our idea and, “Jesus! Come on! Let’s pick up the pace! We’re never going to get there on (my) time!” We might walk by a beautiful garden, or (I don’t know) the best Italian restaurant in the world. It looks like an amazing place to stop for a while. We grab Jesus’ hand and urge him to go where we want. There’s little time because he continues on His slow and steady pace. In our frustration we grasp the hand of the one who sustains the universe. At our touch, he takes his eyes off the path. His fingers close around ours. His warm eyes squint with a huge smile, just happy that we are there in the same moment with him. Everything about him is warmth. We stop for a moment in wonder, then blink and shake it off. “Jesus why can’t we stop? I really want to do this. I want to do this for you. Look at the potential here.” His only response is, “I know, but it is not on the path. It is your choice.” Since we don’t understand, and we can’t see as far as he can, we make our choice, and reap the consequences.
Those of us who have been following Christ for a while, like that day behind the truck, get distracted or start dreaming and don’t even realize that we are getting so close to Christ we’re about to run right into him. Sometimes opportunities to show Christ to others are right in front of us and we don’t even realize it because we are focused on other things. Other times we are so focused on our own dreams we miss an alternative that God may be trying to show us. I have just recently experienced this with helping with both the worship team and youth group at my church. In both cases, I was busy working toward trying to figure out “how God wanted to use me” when both of these opportunities almost literally fell into my lap! The most fantastic thing is that I thoroughly enjoy serving in both of these areas! It’s fascinating to me that I enjoy it so much. I only have found this joy because I followed Jesus along this path. But sometimes we wander off the path altogether. Sometimes it’s intentional. Other times it’s unintentional or the result of trying too hard. Some try to follow a list of rules or regulations and forget that all they have to do is follow the one who is already walking the path. But they are confused, so they go a different direction and have fallen asleep in a field of wildflowers like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. These people, I pray, will wake up as Jesus walks by.
Whereever you find yourself, know that I’m not saying any of these motivations in and of themselves are bad. Passion, excitement, zeal, are all good. Those who follow Christ should have all these things. We should want to get out and serve. We should want to tell everyone we meet about how our lives have been changed and want their lives to be changed too. But (and it’s a big one) this excitement should not push us to pass the One we are commanded to follow.
Woah, wait a minute! I know, I just said “commanded.” We don’t like that word do we? I know I don’t, and I would venture to say that most Americans don’t like to be told what to do. But if you look at the scripture where Jesus says, “Come follow me.” It’s really more than a suggestion. Yes, the man has a choice. But we all know what Jesus would rather have him do. It’s a command motivated by Jesus’s deep love for us, and it’s a difficult concept to grasp. When the word command makes us shift in our seats, remember it’s never about following rules. It’s always about love. God is the definition of love. Our response should also be motivated by that same love. We follow him, obey him, return his love, because he first loved us. It’s like any other human relationship, only better. It would be better for the man in the story, and for us, to reign in passions and excitement, in fact all the virtues, and make them “captive to Christ” just as we do with our vices. Virtues usually carry with them hidden vices that can cause a person to spin out of control, in the name of Christ, just as quickly as their obvious vices. Letting our virtues rule over us can do more harm to the Church than good. This is why we need to let Christ take the lead.
In all honesty, if we followed Jesus perfectly, we wouldn’t need to follow him. Think about that for a minute. The reason we need someone to follow is because we don’t know how to do it on our own. Someone has to be in front. Shouldn’t it be the One who has been here before, who has walked through it? I would like someone to tell me, “Hey, that last step is a doozie! Woah, you don’t want to step in that!” We get a pretty good deal, really. We get the guy who designed how everything works, who put it all together. Not only has he been through it all, he aced all the courses, did all the extra credit offered. Then after graduating Magna Cum Laude, he came back and offered all current students his entire coursework, including the answers to the test. And, it’s all approved by the college president! There’s just one requirement. Each student much be his best bud, his confidant, and meet regularly with him to study. Yeah, bummer right? We still have to study so we do everything exactly like he did. He knows we will still get some answers wrong. We will absolutely miss some classes. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: he’s more concerned about the relationship that is developed over all those late-night study sessions at the 24-hour pancake house than that we get straight A’s.
So I encourage you to go for a metaphorical walk with your God-brother today. Try following if its not what you’re accustomed to, and see what happens. Don’t get frustrated. It might take some practice. Jesus is a very patient man (like thousands of years, patient). He will tutor you if that’s what you need. He’s been there, done that, and graduated with all the honors.
I spent the last weekend in Indianapolis with 9,999 other women at the Women of Faith Conference in Indianapolis. When you put that many women in one room, God better show up, or you’re asking for at least five cat-fights, Christ-followers or not! For this woman, God certainly showed himself. Of course, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I suppose I should expect nothing less, He is God, Creator, Director, and Producer of the Universe, after all. What I didn’t expect? The means of communication and the content communicated.
Let me back up for just a moment. You may need a little context. See I’ve been wandering lately. Or perhaps that should be wondering. I don’t know, maybe a lot of both. I took a job right out of college to pay the bills and hopefully be responsible enough to save up for what I really wanted to do: Photography. Over the passed six years (has it really been that long?) I have discovered many things about myself, about God, and about the fact that what I thought I wanted to do may not in fact be what I want, or what God has planned for me. And I, in the words of Savage Garden, truly, madly, deeply want what He wants for me. I have all these things I love to do. These creative, imaginative gifts and dreams I have been given all seem to be pretty much unrelated and it’s maddening. What do I do with this? What’s the point of these dreams when the job that pays the bills utilizes none of them? That brings me to now, and my current condition of Now What?
Then my husband and I went to a concert in Farmland, IN to see Disciple. During this concert, the lead vocalist, Kevin Young said something that really struck me as profound. He said you love others and give of yourself. You may wonder, well what about me? If I’m always giving and loving others, who’s going to worry about me? God will take care of you! Don’t you believe that God loves you, and if he loves you, he will take better care of you than you can take care of yourself?
Well of course! Duh! I purposely committed this concept to memory. Love others. Let God take care of you. He can do a better job of it anyway.
A month or so later, six other ladies and I bought tickets and climbed into the church van for two days of amazing speaking and fantastic singing with other women of faith. Let me tell you, I met God. To all the questions I had been asking, His only reply seemed to be: “I love you. There is not a moment in your life that I have not loved you without condition, no strings attached.” This is the message I heard from every speaker. This was the harmony threaded through all the songs we sang. “I got you. I know where to find you. I know where you are, and I have been there too. So take my hand, let me love you. We’ll walk together.” Every time I even began to pray, “Ok, but what about…” God cut me off with the reply, “I love you.” I suppose the most powerful being in the universe has all rights to interrupt me, especially with such a profound answer as this. Through this entire season of my life, I’ve been feeling a lot like Moses. This is just another time where I can draw a parallel. I’m reminded of the burning bush when Moses keeps coming up with excuses and God’s reply is, “I am.” Different reply, but I needed to learn a different lesson. Growing up in the church, I’ve heard all the Bible stories, I know all the illustrations. When a speaker starts an illustration, I pretty much can guess where they’re going before they get there. So I’ve always KNOWN (intellectually) God loves me. But on the weekend of August 19-20, 2011 at the Conseco Fieldhouse, perhaps for the first time ever, I EXPERIENCED the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit deep down to the core of my being. It is a beautiful thing full of peace and joy. I still have questions. I still have no idea where my life is going. But I know with the kind of knowledge that no one can shake that because God loves me this way, he knows what is best for me. He will take care of me. I know that I can trust him to guide my path, even though I can’t see farther than the next step. My job is not to know the future. God owns that. My purpose is to love God and love others. So that’s what I’m committed to do for now. We’ll see what comes from that.