Thursday, January 28, 2010

"There's got to be a morning after"

After yesterday (see After. Shock. Therapy) I was counting on Oswald (author of My Utmost for his Highest) to hit the nail on the head for me today-in my God's time. To give me what I needed. And clearly I needed comfort and hand holding. (OK, not Oswald's strong suit, but a girl can dream, right?)

Instead I got:

"Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me?''
(Acts 26:14)
"Am I set on my own way for God?
Obstinacy and self will always stab Jesus Christ...
When the knowledge comes that it is Jesus whom we
have been is the most
crushing revelation there could be."
(My utmost, Jan.28)
So no one-including Oswald-will give me what I think I need...
Hugs. Reassurances. An explanation of how I could have tried my best, and this is how it all was received?
All I want is unconditional love when I am at my ugliest, is that too much to ask?
What hope do I have if my best is hurting Jesus? (along with everyone else I live with)
And even though I recognize that the answer that is loudest in my head comes from a source that hates me, I still listen. "Check out." "You're done." "You are only making matters worse..."
"Oh, if you only had a river you could skate away on."

I want out. I want out. I want out. I close my eyes, and these are the only words I hear. They are my quite empty hope. I am, without a doubt, listening to the father of lies. And, as usual, his counterfeit offer is deceivingly appealing. He is the author of the mantra:
"There is only one answer-it's not a good one-but it is the only one."
Red flags wave as my head pounds. Where is the truth here? Where is the answer from the Lover of my soul? I'll have to intentionally stop listening to the loud-overly-eager-hater/liar, if I'm going to start listening to the still-small-loving-forgiving-wisdom-filled voice of truth. goes...
The enemy wants me to focus inward. To analyze my every thought and hurt. To sit here and wait for someone to come along and scoop me up and distract me from this quite unappealing revelation of self. (either that, or have myself put to sleep)
But God wants me to face it. Look it full in the face and acknowledge it:

My best efforts are CRAP.
(and so are yours, btw)

I think maybe after you've been a Christian for as long as I have, the thought creeps in that, now that I am redeemed, my best efforts are godly...untainted. That, since I attempt to devote myself to knowing God and loving and helping other people, I am no longer a part of the problem. But I am. And if my best efforts could change that, then Jesus would not have needed to die on that cross. And survival of the spiritual fittest would be the gateway to heaven.

But Jesus is the gate. And not to keep us out, but to stand guard over us, when that wolf has his sites set on our furry little hides.
My eyes needed opened to the ugly fact that, somewhat like Paul, my spiritual zest had taken a wrong turn. (fortunately mine didn't involve tracking down those who I considered spiritually errant and literally killing them) But people were getting hurt, namely the ones I love the most.

Bottom line-the world is broken and I am an ongoing contributor to that. I am fragile and clumsy (a really bad combo) and I live among the fragile and clumsy. We will hurt each other along the way-even when we are trying our darnedest not to.

"We imagine we understand where the other person is,
until God gives us a dose of the plague of our own hearts.
There are whole tracts of stubbornness and ignorance
to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in each one of us,
and it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone."
(Oswald, My Utmost, Jan.)

Where does the hope come from then? The same place as always. At the cross.

"Where the wrongs we have done
and the wrongs done to us
have been nailed to a tree
there on the cross."

May I never again forget the perfect work of the cross.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord"(Gal. 6:14)
May , "I consider everything else a loss compared..." to the cross (Phil 3:8)
May I, "resolve to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified"(1 Cor. 2:2)

So...the glimpse of me that the enemy intended to take me out with, my Daddy-God intended to strengthen and grow me with. But even if "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger", no matter how strong I get, I will not fall for the enemies flattery. (with the intention of puffing me up, so that he can do the honors of deflating me later) I will instead remember:

"Little ones to Him belong,
they are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me..."

Yes, Jesus loves you. He loves all of our weak little furry/mangy hides.
All I want is unconditional love when I am at my ugliest. Is that too much to ask?
No-thankfully-it is not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

after. shock. therapy.

broken. scared. small. unworthy and unwise.
accidentally toxic. broken...beyond repair.
Take it back. I take it back.
Everything. All of it. Make it right.
But I can't.
It's a horrible revelation that leaves me anesthetized-but still feeling everything.
C a t a t o n i c
What's wrong with me?! (I put the exclamation point because it looks like there should be one-but I'm too weighed down to exert myself to exclaim anything.)
Who can fix me...this? (Don't say God. You always say God-and they are sick of it.)
I don't know what to do with myself. Scratch. Start over. Be someone else.
Someone who doesn't have strong feelings. Someone who keeps her big fat mouth shut. Someone who closes her eyes, and doesn't have to open them again.
Someone who can stop crying.

What can you do with me God? I know you're there. I know you knew I'd be exactly here exactly now. And as unpopular as my-apparently unyielding and pervasive-views on you are,
I can't pretend that I have anything besides You. The fact is: I am Yours. It doesn't matter who doesn't like it, and who's sick of hearing it. You are stuck with me. (if it's OK to say that)

And why did I stop crying just now? Is it because I stopped being true to my feelings (whatever that means) and started writing what I thought I should. I don't know. I don't know anything anymore.

God, What can You do with someone who suddenly doesn't know a blessed thing?

Friday, January 22, 2010

"27 Dresses"?...Really?

I stayed up late last night engrossed in a movie that is mediocre at best. A movie that-the first time I watched it-I thought was silly and so-so and not worth my time.

Why? Who's in charge here? I don't even follow my own rules!

Meanwhile...there is something I am really trying to hear from God. Something that is eating at me. I just don't know the best way to handle this situation. I wonder why God will not just tell me what to do. I am eager to do it-whatever it is.

I have to ask myself, "Is there something between me and God?" I am so tired today, (thank you "27 Dresses"). I don't know what to think about the feelings I'm having. But I can tell you, I'm not having peace right now. I have quit my obsession with all things "********"but does it still hold a place in my heart that it's not supposed to? I'm not thinking about it...I have definitely distanced myself from it...But is it enough? I don't really want to think about it or talk about it-to God-because I really don't want to hear "You can't...". It's such a small thing, on the one hand, but it says something BIG. It says I don't trust God. It says I'm holding back. It says: "I'm in charge".

Today, Oswald said, in "My Utmost for His Highest",

"Does He (God) find me recalling the time when I did not care for
anything but Himself?
Am I there now...?"
You have only to look back to my Dec. 26 entry (slow fade) to answer that question. I am still trying to get back to where I was. But maybe I cannot go backwards. Maybe I have to look around to where I am now, and honestly assess the situation. And maybe, as Oswald goes on to say, it needs to involve shame and humiliation.
"If as I recall what God remembers about me,
I find He is not what He used to be to me,
let it produce shame and humiliation,
because that shame will bring the godly sorrow
that works repentance."
We are so politically correct in our thinking that this sounds downright wrong. "Shame? Humiliation? Just say 'no'!" There are even verses of scripture that seem to imply the same message. One of my favorites--and for good reason:
"There is therefore now no condemnation
for those that are in Christ Jesus."
How true that is! I am not condemned. But I am human. I still fall. And sometimes I even wallow. And I still kid myself about sin. And when I am finally at the place (miserable) where I am ready to look at it--just because the blood of Jesus covers it, is no excuse for numbness to it--I need to feel the pain of my "reign". And that's what it is, a reign. And so I ask, "Who's in charge?" Me. Apparently. Who gets the final say? Me. Apparently. Who has subconsciously created and sat on her own cardboard throne? Again...that would be me.
And why? Because I am so wise? Because I'm full of better ideas? because I'm trustworthy? Because I've never let myself down before? Please. Haven't I learned by now what a hot mess I am? My little substitute kingdom is not only ultimately opposed to God--it's opposed to itself! I don't even listen to me! Queen Lisa knew a bedtime of midnight was imperative to a good night's sleep last night, and so she wrote out the edict. But then, subject Lisa-who never was too good at taking orders-promptly opposed her own lordship. And for what? "27 Dresses"? Really?
In Jeremiah, the prophet says of God's people: "You do not even know how to blush".
Blushing: An outward show of one's own personal shame and humiliation. Blushing...I think we may have forgotten how to do it. Our culture celebrates the idea of no regrets--no matter how obvious the infraction. We say:
"I can't regret what made me who I am."
Yes you can! Jane, you ignorant slut--at least be wise enough to have regrets.
I must call all my little divisions (all my free radicals) out. I must corral them before the one True Throne that has never once been threatened by my microscopic coup...and I must give them all what they deserve. Death.
They don't love me. They don't have my best at heart. I am a fool if I listen, for even one more second, to their schizophrenic demands. Feel it, ponder it, let my cheeks turn red, until there is godly sorrow. Then comes repentance. And then I will hear clearly again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Name of Bob"

A couple of years ago the street that I live on lost it's best man. His name was Bob, and everyone would tell you, Bob was the heart and soul of the street. He was the guy who was always calling out a greeting anytime you left your house, or returned home. He was the one offering to let you borrow any tool he had--and I think he had every tool there was to have. He was the connection-really-for the whole street. Just about everyone could trace back their introductions to everyone else--through Bob. When Bob had his heart attack, everyone of us felt it. And when he died, he left a permanent hole in the connection on our street. We all said we wanted to be more like that Bob wasn't there to be himself.

Oswald Chambers, in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, says:

"Identification with the death of Jesus Christ means identification
with Him, to the death of everything that was never in Him."
(Dec. 8, devotional)

A funny thing happened after Bob died. I didn't mean to say it--at first--but I found myself, without thinking about it, saying: "name of Bob". It would just kind of pop out, anytime someone was about to do something on our street, that Bob would never have done. For example, we live on a one way street, and it's easier, when you live close to the "exiting" end, to cut corners, and just quickly shoot in-going the wrong way-to get to your driveway. No harm done. But once Bob wasn't around anymore, as our shining example, I found myself not wanting to "go the wrong way" even for a few seconds. So, when I say to my husband, just before he goes the wrong way down our one way street, "name of Bob", what I'm really saying is, "Let's honor Bob, by not doing anything Bob would not have done in our neighborhood." In that phrase, I am saying, "he was right, and I want to be more like Bob."

Sometimes it feels like the phrase "in the name of Jesus" has come to mean, "now you have to give it to me"...or maybe simply, "Here's the authority by which I ask for this". It just has me wondering, has the phrase lost some of its meaning over the years?

Of course there is every reason to recognize that-as the Bible says-there is power in that name which is above every name. But I think we would do well to consider that there might have been a more organic utterance of that phrase as well. One that calls on us to identify with who Jesus was-as He walked this earth-and to put to death in ourselves "everything that was never in Him."

So, when we are tempted to...

put ourselves first-("name of Jesus")

hold a grudge-("name of Jesus")

withhold love-("name of Jesus")

turn a blind eye-("name of Jesus")

go the wrong way-("name of Jesus")
whisper it to yourself...and what you'll really be saying is:
"I want to honor Jesus by not doing anything He would not have done in this life".
You're saying:
Jesus was right~beautiful~perfect~Son-of-God~Savior...
and I want to be more like Him.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Right now, before I officially "launch", (blog lingo), while I can look over and see 5 faces, ("followers", more blog lingo)...I feel I should let you know what you're in for, here. I'm gonna sometimes look semi-formal in the way I post--and I'm gonna sometimes be casual Friday. And I don't wanna give you whiplash or anything, so I just thought a warning might be in order.'s some casual Friday for ya:

Can I make a confession?

I'm an "all or nothing" girl, and I'm about to "All" myself to death...and the sad thing is, it ends up looking a lot like nothing.
Get up early. Go to bed early. Eat right. Pray while on the elliptical. Have time with God...(which is really getting out of control). I'm presently reading all of the following-every morning:
  • "My Utmost for His Highest"
  • "The Love Dare"
  • The Bible
  • "Crazy Love"

And I want to read them all. But then again, what impact can I expect when I'm reading in so many different directions? I find myself-an hour and a half later-unable to focus on any one thing I've been studying, and now the day is getting away from me-again.

Just to give you an idea--I've had to repeat day 2 of "The Love Dare" 4 times now, cause I can't seem to get through a day without saying something negative to my husband. (And I've told him about it, and sort of blamed him for it--nice huh?) Ya think I might be missing the point?!

It's not like I'm a hopeless mess-but it is like I'm a mess.

The enemy would love me to drown in all of the All. To give up, to be hopeless, and amount to nothing. But that's just not an option. I've got to get this A.D.D. girl-who is all over the place-back to the place where I am simply His.

Yours, God. I gotta tell you, I don't know how to do it. There are so many good things I want to do and be, but all my running ahead has me running in circles. And it makes me dizzy...and I might throw up.

But you know how you always feel a little better after you throw up? Sure there's that bad taste in your mouth, but the offensive stuff has been evacuated...and the quiet empty-for-now-hope-that-doesn't-happen-again feeling, at least has the word "hope" in it.

Settle me down, Lord. Walk ahead of me and set the pace. Redeem this mess.

I'm just gonna hold on with my eyes shut. I'm gonna remember that there is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. And I am in Christ Jesus. And I can remember that with my eyes shut. I'm gonna stop putting my hope in the All-that ends up looking a lot like nothing-and put my hope in the one I'm holding onto.

"All Those who put their hope in Him will never be put to shame."

And when I open my eyes back up, He will be my All, and there is no shame in that.