Shining through…

Posts tagged ‘God’

Part II, aka, “The Details, or, at Least, as Many of Them as I Know”

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On 29 May 2013, I stood near this marker and looked out over the roaring Little Su River, just outside Wasilla, Alaska.  As had happened many times already, I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the place, nearly to tears.  I texted the hubby something about how incredible it was, and he responded, “I guess we’d better move there.”  Now, anytime I travel, he says things like that to me, but this time was different.  I had found myself constructing a whole life for us in Alaska, mundane stuff like, “If I lived here, I’d drive such and such a car.  I’d go to such and such a grocery store.”  But I hadn’t said anything to J because while I was fulfilling a 30 year-old dream, he was back home in Texas working crazy hours and bearing full responsibility for our child.  I didn’t want to rub my joy and freedom and exhilaration in his face.

But it dawned on me that this was the fourth time he’d texted or said this to me during this trip.  And something clicked.  My heart started beating faster, and I prayed for a phone signal.

Me: You keep saying that.  Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

J:  Do you want to live there?

Me:  Yeah…kinda.  Yeah.  Do you?

J:  Yes!  Let’s do it!

Me:  But you haven’t even seen it.

J:  I don’t care.  Let’s do it.  What do we have to lose?

Me:  Nothing, that’s what.

Both of us (and God – I heard it very clearly): WHY THE HECK NOT????

I mean, what do you say when God asks you something like that?  We started talking details, and J wanted to move right then and there.  But I felt like there was a timing to it all, so I made it back to Texas a few days later, and we began to plan.

Ah, plans.  The fun-to-make, well-thought-out, just-makes-sense framework for all that is good in the world.  Yeah.

From the start, not one thing turned out the way J and I planned it.  We sent out resumes.  We went on interviews.  We priced houses and U-Haul trucks and plane tickets.  Resumes went unperused.  Interviews got to the “you’re one of two candidates” stage and fizzled.  U-Haul was not the way to go – anyway, who wants to drive a huge moving truck 4096 miles, over mountains and on gravel and tar-based highways (did you even know there was such a thing?)?  God made it very clear to us that HE was going to be the one to make this whole thing happen, and it has been an unnerving, faith-stretching-to-the-breaking-point process.  He’s called us to take one step at a time and promised that each step would open up the way for the next step.  Translation:  we haven’t known much of anything for the better part of a year.

J can do his job from anywhere in the world, so there’s that.  But we didn’t have the money to ship our stuff, which is what God told us to do.  In fact, we still don’t have all of it.  But he has promised us that he does, indeed, finish what he starts, so we’re shipping it.  The resources will be there.  The same goes for a place to live, a school for our son, a job for me — he’s going to provide.  That kind of faith looks like utter foolishness to most of the world, but we can do nothing else.  We know and believe what he said.

This last year has been a year of purging and reassessment.  The Lord made it very clear to us that nothing old is to go with us into our new lives.  (This even includes some things we’d consider “good.”  They just don’t fit the picture anymore.  S-T-R-E-T-C-H.)  We’ve made 6 trips to the Salvation Army to give material items away, and there’s at least one more trip that needs to happen.  I think the most fun giveaway happened a couple of weeks ago, on a perfect last day at the beach.  M and I had decided to leave our boogie boards on the sand with a sign saying, “Moving to Alaska!  Don’t need these!”  But we happened across 2 young girls and their parents, so we just handed them over.  And then we asked if they wanted our pop-up shelter and three beach chairs.  It turns out the mom leads an area Girl Scout troop, and they just started learning about camping, so these things were definitely useful to them.  We left the beach with huge grins on our sunburned faces.

Did I mention that along the way, a friend of the family decided she wanted to move with us?  So she’s gotten to go through her own faith-stretching, and “family” has been redefined in a brand-new way for all of us.

Old ideas, old beliefs, old ties and relationships – especially toxic ones – all of these came under scrutiny, too.  It’s been intense.  But I don’t even know if I can explain how this move feels – it’s like not only is one chapter done, but the whole book is closed, and a new one is opened, full of blank pages just waiting to be written on.  There is such a sense of life about to start, like everything up to now has just been a shadow of what’s to come.  I am more excited about this than I’ve ever been about anything  in my life.

So…in approximately 8 hours, my friend and I will be on the road.  We’re taking 10 days to make the drive, and J and M will follow us on the 1st of August.  Our stuff should get to us a few weeks later, at which time we will hand the movers a check, and they will be paid in full!  For my Facebook friends, I’ll post as often as I can, but I’m pretty sure internet access will be spotty once we get into Yukon Territory and such.

Squeeeee!  Onward and upward!  North to the future!!!!!!

PS — Did you catch the significance of the “shift” happening on top of an active fault line????

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We Have a Big, Gigantic, Humongous, Enormous Announcement

success-really-looks-likeI’ve been mentally writing and re-writing this blog post for about 6 months now. Why? Because when the hubby and I had our big idea a little over a year ago, I just knew how the whole thing was going to play out. We would make the decision, agree on the details, and move forward with executing the plan flawlessly. The story would be sequential and VERY entertaining. My narrative practically wrote itself…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ahem. Sorry.

It’s just that not a single thing has happened as we envisioned. Our end goal is still the same, but the getting there has been all kinds of “not what we imagined.” Really, I should have known better, because in our household, God is not only IN the details, but he writes them. And our best-laid plans gang aft agley because we still haven’t learned just to go with the flow and trust his process.

[Side note: The Lord has been teaching me about the difference between dreaming and imagination, and what his giving us the desires of our hearts REALLY means. It’s not about “if we want it, he’ll give it to us.” It’s actually about one who knows us better than we know ourselves and offers a dream – a desire – he knows we’re gonna love. When we say yes, he gets to work making it happen, but the deal is that it’s like writing an outline. We “dream” – come up with the idea, or more accurately, discover what he’s put in our heart. We say yes. Those are the Roman numerals in the outline. We get to choose what goes there. But the little abc’s are the details, and if we have truly given him authority over our lives, those letters are not ours to fill in. When we do, THOSE are imaginations, and they’re most often in vain. I realize this seems to be in direct contradiction to all that stuff we’re taught about going after our dreams, making them happen, etc. But years ago, someone told me that if I could accomplish the things I dreamed without God, I wasn’t dreaming big enough, and I took it to heart. Dreaming, in my mind, is the single biggest way to deepen my trust in the Lord. And that is very much what this season has been about.]

Okay, so the announcement:

We are moving to Alaska at the end of July. Yes, the 49th state. Yes, for real. Yes, we know it gets cold up there.

I’ll give y’all the details in Part II, which, in and of itself, is exactly 0% how I thought I’d break the news. But there it is. And we are super-excited like you wouldn’t believe. We just have to see a few more things fall into place, and then I can tell you everything. But for now, I need to go cook supper for my family, which will be served on paper plates, as all my dinnerware is packed. 🙂  Until next time…

Love’s a Revolving Do-o-o-r

(With apologies to Princess Ana and Prince Hans, and also to your brain, which now has probably been infested with an earworm)

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people in my life who have come and gone through the years.  Mostly, I’ve been thinking about the ones who have gone.

Some have gone because they grew into people who have little in common with me.

Some decided my presence in their lives was only “for a season.”  I may or may not have agreed.

Some  were hypercritical/nasty/abusive/negative, and I decided they needed to go.

Some blamed me for things I didn’t do, or they didn’t forgive me for things I did.

Some just faded away.  One minute they were there, and then all of a sudden it was 3 years since we last spoke.

Some passed away or moved away.  Either way, we lost contact.

Some should have never come in to begin with.

There are a LOT of emotions that can accompany the dissolution of a relationship, and most of them are negative.  Fear, anger, blame, bitterness, depression, guilt, sorrow…all of  these come rushing in to fill the spot where the person once was.  You might find yourself reciting a litany of things you could have done differently.  Or maybe you scream and scream and scream at the other person, even if it’s only in your mind.  Or maybe you find yourself defaming him or her to others, or even becoming suicidal.

Here’s the deal:  People are complex, unpredictable beings.  We can never truly know with 100% certainty why they do what they do.  We might understand bits of it…or we might be way off the mark and make judgements based on our own filters.  And these judgements we make don’t exclude us.  For example, your best friend might freak out on you one day and yell at you for an hour about how you always try to make her be someone she’s not.  Maybe this is true, and you do that.  Or maybe something about your personality triggers a deeply-buried hurt she carries from someone who really didn’t accept her as she was.  But in the face of that onslaught, you start thinking she’s crazy, and then you start second-guessing yourself and thinking maybe you’re doing this stuff without realizing it and all of a sudden, ohmygosh, you’re such a horrible friend who doesn’t deserve to have a BFF.  BOOM, just like that, 2 hurting people, because you owned the accusation.

So how the heck am I supposed to navigate these murky waters of relationship, then? 

Here’s the answer:  Love.  Love that holds on loosely, allows people to be people, and continues to love, even when they leave.

Absolutely impossible in our own strength.  Truly, and yet we are told  in the Bible to do exactly this because it’s good for them AND good for us.  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet 3:9, NIV).

I think a part of that blessing we inherit is not having to walk around damaged by negative emotions that take root.  If people want to go, let them go.  Realize that you don’t understand everything, but the Lord does, and He still loves your ex-best-friend.  Be like Him – it has nothing to do with how you feel.  Give those hurt feelings to Him (and don’t take them back!!), and then continue to love your friend by blessing her in her coming and going.  Deuteronomy 28:6 says, “A blessing on you when you go out, and a blessing on you when you come in” (Complete Jewish Bible).  And yes, I realize that contextually, this verse is smack in the middle of an explanation of what happens when you are obedient to God.  I’m not trying to twist Scripture for my own purposes.  I just think it’s a great sentiment and an example of how we can treat the people who come in and out of our lives.  And anyway, doesn’t it make sense that if they are coming in and out of our lives, we’re also going in and out of theirs?  So if we are obedient, we receive the blessings coming and going.  And obedience to God’s word includes blessing those that curse you (Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:44).

So let the door revolve.  Thank the Lord for the good things the person brought into your life; where applicable, forgive the not-so-good, and send them on their way with a blessing.  And also?  Don’t marry a guy who proposes 10 minutes after you meet (looking at you, Princess Ana)!

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Dämmerschlaf

You know, when you ask the Lord what he wants to talk about, you never really know exactly what he’s going to say…this morning, for example, he brought up twilight sleep.  He asked me to go read about it and then get back to him, so, coffee mug in hand, I read. Here is what I learned:

In the early 20th century, Carl Gauss developed a method called Dämmerschlaf, or “twilight sleep,” for laboring mothers .  Moms-to-be were drugged into a semi-narcotic but conscious state, the idea being that they would have no post-delivery memory of labor pain.  It was heralded as a “new era” for women, but the side effects left something to be desired.

For one thing, twilight sleep removed the woman from the experience of childbirth.  True, she had no memory of the pain, but she also couldn’t actively participate in, or remember, the delivery itself.  One Nebraskan woman is on record as saying, “The next thing I knew I was awake […] and then I thought to myself, ‘I wonder how long before I shall begin to have the baby,’ and while I was still wondering a nurse came in with a pillow, and on the pillow was a baby, and they said I had had it—perhaps I had—but I certainly can never prove it in a courtroom.”

In some cases, this memory deficit affected the normal mother-infant bonding process, leading to ongoing issues.  In addition, the drugs used (a cocktail of morphine and scopolamine) affected the infants’ central nervous systems, which resulted in lethargic babies with poor breathing capacity.  All in all, not a great way to start out…

Okay, I’m back,” said I.  “What are you wanting me to see?

God: Talk to me about your own experience giving birth to M.

Me: Okaaaay.  I went totally natural, had a waterbirth.  I felt like a mama cat who just wanted to be left alone and let the process happen.  I trusted that my body would do what it needed to.  I was adamant about not having an epidural or meds because I wanted to experience the process from start to finish, and because I knew it would be healthier for me and the baby. 

God: What else?

Me: It hurt.  It was a lot of work.  I thought I might die a few times.  Hubby had to keep reminding me to breathe. 

God: But you were fully present in the moment, yes?  You remember when they laid your baby on your chest and you got to see him the first time?

Me:  Yes, I remember clearly.  I was astounded at how beautiful he was.

God:  Okay, so, switching gears for a minute.  You’re not really one for the journey, are you?

Me:  Ummm…I like road trips a lot.  When I get to plan them.

God:  Right, when you’re in charge.  But you aren’t too fond of not knowing what’s going to happen next, are you?  You’ve been learning this about yourself recently.

Me:  Sigh.

God: So let me talk to you about birthing a dream.

Me (starting to see where this was going): Okay.

God: What if you had been in twilight sleep while in labor with your son?  You wouldn’t have memories of pain, but you wouldn’t have been able to be a part of the process.  But since you were awake and aware, you got to experience it all.  And you knew him the second you saw him. Now, just like your midwife knew the natural progression of birth, I know the process for birthing a dream.  I don’t want you in twilight sleep as this thing unfolds.  I want you to be fully present. I need you to trust me, trust that I’m monitoring your vital signs, trust that I know when to tell you to relax and when to push.  I promise you that there’s a connection between the memories of the pain and the value of the dream when it comes true.  And also?  Dreams are healthier, fuller, when we co-labor.

Me:  Okay, so all this recent frustration and not knowing what in the world is going on…what’s all that about?

God:  That’s because you should be relaxing, and instead, you’re trying to push.  Timing is everything, daughter o’ mine.  Let me do my part so you can do yours. I’ll let you know when to push.

God is right, of course.  Right now is a time that I am fully aware of a dream on the horizon, and I am completely unable to MAKE it happen sooner. This has caused me no shortage of grief as I learn to trust his process, trust him even more.  I’ve spent a lot of time yelling and pushing, when what I needed to be doing was saving my strength for when it’s time.  And there are always, ALWAYS clear signs of when it’s time…which I would miss if I were in Dämmerschlaf.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go rest.

 

 

I Dreamed a Dream in Times Gone By…

Les Miserables is my all-time favorite musical, so it was with some trepidation that I went to see the latest movie version.  None of the past versions have ever captured the passion inherent to Victor Hugo’s story the way the musical retelling does, so I wasn’t expecting much of this one.  Seeing as this post is not intended to be a movie review, though, I won’t tell you what I actually thought, except for one little bit:  Anne Hathaway nailed it as Fantine.  She made me cry, like, tears-running-freely-down-my-face cry.  Twice, in fact.  If I did hashtags, I’d say #notafluke.  Ms Hathaway eschewed the typical portrayal of Fantine, which tends to be wistful, kind of wimpy, like that horrible “Foolish Games” song in the late 90s.  Her Fantine was real.  Ragged, broken, ugly, utterly without hope.

I wasn’t the only one crying.  All around me, I could hear people sniffling, guys and girls alike.  I especially noticed all the men who, truthfully, probably got dragged to this movie by their significant females and then found themselves reacting on a gut level to the raw emotion on-screen.  Probably a bit uncomfortable for most of them, I’d say.  Several actually walked out for a few minutes.

I think we all reacted because everyone has a bit of Fantine in him or her.  She couldn’t possibly have known that kind of despair, had she not once been sure that life was hers for the conquering.  And maybe we haven’t found ourselves selling our bodies to make ends meet, but we’ve all had beautiful dreams and ideas of how things were going to work out.  Except that years later, they didn’t.  So we fell into depression, becoming shells of ourselves.  Or we got bitter, alienating those around us and resenting the ones who did realize their dreams.  Some of us turned to various substances to help us forget; some of us just chose to forget and went on surviving.  We decided not to hope because it was too costly, too disappointing.  We pledged not to feel so we could never get hurt.  We laid those dreams down, comforting ourselves by chalking it up to “putting away childish things.”  Coping mechanisms, all.  And Fantine cracked the shell just a little.  For a moment, we felt all the hurt, the disappointment, the pain that is the hallmark of unfulfilled dreams.

I’m willing to bet that many of you reading this can’t even remember what you used to dream of doing or being — you’ve been on autopilot for too long.  I was there – and not even that long ago.  But awhile back, God began to speak to me about dreaming again.  He wanted me to revisit the things I’d dreamt of long ago.  I tried and tried, and I finally had to tell Him that I couldn’t remember any of them. So God, who can be pretty insistent, began to help me.  Suddenly, I was recalling all kinds of things – little, tiny ones and big, audacious, gonna-take-a-miracle ones.  There was genuine laughter and pleasure in His voice as he said, “The last lyric of the song does NOT have to be ‘Now life has killed the dream I dreamed’ because I AM the Resurrector.  Give Me your dreams – because I first gave them to you – and watch what happens!  This is a season for dreaming with Me!”

What has happened so far is that I have begun to live from a place of hope again instead of a place of just getting by.  I’ve begun to trust that He’s got it all taken care of.  I’ve begun to believe that my dreams have already come true because He sees the end from the very beginning.  It’s only a matter of timing, now.  And I have to say, this is a MUCH more fun way of doing life.  It feels like the night before Christmas as a kid.  Remember how you just KNEW those presents were going to show up under the tree (the right place) on Christmas Day (the right time), and they were going to be AMAZING?  Yeah, it’s like that times ten thousand.  And by the way, God always picks out the perfect gifts.  How do I know this?  Because I always dreamt of traveling as a child, and He has given me trip after trip over the past couple of years.  And He hasn’t stopped giving!  I am going to Alaska at the end of May, which has been on my “WANT!!” list ever since 3rd grade, when I did a report on Seward’s Folly and promptly decided I MUST go there one day.  He just gave me that one yesterday, and I am so excited!  I want to jump around and dance like an idiot and yell and scream because it’s just SO COOL! 😀  And you know, it’s not just the traveling that’s so cool.  It’s that this came up seemingly out of the blue – 3 days ago, it was still a 29 year-old dream in the back of my mind.  But HE never forgot, and He put it together and just sort of casually gave it to me, and it’s awesome because it’s not like going to Alaska is a life-or-death deal for me.  But I’ve wanted it, and He gets such enjoyment out of giving His kids good gifts.  So He gave it.

If you’ve forgotten your dreams, like I had, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord to help you remember them.  If you feel like your dreams are dead, rewrite the lyrics because they are SO not.  He will breathe life back into them for you – LIFE.  Joy, abundance, enthusiasm, giggles, beauty.  FUN.  Poor Fantine didn’t grasp this, but you can. 🙂  Because hope IS high and life IS worth living.

The Summer of “Whaaaaat???”

So…it’s the 15th of July, and my summer has not been even remotely what I thought it would.  What it HAS been is a series of lessons in adjusting my thinking and my response time.  Timing is everything, you know…

First, I had planned on taking the summer off from school (1st break in 3 years) and starting to write my book.  Then I found out that the 4 classes I needed in order to graduate in December were all being offered on the same days in the same 3 time slots, which meant that if I took the summer off, I’d have to go one semester longer for a single class.  Uh, no thanks.  So I signed up for 2 classes this summer – one of which meets at 8 in the morning on SATURDAY, 50 miles from my house.  Yay!

Second, God began to challenge me to rethink everything I ever thought I knew, which I’ve identified as the running theme to my summer.  Through a series of very cool events which I’ll probably document in another blog entry at some point, He showed up in my house in a major way and basically left the door open.  I’m not kidding – people walk into my living room and get overwhelmed by the presence of God.  I’m – we’re – learning how to steward that well, and it’s the reason for all my “best-laid plans” going wonky.

Third, the plans I had to keep my son occupied fell through.  The thought here was to give him something to do for a few hours while I wrote my book…and then while I did my summer schoolwork, too…negatory, Ghostrider.  Instead of him participating in a summer homeschool program my friend started, he’s been home with me all this time.  I was pretty concerned about this arrangement at the beginning (gonna be reeeeeally transparent here) for several reasons.  One, I am definitely not the stay-at-home mom type.  I realize many women are, and God bless ’em, but the idea of coming up with fun little activities we could do together (sock puppets!  dance party!  locking myself in the closet!) sets my teeth on edge.  Two, my son and I are so, so much alike that I thought we’d drive each other up the walnuts, as he says.  Three, my tolerance for Star Wars is exactly 1/276,0000th of my child’s enthusiasm for it.  But what God told me changed my perspective a good deal (well, that, and mandating “No Star Wars Days” from time to time).  He told me that the summer was all about training up my child in the way HE should go – because M and I share very similar giftings, the Lord wanted him to spend a lot of time with me, just watching me live day to day interacting with people and with Him.  And curiously, our being so alike has actually been beneficial.  It turns out my kid wants his alone time just as much as I want mine, and he understands completely when I need to disengage for a few minutes.  He also still likes to take naps or lie quietly reading or drawing for hours at a time, so I’ve not felt tons of pressure to come up with things to do.  We’ve grown closer, and we’ve discussed topics ranging from the Dark Ages vs the Renaissance to Democrats and Republicans to why different denominations believe different things about the same God.  All topics brought up by the 7 year-old, I might add.  It’s kept me on my toes.

Fourth, we were given a word that now was the time to make some decisions.  Well, let me tell you, I’ve had a whole list of topics that I knew were going to need some attention, but I didn’t know immediacy, priority, etc.  And of all the ones to start with, I’d have never picked the one that God did…but isn’t that usually the case?  So the latest is that we’ve been feeling like M wouldn’t continue at the private school he’s gone to for the last 2 years for much longer.  We did think he’d go at least one more year.  Today confirmed otherwise.  We – J, M and I all – have clear direction that he is going to the public elementary school in our neighborhood for 2nd grade.  And I have this strong sense (which has been confirmed by a trusted friend) that all the other decisions will fall into place, contingent on this one.  My friend said she saw the Lord placing a bunch of dominoes very precisely, and when He was through, I got to flick the first one down, which set off the chain reaction perfectly.  I don’t think He could have gotten much clearer. 🙂

Fifth, one of the very biggest things that has happened this summer came from out of the blue.  I started having all these people speak words of creativity over me, again and again and again.  These were people who know me as very logical, precise, and organized.  What none of them know is that early in my life, I painted and drew and wrote constantly and never went anywhere without my beloved Canon A1.  But some years ago, I set all that down.  Life required too much logic and precision just to get by, and I guess I got used to moving within those parameters.  The creativity got stuffed in a dark closet somewhere.  But then a couple of weeks ago I began to feel that there’s a series of paintings the Lord wants me to do…and I kind of freaked out.  I really don’t move in a lot of fear or intimidation as a rule in my daily life, but in this area, I was definitely not my normal, confident self.  All I could think was, “What if it’s no good?  What if I can’t get it out of my head and onto the canvas?  What if I’m fooling myself and I really suck at this stuff?”  Ad nauseam.  And that in itself was completely annoying because I KNOW better than that, but I was still thinking that way and couldn’t seem to help it.  So I made myself accountable to an intercessor group I’m part of…and the next thing I knew, they were all tossing money at me to sow into this series of paintings and my giftings.  The gesture blew me away, and I figured that the 30 or 40 dollars would buy a couple of canvases and maybe a few brushes.  Except that the 30 or 40 dollars ended up being $235.26, and I was promised a French easel as well.  HOLY TOLEDO COW MOLEY FRIJOLE!  I joked that I guessed God was serious about this, and then I went shopping!  And do you know that all of what I bought cost 47 cents less than what was given to me – and I got every single thing I need to get started???

So now I’m at a place where I’m just watching to see where the dominoes fall.  We’ve got one decision crossed off the list, and I have no idea which one will be addressed next, but I know it’ll be ordered of the Lord.  I’m good with that!  And I’m not making ANY more plans this summer (did I mention I was hoping to travel before school started back up?  Sigh…).  So if you happen to call to see if I want to go do something, you might have to be happy with a “maybe” for your answer. 🙂

How’s your summer going?

Occupy…YOU

The hubby and I hosted a rather nontraditional New Year’s Eve gathering last night.   We had started planning this thing several months ago as I began to feel a significant prompting to cover the upcoming year in prayer.  We sensed it was to be a strategic gathering, in that all of the invited guests were feeling the same thing.  Unity, being what it is, begets great accomplishments, so why not get all these people who were already on the same page into the same room for a bit?  Throw a little food, a little fellowship into the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a great time.  Thus, our proposed gathering became reality.  To be precise, it was officially known as the Prayer, Praise, and Potluck New Year’s Eve Throwdown! (exclamation point included).

For the first several hours, the emphasis was on food and fellowship.  My house rang with laughter.  People made new friends and reconnected with older ones.  One Indiana transplant became an official Texan after she managed to eat my (admittedly toned-down) genuine Texas Red Chili and proclaim it delicious, if spicy.  (I decided to give her grace as she asked for a glass of milk because honestly, I didn’t expect her to eat a whole bowl, much less taste it!)

Then around 11, we segued into a time of worship and prophetic declarations, leading up to communion at the stroke of midnight.  As we gathered in my living room to praise the Most High God and proclaim His plans for 2012, I took a good look at the people around me.  And it hit me anew that unity does not equal similarity.  My friends, all deeply in love with God,  are SO different from one another.  And even though I felt like a bit of an eavesdropper or Peeping Tom, I also realized that as they were completely immersed in their own personal moments with Him, they were being their truest selves most truthfully.  No artifice, no walls, no rules – it was such a beautiful thing.  I watched my husband improvise on the cello and marveled at the expression of love he offered to his Lord.  I saw a friend lie down on the floor, place his djembe on his chest, and commence to playing along with God’s heartbeat.  There were people with their heads bowed, people with their hands in the air, people pacing back and forth, people dancing, people smiling blissfully.  All such different expressions, all reflections of who they are in Christ.  None better than others, or more “right.”  Just a bunch of people in love, being themselves.

The theme that seemed to emerge through the words given was one of alignment and realignment, promises come to fruition, and fully stepping into one’s identity.  God is being quite intentional as He responds to our cries to “make things right,” and the interesting thing is that as we choose to allow Him to align us with His purposes, we will see the long-awaited promises come true.  And we will be able to BE the people He created us to be.  We will inhabit, occupy, BE those people, rather than just occasionally put on our true identity like an unfamiliar coat.  And when we occupy our true selves full-time, each and every individual/quirky/unique one of us will, JUST by being whom He made us to be, bring glory to Him in a way we never imagined and see crazy-miraculous things happen wherever we go.  Having tasted a little bit of this and having seen that He is truly good, I can’t begin to tell you how happy the thought of it makes me. 🙂

I wrote in a previous post that there is something significant, even pivotal, about 2012.  I definitely believe this to be true on a global or societal level, but I also see it to be quite pertinent on a personal level.  My challenge to you for this year is to find out who He says you are.  Receive His answer and refuse to entertain any condemnation or lies from anyone else; I promise you that His perception of who you are blows anything out of the water that you could come up with yourself, and it also completely steals the enemy’s thunder.  Just be yourself – the Lord’s version of “yourself” – and you cannot help but effect change on a global or societal level.  How amazing is that?

 

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