God has really brought me to a deep place in my relationship with Him. It all started this summer when I was really faced with the unknown things out of my control, having to choose to really put my faith in action. I really feel God was leading me out of complacency and into a deep, meaningful surrender. So many things have been flooding through my heart the last few months, and I just really didn’t know how to put it into words. I still really don’t, but I’ve been wanting to blog about this for some time now.
A lot of the stirring inside me has been the direct result of what God is doing through our church home, The Orchard. God has really ripped up my heart through Scott’s teaching and leading. We have been doing a series called, Not Like Me, and Michael and I both really feel like this series was created specifically for us! We have been so challenged.
At the close of the series today Scott asked three questions. The verses he presented us with resounded in my soul and I felt God calling me to action. Not just part of my heart, but my WHOLE heart. All of it. To me that means, my everything- my time, my talent, my treasure, my family. All of it should bring Him glory. That is all that really matters. That is the heart of the gospel. To bring Jesus glory. So I thought about those questions…I wanted to respond to it and not just go about my life as usual.
James 1: 22-25 (NIV)
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
1) Where is your Nazareth?
John 1:45-46 (NIV)
5Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
Nazareth was not looked on as a great place, it was really looked down upon and avoided. But it is from Nazareth that God did a beautiful thing- He brought out of it the Savior of the world. For me, I feel like my Nazareth are the places that I am afraid to take my kids, or where I am afraid to go alone. It is the area with not the best schools or nicest houses. It is where everyone tells me to avoid because I can do “better”.
2) Where is your Pain?
1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25 (The Message)
8For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 22-25While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”
I realize that to some reading this, you may think I am crazy, and that is fine. I have struggled with the doubts before wondering just how “real” this Jesus can really be. I understand the scepticism. But also know the real, tangible power of Christ in my life and ultimatley the fire burning in my heart and my soul as He brings me deeper. That is something that my critics cannot take from me.
3) What is in your hand?
Exodus 4: 1-5 (NLT)
1 But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” 2 Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. 3 “Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. 4 Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. 5 “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—really has appeared to you.”
Many of you know our house hunting woes (but really, they aren’t woes. We are grateful that we are fortunate enough to have the means to be able to purchase a home and to be house hunting…) What looks like loss, Michael and I really feel like has been gain. When we chose the house in Montgomery, we were looking for the best schools, the safest neighborhoods, and really the nicest house we could afford. All the “appearances”. When we lost the bid on the house 5 months later, little did we know what greater purpose God had behind it!
It was just about the beginning of the Not Like Me series and we were really bummed about losing the house. But then God started tearing apart our hearts. Why were we looking in the areas we were? Because we thought God could protect our kids in those areas only? Because we wanted to be around people “like” us? Because people in our lives were telling us to avoid certain areas due to demographic and stereo type?
The journey God has brought me on has really forced me to address all of these issues in my heart. Really, the number one thing God wants from me is my heart. He wants me to know Him and bring Him glory in everything I do. So what do I do primarily? I am a wife and a mother. If my sole purpose is to bring God glory so that the others around me will see a glimpse of Him and hopefully fall in love with Him as well, then won’t He take care of the rest? Isn’t God sovereign no matter what part of town we live in? Aren’t Trevor and Elliott ultimately in His hands no matter what school they attend?
So Michael and I have changed our home search. We are looking in Aurora, the very place most have lead us away from. I want to come along side other moms and love them. Really just love them. No matter where they are coming from in life. I want my boys to embrace diversity and see beauty around them in everything. I want us as a family to have one mindset- to bring Jesus glory by loving people like He did.
They showed a video today at The Orchard in which our pastor, Scott, and his friend Caleb took us to a part of Aurora that is looked down upon. A lot of the kids are in broken families and just want to have an adult presence in their lives to truly love them. Caleb said something that really hit home, he said, “This is where Jesus would be. This is where He would be hanging out all the time.” And Scott said, “What really gets me about that is that, yes, this is where Jesus would be…but yet it is where I am not…”
I want to be where Jesus would be and where He is at work currently…I want to embrace the little children that aren’t ever embraced. I want to show people the real Jesus that isn’t judgemental and doesn’t discriminate. When I die I want there to be Christ followers and those that don’t know Christ to say, “She loved people. She lived her faith that she proclaimed.”
So I am praying for a home in Aurora, right where God wants us, so He can do mighty work through our family, so that people would know Him, and He will be glorified.
“….So what could I say?
And what could I do?
But offer this heart oh God
Completely to you
So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours…”
The Stand by Hillsong United