Monday, October 25, 2010

God Moments

Hey there! So glad you stopped by. If you found me because of She Seeks welcome!

It's the little moments that God gives this Princess that sustain her. I have to tell you that the last week I was needing a God moment. Circumstances and different things that happened sucked the very joy and life out of me. Maybe you can relate? I felt like I was at the bottom of myself. When Sunday rolled around I could hardly pull myself out of bed. Things around me were overwhelming and quite honestly I was doubting my ability to hear from God. That lead to a pattern of doubt about who I am to Him. I was drowning in a sea of doubt.

I don't think it was just a coincidence that yesterday God gave me a tangible way to feel His love for me. I was sitting in church listening to the sermon very aware of myself. You know those moments where you are completely self conscious and your own actions which then become the object of your attention? It usually happens because you feel uncomfortable. Well yesterday this guy sat down next to me and I became very self aware. Let me explain.

The self awareness began not because of the reality that I am single (which would be the normal reason) but because of what God put on my heart. About half way through the sermon it was as if God was like you need to ask this guy to lunch. SAY WHAT?? That was my response. This Princess is old fashioned. I do NOT ask boys places. Boys that I know well even. It takes a long time and a large foundation of trust for me to even think about initiating something like that. And here God was tapping on my shoulder asking me to ask this boy next to me to lunch??? It was clear that he was around my age and that put the pressure up even more. Like I said I had been having a week of doubting if I can hear God and when I think I hear from Him am I hearing correctly. So naturally my mind went after it as soon as that thought popped into my head. Things like, "Uh God, I don't know Him." or "What on earth would we talk about over lunch???" This argument with myself went on for the rest of service. I leaned down to grab my coat when he grabbed my arm and said "I want to pray for you before you leave. So don't go anywhere."

I could not believe it. He wanted to pray for me? I knew in that moment that God was up to something. (no this was not a match made in heaven for all you ladies with an over active romantic mind) This boy wrapped me in an embrace and began speaking words of life over me. Divine words of revelation. He was praying for things that he could have never known about. He knew nothing about me. We were complete strangers and yet he lifted up some of my fears and talked openly about things that God had placed on my heart. It was a God Moment.

God's faithfulness showed up again. He wanted to remind me that He was never far away. God pays attention to the struggles and little details of my life and knew I needed more than anything to hear from Him. In that prayer and embrace I was covered by my Prince. Restored emotionally and spiritually.

And then I was able to be obedient and ask this kind boy out to lunch. We talked for three hours about the things God is up to in our life. We challenged each other, laughed and got excited about the Kingdom of God. My God moment went from a moment to an afternoon that filled me more than I had been in weeks.

I would love to hear about the moments that God has shown up and loved on you! You are a treasure to Him and this girl is convinced His fingerprints are on everything. So tell me about it :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Weighs Me Down

"...let us strip of every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race the God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

This verse hit me upside the head the other afternoon as the bell chimed on my phone. This email flitted into my inbox with a God sized intension. "What weights are pulling you down, Erin?" the still small voice whispered into the chambers of my heart. Ouch. Moments like that are when my eyes get wide and I look to the heavens with an expression of "really God?" WHY??? Couldn't we leave that box alone for now? NOPE is the resounding answer. Oh sweet Jesus, I love that you poke and prod at the issues of my heart. Really, really I do. It truly is love even though sometimes I am convinced a bikini wax would be less painful (This princess has NO intension of testing that one out by the way.) Anyways...

Shortly after this email so lovingly fell into my lap, the reminders of things that have been laid on my heart came to the surface. I realized I have loaded myself with ankle weights, arm weights and have been busy trying to push a semi across the road. (If you don't know me I am a fire ball but I have NO muscle.) Needless to say this poor girl is really weighed down. Weighed down by what? Quite honestly the if ands and buts of life. The "God, if ______ happened what would I do about______?" Or the "Oh and God I need ______". Or the classic one "But God I am not ready to try/do _______."

Why is it that I am so intent about figuring out the future and have so much trouble keeping today in perspective? Why does this girl think that jogging pushing a semi is going to help the plans that God has set before me? How much am I missing out on today if I am concerned about what is going to happen next week, next month or next year? (I'd like to blame it on the OCD first born child issues, but in reality I think there is something more). Sometimes I think this girl needs to throw her Vera Bradley planner (which I love by the way) out the window and take it day by day. If I were to lean into my Prince would He not guide me in the waltz we call life? Would it not be the most beautiful dance every choreographed?

Here is my theory, or maybe open confession. You can label it what you want, but I think the "OCD first born loves to plan" chick in me is really code for CONTROL FREAK. Maybe I shouldn't admit that out loud. That might be me setting myself up for a life time of singleness because let's face it ladies no man wants a control freak girlfriend. But let's be real for a split second. What girl likes to be out of control? Not me. I don't like when the winds are a blowin' around me and my hair is getting messed up, my skirt is in my face and I can't see a foot in front of me. I don't like when I can't predict someone's response to me, what their thoughts are or where I am going in the future. I enjoy people's approval. I love filling my day timer with to-do's and appointments and I love even more when I think I understand what God is up to. (Ha can I get a say what?) Like I know what He is doing?

So now that you know that this Princess is really a giant control freak that would like everything to go seamlessly and always know what is going on, let me tell you that my life doesn't work like that at all. Most days I don't get to follow a schedule. Most days God throws a curve ball at me and let me be honest, He really has been doing that lately (see relationship vortex post). I would like to dig my heals in and set up camp in a safe little environment where I know what is what and who lives where. Reality is God says no way. "Through off the weight of control freak my darling and run into the unknown, a race that I have made just for you." I love that He has a race for each of us to run that was charted out just for us.

Today I am starting with letting my calendar be. I will not be obsessed with what I think should have happened but rather be open to what His plans are. I am going to rest in His presence and accept the reality that I don't know what He is up to in any area of my life. Today I rest in that I am valuable simply because I am His. He chose me. He loves me and I am whole. When life spirals I white knuckle those truths and step one foot in front of the other in the race He has called me, just me, to run.

My Relationship Vortex: Beam me up Scottie

The relationship vortex is where I am living these days. The funny thing is I am not in a relationship with the opposite sex. Every other time I have visited this at times consuming place I have been in a relationship. Maybe you know this place and have been sucked in? You know it's where you are completely consumed by the opposite sex wondering why, how, what, who and when. Generally this is all pertaining to a particular individual. But this time I am alone. ALONE. I look around and there is no companion. No rainbows and butterflies. No skipping to the eternal love soundtrack. There is a part of me that wants to yell "beam me up Scottie" I am done living here. But unfortunately for me I get to examine this vortex instead. God wants me to stay here so this vortex feels more like a sad saga most days. (hear violins playing sullen music).

Let me explain. I am trying to uncover the good, bad and ugly of my relationships. Each of us construct what a relationship with the opposite sex looks like from a young age. It usually looks like something between a cross of a disney princess fairy tale and our parents marriage at about ten. But then life happens and well, we don't stay in that place. Relationships around us fall apart. We experience dating on our own. Some of our expectations change. We change. This is my problem. I experienced dating on my own and it looked more like a fun mirror chamber where I look at the relationship and it is fat on the top skinny on the bottom but then the next mirror is the opposite. Yikes.

There is a part of me that is grieving that I have to walk into essentially premarital sessions alone with nothing but me and my bible. Why did I have to experience the distortion I did? What weird person does premarital stuff alone? (Okay so Jesus is there). But it is not something I anticipated doing. Sometimes I am a cry baby. That part of me is screaming "BEAM ME UP!!!" Part of me is ecstatic because I have like hourly ah ha moments and it can be overwhelming. With that I am curious. God is not letting me sit stagnant with this one.

God, does NOT want me to stay there. He says "Erin, let me show you what relationship really looks like." In order to get there though I have to go through the field and pull out the weeds. I look around and say "AHHHHHHH I have so many weeds in this place!" My reaction is "God you are the God of the universe, you could just drop me in a new garden where there aren't so many weeds." Ha! That isn't going to happen. So the last couple weeks He has been the master gardener. I think it started with being able to recognize the problem of holding on to the shards of that past relationship. I straddled the fence for a while thinking that I could white knuckle it and create change. Ha! (That relationship is/was beyond help of any kind) Anything I am in control of without God never ever goes well. Then He brought in some people that would challenge my perceptions. It begins with girl friends who constantly remind me of Him and then transitions to my mentors/counselors and then ends with a boy.

Gasp!! Yes, I said it. With a BOY. This boy is an interesting boy. (well, he is a man-you know what I mean). This boy is interesting because he challenges all prior understanding of men. Especially christian men. Is he perfect? Far from it. Does he try to appear to be? Nope. Is he growing? Yes. Can he talk about his feelings towards things that have happened in his life? Yup. Is he willing to admit when he doesn't know something? Uh huh. Does he love God? Oh yes. But what intrigues me the most is the way he encourages me. He is not encouraging me in a worldly way, but instead in a Godly way. Sometimes I know that the words or scripture he gives me is God breathed. He reminds me of my intrinsic value. Odd, usually with a man I am experiencing the opposite. Believe me I have been waving my white flag yelling "God don't let a boy challenge my heart." Beam me up Scottie.

So not only is God working on me, He is rooting out some of my big issues. I am letting a guy into my life but in a different way. As a friend. As a person who gets to see the not so great parts of me but has to win my trust like everyone else. Will he disappoint me someday. Yes, he is human. Not superman. Could he walk away? Yes, he could. But that right there is an indication of my growth. I used to worship men and look to them to solve all my problems. Those days are over. I am not looking back to the place of worshiping them. And I also could cling to him to solve all my problems and tell him all the reasons why he needs me or should stay. This time I say: NO WAY. But I also don't treat him with contempt for his past mistakes and issues. That isn't fair. Ladies, we need to be able to realize that the men in our lives struggle just like we do. They have pasts, fears, insecurities, lies and ego's to fight. Good gracious. Can we be gentle and loving as Christ calls us and care for our brothers in Christ without condemning for their mistakes? Believe me, this has been a hard one. But God is working on me. He is not going to let me escape this one.

So life in the vortex looks something like Matthew 13:24-30 24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Walk with me for a second. Yes this is about when Christ returns. But for me it has a little different meaning at this point of my life. A great friend of mine texted me and told me that this is where they feel I am at. Remember the weeds? Well this is why it speaks to my heart. The enemy came into my heart and planted weeds to infest the pieces of my heart and distort my perceptions of relationship. God is bringing in the harvest now. Sorting out the weeds from the wheat and getting ready to burn the lies I carry about past relationships to the ground. Sweet huh??? Yes, this is where my heart is. It is being sorted right now. Harvested.

The best part is I get to do it with amazing women like you :) So for now I will resist the urge to say "Beam me up." Cause who knows, maybe one day it will help you!