Saturday, September 1, 2012

"If I Chew on that I'll Choke!"

This was the response given to me by my husband after I emptied my heart to him yesterday morning. (Oh, I love his sense of humor!)  While, I know that his statement was only in hopes of bringing levity to a very intense conversation.... anytime I talk about my faith is a pretty intense conversation... there was also some truth nestled gently into the words he spoke.  Ever-so-slowly, God is peeling back layers and revealing more and more to us... changing us, transforming us... and it's completely wonderful. But, for me, it has also been utterly horrifying, because I can't seem to talk about it with anyone.  I've tried!  Believe me.  My inner circle is tight.  A handful of women that I love and adore... and that I usually have no problem venting my frustration to; sharing my heartache; looking to for encouragement or advice.  But, on this issue, for whatever reason, I can't. So, I've been going to God.

I've been seeking out time with Him (besides the ritualistic morning and nightly prayer.) I've been sprawling myself out on the floor, pleading with Him to do whatever He's going to do... and do it fast! (Yes, I know this doesn't work, but desperation makes you forget these things.) Plus, I'm doing all the other things: listening to podcasts every morning, listening to music that focuses me on Him, doing devotionals with the kids, reading Genesis with a fresh pair of eyes.... and it IS true that things are constantly being revealed, no matter how many times you've read the Scripture!) We're even reading Kisses from Katie every night with the kids... which is part of the reason I'm feeling so wrecked! (I should have taken my pastor's wife's advise and NOT read the book.  She knows me well enough to understand what a book like this can do to someone like me... which I'll save for another entry.)

So, yesterday, after my trip to the gym... and listening to yet another horrible (and incredibly wonderful)  sermon from Matt Chandler, I plopped myself down on the bed and was able to FINALLY pour out my heart... to my husband.  Poor guy never stood a chance. As the tears flowed and the words came tumbling out, you could see the concern on his face... not for me... for him.  God has been leading us... ever slowly... to this place where a decision has to be made: where we either TRULY pick up the cross and follow Him, or we sit on the sidelines and cheer for Jesus from afar.  A statement that might have some questioning my rationale, because I don't come across as a "sidelines-type" of person... to which I can only say this:  For me and my family, God has made it ABUNDANTLY clear that WE cannot live in suburbia and be true followers of Christ: the temptations are too big, the distractions too great, our acknowledge of Him and dependence on Him not nearly enough.  Reading a passage from Kisses from Katie struck a resounding chord, that I "fear" will resonate in my heart forever (written in her journal upon her return back to the States after a year in Uganda):

"I keep forgetting to ask God first to heal me, to fill me, to guide me, to rejoice with me.  I have to set aside 'time to pray' in the morning and at night instead of being in constant communication with Him. In Uganda, because I was so physically 'poor,' I was completely dependent on God and spiritually as wealthy as ever. As I sit here writing, I am frustrated with my own stupidity, my human willingness to step back into dependence on stuff and these places I swore I detested." p. 122

So much of what she wrote is also imprinted on my heart... without ever having been to Uganda. It's been that way for a while.  But, trying to talk about it in the past has been so difficult, especially with others.  For our family, God has made it clear that living by the standards of achievement, set by this world, is not for us.  But figuring out how to loosen the chains of this world, a tightening noose around our necks, has been a challenge... but not nearly as difficult as the choice we now face. God continues to encourage me.  He continues to reveal His power in my life.  He has restored a relationship with my eldest child that I feared would be forever crippled by my inability to surrender my heart completely to Him.  I have cried with my children and prayed, with them, that Jesus will bind their hearts from the pain they feel from living in this broken world.  I am constantly reminded that He alone has made a strong marriage stronger... that He has made a good life better.  When I look at these promises fulfilled, it makes walking away seem easier.  When I think about the moments of joy that I experience at the power of His hand... joy that I have never felt from the "comforts" of this world... it makes me want to drop everything and run... and this is what my husband felt he might choke on.  There is still so much to process and God still has so much to do in us... but we are starting to see the light.  He is so incredibly good.   


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