Listening to Abba: October 2012

Another day in the life of God . . .

An excerpt from Kinsey's journal 


K: So, how are you Father? What have you been up to today?

G: I’m great Kinsey girl.  I’ve been very busy.  I adopted some more children into my family today.  I welcomed some children home into my arms.  I breathed life into all newborns as they made their entry into your world.  I celebrated the natural births as well as the spiritual ones.  The angels get very excited up here about regeneration.  They create quite a stir with their rejoicings- heaven is a very “happening” place.  I can’t wait until you get here Kinsey girl.

K: Me neither!

G: Many of my children called out in distress to me today.  Some of them had very bad news – sickness, financial loss, shattered dreams, innocence stolen, abandonment, jobs lost, lives lost, marriages ended . . .I listened to their cries for help. I held them as they wept.  Some of them are very angry with me.  I wish they could see what I see.  I wish they would trust me – that I will right every wrong, mend every heart, bring healing and restoration and glory from their woes.  I spoke words of comfort to those who would hear.

I also fed the birds, watered the earth, calmed the seas, brought forth the sun, kept everything spinning in space, gave breath to every living creature, stopped Satan when he pushed his boundaries, held the ocean in place, watched the whales frolic, gave fishermen big nets of fish, kept a toddler from injury, brought healing to bodies, refreshment to souls, doled out forgiveness in mega doses and so much more.

But in the middle of all my doing – I’ve been watching you, as you – set up your new printer, defrag your computer, watch the stock market, work on homework, exercise and plan. . .

__________________________________________________

Whoa! My journals are full of back and forth conversations with God; this is one of my favorites.  It makes me want to throw my arms around Him and tell Him how much I love Him.It makes me want to kneel before Him in awe and worship.
 
I share this because it is good to stop and reflect on what the Sovereign Lord does. Naturally, the list could go on, and on, and on.  I didn’t want to dress it up for the blog, so I copied it straight from the journal. 

What does it stir in you?

Kinsey


Brokeness

I’m broken. Not the humble kind of broken, but the defective kind of broken.

I wanted to have it all together. . . do all the right things,be a good wife, good mother, good Christian, good toastmaster. . .a model woman. I applied myself to self improvement books, expanding my mind, learning about human nature, and improving my relationships.I tried really hard to put other’s needs above my own.

For many years, even though life wasn’t perfect, it did seem rather charmed. Rick and I had good, fruitful ministry. We had nice homes, cars, schools, and opportunities. The children were well behaved and showed character.

I never really saw our brokenness. My brokenness. I realized I had faults but it’s not the same. Brokenness –defectiveness is different.

Acknowledging my brokeness is humbling because it says I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not consistent enough, I don’t have what it takes, I need help. Ouch. I need help.  Needing help is like admitting to a handicap, a limitation, a deficit. It makes me dependent on others, and that frightens me. The bottom line is, I thought if I were defective then maybe I wasn’t loveable.

The realization and owning of my brokenness has given me a new pair of glasses. Now I see! Broken people are some of the most loveable people in the world. They’re not intimidating; they’re humble and grateful.  Broken people work better with others; they realize their idea is not always the best and that their thoughts or assumptions are not always right. They realize their advice is not always wanted. 

Broken people are learners. They are quicker to offer encouragement or apologies, and they aren’t full of excuses. Being around broken people is comfortable and freeing; there are no pretenses or facades. They give space for error and growth. It’s a much more gracious way of living.

“I’m gloriously broken,” I recently said to a friend. I’m safer to be around, less critical. Who am I to point a finger? Look at what a mess I am. I’m a mess! Even as I write that I smile. I’m so okay with being a mess right now. I am a mess.

What made brokenness okay for me? Jesus.

When my marriage of 30 year crashed and burned I was forced to do some real soul searching. What had brought us to this point? Where did we go wrong? Where did I go wrong? What was my role?

Who better to do soul searching with than Jesus. “Oh Jesus,” I cried. “Help me! I’ve made such a mess of things!” I spent months sitting at the foot of the cross letting Jesus deal with me. He pointed out my sinfulness, my bondage, and my defectiveness. 

But Jesus doesn’t point out my flaws with the intention to show me how rotten and unlovable I am. No, he wants to show where the problem lies and reveal Himself, and His truth as the answer. He wants to set me free. And so Jesus and I have been doing rounds of revelation and healing at the cross.

The most wonderful thing about seeing my my defectiveness, before him – is that just when I see how utterly hopeless I am, he scoops me up and lavishly loves me. He loves me in my brokenness, and because He loves me, I’m okay.

I wonder now if it’s possible to own God’s love without owning my brokenness? I think not.

I think the next half of my life will be lived differently. It already is. I don’t have to do everything right; I’m still loved. I don’t have to be the smartest, prettiest, skinniest, most organized, extraordinary woman out there. I don’t have to strive to be better in order to be found loveable. Now I want to be better because Jesus loves me. What a relief.

I don’t have to hope my kids behave a certain way so I look good. I don’t have to explain my broken marriage (which is slowly mending). I don’t have to justify actions or lack of action. I can just be still in Jesus and let him center me. I let him provide me with the reassurances that I matter and I’m significant to Him. It’s all that really matters.

I’m not saying other people don’t count. I want to be loved and respected and admired as much as anyone. However, if that does not happen (because everyone around me is broken too, and can only offer a broken kind of love) then it’s okay. Because, Jesus is safe. Jesus is love. Jesus is truth. Jesus is King. Jesus is my friend.

In my brokenness I discovered Jesus in a way I had not known. Jesus has been waiting all these years for me to come to the end of myself. “Now,” he sighs with relief, “I can really start using you.” I’m blessedly broken.

Angel Odor

Today I picked up a hitch hiker. I’ve never done that before. I know, I know, it was risky, but it felt right. I can't explain why, I just did it.

As he settled into the car, Roger shook my hand and said he knew Jesus. He smelled dirty and looked a little ragged.  I was a bit suspect of his quick mention of Jesus (so many times people who need help use the name of Jesus to their advantage).  But after further questioning from me, Roger professed that he believed in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and claimed that he was saved eleven years ago. He was very grateful for the ride and we chit chatted a bit about his life circumstances. I dropped him off a little later, no worse for the wear, and I felt good about helping him out.

Offering a ride to a stranger presents a dilemma for us Christians, especially for a Christian woman. After all, it could be an axe murderer, a dope addict, or a sexual pervert! It could be an honest human being who needs a lift. Or, it could even be an angel.

There was no time for a background investigation. I had to decide quickly . . .do I stop or keep moving? Do I take a chance? Do I risk my life? What would Jesus do? If Jesus really is in control, and my days are numbered according to his plan, what do I really have to fear? Is Jesus my protector?

The missionary Jim Elliot took a huge risk to set up camp deep in the jungle to reach the Auca Indians. It got him killed. Was he foolish? Irresponsible? Or was he courageous and trusting?

Jesus would want us to use our heads and act smart. Jesus would want us to use our hearts and act in love. Does it have to be one or the other?

I lost my keys early this morning and was delayed 2 hours. That delay put me on the road  at the same time as Roger. Did God orchestrate that? If something bad had happened to me, would I blame the enemy?

Does anyone know the answer?

I think sometimes we have to follow our heart. Could be a mistake, could be a blessing. It could be a blessing that looks like a mistake. Or, it could be an angel.

Sometimes there are more questions than answers when it comes to following Christ. All I know is that I picked up a hitch hiker today and got him further down the road. Before he got out, I prayed with him that he would find another ride.

And now my car smells like Roger. . .

Or is that angel odor?

Sand in my Salad

There is nothing like a good salad. Lettuce is just the beginning. 

I like to add broccoli, carrots, red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes, bacon bits, cheese, boiled egg, purple onion, raisins, cilantro, grapes, apple, nuts, peas, corn . . .you get the idea.

But today I have a special ingredient. It came on its own, completely uninvited . . . 
Sand

Yep, that’s right, “sand.” How on earth did sand get in my salad? 

Well, I just happen to be sitting at the beach. Early this morning I headed to the coast to spend some time in the sun and enjoy the ocean. I brought the salad with me. So here we are, sitting in the sun (salad and I). In crunching down I’m discovering grit. Hmmm. Oh well, a little sand in the salad never hurt anyone.

Why am I so accommodating? Normally I would not be happy with sand in my salad. It’s all  about the context. I’m at the beach. I’m thinking happy thoughts.

When at the beach, it's a given, sand will get into and on everything. If you don’t like sand, stay away from the beach. 

I just watched a mother fuss at her little boy as he trampled across their beach blanket with his little sandy feet.  “Look at what you did!” she exclaimed, "You got sand all over the blanket!"

Are you kidding me? "Hellooooo!" I wanted to call out to her. "Excuse me ma'am but that is what children do at the beach. That is what the beach is all about. You honestly thought you could keep that blanket clean?" Pahleeze!

Sigh.

Isn’t that the way it is? We have this idea about how things should be, or how we would like them to be. For example, who wouldn’t LOVE a day at the beach where sand did not stick to you, and where your chair, towels and blankets remained sand free. But who would be foolish enough to think they could pull that off?


Life is gritty. If you don’t want “sand in your life”  
get off the beach. 

Can’t do it. Everywhere we turn someone is kicking up the sand, or the wind is blowing it, or you step into it. No matter how many precautions you take, sand gets in your life. It just does.

You can accept it - eat the salad with the sand, and enjoy the sun and ocean.
Or, you can reject it -try to keep your blanket clean, and miss the joy of little boys with sandy feet.

Personally, I’ve discovered that it’s easier to accept the grit of life than to fight it.

So . . .I’ll sit here and eat my salad; enjoying the pieces that don’t have sand, while I watch that cute little boy build sandcastles and get sand on his mother’s blanket.

Life is a beach.