Listening to Abba: March 2013

My Own Broken Marriage



My husband and I are emerging from a slough of despair concerning our marriage.  It was ugly.   Anger, bitterness, hostility, distancing, accusing, and grieving became our companions. Weeks of intensive therapy and months of follow up only left us further apart.  We were separated for almost three years.  

Finally we found our way back under the same roof.  Even then it was not an ideal situation (a compatible roommates scenario at best).  How on earth does a Pastor and Pastor’s wife get to this kind of extreme dysfunction?  Especially when they had the model family for so many years?

How we got there is not the point of this blog.  How we are picking up the pieces and fighting our way back into each other’s arms is the point.  It’s taken a much needed renovation of the heart for me.  
All I know is that our relationship failure caused me to do some serious soul searching.  I had to deal with my own wounds and demons.  I had to deal with my own irrational and ungodly patterns of relating.  God exposed me – to myself.  Not pretty. 

God showed me that I was putting a lot of burden on Rick to be for me what only God could be.  Then God loved on me.  He held me, rocked me, sang to me, taught me, corrected me and pointed out my sin.  My dirty, rotten, stinky, sinful heart that demands others to love me like I want.

He took all that filthiness and placed it on His son, Jesus.  He brutally beat Jesus for my iniquities – for my unlove.  Jesus took the punishment that I deserved. Now I stand forgiven.  Not just forgiven – cleansed.  Not just cleansed – renewed.

Then He taught me a better way.  The way of love – His style of love – unconditional.

Now God and I are moving forward with a new energy – to be like Christ.  To give up my life in order to find it.  To love like He loves – without expecting anything in return.  To assume the posture of a servant.

“Kinsey girl,” God says, “If you don’t love, you are nothing but a bunch of noise.  No matter how many people you counsel, disciple, teach, train, mentor, evangelize, or coach . . .it means nothing to me if you don’t love.”  Then He throws in the kicker, “The way you love those closest to you, the ones you live with – that’s the true measure of your soul.”  Ouch.  It’s so much easier to love people you don’t have to go home with.

So, I accepted the challenge that God laid out.  It hasn’t been easy.  It hasn’t been seamless. But it has been miraculous.  And guess what?  He’s right.  You really do find life when you set your own needs and desires aside, when you put someone else’s’ needs above your own.

My faltering commitment to love is now paying off in huge dividends.  Rick and I are doing better than we have in years.  We are laughing, playing, praying, and crying together.   

God is our biggest cheerleader, “Atta girl!” “Atta boy.”  “Love him girl! Love her boy! This gives me pure delight.”  I can hear Him laughing and I hug Him tight. . .

because He  made it possible.

Today is Good Friday – the day my sins pinned Jesus to the cross.  To say I’m grateful is an understatement.

Today I honor Him with this story.  He is in the business of redeeming and restoring broken people and broken marriages.

Thank you Abba.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you Spirit.
May the lamb that was slain receive the rewards of His sufferings.
I love you,
Kinsey girl




©kinseyoglesby, March 28, 2013   Read more by Kinsey at listeningtoabba.com

Taking Me Out of My Comfort Zone



I was hired to write children’s curriculum for a after-school bible club that meets in public schools.  Yep, you heard me right – PUBLIC schools.  Currently clubs are being held in 30 schools throughout the greater Birmingham area.  These are mostly unchurched children – about 2000.  Wow.  Praise God.

The curriculum stretched out for viewing at one time
I was actually first hired to do recruitment – which falls much more in line with my natural talents – tapping into public speaking, etc.  But as the Lord would have it (and trust me, it was definitely God), I ended up writing the curriculum.  

Second and third grade is printed,  fourth and fifth grade curriculum is now being prepped for press. It’s been a huge project and my attentions have been spread thin between college, School of Spiritual Direction, and now coaching school. 

So how does this fit into my spiritual journey? 

One, I did not want to do this.  I begged God to find someone else, or even to bring me help.   My pleading went much like Moses at the burning bush, “But Lord!  This isn’t my strength!”  And much like Gideon, “I’m nobody! The least of the least, send someone else.” God completely ignored my whining.

Two, I’ve never been called upon to do something so outside my comfort zone.  Additionally, I’ve never felt this incompetent in my life.  Typically, I have confidence in my abilities – this took me to a whole other level. I have been completely, and I mean completely dependent on God.  Nothing has come easy with this project.  It’s been very much like finding my way around a pitch black room.

Three, I’ve learned through this experience that God will call us out of our comfort zone and ask us to do things that we literally can’t do. But He can.  It’s amazing to see it transpire – to get positive feedback – and some confirmation along the way. 

Like Gideon, God whittled his army down to 300 men, and they won the battle by crashing clay jars, holding up torches, and blowing trumpets – God did the rest.  Incredible.  

 Gideon could boast in nothing but the Lord. 
Neither can I.  That must be the point.

I’ve heard people say that when God calls you to do something it will fall in line with your strengths and spiritual gifts.  When God calls you to do something it will be rewarding and fulfilling and will bring you great joy.  Hmmmm.  Not so sure that is always the case.  Wonder what Moses or Gideon would say?

This I am sure of, God can and will use whoever He wants for whatever He wants.  It’s about Him and His purposes.  Whether the task or assignment is joyful is hardly the point.  The point is that He gets the glory. 


I’m reasonably happy with the curriculum.  I don’t think it’s nearly as phenomenal as Sally Lloyd-Jones’ book, “The Jesus Storybook Bible.”  But I can confidently say that it is better in theological content than most children’s curriculum I’ve reviewed.  But really, God remains the judge on this.  It’s His work from start to finish.  I was just the “nobody” He selected for the task.

I also know, that as I have piloted this curriculum with a group of boys the past three years, God has stirred a spiritual hunger and awareness in them that blows me away. They are getting it. Whoa.

Aslan is definitely on the move.
 
I'm not sure how God will use all of this. But, me thinks God and I will share great laughter and rejoicing over this one day.  Perhaps with many children who came to know Christ through Discovery Clubs.  Looking forward to eternity.