Monday, July 26, 2010

"Soaking" in the Sabbath

Yesterday I had a glorious, soaking in the Sabbath, kind of day. It really made me stop and re-think what I do with most of my Sabbaths. After all, they are meant to be my day of rest, yet it was the first Sunday Sabbath I can recall [in a long time] where it actually felt like a real day of rest. This is what my day entailed:

Woke up at 9:30. Alec was the only one up, so I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a water bottle, a towel, my iPod, journal and Bible and headed out to the pool. For the next seven - yes, seven - hours, I was in the pool; either reading, worshiping, praying or listening. It was like a mini, impromptu sabbatical.

Anthony joined me when he finally woke up around 1pm ... talk about utilizing the Sabbath for rest! We used the next three hours to talk about God, His Word, what He was speaking, what we were thinking; and we listened to a message that I had been piece-meal listening to for that past three nights. The day truly was filled with the presence of Jesus and the wisdom of Holy Spirit.

Although our seasons won't allow for pool time year 'round, being outside in creation, while meeting with God in such a personal way, was such a beautiful and re-energizing way to go to church ... just me and Jesus!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just Let Me Love You

Todd grinned. “I like you a lot.”

“I like you a lot, too.” [Christy]

“I like you more,” Todd said.

“No, I like you more.” [Christy]

Todd leaned forward and with the warmest glow ever in his clear blue eyes, said, “I love you, Kilikina.” Christy froze. She shouldn’t make her lips part. She couldn’t push out the words. A single tear was all that escaped her and raced down her cheek. Todd moved his chair over so that he was right next to Christy. He kept his hand in hers. With patient, gentle words he said, “You don’t have to respond, Christy. I don’t want you to feel pressured. Ever. In any way. Just let me love you, okay?” He leaned over and kissed the tear where it clung to the edge of her jaw. “Just let me love you.”

- Excerpt from Robin Jones Gunn’s “As You Wish

Lying in the hammock on a steep mountainside, cool breeze whistling all around me, I read this. When I finished this section I just began to cry. Just an unexplained outburst of tears ran down my face. Being self conscious I wiped my eyes and looked around, only to be reminded that I was surrounded by the sun, trees, and clouds. I laughed at myself and thought ‘what the heck?’ and just let the tears fall. I closed my eyes and began to hear the Father speak. Just let Me love you. As He spoke, the cool, mountain breeze warmed gently and I felt as if two huge arms just embraced me. I just layed in the arms of my Daddy and wept.

Isaiah 40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…”

As I’m processing His words in my head, I’m trying to figure out when I STOPPED letting Him love me. Or even when I LIMITED letting him love me. The truth is that I can’t stop him. I had a conversation with a friend of mine. She said, “I love youuuuuuuu”, and I said back sarcastically, “Just because you love me doesn’t mean I have to accept it.” How true is that? How often do we reject the love of our Lord? We assume because things are not going our way that He doesn’t love us, or He doesn’t care for us. In our hearts we know that is utterly false, but when we let our brains go for a ride, we lose sight of the truth. All He wants is to love us and for us to love Him in return. Even the times we don’t want to love Him, or we are mad at Him, He STILL LOVES US. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, but when we “Just let [Him] love [us]” how much better is our life? How much more abundant and obvious are His plans for us? He carries us close to His heart where we can lay and breathe in the things He has for us.

With All My Heart, [Jillian Yvonne]

Jeremiah 29:11-14 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD.

Jillian, I had to leave a comment because it's just ironic that I happened to read this entry this morning. Your blog was pulled up on my laptop when I opened it this morning; not sure by who, but since I was surprised to see it, I read.

Yours are the first words I am reading this morning, but I have to tell you that I think Jesus purposed it that way. What you wrote to accompany the excerpt from the book is so sweet, so tender, so reflecting of Jesus' love for us, that I soon had tears falling down my cheeks. It was as if Jesus was whispering your words to me; sweetly washing me with gentleness and possessing an unabashed desire to get me to see that He "just wants me to let Him love me." What an engaging and treasured way to begin my day!

Also, I was shocked at how your sarcastic remark to your friend resonated with me. I didn't shake my head at you, I reacted with the thought, "That sounds like something I would think, even if only subconsciously." The fact that it shook me to my core means that this is something Jesus wants to deal with. Without knowing it Jillian, Jesus has used your words to continue peeling my onion.

Again, I'm not sure how I ended up on your blog - I'll call it a sweet Jesus miracle - but I'm so glad I did.

Much Love,

[ME]: I am constantly surprised by the lengths to which Jesus will go to continue to remind me of His LOVE for me. "Just let me love you." Those words hit me lick a brick upside my heart.

For a long time I've been bothered by the fact that I just don't seem to know how to inherently love someone that I choose to love. I use the word 'choose' because I truly get the depth of love of being a mother. That love is such a part of me that it could just as easily be labeled as another part of my body, like an arm or leg.

I have struggled to not only understand, but also give back, love that is in my life by choice. It's not that I don't love; it's that I feel that I don't love deeply enough. I don't know how love is measure or quantified, I just feel like there's a sieve of some kind that filters love into and out of my heart; making sure it isn't allowed in too quickly - or in too large of a dose - and that that sieve also controls how much is let out.

Ever since I attended a Kairos in April of last year, Jesus has beckoned me to go on a Love Journey with Him. He told me [as my face was on the floor of the NRH campus], "I'm going to wreck you with My Love." I've never recorded my thoughts about this day. More substantial is the fact that I've also not chosen to take this Love Journey ... yet.

I think part of me has been too afraid to move forward because of the unknown that will have to be uncovered in me. Jesus didn't say to me, "Come with me, and let me show you what my love looks like." Nope. He said he was going to [wreck] me with His love. That's a bit intimidating, even if it stirs up all kinds of anticipation within me.

But something bigger is stirring in me recently: a passion to dream, a desire to believe for bigger things, a longing in my spirit for adventure that is yet untapped. The puzzle pieces are coming together. My journey to just get to the point of being daring enough to accept Jesus' invitation is almost complete. I believe there's only one piece left to finish this particular puzzle ... Wild Goose Chase. It's in my possession. The first chapter is read. Now, I just need to get to the finish line.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Healing, Part #1

I've been on somewhat of a Brady Boyd/New Life Church podcast overload during the past few weeks. Messages from various pastors have always been a part of my walk with Jesus, but lately these messages are an integral part of teaching for me.

Currently, I'm over half-way through a 14 week series on the Supernatural, and I going to purpose to document the parts of the messages that really grabbed me (so that my furious note-taking won't be in vain or forgotten).

Over the July 4th weekend, I listened to two messages on healing. Here are my highlights:

  • Jesus wants to enter into our suffering and heal us just as he did when he was on earth. He is as much a healer today as he was when he lived.
  • Question: If Jesus heals, then why isn't everyone healed? We are caught between the chasm of Jesus settling the issue of the kingdom by taking the keys from Satan, but all facets of kingdom living will not be fulfilled until he returns. Basically, only in heaven will there be a complete lack of pain and suffering. (Revelation 21:1)
  • Our western culture/mindset leaves us no room for pain and discomfort. We want to live the Christian life without suffering and that's just not part of Jesus' promise. We're the only country in the world that expects a walk that's easy and without sacrifice.
  • What you ask from God reveals what you believe about Him. (Will you ask for the big things, or do you not believe your big prayers can be answered?)
Lastly, the biggest "A-ha" moment for me was this: One should always carry a hope for healing but heaven should never be treated as the consolation prize if healing does not occur; it is the prize. Hope for healing AND hope for heaven.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Holy Spirit minus THE

After reading several blogs by Coli yesterday, I left this comment on one of them but then decided I needed to keep it because it spoke to a significant shift in the...well, read:

"There is one thing I have noticed about your recent blogs as I catch up on blog no longer use the word "the" in front of Holy Spirit. At first I thought you had typo'd, then I read another blog and then I read this blog and saw the same thing. You have personalized Him, our Holy Spirit, the same way we so easily personalize God and Jesus. We've never been taught to put "the" in front of God or Jesus, yet I realize how naturally it comes before Holy Spirit. I'm wondering about this change in you and if it originated from chasing wild geese? It so moved my heart more than anything else in your recent writings, and that's saying a lot because your recent writings are chock full of good stuff.

I am convicted in such a good way. Do I lack a certain depth of relationship with "the" Holy Spirit because I have unknowingly put an article of our human language in front of his name? This is revelatory for me, friend! Truly revelatory! My God is God. My Jesus is Jesus! And my Holy Spirit is Holy Spirit...not "the" Holy Spirit.

I so love, love, love the fact that Holy Spirit [embracing the change already!] has awakened me to a small change in wording that will greatly impact my relationship with Him, and He did it by simply revealing a change in you and highlighting that change in my spirit.

Thank you, friend, for teaching me without purposing to teach me. I am smiling like a kid in a candy store right now!"

Looking forward to reading Wild Goose Chase, by Mark Batterson, very soon. Odd point, after talking to Anthony about this book tonight, I found out that Anthony knows him personally; even showed me a photo taken with Mark several years ago. How weird is that???