Saturday, September 28, 2013

Maybe I choose tired.

I'm tired. Just.So.Tired. 
Tired of working so much more than most of the whiners I serve every morning. Tired of the feelings of inadequacy I experience with making coffee at my age. Tired of fighting with my weight. Tired of the shame that quietly worms it's way in and is larger than life before I get a chance to realize it's there. Tired of being single my entire life and having nobody to share mine with. Tired of taking care of everything and making every decision all alone. Tired. Tired of well-meaning people who apparently know it all and have the answer to my "predicaments". Tired of Christianese solutions. But most of all? I'm tired of the lie. The lie that I do have to get this all figured out. That I do need to get a plan. That I do need to lose weight, rope a man, find that perfect career. Choose the house with the right picket fence. I'm tired of falling for the entirely empty lie I'm handed daily on a silver platter that it's not okay to be tired. To wrestle with God and be a little grieved and depressed during these seasons. I'm tired of keeping my mouth so shut because I can't find people who get it and I wouldn't want to offend someone. I'm tired of believing it would be better if I wasn't tired. Because what I'm learning right now is that it's in the desperately weak and tired seasons that we get to experience fully and mind-blowingly the one who doesn't answer to the concept of "tired". If that's what it takes to know Him this well....I'll deal with being tired. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ALL of it.

I'm so thankful for technology. When I get up at 4:00 in the mornings to get ready for work, I often listen to several of my favorite teachers via podcast. It's important to me-we should ALWAYS be proactively feeding ourselves on truth. The amount of garbage the world is constantly feeding us is so intense we could feed on truth all day and still have a hard time balancing things. But because we're not feeding on truth, we often don't see how intense the world shouts lies. (Side tangent: we should ALWAYS be listening to a variety of people. If we insist on sticking with just one, we're being unhealthy and they will end up in a pedistal.) 

This morning I was listening to David Platt, a wonderful man. He was sharing stories about his time in several countries in which the government in-humanely tortures & kills people if they find out they're participating in any acts of Christianity. He was simply talking about his experience with people who are desperately hungry for teaching in the Word & ways of Christ. People who sneak to houses at 2 am just to worship together. Who know with every passing day it may very well be their last before they're caught. There was nothing about David's talk that was trying to evoke an emotion or commitment or desire or action. He was simply sharing what's going on in the underground churches. As an encouragement to us.  
BUT....(aw. You were looking for that!)....
I have never been so convicted in my life. 

If you know me, you know I have a large heart for Africa. At least what I've seen of two of its countries. I've been passionate about this for years. You probably know that I'd love to live and serve there. So you would THINK that I have an attitude of wanting to be a missionary. And in a way, I do. I'm okay with not having a career or home or newer car. I'm okay with not owning much. With moving halfway across the globe. Plenty of people I know and love are already doing it, have paved the way, and are the kind of brave hero I will never be. And that's fine. But I realized this morning that my heart is not as in tune with Jesus as I may have so arrogantly assumed at one point. 

I'm willing to work full-time for a ministry here. To give myself to pouring out in order that other believers will go deeper. I'm also willing to pick up and move to Africa. I know I would love it. But here's the's because EVEN Africa is comfortable. It's third world. It's sad. It's a whole different culture & way of living. But it's comfortable. I can love and minister and freely be the hands of feet of Jesus if I wish. Awesome? Yes. But safe. I would not get more than a few curious inquiries about what the heck I was doing living amongst a different people. I can walk the streets openly, work with the people, live out the church. And I'd come home. I'd furlow. I'd eventually move back and settle here at some point. See? Safe. 

I realized this morning Jesus is asking for my ALL. We always talk about that. We sing about it. We even say we've given Him our all. But have we? Honestly. Have we?!?! I haven't. In a flash today, I saw a side of myself I'd never payed attention to before. The Spirit asked me if I'd be willing to go "there". As I listened to David speaking, I pictured it. Having to pretend I was going for alterior motives simply to get into the country. Lying to government officials at customs. Smuggling in Bibles and discipleship materials. Being disguised and hid in cars in the middle of the night just to travel to a house somewhere with all the blinds pulled. Being escorted secretly into the the house where it was overflowing with 50 people Just thirsting for worship, teaching, discipleship. Doing church at 2:00 in the morning. Risking being caught each day. And if caught, tortured in ways more haneous than anything I've ever seen in the movies. Beat. Raped. Beat more. Burned. Cut. Starved. Thrown in a stone cell with no bed or toilet. Who knows......killed slowly. Because I taught Bible Study. Am I willing to do THAT with my life? Leave tomorrow and possible die this week? THAT is what Jesus wants from me. The willingness to say yes to THAT. Whether I actually do it or not is hardly the point in this moment. The point is seeing that Jesus said "Go & make disciples of ALL nations". The underground church is "all nations" & IS desperate for teachers. Kind of hard to argue with what Jesus says there. People can try telling me that it's not required of every believer, only especially "called" ones. I just have to say that I can't find anywhere in Scripture saying "Go if you're feeling extra called".
And don't tell me I'm young and shouldn't throw my life away. There is NOTHING more worth throwing my life into. NOTHING. 

I may end up married with kids in Modesto. Homesteading on a ranch in Washington or Montana. Working for a big-haired mega ministry in Texas or Georgia. Living among the Voodoo culture of the french cooridor in New Orleans or the shacks of the Bayou. Running an orphanage in Africa. Who knows? I hope it's one of those things. But, Lord change my heart and mold me, I need to be willing to give him my A-L-L. He's big enough. That I know. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Kenyan files #1

I've yet to talk a lot about the trip to Kenya. I came home and hit the ground running with a project for Agape that has kept me extremely busy. That being over, I can finally begin sharing a bit.

One of the most explosive parts of being in Kenya was the intensely different way in which the culture walks out their days. We have so much here that we often go for very long periods of time able to work and purchase whatever we need. But in a world of poverty, it's as different from that mindset as can possibly be. A majority of Kenyans live solely on faith. Having to trust God for daily provisions. And often when they're praying in church on Sunday, you'll commonly hear praise and thanks over surviving the week and having enough to eat. Very different from the daily Taco Bell stops that helped me weigh 230 pounds once upon a time! 

The upside to the "Kenyan way" is something that has shifted my head so much. Because of this faith-based way of living; crying out to and deeply and desperately depending on God for survival, I witnessed God in a completely different way. He come through. And He provides. And because they're witnessing this constantly in a way we don't get the BLESSING to, it automatically makes many of the people there extremely deep and powerful and deeply peaceful and beautiful in their dynamic intimacy with Jesus. They seem to move and breath right along with the Spirit, just because it's their way. Knowing He performs miracles daily, expecting them, and because of that praying in dynamic faith that I believe almost releases and allows God to move and work in a way that we don't often evoke here. And THAT is something I want. 

I've always wanted to be powerful and dynamic and deeply intimately connected to Jesus in a way that evokes miracles
when I pray. And my time and my witness of daily miracles while there made me want it even more than in the past. And now I don't want to settle until I've become that kind of woman. Hard to talk openly about, yes!? But there it is nonetheless. 

We can all be that. We can all adopt a bit of bold, expectant, Kenyan attitude in our prayers and day that evoke the impossible on a regular basis. Maybe if we did, we'd truly start something incredible.