Monthly Archives: April 2011

journal: falling apart

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During the Awaken 21 Day Fast, I felt God call me to let go of several different habits that had crept in over the last year. Just a lot of empty down time from exhaustion. And not to just cut things out, but to fill up the static space. In the midst of this season of pressing in to seek the Lord through every moment of my day, I started to see more clearly areas that needed work. I saw plain old areas of sin, root deep, that needed major gardening attention.

At first, I felt overwhelmed. I started down the path of condemnation. I started making a ladder and trying to climb right up on that cross. Anyone else good at that? Seeing a big old pile of mess in your life and climbing up on the cross and starting to act like you are Jesus? But, fortunately, I didn’t stay there in that position this time. Why? Well, probably because of the grace of God working through the decision I had made to purposefully and constantly guard my thoughts and turn my heart back to Jesus in every single open moment of time that I had.

I felt a bit desperate. I have not felt that desperate for Jesus in a long time. And in my desperation, I was not disappointed. He was right there before I opened my mouth. Kind of helping me kick at the tires of junk and turn over stones in my life.  I felt he was saying: “Let’s get rid of this, Jess. We really don’t need this. I’ve got better things for you. Here let me help you with that.”

The last week of the fast, I started to get frustrated. I was having anxiety attacks. I kept crying. I talked to some friends and family. I was having major meltdowns each day. At first, I was a bit concerned about myself. I was pretty out of control, and I can not be bawling my eyes out to Jesus all day long.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had this experience. I don’t think you can stay in this place; but years ago, I had two summers of these fact to face Jesus moments. I sold kids books for the Southwestern company. Door-to-door, yes ma’am! And no, we were not the encyclopedia people. This was a legit business. We were part of an amazing team and trained by some of the best organization leaders in the country. I began that journey thinking I’d make good money, work hard, and “find myself”.

I spent a lot of days crying my eyes out along side the country road because that job was hard. About two weeks into the process, I realized it wasn’t about selling books. It wasn’t about “finding” myself. But, I learned to walk every moment of those days fully talking and walking with Jesus.I would talk to myself outloud driving door to door between houses. I would ask God for each person to see. I wasn’t just selling, I was hoping to be a blessing and love on people and sell them some books a long the way. It was amazing. And I was a mess. But, I taked more to Jesus out loud and authentically than I ever had.

In those seasons, that was exactly where I needed to be. In the grace, of real desperation for Jesus. Anything I had built up on my own needed to not work. Now, of course, I am very grateful that I’m not walking around sobbing anymore. And although, I romanticize my book selling days, I am glad I’m not working door-to-door anymore either. But, the season of seeing more deeply that every breath and step relying on Christ alone through overly emotional experiences, is something I will never dismiss or lament.

But, truly if that’s what it took for some desperation for Jesus flowing into a refreshing repentance and re-direction of a more reliant life on Jesus, then…Yes, Jesus! Yes, please! Thank you!

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Please Mind the Gap

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I agree. A lot of hoopla. I agree the media is crazy.

And I did not get up at 4 am to watch the entire wedding. But, I did turn the television on before 7 am- which is unprecedented for me. And I was instantly captured by the voice of the Arch Bishop reading the Word of God and images of the Bride and Groom kneeling in the Abbey.

As I’ve been scanning twitter and facebook, I’ve seen many comments about how there is devastation all over the world and we are celebrating a wedding. Now, not to overly spiritualize the union of Will & Kate; but, honestly, how refreshing to have a wedding in a church with real scripture being read the focal point of most of America and I dare say, Western Europe (Yes, I said that with a nod and wee bit of an accent.) I’m not going to speculate on the spiritual life of the royal family and go as far as to say that Will and Kate planned a truly “Christian” wedding. In fact, I know that the ceremony is pretty much laid out for them.

Yet, everything is a manner of perspective, of course the media has overhyped and overdramatized. Over course, Will & Kate’s faces are all over the most obscure tacky tourist junk ever. Why are we surprised? I mean really, why are we surprised? The media has long lost it’s first love of truly reporting  just the news, so why are we in shock that this is being blasted into everything. And as for the men, I don’t hear any complaining during football season or March Madness.

But, I agree- I’ve seen numerous posts on “Why are we so obsessed with this wedding?”

I speculated to one friend that our parent’s generation were probably enthralled because of the throwback to Princess Diana’s wedding to Charles. There is also the fascination with the culture from Americans because we don’t have Kings & Queens and Duchesses. It’s history. It’s vintage. It is different. They rode in a carriage with a zillion guards with chimney sweep looking helmets on their heads.

Now, this would have made a fabulous entrance.And as Austin said the moment he saw the television: “Oh, wow, this is just beautiful!”

The Arch Bishop said:

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.  

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

And another friend stated that she was overjoyed to hear the Word of God being read on national/international television to thousands.

So, yes, I agree, my heart is pulled and aching for those who are suffering from the out break of the tornadoes and for those who are dying all over the world every day. But, as Jesus teaches us over and over, there are reminders of joy in sorrow.  It’s the paradox of faith. There are messages of hope even in an over commercialized wedding, if we can see them. And if we deny them or are bothered by the over zealousness it’s okay. But, that’s still what they are. That is the deep obsession. The deep draw. The heart’s desire of all those people traipsing miles to the Palace to see a 3 minute appearance by the royal family. It is the ache of humanity for their King. It is the cry of the heart for the royalty of our calling in the Sons and Daughters of The King of the Universe. It is a reflection of everyone’s soul in search of something to believe in.

I could see it in every tweet, in every sigh, in every off-hand comment and in the waving flags and the white horses… the heart’s true ache for a true Kingdom.

And with that, “please mind the gap” and pass the tea.

Braveheart and Bible Study

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Post that I never published from March..

Yep, I’m talking about Braveheart in a chic Bible study. Not too far fetched since Mel Gibson did produce The Passion of the Christ. But, I think we should leave Mel out of this…one. See how I did that? Digressed in about .256 seconds!

Did anyone else go to a Christian college where it was basically required that every guy on campus watch Braveheart every weekend? Honestly, I can not believe I am about to make a Braveheart analogy. Maybe it’s the two boys that I’m raising. Anyhow…

We were studying Exodus 14 the other day. Talking about how the Israelites had just marched on out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership.  The actual number of people that left Egypt was staggering. Obviously, why the entire book is called “Exodus”. The entire slave population of the Egyptian people departed. The Egyptians realized what had happened and decided they were not okay with their decision. Maybe a few days of making bricks on their own didn’t go over too well. So, here the Israelites are, marching out of Egypt into the wilderness with Moses and following a cloud by day and a fire by night. Crazy set up, right?

So, they are coming up on the Red Sea and realize that the Egyptians are coming after them in chariots with horses. Now, here’s what is going to happen: God is going to tell Moses to lift his hand and the Red Sea is going to part and the people are going to march on through on dry land. Then, the Egyptians are going to get swallowed up in the Sea. Victory!

However, in verse 10, the people don’t know that. They just see a big old huge sea in front of them and their very recent captors pounding down on them. So, they are probably expecting something from Moses like “Okay, let’s grab these rocks and these sticks and we’ll suddenly have all kinds of weapons that we don’t have and we’ll just start fighting and we’ll win!” Nope. Verse 13 says that Moses says: “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation fo the Lord which He will accomplish for you today…the Lord will fight for you keep silent.”

As we were discussing this section of the Chapter, I had a rush of flashbacks of the scene in Braveheart when the enemy is about to pound down on William Wallace and his crew. (I found a link on youtube. I think I’m allowed to link to their site on my blog.) I know this may not fit exactly; but I think I’m track here. But, I’m talking about the scene where the enemy is coming in slow motion on their horses. It’s oh, so dramatic. Wallace & his crew in all their blue face paint. Instead of telling his crew to start running off like mad men, he starts yelling: “Hold…..Hold….Hold….” You can see the anticipation. You can see the urgency, the “do something” looks. The tension is insane! He waits until the last second when the enemy is pounding down on them and finally gives this crazy guy-warrior yell and they all reach down and pick up the spears & begin to defeat the enemy.

I can’t get this scene of the Israelites (or rather the scene I’v embellished in my head of the Israelites in this chapter) and the scene of Braveheart out of my head.  So much packed into this section of scripture. My Bible teacher, Jolie, visually stood with her hand in front of her and talked about how Moses tells the people to “see the salvation of the Lord” and how intentional it is. I loved illustration.

When pain is coming from every angle possible. We truly can stand in the face of it all and fully feel every moment and emotion to our core; but resounding louder than the chaos- the Peace of God- the Power of God is present. And even bigger than William Wallace or Moses before the Red Sea is the God of the Universe who is Omnipotent and who has legions of angels who could be released at any moment. And sometimes, I think that happens, I think when it’s all coming and I start jumping up and down and asking God to please fix this or that, and I tug at him like my 4 year old tugs on me when he wants something, and I scream and I yell as if he’s not paying attention…I’m missing it. I don’t want to miss the Peace of knowing my Omnipotent God.

When we see the chaos- the glory of God is even more beautiful. When we are weak – the power of God is more magnified.

* I also have studied some more and realize that there are different interpretations of what God really told Moses to do here and what He was saying.