Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Am a Servant

Years ago when we were a family of little ones living in the ideal hamlet of Dundee...I struggled with loneliness and an overwhelming homesickness for my family and my people and my little island in the sea. I longed for yesterday, and I longed for could have been ... and would have been and opportunities lost. I was homesick for the child I never was and the home I never had and the artist that never lived. I was saved and God was changing and healing me...and I was feeling that loss so intensely ... I was not only homesick...I was heartsick.

So years ago, after weeks of endless rain, sick babies, unhappy husband, chaotic home and wrestling with God... I had a weird dream.

I dreamt I was in a circus tent and I was climbing this pole like an acrobat...higher and higher I climbed and beneath me were these famous artists and musicians and performers and at the top was this beautiful sculpture by Michelangelo. I remember seeing incredible works of art all around me as I pushed on towards this sculpture that I knew was to be mine. When it was finally within my reach ... I saw that this magnificent work of art was nothing more then a cheap plastic replica. A huge sense of disappointment flooded my soul and when I awoke I was weeping with an overwhelming sense of loss ... and then God spoke to my heart.

It was as if He said ... all these things you desire will pass away ... every creative act of man is only a cheap replica of what God can create. All art will one day pass and there is nothing under the sun created by man that has the authentic stamp of God’s eternal life giving creation. Only God can create works of art that breathe and live and can exist for eternity.

In that simple dream, I knew God had so much more then what I grieved for. It was as if He said, their is only one act of genuine creativity that human beings can participate in ... soul winning. When we share the gospel to those who are hurting ... when we reach out to empty, starving dead souls and they respond in a genuine prayer of repentance ... God’s spirit moves through our words and testimony and God’s breath of life flows into them and they become a new creature. God moves through us to create new life. He has no other plan. He chooses to limit His greatest act of creativity ... the redemption and rebirth of humanity ... to the uncertain, frail, unskilled and unworthy workmanship of His redeemed children. This incredible plan of redemption is the only act of creativity that bears the genuine mark of God’s eternal life giving creation ... a plan that brings dignity not only to the one who is redeemed but the vessel that chooses to let the Lord use him to bring redemption to others... How crazy and how magnificent and how mind boggling scary is that?

I determined in my heart that I would let God teach me how to be all that I needed to be so He could use my life to reach others. When I was first saved I heard a Larry Norman song that captured my heart and often through the years his words would ring in my heart and memory and remind me of who I am called to be in Christ. It’s a simple song and I often wonder why a female vocal artists hasn’t recorded it...

I Am a Larry Norman

I am a servant, I am listening for my name

I sit here waiting, I’ve been looking at the game

That I’ve been playing, and I’ve been staying much the same,

When you are lonely, you’re the only one to blame

I am a servant, I am waiting for your call

I’ve been unfaithful, so I sit here in the hall

How can you use me, when I’ve never given all

How can you choose me, when you know I quickly fall

So you feed my soul, and you make me grow,

And you let me know you love me,

And I’m worthless now, but I’ve made a vow,

I will humbly bow before thee,

Oh please use me, I am lonely.

I am a servant, getting ready for my part,

There’s been a change, a rearrangement in my heart,

At last I’m learning, there’s no returning once I start,

To lives a privilege, to love is such an art,

But I need your help to start,

Oh please purify my heart,

I am your servant

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Windows To the Soul

Jesus is a personal God. If we are true believers and followers of Christ then we know Jesus is a personal God that lives within us...He is not a religion but a relationship. We know this but we often forget that this personal God that intimately knows us and draws us to Him so we can know Him and become more like Him...created us to influence others as He influences us...through relationships.

Jesus said in His word, love the Lord your God with all your heart and love others as you love yourself and in this all the law is fulfilled. Religion is fulfilling the law without a relationship. Salvation is a restored relationship with a living God that then motivates us to fulfill all the law as an act of love for a God we are in relationship with. We know this...but we often don’t make the connection of knowing a personal making ourselves known to others.

A home that is built on should do this and you should do that...a marriage filled with endless duties, rigid roles and marital expectations without a vibrant, well maintained and carefully tended relationship...could be a number of things but its not a marriage. Fulfilling the law without a personal relationship is dead religion.

As women we were created to complete our husband and to bear children. God created us to be nurturers and by creative design we are more relational and more intuitive. In our marriages and in our homes we are the relational thermostat. That doesn’t mean our husband doesn’t bear the weight of responsibility for the marriage or for keeping it in just means we are more aware or should be more aware of the need for maintaining a healthy life giving relationship with our husband and with our children.

I understand this but I have not always known it. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for over 28 years and I have known my husband for almost as long but though Jesus has known me...I can’t say I have always been known by my husband. In our early years when life was more about should and should not... I often was not known...and I often did not husband. We played a deadly form of hide and seek where its now you see me and now you don’t.

It’s amazing how we can live in the same home, show up at the right times, do the right things and day by day and moment by moment retreat into our own little worlds where we live a life unconnected, unfulfilled and utterly empty and unknown. It takes courage and faith not in our husband but in the God of our not hide behind anger or retreat behind a silent wall of hurt when we feel violated or unappreciated or blind-sided by harsh words too quickly spoken.

Years ago when John and I came back into the McMinnville congregation after pioneering in Keizer I wrote a poem. Pioneering a baby work is a tremendous opportunity to not only win souls but is a great wake up call for the pioneering couple left with no one but each other and God. You quickly learn how desperately you need God to not only build a church in your city...but a marriage in your home.

No Windows to My Soul

Cloaked in bitterness, surrounded by four walls

Locked within...loneliness, no windows to my soul

Walls washed with laughter, colored with dreams

muddied hues of hopelessness, ever changing schemes

Every wall papered with tears never shown

Matching pasted borders, love never known

Darkened corners filled, words, faces, names

cold heartless rooms, emptied of all pain

All must stay outside the walls, none may enter in

I’m left standing cold and still, walls can not be friends.

To have a marriage is to risk being be known by our husbands...and to know our our God has known us.