26 July 2008

Now, not yet

I had a professor in seminary who talked often about the "now, not yet" promises and prophecies in scripture. It seems that God has made promises to us in his Word, many which we can already see how they have been manifested in our current reality, and yet many others that have not been fulfilled yet. For instance, God has made me righteous through what Jesus did on the cross. However, He is still in the process of making me righteous as I believe and obey and He transforms me with the washing of the water of the Word. So, there's an aspect that has already happened - the "Now" and then there is the part that is still happening, the "Not yet." It's not exactly rocket science I suppose. However, I've spent much of the past few days thinking about my life's story and feeling a bit discontent as I wade in the shores of the "now, not yet." I'm frustrated. I feel stuck in this inbetween. I feel like I'm loitering. It's like I can't get my brain to rest as I look at scripture and try to believe it by faith and yet when I look at my current circumstances or even looking back to what God has and hasn't done in the past, it's sometimes really hard to see how it's actually been true. I believe God's Word. I have chosen to accept it's truth and claim and authority on my life. I know by now that just because something doesn't feel true to me, doesn't mean that it isn't true. I know His Word is true even when I can't feel. But, you see, this is all what I know, but not what I feel. My heart just feels a mess with all this sometimes. I stare at the words on a page in the Bible and say to myself, "Okay, this is truth." But then my heart says, "But God, that's not true." This feeling of schizophrenia is unsettling. For instance, Psalm 145 says that God satisfies the desire of every living thing. Then why do I still long for what I don't have? Why don't I feel satisfied? Why am I still hungry? I just don't get it.

And I know God keeps telling me to trust Him. How on earth do I do that? I know He is faithful. I know He is good. I have seen his faithfulness in my life. I have seen his incredible goodness. I don't want to ignore all these places in scripture, all these things I've understood as promises and yet haven't come to pass. I want to be real in my faith. I want to be authentic in what I say I believe. I really just want Him to bring fulfillment, to satisfy, to provide, to show Himself incredible. I really want Him to answer some long awaited prayers. I'm tired of feeling stuck and not seeing Him come through for me in some ways I really want Him to. I know, I know that I don't have any right to demand anything of Him. I know He has done enough. I know He is enough. I know I shouldn't ask Him to prove Himself to me. I know that I should trust, that I should be satisfied in Him, I know that He should be all that I delight in. But what on earth am I supposed to do when I don't feel like He is enough. When I still want a man to love me one day. When I'm trying really hard to trust and yet my heart is so confused. When I don't know which path to take. When His Word doesn't look true. I try to tell myself that it's not about my feelings, that I choose to believe by faith, not by how I feel. But, really, come on now, how am I supposed to separate my heart from my head? Don't you feel like this journey of following Christ demands all of you? Even the demons believe. I don't just want to mentally assent to believing that He satisfies me. I want to actually be satisfied in all of me - heart, soul, mind and strength. I want my whole self to trust Him. I don't want my heart to feel squeezed when something happens differently than I wanted it to. I don't want to feel jealous. I learned today from two places in scripture that covetousness is really idolatry. Yuck. I don't want to covet. And I for sure don't want be in idolatry, to want, need, worship anything other than Him. But that's what I'm doing when I feel jealous. When I am sad when someone else has what I think I want. But, I don't know how not to feel jealous, ya know. How do you stop something that isn't an action? How do I tell my heart and my head to obey and stop thinking and feeling a certain way? Actually, I do tell them lots of times, but they don't seem to listen to me. And see, then again, I know that it's only by God's Spirit that I can be whole and righteous and that it's only in his power that I am free from sin. But so, what is taking Him so long? Why won't He make my heart and head line up already. Why does He keep me in the "not yet"? I so wan the now. And so even now I say to myself, "Because it wouldn't take much trust if you didn't have to learn to wait." Which I know is true. But honestly, that can be so frustrating.

I feel like Mary in John chapter 20 who is standing there talking to Jesus after He has risen from the dead and yet she is grieving and weeping because she doesn't know it's Him. She is staring the Truth in the face and yet she can't even see it. Don't you think that's crazy? She's sad for no reason. At least not for a true reason. What she thinks is true isn't. She thinks that someone has taken his body from the tomb and she doesn't know where they have put Him. Jesus isn't where she thinks He's supposed to be. Jesus doesn't look like what she thinks He is supposed to look like. And yet she even asks Jesus who she thinks is the gardener to tell her where they have put him. I know too well that I am often like Mary. I know that I can see and believe things through my limited skewed perspective and miss the truth that is staring me in the face. Perhaps God is speaking to me and yet I just don't know it's Him yet. I guess Mary didn't believe (or perhaps just didn't understand) Jesus when He told them that He was the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). And I guess I'm not believing what God has said. I'm not really believing that his Word is true. I am choosing to believe what things look like through my earthly finite lenses. I choose to believe what my eyes can see instead of what faith will let me see. Mary finally gets it, finally sees Jesus for who He is when He says her name. He says, "Mary!" and she knows it's her master. She recognizes this man that she has known. She has had relationship with Him and in that really cool moment, He reveals his glorified self to her when He calls her name. He knows her too. He has had relationship with her. It's that relationship, that intimacy, that brings the revelation of truth. She sees Truth for who He is. She couldn't see it before, but now she does. He says her name. He knows her. She knows Him. Oh, I'm so thankful that I can know Jesus. And not only that, but I do know Jesus. And more importantly to me today is that I am also fully known by Him. He knows me. He knows my name. He knows my mixed up head. He knows my foolish heart. He knows my blind eyes. He knows my skewed perspective. He knows that I trust Him and don't at the same time. He knows my frustration. He knows my puny faith. He knows my questions. He knows my insecurities. He knows my heart. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He knows me. He knows you. He knows, He knows, He knows. And He reveals truth. He reveals Himself. His word is true. Every word. He has satisfied me, He is in the process of satisfying me. He is making me hungry for Himself when other things don't fill me up. I may be stuck in the "now, not yet" but He is the Lord. He will do it. I believe. And yet, Oh God, help my unbelief.

11 July 2008

New Charlie Hall CD

As Kasey's always saying..."Get excited!" And here is something that I actually am really excited about. Charlie Hall's new CD coming out soon! Here's what Charlie Hall says about it..."The Bright Sadness is the accepting of the brokenness in myself and in the world around me but always intertwining the overarching thought of Christ's closeness, his free fellowship, his redemption and compassion, his brightness." Truth in music. What's not to love about that?

09 July 2008

I was just thinking...

that my brain may have had enough space the past couple days to actually think about posting. And I was thinking that I wasn't sure what to talk about and yet, there's so much I could talk about at the same time. My life has been extremely full since I last wrote and there's so very much I'd like to tell you about. And I was thinking about a scripture that might sum up my life the past month and yet, nothing jumped to mind so a thought came to me (hmmmm...wonder from Who it came?) why don't you read the psalm for today. You know, today's the 9th so how bout starting with Psalm 9. The first couple verses stopped me in my tracks. AbsoLUTEly perfect! God seemed to know exactly what my heart wanted to say...

Psalm 9 (The Message)
A David Psalm
I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders. I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I'm singing your song, High God.

The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces. You took over and set everything right; when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.

Wow, my heart is thankful for all that I've seen God do the last month or so. When I was completely empty, overwhelmed, and unsure, He took over and set everything right. He was right there when I needed Him, taking charge. I love that He takes charge. I don't know if it's just because I'm a woman or just because I'm so aware of my neediness and smallness, but I love it when He takes charge. Just makes me feel...safe, protected, sure, at rest. That's something God's teaching me these days. To rest. Just rest. You know, the opposite of striving, fretting, stressing, even doing. God truly has given me a time of rest both physically and spiritually and it is wonderful. It's part of why my head feels like I have space. I don't know if that makes sense to anybody, but sometimes my head can be so full of details and to do lists and analyzing and keeping up that there's no room to actually think, ponder, meditate, breathe. Weird I suppose, but my brain needs to breathe every now and then. And so, I feel like my body and my spirit and my mind have finally found time to take a deep full breath. Ahhhhhh. Wonderful.

And so after all that, I still haven't really told you anything, have I? Well, first of all, I made it through camp. Actually, I did more than make it through. God's goodness and supply were abundantly sufficient. Most of you already know by now that our camp speaker wasn't able to come at the last minute and so several of us found out the Thursday before camp that we'd be speaking for one of the big general sessions. Wow, that was a stretching experience - the journey of speaking to close to 400 people. Yikes. God was amazing! He taught me SOOOOOOO much. He convicted me. He changed me. He gave me strength. He breathed life into me. And He breathed life into dry bones that night. And the entire week was simply amazing. The sunshine and thunderstorms, the brilliant full moon, watching kids' faces, seeing their tears, seeing their laughter, just being able to stand back and watch it all was amazing. God was at work and everyone knew it. It's like He worked in such a way that no one could take the credit. It was all Him.

And even outside of and after camp, God has just been so, I don't know, just real to me. Speaking to me! Listening to me! And letting me know that I actually am hearing His voice and letting me know that He actually is hearing mine. Incredible. Teaching me things. Showing me things. For instance, last night I went to our college Bible Study and we were meditating for a few minutes on the Lord's Prayer. Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus tells us to pray, "Give us this day our DAILY bread"? Just our daily, not what we need or want or think we will need next week or next month or next year. But just to ask for his daily provision. What do I need today. I've often thought about God giving grace and provision like manna, on a as-you-need basis, not on a excessive-more-than-you- need-today basis, but I never thought about that's how we should pray and ask and expect. Today. Don't worry about tomorrow. Ask for today. Or, learning that the Lord's Prayer shows us so much about who God is - Father, Holy, King with a kingdom and purpose and will, Giver, Forgiver, Leader, and Deliverer. Huge. Revealing Himself to me. Oh man, I'm so grateful to be in this time, here, right now. I've known silent times and dark times and questioning times and so I'm thankful for this time in a broad place. A place with space. A place of faith building and rest and trusting and hope and recovery. So thankful. I feel like so many of you feel stuck in different places and God won't seem to let you leave. I simply don't know what to do with that other than pray that you will soak up all who He is in your time, in the time that God has given you. He is a God of purpose. He reveals Himself in all things, even silence. Hang on. I really believe the dawn, the wide open space, the broad place, the safe place,really is coming for you. Because whether you feel like it or not, his Word is true. He is there when you need Him, taking charge. Rest in that today, friend. Deeply breathe it in and rest.

And just for fun and because I love other people's pics, here's a few...one of those crazy pics I love to take myself after a fabulous lunch catching up with Annetta and Amanda, my senior girls who are LEAVING ME in another month or so, and my nephew and I and my new Turkish friend, Ozge, who spent her first night in America with us before heading down south for a few months. It was so much fun speaking turklish with her, and she even brought me some visne, that's cherry juice and it was one of my most favorite things in Turkey! It was so guzel! :)