Friday, April 18, 2014

He Is Not A Needy God




I entered the prayer gathering feeling dry and empty. I had nothing to offer God and I was convinced that He must be at least a little bit disappointed in me. But it was a prayer gathering so I did what I knew how to do, I began to say words of worship that I did not really feel.

God interrupted me with these words,

“I don’t need anything from you at all.”

I sat there and tried to believe those words. What?

Don’t you need my worship?    No.

Don’t you need my sacrifice?    No.

Don’t you need me to love you back?    No. 

His love for me is not based on what I can give Him.

I picture a little toddler girl who loves a useless rag doll. Her eyes light up when she sees it and she grabs it up and cuddles it. The doll does absolutely nothing to deserve such huge love. It doesn’t even love the girl back; it is just there.

Can you believe that God loves you like that?
Are you trying to earn His love?
Let me tell you that He already loves you. He would gladly trade all of your hours of working for Him into quality time just being with Him.

It’s like being involved in a one-sided love affair. When I stop and consider how much God loves me, and realize that my love for Him is so tiny and full of conditions; it feels like He is definitely not going to receive as much as He is giving.  The amazing part is that He is not even surprised or upset about the unequal relationship we have. If God is surprised or upset about anything, it would be why His kids have such a difficult time believing that His love is total and requires nothing from us.

When God thinks of you, He smiles. He loves you just because you breathe. 

When God spoke to me about not needing anything from me, it did not cause me to walk away from that prayer time with an attitude of cockiness or pride. His words completely melted me into tears of gratefulness and desire to give Him more of myself. God’s huge love is a very humbling thing to accept. But that is all He is asking us to do. Just accept His love. Accept it in all of its completeness and joy. It is time for us to learn to enjoy this amazing love affair!

Dear friend, maybe just now, as you finish this blog post, it is the perfect moment to take this in and believe the words you have read. Take a deep breath. Let yourself relax into your chair. You are loved. Right now in this instant, you are loved and adored by God. There is no “To Do” list in His hand. He is thrilled with who you are today and tomorrow and yesterday. He is not a needy God. He is not waiting for you to get it right. He is enthralled with the “you” that you are in this moment. 

Thank you Father that I do not have to earn your love. That you were pleased with me before my foot touched the floor today. I want to walk this day full of the knowledge that I am your Beloved. Just because I breathe.
Amen
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Answers to Four Questions about My Writing Process



I am very honored to be invited to join the Author's Writing Process Blog Tour! I was tagged by my blog-friend and gracious writer Ana Whiston-Donaldson of An Inch of Gray. (Go back and read her responses to the questions too. You can follow the whole chain!) While I do not consider myself an "author", I have accepted the title "writer" in recent years so I will give it a shot. I have been asked to answer the following four questions... 

1-WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I work from home as a Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger. I provide business websites with weekly and twice weekly blog posts in order to draw customers into their online stores. My freelance writing is bringing in a steady trickle of funds that are helpful to us in this season. But that is not who I am as a writer and it is not what this blog tour is all about, is it?

In answer to question #1, I am working on a short nonfiction inspirational book   about my journey from a life of fear and religious legalism to one of freedom and joy. It is about getting out from under the "church lady" syndrome. No longer structuring my life to fit the "rules" of what a Christian woman should look, act and feel like. Each chapter begins with a sweet and/or powerful encounter with God in my life as He showed me that He is not concerned with what I could do for Him. His only concern is that I know how much He loves me….already, without doing one more outreach, Bible study or missionary trip. My story is all about becoming the real me….the one who knows she is deeply loved by God.


2 – HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

That is an interesting question because my WIP (work in progress) can sound like both a memoir and a devotional, but it does not feel like either to me. I am pretty sure that it will be set up like a devotional with short chapters that begin with a true story from my life. Then it will move to my interpretation of what God was telling me and how the reader can apply it to his or her own life. I want to end each chapter with a short prayer for the reader possibly.

Since the stories are true and from my life, it may sound like a memoir, I suppose. But honestly, the idea of writing a memoir freaks me out, so I do not go there just yet. I want to talk directly to the reader as if we are having a cup of coffee in my kitchen. My hope is that every reader will close the book feeling more loved than when they opened it.


3- WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

Honestly, the message of this book came out of heartbreak as I read blog after blog written by believers who were sad, confused and hurting while working their butts off to prove their love for God. They were overwhelmed with ministry jobs and volunteering at the church and did not recognize that they were working for something they already had. My message is: There is nothing you can do to make God love you less and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more. Stop striving to earn His approval, pleasure or love. You already have it. Saying, “Yes” to every job at the church is not going to give you more “points” with God. You are loved just for breathing.


4 – HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Since this is a first time adventure, I am not super confident about it and therefore I find myself ignoring my WIP for weeks at a time. If I knew that I was on to something-really-great in this project, I believe that I would be able to give myself to it with better discipline and devotion. But the doubts and questions swirl around my head before and after each writing session.

When I do work on my book, this is what it has looked like: I re-read all of my personal journals pulling out the important moments with God over the years. The special times when I knew that He was speaking to me, or I experienced a life-changing situation. I have chosen which stories to tell and they are in a file of rough drafts that need to be rewritten until I am happy with them.

I like to listen to calm instrumental music on Pandora while I write. I drink lots of water while writing, and munch on Good & Plenty candy if possible. My dog Layla is usually curled up beside me here on my couch. She is a sleeper during the day, so this works for quite a few hours. If I waste this time by doodling around on social media, I kick myself when later in the day, I am ready to do some serious writing and by this time she is nudging my hands off the keyboard for some playtime. (Pretty similar to the way I used to write while my sons were napping so very many years ago!)

I do love it when I drop into “the zone” and write my head off without thought of what time it is or how long I have been tapping the keyboard. I look up, all bleary-eyed and am shocked at the clock face. LOVE IT! Thankfully, I have an empty nest, so no small children were neglected or left to fend for themselves while I was in the zone. I have no idea how long it will take me to finish my book but it would be awesome to have it in my hands before this year is over! 

One week from tomorrow (April 21 or there-abouts) you will be able to continue this Blog Tour by visiting 2 authors whom I have tagged...Wendy Welch and TJ Loveless (TJ's blog: Writing From the Padded Room). 

I met Wendy online when I went all fangirl on her after reading her delightful book, "Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap". I loved the book so much that I immediately found her website and her Facebook and left comments that included a lot of gushing. I was shocked and thrilled to get a response from her and found out that she is a "normal" human being, just like me! We hit it off and continue to chat back and forth via this lovely thing called the Internet! 

I met TJ on Facebook through a Writer's Group that we belong to. She is hilarious and kind and a little bit scary because she enjoys writing about murders and mysterious happenings that involve unicorns and an odd assortment of characters. I am looking forward to reading her answers to these 4 questions about her writing process. 
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Read Me at Humpty Dumpty Parent

I don't ordinarily send my blog readers over to the articles that I provide for business websites. I mean, what do you care about ordering dog food online? But "You Are Your Daughter's First Mirror" over at Humpty Dumpty Parent is gaining a lot of Facebook attention so I'm just going to go with the flow and give my RCL readers the link. I am very proud of this particular post. It makes me feel like a writer....while the dog food article does not. But both websites provide a small income for now. I am thankful for ALL of my jobs!
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Nobody Expected Easter. Nobody.




Today I want to introduce you to an old friend who was one of the first to welcome us as the new pastors in our small town. He was the pastor of a different church near by, and he and his adorable wife were completely gracious and helpful to us in those odd and crazy days. In fact, Rich is the person I called on a stormy day while Hubs was out of town because a scary looking pair of men were on my porch asking for money. We lived in a parsonage (house next to and owned by the church), and they had just been released from prison and knew that pastors are usually generous…but this pastor’s wife was only scared! Thanks for coming to my rescue Rich.

The following is a wonderful Easter post that he has given me permission to publish here. For more information on the great work that Rich and his wife are doing, please go to SOS International…you will be thankful and impressed…like I am. 


Reorientation

Nobody expected Easter.  Nobody.

The secret disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, who took responsibility for burying Jesus’ body certainly didn’t.  Nicodemus brought enough myrrh and aloes to the tomb to keep the smell of death at bay until the women arrived a few days later to embalm His body.

The women who brought embalming spices to the tomb the first day of the week didn’t have a clue Jesus would be alive when they arrived.  After all, they were bringing EMBALMING SPICES!  Hello!  Even when confronted by the angels at the open and empty burial site, they remained distraught, believing someone had taken away His body (John 20:12-13).

The Romans and Jews who accused, sentenced and crucified Him surely didn’t expect Him to have the power to overcome death’s stranglehold.  Pilate posted guards at Jesus’ tomb and sealed it only because the Jewish leaders convinced him that the disciples would deviously steal Jesus’ body and then declare Him risen from the dead (Matthew 27:62-66). 

Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, James and John, along with most of the rest of the band of apostles were hiding away in an upper room.  They likely expected to remain there until they figured out what their next move was.  Two of them decided to leave town.  Thomas went somewhere - I doubt we’ll ever know where. Even when the women returned with evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead, they dismissed their words as “nonsense” (Luke 24:11).  Where was their head at?

Why wasn’t there at least one faith-driven apostle or follower who, with the same thrill a child has on Christmas morning, woke up “on the third day” to run to the tomb with the confident expectation of seeing Jesus triumphant over death – and then with unfettered joy and enthusiasm would have shouted at the top of his lungs, “I KNEW it!  Jesus has risen from the dead, just like He said! I KNEW He would do it! I KNEW it?”  But there wasn’t one.  Not one. 

Why not?  It's because it wasn’t their orientation.  They were oriented to death.  Every other person they knew stayed dead.  They saw the few exceptions when Jesus raised the widow’s son and Lazarus.  But they knew that even those lived only to die again.  And besides, who had the authority to raise Jesus from death?  He couldn’t raise Himself.  Or could he?

I’m too much like them, I’m afraid.  My point of reference too easily defaults to despair when I am confronted with improbabilities and impossibilities.  I fear powerlessness when I'm beyond my resources.  I too often live “naturally” in the potential of the “supernatural."

I’m pretty much convinced I’m ready for the change, though.  How about you?.   

I’m going to suggest we adopt these few scriptural affirmations to reorient our thinking to live with the resurrected Jesus Christ.

I will not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).  “The world” is the system that has left the authority of God and His supernatural power out of establishing values, making decisions, and determining purpose.  Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and alive in you and me, doesn't fit the world’s paradigm.  Therefore, I reject its expectations and judgments. 

I will accept my status before God .  In His death and resurrection I am pardoned of all my failures, mistakes, rebellions and sins.  I stand before Him clean and justified. I am His beloved child.  Romans 4:25 states Jesus He was handed over to die because of our sins (forgiveness), and he was raised to life to make us right with God (justification) (NLT).  I will accept my new identity.

I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Therefore, I will not hold back because of fear, obstacles or trying circumstances.  The inspired prayer of Ephesians 1 asks that our eyes be open to personally experience the . . . “surpassing power that works within us who believe.  This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Eph. 1:18-20).  I expect that prayer to be answered and that power to be realized in my life.

I will submit to His Lordship. The resurrection of Jesus Christ verifies His authority as the Son of God (Romans 1:4). I will orient my life around His purpose for my life and submit to whatever plan He considers me worthy of handling.

In short, I will live oriented to Life. Join me.  It’ll change everything.  Expect it.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Trying Silly Stunts


I watched him out my kitchen window while washing dishes.

Today I am combining a few objectives in one post. It is RANDOM JOURNAL DAY and the beginning of the 5 Minutes for Moms.com ULTIMATE BLOG PARTY 2014. Both of these fun blog gatherings are all about getting to know one another better and connect with some new bloggers along the way. Both will get your blog noticed by more readers and both will be a wonderful guide to some great new friends. My online friends have been true life-savers for me, I cherish them and am so thankful for the deep relationships that can happen without ever being in the same room! It is pretty AMAZING really! 

So click on the pictures below or the highlighted words above and get connected! See you there!


~~~~~

Random Journal Day - 

I opened an old journal to an entry written on a June day in 1988, when my son (who is now over 30) was just 5 1/2 years old. 

"Dear Lord,
We took the training wheels off his bike the other day.
He was so proud, now he could ride like the "big boys!"

But it wasn't that easy, after many hard falls he said, 
"Maybe we could put the training wheels back on again?"
But his voice said that he did not really mean it.

Practice was what he needed,
with Dad close by, ready to catch him and call out instructions.
What determination I saw in my firstborn as he tried again and again.

CRASH....up again...CRASH...up again.

Now, he's flying by my kitchen window,
waving his hands and trying silly stunts.
"That's my boy!"

Oh Lord,
Sometimes I say,
"Maybe we could put the training wheels back on again?"
But I don't really mean it, I don't want to go backwards.

Your arms are out to catch me when I fall.
And I will fall.
I can hear you calling out instructions to me.

Your eye is always on me, as I fly by and try silly stunts.
You smile and say,
"That's my child!" "

I have no doubt that you are able to make a life application lesson from this simple little journal entry without my help. But it does take me back to my last post about stepping into a new adventure with God and getting to know Him all over again on His terms. A tiny part of me whispers,

 "Can't we just go back to when we followed the clear-cut rules and regulations and knew how to be proper church people?" 

But He knows that I do not mean it. Ignorance may be bliss....but you cannot go back to it once you recognized it for what it is. The rules and regs may have made life simpler, but it is out here in the nitty- gritty grey area that the adventure happens. 

I do not want the training wheels put back on. I will continue to wibbel-wobble my way down the street, waving my hands and trying silly stunts....and He will smile and say,

"That's my child!"


Ultimate Blog Party 2014
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Sunday Morning...



Here I sit, on my couch with coffee and a Sunday paper on my lap on a March Sunday morning at about a quarter to 9. Just that simple description still boggles my mind a bit, I must admit. I have been a life-long church goer. It is what. you. do.

But not me...for now. I have not left THE church, just A church. So when I run into a former church-mate I tell them that I am between churches at the moment. I don't know how long the "the moment" will last. I miss church. I miss people. I don't miss the sermon...but I miss the small-talk as we enter and hug a dozen people before finding our seat. In the same section every Sunday. I miss working behind the Info Counter, watching the faces of new-comers as they walked in and sized us up. I loved making them feel welcome and coaxing a smile out of their nervousness. I miss worshipping God with great music and lots of people. I miss going out to lunch with my group of friends every Sunday. The laughter and tears as we shared our lives together. I miss the sweet moment when the small talk turns to big talk. I miss sharing life.

My former church and I are not in a lovers quarrel, we are not mad at one another. No one cheated on anyone. It was time, we were done...kind of a "not you, it's me" dance happened...but not really. I cannot explain it here, there is too much and too little to be said. I feel the need to justify and defend myself..but not here or now. I can say that after a bit of time away, God did whisper to me that I needed to stop going back to my old well. He called it my "old well"...not a term that I would use. You may not believe that God talks to us like that, but my friends back there will believe it and understand it. It won't sound odd or weird to them at all.  :)

So I am "out here" figuring out my relationship with my God in a whole new venue. It is not an anti-church venue, more of a churchless-until-further-notice kind of season. Very different for me/us. Kinda scary...unknown waters...exploring an unmarked map. 

Five days ago I was reading one of my fav bloggers, Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary and she included a song that hit me between the eyes and had me in tears for an hour of listening to it again and again...




Then I saw it. I am on a NEW adventure with God. I have been consumed with all that I AM NOT (and do not want to be)  anymore...not a church lady...not a church staffer...not a pastor's wife. Back in the late 90's I broke out of the "church lady" way of thinking. I embraced a new freedom in God that was and is, still delicious. (The basis of this blog name.) But I've been concentrating so hard on what I do not want to be, that I have been unable to move forward into a new thing. 

This song was my "Aha" moment 5 days ago. I am in a time of...

delightful
scary
borderless
adventure

with...

possibility
purity
cleanness 
blank space
open borders

and without...

outside expectation
job description
preconceptions
labels
limits or
pressures.

My God-friendship is a whole new country waiting to be explored and discovered. I am not dependent upon a church denomination or a new book about progressive Christianity. Just me and God...walking together, talking, listening. I will bring along my great history with Him as One Who Loves, and drop off the ideas that have been tacked onto Him by men. I'm not scared that I will somehow accidentally fall out of His hands. His hands are TOO BIG for that.

I am His and He is mine. 

Someday I will walk into a new church and feel at home again. I'll embrace all that is wonderful about being with a gang of people who are crazy about God and one another. I trust that my new well is ahead of me. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the Sunday morning paper and my coffee here in my living room. God...Wherever You would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

Hillsong



You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
[x6]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine



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Monday, March 24, 2014

So Who Is In My Bed?

Source:weheartit.com

So this happened the other night...I closed my laptop and decided it was time to go read in bed before falling asleep. I turned off all the house lamps, told Layla to get in her crate for the night and headed for the bedroom. I am usually the last in bed and I hoped that the light would still be on indicating that Hubs was awake and reading his book too. Sometimes he is already asleep and the reading will have to wait for another time. (Anyone who'd like to buy me an e-reader, please feel free to do so.) 

The light was off and so I did my usual routine of carefully tip-toeing around the bedroom preparing myself for bed. Being as quiet as a mouse I got changed and slipped between the sheets. 

Twenty minutes later I was jolted awake by the sound of the garage door banging open and a man's voice asking what was going on! 

Hubs was NOT in bed beside me. He had been in the garage while I was quietly tip-toeing around our bedroom! 

FREAKY!!

The mind is a funny thing. I had convinced myself that my husband was there in the dark right next to me. I KNEW it. I sensed that he was there and did not doubt it for a second. 

I am not a flakey person. If anything, I am so full of common sense that it bothers me and makes me wish I could be more whimsical and free-thinking. This may be why my closest friends over the years have always been more silly and extroverted than me. (Would not want to name names, but you know who you are, Joyce, Barb and Dawn.) I am drawn to fun people because I wish I could be more like them. (I called you whimsical...not flakey...to be clear.)

But flakey or whimsical, I am not. I am fascinated with the tricks my mind can play on me though. This incident with the hubby in the bed...but not in the bed, is a prime example of how powerful our minds can be. My idea that the light was off because he had gone to sleep made perfect sense and I had no reason to double-check my belief at all.

Are there other ways that my mind has played tricks on me? My faith is an important part of who I am. Where do the mind-tricks and faith intersect in my life? Is my deep belief in God just another made-up idea that I have convinced myself to be true? 

I have the ability to talk myself into just about anything. A few years ago I was walking through my dark house at night and I walked right into a wall with full force. Face first. That wall had always been there...it did not jump out at me...but it sure felt like it did in that instant. (No I am NOT flaky...really...ask anyone. Ask Hubs...no better not ask him.) BAM! Nearly cracked my glasses on that surprise wall. 

I can talk myself into a wall appearing from out of nowhere and a husband appearing in my bed beside me...but my experiences with God have been too real, too consistent, too BIG to call them a mind-game. 

In recent posts on this blog I have been exploring the word FAITH and what it means in daily life and daily belief. Faith is not based on fact. Faith requires some belief...some trust..some wondering. Otherwise it is not faith...there is no need for faith when the facts are right there in front of you. 

My faith in God is an on-going exploration. I am always learning more about Him and during that process I am learning more about myself. Knowing God is helping me know myself. I believe that He is okay with our questions, doubts and wonderings. God wants us to know Him for ourselves. Not the angry, hard-to-please, hater that current society (and some Christians) take so much glee in presenting to the world. 

I love that I do not know everything about God. Anyone who says they do, or acts like they do...is just mistaken. I may not be full of whimsy or silliness, but I do love my ability to keep discovering God over and over again. My heart and mind will keep asking questions and wondering who He is and how big He is. I will not assume that I understand Him or His ways...

I will also not assume that my husband is there in the dark next to me...I may need to punch the darkness a bit...Hubby beware! 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

When Joy Feels Like Slippery Soap



When you are not as strong as you always thought you would be...

He still loves you.


When you feel the tears pooling yet again...

He still loves you.


When your questions out-number your answers...

He loves you.


When your prayers skitter around the ceiling and fall back in your lap...

He still loves you.


When you feel alone, though you know He is there...

He still loves you.


When frustration rises and confidence wavers...

He loves you.


When joy seems like slippery soap...

He still loves you.


When you choose to believe anyway...

He loves you.


When your faith is tiny...

He still loves you.


When you take a step onto that teeny tiny faith...

He loves you.


When your heart is tired...

He still loves you.


God loves your tired, tiny, frustrated, lonely, doubting, fearful, weak little heart.

Because He does.

He loves you...

And me.


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Friday, March 7, 2014

Golden Droplets - RJD


I am linking up with the world famous Random Journal Day movement that is sweeping the Internet lately. Haven't heard of it? Well, whatever...it's a BIG DEAL! :) Go here to get the details, then jump right in ok? 

I opened an old journal to an entry written on February 20, 2008. I kinda-sorta "saw" a vision while enjoying worship time with my ministry school students. So of course I wrote it all down in my trusty journal that I carried with me at all times in those days...

"First I saw huge gold droplets hanging in the air, glistening and liquid. They were growing and changing as I watched them. Then I knew that each golden droplet was a student in our ministry school. I looked around at our class as they worshipped and saw each one as a heavy, rich, valuable portion of liquid gold! The huge value of each person was just so overwhelming.
Then I followed the picture to see that the golden globes were hanging from a really big tree and God pointed out to me that Hubs & I were the trunk and He (God) is the root structure that we are feeding the students with. I am so astonished and humbled at the work that we have stumbled into. It is such an honor and each of these precious golden droplets are of deep value and worth to Him and to His heart. This place is a beautiful and healthy place for gold to grow."

Today I breath deep as I read these words. God loves each of us so much! He looks at the youngest and the most raw newbies and sees fine gold. He lets His great eyes rest on us...you and me...and He measures our worth as so much higher than we do. 

I grumbled into my mirror this morning. I did not...do not see gold. I saw thinning hair, pudgy cheeks and just plain blah. But this little journal entry rebuked me and reminded me that I am rich gold in His eyes. God looks at me and he gazes at you, and His heart is full of love, acceptance and pride. We are His. He counts us as valuable and beautiful. 

What do you see in the mirror?

****

After leaving me a nice comment
hop on over to Enthusiastically Dawn
and read Pam Steiner's wonderful Feature story today
and then add your Random Journal Link! 
OK?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Does Faith Look Like?

Wondering if he wants us to stop and chat or keep on going.

The word 'faith' is such an interesting word. When I am looking for writing jobs, I type that word into the search box to describe the subject I want to write about. I also type in 'religion, spirituality and church'. For me personally, each of these words carry an entirely different and distinct meaning. But for general search engines and job categories they are interchangeable. 

Faith looks different in a daily life. The ACT of faith is not the same as the job description. Living a life of faith includes many shades of color and nuance. I used to see very clear and deeply marked lines between what is faith-based and what is secular. Music, organizations, books, philosophies, entertainment, movies, books and social gatherings. But life does not fall into such neat and precise little compartments in reality. The lines are blurred. (And yes, I wish that line did not bring a certain song to my head. See how far I've strayed?) 

Faith looks very different in my life today than it used to look. All believers are ministers, all are in the ministry, but a few years ago when I was paid to be in the ministry, faith looked different than it does today. 

How FAITH used to look in my life:
  • Stepping over a stream of sewage in a Philippines slum to pray for a lethargic baby in a filthy bed. Minutes later he stirred and laughed and sparkles came to his eyes. 
  • Holding a crying ministry student in my arms as my words tumble out and they bring calm and peace with them.
  • With eyes straight ahead, walking past border guards as I helped smuggle Bibles into a country where it is illegal to have them. 
  • Standing in front of my church as people are invited to come to us for prayer.
  • Praying for a sick woman in a neglected Fiji hospital as she tells me she has been there longer than anyone else. Going back 3 days later to find that she has been sent home well. 
  • Asking God for the right words to say to the young wife whose husband left her for another. 

How FAITH looks in my life today:
  • Deciding to move my Pandora station to music that will lift me up rather than pull me down.
  • Looking out the kitchen window as I wash dishes and telling God how much I love and trust Him.
  • Adding another chapter to my WIP.
  • Cold-calling a new business in town about writing for their website.
  • Praying for my neighbor, inside my house, alone, as I watch the police cruiser arrive once again. 
  • Doing 10 more sit-ups.
  • Nodding in agreement when my Tax-Man-Dad cheerfully states that my "freelance business" has grown this year. I have never even called it a "business" to myself yet!
  • Writing a shopping list.
  • Hitting "Send" on another job response letter.  
It looks different...not as dramatic, but it is still faith

And ALL of it is terrifying. I was scared to death in every example of the first list. Every single one was accompanied by a pounding heart and a mind that said it would never work. The second list is less scary, but each one is still an act of faith. 

Without fear, faith would be unnecessary. I do not miss the terror of my earlier faith steps. Smuggling was not on my bucket list and I never want to do it again. But my trust in God today is just as intense...just as vital...just as required. The temptation to stay in bed and ignore the world is very real. The fantasy of deleting this blog and all connection to anyone is a familiar one. Counting my words as silly and useless is an easy place to go in my head. BUT by faith I remind myself that God likes my writing...that He swirls around these words and resides in the hearts of all of you who are reading this. 

By faith, I believe that my life today is as important as the days when I was a card-carrying minister. Faith looks different today than it used to. Faith is also a different hue and color in your life. It will appear differently in the changing stages of your life. Faith has way more than 50 shades. 

Your path is marked by steps of faith...tiny steps and huge steps. Don't count one as more or less than the other. Faith is faith. Getting out of bed is as huge as speaking to an arena full of people. Faith is evidenced as you clean your home, care for your little ones and call the friend who's going through a tough time. Faith shows up in the words you are writing on your blog and the tweets you send out that make us look at our lives more clearly. 

What does faith look like? It looks like you. 

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