Light, Dandelions & Sin

Yesterday I had a moment in talking with a friend where I felt God shine a spotlight on an area in my life that needs to change.

Have you experienced that? It’s extremely uncomfortable. You’re going along doing the instinctual, trusting that what’s natural is what’s right, and then suddenly you’re blinded by a floodlight piercing your eyes. As I wrote that last sentence I am struck by the similarity to Paul’s story. You know, when he was still Saul. And killing Christians.

He was living his life the way he’d been raised, and doing it very well. He had clout.

Listen to him brag about himself…

“…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” {Philippians 3:5-6}

Paul was the man. He was doing what was natural. Then, God beamed His spotlight on him and Paul was blind. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He said He was the light of the world.

::

So, I {like Paul} was making my way through my day — although, to be clear, I was not pursuing and killing Christians — when all of a sudden God lasered in on an area of my mind that is wrong.

And instantly I felt guilt. Well, maybe guilty isn’t the right word

exposed

ashamed

remorseful

Before you begin imagining all of the awful things that I could have been doing, I’ll tell you.

My priorities were off. I was selfish. I thought of my own needs before the needs of others.

Even that makes it sound worse than what I intended, but isn’t that how those little sin areas in our life always are? We justify, or even overlook, them because they float like dandelion puffs through our mind. The problem that I’ve discovered with dandelion puffs is that as innocent as it looks when my kids are blowing “wishes” around the yard, those seeds take root and now we have a bunch of weeds.

Courtesy of photobucket

As the evening progressed that moment replayed in my mind, and I allowed the shame and guilt to settle in. It tucked itself in with me last night and drug itself out of bed with me this morning.

I need to be different. That has to change. Lord, help me to change,” looped in my brain.

Most mornings I don’t have the time {make the time} to soak in the Word. The chaos of four kids dressing, brushing, fighting, tying, and rushing takes over; I let it. This morning I took the ten minutes necessary to read and journal.

And God spoke.

The verse isn’t necessary, because the words weren’t important to the epiphany. Well, it was to me, because my reading illustrated someone doing right what I had done wrong the day before. It felt like the floodlight was now trained on that portion of scripture, which reflected right back onto the sin in my life.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” {Isaiah 6:5}

But…

before more guilt could set in, God said, “I’m showing you this so intentionally because I am changing this in you. It is not to make you feel ashamed, but rather so you have a milestone to look back on.”

We all feel exposed, ashamed, remorseful and guilty when the Holy Spirit’s light shines into those dark places. Rather than run and hide like Adam & Eve, we must welcome the burning coal to our lips.
He will do the work to change us, He shows us so we can see how we’ve changed.

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Nothing to Offer

There are moments when I am presented with situations of deep pain and turmoil in the lives of others. And in those moments I am faced with the reality that I have no clue how to help them.

Sitting across from someone, hearing their story and seeing pain in their eyes I long for some profound statement or penetrating question that will reveal all the answers; the key to wholeness. Instead the prayer, “Jesus help them, and help me not to make things worse,” is on a loop in my brain.

Maybe that’s when I’m most truly a pastor.

Because in that moment the only hope for either of us is Jesus. He is the key to wholeness.

::

I’m reminded of the story in Acts of the paralyzed man begging at the gate called Beautiful. After forty years of lameness he had come to terms with his condition. No longer was he looking for healing, rather he was carried there each day to beg.

As Peter and John approached the temple the man called out to them for alms. Looking at him, Peter told him he had nothing to offer but Jesus.

Sometimes what people need the most from us isn’t what they are asking for.

But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” {Acts 3:6 NASB}

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  • Esse Quam Videri – “As a wife, mother, friend and Christian I’m constantly trying to appear to have it all together.”
  • I’ve Discovered I Was Wrong – “Ministry has evolved in my mind from something you do at a specific location, to a way of living life.”
  • Reluctant Missionary – “When our plans turn out different from what we’d anticipated, we can choose to reluctantly follow God’s lead or we can embrace what He’s doing and step forward in His reality.”

Five Minute Friday: Tender

Happy New Year!

I know I’m a tad late, but life around my house has been anything but quiet. The combination of a cold/flu epidemic and the Seattle Snowpocalypse has left me feeling somewhat flat and completely exhausted.

Therefore, a Five Minute Friday with the GypsyMama is exactly what the doctor ordered! Five minutes of uninterrupted writing and no post-editing! Perfect!

Today’s theme is: Tender.

I’m slightly rusty, but some words were able to spill out of my brain…

GO

There’s this space, between initial injury and total healing, where it still feels tender. That time where to look at the wound you’d see wholeness, but inside it’s not right.

Where caution is still required. To bump or touch it would cause pain; pain that frequently is unexpected. Because it’s not visible to the eye, there’s no constant reminder of hurt, you forget to be careful.

No longer are you cradling it, keeping it safe from the accidents of others. Rather you go about your normal life until the twinge of pain reminds you that all is not yet right.

Moments like this, soul moments like this, require us to turn again to Jesus. To ask ourselves how can this be healed more fully?

Sometimes there are infections to remove, people to address, hurts to forgive again. Usually, it just requires time and the soothing balm of the Holy Spirit.

In those days, hours even, where it can seem like you’ll never again be able to walk free or live with abandon…that’s when He comforts us and reminds us that all has been made new.

Just sometimes new can feel tender.

STOP

Don’t forget to take a moment to stop by at the GypsyMama’s place to check out what others had to say on today’s theme!

And hopefully I’ll see you back here next week. My goal is to post once a week from now on.

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I’ve Discovered I Was Wrong

Lately I’ve been pondering what ministry actually is. 

And I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve had it wrong for many, many years. Ministry has evolved in my mind from something you do at a specific location, to a way of living life. A little less than a decade ago, we ministered to college age students in a downstairs basement room of our church for a few hours on Tuesday nights. We soon became threadbare as we attempted to balance home, work and church obligations.

We sought everywhere for the answer to our primary burning question: how do you balance it all?

These last couple of years we weren’t in a formal ministry position, but we were ministering.

Lunch on a Sunday afternoon for the college students; we bribed them to hang out with us. I miss cramming 25 people into my tiny living room for yet another pasta dish {because pasta’s cheap, right?}. We caught up on their week, listened to their plans, and laughed as they played with our kids.

Conversations on a patio, escaping the heat of our homes for the cool breeze of a So Cal night. Children playing {fighting} together and parents gossiping about marriage, parenting, ministry and futures. You can be a mentor {and be mentored} if you just take the time to be with other people.

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, texts, email and more. Seeing people’s needs and meeting them where they’re at. Offering prayers, advice, support, encouragement and assistance.

Jesus came to earth to live among us. He understands our pain, joys, frustrations, temptations and needs because He is fully human. Breaking bread with fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors…the broken, sick, and lost.

After His death and resurrection, His disciples formed a community of individuals who lived life in common, viewing the needs of others as above their own.

This is the type of ministry I dream of…

Today I’m also posting over at Everyday Testimony…I’d love for you to join me there as I share how God has blessed me lately, and you can add your own testimony in the comments!

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