Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Wonder

I read the following quote by Kyle Lake today on Beth Moore's blog and it grabbed hold of something in me so much that I couldn't keep it to myself. It's just right!!

“Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own. If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.” – Kyle Lake

You know, it's amazing sometimes how we take the very gift of life, given us from God, for granted. We grumble and complain, compromise, criticize, etc., etc., and most of all forget to live it for Him.

I wonder sometimes - isn't part of living it for Him enjoying and rejoicing in the things He's given us, the people He's knitted with us, and the places He has us?

Even when:

• The A/C breaks

• The words hurt

• We sit alone

Even when:

• We don’t have the money

• It’s hard to forgive

• We don’t understand

Why can’t we, even in the midst of those things, look for Him in every minute? (He promises He’s always there) And isn’t it correct that in Him is fullness of joy? So putting those two things together, shouldn’t we be able to find reason to seek, to praise, to be PRESENT in every moment. When I look for Him I will find Him and in His presence is fullness of joy.

I wonder if what’s really happened is that somewhere along the way we’ve begun to take ourselves way too seriously and have forgotten that life is to be lived, that it’s ok to get the giggles for no reason, that silliness lightens burdens, that true friends and family are a treasure, that sometimes the dishes can wait. I wonder if we’ve forgotten that Jesus tells us to come to Him as little children. I wonder what amazing things would happen if we chose to BE PRESENT in every moment, to look for joy in every moment, to live full lives- full in the fullness of God.

I wonder……….

Just some food for thought. I would love to hear your comments.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” – John 10:10 AMP


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Divine Appointment

Eight weeks ago I began teaching a class for single women called Single and Satisfied: Embracing this season in your life. The heart of the class was to address root issues with women so that we could find purpose and contentment in our single season, learn how to allow the Lord to prepare us for our next season, and get a new understanding of the sovereignty of God and His promise to work all things for our good. We began the class on Father’s Day and it concluded last night 8/9/10.

Since we left the church last night I can’t stop thinking about the class. Not only last night, but the 7 previous nights as well. I remember the journey that let to its birthing. This journey didn’t just start in December, but 5 years ago with a strange promise to a broken woman. A woman who along the way did everything wrong before she submitted to God’s way – all while trying to serve the Lord, but serving Him in her way instead of the way He was asking.

I remember times when I would cry out to God desperate for release, times when I was terribly disrespectful and angry toward Him, and times when I would rather walk in disobedience than wait for Him to open doors and clear paths in my life. I wanted answers. I wanted definites. I wanted to know the who, what, where, when and how’s. I wanted my way. I wanted control. But God wanted me – wholly, completely, devoted me, and He wouldn’t relent until He had it all – my heart. My whole heart, not just a heart that wanted Him above all other things, but a heart that trusted Him in spite of all other things.

The journey to that is what birthed this group. I may not have known it along the way, and I’m not really even sure I knew it when He spoke the name to me in December, but I see clearly now, and I am thankful. I am so thankful that He doesn’t give in to my demands and my wants when they don’t align with His will. I am thankful for disappointments that turn me back to His guidance. I’m thankful for His grace that covers every mistake. I’m thankful for His faithfulness that every time, without fail, picks me up and sets my feet on solid ground. I’m thankful for His love that is unending, and I’m thankful for His plan that surpasses mine in ways my mind still can’t comprehend.

So, looking back on the past 8 weeks I see differently too. The last two months weren’t anything like I expected when I began teaching this group. Along the way there was opposition from the enemy (in my life and the lives of the women of the group), there was doubt (God, did I hear you correctly?), there was testing (thank God for second chances). I felt weak. I felt inadequate. I felt ineffective. I felt incapable. I felt confused. Now having come full circle with the completion of the class and a new beginning in front of me, I see with new eyes. Out of my weakness I gained strength; out of my doubt I grew in faith; out of my insecurity came confidence; out of my inadequacy I was empowered.

I’ve learned that I can trust myself to hear God’s voice, to act on it and to believe Him to deliver on what He says. I’ve seen hard, broken, confused, lonely, rejected women get a new revelation of the love of God. I’ve seen dreams resurrected, hope restored and joy renewed. I’ve seen God move in the most personal and specific ways in the lives in this group more than I think I ever have before. I’ve seen Him etch His name on our heart and ours on His hand. He has remade us, encouraged us, revived us, transformed us and renamed us. He has corrected, guided, encouraged, inspired and encouraged us. And most of all, He has completely lavished and consumed us with His amazing love.

I know, without a doubt, that He has accomplished everything He said He would through this class. I believe that each life that entered those doors has been forever changed. I now have even more of a revelation of Romans 8:28, with the knowledge that He works ALL things together for our good penetrating deeper into my Spirit. And more than anything I believe with everything that comprises me – spirit, soul and body – that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

And THIS was our time!!

I am including Kat Dufrene’s note about the final night because I, for one, want to have it recorded. The Lord paid so much attention to every detail of this journey that this could not be left out. Thank you Kat for your heart for the Lord.

Dear friends from Single & Satisfied:

We started on a holiday (Father's Day) and ended on one (Rosh Chodesh Elul).

We began our journey together on a day that marked God's Fatherhood over us, the birthing of something new. We ended on a holiday of celebration of the beginning of a new month (Elul) ushered in by a New Moon. (Rosh Chodesh stands for "Head of the Month".) This was our EIGHTH meeting, the number symbolic to NEW BEGINNINGS.

The date is also 8/9/10. A succession of numbers in a progression that has already been established. Any other sequence would have been improper. Ladies, our next step in this journey is to move forward in the proper direction that God has already established. Like Amy said tonight, He will not fail us.

We began with celebration and worship. We ended our time alotted for this class with celebration and worship.

Now, it's time to live in the month of Elul, the season we have been ushered into through His presence. What were the songs Todd sang over us and with us tonight? Songs of LOVE.

Get this! The month of Elul (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," a quote from Song of Songs 6:3.

Let us relish in this season of God's lavish love without distraction or hindrance!

To the ladies in the group, thank you for your faithfulness, for your openness, for your honesty, and for your determination to keep moving forward despite the obstacles in your path. You have blessed me beyond measure, you have stretched me and made me better, you have encouraged and inspired me. My life is forever changed for having shared this 8 weeks with you. You are beautiful, courageous daughters of the Lord. Rise up! Go forth in your new season (however that looks in your life), live your life fully, and reach your destiny!! The Lord has paved the way for you. You are chosen, you are called, and God will fulfill His purpose for you. He will not forsake the work of His hands!! I love you.

Manthie Hayes