I’m having surgery (really not really)

I’m having surgery. Right now. Heart surgery. Ok ok, not literally, but dramatically. Not physically, but transforming-ly. God is cutting away dead places in me.

In recent months, I’ve asked Him to usher in greater freedom in my soul-life — you know, the deep down places that no one really sees. The places that have hidden threads of bitterness or unforgiveness or fear that weave their way in, ever-so-slyly. But greater freedom means something in me (or you) needs healing or releasing. Because in Christ there is fullness of freedom. Period. So if we’re not experiencing joy or peace or soul-abundance in some area of our lives then we’re the ones who need His touch.

 

search my heart

 

I’ve asked our all-knowing, all-seeing, all-everything God to reveal stuff in my heart that ultimately steals the life Jesus died to give me. And wow. That’s a scary prayer. Not scary like when I completely freaked out in the dark and screamed for Jesus. No. Scary like, “This is gonna hurt, but I know it will hurt good.” And as a faithful, good Daddy, He’s been answering. And {deep breath} it hurts good. It hurts deep. It hurts right.

My friend Chrystal is the one who said I was having surgery. But “not the kind where someone straps you down, demanding with a scalpel. No. It’s the kind of surgery that God won’t force upon His children, but waits to give should we willingly climb up on the table.”

 

It’s the kind of surgery that
God won’t force upon His children,
but waits to tenderly give should
we willingly climb up on the table.

 

By His absolute grace and tender drawing, I’ve climbed up on the table because I know this about our God. He’s so. very. good. He has fullness of life for His children, even in the midst of difficulty. And He waits to willingly restore and heal us from anything that steals the life Christ died on a cross to give us.

I ain’t gonna lie. Heart-surgery hurts. It hurts because we (I) allow time and pain to bury deep roots. And we allow the roots to be covered up with fresh soil — deceptively telling ourselves that the roots are gone, all the while they keep digging deeper and deeper, crowding out the beautiful fruit that God wants to birth in and through us. But the Master Gardener doesn’t leave or forsake us. Instead, He draws us to Himself.

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Psalm 139:23-24
(Don’t you sense the passion in David’s plea?
Look at all those exclamation marks!)

 

So it’s time for surgery. Because our tender Daddy whispers freedom…freedom and healing if we’re willing to climb up on the table.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Share a time when you underwent “heart surgery” with our God.
 

a word of freedom and hope to parents

Hi, stranger. I’ve obviously been delirious with all things summer. But between trips to the pool and layers of sunscreen and…reading — side note, have you read Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series?! Good grief, so good — I’ve composed about four blog posts in my brain that now need to get “onto paper” before they disappear into the mental abyss called “homeschooling.”

{sigh} Homeschooling.

I don’t like that word. It feels so…serious. And pressure-ized. But the truth is, (and here we go with post number one) all parents homeschool. We all do it; some of us just include words like curriculum into our vocabulary. (Gag.)

 

sow seeds in faith

 

We as parents, all feel the pressure that comes with training up other humans to be “successful” adults. However we define “successful.” But if you’re like me, some of the day-in, day-out of parenting can feel so…mundane. And tedious. And repetitive. And repetitive. And repetitive. As if there has to be some grander call for me to attend to in this thing called “my” life. As if my life is actually mine. Some call that includes a cape and leaping tall buildings in a single bound or something. Or at least a call where I can measure an ounce of success while in the throes of it.

Oh I know. Over these last eleven years of walking the parenting journey, I’ve known in my mind that the mundane of parenting isn’t actually mundane — that we as Christian parents are building the next generation and raising lovers of God. But often, I haven’t felt the weight of that call in my spirit. It was head knowledge that I’ve accepted and lived out of, but not a deep, heart conviction. At least, not until recently.

The only explanation I can give for the heart change I’ve noticed in me — the deeper conviction for the beauty and power of the seeming “mundane” moments — is that God has birthed it in me. Because I’m not that able. But recently, I’ve sensed it. I’ve sensed a deeper conviction to be fully present in the dailiness. Not that I do it perfectly because…y’all. It’s as if God is expanding my vision for my kids and growing my desire to sow seeds in love, in the seeming mundane of today, with the hope and expectation that He will one day bring the harvest. Because it’s the moments of today that add up to this thing called life.

 

By God’s grace, we sow seeds of His truth in love.
He (eventually, faithfully) brings the harvest.

 

How do we sow seeds? Well, we do it over scraped knees and hurt feelings. We ask God to let us see the heart behind the hands — to understand the “why” behind the clobber. And then we pour truth into the moment with the faith that we’re teaching the generation behind us how to depend upon and trust and love their Maker.

 

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6 – 6:7)

 

Recently when putting my kids to bed, I remembered something that one of my seminary professors taught me before I even had kids — one way to sow seeds in the mundane. He said, “Teach your kids theology through your bedtime prayers.” Sow seeds of truth before they close their eyes at night. Teach them God’s character and ways through the things you pray. Remind them of who they are in Christ and all He promises through prayer. So I’ve asked God to help me sow seeds at bedtime with prayers that are rooted in His Word:

“Father, reveal Your goodness to this child. Lord, help him recognize when the enemy is speaking lies. Lord God, help him take his thoughts captive to what’s true. Father, thank You that we’re called holy and righteous, not because of how good we can be but because of what Jesus did on the cross.” Sowing seeds. Trusting God to one day bring the harvest.

Parenting is straight-up…wow. It’s…just…wow, in the “Lord Jesus, help me, please. Mercy. Amen.” kind of way. But if God calls us to parent a child(ren) then He will equip us as we seek after Him. He can and will expand our vision and desire for the dailiness if we ask Him (and sometimes even if we don’t ask).

We purposefully press into our good God. We pursue His presence and His filling in our own lives. Then we take the truths He gives us and pass them on. We sow seeds through the mundane (and cray-cray) of everyday life, leaving the harvest to Him.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How do you sow seeds of truth in the dailiness of life?
How has God changed (or how do you want Him to change) your vision for the mundane of parenting?

 

one thing we can do to love our needy world

I refinished my kitchen table and chairs last week. And one night while waiting on my paint to dry, I watched a video about the slaughter taking place in Syria. Slaughter of humans. While my paint dried. And I just sat there in a (hormonal) pile and cried over the chasm.

 

love God love others

 

True, God doesn’t call all of us to hop on a plane and fly to Africa. He doesn’t call all of us to enter the political arena and make laws or fight physical wars. Training up our kids in the ways of the Lord — pouring the love and truth of Jesus into their spirits day-in and day-out — is the call upon many of our lives in this day. And that’s a HUGE calling.

But I don’t want to live blind to the atrocities of earth. I don’t want to close my eyes to the pain of this world and think that someone else will pick up all the pieces. I want to be used-up, however my Father-God wills. Typed from my comfy seat at Starbucks while sipping a latte. Good grief. The chasm.

I don’t tell you this to heap guilt on your (or my) head. Guilt doesn’t motivate. Not for long, any way. The only thing — the only One — that motivates us to do world-shifting things is Jesus. Not because He has a finger pointed and a face scowling, but because of the opposite. His love and kindness delivered us. And when we dwell in the deep waters of redemption, eyes set on eternal things, we can’t help but be moved in compassion for a needy world. We can’t help but open our hands and loose our feet while saying, “Use me up for Your glory, Lord.”

 

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:17 – 3:18

 

All of this (slightly uncomfortable talk) makes me think about inspiring people like Kristen Welch. A couple of years ago I heard her speak for the first time. And what struck me was her normalcy. Her quiet spirit that wouldn’t, on the outset, appear to do things like shake nations and set captives free. Yet that’s what God is using her to do. “Just a simple family who said yes when God asked.” And in that saying “yes,” God has used the Welch family to help start Mercy House in Kenya and the Fair Trade Friday Club. A beautiful reminder that God uses normal, everyday humans to do soul-freeing, spirit-resurrecting, world-changing things when we say yes. Amazing.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, in addition to the emotional breakdown during my furniture painting, a couple of months ago I was asked to be a part of the Fair Trade Friday blogging team. And knowing what I know about Mercy House and the Welch family, I was totally honored to partner with them in telling the online world about this opportuntiy that you and I have — from right where we live — to help impoverished families across the world.

What is Fair Trade Friday?Fair Trade Friday is a monthly membership club that delivers high quality fair traded items to your door. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world. Plus, they are really cute!” Seriously. I personally joined, not because I had to as a part of the blogging team but because I wanted to. The items are beautiful and each come with a story to tell. You can find out more by clicking here.

 

fairtradefriday.club

 

Maybe fair trade shopping seems like a small thing to do when so much tragedy takes place across the planet. But it’s something. It’s a small something that you and I can do that provides a huge gift to families who were once without hope.

We’re only here on this earth for a vapor of time and we have some choices to make in this day. We have choices to make with our time, our actions, our thoughts, and our resources. In thinking of all the choices that we get to make today, I pray that we’re so full of the grace and love of our Maker, that we can’t help but make choices that pour out Jesus onto a needy, broken, hungry, bound-up world. Let’s keep running this faith race with endurance, sweet friends, eyes set on Him.

 

Some Easy Action Steps You Can Take Today

 

Oh and for the record, I still believe there’s a time and place for refinishing furniture. So for those who may be wondering, yes, my table and chairs turned out amazing.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How has God moved your own heart for our needy world lately?