Betrayal

Standard

This week I have been dealing with betrayal.  A colleague had a conversation about me with some of my employees that was less than flattering and very undermining.

My colleague is a fellow believer in Jesus.  For the past 6 months she has been communicating the need for the entire staff to avoid “side conversations of gossip.”  Instead, we should be following the Matthew 18 model of conflict resolution.

I wish I could say that this was just a slip up on her part.  We all make mistakes, right?  We all need grace and forgiveness on a regular basis.  So, I should believe the best about her, ask good questions and have a Matthew 18 conversation.

Well, yes, in a perfect world…..I live in the real one.  In my world, I believe this was a deliberate attack made through manipulation and motivated by a personal dislike of me.  There is a past that would point this direction and my healing wounds have been reopened.

What is God calling me to do in this situation?  Walk in wisdom was my first thought.  I let another know of the situation, asked for prayer and advice and waited…instead of reacting.  The reaction of the other was not what I anticipated.

He asked me to self-reflect.  Was there anything that God could be revealing to me that needed to be transformed?  I am sure my jaw dropped open.  Seriously?!  Did he have an intellegence issue?  How in the world did he miss the part about gossiping, lying and creating division?  None of which were perpetrated by me.

It took about an hour into the conversation for the Holy Spirit’s whisper to be recognized by my spirit.  The unmistakable whisper of a Heavenly Father who is utterly committed to making me into a beautiful child of the King at great cost.

I believe God is asking me to humble myself enough to acknowledge my own sin.  I have done nothing between the time of past offenses and today to create a relationship with said colleague.  Instead, by distancing myself and self protecting I gave Satan a perfect opportunity to gain a foothold.  Does this excuse her sin?  No, but it does show a necessary area of transformation in my own life.

I will be speaking truth to her about the sin that was committed against me.  To do anything less would be unloving, but I believe that now I have the possibility of doing so in love by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I have the opportunity to learn what it really means to risk trusting God enough with my heart and hurt to attempt to love instead of retaliate.

Here is to trusting that God will walk before me as I stumble forward following.

Money

Standard

When I was growing up I didn’t think about money very much, which is curious since I grew up in poverty.  I was too busy having fun and reading.  My parents did a great job of keeping grown up stress with the grown ups.  My mom did educate me about budgeting, using cash and that God ALWAYS provides what is needed.

My first realization that money (or lack thereof) can bring stress was after I was married.  I stayed home with my children and my husband worked.  I am better at managing logistical things so the finances fell to me.  That was fine, because I usually like being in control.  Turns out that being in control of finances isn’t a lot of fun.

My mom was right, though.  God does ALWAYS provide.  I do wish He would move more quickly sometimes.  Often He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry or provide in a manner that makes me comfortable.

Money is a gift that God has used in my life to change me.  I have had plenty and I have had little.  The lessons I have learned about self discipline, sacrifice, trust, following and humility are many.  For example, I am currently in a place of plenty.  I don’t feel like it though!  There is so much money going out on a monthly basis that it causes mild to severe panic depending on the day.

This begs the question about my expectations about money.  I expect that when I have what I need (and extra) I will feel peaceful and will be able to have a lot of fun.  So why does the reality fall so short of the expectation?  I discovered recently that I am deeply concerned about the future financially.  I have not been practicing thankfulness for today.  Goodness!  I can’t even enjoy today because I am too concerned about January.  Isn’t that sad?

Isaiah 25 is a beautiful chapter about God’s passionate provision for his people.  My favorite verse is 9, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.  This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”  My daily prayer is that my heart and thoughts would reflect this passage.  I want to rejoice in the salvation He has so graciously provided.  Lord Jesus, may it be so.

Transformation

Standard

Transformation is not clean.  It is broken, messy and complicated.  When I truly immerse myself in transformation I am in over my head, swallowed whole.  I am vulnerable and prone to be attacked.

Transformation is repetitive.  I am back in the same spot over and over again.  Just like steel wool scraping off grime.  It takes time.

Transformation is painful.  It is a death.  Old becoming new.  And the new sometimes looks unexpected. It can be barely recognizable as the intended outcome.

Christian transformation is being wrought by a just and holy God.  He is good and kind.  He is trustworthy…He is trustworthy and His purposes are good.

The all-over body emotion that I am experiencing, He is aware of every moment of it.  The fear I do battle against, He is fighting ahead of me.  I do not walk alone ever.

Within the trans-formative process I can know Him more deeply and authentically than I could have imagined possible.  His expectations of me during this time are much more gracious than my own. I am demanding while He is patient.  I am judgmental while he is justly loving.

I know this and yet I cry, “How long, Lord?  How long?”

Moments

Standard

Today.  Today I woke up begrudgingly because I stayed up too late.  Today I met my in laws for breakfast and experienced wonderful conversation.  Today I went to work and worked exceptionally hard.  Today I engaged with my family.  Today I spent an hour in worship.  This was my today.

I do not typically dwell in the present fully.  I travel from one thing to next, not fully taking in the moments I experience.  Life is like that for pretty much everyone I know.  So when moments become something that I can practically touch, almost taste, I treasure them.  It is very much a tap on the shoulder from God saying to me, “pay attention, I want you to fully experience this.”

I crave more moments like these.  I pray eternity is one moment after another of full  body awareness.  Being overwhelmed by clarity and purity of sound.

Tomorrow.  Tomorrow is coming.  What will happen?  Who knows?  Open eyes, open ears, open hands as I eagerly anticipate moments.

Weakness

Standard

So recently I have been coming face to face with my weakness.  Pretty much on a daily basis.  I don’t want to make it sound “woe is me” it is more like “man I didn’t realize how much more I need to learn about being humble and thinking outside of self.”

I was just promoted to a director position from coordinator.  As a coordinator I really felt the freedom to react passionately to events that were going on around me.  When my justice bone was tweaked I made it known.  I wasn’t loud or rude about it but I didn’t hesitate to voice my opinion strongly.  As a director, I find myself being prompted to stop, listen and have a whole lot more self control.  The people that I am working with, the children and families that we are trying to minister to are far more important than my desire to vent and my vision seems so much wider and longer.

Doesn’t that sound pretty elementary?  I feel like not only show I know this, but this type of self controlled other centeredness should be the norm by this time in my life.  Alas, it is not.  The change in title has created an opportunity for a change in me.  My deep desire is that I be able to hear the voice of God clearly.  That I would know when to listen, when to be bold and when to risk to the point of failure.

It has been a long time since I have been through so much rapid life change.  It is exhausting and painful and not at all what I imagined, but it is good.  I know, really know, that God is committed to growing me up into the image of his son.  He has not abandoned me to the mediocre, but is encouraging to participate in a never ending transformation.  I am thankful.

He will be King

Standard

My passion is to live a life that honors God.  It is hard; really really hard.  Not the kind of, “You can do it!  God will help you!”  Rah, rah hard.  I mean HARD.

The type of hard that breaks your heart because the place He is leading you to is causing a part of you to die.  Where you want to run away from Him instead of toward Him.

I never imagined it would be like this.  The maturity I see in others is something I pray for regularly.  I’ve prayed for a purified heart and a quiet and gentle spirit.  I was unaware that I would have to go through a war zone to receive them.   Today, I wanted to take those prayers back.  For a moment I was very willing to stay where I am so that things could go back to the way they were.  I felt very very weak and young.  I desperately want a Rescuer.

So, to my Rescuer I turn and plead for your mercy.  Rain down your mercy on me your daughter.  I need your hand to lift me up.  Please go before me and be my shield.  I cannot succeed without you.  There is too much “me” in me.  I want what is safe and known and this is neither safe nor known.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”- Ps. 51:10

starting again…and again

Standard

When I think of everything that I would like to start again many things come to mind.  Simple things like logic puzzles.  Complex things like interviews.  But there are things that I am asked to start again…and again that I don’t wish to have to do again and again.

I have a complex life with many responsibilities that God has given me.  For most seasons of my life this is a good thing.  But not all.  I become tired and grumpy.  I desire to run away and be selfish.

I have many days that I battle against the reality of my situation and try to wish or pray it into something else.  Something easier.  But that is the lie, isn’t it?  That this season will last forever.  That my reality is static and the things that create hopelessness will never resolve.

The truth is that nothing is static.  My season was not like this 6 months ago.  Today I cling to this truth,”Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” – Psalm 84:5-7

And I start again.