Life Speakers and Bad Breath Breathers

Isn’t it funny how a breath mint can be the difference between a moment with someone being sentimental and precious vs. terrible and nasty?

There are times when I’ve been in close quarters with someone and all I can think about is how little I can breathe from the fog-cloud they are creating between us and how much I’d like to throw a breath mint in their mouth while they are talking. I hate to say it, but I have noticed that this problem seems to rage to special heights in churches. Who’s idea was it to serve everyone coffee before social time? What a ministry.

Maybe our true church ministry should be providing breath mints to the needy.

I love coffee. So I’ve often found myself in this awkward position of having just inhaled a cup or two during a service and then realized that the Lord is putting it on my heart to go and pray for someone. So then there’s the mad “gum scramble”, during which we have about fifteen seconds to ask everyone in our row if they remembered to come prepared. Usually they haven’t. And so the apologies to the one seeking prayer begin.

In a way the coffee-breath ministry can be easily related to our words, and ultimately our hearts, because the Bible says that our words are a reflection of what we have inside. I think it’s probably wise for each of us to ask ourselves every once in a while, “What is coming out of my mouth?”

God has made it abundantly clear to me and my husband during this season of our lives that He is going to battle for us. It’s cool to think about, but only for a second or two. Because after He confirmed that to us, we quickly realized that meant we had been put on the sidelines. Yes, we are out of the game. We have given the Lord permission to go to bat for us, but that means we aren’t going to bat at all.

On the plus side, God has never lost a game.

On the down side…It means we need to constantly check ourselves so that we make sure we aren’t picking up any spare sports equipment to try and jump into the game. If I rush out there the ref will blow the whistle for having too many players on the field and I’m either going to take a penalty and get suspended from the game, or worse, the whole season. This is something I have learned a lot about these past few years, that when God tells us to trust Him, we have to. There is no alternative. There is no “Maybe I’ll just do this one thing,” or “Things would be better if I just spoke up and told my side of the story.”

Stop it, you. Just stop. When God says to trust Him, then TRUST HIM.

Ugh, the agony. No one likes to sit on the sidelines. But I have begun to realize how peaceful it is over here.

Distrust in God always has way more consequences than trusting Him.

That is a statement I should tattoo to my own forehead. Because the person who took the biggest hit from my distrust last season was me. It’s been a long break between seasons and God has revealed so much to me about those times, and taught me so many things about my own life as I have been on this break. He called a penalty on me and I was forced back onto the sidelines for a while. Even writing blogs was out of the question for a time, as I learned to “trust myself to trust God”. Distrust has consequences. But even more than that, it carries baggage. My heart has always been to minister to the broken-hearted, and to share His unrestrained love to those who feel hopeless. If that’s truly my heart, then God will give me those opportunities. I don’t need to try and find them myself.

The strange part about this new season is how much more prepared I am going into it. Learning, even if it’s by mistakes, is invaluable. At first it seemed like punishment, God calling me to stay at home and be involved in less in every area of my life, but over time I realized that He wasn’t mad. He was just equipping me to get back out there, patting the dirt off my jersey and giving me a Coach’s speech so that when I did re-enter the game I would be ready for it this time.

I think that God brings us through the same tests that we have failed in the past, so that we have another chance to pass them. This season is different in some ways, yet there are many similarities to what we as a family are experiencing. It would be easy to default to my former self, the one who would have felt the need to plead my case and speak up to defend myself when people are getting the wrong idea about what is happening. But the biggest difference between this season and the last one, is me. God is pulling on his batting gloves and scanning the field. Something major is about to happen and I don’t want to ruin it by jumping in and giving my team a penalty. And if I can wait, and trust in Him, we might just walk away with a trophy or two.

One thing that the Lord has been majorly pressing into us is that right now He is watching and waiting. During the stretches of desert that we seemed to be trudging through as we were trying for a baby, and wondering what God’s plans were for what is now our home in Shingletown, He told us over and over again that His timing was perfect, and He sees all things. Rushing wasn’t on His agenda, so we had to take it off ours. We couldn’t push God’s timing, or there would be consequences. We couldn’t make a move without His leading, or kick open the doors that He hadn’t opened yet. HIS timing is perfect. And He sees ALL things.

Here, take some of His peace. You can have it. It’s free. *Hand thrust forward* 

Trust really is its own therapy, once we finally give in and let it be our way. I’m sure this is the way God intended us to live as Christians, to love everyone, address every person with respect, and forgive no matter what. The hardest people to forgive are the ones who need it the most, and are probably suffering from something themselves. When we love and pray for those that make things harder on us, we are releasing Heaven into the atmosphere and breaking chains that the enemy has tried to place over us.

Jesus is the King of Love, and He dishes it out in handfuls. It’s easy to love others when we remember just how much He loves us, and what He’s willing to do for us (which is everything, even dying). So I’m sitting out for this season, until the Lord hands me a catcher’s glove and sends me out onto the field. His timing is perfect. He sees all things. And right now, He’s watching, He’s studying the game and all of the players, and He’s waiting…

God has called all of us to be speakers of life into every situation, and to contribute to the trust we are supposed to have in Him. He has called us to be unified before His throne and to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven. I don’t want to be a bad-breath-breather. I would rather muzzle myself than speak negativity into the situations around me. Instead I think I will let God bring everything into being, since that’s sort of His thing, and watch in amazement as the incredible begins to happen.

Thank you Jesus for everything. Every accomplishment and moment of glory goes straight up to you.

So there you have it. Now let’s all go buy a whopping bag of breath mints for Sunday. Bring enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Lattes with a dude that has a really cool beard, historically. We think.

People just need to know that Martha wasn’t crazy. In fact she was probably the normal-est one in the building. She was just busting her butt, preparing food for Jesus and his disciples, organizing the details and getting things ready for everyone so they could all chow down. My first impression of her was that she was the true hero of the story – the one we should all be more like. When I was younger I never understood why Jesus sided with Mary, the lazy one. At least that was how I saw it. Mary sat at Jesus’s feet instead of helping Martha who was doing everything. Truly, I never got this. If I was Martha I’d have started coughing really loudly to get Mary’s attention at this point, and then when she looked I would have mustered up my most grotesque death-stare. How come Martha had to do all the work? And again, why in the world would Jesus side with Mary? I’d be all like, “Get off your arse Mary, and start killing some chickens!”

Clearly it never sunk into my mind the importance of spending time with Jesus versus organizing things for one of His inspirations. This story always baffled me, right up until this year.

Some of you may know that at the end of August I’m putting on an event called, “The Love Encounter”. It’s been a real faith jump for me and it’s freaked me out to the point of a near-psychotic meltdown on more than one occasion. This is because I tend to invest a lot of time into details. I went to college for Advertising, so I’m really good at promoting events like this. I’m also really fancy with posters, creating promo materials, videos, web, fundraising and a variety of other things that would have been PERFECT for this event. But God said to wait.

BAH!

That’s the worst. I hate waiting. It’s like how a two year old probably feels when she has to wait to eat her birthday cake after it’s been sitting out on the counter all day. Even as a child I had issues with that. My birthday, my sisters’ birthday, my brother’s birthday, my mothers, fathers, who cares. I would steal the candies off the top of the cake regardless of whose cake it was, which usually resulted in a lot of annoyed people investigating later. But nobody gets to dangle a chocolaty masterpiece in front of me for a whole day. It’s basically rude.

Well what God showed me from this simple story, and what I hope you take from it as well, is that the details; the flashy lights, the colourful costumes, the loud music, the tiny little pamphlets that someone hands you at the door…those things are a nice touch but they aren’t as important as His ministry time. I think it’s natural to fuss over the details – there’s a lot to do and a lot to get ready. And frankly I like flashy things. But God has been pressing the story of Mary and Martha into me hard, saying, “Just do as Mary did. Spend time with me. That’s all. I’ll take care of the rest.” That was basically an invitation for anxiety to take over and send me plunging off the nearest bridge. I lack self-control and have too much control all at the same time. God wanted control of this event though. And so I waited, checking my watch every few seconds mind you, but I waited. I put all the details on hold and started just hanging out in God’s presence. I’ve done basically nothing for this Love Encounter so far, because God keeps telling me to wait and simply rest at His feet. And you won’t believe what’s been happening.

First, I’ve had people come up to me and basically volunteer to do things for this event before I even had to form the sentence to ask. My team has started falling into place without me having to raise a finger. Everyone has been stepping up to the plate the moment I say the words, “The Love Encounter” and somehow all the fidgety flashy details just don’t seem that necessary, and the ones that are necessary are coming together on their own. It’s still a trust thing – I have a fear of the weekend coming and looking ridiculous and going off poorly and having that all come back on me. But God keeps his promises. And I had to realize that if I want God to move at this event, I need to do things His way. And if under twenty people show up – that’s His way. That was his plan. Those twenty people are his priority. If two hundred people show up – that’s His way. I think part of the reason that God told me not to advertise was simply because I know how to do it. I think this is him testing me. He wants to see if I’ll really let him take care of the details Himself when I know exactly how I could do everything. Well, so far He has been taking care of it. I’ve been chillin’.

My only job for this for a long time was to drink a latte and spend time with a guy who in most historical paintings has a great beard, and who loves me beyond what I can imagine. Crap, how can I say no to that? All He wants to do is show me His love. His power exceeds my understanding. The details are all coming together, without me fussing over them. Quite frankly, God doesn’t need my help to plan an event. Maybe it’s time for me to just get out of His way.

God’s been pressing into me that in order for me to speak of and demonstrate His love at The Love Encounter, I need to first experience it and see just how far and how deep it goes. God loves me. Wow. I really don’t deserve that. But He needs me to see it before I preach it.

Now I command thee again (or recommend I suppose, to be nice) to spend ten minutes with the King of Kings yourself, even if you haven’t done it in years, even if you’ve never done it in your life. Just see what happens. Sometimes God likes to blow our minds. Sometimes He’s just asking us to spend a little time with Him and it can be enough to transform our anxiety into peace and give us a better understanding. So be with the one who loves you – there’s no need for shame. God doesn’t dig that. He has no hidden agenda. He doesn’t want anything from you. He just wants you. (Thanks CS Lewis).

Later players.