Friday, October 27
Sunday, October 22
I actually went looking for a few things, a Bible for a friend, relationship books, basic Christianity books to give to a couple of people. And right there on the shelf I saw a book about dreams and their interpretations. It is rare to find a good book on dreams in the Christianity section. So I picked it up along with another book on none other than dating and relationships and headed to a chair to do some reading.
The book on dreams was interesting and I contemplated after skimming every chapter that maybe I should buy it. The relationship book was good until the author went on about God not having any part in bringing us together with our marriage partner. It held arrows of disappointment between the lines so I proceded to take it right back to its section and leave it there. Just as I was about to put the dream book back as well, I heard this women frantically searching the shelves saying, "Do you know where the dream section is? I'm looking for books about dreams."
I thought it uncanny that in my hands I held the only dream book in that section. I showed her what I had found. She began to tell her story of a reoccurring dream she had been having as if her life depended upon it. She told me about how she had been a pastor and how her husband had left her because of adultery. She told me about her new marriage and how it was so full of disappointment. She told me that she was no longer in ministry, no longer fulfilling her calling. She even showed me the tatoo she had gotten with her first husband who had passed away. This woman was crying out. She kept asking me what her dream meant as if I would have the answers because I had read the book.
I had read the parts of the book that were meant for her tonight. I showed her what I had read and then I began to ask her pointed questions about her life. I asked her where she was at in her walk with the Lord. I asked her more about her dream. And the whole time I was thinking, am I really qualified to be interpreting this dream for her? Do I really know what I am saying? But I could not deny that God had placed this divine appointment in my evening. I could not hold back the words that he placed in my mouth in those moments. I could not stop from sharing my testimony of the moments when I thought I would not go back to church, when I thought that my life was falling apart too much for God to use me.
God was showing her that her disappointment was holding her back from what God had planned for her. He was showing her how the enemy was bringing death through the circumstances that held her heart captive. I have gone through the same seasons in my heart and I have been trusting God to bring me out.
God showed me that He loved me and trusted me enough to speak life to her tonight. I feel like He brought me to another level. I feel like Jesus when He said to the disciples, "I have bread that you know not of"...when they wondered why He was not hungry after ministering to the woman at the well. Tonight I am full just knowing that He used me to speaking peace to a woman in need.
Tuesday, October 10
and see you here
See your eyes looking intently into my own
See the smile that brought me home.
Finally, full of hope.
I asked to know you once again.
I have wanted your arms around me,
wanted to hear your laughter,
wanted to put my hands in yours
walking through the rest of this life.
And now I am seeing that you came running
before my mouth ever opened
before my eyes ever moved in your direction.
My broken heart...obvious, and I see the tangled web of emotion
and lies attached to my dreams,
You bring silence to my storm.
You mend my broken spirit, heal my broken heart,
breath life into my deflated lungs.
You cause me to sing again.
I could not have planned this, could not have guessed.
But you have brought it to pass and I am grateful.
I asked to see your goodness.
I asked to know you more than ever before.
I see that you have been waiting to hear my voice for so, so long.
Sunday, October 8
Anyways, there is this part of the book that really bothers me. It's the part where Swindoll warns his readers of those who think that God speaks to us apart from the reading of scripture. On the one hand, throughout the book, he is saying, listen to God's voice. On the other hand, he is telling Christians that we should not expect to hear a still, small voice speaking directly to our hearts. He says that God speaks only through what is already in the Bible. I am guessing that he does not believe either in the baptism or the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am guessing that He does not believe that God speaks fresh words to His people.
Although I know that many go overboard on this topic, I believe that God speaks in so many ways through so many different people. He did so in the Bible days, why would He stop now? Yes, if we were to search the contents of the Bible, every word we have heard from Him should line up with scripture. But what about those without the scriptures? What about those who are not able to put their hands on a Bible and flip through the pages? Are they not able to hear from God? It almost makes me want to put the book down. I find it all disheartening. Even more so because I did not hear anyone else bring up the topic during our study this past week.
And so, in all of this, I am realizing my hunger. I grew up believing that God heals and delivers...that He WANTS people to be healed and delivered. I grew up believing that God speaks through prophecy and directly to our spirits. I can't remember the first time I spoke in tongues because I grew up in a family where it was a normal part of our lives. I grew up hearing about the power of God, longing to see it in and through my own life. It was only just in these past 5 years that I had become jaded by the charismatic community. A manipulative group of people and a few bitter tasting experiences can do that to a person. So I played it safe, wanting only the simple message of the gospel, the quiet sounds of worship, people devoted but not irrational and awkward. But even now, now that I have returned to a community of people who are so fired up about Christ, I feel as if something is missing. I read a book like this, I hear someone pray for a sick friend not that she would be healed but that she would be okay with not finding a cure and going to be with God in Heaven, and it all just makes me so sad.
This is the verse on my mind tonight:
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
My prayer is, God, show me what is true. Show me what is on your heart. Show me your goodness. Show me your plan. I'm tired of trying to define it on my own. I'm tired of trying to search after correct theologies and 5 year plans. I want the real deal.
Saturday, October 7
For as long as I can remember I have just wanted to be married. It has taken up my thoughts, my dreams, my plans, etc., etc. It's not even the novelty or the wedding day or the diamond ring. It's the simple knowing that I have someone to live my life with, someone who is going in the same direction, someone who I can commit to, someone who will commit to me, someone who I can trust wholly and completely.
Well 27 is here and I am not any closer to knowing who or when or how than I was at 22. I find myself entering into a new mindset. I am done worrying about it. I am choosing indifference at the moment. In translation...I am not looking. Looking and worrying and trying to plan leaves me disappointed and unfulfilled. And in the disappointment I have often forgotten that there is a life to be lived. I have forgotten that I have gifts to open, beauty to share, worlds to discover, a God to know.
And with this new mindset, it is not a wonder that I am at a loss for what to do. I have based my plans on having someone to share them with. I have hoped and dreamed for a friend for so long that I have not cultivated my confidence in being alone. I have not cultivated my confidence in the Lord. This is the time and season for such things. God help me.
Friday, October 6
Friend - "So, what are your plans in the near future?"
Me - "Well, finish this year of teaching...then who knows."
Friend - "What else do you want to do?"
Me - "I don't know, I just feel like there's more."
I've been saying that a lot lately. Mostly to God, mostly to myself. But I struggle because I feel like if I leave teaching behind, I am somehow leaving my calling and ultimately disappointing God. At the same time, if I neglect this dissatifcation, I am afraid that I will be missing out on some unknown fulfillment, some unknown blessing that might only come through a leap of faith.
I love my kiddos...I love having a part in shaping their lives. I do not love conforming to the government's rules and regulations as to how they should be taught and tested in the classroom. I do not the love the stress of trying to juggle a circus of paperwork and meetings and discipline procedures. I look at my classroom and I am heartbroken, because there is no time scheduled for recess anymore; there is no time for science experiments; there is barely an emphasis on art and music. The beauty of life and living and education is being set outside the classroom door. And I fall victim to it, because of my inexperience and insecurity as a young teacher. I do not know how to meet the academic expectations and to show my students the value of what they are learning at the same time. Test, after test, after test and for what? To show information that has been handed down through a system, through a bunch of men and women who sit in a boardroom somewhere and pass on their new and improved ideas. Some of them are good. Some of them, I'm not so sure. These children need to breath some fresh air. I need to breath some fresh air.