You know those moments where you are thinking something you believe you SHOULDN’T? There’s a holy conviction, “Yeah, this isn’t right”. “I know acting out this or that certainly will not reflect Christ. Lord, help me keep my mouth shut, my face straight, and give me the grace to not explode in so doing”.
This morning I found myself there. Some things get me going. One of them being when others present the ideas they’ve mined from other people and present them as their own. I recently heard from a fellow creative, Erwin McManus, “Every time someone pays the counterfeit, the thief is receiving the reward”. Woah.
Counterfeits stink. They come with a cost, even though they may seem to be, or even are in many cases, more affordable. Their inception is grounded in lack of integrity. Inevitably compromising the material it is built upon. Eventually it will fall apart and cause the one who bought into it to replace it or perhaps choose to buy the original. Counterfeits come with a cost.
I’m thinking of this and then I pray, “Lord, prune my thoughts. Graft in YOUR thoughts and character for this situation. You be reflected in this situation. Bless me with the words to speak and share, should this perceived injustice be confronted.”
While praying, I saw a tree. I saw a large oak tree. Remain deeply rooted in love came to mind. I then saw branches and even some roots being cut away. Another vine was grafted in. A new sprout and bud popped up on another.
How often do we avoid those uncomfortable places or opportunities for correction? How often do we just stuff the feelings down and move on? How often do we say to ourselves I am going to make right of this situation and confront? How often do we rely on our self, rather than the Holy Spirit, to give us the words to speak?
As the image continued to become clearer, new branches crafted in and new buds popping up, I realized the tree would be bearing new fruit. His fruit. Any fruit now coming from this tree would be the “real deal”, a fruit of the Spirit, not a counterfeit provided by a soul maneuvering from a natural response.
I pray we do not fear the pruning. I pray we trust the Lord will not prune, only to leave a painful, gaping wound or severed limb. I pray we realize He prunes to make room for His character, His will, His BLESSING – His reflection.
I pray we go to Him with our character, in exchange for His. I pray the world begin to see more clearly Who God REALLY is through our lives – because we intentionally choose the REAL DEAL over our natural-world-shaped feelings, thoughts and preferences.
I haven’t written much lately. Not because I have been lazy, but because focus has been pointed at other areas. So many good God things going on, blogging hasn’t been on the top of the requests of things to do.
Yesterday, however, I sat down and wrote for about four hours. It was time I map out milestones for my story, the testimony of God’s overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love for me. If that song is now in our head… GOOD!
Writing while recalling is much different than writing to teach, encourage or perhaps facilitate some level of healing in the life of someone else. It is also different than writing to share or perhaps entertain. Although, my prayer is the pages of my written testimony will certainly encourage anyone convinced they are in a hopeless situation. I also pray it will cause others to see there is healing in the hands of a mighty God if we would but only surrender FULLY to Him! And of course, due to my God given flare, I do pray the method by which it is shared is entertaining on some level. Most importantly, I pray folks are able to live more courageously in Christ and allow the old woman or man to truly pass away.
You see, as I sat down to capture what was supposed to be 15 – 20 milestones and life lessons throughout my tenure (I hope that’s OK Ms. Writing Coach), I ended up capturing 25. I know! It’s hard to believe someone who hasn’t quite reached the top of the hill just yet would have so much to share. That’s exactly why I sense the Lord speaking to my heart it NEEDS to be shared. Exactly.
When recalling the milestones and faithfulness of God, I come to tears. He truly does have a reckless love for me, and I know He has one for you as well! It’s breathtaking. He has pursued and protected His plan in my life since before I was formed. He protected my ability to hear and speak when spinal meningitis threatened to steal both when I was an infant. He was there with me through the heartache of learning my father’s life had been carelessly stripped away by a family member, even though I couldn’t really sense it at the age of five. Even after others tried to hush me by convincing me to stay quiet after their poor choices, or shame me with insults of how my obese body looked at a very young age – He was looking after me.
When pain and depression would not loosen its grip and I chose to bring my own happiness and gratification, He kept watch and let me go only so far. When rejection from the ones closest to me came, He received me with wide open arms like the loving Father He is! God has been good, sooooo goooood!
It amazes me how He transforms poor choices, heartache and sorrow, into jewels of lessons learned, joy and peace. I am astonished at how He WILL NOT LET UP and CONSTANTLY calls us back to Him, even from our own self-reliant, self-imposed captivity. I am blown away that His passionate pursuit is not for our sake alone. No. It has always been and always will be for the sake of the lives we are surrounded by. He came to this life to live wholly unto the Father and sacrifice His life for you and I. We are called to do the same.
As I wrote the milestones and then took the step of sending them to my writing coach, I felt a twinge of anxiety. What will she think? Oh my goodness, only a few people know these things about me, will she even want to work with me? Being vulnerable isn’t easy. In fact, not coincidentally, the subject of being vulnerable has been prevalent in the first week of the Rise Up Commitment. I even completed a mini video study where we looked at the life of Hannah, the woman from Shunem, Adam and Eve, and King David. From them we learned why some folks may offer up vulnerability, why some appear to not be open, the one thing that may be lying at the heart of being able to become more vulnerable, and an example of how we can live when we are vulnerable with both God and man. It may be of interest to you. CLICK HERE TO VIEW and please let me know if it spoke to you!
I pray you have a great week and be encouraged today to spend a bit of time reflecting on how good God has been to you throughout your life. If you don’t know Him, through the person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and you’re tired, hurting, broken, angry and fearful. Would you do me a favor? Would you reach out and message me? I want to pray with you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for His steadfast love endures forever;