Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vegetables for Dessert

Well I kept waiting for grace and wisdom, but that never came. Instead, all that came were more convictions, which led me to realize that it wasn't just one issue wrong with me, but a system-wide epidemic.

Apparently, I'm dumb-headed when it comes to obeying something uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I've been sitting in the dumps of this grief for what seems a long time, waiting for it to lift. This is the hardest grunt-work I think I'll ever experience as a Christian. It is painful even to share it aloud, not because it's embarassing or it isn't right, but just because it requires so much humility, and therefore concentration, on my part. (I'm not naturally or willingly humble.)

So in the end it wasn't something positive I saw about myself in Christ I got confronted with like I was hoping, but rather that condemation I've been afraid the whole time to receive.

"The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, 'Live!' I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.'"

I remember that I was not meant to be a succeedor in life. When God came into my heart my whole destiny turned around. How can I ever doubt it, fail to see it? No one who knows me can dispute this.

"'Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.'"

Yes I did, Lord.

"'I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.'"

Oh, Lord, everything: my children, my home, my husband, my income, my free time, my fabulous chances to minister; all I have is given by you as a sign of the victory you've already won. How could I have drifted away from gratitude for you?

"'But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame...'" (ezek 16:1-15) for the sake of your own self ambition.

I am so sorry Lord that I used the wealth of gifts and talents you have given me to pursue my own selfish appetites. You gave me those things because of your love, not because I am anyhow different than who I was when you originally found me discarded. You saw me, and took pity on me, and adopted me as your own.

"'Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done,' declares the Sovereign LORD." vs 43

This, if I have experienced its entirety, is the most gentle hand of rebuke I ever have known.

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. ... Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation,' declares the Sovereign LORD." 59-60, 63

Yes, Lord, because of my humiliation.

Even if no one else knows, I will know deep down, and I will be anchored.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Option #3

I have my long list of all the things I want to have cleaned by the time we go. But you know, it disturbs me as I go along my list today because in my mind I hear the word of God condemning me:

"You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." Matt 23:25-26

So I keep asking myself "what's the point?" I won't let myself become deluded to think that I am serving God in all that I do if inwardly I have mixed interest in doing things His way, and occasionally run away from Him. What the heck is that?

And I wouldn't run away from Him, if I knew what to make of my willingness to ultimately not choose Him in competition with my own self-ambition, in one particular facet as I have been discussing in my blogs recently.

You know, it's amazing how one little issue can ruin the whole of my ability to be available for God's use.

I've explored the options, because I won't go on like this. First option, hide. Second option, surrender my issue. I've tried hide, and it's not too fun; I feel like a fish out of water. Surrender? No; that's what I've been trying to say; I'm stubborn, and I'm not willing, on principle.

This morning I realized there was a third option: Turn and ask for help; "because they would not turn and let me heal them." God's Spirit is already here with me, and you'd think that'd be enough. But what I need in this extreme case is to be something greater than what I already am. If I can't choose my way into fellowship, then what I need has to come from someplace else.

If He can show me a new way to consider my aspirations, then maybe I'd choose better, choose the right. Well, I have enough faith for that. Let's wait and see what He gives.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"fighting" it

Come on, Sanc, let's get it together.


This is really important that I get myself back in open communicae with my God before the end of this week. I'm going on vacation, and you know how there's always those unexpected happy things you want to share with God, and the unexpected difficult things that can get you angry or worried. Being put in extraordinary situations, meeting new people or ones I don't see much, I will want my supply of social grace brimming like usual (because naturally speaking, I'm clueless). It's a necessary survival item.

I don't want to waste this special time, being off-centered. I gotta get back.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"One thing you lack"

God said, give this to me, but he asked for my prize treasure, and like the parable of the rich young ruler when asked to sell all his posessions, I said no to Jesus.

It's just that it's so beautiful, in the minimum just on the surface, if not retaining beauty going deeper as well. What average person wouldn't aspire to attain what I all-of-a-sudden notice is just maybe coming my way? I want it, and I'm not willing to surrender.

Wait a second -- I thought I was a radical Christian. Hmm.

In the last couple years, I had given over to God the fate of my finances, my career, my family, even my children's life and death, and all my ministries. I'm sure that's a great start, maybe like the rich young ruler was self-professedly following the ten commandments since his youth. But Jesus said, "One thing you lack; go, and give this thing you are acquiring, away. Then you will have treasure in heaven."

Oh; so maybe this is the answer for those who take note of the blessings given to Joseph-types, and desire to qualify with God to model Christ as he did. Didn't I lately ask God for authority to administer the truth in a more powerful means? Yes, I did.

Well, He said to me, if you want to be a leader you must first learn how to follow.

Blink... however: I'm bucking, I'm bucking. Double-minded. Hands in both pots. Feel very guilty; finished. Felt like walking away from God altogether.

Haven't I blogged plenty of sermons on delight in suffering all things for Him? That's why I'm shocked at my current greed, and feeling so guilty.

Then this crazy thing happened on Tuesday where this crazy Christian woman was used by God to give me His timely message, "When Satan discourages you, don't give in. FIGHT!" By "fight," she means, believe that there is a way out, believe that God can forgive and aide us when we confess our problem, 1 john 1:9.

With all my intelligent "counsel" I think I have for others, I sure wish I had some for myself right now. But this advice was enough of a leg to begin to make a little progress. I keep talking to God about it, and yes, I love Him.

But I still am not ready to let this beautiful dream get thrown in the brushpile. It's mine to give or keep, and I have almost no plan to give such a thing away.

And if there is anyone who reads this and thinks, "Cha Ching! Finally she is getting the difficulty she deserves," well, you are right. Understanding that I am a sinner has always been the weak-point in my own experience of salvation, and yet it is the kind of people He came to save. It's about time I leaned on His forgiveness, and learned just a sliver of humility.

Faithless, hiding behind my intellect

This is a topic I've been wanting to share a-bit a-bout for a-while.

To its credit, knowledge is often spiritual, meaning God's Spirit is in it. And knowledge is a good thing, if used wisely.

But all I can see these days is how it has become a weakness for me.

Even in the choice of my own private alone time, I find it a lure as the "easy way out" to choose to spend my time studying/reading instead of praying, or studying instead of submitting to my children's more silly desires. I often don't end up choosing to clean my house or whatever it is that I could (not even shoulds, just simply the possiblities) be doing when considering the comfort of reading and compiling.

I've always believed in former times that those who understand the truth and have an answer for those who inquire are the ones who are more useful to impact the world for God. But I now doubt that high estimation I've made. Consider how I served a homeless man this week, and treated him like a king not only in my service to him but also in my deliberate and conscious effort to just let him talk about God. He never gets "listened to," compared to someone like me. Doesn't he deserve to be treated like a king, for just a moment?

How about the people who are talking about God in church? You know they sometimes say some wacky things to my ears. And it kills me painfully to listen to them beat around the bush in their perception of the use and application of the Word, for, going on five minutes, when I have a beautifully worded, scripturally memorized, back-water but totally applicable, passage ready to just summarize what they were working for. Ahhh! Something is terribly askew here, and it may very well be my self-righteousness rather than their needs! I'm finally starting to get this now. My frustration reminds me that I need to stop being surprised that it is better for people to work through the answer on their own rather than being told what it is.

So I'm stepping back.

I'm just going to cast off the burden.

Guess what trumps knowledge? Do you know? (Now I am resorting back to my old tricks, but I have turned the gun on myself this time.) :) I preach this probably every day (if not to others than at least in my head)... faith!! Faith. If joe-schmoe Christian has trusted God today, then how little the gain if they can explain scripture! God finds them fully useful and armed to do His work and make His proclamations. Lesson learned: am I where God is(?), because this is my only hope for being a tool for His efforts at any given moment.

If God wants to use me with my knowledge, then, I'm going to wait for an actual and honest:

1) lull, in the conversation, and
2) question, directed at me


That's much easier said than done, but my resolve has been made nevertheless.

An amazing thing happens when I stop talking about what I know and "listen in quietness." I actually learn so much more thoroughly. I am sure you can hear my attitude of superiority. How terrible that is, to my shame! I need to learn how much I don't understand, and how much others do.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Here's the line I tried to remember, referring to my last entry. See how beautiful the dialogue goes, just a sample of the whole:

"With a chill he knew that in the future many problems would be solved for him in this same way. And, after that, he thought, they would have nearly finished polishing down his rough edges. But Mae's pressure was wearing down the very roughness he most wanted to keep. As for the madness with Lady Olenska, Archer trained himself to remember it as the last of his discarded experiments. She remained in his memory simply as the most plaintive, and poignant, of a line of ghosts."

(That didn't spoil the ending, you know, because it came out of dead center in the middle of the story!)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Seeds on my Stovetop

I keep staring at the seeds on my stovetop.

You may be confused to think that I am saying I have seeds on my stove. But, I do. They are sitting in a little dish, immersed in water. I bought morning glory vine seeds and for about a month now I have been planning to plant them along my fence line to have them grow up and create a wall of flowers. So two weeks ago I read the directions on the back of each packet:

"Soak seeds overnight in warm water before planting, whether indoors or out."

There are several little projects I have designed in my mind for what plants I want to grow, where, on our property. Most of my stuff is already growing around somewhere only in the "wrong" spot; I just have to transplant them. Some of my designs, when I follow through and transplant them, cause the bush to grow and make my area seem more attractive. Sometimes what I transplant doesn't work out logistically, and I have to move them somewhere else later. But there is one thing I dread more than anything else in my effort to transplant my items: killing them.

Since last summer I have been soaking lilac tree starts. I've been watching the lifeless sticks sitting in a bucket of water all winter. They are precious to me because I often see a mature tree, and I get so excited. Now they have green buds on them, and I planted them in the ground. But since their roots aren't developed, I am thinking they are not going to live. I feel like a fool. So much waiting and hoping, for nothing.

You may have guessed that these small stories I am sharing with you are like parables for the plans I make to do good things as a child of God.

Being so affected as I have been about the experiences of Joseph, I have just been lately agreeing with God that he would let my efforts in my literal garden to be a spiritual reflection about my true state in representing Him. To think therefore, that my desire for His bloom is being killed at my own hand, has created trepidation in me, to keep trying.

And that is why those seeds are still soaking, two weeks after the recommended "overnight."

I'm scared of what I'll do to them.

Why, you might ask, are they on the top of my stove of all places? Because that is the one place I know I can't push them aside and forget about them: it is the center of where I hover so that I will not neglect them through busyness but will be constantly reminded to follow through with the rest of the directions and not waste them.

God's Word, too, was meant to be given room to grow, not neglected and kept on the shelf.

How can my godliness ever grow if I don't plant the seed of His Word in faith??

My faith has to be bigger than my fear. Somehow I have to hope that God can cause to flourish that which I would kill without Him. I want Him to override my mishandling and inappropriation.

Believing for the wall of "glories."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I have a weird life

Ever since I read about the life of Joseph in Genesis some weird stuff has been happening in my head.

It's all confusing.

Sometimes I think God is giving me a promise, and other times I think I am arrogantly creating a whopping sense for self-righteousness in me.

Here's what I do know so far:

The story of Joseph, in his sufferings and exaultation, creates a strong reaction in me. I have many pieces of Joseph's puzzle in my own life, from being blessed abundantly beyond an enemy's touch later in life, to experiencing a time of more intense suffering beforehand, to understanding that like him, I, too, have a gift for prophecy. He felt alone and abandoned by his brothers. I have been having a bumpy time relating well to those in my church, and have been left alone from my peers in Christ too.

So these qualities of my life never really amounted to much of my particular notice or even care. I always like a fly on the window attempted to create friendly or intimate relationships with those in my church, but magically it doesn't work out for me like it does every other woman I know. But now that I see the end result of Joseph's alone-years, I wonder, is God preparing me too for something great (displaying his glory)?

So lately now I keep analyzing myself to see if I measure up well when I am tested. And I often don't. In fact in a lot of ways I have a long, long way to go. So maybe I'm totally reading "too much" into Genesis, I wonder.

Even if you take away all the "coincidences" of the similarities between us, I am still left with one thing that I know now isn't going to go away: I desire to serve Christ. I want the kind of life that loves God so much and is willing to do anything for Him that He might really let his power flow through me for the sake of others. I can't rid myself of this desire; in fact, as the days pass, it only grows.

And in the meanwhile God IS utilizing it. Whoa! Joseph had to wait, and so do I need that! I'm gonna need a lot more years of quiet lack of notoriety before I could possibly be ready like Joseph was, to give all glory to God when tempted. God let me do some awesome things, being a source of a blessing's flow, and see some humungous answers to prayer this week. It was like a breeze of blessing. I don't know why this is happening. I almost want God to take it back. Let me suffer in unutilization so that I won't be tempted toward pride. In fact, I think I'll pray for that.

Meanwhile I do my church activities and see how I react when I am able to do something others can't -- prideful! Dumb. I'm not any good to God if I take his glory. I don't want to be any good to God if I take his glory.

Isn't redirecting the praise to Him the whole point of being given a gift/appointed to service?

What a confusing mess I am.

Eh, throw it all into the fire and burn it. I'm not going to try and plan the future. God will show me what I am meant to be when I'm truly ready to become it.

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