Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Permission or Invitation?

Hi little ones! (okay, okay, I'm the little one :o)

I'm already in the Christmas swing! I just want to drink apple cider, cocoa, egg nog (even though it makes me ill) and bake and shop and wrap gifts and visit with family and watch Christmas movies... and... and... and :o)  Speaking of visiting with family, that's exactly what I've been doing every evening this week so that means today's post is a re-post! But, it was one of my first and I'm sure you all haven't already read it... Even if you have, I made some changes and enhanced the colors to make it Christmasy so you can read it again with a fresh perspective!

Love you all, merry early Christmas!
The Situation: I was praying about life and my future in particular, one thing I said to God was “You have permission to change my mind on this.” I wanted Him to know He is welcome to change my mind at any time... When I pray, I tell God where my heart is but I need Him to know just because I think something is a good idea doesn’t mean I will proceed even if I find out it’s not what He wants for me.. Kind of like when you are in a relationship; you wouldn’t make a decision to go on vacation to Alaska if your partner hated snow, you would talk and choose something you both would like. Well, I talk everything over with God (which is praying... if you’re one of the people who doesn’t get how people “pray,” praying is conversing with God like you would with others, maybe in a more respectful manner.)

The Thought: Since when does God need permission to do anything? Is it really permission he’s looking for or something else?

The Analogy: Friends, do they just give you permission to visit or actually invite you, and which is the preferred method? I never go places I am not invited; I have close friends who say “you can come over any time!” “You’re always welcome, just stop in” and I say that to my friends as well. I know I have permission to be there but just showing up somehow still feels intrusive.. At the very most I will call and hint for an invitation but if I don’t get one I am not coming.

The Conclusion: Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” It’s not so much calling to hint for an invitation.. God goes one step further and actually shows up but he knocks and waits for your invitation to come in.. Invitation extends automatic permission but permission itself seems to lack actual invite.

The Difference: What makes one better? It’s the welcome, the admittance of need or want, honesty, directness... You can imply the desire for a relationship but it’s so much better to ask for it, a lot of people are far too scared to assume you’re interested in them and God wants the same.

My Response: “Let me be direct, God, in case I haven’t been clear with you, you are now invited into my future, my decisions, my relationships and every other part of my life, everyday! I do need you and want you involved with me. Please, come in.”
Your Response: Well, that’s up to you... But I hope it’s a “here goes” type even if you’re not entirely sure it’s worth it. Just try it, see what it’s like to have the best friend ever! John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Friday, September 18, 2009


"OK, I love that plan!!" "Sounds GREAT!! Where do I sign up!?" "I'm totally ready to go... I want your promises and I want them NOW!" These are a few of my many thoughts about God's Plan for my life. I have even gone so far as to try to give them a little boost start by planning to move, telling others about the promises given to me so they could help God get things done in a 'little more timely fashion'.. But, what exactly is a timely fashion when it comes to God's plan?
"It seems to me the plans God has for me can't possibly be fulfilled in my rather small City so I should move.. Maybe go to Christian College in the United States, or down south to a mega church, I don't know... Just AWAY!" He hasn't let me get anywhere yet... At times it all seemed to fall into place, but when it cam down to the moment of opportunity, nothing "felt right". I cried to God; argued with him; tried to convince him how and where to get this started; and reminded him of my existence and frustration about where I had, as of yet, not been placed. All the time God kept me. He Kept me in a church when there were no more than three people my age there. He kept me alive and sane through a family being torn apart by divorce, death and hatred. He kept me close to his side even when I drove spears of my rebellion into his flesh. "Thank you Lord for loving me when to everyone and anyone else I would be unlovable!"
I had all but completely given up on the dreams he so carefully, thoughtfully and lovingly put in my heart. I stopped believing in the God who fixed my life being able to make the future he promised (to all who are willing to follow him) tangible. Philippians 1:6 (New International Version) "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

My tattered hopes and faded dreams were now just a nagging memory on the back burner of my mind, something I thought I had long ago thrown away but everywhere I turned there were reminders of who I was supposed to be. So I decided to sit down, shut-up and let him teach me, change me, mend me, break me; whatever he had to do to help me undo what I'd become.

1st lesson, you're not all you can be until you are willing to let go of everything and everyone He asks for. Sometimes he keeps the sacrifice you offer and consumes it in a burning fire but other times he just wants to know you are willing and provides another sacrifice so you won't have to give back what you love. (reference Genesis 22:1-13) I gave up my best friend in the world, I knew by the way things went down it was a God thing, and worth all the doors it opened to be able to pour myself into other relationships and teach people how to deal with unexpected situations... The sacrifice still hurt but there was something freeing in knowing I could give even that to God.

2Nd Lesson: Look for people to encourage in the ways you lacked encouragement. Nothing made me feel better than helping someone else, whether in private, anonymous ways or public. The reward that comes from knowing you helped change or shape the direction of some one's day is amazing! Not to mention, call it karma or whatever you would like, every time you help someone else God makes sure you get the help you need.

3rd lesson: Search yourself (and if you have someone you trust to help ask them to search you), be honest and look for things you should be changing to be a better person... Oh do I ever sound like Oprah now lol.. But seriously, try checking out your motives and values there's probably something you can work on and you never know, maybe by changing you will open the door to your destiny!

4Th lesson: God's right. Accept that maybe it's your own timing that is off, accept that maybe the only thing you think you want at the moment wouldn't be that great for you after all and let go of the things that hold you back.
5Th lesson: "Don't talk about the mess in your neighbors back yard until you've cleaned up your own" T.D. Jakes, I believe, forgive me if it's wrong... Basically mowing your grass is a permanent chore (unless you have AstroTurf and we all know how classy that would look covering you whole back yard... Really, unless you have a pool... OK, I'll leave that one alone ha!) so what makes you think that the first time you decide to clean up the mess in your life means you never have to look at that again or plant something nice? If you do have everything under control and you're just maintaining and you feel you have time on your hands why don't you try adding to your already charming qualities or do something nice for your neighbor instead of making another mess to clean up by talking about them... Yeh, I know that one can step on your toes a bit, but that's good, it means there is something to work on there :o) And if you're angry that I have the nerve to say that don't be I'm working on me as well and if that doesn't quite work for you blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-a-a-alpha & Omega lol..
6Th lesson: "You don't have to believe in my dream" also T. D. Jakes... and if you have time to listen to that sermon you should, it will help you! Basically, who are you trying to please, God or people? And if I promise you an ice cream (and I have a record of fulfilling promises as good a God's) then why would anyone other than you have to believe me? If others didn't believe would that stop me from giving you the ice cream I promised? (let me help you with the answers... No they wouldn't and No it wouldn't) The only thing is, if you don't believe it and keep talking like it's never going to happen to everyone around then avoid me because you're mad I won't give you the ice cream (which I would) it may tick me off to the point I will give your ice cream to someone who asks for it.. References Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death..."

I know this one might have sounded a little preachy, probably mostly because I am talking (typing) to myself... It may be influenced by the family of preachers I seem to have ha! But Whether you're Christian or not I think it applies and if you're not and you try it I promise God will meet you at the point of your faith (if you are trying it you have a little faith that it might work) and you will see that he loves you and since he loves you he wants the best for you and since he's God he can and will make sure that, in the end, you will be in your destiny.

The surprising thing to me... I am still here, in my small town that I wanted so desperately to leave, and now I realize that this is the place where God is leading me to my destiny, I am exactly where he wants me and, even when I get antsy, where he wants me is where I want to be.. I may not be looking back saying he fulfilled every promise yet but that's because I am watching him work in the present and looking ahead to where he is taking me. I'm still in God's classroom in many ways but I know he's preparing me to go into the 'work field'... So get your butt to class, he's pretty good about excusing you being late as long as he knows you're there to learn.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

All the way

"When somebody loves you; It's no good unless he loves you all the way... Deeper than the deep blue see is. Thats how deep it goes if it's real. When somebody needs you, it's no good unless he needs you all the way. Through the good or lean years and for all the in-between years, come what may. Who know where the road will lead us? Only a fool would say. But if you'll let me love you, it's for sure I'm gonna love you all the way" - Frank Sinatra Now you know 2 things about me: I'm a romantic at heart (truth be known, every woman, if she is strong enough to admit, is a romantic) and I only like to do things "all the way". I've never been a "faker", not really able to temper many of my words if someone wants my true opinion... "Does this look good on me?" Response, "Ah... no." Known for being a little too outspoken (hey, I'm working on the sugary wording).. One day while walking down a main street with my mother, in the middle of a 'small-talk' sort of conversation, I realized I didn't truly know the one person who I was supposed to be in the most important relationship with. Uncontrollable tears streaming down my face, I froze on the spot. Mom, looking back, realizing she was now having conversation with herself, asked "Are you alright? What happened?" My reply, although now faded memory went something like "I don't even know him... My whole family knows him, I know his relationship with them, I know the words he would speak to anyone int any given situation, have read all his letters to me, spent countless hours talking about him and even too him directly, yet, somehow, I've lost who he is!" (Yes, I realize that's a run-on sentence, but it was when I spoke it.) Quite a shocker from the light, fluffy conversation we were having just seconds ago, mom fell silent. "I'm not doing anything just because I know it's an appropriate action, not speaking words just because they are expected, not putting on a face just because I know people are watching, I have to get real!" The conversation went on as mum turned me around and headed back toward home with onlookers most likely thinking I had just received horrible news (you get the point, I'm sure).
So, I started by telling him what was going on with me, it's not that I wanted out of the relationship at all, not that he had done anything wrong (in fact, just the opposite, it was the best love I ever had and have since experienced) but I needed some time to back up and make sure I was being honest with him. I made sure to spend time with him to show him I was serious about the relationship and re-building true, pure love. I'm sure I hurt his feelings but he certainly didn't make me feel out of line and after a few awkward times of silence he seemed to almost enjoy starting over.
I'm not sure what it was that got me lost in the first place.. Maybe it was eyes watching or the judgements people passed, possibly my expectations of how it "should be" then trying to navigate the path to those imaginary places on my own.. Maybe it was the lack of conversation about those expectations in the first place.. or possibly it was my eyes on other people's relationships and my own judgements about what went on behind closed doors the lead me astray.. Whatever it was, I just wanted authenticity and the only way I knew I could possibly get there was to strip the relationship down to its foundation.
My questions: Why did I fall in love with him in the first place? Did I really fall in love with him or my ideals of who he was supposed to be? If I didn't fall in love with him, is it possible now? Am I a horrible person because after years of time he invested in me I am just asking these questions now?
My Answers: I don't know why I fell in love or if I even did... I know I want to love him and to do that I have to get to know him as if we just met today.. Can I fall in love with him now depends on who I find him to really be.. Am I a horrible person? Probably, especially if the answer to the third question turns out to be no.
My Process: Let him know who I really am, I have tried to be sincere but I know there are times I do and say things because it's appropriate, expected or desired by someone other than myself. That meant telling him when he did something I didn't like and/or didn't understand, asking for his forgiveness when I made mistakes (which, if you know me, is pretty much a daily occurence). It meant telling him my thoughts and feelings about anything and everything even when I am embarrassed to admit them; telling him my likes and dislikes even when they didn't coincide with his.
Find out who he really is, without putting my rose colored glasses on about who I think he should be.. That meant accepting that he doesn't always say yes when I want something, he doesn't always agree with me, he doesn't always want to hang out with the same people or in the same places I do, sometimes he just wants to stay in and turn the tv off to talk about issues I would rather distract myself from (I once heard that true love makes you face all the things you try to hide and deal with your past and personality issues.. I believe that now). That also meant knowing all the above are not negative aspects of a relationship.
I had to see my true self and change the things that are ugly when I have to look in the mirror (so to speak.. and I am still working on this one). I know everyone says you shouldn't change yourself for a relationship, and that's true when you are talking about pretending to be someone you are not.. But not so true when you are talking about things that truly are negative attributes you possess. That meant making myself vulnerable (which, especially when you come from a broken home, is not easy in any respect). It meant being accountable to someone about the things I see in myself that, if I were looking at someone else with these traits, are not becoming in any way.. For me it meant working on my temper, my sharp tongue, my need to have the last word... (A friend of mine, Justin, told me "you don't always have to jump to your own defence, you don't have to bring someone down just because you feel attacked in some way.. You need to be confident enough to know that really when people attack you verbally in public or you find out they have behind your back, it says more about who they are than what kind of person you are" he's right, that was probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice I have received in a lifetime.) That also meant realizing my fears and short-falls and letting them go, allowing myself to live confidently in spite of them. ("Courage is not the absence of fear..." Author unknown) I had to accept, other people may watch and judge and I understand that has no bearing on our relationship... And if he let it change anything that's on him.
I put the work in, put the time in... There were a few arguments but always underlying love and understanding we were growing something real and we would have to pull out some weeds every once in a while... Love isn't easy, it's hard work but it's worth it.
I began realizing that my parents splitting up when I was nine shaped the majority of my opinions on relationships and does affect the way I act in my relationships.. Giving him permission to show me when my past is affecting our relationship and if I'm angry trying to wait to respond once I've had the chance to think about it and realize he's right.. When I don't wait, apologizing about my reaction. I had to talk myself through a lot of this, making myself realize I do deserve to allow myself to be loved and to love back, just because my parents split doesn't mean my relationships have to.
He wants to love me and I am going to let him.. I want to love him, honestly, truly, deeply, so much I would die for him, without embarrassment or reservation, with reckless abandon, no matter who is or who isn't watching, I want to love him as good, or if it were possible, even better better than he loves me.
So I challenge you to do what I have done... I can tell you now, it worked for me, I am still in that relationship, people are watching and they recognize the raw truth in it... I know, it's almost enough to make you sick! Ha! I think this would work for any relationship.. Give the relationship time and work.. If it's old or new just try it.. Give the other person credit, be honest about how your feeling and tell them the plan to work on it, they will appreciate the honesty and know you're actually serious about making this work..
You may be surprised to know I've told you about my relationship with God.. Don't shut it down yet, hear me (or read me) out.. I have 5 uncles, a grammie and many cousins who are pastors, I have seen healing and miracles happen in front of my eyes.. I believed in God, knew he was real but wanted nothing more to do with a God who didn't talk to me about my life or who I couldn't hear his voice with anything to do with my life. I didn't want him talking to me about other people if he wasn't talking to me about myself.. Then I realized, I wanted to give him the chance, if for nothing else, so I could walk away with a clear conscience... I honestly put in the time and effort and it worked.. I'm not sure I wasn't surprised but I was glad. The Bible says "Taste and see that the Lord is good" you would only say you didn't like something without trying it if you were a child (or immature) so I'm just asking you to give God the chance you would give a new flavor of ice cream.. If I'm wrong, prove it to yourself by honestly trying the relationship. Do it ALL THE WAY!
PS. I'm not wrong