My Verse

Isaiah 43:1

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Isreal, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crater of Diamonds and More Unearthing of My Heart

Last week, my husband took some vacation time. Because it was sort of short notice we didn't really have time to go anywhere fancy, and so we looked at the map to see what was close by.  Texas being such a big state, we knew we didn't want to spend the majority of our time driving across it.  Arkansas, here we come!
It was a short 4 hour drive to Murfreesboro, and in no time we were digging our way to a retirement fund!  Ha, not really!  For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, here is a little insight:
Being the amateurs that we were, we picked a comfortable spot close to the entrance, and started digging.  The girls were excited!  Caeli just knew we were going to strike it rich and find a diamond, and Alyvia was concerned that everyone else would beat us to the diamonds, and we would leave empty handed (which we did).  
We had filled one bucket full of dirt, and Stacy and Caeli had headed off to the washery (I guess that is what you call it, I'm so official!).  Alyvia was skipping and throwing rocks, and I was busy digging (but not enough to really get dirty, it was very superficial).  I would thrust my shovel into the ground and pull up some fresh muddy dirt, and then Alyvia and I would comb through it (sort of), and then I would dig some more.  
I hit something hard.  A large rock!  You know the kind (well if you've ever done any digging of any kind for any reason), buried beneath lots of dirt, and all you can see is one tiny corner, but you know its gotta be huge cause you can't just reach in and pull it out.  So, I got my shovel and tried to find where this rock ended.  
Probably because I'm stubborn, but also because I'm so curious, I couldn't just let it go.  I had to figure out where this rock ended so I could pull it out, and get back to digging!  I mean I was gonna find a diamond (yeah right)!

There are a couple of analogies I can think of, that would apply to my spiritual life right now.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking part in Redemption Groups at church.  For more information about it, check out Mike Wilkerson's book Redemption.  

God has been unearthing my heart.  Kind of like my experience in the field digging for diamonds.  Only, God knows where to look, exactly, and He's not looking for tiny minute diamonds, He is digging to get to my heart.  And just before we left for vacation, I had reached a point where I told God, "Enough already."  He just kept thrusting that shovel into my dirt, and it seemed with every strike I was being left more vulnerable and open.  "But God, I want to keep my heart buried.  It is easier this way.  Can't you  just surface look?"  He thrusts His shovel in again.  "Why do You insist I deal with this, now?"  
My heart, to Him, is a precious jewel.  
He gave all His possessions to buy this field of dirt in order seek out that precious jewel. 
Matthew 13:44  
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

He has purchased me with the blood of His Son.  Who am I to say, "enough, stop digging in my life"?  And so He thrusts His shovel in, each day, unearthing this buried treasure, the precious jewel, pearl of great price, because He longs for it.  He desires my heart, not my actions or words or good thoughts, He desires my heart.
Psalm 51:10a Create in me a clean heart oh God.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Plowing the heart

Two things about me:

1)  I do not have a green thumb anywhere on my body!  I have killed an ivy, and I think my fake plants are starting to die, too!

2)  I'm not a heart person.  I'm a head person.  My  head over rules my heart, 9 out 10 times.  I will give up something I most want, if my brain over thinks it, and has determined I don't really need it. 

Now that you know these two things,  it should be easier to understand why a thing such as Redemption Groups, at my church, is challenging.  It is plowing the heart. 

So, I looked up what exactly plowing is.  I mean, I know it's done, but never really why (there goes my brain).  I do know that seeds need three things; air, water, and warmth.  So, a farmer plows.  The hard dried out top layer of dirt is broken and turned over, exposing the more tender and soft dirt underneath.  It makes the ground healthy, and ready for sowing.  My dirt heart is exposed. 

God, the creator of my heart, Lord of this dirt, but is He father?  daddy?  I keep turning this thought, and I find it difficult to grasp.  In prayer, He is Lord, God, maybe even Heavenly Father (which puts Him at an unattainable distance).  I see His might and power, His sovereignty.  I sing of His glory and greatness.  What do I know of His love and compassion.  His Fathering?

I've played the part (and rather poorly) of toy soldier, obedient subject, servant even.  But there is a part I have not played or accepted, a part that He Himself calls and draws us into.  The daughter.  I am told to come to Him, but I want to fold my arms in around my heart.  I want to cover my aches, my sins, my wounds, my humanness, my dirt.  But He wants it all.  I keep covering it up, and He keeps turning it over.  Back to this spot, this tender spot.  I think it is to do some Lordly, Godly, unknown thing to me.  But maybe, He wants to Father this lump of turned over dirt.  To give me a daddy moment.  I am scared, projecting on my Lord, all the images of failing earthly fathers. 

His sovereignty is above me, but His love is directed to me, in me, surrounds me.  His love is involved.  His love is abounding, occurring, existing in great quantities.  It is rich and well supplied.

Psalm 103:8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Mark 14:36  And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Romans 8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Works vs. The Lord's

Some days, I feel like I'm the one doing all the work.  Every task seems mundane and tedious, like rolling a rock up and down a hill, with no results to show for it.   

Some days, like yesterday, I feel the Holy Spirit.  My words are seasoned, my actions intentional, I see real evidence of fruit and seeds and growth.  

I realized something yesterday.  I measure myself according to those days, as if it was all by doing.  I say on the good days, "I feel accomplished.  Everything I wanted to happen, happened, and in the way that I wanted it to."  I say on the other days, "I am a failure today, I have accomplished  nothing.  I have wasted time, I haven't done this or that, and nothing has turned out the way I wanted it to.  This day I am a failure."

Is the Lord of the good days and the bad days?  
Is He Lord of my life yesterday, but not today?  
Yesterday, God was good.  
Is He still good today?

When I take into account my actions and words, I see a central theme. 

Is it the Lord who works, or me?  It is the Lord, and His Holy Spirit is at work in me.  On my good and bad days, it is the Lord always, and I want to give Him glory, regardless of how the day seems to be going.  What does that look like?  

When I'm yelling at my kids, is God getting glory?  No, of course not.  But when He convicts me, and I repent, and I confess, He is glorified.  In my weakness He is made strong.  He is stronger than my mistakes, and I may have failed, but He has not.  He can take my failings and turn them around and use them for His glory.  My works=failure, weak, missing the mark, full of sin.  The Lord's work=perfect, strong, complete, bringing glory to His name.  Thank You Lord for working in me!

Lord, continue Your work in me.  Your word says that You are faithful to complete the good work that You have begun.  Help me to remember that You are always in control, that in all things You will be glorified, that my life is not my own.

What I Am Reading: Dangerous Journey

This summer I went to a homeschool book fair with a friend of mine.  Talk about book overload!  It was amazing!  I. Love. Books!
I picked up a children's version of Pilgrim's Progress, called Dangerous Journey.  I knew that we would be going through it this year, but I didn't realize how much I would enjoy it, and my children too!
Simply put, it is a story of a dream of the christian journey.  It has opened the door for some deep conversations about destruction, salvation, and the journey to The Celestial City.  
 Yesterday, my 5 year old exclaimed out the blue,
"I love that book you're reading to us." 
While my older child seems bored with it, I know that she is at least thinking about things, and that makes my heart glad.  My prayer is that God will use this to soften and mold her heart, to place in her a desire to run the race.