OK, no one would ever accuse me of liking rap. However…..listen to this song & read the words. It may be my new favorite song. And you can hear Lecrae’s story here.
My friend (youth pastor’s wife & youth leader herself) asked me to co-facilitate a small group with some senior high school girls. I’ve felt a tug to work with high schoolers a few times over the years, but quite honestly, I’ve been afraid to do so. Especially girls….think that’s why God gave me boys! They still kinda scare me, but I know this is a good thing – for me and hopefully for them.
To kick it off, we planned to have dinner together (always a good way to celebrate fellowship, isn’t it?) and for the adults to “tell their story.”
I thought about ahem, The Holy Spirit gave me the idea to make up a “fun” quiz – you know the kind – where the girls would guess which adult this describes: “I was on a dance team for 6 years.” Gee, I wish that one was mine…
In my mind, it was intended to be fun, but nothing is wasted in the Lord’s world, right? When I originally read my friend’s list, I felt a little jealous: “Man, she sounds more interesting than me.” In fact, I was even having trouble REMEMBERING anything about me BC (and by that I mean BEFORE CHILDREN). So I decided I’d do the smart thing – COPY OFF HER!
Interestingly enough, my memories started firing. And even more interesting, I found out that she and I have MANY things in common….which led me to think about topics of conversations to have with the girls.
I know what they’ll probably think. I’m a mom and so old in their minds that I couldn’t POSSIBLY understand and empathize with what they’re going through – what they think, feel, imagine, what they’re hurt by, what they wonder about, what they have doubts about, what they’re scared about. I’m sure they can’t believe it, BUT I can guarantee that THEY and I have more in common than they can imagine.
I would also bet that I’m NOT the person they think I am. Trust me, I’m not so smooth that everyone thinks I have it all together, but I admit I do wear my I’m-Fine-I’ve-Got-Things-Under-Control Mask most of the time. Don’t you, too? At least now, after the quiz, the girls know that:
- I’m a klutz.
- I got into a real fight (physical, not an argument) once.
- I can raise one eyebrow.
- I’m shy and don’t have much self confidence.
- I once spewed green peas all over the dining table when my mom made me eat them.
- I climbed inside the Statue of Liberty up to her crown.
- I’m not the one who said all the athletic things…..
I am reminded of how Paul told us in 1st Cor 9:19-23 that he became “all things to all people.”
And I’m reminded that people I come into contact with – including those that I think can’t POSSIBLY have anything in common with ME – are beloved children of the Almighty….who deserve to hear the Good News as much as I do.
I’m also reminded of ONE of the original reasons for this blog – the need to be authentic, open and even vulnerable to others.
So I pray that I will be as Paul – “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
So do you.
We all know people who are dying.
This past Sunday before the worship team prayed for the service, our pastor said (badly paraphrased) “Let’s pray for the people we need to reach. They are all dying, you know.”
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I tried to pray out loud, but I was crying too much. The word “undone” keeps popping up in my world lately, and it describes that moment perfectly. I was UNDONE.
It keeps resonating in my head, in my heart. THEY’RE DYING. They’re dying, and I have the Medicine that could save their lives! Why am I withholding it from them, Jesus? WHY?
I have all kinds of excuses:
- I’m not good at that. (What? Talking? You certainly do enough of it. I think you can handle it.)
- People won’t listen to me. (You should be used to that. You have kids. My Children don’t always listen to Me either, but that doesn’t mean I stop trying to talk to them, does it?)
- I’ll show You by the way I live. (Really, Chrystal?…Oh yeah, sorry, Lord. I blow it a lot, don’t I?…I always forgive you.)
- I can’t say the things I want to say very well.(My friend Moses said that, too. I spoke for him. Why do you doubt I will speak for you?)
- I won’t know how to answer their questions.(I gave you an Instruction Manual.)
- I’m scared.(My child, how many Do Not Fear’s and I AM With You’s do I need to give you?)
- What will people think of me? (I was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But I did this because I love you. Can’t you love Me enough to risk someone’s negative opinion of you?)
My child, may I point out something to you? What word do you keep seeing in those excuses?
I see one of the smallest words in the English language – “I” – small and weak in every way. And that’s the crux. It’s all about me. Please forgive me, Jesus. I don’t want it to be about me any longer.
Listen here when Penn Jillette, an atheist who says he KNOWS there is no God, talks about a Christian man who came up to him after a show. “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible & not tell them that? If I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was going to hit you & you didn’t believe it, there’s a certain point where I tackle you….and this is more important than that.”
That video totally makes me feel like such a loser.
Jesus, please open my eyes and heart to those who are dying. Keep that phrase THEY ARE DYING as powerful as it was the first time I heard it. Give me whatever it is that I need to tell them Your Good News. Amen.
……I’m going to share something with you.
I actually feel butterflies in my stomach about this and truly wonder if I should publish this. But I think I’m supposed to. So I’m praying even as I type. Is this too personal? Lord, is this just MY private thing to ponder in my heart? Or is this a way of “stepping out of the shadows” that I heard about in Sunday’s sermon?
Today is my younger son’s 17th birthday, and the Holy Spirit reminded me this morning about one of my very important purposes in life and the unique way He told me.
About three years ago at my Life Group, we were discussing our concerns about our lives not mattering, not making a difference, etc. One of the members mentioned that some people get their sense of worth through their accomplishments. I leaned over to another friend and joked, “THERE’S my problem. I don’t have any major accomplishments!”
My husband and I came home that night to find the aforementioned son asleep on the couch. As I tried to awaken him, he, still asleep, said very clearly, “SECOND ACCOMPLISHMENT.”
“What?” my husband and I laughed, “Honey, what did you say?” Again, “SECOND ACCOMPLISHMENT.”
How random, we thought. What is he dreaming about?
Later, in the middle of the night (yes, I am a middle-of-the-night and in-the-shower revelation kind of girl), I suddenly and completely woke up with the words SECOND ACCOMPLISHMENT and the clear understanding that my 2nd son was my second accomplishment and my firstborn was my 1st.
The very next day in an email devotion, I got my confirmation. “I guess the part of me that wants to hustle through these mundane tasks longs for the excitement of the “real” work, the stuff that really matters. You know, the exciting stuff that God is calling me to do that is so much more important than the mundane tasks that fill my days. Then the thought occurred to me, “What if the seemingly mundane activities of my day ARE the real stuff?”
And I am blessed.
Maybe not 365 of the exact phrase “Fear Not” but lots of encouragements to not worry or be anxious, to trust God, plus many references about peace. And reading an admission from the psalmist that says “WHEN (not IF) I am afraid, I will trust in You,” tells me that I am NOT the only fraidy-cat out there. Obviously, He was trying to tell us SOMETHING and knew we needed to hear it A LOT!
Reading my posts so far may lead you to think that I’m a mess. That I’m a sniveling, panic-stricken basket-case. Gosh, reading back over my posts even makes ME think that I should have named this blog Learning to BE NOT AFRAID. But don’t worry…I’m not. (Pun intended)
Yes. I HAVE struggled with fear and anxiety more often than I’d like during my life, and I told you I would TRY to be transparent and authentic. Soooooo, this is actually ALL just a testimony of how Jesus knows that. How He knows ME. How He loves me. How He wants to comfort me, transform me, make me perfect in love because “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Here’s a GC for you. And maybe someday, I’ll outline all the GC’s about Do Not Fear from my journal. There are lots of them. Like I said, He knows me.
Got this Valentine from Jesus at church yesterday. The one pictured above. FOR ME. It’s like it had my name written on the front of the envelope. I accidentally had picked up several but just knew that particular one was mine. Mind you, these were in SEALED envelopes…. So I guess it did have my name written on it in Jesus’ handwriting.
Thank you for my valentine, Jesus. I love You, too!
Okay, enough of the cowgirl talk. Seriously, I was writing a couple of posts that I just didn’t feel comfortable about – couldn’t get the words right and kept re-writing…so I asked for guidance during my journaling time. Then during my shower – what?!? Don’t you get revelations from the Creator of the Universe during YOUR shower? Yes, I know it’s weird but it happens a lot! Something about being vulnerable, I think, but that’s another story for another time – I suddenly realized that I was trying to be someone else. Someone more poetic & eloquent. Someone with grandiose ideas. (Like how I threw those big words in?)Someone who began the posts with a good question or thought but then tried to turn it into something…well, not me!
God: BE AUTHENTIC. Really, Chrystal, that was the WHOLE POINT (and that explanation would be here under WHY THIS BLOG at the top) of this!
Me: Oooohhh yeah. To talk about what I think, feel, worry about, and about our conversations – in my journal, quiet time, through books I read, and yes, even in the shower.
This is my effort to take some of those written conversations I have with God, make them a little less rambling, a little less personal, a little more organized and to the point – if I can. I said I’d try….
This post serves as a reminder to me…to keep me on the right path.