27 August, 2017

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

It is official, summer is over.  I've seen school buses in full operation and that means we're on to September, school days, football and all things Fall.  My summer ended after a long vacation with our family and honestly, it felt really great to step away from the merry-go-round of obligations, mission statements and to-do lists.  And more honestly, it felt less than great to return to busy, busy life.  But we are back, all of us, back to real life today.  So, what do we do now?  What is there for us?

In answering that question in my own mind, I was prompted to look back at the Summer Series. You and I took these summer months to study Matthew; we called it the Summer Series.  What did this series teach and has it somehow prepared us for the busy fall months?

•Follow Me and I will fulfill all that you've been searching for, all the questions you've asked, all the emptiness that never gets filled.
•Just a pinch of salt goes a long way.  A night-light can fill an entire room.
•I pray He will give my eyes a way to see His treasure only.
•He will NEVER stop looking for us.  He will never fail to hear our asks, lead our seeking and answer our knocks!  Do we dare be found?
•Am I expecting the Savior in my world today?  Just say the word, Lord and give me ears to hear.
•He is only there to save us, calm us, comfort us and turn on our hall light.  And as He lives inside of each of us, we have His strength, His Oneness with God...we have Him.
•Go to those in your world who need a touch, need a hand, need an ear.  He will provide all we need, every word we speak.  And it is the very best, most exhilarating experience for He is using us! 

Do I believe these points?  Yes!  I do believe but today...once again, after a blessed, blessed summer I stand wondering, what's next?  HOW do I apply these into my life?  For in my frailty and brokenness as a human-being, I find myself daily contemplating, daily striving for more and more of life.  In my little brain, it's as though the message has a really hard time penetrating my attitudes and my actions.  But suddenly, I received a gently whisper, "It's not primarily about what you do, it's mainly about seeking Me, seeking My glory.  For when you experience My glory you will realize all else disappears."

Today in church, we sang a new song and it spoke deeply to my soul.  This song spoke words to me that stop the striving and call me to the only place that truly matters, a place where I can see His glory.  Ironically, most often it's after the blessing (summer) ends and real life trials (fall) begin that I stop and ponder purpose, existence and meaning.  
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Exodus 33:15-20
As we go into these fall months, let's remember the lessons of summer but let's also be brave and desperate to call out to our God, "show me your glory."  His glory is what will sustain us and lead us and never fail us.  Let's remember that as He calls us into the world He is leading us by His glory.  Spend time today...real time...in listening, talking and seeking that Glory.

•••••

Here as we wait
Seek Your face
Come and make Your throne upon our praise
Here in this place
Have Your way
The moment that we see You, we are changed
Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
In wonder and surrender we fall down
Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
Let every burning heart be holy ground
HolyGround, from the album Worthy of Your Name · Songwriters: Mia Fieldes, Melodie Malone, Maurice Willis, Brett Younker · Published by: Lyrics © CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
 

12 August, 2017

It's in the Go

On campus this week, the streets are filled and parking lots are overflowing.  Pillows, shoe racks, plastic containers, luggage, lamps, headboards and every other imaginable item are being moved into resident halls and apartments.  Parents follow their children around like professional movers.  It's a grueling task and as a mom who is past this stage in life it makes me joyful (that I'm done with this phase) and reflective.

I too, loaded up a car this week.  We're loaded with beach gear, baby gear, homemade pies, salsa and every other type of food one could imagine.  We are so full that we can barely fit ourselves in the car to drive!  We are beach-bound and on the way to spend a week with our kids.  It's a bit like the resident hall move-in.  For I have prepared every imaginable item we could possibly need.  I want my family to know I love them.  I want to prepare and over-prepare for all their favorite things.  It's my heart's desire to over-love these most dear to me.  Just like the college move-in date, I have anticipated this trip for weeks.  My husband has even been counting down the minutes via family text.  It's been our JOY to prepare and today it was time to GO.

The GO for a new semester and a long-anticipated trip are somewhat the same.  There is excitement.  There is some nervousness as we wonder how things will turn out.
Are we ready?
What have I forgotten?
Will we get along?
Will my college student make friends?
Will these college professors like my kid?
Will he succeed in the college world?

But, the excitement is palatable.  The air is alive with anticipation.  For it is in the GO that the excitement exists.  The GO is what makes our hearts beat fast, and feel giggly, and feel fresh and alive.  It's the GO that gives us purpose and a destination.

There was another group who experienced the nerves and excitement of GO.  This is what their leader told them:
"Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick.  Touch the untouchables.  You have been treated generously, so live generously.
Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light."

“When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way." 
And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words." Matthew 10:6-20 excerpts (The Message)

We were made to Go.  And we've got a Parent who has over-loved us and over-prepared us for what is ahead!  We were made to get out of driveways, our comfortable routines and our safe environments.  I believe we were made to pack up our cars and our lives with every good thing we've been given and find those who need those very items.  God hasn't asked me or you to share what we do not have.  He has only asked us to share what He's given us...all the things, gifts, abilities we have.  In these words from Matthew, Jesus is giving the men closest to Him quite a send-off!!  They are excited to Go.  He is excited to send them.
But, we often read these words from the Bible and are so thankful that we weren't part of these twelve men.  We seem relieved that we weren't asked to GO.  But we are asked!

The exiting part of life is that we DO get to pack up, plan every detail, bake pies, hang curtains, haul boxes and help those around us.  Every day someone is need of the same kind of love required to move into residence halls and to take a family vacation.  That's what God is asking of us.  Go to those in your world who need a touch, need a hand, need an ear.  He will provide all we need, every word we speak.  And it is the very best, most exhilarating experience for He is using us!  The God of the universe is using my pie!  He's using my hug!  He's using my time!  Oh, my goodness, let's GO!!!

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