Saturday, July 6, 2013

And Now What?

After the last post where I said that I was jumping into radical faith, I clicked "Enter" to publish and then had a realization: I said that I gave God permission to come into my life and use it however He wished for His glory, but I hadn't actually said that.

I said things like, "God I want to let You in..."

"God, I want to give You complete control..."

"God, I want to be a sold-out believer..."

So once I realized I lied through my teeth on my last post (albeit unintentionally), I literally dropped to my knees.

And couldn't say a word.

My mouth was filled with cotton and I got clammy.

As I prayed, I started crying. The enormity of what I was about to say was suddenly hitting me like a million bricks.

I found my voice enough to croak out a prayer telling God I trusted Him enough to take my life for His purpose and His glory. I also prayed for peace and security in knowing He loves my kids more than I do.

I had a physical reaction to what I was saying and the weight of the "allowance" I was giving God.

So I sat there, on my knees, tears running down my cheeks.

And then a fight broke out between 2 of the kids and I snapped back to reality...

And the last couple of days I have read Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" and skimmed a few chapters of Jen Hatmaker's book "Seven". And now I am furiously scouring our house for items that I can give away.

If I can have 2 HUGE baskets of clean laundry that needs put away, a huge load in the wash and a huge load in the dryer PLUS 2 overflowing baskets of dirty laundry AND STILL have clothes in our drawers...we clearly have excess. Jen Hatmaker's book Seven discusses how she confronted the excess in her life and it has inspired me to do the same.

I used to be able to claim that, as a family of 8, we lived in a modest home and I felt good about saying that. Now, I'm embarrassed at the beautiful home we live in. It's obscenely big. We have an entire finished basement that houses an enormous living area, a full kitchen, a guest room, and a full bath that we don't even use. The living space we do use on a daily basis is ridiculously large as well.

Do we feel blessed? Of course. Without a DOUBT! Are we grateful? Absolutely.

But it feels a little...much.

I know there are so many with so little and here we are with this huge house in a great neighborhood and MORE than we can practically use.

I am attacking all of that with prayer and humility.

We have been so greatly blessed by so many that we feel it's only right that we give back.

I know that having much isn't bad all by itself, but what we do with what we've been given is key.

I have been toying with the idea of opening up our home for Bible studies. We're making an effort to connect with others in our area and that could be one good way to do that.

One thing that I have to guard against is "recognizing" in others who have not taken the same step I have. Even Joe isn't exactly on board with what I prayed. He has no problem with me doing that, but he admitted that he can't bring himself to tell God to "take anything" if that would happen to mean our kids.

Here is where we can get into a sticky conversation.

Do I think God "takes" people?

I don't. Not exactly.

I believe God can do anything.

I believe he has a will for our lives. Every single one of us.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) tells us that: "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."

I believe that. And if I believe that about me, I have to believe that about our kids.

But bad things happen. You can see that just by scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed or turning on the news.

And I believe that through these bad things God has worked wondrous miracles that make no sense to us at the time.

I think my prayer to let God have my life reflects more my faith in Him taking care of me regardless of what happens in life than me believing He will "cause" something to happen in my life that may hurt or be uncomfortable.

I still struggle with that and I want to place an impenetrable force field around my kids so nothing bad ever happens to them, but I am learning that the ONLY way I could make it through would be with God's strength.

And getting there has taken me 36 years. And I still catch my breath when I think about that prayer I prayed.

But over and above those feelings of fear (which I believe are a useful tool to the enemy) is the realization that God has a PLAN. To PROSPER us and not to HARM us.

And reading some of these authors who have taken these very scary steps that I am only beginning to take has been so rewarding and comforting. At the risk of being seen as a stalker, let me mention Jen Hatmaker again. She and her husband Brandon have church planted in an very run-down part of town in Texas. They believe God led them to uproot themselves form the comfortable suburban life and church they were a part of and get in knee deep with the disenfranchised and less fortunate. To remember those who Jesus had a soft spot for: the poor. To cut excess out of their lives and trust God to take care of the details.

Some may say I am a control freak. Some. (Read: my husband).

I like to have a hand in the outcome of most things having to do with my life.

So, "letting go and letting God" is akin to sword swallowing for me.

But I am getting there. Getting there.

Slowly, but right on time.

As God's timing always seems to be.

Never early. Never late. Right on time.

He's been waiting for me to be ready to take this on. And I {think I} am.

Are you having the same kind of thoughts? Do you feel so abundantly blessed and like you want to share those blessings with others? Pray with me. Pray that God will lead us to where He wants us to share those blessings. I'll be praying for you too. ;)
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