Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slightly Less Voiceless

Well its been several weeks now that I've been unable to vocally lead worship. It has been difficult, to say the least. Worshiping God is such a big part of my spiritual inhale and exhale that these constraints make me cry sometimes.

And while my mind is buzzing around the potential whys of something like this (a lesson in healing, a sign to step away from all my tasks, an attack resulting in more pressing in - I could go on and on), the truth, I find, is usually a little of each but never quite what I expect. HE is so interesting like that.

I am, in essence, hedged in with thorns all about me. And, my Father, who knows and is capable of all things is aware of me and where I am. Check out this encouragement from a sweet friend, Charis Scofield,

"press into Him in this season of laying down... it can be the greatest place of encounter because Jesus is the ram with His horns caught in the thorns."

(can you tell she's a writer? You can find more of her poetic wisdom here.)

There are other 'points of light' that make this all the more meaningful. And by 'points of light', its just my way of saying that God usually speaks to me in themes during a season yet in various, seemingly disconnected parts of my life. For example, while I'm home and struggling with hoarseness that keeps me from my occupation, my little sister is embarking on a life change but in her stories I'm distilling lessons that apply to me here and now. How could she know? Its unintentional. Its part of my ongoing divine conversation with my Maker.

She is in the first week of an internship at a prayer ministry. She is mature, freshly graduated from college and has actively followed the Lord her whole life. She is not a baby christian. However there are rules and constraints where she is that she must submit to in order to stay. So many of these are precautions to keep the weak and foolish safe (in my opinion) and are therefore redundant to the point of frustrating (in my opinion). Restrictions on internet use, curfews and few breaks are great for those attempting to break sinful, destructive habits. But she is a CHAMPION the whole way. When I scoff at how she can't use the internet in her room but must always be in a public place which is rarely accessed due to the minimal free time, I scoff, but she says, "I get why its necessary."

These are her rights! She's having to give over even the most simple of her rights! Without a fight! Before the Lord, none of these things are wasted and she is, in essence, laying down her rights just like Jesus did when he walked the earth "for the joy set before him" and for a greater glory. For the next six months she is laying it all aside for the greater glory of knowing Jesus.

As my heart warmed to the beautiful humility and glory of this gesture, I began to wonder when I would ever have the opportunity to do something similar. I have a family, I can't do an internship. When will I ever be exposed to a structured environment that would draw those things out of me - and will I realize it in time or will I choose scoffing, refuse the invitation and lose out on the whole experience. How heartbreaking.

This is why Charis' encouragement is so timely. I am hedged in with thorns! I love the book of Hosea. By the final chapters, I am always in tears at the Lord's words of kindness and patience to Israel who had been unfaithful over and over. HE is so glorious! And HE has invited me to restriction and dying to my own ways. This is good news. I would rather be near His fiery burning heart and get burned than be outside, choosing my own path, but of no consequence to the One who created me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Colorless

I'm finding myself in a situation - over and over - where it feels like I'm being drained of my color.

I'm out on a limb here. This is vulnerable discomfort. I don't like to speak in the midst of discomfort and struggle. I tend to go on 'lock down' and get especially internal when I'm wrestling for my footing. When I'm slipping around on old ideas that have melted beneath my feet and I need to search for rock solid truth on which to reestablish myself - and then I'll talk about it.

And when I know, I'll make sure to add some resolution to this post. But for now I'm leaning on the fact that the Psalms are full of victorious songs and vulnerable songs.

When I was 19 years old I was counseling at a Foursquare summer camp for the middle school age kids. The leaders of the camp and the represented churches took the counselors aside once to encourage, bless and pray for the counselors. I received two life defining words from the Lord (though I didn't know at the time). One in particular has become part of the language He and I have:
-a woman came to me and said, "I see you walking in the forest and the scene is black and white and you are happy even though its just black and white around you. And I see you reaching a gate and when you walk through the gate you and everything around you turns into bright and vivid color." I knew it to mean that my current life was black and white and I was headed into color. And I did.

So, I've reached this certain place again where for the 6th week or more...I feel the color draining out of me. Is it really draining? Am I just in a newer season of the invitation to take my Isaac, my color and lay it down before a trustworthy Father? I just don't know right now. I'll intercede with my tears until then, trusting that He is the Author and Perfector of my journey. Which I can say with all the confidence in me that is very much IS.

I've also spent the past 10 days dealing with a respiratory sickness that has effected my breathing and taken my voice away. I've had to forfeit my singing and worship leading to others for a week now. Without the release of singing, even my spirit feels like it can't breathe.

So...I guess that leaves me feeling a bit colorless and homeless. That is oddly funny to me!

Psalm 42
"As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?.......
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence."

(don't worry, I'm still smiling)