Monthly Archives: January 2014

Your heart is like a house

God says in Rev 3:20I stand at the door and knock anyone who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come and eat with him and he with me.”  

I liken our heart to a house. And God is knocking. You can hear someone knock at the door and you can hide upstairs because you don’t want to talk. You can yell through the crack, “I’m busy!” You can turn all the lights out and pretend you aren’t there. But the doorbell will start ringing incessantly and you can keep fighting opening that door. Or you can….. open the door and allow God to move in!  And for some of you who have never opened that door and let God move in, that will actually be a complete overhaul of your house. It will be like a housecleaner, an interior designer, a chef, a D.J., a handyman and a plumber came in and spiffed things up. And I can promise you that you will love your house so much more than you ever have!

But what is interesting, is that you can open that door and just let God in the living room. Some of you have let God chill on your couch for years, but you’ve never let Him go into your bedroom. You have never let him into your bathroom. You have never let Him into your office. Or maybe you have let Him move around, but really only occupy one space at a time. You kind of put limits on where God can go and when. And that’s when things get messy. Those rooms you haven’t been allowing Him in, the ones you have left vacant, those now, they are why your heart is in the place it is.That’s why bitterness and envy and resentment have all moved in. ( As I talked about last week in a post: There are so many things we want to change about ourselves and yet we locate the problem on a very surface level when in actuality the problem is a heart problem, a deeper problem.  And we have to get to the root of our problems and we need to start with our heart.)

Allow God in all the rooms all the time. If you have been what you call “born again”, which by the way is not a term to brag about and one up other people as if to say you are somehow more spiritual or tight with God. If you have been born again, meaning God has moved into you and given you a new heart and has put His Spirit in you. If that has happened, then you should be walking with His Spirit. Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. You should be brewing coffee with the Spirit. Disciplining your kids with the Spirit. Dating with the Spirit. Spending money with the Spirit. Allow God to move in. Stop fighting Him. Don’t hide anymore. Let go of pretending. God is not interested in a one-time visit. That’s why your heart is in the place it is. Invite Him in to stay.

The only part you can play in God changing your heart is to recognize the place your heart is in, recognize the rooms you haven’t let God into, or the entire house and receive. You can stay stuck or you can open the door and He will walk in and as Jesus says in John 14, He will make his home in you. In you! The cold, hard, drab, abandoned, vacant, bitter, ugly, hateful, jealous, selfish house you call your heart. And that’s when what is old becomes new again and again and again. That’s when God can change what we so desperately want to see changed!

What is Collide you ask?

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Collide is a day where women run into Jesus.

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It is day where women of all ages gather together. Women who are just getting to vote and women who voted for women to vote.october 040

They come from all different places, with different stories, different perspectives, different wounds, different insecurities, different senses of humor and different circumstances.

 

No matter what we have been through…

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Or where we are at right now…

Jesus collides with us and we are forever changed.

It is hard to put into words what takes place when hundreds of women gather together in anticipation of Jesus!

Maybe your problem isn’t your problem

According to Webster the word Resolution means “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.” I find this interesting  because this tells us as we look at our culture what we tend to think our problems are. The solutions to many of our problems are to drop 20 pounds, stop eating sugar, exercise daily, quit online shopping and wake up earlier than we have been because then maybe if we do all of these things our problems will be solved. Every year in January, we decide this is the time to get our life in order, change our ways and make new what has gotten so very old. So we set New Year’s Resolutions. And when we do, we are in essence saying “Hey maybe if I do this, I will solve my problems.” We might not think that’s what we are saying, but that’s what we are saying.  If I organize that room that could be highlighted in Hoarder’s, that will resolve my problems. If I fit in a smaller size jean, that will make my dating life show up. If I stop watching so much TV and start reading novels the size of dictionaries, I I won’t feel like I am wasting my life.”

res app

Now, don’t get me wrong, many of these things might be healthy habits that many of us could stand to live into, but what is really wrong with New Year’s resolutions is this: These are not the answers to your problems! Your problem is not how fat you are. (But this is coming from a woman to could stand to lose some LB’s.) Your problem is not being disorganized. Your problem is not TV. Your problem is not binge eating. Your problem is not a dry well of men to date and being too ugly to atract the two single men alive on the planet. Your problem is not being lazy. Your problem is not drinking too much.

You are reading this thinking, “How does this woman know what my problem is?” (Said with teenage angst) I don’t, but I do know this…I know that the thing you think will solve your problem is not usually actually your problem. We have to be a people who go deeper. If I eat too much, my problem is not eating too much, my problem is something deeper. What is it?  Maybe it’s a way to self soothe when I am feeling lonely. Maybe it is the one thing I can control because I can’t control anything else. If the first were true, my problem is not overeating, my problem is a deep rooted feeling of loneliness and a misguided understanding that turning to food will take that nagging feeling away. But rather than looking at the actual problem, we locate the problem on a severely shallow level. We say I have an eating problem. So we stop eating gluten, sugar, and fat and find ourselves gnawing on carrot sticks and even if it works and we get used to eating like rabbits and looking good in jeans, we have not dealt with the deeply rooted problem. And so we are still lonely. And our loneliness does weird things to us… Like… turning to trying too hard in relationships or controlling our circumstances or birthing an eating disorder.

Now this is one example. The point is this: When you resolve to do something, you are saying that is the answer to your problem and I would challenge us to be a deeper people who ask the question, “What is actually my problem?  Maybe your problem isn’t drinking, maybe it’s deep unresolved pain from your past and the wine won’t heal you, it will only numb you, which leaves you never getting whole. Maybe your problem isn’t being lazy, maybe your problem is that you are not living a purposed life. And so then your solution isn’t to just get off the couch, but instead to discover purpose! Maybe your problem isn’t sexual promiscuity, maybe it’s a deep desire to feel chosen and loved and sleeping around just keeps leaving you feeling unchosen and unlovable. Maybe it’s a heart problem.

Resolve to get to the root of your problem. Don’t resolve to solve your problems with shallow band aids that leave you worse off! Jesus always got to the root of the issue with people. Jesus starts there with people. And God knows what our issues are and He desires to fully make us whole- to truly resolve our problems. The problem is that we usually misdefine them and then we try to resolve them ourselves. And here Jesus stands saying, I will help you.

I think of the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus goes out of His way to meet this woman. She is at a well filling up her water jar and Jesus strikes up a conversation with her. She wonders why He is even talking to her because Jewish people didn’t talk to Samaritans and she was one. And men didn’t talk to women and here Jesus is chatting with her. Jesus tells her to go get her husband and she says “I have no husband.” And He says, “You are right when you say you have no husband because you have been with man after man after man after man.” This woman is blown away that Jesus knows everything about her life and her “problems”. But Jesus doesn’t say, “Hey, you need to resolve to stop sleeping around and getting divorced! You are a slut and you need to start living like a prude!” He begins with the root of her problem. Jesus basically shows this woman who she has been turning to in order to fulfill that deep longing she has within her…Men. And then He invites her to drink of Him. Jesus says in a sense, “I have water that if you drink, you will no longer thirst. This water that I have will fill you up so much so that it will overflow!”

water glass

Jesus goes to the root of the problem. He doesn’t waste her time and wants more for her. Her problem was her thirst and she was drinking in all the wrong places. You don’t see Jesus suggesting shallow band aids that distract this woman into further issues that create more thirst! So, why are we as God’s children trying to resolve our problems with shallow attempts that wound us even more and leave us deeply parched?

My challenge to each of us this year is this: If you are going to resolve anything, RESOLVE to get to the root of your problems and allow God to go there with you. It is then that we will leave our water jar at the well that just never seems to quench as this woman did, and actually live changed lives!

5 things in 15 years: what I have learned from my marriage

Just this past week, Rob and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary. I remember the day he proposed. It was his birthday and he kept insisting that the one thing he wanted to do was get on top of Blackcomb mountain in Whistler BC. After taking two gondolas, a bus and another gondola, we arrived! The view was panoramic! Incredible! It felt as though we were on top of the world. Just as we copped a squat, a man on a loud speaker piped up “The mountain is closing in 15 minutes.” Rob starting sweating and I couldn’t figure out why. He said “let’s pray!” So I prayed and thanked God for him and his life, it being his birthday and all. Them Rob prayed and thanked God for me and all that I am in his life. Then he asked that all too crazy question, “Will you marry me?” I said, “Shut up! Shut up!” Then he got out a ball of socks….

In that ball of socks was a ring and then and there, he asked me to be his wife. I said yes and that’s all she wrote. 15 years later we found ourselves celebrating our anniversary. Rob surprised me and made reservations for high tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC. As a family we walked into this place that has steeped tea for the likes of the Queen of England. The kids were all dressed up because they had known about this special surprise. In the midst of the tiers of scones, cupcakes, gingerbread, cucumber sandwiches and tea , I felt this fidgeting on my right leg. I thought Rob was trying to tell me that someone in the room was to be looked at. (This under the table nudge over our 15 years usually means ‘look up’.) I scanned the room and couldn’t figure out what he was talking about and then I look down and there was a ball of socks….

This time Rob had made a charm bracelet that told a story of all that we had shared from one ball of socks to the other. He would hate it if I admitted it, but he was tearing up like the Queen herself. That made me tear up. We have traveled many roads, fought hard, grieved deeply, misunderstood one another chronically, celebrated like crazy, laughed our pants off, disagreed and didn’t agree to disagree and changed and changed and lived 15 lives in 15 years. When I think about this journey, I have learned a lot from and about marriage. Here are a few of the things I have learned….

1. Marriage is not for wimps. When you have to live with another broken person and collide daily with all of your collective wounds, fears, habits, insecurities, beliefs, and desires, you are bound to run into trouble. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying through their teeth or naive as nuns. Marriage is not easy and if you are looking for easy or happy, it’s not here.

2. Marriage is a crucible. And let’s be honest who chooses to get in a hot crucible? When I have to learn to argue peaceably, my stubborn heart is challenged. When I have to respect the idiosyncracies of another person that might drive me absolutely nuts, God helps me realize my way is not the only way.  When we don’t agree on how to parent or what to do with our money, we have to navigate those conversations with love when we really tend to plow through them with irritation and anger. Marriage is the crucible God uses to shape us as individuals.  We can run from this character shaping or we can see it as, just that, and allow God to mold us and make us into who we are made to become.

3. Marriage is a mirror. When you interact with another broken being for life you can do one of two things. You can look at your spouse and point the finger at everything they are doing wrong, which I am really talented at doing. Or you can turn the finger around and point it at yourself. You can yank the plank out of your own eye, as Jesus would challenge, before you pick the speck out of your spouse’s. You can begin to see yourself and what and who you are really made of. Rob brings out in me who I really am. And very often I don’t like what I see. I often see a selfish, messy, dysfunctional, irritated, easily annoyed, nag of a woman. When I walk past this woman in the mirror, I can choose to stop and really look at the reflection that looks back at me and allow that reflection to say something. It is this reflection that God uses to invite us to become more like Him. What I often see in this mirror I wake up to and go to bed with is that I don’t love like I should. It is this very mirror that could actually make me a more loving, giving, selfless, beautiful person in all my relationships, if I truly allow God to change who I reflect.

4. Marriage is a spiritual discipline. For centuries people have practiced spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, meditation and the like. I see marriage as a discipline. For me, what I have learned is that I have to choose this. When I don’t like Rob, I, I have have to choose to love him. When I want to get in my car and never come back , I choose to stay. Why? Because that is how God loves. God loves me even if He doesn’t like what I am doing. God will never leave me or forsake me even if I am being utterly senseless. Marriage is a place I choose to live into because of my commitment to God and to who I know He wants me to be. Jesus calls me to love like crazy. Jesus calls me to sacrifice greatly. Jesus calls me to give til it hurts. I don’t see Jesus telling me to do what makes me happy, to find pleasure from anything offering it, to choose me first or to give up when the goin’ gets tough. Sure I might want all of these things, but I choose marriage as a discipline in the same way a marathon runner chooses to run miles upon miles even when they don’t want to. And this discipline is spiritual because there is no possible way that I can stay married without the Help of God. I need God’s patience, God’s strength, and God’s Grace because God knows I don’t have enough of it on my own.

5. Marriage is a gift. As I sat in the Empress sipping on tea and eating Crumpets (said in a British accent), I felt overwhelmed by what Rob and I share. It is a pure gift. It was perfect that we were with our kids. Sure there wasn’t making out, red roses and poem reciting. But present at the table, was what God has shaped, formed and made. He has held us together. He has made this little family. He has provided. He has taught lessons. He has changed us as individuals and helped us learn how to change together. He has given us sweet moments in the midst of tough ones. This, my little family, is my Heaven on Earth. It is what reminds me of God’s Goodness, God’s Presence, God’s Care and God’s Love. I don’t want to live without this gift and though it be a hot, hot crucible, though it be a mirror with an often ugly face staring back, though it be a discipline I sometimes fight, it is the gift from God that I never want to be without. Who I am today was not who I was 15 years ago. The better part of me is better because God has used the man who gives presents in tube socks to chizzle, challenge, mold and sculpt me.

From one ball of socks to another, I continue to learn and I pray that never seizes. Along with you, married or not, we will face things wimps cannot handle, but we have access to Who it takes to handle whatever comes our way. Along with you, I am in a crucible and the crucible will leave me better. You too, don’t run. Stay and be shaped. Along with you, I can choose what is hard because in it’s end, it is so worth it. Along with you, the hardest things, the experiences that challenge your core, those are life’s greatest gifts. Along with you, I will keep learning….

 

What is Collide you ask?

It is hard to put into words what takes place when hundreds of women gather together in anticipation of Jesus! If you are a woman in driving distance you won’t want to miss this special day where we will grow and be transformed as we watch Jesus collide with Nicodemus in John 3! I hope you will take some time for your soul to grow, be refreshed and be moved to know more of God!  Register now….

What is Collide you ask?

It is hard to put into words what takes place when hundreds of women gather together in anticipation of Jesus! If you are a woman in driving distance you won’t want to miss this special day where we will grow and be transformed as we watch Jesus collide with Nicodemus in John 3! I hope you will take some time for your soul to grow, be refreshed and be moved to know more of God!  Register now….