Monday, June 24, 2013

Five More Days

What a crazy season this is. I have been reading many of my favorite bloggers and gleaning great encouragement (and a few laughs). While I blog really just for me...a place to express and emote, I hope that something in my journey is an encouragement to others and not just self absorption.

So we are down to five more days of ministry at Open Door Fellowship. Todd packed his Jeep with a bunch of empty boxes. His desk has been sold on Craig's List; his "counseling couch" donated to the ODF youth group. All that remains are files and books - lots of books!

They will sit in our garage along with the bookcases awaiting a new home at a new job. The unknown.

He has a handful of final meetings and then one last Sunday. And then seven years at ODF will be complete. When we said yes to serving in the inner city, dependent on support (no salary or benefits), Todd and I agreed to five years. We wanted to make a serious commitment.

Well, at five years I lost my job and it would have been convenient for Todd to move on to a salary, but we served on. We completed closer to seven years. At various moments this past month, I've cried. The memories sweet for the most part.

But it was over six months ago when Todd and I both knew that God was pressing us on. Our passion and concern is for those in the marketplace. Both Todd and I come from the market and our hearts are attuned to those who are called to walk faithfully in corporations and offices and manufacturing floors and in the field.

We are listening right now. July brings its own challenges, but opportunities as well.

We live expectantly.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dying to Self Over a Thank You

I started writing this post just for me, not convinced I would or should ever really post it. There is a churn in me. A battle. I am losing. I think I'm supposed to.

Resentment. Brewing from low to boil. Ick. Creates a bit of self-loathing because this is not who I want to be. These are not thoughts I want to be thinking, or trying to shove down. They leech back to the surface, and leave a muddy trail. And I think I am tracking mud everywhere.

Expectations. There you have it, one of the roots of my resentment.

The need to be seen; to not be invisible; to not be taken for granted.

I can name names. I smile on the outside, but inside hurt has taken root. Resentment at 'thank yous' unspoken. Resentment about too many situations over these past several years.

I let them fester. Foolish on my part.

Now they are in full bud. I can hardly call them blooms - they are weeds.

The scriptures which I love say: do all for Christ. Well apparently I have a bit of work to do on that one. Serving him seems to require being around other people and apparently I have issues. Expectations.

Geez, don't they know the sacrifice that was involved. Don't they know it was obedience for me.

Epic fail on my part.

All I needed was the smile of approval of my Father. Not theirs. Oh, but I wanted it. I was greedy. I wanted them both. So much still to learn. So many hurtful things said -- they didn't even know --  they need to be forgiven, and yes, forgotten. Let go.

The generosity of grace has been my musing this past month. I shared with a friend recently that I am concern that we as Christians are working so hard to perform our way to greater and greater perfection as we approach retirement and ultimately death. The goal - to be more like Christ. Right?

But what I am sensing in that still small voice is that the goal is to grow in my experience, appreciation and embodiment of grace. That is Christ.

As I age I so want to be beyond my sin, yet it haunts me. I want to be getting better. Perhaps I am simply more aware.

Grace. He loves me. This big sinner. He loves me.

That resentment needs some weed killer. Seems just as hard as rooting up of the weed/bush that grows back year after year just outside our split-rail fence in the open space. Its shoots and roots emerge in the flowers and the grass spreading disruption throughout my garden.

From my morning reading in 40 Loaves by C.D. Baker:

"So let's ask him for the gift...every day. Let's ask him to show us how much he loves us in spite of ourselves. Let's ask him to teach us the gospel daily - to remind us over and over that he loves his children no matter what.

"Let's ask him daily to show himself as he really is -- a big lover of big sinners.

"And when he answers us, we will be changed. No longer will we obey for our own gain, but instead we will simply follow him, and gladly. For each time we feel his love overflowing in our hearts, spilling over into every part of our being and bursting beyond ourselves in love for others, we will love him again, and again, and again."