Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We All Become Orphans At Some Point

Today I got some sad news. My brother in-law, whom I love so dearly lost his father two days ago. If it wasn't hard enough, he also lost his mother just a mere four weeks before this. Dealing with the death of a parent, all though inevitable for us all, is a very hard thing go through. How much harder to lose both parents one after the other.

I can not say I know what this feels like. I only know the grief and loss from a bystanders view point. I myself, several years ago,watched as my husband experienced the loss of his mother and soon after, his father. Although, I haven't been through the loss of my parents, I know that I will eventually have to face that grief.

Thinking today about my brother in-law (and in Christ), my mind wandered to how he must feel right now. How losing both parents must bring a person to the feeling of being orphaned. The feeling of being left on your own without the familiar safety net we have always counted on. You see, as long as we are still someone's child, we have someone to run to when we are scared or need counsel. As long as our parents are alive, the small child that lives within each of us has a Momma or a Daddy to run to when times are tough. We can still run and tuck our head in Momma lap or bury our head in Daddy's shoulder. We may not do this literally, but the availability to do so is always there. We get to live in the illusion that we are protected from a big, hard, ugly, cruel world. There is always that feeling of protection that hovers over us as long as they are with us here on earth.

What I realized as I watched my husband go through similar circumstances is that a shift must take place. First, we must allow ourselves to grieve. There is no shame in shedding tears for the loss of a loved one. They cared for us and loved us, they deserve our tears of grief.

Through the grieving process there must come a honesty before God. A place where you share how much you hurt with God so He can begin to mend the brokenness. When we take the time to bring our grief to Him, He will give us more than we could ever expect. He will be our comforter, our friend, our place of protection and our great healer of the heart. More than that, He knows our state of loss and our loneliness. He knows that we are now orphans in a big cruel world that just got bigger.

Here's the thing.... If we let Him, God will fill that hole our parents left behind. He will become the Father that is there hovering to protect us. He will become the Father always there to bury our head in when were scared. He will be to us all the things we believe we lost, if we ask.

So for my brother..... I say to you....I love you. It's okay to feel grief. Call on those of us around you when you need an ear,a hug or a friend. We are here. But more than that, your great Father in Heaven is only a thought away and He loves you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pressing Forward As My Knees are Knocking

Have you ever wondered why being a child of God requires so much change and growth? I have! As a matter of fact I am asking God that question right now! I keep thinking I will get to coast for a while, maybe sit back just long enough to put my feet up for a short spell. But......NOT!

Change just keeps on coming. Seems like it's becoming a more frequent visitor and stays longer each time. Lately I have begun to wonder if maybe it's decided to become my way of life. So be it. If that's the way it's gotta be, I guess I need to get used to it and stop fighting so hard against it. Guess I should just strap on the safety belt and hang on for the ride. Knowing of course that I'll be safe since Jesus is driving.

Here's the thing. When I prayed to be greatly used by God, I had no idea how much change it would require. I expected my external circumstances to change. I knew that I would face some adversity and have to overcome some obstacles. I knew that He would change me internally. What I did not anticipate was having to come face to face with myself. What I mean is my core fears and insecurities.

Six years ago when Jesus sat me down in the chair in my living room and began a very personal discipleship program with me, I began to be consumed with His word. I knew I needed to love Him with all my heart and so I asked for Him to give me wisdom and a heart like His. I then began to pray for Him to make me look like Himself when I looked in the mirror. A slow ember began to burn which grew into a spark. That spark of fire grew until all I wanted to do was be His and glorify Him in what ever way He deemed fit.

As my desire to understand the Word of God intensified, He reminded me of a vision He had shown me at the age of twenty. Wide awake, I had seen clearly a vision of myself. In that vision I was standing at a podium in a large auditorium filled with people. I was speaking for Him.

For the next three years as I spent my days engulfed in the Word of God, the message God continually spoke into my heart was "Speak for Me" "Speak for Me". Three more years and here I am, still changing and learning. Yes, I am more prepared to be that person. Yes, I do speak and teach His word to others. But as it is becoming more clear what is expected of me I am now coming face to face with my deepest beliefs about myself.

You see, I am comfortable teaching in a small group to those I know well. I am comfortable typing my words from the safety of my laptop as I sit here in my living room. I can even get through an occasional speaking engagement with the loving women in my church. But as I begin to embark on bigger things, my full blown insecurities are hitting me square between the eyes.

You see, I have been writing a bible study that I have embarked on trying to get published. This weekend, I am attending a conference where I will have the opportunity to present what I have written before some editors and publishers. I am terrified. You may think me silly to have such fears, but there are many things it is causing my poor heart to feel.

I struggle severely with insecurity. What were you thinking Lord!?! Me a speaker, a writer, a teacher? I know what He is calling me to do and if I take this step it will lead to more. More of what I am terrified of. More standing up in front of people as my legs are shaking. More of possible rejection and criticism. More, more, more..... of everything I feel inadequate to do.

So as I come face to face with one of my biggest core beliefs, that I am not enough, all my insecurities are at high alert. I'm shaking in my boots and my knees are knocking but I will not let it defeat me. I will do what I need do to get past it, I will DO IT anyway. I will press on forward; scared, legs shaking, knees knocking. I will continue walking forward into where He is calling me, scared or not. My hand may be squeezing His so tight that I cuts off all His circulation, but forward I will go. I doubt He will mind my squeezing.

This weekend, and I am sure many more times in the future, I will face my fear and hear these words "Do It Scared". "Do it with fear in your heart if you have to, but don't stop, just do it"

So I will.... go..... do it..... trembling......holding on tight. But I will go.