September 2014 archive

Thimbles or Buckets

We decided to brave an “after church meeting” last Sunday. We are at that dicey age with Rhett where technically we can push him past his nap but do we want to? How will one pay for it in the end? One never knows until one pushes a three year old past his breaking point. It was a ministry team meeting and well…being a 20 year member…. it’s really good to attend these meetings.

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It only cost me one gigantic poo blow out when I picked Rhett up after the meeting. The kind you have to gather yourself, blink back your incredulous tears and make a plan. It was clear when I lifted to “check” that the shirt was already collateral damage. We left church with a shirtless, shoeless, one pound lighter Rhett and me with pit stains and the sneaking suspicion I smelled like a sewer. This was the last straw…we are officially potty training the last 7 days (bites fingernails nervously…it’s going “okay”)

But back to the meeting. A large portion of it contained prayer. Imagine that! We talk about ministries in our church then wait for it…wait for it…we pray over them. It’s good stuff. We were sitting at a table with a couple of younger guys, one of them being a dear, dear friend of ours. We joke that he is my emotional twin but male and 14 years younger. Eric and I process and assess in very similar ways. I get him and he gets me. We will probably write each others eulogies one day. I kid but not really.

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For his age, Eric, is a seasoned man of the word and his prayers have a maturity that leave me in tears many times. He was praying about one of our missions initiatives when these words tumbled out of his mouth.

“Help us not to be satisfied with the run-off of you God but instead that we will go straight to the source and receive you fully.”

Yes, yes my heart cried! I discretely pulled my phone out to jot down this juicy steak of a line and then snuck my technology back in to my purse. I couldn’t shake those words for a few days.

Because that’s me!!

I play in the brooks and the puddles of God’s goodness and mercy. I lick the dew off the rocks and open my mouth for a raindrop to desperately fall onto my parched tongue and dried up heart. I pat and play in the mud and try to sooth my broken heart and fragmented mind with a little moisture of God. AS IF THAT’S ALL HE IS OFFERING ME. I foolishly say that I’ve been “refreshed” by the Lord and I’m “good” but really I know I’ve settled for a few trickles of run-off. I’m spiritually dehydrated and my soul is malnourished.

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An instagram of a spiritual saying can make me take pause for 10 seconds or so. Mmmmmmm I say to myself. That was good. That shall carry me through today. That’s all I have time for on this busy day. I’ll just ponder those few words and feel satisfied. A crumb I will make into a meal to nourish my hunger.

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Maybe it’s a blog post of friends that bleed their guts out onto the computer in beautiful and raw ways.( I love this woman, you should immediately follow her. She is my friend and an endless encourager through her words) They pour some from their cup into my cup. I drink it up but it doesn’t satisfy to my marrow…why…because I am simply relating to their human experience, humor, drive to know Jesus, and love of a Holy God. HOWEVER, posts like those beckon me a little deeper to The Source. A virtual linking of arms to come…let’s go deeper…together.

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Imagine, if you will, the woman in Napoleon Dynamite being shown the clipper ship by Uncle Rico. She exhales her southern drawl,covetously looks at the ship, and the following words tumble out of her mouth: “I want that”!

That’s the magnetism I feel towards The Source when I read well written raw blogs, listen to sermons, read books that make me stop after a paragraph because of the intensity of truth, bathe my afternoons in worship music or keep my nose in God’s word.

It’s like going from ankle, to waist, to shoulder deep in the waters of my Savior. I don’t need to lick the dew off a rock when I am invited to plunge the depth of His love.

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I attended the Beth Moore Simulcast on Saturday at my church. Beth never disappoints. It takes me about 20 mins to adjust to the volume of her voice, being called “girlfriend” and the active way she wants this introvert to talk back to the screen in endless “repeat back to me” moments. But oh that woman loves Jesus. She loves His word, she loves women, and story telling, truth that is uncomfortable and prayers that come from the gut. She was handing out cups and cups of living water all day long and I was drinking it by the gulp-fulls.

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

John 4:13-15

She said a simple, yet profound truth about our process of going to God. We constantly ask God to REVEAL himself. “God I need you, come to me, answer me, be near to me, give me wisdom, help me through this trial, etc…” and HE does. He comes near, He draws near, He IS near offering every spiritual gift, wisdom and comfort because He is a God of love and compassion. GREAT is His faithfulness. He is also a HOLY God so when we ask Him to draw near and we are steeped in sin then He will expose that darkness in our heart and mind, He will not co-habitat with it. So his drawing near can crumple us to our knees into full repentance. The only path back to Jesus.

HOWEVER….

We sit there with our arms out to receive. Oh how blessed it is to receive from the living God. Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink.

BUT THEN WE STOP….

Do we not know that we have not closed the circle? God asks one thing of us after we have received from Him and that is to RESPOND! What are you going to do with my revelations, my refreshing, my wisdom, my correction, my truth, my mercy, my goodness? Who will you declare your freedom, comfort, answered prayers, forgiveness, emancipation, or redemption to? How different will our lives look if we RESPONDED back to God and were brave enough to say “What would you have me DO in response Lord?” and then we DID IT!

We are a selfish people. We LOVE to receive. Gimme, gimme, gimme but whoa to the one that is asked to take action. We are quick to shove our taking hands back into our pockets. Do we not know that the even greater gift is when we walk out our obedience in action? Blessed is he who is not just a hearer of the word but a doer.
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I once had a friend tell me, “Kelly you can’t help but be passionate about those in bondage being set free. It’s your story. It’s your experience with Jesus being pulled from the miry pit. You feel compelled to share your story and to see others restored before the KING in the same way.”

I think it’s why I cry so easily when I tell my story…never out of shame but out of desperation for others to GET IT, to KNOW my Redeeming God, my redeemed marriage, my life this is not easy but is gloriously fulfilling because I have broken free from my bondage. I don’t want people to waste another minute in captivity. My response is to help lead others to freedom in Christ.

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Why do we not RESPOND to Him? What does that look like to continue to walk out this process past receiving?

OK…let me stop for a moment and ask something. When you think about going to The Source for the living water He offers, do you come holding up a thimble or a five gallon bucket? Do you believe He WANTS to refresh you? Do you believe He CAN refresh you? Do you believe You DESERVE to be refreshed by the Holy God?

I think if we take a moment to close our eyes and picture ourselves entering into the waters with God do we picture ourselves sheepishly loitering around the shoreline, not making eye contact, weakly holding out a thimble to be filled? The run-off will be fine please and thank you.

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Maybe we feel worthy enough to go up to our waist and hold up a cup to the Almighty God. This is good, I’m not that thirsty, I’ll be alright with a cup full.

Or are we swimming with a flat out urgency, bucket in hand, STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE?

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This visualization exercise exposes one thing only…our broken theologies about who God is and who we are IN Him.

If you can’t say that I charge directly to the source then there is some sort of break or lie in your view of God or self.

When I read the following verses I see a generous invitation to COME as you are, drink as much as you need from his ENDLESS store house of living water, and NEVER thirst again for FREE. It isn’t too good to be true. It is for the righteous or unrighteous. The bound or the unbound. It is for all.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37

“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Rev 22:17

“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Is 58:11

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?” Is 40:12

“They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” Ps 36:8

Do you drag your bucket back out from The Source so that you may begin handing out that refreshement to others? Do you hoard the water for yourself because you don’t trust that the offer will be extended again. Do you stand there paralyzed receiving but not responding.

Link arms with me “girlfriend”…grab yo bucket and wade into the deep end because we are going to receive our fill and in response to our encounter with our Savior we will GO and do likewise. I don’t ever want to go back to the shoreline. I can’t go back to the shoreline.

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