Friday, June 12, 2015

My Great Privilege

                                                                           Image Credit

On June 3, 2015,  I was enjoying communion with the Lord, writing down things He was placing on my heart....words like purpose...will...loyalty...teach...yield. I began sifting through my stack of books looking for the Morning & Evening devotional by Charles Spurgeon. I opened to this:

"These were the potters who lived there in the king's service." 1 Chronicles 4:23 ESV

Something clicked within my spirit and I quickly wrote down, "new blog post idea!" and that started my study route for the last nine days. Seeing the words, "in the king's service" pricked my heart so deeply, I took it as a sign from God to pursue this Scripture further. I read everything I could find on it.

"Potters were among the ranks of manual workers, but the king needed potters, and therefore they were elevated to royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing by clay. In the same way we also may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord's work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for the King..." Spurgeon

Last month I received a phone call from my good friend Michelle asking if I would be willing to be part of her content team for She Works His Way a place of "encouragement for working women to find balance in life through total surrender to Jesus". 

I listened.

News flash! I had been praying for months for opportunities to write with purpose and God gave me the gift of writing a 40 day devotional for my church. Although, I should confess that after I wrote day one I tried backing out. I contacted the church and told them they had the wrong person...that I only respond to devotionals, not write them. They didn't let me off the hook and told me to keep going and to use my God-given gifts.  I was totally blown away by that. And so I did and it was a tremendous blessing in my life.

Here He is again, five months later, hand-delivering me an opportunity to work with Michelle and I respond this way:

" I am humbled and honored that you would think of me but you have the wrong person.... I don't really work."

I do that all the time. I tell people, "I'm just a homeschooling mom" I have no value or He can't use me in my current life stage....but in Him I am more than that.  I truly am grateful for the reminder that it is a great privilege to do anything for the King. 

Michelle laughed and told me at length that I do work, that the Lord was already using me and in her inspiring way she encouraged me to pray about it. That was a Friday afternoon. 

Over the weekend I prayed, confessed my sin of pride and even walked away from something I love, something good, to work on heart things and to pursue God alone. By that following Monday I became part of her team.

Psalm 100:5 says, "Let the whole world know what He has done!" Just like the king needed the potters, the Lord has need of me right where I am. The Lord has need of you, too.

The potter's lived there in the king's service. So it got me thinking. The King needs me and has asked me to make myself available to Him so He can use me in the best way He sees fit.

I want Him to use me as an instrument to proclaim His message in every place He has me. Am I serving my husband in the King's service? Am I educating my boys in the King's service? Am I writing in the King's service? Am I working my two part-time jobs in the King's service? Because that's what I want to serve wholeheartedly and work for Him with enthusiasm. (Ephesians 6:7)

"There is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down. We are not to run from it on a whim or sudden notion, but we should serve the Lord in it by being a blessing to those among whom we live." Spurgeon

I have been set down in my home, by God, to be a blessing to those around me. I've been given opportunities to write from home, to teach, encourage and equip women who also want to be a reflection of the Lord in the places where He has them.

I saw a quote on Pinterest and I'm not sure who came up with it, but I love it. It says, "You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully." 

I am an early riser and I give Him the first part of my day. As I've done that consistently, He's been so dear to me....showing me things about Himself in fresh and exciting ways. This time ignites my creativity, my passion for the things of God and it helps me push past my feelings of fear and inadequacy. 

"Write those things I say to you, write and hold back nothing of all I shall say to you." 
Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved

This is my great opportunity to demonstrate and display the love of Jesus with the words I write whether here on my blog or elsewhere. I know that I can't write in my own strength and for my own never works out.  Total surrender is a process for sure, but I know that He will be with me the entire way.  He is guiding me on this new path, a path that I can trust Him on.

"Dwell with the King and do His work, and when He writes His chronicles, your name shall be recorded." Spurgeon

Lord, I want to soar in the service of You, My Master.


Monday, June 1, 2015

For God

 Yes He is!
                                                                             Yes He is!

I recently listened to Lara Casey give a heart to heart talk about creativity and her struggles with comparison, jealousy and envy. She is the real deal and my heart was immediately drawn to her. As soon as she sat down and opened her mouth to speak, the tears welled up in my tired blue eyes. It was late last Wednesday night as I began watching her video. She said, "Your creative gifts? They mean something. Your creative gifts were given to you by God for God." Hello, waterworks.

I quickly scratched a few notes in my hot pink and gold polka dot Greenroom journal and called it a night. I  needed to let what I had heard marinate for a while. Fast forward to 5 o'clock the next morning when I opened up my prayer journal and began writing down my prayer. Here is part of it:

"...Thank You for using Lara Casey...You are creative, You made me creative for Your glory, not mine. What are the motivations of my heart? I repent that yes, I wanted to write to make a name for myself so I could feel important, like I mattered and have value. I don't think I've ever admitted that I craved notoriety.... I surrender all of my wrong motives to Your Lordship...I want to walk in Your light of life. Help me out of the dark places of envy, jealousy, comparison, pride, anger...If I am to write, release the my eyes...tell the story for me...and let it all be for Your glory....

Man, it is gut wrenching to be so vulnerable but I share it in hopes that someone will be encouraged as I was when Lara shared her story. Shame dwells in secrecy and I've lived in that arena for a minute.

After my prayer time, I plug in my ear buds and listen to Pastor Steven while I fast walk around the track by my house. He's preaching about stretch marks, making me laugh out loud and amen at the same time. In the midst of hearing him share, I hear the Lord ask me to write this blog post. I am fired up to share because the truth sets people free, right? Funny though, on my walk home after the podcast ended and I was alone with my thoughts, I was like "No, Lord. I don't think I can." When will I ever learn? Smile. And He said to me, "Yes, you can. I know you." 

I get home all sweaty and grab a pen and paper and I take down the definition of 'notoriety' and words related to it...and I see the word 'influence'.  The definition of notoriety has thrown me off because it means the character of being notorious or widely known. Light bulb moment: I don't want notoriety but rather influence which is the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others. My desire is to display Jesus Christ in my everyday life in a way that makes Him attractive to others.

I want the creativity that God has given me to be used for God. That's the biggest takeaway that I received from Lara. It was a timely word for me. And as God is graciously opening doors for me,  I pray Psalm 19:14 repeatedly. And I knew I needed to be honest and share some of the dark places of my heart while I'm walking the road less traveled.

The goal of any writing I do, the way I live, the words I use, the motivations of my heart, how I treat my husband and children is for His glory, not mine. Can I brag about how awesome my God is?

In the midst of all my internal chaos, He gently reminds me of something that I've been seeing over and over again as I'm working through Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. He says, "Melissa, I see you. I know you." 

As fast as I can I say Thank You Jesus and begin typing the word 'know' in Google and find all the information on what it means. I read every definition, I take down Scripture after Scripture with that word in it, I find meaningful quotes about being known, and when I'm finished I find I have SEVEN pages of notes on wide-ruled notebook paper.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best, "One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself...(instead) we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God." 

Somewhere along the way, I allowed some wrong thinking and old ways creep inside my heart, to try to make a name for myself. When honestly and truly, my prayer has been, and continues to be, that I want to know Him and make Him known. I'm grateful for the gut check from God because He can't use me and my wrong motives. And then in His awesomeness He leads me to 1 Corinthians 8:3:

"But if anyone loves God, he is known by God."

I love words. I especially love the Greek word for 'know' which is epiginosko which means to know exactly. I get to know God by my personal and direct relationship with Him. He knows everything about me. The good. The bad. The ugly. I don't have to perform for Him. I don't have to earn His love. He willingly gives Himself to me. And that makes me willing to give Him all of me in return.

It doesn't matter who knows me, as long I know Him and love Him because I know He knows me, loves me and proved it for me when He died so I could live. And my goal is to tell everyone, everywhere, "The King is wild for you!" Psalm 45:11 MSG