Live with Abandon
We were driving to Kentucky from Pennsylvania and playing worship music in the car. We were all singing and having a great drive through the mountains of West Virginia. We had such an amazing time in Pennsylvania and the Joy of God had our hearts. We were entering Lexington and I was listening to Live With Abandon by the Newsboys. You have probably seen the link numerous times on my Facebook. As I was listening to this song and singing, I became so overwhelmed that I began to weep and weep in the front seat of the car going down Man O War blvd in Lexington. I had an image in my head that just overtook me. It was of me and Jesus in a field and we were laying in the grass looking at the sky. He stood up and reached his hands out to help me up as he smiled. I jumped to my feet and we began to walk. He was holding my hand but he was much taller than me and I looked like a child compared to him. We began skipping down a large grassy hill and I smiled and let go of his hand and said, “Come over here.” I ran off to the side and finally came back to him. He smiled at me and grabbed my hand again. We then came up to a field of thorns, but there was no fear, just joy. He looked down at me with a smile and I looked back up at him. He gave me a look, like, lets go.
The feelings I had during this image were so powerful. He was showing me what Abandonment really meant. It wasn’t just about giving up a house, job, and material things to “go do ministry and save the world…lol”….it was about giving him our everything. You see, holding his hand represented Abiding in Him. When I ran off in this image, it was me thinking I was doing good, but letting go of his hand and doing my own thing. Gods desire is for us to abandon ourselves! To truly lay down our lives for others. To let go of our past and wrongs done to us, because we no longer live for ourselves and have no right to give someone what “they deserve” because Christ didn’t do that to us. To abandon our way of doing things, to abandon the way we think we “should” live life according to the world, and abide in him and not move, talk, or do anything unless He tells us too. Its about learning to hear him so clearly, that everything we do is with Him. I was as if a child compared to him and I thought about my kids and how they look up to me and my husband. How they do as we ask and they trust us. They look to us when they come to difficulties and ask for guidance. And we help them through it. This is what God wants with us. As I came to the thorns, it was so peaceful and a place of rest, because I knew He was right there holding my hand and would instruct me on what to do. All I had to do was listen and obey. It is awesome. He has been leading and helping me understand this more and more. Letting go no matter what the situation. No more trying to “figure it out” but resting knowing He will give us instruction. Eyes focused on the truth of His love and not wavering. He wants this for each of you. It may seem scary, but the more time you to devote to God and learning to hear him, the easier it becomes and the more you don’t want to live any other way.
This journey isn’t always easy. We have no regular income and we rarely know where we are going next. We aren’t going church to church and we don’t have an agenda. We take each day in stride and learn to listen and love those people put before us, one at a time. But one thing has become so real and that is that God is always there and he won’t forsake us. We have what we need each day, food, clothes, a roof over our head, and the joy of the Lord. I wouldn’t change it for anything! Its true freedom to live as He leads and he desires it for everyone! So take the plunge, give your time to God and begin to watch him change your hearts.
A Peace of Me
So much has happened in the last couple months. It’s been wonderful. Many friendships have been made and God has shown up in so many different ways. We are in the full swing of living in 400 sq ft of space with lots of toys and kids full of energy. I have found that by downsizing dishes, they don’t pile up as high. By having a small washer, loads are more often, but much smaller, so I actually keep up (well, most of the time). The kids have their beds that still aren’t always made, but they have curtains to close them off. We basically live in one big room. We are still adjusting to putting toys away because they can take over in this space. But it’s an amazing freedom to be able to come and go as the Lord leads, to stay somewhere for a while or just a few days. The funny thing is, when we lived in a home we were content in the same place, but once you get mobile, after about 3 weeks the flesh gets a little antsy to move somewhere new. Our perspectives of life have changed a lot.
The kids couldn’t be happier. We ask them very often about this journey and God has moved in their hearts and they just love it. Our family is closer than ever. The kids play so well together and when they have arguments, they have to work it out. There is no where to run and pout. This works for Joe and I too. You are really forced to communicate.
We have had so many wonderful experiences and the kids have seen so many things. Life has become our schoolroom. They don’t just learn about things in a book. They get to see, feel, and experience them. God has blessed us and them with so many amazing friendships. We have often been asked about socialization of the kids, but they have more friends now then we ever did at home and the amount of time they get to play and explore exceeds the time we did this at our sticks and bricks. They have learned how to make friends and not be afraid to talk to people, and so have we J
These past few months God has been teaching us a lot when it comes to ministering and teaching. See, we are kind of off the grid. We don’t go from church to church, we aren’t well known. We just love people and want to go where they are. So many will never set foot into a church building, but still need to know about the goodness of God. Back in January, I was praying to have eyes to see people the way God does. He spoke so clearly to me and said, “You cannot love people unconditionally until you stop seeing them as being better or worse than yourself.” WOW! I meditated on this for a while and God began to show me how when I judge another as “needing help” or “worse than” me (for whatever reason) that I set myself into a place of pride. It’s showed me my love for them was based on me wanting to “fix” them. And if I judged another as “better than” or their ministry as “better than”, I began seeking them and not the father. I began to love them for what they can help me with or give me. But the truth is, God loves every one of us the same. He doesn’t love one better than another! His love for us IS UNCONDITIONAL! We must let him show us that we are all equal in his sight, so we too must see others the same way. But we can only do this by allowing Him to show us. I began to weep as I saw people with his eyes. People whom he loves and desires to have a relationship with, but many preoccupy their time with the things of this world, why? Because they have never experienced His goodness. It’s the goodness of God that draws a man to repentance. Not me pointing out their sins. Just yesterday God showed me that since Gods spirit dwells in us, we are to be a light. And it’s the light that exposes the darkness, not us pointing out the darkness. We spend so much time focusing on what’s wrong with others, problems with the government, what everyone is doing wrong, that we forget to just abide in the father and bear HIS fruit. To let him shine through us and his spirit expose the darkness. We just go and share Gods goodness, one person at a time wherever he leads. We love others. Many are struggling with sin and “secret sins” but me telling them its wrong doesn’t help them overcome. But, to share His goodness and that He is there to help them through it and loves them regardless. This is what draws them to repent and submit, so the Spirit can lead them into all Truth.
We have encountered some of the most amazing people. You just never know who God is going to bring. We may be parked next to someone who doesn’t have much and on the other side a family of millionaires. Walls that are normally put up by neighborhoods are taken down and God just does powerful things. We have met many amazing families and life long friends. We have seen people healed, we have seen others not healed. We have seen God move so powerfully that we are in tears. God has blessed us financially and other times we get down to our last pennies and an almost empty fridge. But we have never missed a meal and God has always come through. This is still a time of learning for us. I have begun to see that when there is money in the bank, there is joy and a peace, we have meals for others, give away money as he leads, we feel free. When there isn’t money in the bank, we get irritable, frustrated, doubt, the peace is gone. So what does this show me? That money is the source of my peace… NOT God! Can anyone else relate? But when you put yourself in a position like this, where its God or nothing, it helps to work through this. So we look to Him and he always provides, but my heart is exposed. Philippians 4:7 (AMP) says “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothng from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” So when my heart is only content when there is money, it shows what I truly trust and rely on. What I look to for peace. But God wants to give us a peace even greater than that. He wants us to rely on Him for this. He is the provider and even when things look low, he wants us to rest and have perfect peace knowing He will come through. This is a huge lesson and a big root in my heart he is trying to uplift.
This journey is amazing. I want to encourage everyone to be willing spend time with the Lord. LET him give you a heart like His. LET him love you. Then you won’t be able to help but to go and love those around you, because his love will overflow in your hearts and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So often we try to go “into ministry” but we need to remember relationship with God comes first! Love you all!
The God Cube
Everyone should remember the Rubik’s cube. I woke up this morning thinking about how, when I was a kid, I would try to figure out its secret. I would watch people on TV that could do it effortlessly in a matter of seconds. They even had races to see who could do it the quickest.
As for me, I could do one side, as most people could, and could even get two sides if I tried really hard. Then I would hold it up, showing my friends, and say look I’ve got it, of course covering the other sides in hopes that no one would ask about the sides I didn’t have figured out. I even set it on my desk with only the two completed sides showing because I liked order and preferred to hide my sides that didn’t “line up”.
This morning however, I was thinking about all of our perspectives of God. It’s a lot like that cube. So many denominations, the reds, the blues, the greens, the yellows, you get the idea. Everyone holds tight to their idea of who God is. We ignore the sides that don’t seem to “line up” and focus on the things that we’ve “figured out”, to the point that we hold pride in what little our denominations have accomplished and ignore our great shortcomings. But God knows our hearts and He wants us to know His, intimately.
I eventually found a shortcut and realized that I was able to take the Rubik’s cube apart. By breaking it completely apart I had a table full of pieces to the puzzle and was finally able to reveal the heart, the very piece that held them all together. Now with my clean slate I could easily put everything back where it goes. I know by doing this I probably broke the rules of Rubik. But it finally got everything back to the way it was meant to be and I was glad to have order once again on my study desk.
The same goes for us and our relationship with God. When we surrender our lives to Him, when we humble ourselves completely and become “broken” before Him and submit to the fact that He is God then we realize, with all of our pieces exposed, that the heart of the matter and the very foundation that all these ideas and doctrines are held together by is love. God is love! Through His love we can have unity in the body of Christ, His children.
Unlike the cube however, it’s truly impossible for us to “figure it out” on our own, men have tried for centuries and failed, the only fix is the shortcut that comes by grace through Jesus. And it’s not cheating 🙂
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I hadn’t felt a release to write. A lot has happened in the last (almost) 40 days. We have been close to running out of gas, low on funds, we have seen relationships restored, people brought back to God, healings, and also a lot of quiet prayer time, as if we have been out in the wilderness. But regardless of our circumstances, we have realized that God will come through even if its not the way we think He should or in the way we are “believing” for. God is a God of the miraculous and we have testimonies of things we have seen God do, so I can’t deny this, but He is also one that pursues our hearts. God wants our motives pure and a relationship with each of us. So as I asked what I should share. And rather than share all the stories in detail, I have felt as if God wanted me to share my heart and what I have been challenged with.
As we pulled into South Carolina, we had just been though a huge trial. We were very low on gas and almost out of money. We had been seeking the Father and learning about grace and faith and how the two were tied together. We were believing for the miraculous, God to fill the tank with gas and the needle to just jump. But when that didn’t happen in that way, we were a little shook up and needless to say doubt, questions, etc began to flood our hearts. But through a series of events, God provided in great ways. As we pulled into our destination in South Carolina, we began looking inward and asking God to reveal to us what was going on. He showed us that this journey is again about REST. He exposed our hearts in how when something didn’t happen the way WE expected, doubt flew to the surface. This trial exposed some hidden doubt I didn’t realize was there, but God did. He wants more than anything to see us sanctified as we go, because this is sometimes the only way the “guck” comes to the surface, but we have to be willing to let God show us what that “guck” is so we can let Him take it from us. But God showed us how He did provide. This taught me a lot. Because I started to see that true “faith” IS “Rest”. I relax because I know the father and regardless of our circumstances and what it looks like, He will come through. I “let go”.
So after all of this, God told us to WAIT. Someone offered to pay for a months stay here in South Carolina and so we took that as confirmation to WAIT. This is where we have been. God has done some amazing things and we have made some wonderful new friends that have kids and travel too. We have been having fun, campfires, clamming, riding bikes, talking to people from various parts of the world, but most importantly, we have had some wonderful quiet times with the Lord. But at times, it feels as if He has been silent. This silence makes me anxious, because of the feeling I need to be “doing”. But it is about REST. One night, I was praying, because I just felt like I was reading the bible searching for something, but I didn’t know what that something was or what to even look at. So I put the bible down and just said, “God, you have been teaching us a lot about grace, faith, and rest, but something is missing.” The next thing I heard was “humbleness”. Wow, a light bulb went on in my head. I began finding all the scriptures on being humble, meekness, and lowering ourselves. Rather than “teach” on this, I encourage any of you as God leads to look these scriptures up and see what God shows you. The more we get ourselves out of the way, the more God can flow through us. Less of us, MORE of Him…This is faith, totally put our life and all we do, in Him. You see, I thought I “had faith”, I thought if I believe enough, or say all the right things then things will happen. But what I am finding is it really is relational. Its trusting him even through the trials, because it exposes our weaknesses so He can remove them. Before, if a trial came, I questioned my “faith”. Now I see my hidden pride, weaknesses, and as He takes them away, we become transformed and our hearts purified. Its beautiful.
So, we leave on November 26th, and where too, I don’t know yet. But I know God will direct us and continue to transform us which will reflect into those we meet. I am excited!