For the month of October, I'm teaming up with The Nester to write everyday for 30 minutes.
I just moved and I don't have internet at my new place (I know- it's terrible! #1stworldprobs), so you might be getting sporadic posts and some days with multiples.
This was my first day of writing. My thoughts on The Influence Conference. This was spell-checked and minimally edited. Enjoy.
During worship night we sang this song called ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong.
The lyrics talk about the Spirit leading us out into the unknown. Our feet never faltering because he is by our side. I’ve been praying for God to help me. Tell me what to do. So many parts of my life seem unknown and unsure and I often feel like I’m barely keeping my head about the waves. Reeve told us that worship isn’t just singing, sometimes just listen and let the words and the voices wash over you. I sat there and listened and prayed and felt the power of those women’s voices rising in song together. I can’t think of any other words to describe it- it was so POWERFUL.
And I had this vision. Of me, standing among the flames. All these things in my life that are often uncertain and messy, sort of burning around me- slowly deteriorating and falling away and when I look up- that is where I see Jesus. Like water to flames, he is reaching out for me. He’s not saying anything. With his eyes, he’s telling me to take his hand. And that though the flames remain, he is with me always, through all of it. I just have to step out to him. Take his hand and lift my head in the strength he has given me. Trust without borders. Walk upon the waters. Wherever he would call me.
I can feel myself hesitate. I can feel myself lift one foot to walk and then set it down and look at him and the yank on my soul. I can feel my heart wrenching- wanting to keep one foot in the fire, not fully submitting to where he is willing to take me. I’m scared. Really scared. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. Stepping out for him could mean change of jobs, relationships, location…all the earthly comforts I cling to when things get rough. I should CLING TO HIM. Call upon his name. Rest my soul in his embrace.
I can feel big things are happening. They are all there- just under the surface, just waiting to break forth. I’ve hesitant and afraid of living the life I’m supposed to be. I’m less scared and afraid as the days go on. I know God is slowly giving me the strength and confidence to follow him fully. I’m not even sure what that life IS. I just know that this is not fully it. I have gifts that are not being used. I connect people. I bring comfort to people with my words. I have 2 hands and 2 feet that are capable of helping. I have a heart that is busting at the seams with love for people. All those who are hurt and suffering- I want to HELP THEM. I don’t know how. I want to see others grow and succeed and have a life full of Christ. A life filled with the love and peace of knowing HE PICKED US. I often think the thing we all struggle with the most is wondering if we have purpose. If anyone even cares what we do. But we do have that!! We have it in Jesus. HE PICKED US. Jess Thompson said there are times we may feel alone and isolated, but we shouldn’t. He is always with us. Always. (Remember that verse about God ‘never leaving or forsaking’ us? That’s true.)
I spent a lot of time with women this weekend who are moms- biologically, foster and adoptive. Their love astounded me. The heart they have for those kids- it struck me. Hard. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a child without parents. In a place full of strangers and never knowing if you are loved. Never knowing where your next meal is coming from. Being so concerned about basic needs, you can’t even imagine a life beyond that.
I have been blessed beyond measure in my life. I grew up middle class in the Midwest. I had all my basic needs met plus some. I had 2 parents and siblings growing up. I had grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and more who were always there to come to my birthday parties and t-ball games and school plays. I never wanted for anything. I never knew hunger or hurt or abandon. I think about these kids, all over the world- especially the ones in my own hometown- who don’t know that. Kids who have been shuffled from place to place. Kids whom have grown to be so damaged by the lack of love in their life that they have developed behavioral issues. To most potential parents, they are a liability. A lot of people adopt because they can’t have children of their own. But often they want a baby- a child not already tarnished and scarred by the evils of the world. One who hasn’t seen suffering like an older child could. My friend Lindsy said, “But even a new born baby who was left at birth has seen suffering.”
Who will help these kids, if not us? Who will open their homes and hearts and feed and clothe these kids, if not us? Who will throw them a birthday party and enroll them in soccer and read them stories and teach them about Jesus, if not us?
I was just bowled over by the thought of all of them who are left. Alone. Scared. Without hope.
And not just kids, people of all ages and circumstances!
I serve at a shelter in my hometown a couple times a month and I see people of all ages come through to get a free hot meal. Some of them are on drugs or drunk. Most are not. They are hungry. Not just for food, but for love. They talk and make conversation with me. Trying to connect in the mere seconds it takes for me to ask them if they want ‘Spinach or bread’? They just want someone to listen to them. Hear their story. Tell them it’s going to be okay. I can see the longing in their eyes for a life of normalcy. I think a lot of them just want a place to call home- a place with a warm bed and someone to talk to.
I don’t get a lot of time to interact with them, but I want to.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time- how do I get more time to talk to them during the few minutes I’m dishing out food? I want to help them and tell them they are not alone. I want to tell them there IS HOPE FOR THEM. Jesus’ love is for all of us.
I have so many thoughts coming out of Influence. This year was even more emotional and raw for me. I have so much happening in my life and I was really frustrated the first day. I was concerned my own issues were clouding up my mind to being open and receiving to the wisdom being shared. By the time I got into the car to drive home- I was raw and open. So. Many.Truths. So many I don’t want to hear or acknowledge just sort of thrown in my face.
I don’t know what my calling is. I have zero idea where I’m going from here. I do know that just like you, I am called to do great things. Jesus is IN US, the building is DONE (Thanks Jessi- Galatians 2:20). I have influence. I just have to get out there and USE it.
I will never forget during worship when Jessi stepped up to the mic and was reading from the bible, her voice rising with passion. Her voice was cracking and crying and she said,
What if this wasn’t just a conference?
What if this wasn’t just your blogging friends?
What if we were a generation that was KNOWN and LOVED by God?