Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Season of Change

I like schedule, systematic planning, and structure (the Three S's for a Type A). But, I also like it when seasons shift and morph into something different. I'm sure everyone can relate to that. I mean, who doesn't like that exciting adrenaline that happens right before you embark on something new? Well, some people. I can name two right off the bat, but I don't want to call them out ;) Obviously, there are changes about to happen, or happening, or I wouldn't be writing about this...

I graduated from college with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies almost 4 years ago. I love learning, and had both relief and mourning when I finished school. I was relieved because it seemed to take WAY too long to finish an undergrad degree. Oh wait, it did. But, it was really in the Lord's time that I did finish. He had a plan for me that included it taking me 7 years to complete a 4-year degree. In the mourning period of not getting to do homework, papers, etc, anymore, I felt like I should enroll in grad school. I felt like my learning was not over. So, I applied for, and was accepted into, a program for Educational Administration. But... it just didn't feel right. Now, I find myself years later at this place where the timing is right, I've matured alot, and I have also found the right program to prepare me to be a successful leader in the church. In the Spring of 2011, I will be a student again (pending acceptance, of course). I will be filling out my application in the next few weeks and praying for the door to remain open, as I strongly feel like this is what the Lord would have for me.

I also have felt a strong calling to plan events for the Church. Not just fundraisers- but trips, retreats, dinners, parties, etc. I love networking and feel that God really wants to use my natural gifting for pulling people and resources together for His Kingdom. And so, an opportunity has come up recently for me to serve in this capacity. It is a long-term thing, and will definitely be fruitful, but timing is everything- I had until the middle of next week to decide and get back to the leader. The more I have prayed about it, the more I am sure that this is a door that I am supposed to walk through. A tricky thing is that it will take up more of my time- which seems to be pretty precious right now. People, work, things- they all want my time. I am really trying to listen to God and know what needs to be cut out (if anything) to make room for one more. I have an idea, but that is for another post.

Relationships. Gosh, aren't they something. The last semi-serious relationship I was in was last year. It was eye-opening, and God really taught me alot about what to look for (and not to look for), and really brought up alot of issues I didn't even know was there. One of the things God revealed to me is that He will communicate with me when I am supposed to say "yes" to a relationship. Just because the guy is the pursuer doesn't mean that I shouldn't still be hearing from God in the matter. So, here I find myself-with a great boyfriend. Someone who is careful and cautious, and has a soft heart to Jesus. That last one is the most important to me. If you aren't listening to the Lord and His correction, and have a hardened heart to Him, how in the world do you expect to be able to love someone as they should be loved? You can't.

So, here I find myself- my world about to get completely shifted by the Lord. All I can do is praise Him for not giving up on me, and cling to Him during this adjustment time. The fact that He is still working on me is encouraging enough :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What to do when they tell you she's dying...

I haven't had a real relationship with my dad's side of the family for almost a year. I won't get into the deep, dirty parts of it, but some of it was my choice, and some of it was their's. It did hurt at first to have people that say they are family refuse to forgive, and to hold on to anger so deeply that I was burned by their fiery words time after time. This is why I chose to end my relationship with them. I realized that as an adult, it is my choice who I spend my time with, and who I let speak into my life. I decided that I need to walk away. It's not forever- God has made that clear- but I really needed to take a stand for myself, and just get away from their blaming words, and assuming looks.

Holidays are going to be a struggle (well, if we're being honest, they've been a struggle for a while), but there is more to life than doing what people think I should do. Life is about doing what God wants me to do. And, while I am by no means saying that God is telling me not to have a relationship with my dad's side of the family, I do know that I feel He has given me permission to take a vacation and heal.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strumming, Writing, Singing...

So, a few months ago, I wrote a blog about how God had been revealing to me that He wanted me to write songs as a part of my spiritual healing. Well, two solid songs have come out of that so far, and I wanted to share the lyrics.

(This one is about an extremely unhealthy relationships I was in a few years ago. It is sung to the guy, and just tells the story of who I am now, since he's not in my life anymore. One might say it's a typical "angry chick song," but to me, it's alot deeper than that because of the redemptive and freeing role that God plays in it.)

"Beauty for Ashes"

Tired of crying these old tears from these same eyes

that looked at you through shadowed pasts and saw a man:

the kind of man she thought she wanted, thought that she could have.

But, now I know that I deserve better than that.

What do you have to say for yourself now?

I've dropped you like a habit that isn't just bad-

it ate away at all the love deep within my heart.

I'm tearing away no matter the pain or mess that's left.

Can you hear my pain?

Do you care that I fall asleep screaming-

sick to my stomach with worry and grief?

Does anybody hear me?

Does anyone care?

If you know what this is like,

please tell me it will be okay.

Will it all be okay?

But look at me now:

I'm floating free from the shackles

you used to keep me down!

I'm soaring, spinning, tumbling free!

This is the marriage of Jesus and me.

Jesus, can you hear me?

Jesus, do you care?

Since you know what this is like,

please tell me it will be okay.

This is more than I dreamed.

(This one is about my struggle with having a father that doesn't know how to love me. I get really jealous of functioning father-daughter relationships, and even though God's word says in Psalm 27:10 that "though your mother and father forsake you, I will receive you," I don't feel God in that empty place where my father's love should be.)

"Psalm 27:10"

Three years old and she waits by the door, eager to feel his touch.

She loves her daddt and looks up to him, sees a hero in his face.

He had a long, hard day and he's driving home, her face runs through his mind.

He loves his girl, he moves mountains for her, sees purity in her eyes.

Why can't I have that? (A love as sure as the sun)

Isn't it enough that I love you? Why won't you love me?

Now eighteen and she packs all her bags, headed to school out west.

With tears in her eyes, she boards teh plane, holding his picture tight.

He watches his baby girl pass through the gate, tears streaming down his cheeks.

He's so proud of her for chasing her dreams, even if it means leaving him.

It's not fair, no it's not okay.

Though my father turns his back on me, You say you'll love me still.

Then why can't I feel Your warmth, Your peace, Your love that never fails.

Oh God, if You love me, if You really care-

I need you to surround me, please Father, show me You're there.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

He sees me...

Last night, I went to a conference at my church. Going into it, I wasn't too sure what to expect except that the Holy Spirit would possibly be there. I say this because the conference was called "Come, Holy Spirit." I figured if there were a group of people, all in the same place, asking the Lord to show up- He probably would come.

As the evening began, I felt myself not really being engaged in the events of the evening. Although the stories were super-cool, I myself did not feel the Lord's presence. Which was odd. Wasn't it called the "Come, Holy Spirit" conference? If so, then where was He?

During the minsitry time, alot of people were responding to things. Some of them were responding to a need to get prayer for certain things, and some were responding to pray for the people needing prayer. I felt really awkward for some reason- extremely disconnected from what was going on.

Just as I think to myself, "I hope I'm not called out. I don't want to go forward, and don't want prayer..." My friend turns to me and asks if he can pray for me. Um, no. But.... I just looked at him awkwardly (he didn't know what I was just thinking, but God did....), and said, "okay..." He just prayed a simple prayer for me to feel more of the Lord's presence. I trembled a bit, and it was over. Short and simple, right? Wrong. Well, short-yes. Simple-no. The Lord really spoke to me in that moment. He said, "I see you." That was it. It moved me so much because my friend had no idea what I was feeling, but God wanted me to know that He heard me, and loved me enough to respond.

I love Jesus.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Obedience Doesn't Guarantee a Result

Sometimes we have our own standards of how we are going to live our lives. They aren't necessarily a bad thing, but they are rules that we live by in order to protect us from something. Last summer, I felt the Lord leading me to put dreadlocks in my hair. I had them for about three months, but they didn't seem to want to stay in. So, after giving it a lot of thought, I decided that maybe the dreads weren't meant to be permanent. Maybe they were just for a season. So, my friend combed them out. It was VERY painful, and after about 2 or 3 hours of tears, youtube videos, and torture, I decided that was something I would NEVER do again. I made a rule for myself.

There was a time when I was not walking with the Lord. I thought that I could make a great life for myself without His help, so I had my own kind of fun, and was looking for my own kind of romance (mostly with the wrong kind of men). In this season, I found myself being more and more bold- asking men out and pursuing them. I convinced myself I was just taking initiative and taking the bull by the horns, but I was hurting myself with several short relationships that had a longer recovery time than time spent actually dating the guy. When the dust settled, and I got back in a good place with the Lord, I decided that was not the kind of woman I wanted to be. I told myself that I would never initiate anything with men again- that I would remain silent until he figured things out for himself or the Lord told him to pursue me. I made another rule.

Neither of these things had anything to do with the Lord. I made these vows to protect myself from being hurt again. I didn't want to have to go through the physical pain of dreadlocks again, so I decided it wouldn't happen. I didn't want to get involved with the wrong men, so I told myself I wouldn't put myself out there anymore. But, these walls I try to build to protect me- they're made of salt. And, even though these walls look sturdy and I might feel safe inside, I fool myself into thinking it is possible to be my own protector. In these moments when I feel my safest, the waves of life come crashing against the walls and they dissolve. Life happens, and I am not prepared. I scramble around to fix everything, to put everything back in order, to heal myself. But the truth is, I cannot protect myself. I am weak and helpless against the darkness of the world.

In the past few months, God has been testing my walls. He has challenged my ways of thinking and shown me that He alone is my Protector. He is the Only One strong enough, mighty enough, sure enough, and faithful enough to keep me safe. Safe does not mean that life will be easy, but the safest place for me to be is in the center of His will. He first challenged my rules by softening my heart towards dreadlocks again. The topic started to come up during prayer, through friends, in movies, songs, on the internet, random people on the street. They were everywhere! It was enough to cause me to question this rule that I had made that I would never go down that path again. What God said to me was, "It is my job to close doors, not yours." He didn't promise results, He just said, "Try. Be open. Wait and see." So, I tried.

I stopped using hair product in my hair. I stopped using conditioner. Then, I stopped brushing it altogether and starting doing everything I could to damage it, in hopes that it would lock up. The cool thing was that my curls started knotting together, so I had these spiral dreads :). I experimented with putting three dreads in the back of my head, and they stayed and were kinda cool. Then, after three months of trying to get my hair to knot up, I was sitting on my living room floor. I hadn't felt well that morning, and ended up skipping church so that I could stay home and worship the Lord by myself. After about 30 or 40 minutes of prayer and singing, I felt great! My voice was back, and I felt like I had just slept for days! Right at the end of praying, I heard the Lord tell me, "Go brush your hair." My response? "Um, excuse me? Do You know how long it's been since I brushed it? This could take years! Are You sure?" He was sure.
So, I washed my hair, put conditioner in it, and hoped for the best. As I combed through it, I found that the comb slid pretty easily through the hair, which was really surprising. The dreads that I put in literally fell apart as the comb attempted to divide and conquer. After the shower, I took the brush and got to work. I was prepared to be in the bathroom brushing my hair all afternoon. How long did it take? About 5 minutes. It was amazing. After I straightened my hair, I looked in the mirror and God showed me something really cool. He gave me a glimpse of myself through His eyes. I didn't see a flawed girl with insecurity and crazy hair. I saw an obedient woman that is loved by her Father. It was a sweet moment with my Lord.

A few weeks ago, God also began to challenge me in my vow that I would never initate anything with a man again. I had actually spoken the phrase, "I will stand silent until he [whoever he may be] gets the guts to speak up and tell me how he feels." Silent is a strong word. I found myself in a position where I had developed romantic feelings (gag! I hate that phrase!) for one of my closer guy friends. It was something that I wrestled with, giving it over to the Lord consistantly.

The first time I prayed about these new feelings, I was in a book store. As far as I knew, God had strongly suggested that I not date until further notice. So, I didn't really welcome the feelings with open arms. I was looking at a book about Impressionism, reading here and there, but really praying and listening to what the Lord might say to me. I remember praying, "Lord, please, just tell me what You want me to do." And as I turned the page, a painting by Edouard Manet (the image seen above). In it, there is a young Parisan couple in a boat. Just by looking at the picture, you can tell that he is interested in her. But the girl? She is face forward, not looking at him at all. Through this, the Lord really spoke to me. He had been hammering on me Hebrews 12:1-4, that talks about throwing off the things that distract you and the sin in your life, running the race with perseverance, and fixing your eyes on Jesus. What He said to me was, "Lindsay, it doesn't matter. Don't let yourself be distracted by a man. It doesn't matter if he returns the feelings, keep your eyes on me. Give it to me everyday, and I will be faithful to you."
He was so faithful to me. My feelings for my friend only made me that much more desperate for the Lord, and made me even more jealous of my time with my Savior. Then the test came. Over a period of three and a half weeks, I prayed three main things. 1) Please take these feelings away. 2) Please burden my friend to make some indication either way if he returned my feelings. 3) If You want me to confess my feelings, You are going to have to make it abundantly clear. I prayed the third one not really thinking that would happen. I mean, the Lord knew that I made a vow never to initiate anything with a guy right? He would never ask me to do that, right? Wrong. He made it "abundantly clear" through dreams and words in my personal time with Him, and then through a random word from someone who had no idea the situation. So, I took a deep breath, and made it happen (or tried to).
The funny thing is, it was never about my feelings, or whether or not my friend returned them. God told me to open up about my feelings, not ask him out, or propose marriage. In fact, I knew that even if the feelings were returned, I didn't have a green light to date this guy. It was never about the possibility of starting a relationship. It was about trusting God enough to be scared out of my mind for a few days, and to be someone completely the opposite of who I thought I was. I was so focused on defining myself as the responder and not the initiator. But God showed me a better picture of who I am: His obedient daughter who will step out even if it doesn't make any sense.
The Lord never promised results. He only asked for obedience. He asked me to step out and trust that His ways are holier than mine. And through that, I found that my hair won't ruin if I don't brush it for a few months. I also found that I have a good guy friend that may not return my feelings, but is mature enough and respects me enough to be honest. And from this point, I move forward. God's timing doesn't always make sense to me, but it's the small victories in my walk with Him that keep me saying "Yes," when yesterday, I might have said, "I don't know, Lord. It's too scary." He knows me better than I do, and has a unique perspective of my life that keeps Him one step ahead of me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I have nothing to offer....

I'm teaching for the first time this Thursday. T-minus 3 days. And, I have nothing. I have a teaching outline supplied by our lovely Joshua House staff, but as I sit here and look at the text that we are focusing on, I'm suddenly back to where I was last week the day of our first meeting. I have nothing to give these people. I hope and pray to Jesus that they do not show up expecting to hear something grand come from my mouth, cause it isn't going to be there.

It's not that I don't care, or don't know the Bible, or can't form a concrete sentence. I do care- TONS, in fact, and I do know the Bible- I have a degree in Biblical Studies, and I can form sentences. The issue that I am facing is that if I open my mouth to share some story about how messed up my life was before Jesus, or how a certain scripture was used in my life- they will be hearing from me. I need to back the truck up, shut my mouth, and let God move.

What I need is to focus on the fact that I am an empty pipe, sitting and waiting for the pure Living Water of the Holy Spirit to work through me. Because if I at any time think that what I have to say is more important than these people hearing from the true Source of Life, then I have sorely missed the mark. If I truly love these people with His Holy agape, then I will sit back and let the Spirit move- watch Him work in people's lives and know that He didn't need me, but He wanted to use me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sometimes, it's just not about me...

A little over a year ago, two things were happening in my life. The first was that I had started lay counseling at the church. I needed direction in my life, and needed someone to point me the right way. I also started leading worship in my small group. The Lord began doing a lot of healing at this same time, cutting really deeply- to the core of who I am, pulling out sin, pain, and brokenness and stitching me back up.
I felt the Lord urging me to begin painting (which I hadn't done in a long time) to communicate what He was doing in me. So, I began a painting. I wasn't sure how exactly it was going to turn out, I just knew the general direction it would go. The Lord did impress on my heart a few things. The first was that this painting was not for me to keep. The second was that it was for a guy. At first, I thought that meant it was for a guy that I was dating at the time... but when I shared that information with someone, I felt immediately convicted. The Lord made it very clear that it was not for that guy, and that I didn't know the guy yet. I thought this was kind of weird, and hadn't had the Lord speak to me in such a cryptic way before, but I just kept it in my heart, and kept praying as I worked on the painting little by little.

Months went by, and the painting was still not finished. I only worked on it when I felt the Lord's prompting, so I figured it may just be a while. Around December 2009, we had a Christmas party in our small group. My small group leader introduced me to one of his guy friends that he had served with in the church. As soon as I saw this guy, I knew that he was the one that the painting was for. I didn't know why- all I knew was that there was a certain light about him, and the Lord caused him to stand out to me- I felt drawn to him in a unique way, I just knew we were supposed to meet for a specific reason.

Over the next few months, I started leading worship alongside this guy from the party. Up until this point, leading worship was a challenge for me. It took a few weeks for me to prepare a set, and prayer went into everything. I had no idea what I was doing, and was totally dependent on the Lord for everything from key changes to using a capo. This wasn't a bad thing, but I was often so focused on leading the people, and not getting in the way of them seeing the Lord that I often was not able to worship Him myself. I was okay with this, but it was exhausting. There is something so refreshing about the Lord's presence, and I felt like I was missing out on just resting in His presence during these moments.
When I started leading alongside of this brother, something shifted. He filled gaps that I had musically and vocally, and I found myself challenged often by him, and also encouraged greatly. Something inside me was pulled out, and I was able to step back a bit and worship the Lord while leading. It was such a great joy that I had not experienced up until this point. Through this ministry, I was able to experience a different kind of healing that I had not previously known. Through this, the Lord also spoke to me and told me that the next time I performed at a coffee shop, that this brother would be a part of it, and that I would be performing an original song.

At that point, I just kind of stepped back and let God work. He was working in me TONS, and I found myself with a new friend in this brother- it was a really sweet blessing to have. After praying more and more about finishing the original song and the coffee shop ministry, I received a test message asking me to be a part of a performance. This was a neat point, just relishing in God's work and being thankful for Him keeping his promises. This prompted me to finish the painting, and just wait for the right time to give it to him, and praying for the words to say to explain the work the Lord had done.

I thought the waiting would be hard. But, somehow, it wasn't. It was kind of exciting to have a secret that I wasn't allowed to share yet. I wasn't sure what God was doing behind the scenes, or what He was going to do through the painting, but I knew that if I waited and was obedient, my friend and I would both be blessed.

God let me know last week through middle of the night words and a few dreams that I needed to sit down and talk to him. The topics that the Lord told me had nothing to do with the painting, but I knew that wherever the conversations led, that the painting would be important. So, I began praying about what to say, and wrote it all down- knowing that I would probably be too nervous to say what really should be communicated.

Here's the cool thing: A little over a year ago, God directed me to create something that would have an impact on someone that I hadn't met. He loved my friend enough to prompt me creatively, to pray about and seek Him in the direction of a painting. He loved me enough to use my pain and the healing that came out of it in the life of someone else. He saw both of us where we were, and met us there.

This painting ended up having a lot to do with what was going on in my friend's life. It spoke to him in a really deep way, I could see that- even if he didn't or couldn't say everything. I liked it, it was colorful, and had some design to it, but until hearing what he shared, and where he was spiritually, I didn't see what the painting was truly about. It was about God seeing us in our hurt moments, and speaking to us exactly how He knows we will hear it. We are all unique- no two people are alike, and no two people hear from God in the same way.

This painting was never a story about a girl finding freedom. It was a story about a boy and his relationship with God- his Love story. Sometimes, it's just not about me...

Monday, May 3, 2010

A bullseye? I think NOT!

About a year ago, I began to lead worship in my small group. I had enrolled in the Worship Training Center at the church because I felt that God wanted me to, not sure what He was going to do in it. During the end of the classes, I was approached by one of our worship leaders and asked to lead with her for our small group.

Around six months ago, I was asked my some leaders in my small group to be part of what they called a "core" team. This may mean different things to different small groups, but for me personally, it meant that I was able to see how a small group was run from the inside. At different points, I was entrusted with small responsibilities that allowed me to step out in ways that were appropriate for where the Lord had me.

After being heavily involved in my small group, I was approached my the leaders and told that there were going to be some changes in the group, and they wanted me to pray about co-leading a small group with another leader. This wasn't a surprise to me, as the Lord had revealed to me that He would be raising me up at some point. But it was a shock in the sense that the small group life that I knew at that point would be completely changing.

There was a point where I was praying at a friend's house and random pain shot up my ankle. I was standing still- there was no shift of weight. It was just random pain. After the shooting pain stopped, I was left with a dull ache and somewhat of a limp. I thought maybe the enemy was trying to discourage me from praying for my friend, so I just prayed for it to go away several times over the course of a few days. It didn't go away, but traveled throughout my body: my mid back, my right wrist, then resting in my right armpit, and finally, the worst was when it was in my left lower back. That was agonizing! I went to the doctor, who gave me some pain medication and advised me to see a chiropractor. I was still convinced that it was demonic, so I sought prayer. One Sunday, the pain left my back and went straight to my head. I had a headache that left me in tears, and was done. I didn't want to be a leader if it meant that I was going to be in physical pain!

But in getting prayer, the Lord revealed some lies that I was believing. The first one was that I was going to fail at being a leader- and my leaders knew it. They were setting me up to fail. The second was that they were abandoning me. They are not my parents, but have meant so much to me over the years, that I think of them somewhat like parents sometimes. The third lie was that as a leader, I should expect that I will be attacked and that it is the enemy's right to do so.

What a crock! First of all, sure, I will fail. But if I am seeking, chasing, desperately clawing my way to Jesus, Him in me- that is a good recipe for success. Light always shines in darkness! My leaders weren't seeing that I would be a failure- they saw that I listen to the Lord and step back and allow Him to work through me. They also were not abandoning me. I assumed that they would simply be stepping out of the picture, but they would still be around, and attending the new small groups as support.

The third lie was the one that hit home the most. Yes, there is spiritual warfare that goes on. It is everywhere. But, the enemy has NO RIGHT over me. I belong to the Lord, and am His. There is no place for the enemy in that. What God showed me through this is that if I am filling myself with Him, day in and day out, there is no room whatsoever for the enemy to creep in. I need to be more intentional about filling my mind with Truth.

God gave me a neat picture to go alongside with this. If I am a kid on the playground, and a bully comes up to me and starts beating me up, is there anything I can do? Yes! I can fight back, I can run, and I can ask for help. In our Christian walks, we need to take a stand against the enemy- because our relationship with God is something worth fighting for!

Ephesians 6 :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What to do when He says "stop".......

I had one of those moments about six weeks back where I looked at what was going on in my life and noticed that it was very messy. Very. I know the path that led me here, and I know how to get out of it. I just don't know how long it's going to take- months... maybe years. As I look around at the unstructured, somewhat chaotic life I have found myself in, I can safely say that I am living in the very tangible consequences of walking away from the Lord and seeking to live my life for myself- often living in the moment and trying to heal myself.

About five years ago, I felt a strong calling to be a wife and a mother. So, I felt the right thing for me to do was to seek out a husband. Ha! First of all, I didn't seek the Lord in this at all. I was so excited about this new calling on my life that I just wanted it to happen right then and there. My eagerness led me to date the wrong men and even be engaged to one... which then led to the mess I am working on cleaning up now.

I still feel this strong calling to be a wife, but seeing clearly that although I may be able to emotionally handle a relationship, I cannot imagine inviting someone into this clean-up process. It wouldn't be fair to put that on him, and if I were to love someone as myself- love would prevent me from asking anyone to bear this burden for me.

So, in my lament to the Lord that went something like, "Lord, my life is messy! I don't know what to do! I could never invite someone into this life!" He could have given me practical ways to get back to where I should be. Instead, He said to me, "Don't date." My response was the randomness that follows: "What? Excuse me? I think I misunderstood. It sounded like you told me not to date. Oh, I think maybe I heard you right. So, okay. I can do this whole 'not dating' thing. I'm not dating anyone right now, so it's not like I would have to break up with anyone. When should I start? My birthday? Sounds good to me- that way I can remember when I started this commitment. Okay, Lord- how long should this last? A year?" Then, the Lord did His tricky little thing where He tells you what you need to know instead of what you want to know. He said, "You shouldn't date because before you are to be married- to share your whole life with someone- before you can be a successful wife and mother, you need to be successful at being single. You keep trying to better yourself because in your mind, every step forward in your walk and in your maturity as a woman is one level up in the 'wife of the year' competition. Stop thinking about making yourself better for some man that you don't even know. Work towards maturity so that in that, you might glorify me."

See what happened there? I saw a messy life, and the Lord saw potential for restoration if I took the proper steps. Dating someone would distract from the work that He is trying to do. There is just no room for another person in the season. Am I upset about that? Nope. Was I at first? Heck yes! I think that a part of me that was holding onto any hope of marrying some mystery guy that swept me off my feet died. I had to mourn that loss and understand that it shouldn't matter if I am single forever. I should relish in the years where He says walk and I don't ask how fast, I just step out. Where He says jump and I don't ask how high, I just leap. Where He says go and I don't ask where, I just move.

Do I still have a desire to be a wife? Absolutely. But, the difference is that now, it's not who I am. I am not the "future wife of an amazing Christian man." No, I am Lindsay Marie Yates, lover of Jesus, follower of Christ, daughter of God, and His beautiful workmanship.

Amen to the Truth He has implanted in my heart. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lindsay Yates, songwriter????

Last weekend, I played at a benefit concert for Living Hope for Haiti in Powell. I have never written a song in my life, but love to play other people's music. After my set, the owner of the cafe invited me to their songwriter's workshop, which was encouraging. First thought: intimidation. Why in the world would someone even think that I would belong in a place where people collaborate on music composition?

But, nevertheless, I accepted the invitation in hopes that maybe I can learn something. I've actually wanted to write music for sometime, but have never been brave enough to try.

The next morning, I was at the early service at church, not really wanting to be there (because a more comfortable alternative would have been my bed). My mind began to wander during worship and I started thinking about songwriting. I started to somewhat converse with God, and I really felt Him prompting me to ask for the gift. I was imediately reminded of what someone had shared in a group: we may not get what we ask for, but God cares about our desires and wants us to ask for them. So, I thought.... why not? I gave a somewhat half-hearted prayer saying something like, "Lord, I want to write songs."

Not a minute later, my mind was flowing. It was all I could do to pick up my pen quick enough to sribble down a few basic ideas. One of the ideas that popped into my brain was something that God has painfully been bringing to the surface the past few weeks. I was hesitant to even go there, and my pen paused, and I forced my brain to stop for a second. In that moment, God gave me four lines (promises if you will) concerning His view of me. It was as if He was saying, "What you are about to drag out is going to be painful, so here's some Truth to remind you Who loves you." He's cool like that.

Yes, I cried in church. No, it had nothing to do with the speaker. God is so faithful to bring us to a place that we can use our pain in a healthy way. He can hold us gently, arms wrapped around us, kissing our foreheads while allowing us to feel an uncomfortable pain. God is stirring in me more than a song. He's stirring a healing that I am sure is meant to lead other hurting and broken women to His warm arms.

Yes, I will be posting a finished product.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Dreamed a Dream

A few nights ago I had a dream...

I was an pregnant amish girl. I had a husband, and we were going to the hospital to deliver the baby. Something didn't feel right about having the baby there, though. I was in my room, going into labor, but no one was in the room, not even my husband. I was doing it alone. All of a sudden, another amish girl appears and has a pillow and blanket in her arms. She pulled me gently to the floor for me to deliver the baby on the floor. There were no words, but I had an understanding that it was inappropriate for me to deliver the baby in the luxury of the bed.

At some point, while still in labor, decided that there was another room that was meant for me to deliver the baby in. I couldn't walk, so I began to drag my bleeding body out into the deserted hall and down the corridor. As I dragged myself up the stairs, I remember noticing that there was blood everywhere. It wasn't just trailing behind me... it was under me as well. It was coming from everywhere in my body, not just my womb.

When I finally arrived in my "home," I finally saw my husband. He was laying in the hospital bed, getting ready to deliver our child. I looked down and saw that I was in street clothes, not the hospital gown I had been in before. I curled up into bed with him, to comfort his labor pains. Even though he was experiencing pain, everything was peaceful.

...As soon as I woke up, I knew God was speaking to me in this dream for a few reasons. 1. The dream was vivid. I rarely dream, but if I do, it's usually very foggy and I can usually only pick up emotions during the dream, not as if it were a screenplay. 2. The dream stuck with me, but not in a haunting way. In the way that I naturally remember everything in the timeline of the dream. 3. My alarm clock went off, and as soon as I fell asleep, the dream picked up where it left off, but had a darker plot, one that I know the enemy brought to me. As if he were adding in the last part to try to cause me to dismiss the first part. Jerk.

After much prayer, consideration and wise counsel, it has been determined that I am the amish girl. I have been pregnant with goals, dreams, and callings in my life that God has directed me to. I was comfortable in my walk, seeing these through on my own my own strength, until circumstances brought me to a very dark and challenging season. I was still pursuing these dreams on my own. But God had better for me, and I knew it. I started to struggle toward His beckoning, and though it was bloody, and unbearable, I pressed on. I eventually arrived at "home" and saw that God was the one that was to do the work, that He is the one to see my dreams through- on HIS strength and labor pains... as I saw in the dream, the pain wasn't overpowering to Him. He was still quite peaceful.

Where am I now in this bloody journey? I am still at the "dragging my bloody stump of a body to Jesus" point.

Phillipians 3:14, baby.