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...