Connecting

never-the-less1I am thinking tonight about how we as women are wired to desire connection. I for one am grateful for that desire. And this weekend was such a sweet sweet reminder that other women share that longing as well.

As I sit and write I am listening to Shane & Shane singing “It is Well” & I am thinking…yes…it is.

I was honored this weekend to be a part of a young women’s conference hosted by a friend of mine in South Dakota. I loved being invited into the stories of vulnerable transparent women who believe that if they are willing to share how God’s hand-print is stamped upon their lives, it will make a difference in someone who is looking on. Each one touched me very personally. Each conversation that I had along the way was important to me. Some unfinished.

And then when it is over we go home with the impact sitting upon our hearts. What will we do with what we have heard? Will we filter it through our natural minds? Or will we allow the breath of God to direct our thoughts and actions as we all head home to our pre-conference lives? Nothing wrong with returning to our lives – but how do we weave this experience into what’s next?

Lord…help me not to take this lightly, but to seek to be directed by you and then to follow where you lead.

With a heart full of gratitude…and open to be moved…

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“The Body”

I have recently faced times of both trial and victory.  I have been blessed beyond words to have benefited from the “Body of Christ” in ways that I struggle greatly to even put to words. 

In the midst of this time I visited a friend who probably has no idea what she offered to me in terms of God’s love.  She allowed me to be right where I was in the moment and tenderly offered me the touch of God.  She required nothing of me…but gave without reserve.  How is it that she could know?  Not sure that she really did…but God did …and I believe that He used her for me to show me that He knew me and that He was not far from me.  I was not alone.

I am longing for the words to describe the impact that the love I have received from those who represent the “Body of Christ ” in my life has had in these past few weeks.  

I choose to share this with you because this is what I feel so convinced that the Lord would have us to do with one another in order to see His glory! 

Have you ever felt dry and lifeless in your relationship with the Living God? 

Have you wanted so much to touch HIS robe? 

To taste and see what you have tasted and seen before…yet you cannot seem to “get there”?

I have felt each of these and more. 

For those of you who have know this desert…I feel so deeply for you at this very moment!!!  It is such a lonely place. 

 Not lonely in terms of wanting people around me – no – on the contrary.  Lonely in terms of knowing the intimacy of a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Father God and feeling far from Him.

As it came my turn after listening to the prayer requests of those I have been meeting with now for over a year for prayer ~ I suddenly felt all of the emotion come welling up in me without warning.  Before I knew it, I was laying it all out there to be heard in the raw emotion of it all.  Most of the women who were here for prayer that day were young ladies ~ “20 something women” who I have been blessed to be sharing prayer with for some time now. The prayer time may be different every week with who joins us, but this particular week it was the original ladies that have been a part of the group since the beginning. 

There was a part of me that felt like I was crazy to not be censoring my emotions and my words as they flowed out ~ after all I am the older woman.  But it was the most real part of me that won out ~ the authentic part that asks and encourages the same from them each week.  I have come to know this place of prayer with them as a place where I am free to be part of the group ~ a participant with them ~ and not “the older woman” when it comes to sharing and lifting one another in prayer.  For this ~ I am grateful!  I think that it pleases the LORD:-)

What I found that day as I chose to continue to let them see me “struggles and all” was that I truly experienceded the “Body of Christ”.  My friends gathered around me and began to speak words of truth and share scripture spontaneously as led by God.  How do I know it was led by God?  Because that day ~ in all my dryness and weariness ~ I was lifted before the throne of God with each word of encouragement ~ truth spoken ~ scripture read ~ and precious prayers breathed aloud for me.  I cannot tell you the life that it breathed into me.  I am thankful beyond words.

It has breathed life into me ~ this “Body of Christ” ~ letting me know that I am not alone in my pursuit ~ that there are those who care deeply to lift me before the throne of God.

Since this time ~ and letting a couple of other friends know just how much I was struggling, I have recieved so much from them.  They have no idea that the text messages and emails that they have sent have been at just the perfect moment and offer just what I need to hear from God.  He knows it, and He cares to use His Body to speak it!

I hope that if there is one person who comes accross this who needs to hear it to know that they are not alone in thier desert place ~ that they will read this and be enouraged to be authentic with at least one other person about it.  

Please share your desert experience with me so that I may pray with you.

Let me encourage you with the encouragement that has been given to me.

 There is so much that I believe that God wants to do through His “Body”.  Will we be found willing?

More thoughts on Sanctification

The day after I posted my last comment I was so encouraged to see that my reading that day would support the thoughts of the previuos day.  I love how God does makes things clear! I think for me…that if it is something that He wants me to pay attention to…He will show me from more than one angle.  That is what happened as I read the next day.

I think that conversation around what sanctification is and how it is achieved has been a topic for discussion and debate for longer than I know.  So it is somewhat crazy that I would begin to enter my thoughts here knowing there are numerous great authors and scholars who have gone before me with thier thoughts and conclusions.  With all due respect to those great authors who speak volumes to me, I enter the scene with thoughts that are very simple, desiring to understand what sanctification looks like in my life…in my daily relationship with a Holy God. 

With that said, I am excited to share with you how Andrew Murray sharpened me this week in agreement I think with Oswald Chambers.  Murray is talking about “Stillness of Soul”.  He references the following scriptures:

Isaiah 30:15 ~ In returning and rest shall ye be saved.  In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. (KJV)
Psalm 37:7 ~ Be silent to the LORD, and wait patiently for him. (KJV)
Psalm 62:1 ~ Truly my soul waits, silently upon God. (KJV)

As I began to read about stillness of soul, Murray shares his view. He says “As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself. What he can do of himeself is altogether sinful. He must therefore cease from self-effort, faith assures him that God does what He has undertaken to , and works in him. And what God does is to renew, to sanctify, and to waken all his energies to their highest power. So that just in the proportion that he yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God, will he be weilded of God as the instrument of His almighty power” (Murray, Andrew, Andrew Murray on Prayer, 1998, Whitaker House, p. 87).

This encourages me! I can strive all that I want to lead a holy life before God – but the real work is done in my being still. I have been really trying to learn about stillness over the last several months. There seems to be an art to it. I believe that it is a learned posture. The only way that I can continue to learn is to continue to position myself before the Lord quietly. Now there is word that we could talk about – quiet – more on that another day. I am practicing being quiet in an attempt to know my Lord better – more intimately.

I think Murray and Chambers are saying that it is in this quietness before the Lord that He makes us holy…sanctifies us. Sure…I long to make choices that bring glory to the Lord. But the choice in and of itself does not sanctify me. It is the hearts posture before the Lord that I think makes it possible for Him to do His work in me.

Today I will sit with this.

Sanctification

Oswald Chambers is so great to make me think about the way that he presents any particular topic for thought. 

Yesterday he spoke to me about “Sanctification”.

What spoke volumes to me was when he said “The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfection of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh.  Sanctification is ‘Christ in you.’  …Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Barbour Books, 1935).

So…Am I?  Simple question…right?  Not so much.  I can not imitate Jesus.  Can I let the perfection of Jesus manifest itself in my mortal flesh?  Can I let the attributes of God become manifest in me?  I think that it is possible.  My task is to surrender myself to HIm.  To die to myself and my own flesh.  It is then that He is able to manifest Himself in me. 

My hearts desire is to stop striving to imitate Jesus and to learn to yield to HIs manifest presence in all areas of my life.  What will it look like to have sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?  It seems to be a topic that I find myself returning to again and again.  It is my hearts desire.  Lord, help me please to be still and let you do your work as only you can do. 

I’d love to hear your heart on santification…please share.