Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, 19 May 2011 {back at His feet}

Tonight has been one of those nights.  You may not know what I'm talking about here, if you haven't experienced a moment or night like this, but I bet most of you have. I'll try my best to put it into words.  It's been a hard night, but one of the best.  You know those times where you are really struggling, discouraged, hurt, lonely, or for whatever other reason, you realize just how independent you are and how much that is not the way we are meant to be?  We, as people made in His image, are meant to be solely and completely dependent on Him.  This was a time when I really cried out to Jesus, and meant it with all of my heart when I asked Him to take over. Because there is nothing more important in this world than to be dependent on Him. Nothing.

I am reading A Young Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.  God has really used it to work on my heart and show me how He--not family, friends, pop culture, school, sleep, even serving--should be more important than He is in my life.  Most of us (or at least me) say "He is #1 in my life!" but do we really, really mean it?  Are those words or actions?  Sometimes I try to fit Jesus into the crooks and crannys that are leftover from my busy schedule:  "Sorry God, I'm hanging out with a friend today, then I have to study, and then my favorite show is on.  Maybe we can talk tomorrow?"  or I get distracted:  "Lord, I want to live for you me who I can show Your love to today..hmm..what should I wear today? Wait and I have a test I forgot about!  Sorry, God, what was I saying?"  Many people, including myself, either fit Him in wherever we can, or we don't truly pray when we try.  There was a time last year, where for probably five months I learned how to really pray.  I spent an hour or two with Jesus each day, and what a difference it made!  Summer came, and so did my inconsistant schedule, and I didn't spend as much time with Him.  And when we don't make an effort, our minds wander, and we forget, and we are busy, and we're human.  Imagine how God feels, though?  Probably like He's not very important to us. 

One of my favorite songs says,  "Oh Christ, be the center of our lives, be the place we fix our eyes, be the center of our lives."  What a perfect illustration of what the cry of my heart is:  that He, and He alone, would be the center of my life.  So today, I commited to working at a more meaningful prayer life and spending more time alone at His feet.  I hope you'll join me, and please, hold me accountable!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday 7 May, 2011 {love them like Jesus}

I'm not sure if you ever heard the song called "Love Them Like Jesus" by Casting Crowns, but the song is about what our job as Christians is to care for those in need, and to show them His love.  The chorus goes like this: 

"Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus."

We carry them to Him by loving them, and that is how I want to live my life.  If you haven't noticed, there is a common theme with me:  God teaches me, touches me, and inspires me through books.  Words are very powerful to me.  We had to pick out a classic book to read for English class, so I decided to read one I knew virtually nothing about; it's called Ellen Foster.  I'm only about 1/4 of the way through and so far, it has really impacted me.  It's from the perspective of a young girl who has a troubled life and ends up in the foster care system.  The story goes back and forth from her nightmare family life to her safe foster home.  The contrast is eye opening, as is the innocence from the young girl who doesn't understand what is going on. 

Foster care and orphans are close to my heart and (hopefully obviously) something I'm passionate about.  I've always known I would someday be an adoptive mom and a foster mom to several kids, but this book has given me a new perspective, and its really convicted me in a way I can't explain very well.  It's shown me what life is like for those who are abused and misused right in their own home, something I've never experienced firsthand.  Little Ellen is not aware of how severe her situation is:  her durnkard father stays out for long periods of time, leaving her in charge of the bills, food, and upkeep of the house.  When he does come home, she hides in the closet and waits until he leaves.  Sometimes he comes to find her, and leaves bruises on her arms, which she is accustomed to.  I think all the many times I've sang the words "Break my heart for what breaks Yours" and meant it, is starting to catch up with me.  Boy is my heart broken.  Really broken.

I know some kids who have had pasts like Ellens because my dad runs a foster care program at Youth for Christ.  And I can't help but wonder what nightmares those kids have lived.  Abuse, neglect, tragedy; these kids have gone through at 4 years old what I could not imagine going through.  I think sometimes we see the kids across the world in Africa who are orphaned (they are really important), but not everyone can move to Africa.  So we need to reach out right here where we are called to be right now.  There are orphans in our community.  They are at the center of God's heart, yet they don't know it.  Right now the state is helping to take care of the orphans.  Why?  Because the church isn't. 

So I've decided to do something.  I'm going to get more involved, I'm going to serve more, I'm going to give more, I'm going to pour His love out more, and I'm going to rely on Him more.  I'm going to ask Him how He wants to use me, and I'm going trust His answer.  I'm going to obey, and I'm going do it with His joy.  Because I can't say I want to care for orphans oversees later when I'm not caring for the ones nextdoor now.  I can't, and I won't. 

Next week, when I'm caring for the babies while their foster parents are getting trained, I will wonder what they've gone through.  I will not just look for the cutest and the sweetest to hold, because Jesus doesn't do that to us.  I will pray for each one as I rock them, and I will be amazed that He can use me, an ordinary 15 year old, to love them.  I will thank Him that He gave me a heart for the ones closest to His heart.  I will wonder why I've had a great life while these little guys have gone through so much.  But most of all, I will thank Him for sending me here to love them. And I will choose to live for something eternal.