Thursday, January 31, 2013

A City On A Hill

Well y'all, I've been thinking about some stuff tonight.  So hold on to your hats, go pee or whatever because this could get lengthy.

One might say that I've been in a bit of a funk the past several months.  No need to go into specifics...I'm sure everybody's been like that at one time or another.

Aforementioned funkiness (yeahhh...let's go with THAT word...funkiness...eatcha heart out Chaka Khan...) being the reason that posts have been pretty sparse around here.  Because really?  Who wants to read about a somewhat middle-aged woman whining about her stuff?

Nobody.  That's who.

Fortunately for me though, I have a Heavenly Father who is so crazy about me that He will go to any lengths, use any method, any tool, even go so far as to send His one and only to die for that I can be rescued from myself and live.

I shouldn't have been surprised by it all really.  I had been crying out for some time that my passion for Him just wasn't there anymore.  That I needed to get rid of some pride, do this, do that...anything to be enough.

Enough for Him.

*sigh* Silly rabbit, all works and no grace is for Pharisees.


I sorta, kinda got my wish to have my fire re-kindled, my passion re-inflamed, my hope restored and made fresh.  But it came at a heavy price.'s the thing...sometimes, in order to be filled or, re-filled, with means you gotta get rid of something.  In my case, it was a big old giant that I thought was dead, but was really only wounded...and he came back with some of his brothers to set up house, because I merrily refused to deal with him fully in the first place.

All that to say, this battle has got me stirred up.  And really, me and God are doing good...we're cleaning house if you catch what I'm doing here.  Because all of the funk drove me to my knees and forced me to pray something I hadn't prayed in a while.

God...You are God and I am not.  God...give me back my hunger....give me back my passion for You...give me an all-consuming love for You again.

So and God have this fiery romance thing going on right now.  And it's awesome because I know this is a seismic shift in my life.

I will never, ever be the same again.

And in all of this, just today, I began to think about passion and about how I got passionate for God in the first place...if you'd like to know (and you sort of don't have a choice here. do, but you'll have to sort of like, leave and not read the rest of this I'll be glad to share with you.

Quite simply...the way I started to hunger for a passion for God was...well...I hung out with passionate people.  One friend of mine in particular sort of set the whole thing off.

So it's her fault...thankfully.

I won't call her by her given name here...we'll just let her be known as 'Netters.

She and I crossed paths in a tiny little church many moons ago.  We instantly connected because, it was hard not to love somebody who was so...out there and ga-ga over the moon for Jesus.

She's a talented singer and musician but it's not so much her's how she sings...she gives her whole self..and I had never, ever seen anybody in any little bitty church sing to God like that.

I asked her once how she did it.  She said it like this, "When I'm up there on that piano stool, it's just me and God."  I couldn't figure it out, since obviously, it wasn't just her and God...myself and the rest of the congregation were there too.

And it wasn't just how she was how she lived.  She was so eager to talk about Jesus and to learn about Him, and was so fascinated with Him.  What can I say?  I was jealous.

And God used her to light a holy and beautiful brushfire within me.

So to my dear friend...I am thinking of you once again today as I re-start and re-kindle and re-fill.  I can see you, tears streaming down your face, smiling and singing with your whole body...telling everyone about how the old story would never grow old for you.

I give thanks to God that He put you in my path...because I was forever and irrevocably changed.  You unashamedly put your lamp out on a lampstand and lit up the whole house.  You were the city that was set up on a hill for me and in you...He could not be hidden.

Thank you for that.

You are the light of the world.  A city set upon a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I am Jean Valjean

One word from him and I'd be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack
Instead he offers me my freedom
I feel my shame inside me like a knife
He told me that I have a soul,
How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life?
Is there another way to go?

I am reaching, but I fall
And the night is closing in
And I stare into the void
To the whirlpool of my sin
I'll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now
Another story must begin!
(Lyrics from Who Am I? as sung by Jean Valjean.
From Les Mis
Written by Claude-Michel Schonenberg and Alain Boublil)
I was blessed by an opportunity to go see the movie/musical Les Mis this past weekend.  My sweet son was my date.  He actually was the one who convinced me to go.  Y'all I don't normally go to the movies.  (Because hello...$40 for 2 cokes and a popcorn is not my idea of a good time.) 
Usually I just wait for movies to get to On-Demand before I watch them.  But my son said I just had to go and see this movie.  He had seen it over the Christmas break and offered to go see it again if I'd go with him. 
Well...long story short (too late for that...sorry) we went.
And y'all.
I was quite simply...blown away.  It's been 4 days and I still haven't quite recovered.  How Hollywood managed to put out a movie that proclaimed the Gospel of Grace so wonderfully and beautifully without totally cutting the Lord out of the picture is nothing short of a true-blue miracle. 
True. Blue.
I'm telling you I practically floated out of that movie theater.  I had to because we had flooded the dang thing with tears. son said it sounded like a symphony in there what with all the sobbing and sniffling and nose blowing.  And when the rest of the audience got into the act...well...I'll just leave it to your imagination.
The is a tear-jerker.  So take some Kleen-ex with you.  Don't be like yours truly and think "Oh I'm not gonna cry." 
Yes.  Yes you will.
The lady to the left of me said she would've shared but she could only find one measley kleenex and it had to last her the entire 2 and 1/2 hours.  I'm guessing she hasn't heard of our Lord's miracle of the fishes and the loaves but whatever.
The two sweet little girls sitting next to my son didn't speak English very well (bless 'em) and they spent the entire movie sobbing in Chinese.  I didn't know that was possible but it is.
So yeah.  Tears.  They will flow like a river. 
But they will be good tears...especially at the end and you smack yourself in the head and realize the full message of what Mr. Hugo (author of the novel Les Miserables which is what the musical is based upon) had to say.  Not that I did that.  I'm speaking hypothetically of course.
The whole thing is uplifting and glorious in ways that Hugh Jackman's shamefully absent (and sadly missed) sideburns have striven-to-be-but-never-quite-made-it in all those X-men movies.
It is what going to the movies should be.
So don't wait for On-Demand.  Shell out the bucks and go.  It's worth it.
But please, for the love of all you and yours hold dear...refrain from singing "I Dreamed A Dream" mournfully to yourself in the shower the next morning as you ready yourself for work.  You may find yourself in a puddle ( see what I did there right?) shivering and sobbing in a fetal position on the floor when your husband starts pounding on the bathroom door complaining that he's late and he's gotta get ready too for Pete's sake.
But at least if it does happen you can reach up and grab some toilet paper for your nose.  If you've remembered to change the roll of course.
But again...that's just a hypothetical.