I’ll start by saying this, I hate this season of my life. Like for real, I’m not a fan. Have I been through worse? So much worse. But make no mistake, this season I’m currently walking through is no freaking cake walk and it’s testing me in ways that make me want to rip my face off. (sorry that got violent real fast… clearly, we’re off to a great start.)
It’s been exactly 16 months since I have written on this blog. An eternity really, when for so many years and through so many circumstances, this was the place I retreated to. My little corner of the world where I could cry and vent, document my life, and occasionally, have it out with God.
I don’t miss writing if I’m honest. I don’t miss straining over words or the placement of commas, nor do I have time for it these days. I don’t miss masses of people correcting my grammar, or the uproar that ensues every time a friend or family member’s ego takes a hit because of something I wrote. Not to mention, I’m uninterested in building a platform for myself or in joining the likes of those dishing out tweetable wisdom to the watching world. The older I get the less value I see in any wisdom I could offer, especially if it’s tweetable, and the more value I see in things like a solid under eye concealer.
But the reason I’ve chosen to pick back up writing on this blog is this (and only this): when I write I feel near to God.
And if I’m honest, I need Him now, just as much as ever.
God has done real-life miracles in my life. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know, I have seen God’s power with my own eyes and could tell story-upon-story of all the miracles I have seen God do for me and my family. (So many of them I’ve shared on this blog.)
But today I want to share with you why I believe we’ve been able to experience God moving in such incredible, awe-inspiring ways… It’s a topic I’ve never talked about on this blog, but here it is: We are lavishly, uncomfortably, generous with our money.
(It’s not who we’ve always been, but it’s who we’ve become — And it’s changed everything.)
Warning: this post won’t be for everyone. Some people are so protective, so combative about their money, they can’t even have a conversation, much less read a blog post with an open mind. So if that’s the category you fall under, no offense… I’m sure you are wonderful, but to clarify this blog post is NOT for you. I’m also equally sorry, because your refusal to be generous is also your stamp of approval to live a life with a cap on all the miraculous things you will see God do… (or won’t do, for that matter.)
Because I don’t say this lightly or flippantly: Generosity can change your life! (As a fact, it has changed mine!)
Generosity has unlocked God’s blessing in our lives. It’s let loose a favor that is untamed and a story that is unrivaled. And hear me say this, God desires to do the same in your life in 2018.
The question I will pose to you today is: Have you given God enough space to move?
He was wearing a snow suit on an 84 degree summer day, that was the first sign he wasn’t mentally sound. The second, was the eerily slow pace in which he walked.
Come on, pee faster… my inner dialogue begged of my 65 lb boxer. Watching, out of the corner of my eye as the strange man crossed closer to my side of the street. Taking note also, of how nearly every inch of his body was covered in layers upon layers of clothing.
I hurried into the safety of my apartment building, stopping briefly at the entrance to say my usual hello’s with Carlos the doorman. Asking, as I always do, if anything noteworthy happened for the day ( P.s. NYC doorman have the best stories, and Carlos’ exuberance to tell them and to exaggerate every detail and make subtle jabs at Trump, make them all the more fun to listen to.)
But that’s when I heard it… a booming voice behind me. I knew instantly it was the man I had been watching. He was yelling in my direction.
I never did make out the words he was barking, but it was clear he was angry. More than that, he was unstable.
Looking back, there was so much to be afraid of in that moment, so many reasons to cower down and recoil in fear. Yet interestingly, at the moment, the maniac wasn’t the one I was taking note of the most… it was Carlos the doorman.
I remember the first time I heard honest, unguarded words.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid in a conservative Baptist church, I heard (a lot) of words over the course of my life. Lots of good, well-behaved, and in their ‘Sunday’s best’ kinds of words. But the first time I was on the receiving end of vulnerable and honest words? It stunned me.
The first time I heard someone bare their soul and share their raw, most painfully human truths, let me tell you… it was almost a spiritual experience.
Honesty awakened something in me that I didn’t even know existed.
And the only thing that has roused me more?
Exactly one year ago, we stepped out to do what God had asked us to do, all while lacking – pretty much everything – we needed to do it.
Maybe you can relate.
I know, I know… God’s timing is perfect and He will give us the desires of our hearts. I’m both familiar with these truths and believe they hold true.
But that being said, REALLLLLY, tho… God is ignoring me.
…and the two pregnancy tests in my hand are proof.
When my marriage fell apart and I found myself drowning in depression, I had 3 people to forgive for about a trillion unforgivable things, yet they weren’t the most difficult to forgive — It was everyone else, and me.
Everyone else, because of the stupid things they would say, and worse, the things they wouldn’t.
Friends, that threw Bible verses at me like I was Satan, in hopes the scriptural fairy dust they were sprinkling over my heartache would magically make all the lies and broken vows in my marriage disappear (It didn’t.) And others, who oversimplified marriage by giving idiotic advice like, ‘Yah know, staying happily married is all about ‘balance’ and ‘continuing to date each other.‘….all while I stood in the wreckage left of my marriage that had just obliterated for reasons much more severe than that.
Balance?!?! I mean, what does that even mean?!?! I realize balance is good, for instance, when decorating bookshelves or when trying to not eat too much sugar, and that dating each other is ideal if, say, you want to eat your way through all the sushi joints in town. But for me, having a happy marriage had nothing to do with either of those things at the time… I NEEDED MY HUSBAND TO STOP LOOKING AT PORN! (balance and dating each other, my @$$!)
But then there was me to forgive. Arguably, the most difficult person for me to stomach at the time…
I’ve spent 29 years of my life asking God why I was put on this earth, and the last few, telling Him all the reasons why I couldn’t possibly do it.
I’ve contemplated making a run from God’s call on my life, too many times to count. Much like all the times I hid in the bathroom to escape gym class in Elementary School.
I just couldn’t do it. I missed kickball tournaments, field days, and square dancing. All because I was too afraid of what my peers would say, of how athletically incompetent I might prove myself to be, when inevitably, some sphere of death would be hurled unmercifully in my direction. (I’m also, legit, afraid of balls. But that’s another story for another time.)
So there I stayed, in the bathroom, nearly every day, studying the barely legible choice words that were littering the lavatory walls I had locked myself in, while the shouts of my classmates echoed from the gym.
Though I rarely hide in bathroom stalls anymore (praise!) I realized this week, the reason I most often feel like running from what God is asking me to do, is still the same as it was while cowering on the commode all those years ago:
I was, and still am, debilitating afraid of the critic.
There are two types of people in this world: those who believe there is greatness to be unlocked in them and that there is significant purpose as to why they have been put on this earth. And those, who don’t.
Both, have had the same God who breathed the stars, breathe life into their lunges for an incredible, if not astounding reason, but only one set of people believe it. Worse, only one set of people will ever step into it.
By default, I fall into the latter category, and because of it, I don’t know if I will ever find the courage to step into what I am put on this earth to do (the jury’s still out on that one.)
But the harsh truth is, you might not either.
…And God’s hoping that will scare us, today. (And He will attempt to do so, with just one word — IF.)