Radical celebration: from the book read-along on Marla's blog.
Marla asked two questions, the first being "How is your life different because of reading Radical?"
I must admit, I am still struggling with my journey, since my reading of Radical (and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.) I feel like I am out of place. I walk around feeling guilty, most the time, for living in America with the financial blessings we have and I am still so perplexed as to why we have them? Why I have them? Why aren't I the momma in Uganda with no way to feed my children, or Haiti, or Ethiopia or....? Why me with blessings? Why are my concerns paying for private Christian school, kids shoes, with a little left over for Christmas lights and wondering if I should save for retirement next year, while others concerns are how to produce milk for their newborn twins when they have no clean water and do not get to eat every day?
I am still struggling with this. Tonight, as I laid my head on my pillow, under my warm down comforter and snuggled in my warm house...I struggled. I asked. No answers, maybe, no answers came. I did think, well, I had no control or choice over where I was born. I have no control, now, over my past and the way I spent money before this.
I only have control over how I spend what God blesses me with today and in the future. I only have control over how I pray and who I pray for and how often. I only have control over how I "do church" and with whom. I only have control over what I say and do (to some extent, still working with that one) and how I can encourage and influence. I only have control over how much I let the pace of life drive me and how much I force a slow down, to quiet myself to be able to hear God's whisper. I only have control over what I put under our Christmas tree and what I choose to give to the least of these. And in all of this, I only have control to the extent that I surrender to God and ask His Holy Spirit to fill me each day, to take over me, my life, my ways. I only have that limited control over what I believe and choose to believe.
I'm believing God. I'm trusting Him. That He will lead and that He will continue His work in me to follow. I feel so desperately in need of Him and His love and His presence, now during this season.
The second question Marla asked was "How can we pray for you as look forward to 2011 and living radically?"
Pray for a closeness to God, like never before. For a sensitivity and sense of the Holy Spirit in my life. That I would hear his voice and respond. Also, pray, that this broken momma of broken children would have wisdom. That we, as a family, would grow closer to God and closer together, that we would reflect His ways in our interactions and love for each other. I am so overwhelmed by the lack of this during this season. We are getting help, God is working, but it is still so painful right now. As we move into 2011, this momma is doing more things to get our lives in order, financially, emotionally, lifestyle and habits...pray as we move through this season of change that we will turn more to God, and feel His presence. I want us to walk humbly with Him.
o come o come Emanuel and ransom captive Israel, who lays in lonely exile here
Jesus, we are still your Israel, your people, in darkness and exile, so desperately in need of our Savior, please come. In our days, in our moments, in our late night tears, come to us, God be with us. We do not know where to go, how to walk, without your leading. Whisper, I pray.
O God, I have tasted Your goodness,
and it has both satisfied me
and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God,
I want to want You;
I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Your glory, I pray,
so I may know You indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me…
Give me grace to rise
and follow You up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Some would gather money Along the path of life Some would gather roses, And rest from worldly strife. But I would gather children From among the thorns of sin, I would seek an ebony curl, And a wide and toothless grin. For money cannot enter In that land of endless day ,And roses that are gathered Soon will wilt along the way. But oh, the laughing children ,As I cross the sunset sea, And the gates swing wide to heaven ,I can take them in with me! ~Author Unknown~
“God wins us, not by shouting, beating us up, or starving us into submission, but by asking for an invitation to enter.
We are loved into surrender. The more we accept that he operates out of love for us, the more we will entrust ourselves to him.
Fénelon expresses this truth beautifully: "God is not a spy looking to surprise you. He is not an enemy lurking in the shadows to hurt you. God is your Father who loves you, and wants to help you if you will but trust in His goodness."