Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just Jump: Letting God Move in Your Life

Here. In my house. Among my things.  Here in the shadows.  At my table, eating the food.  Playing with the toys.  Taking time, here in my life is a little boy.  I cannot tell his story today, as it is not mine to tell.  But I can tell you what's happening here in my heart.  I am in the place where the right thing to do collides with the hardest thing I've ever been called to.  The definition of collision is "coming violently together".  My worldly self, my fearful self, my mommy self, the selfish part of me is colliding with this God call and there is shrapnel.  Adam and I have stumbled into Foster Parenting which right now let me just say feels 100% like adoption with strings attached.  It's the very most odd thing of ever.  You have a child, living in your home, you do not have their memories. You did not have them in your belly, you did not rock them to sleep, kiss their first booboo or take pictures of them on their first day of school.  You don't have any of the things.  Yet they are here and are immediately one of your babies.  You hug them goodnight, you treat them as a pack member, you give them the family crest without having taught them to fight for it.  It's just a thing of mind blowing proportions, foster parenting the act of adoption.

When I pictured my life I have thought many times about adoption.  In my mind I pictured our boys a bit older with a little 2 year old girl bouncing into our lives with her spiral curly hair and they would all protect her fiercely.  In no part of my plan was I adopting into my family a boy that is soon to be a man from a past of pain.  God's plan has caused a collision.  It has been and will continue to be a complete overhaul of myself.  Talk about a world turned upside down.  

I want you on this journey today. I want to tell you that God's plan is not always flowers and sunshine.  As a matter of fact alot of times it is dragging oneself in an army crawl through the muddiest place on a rainy day with a 150lb pack on your back and no end in sight.  Sometimes this is what God's plans for us feel like.  I believe it's this painful because it is refinement at it's hottest point. We cannot see the end result because it's hotter than hell over here, because the refinement is so necessary it's painful.  God's plan is more painful than ours because we limit our God in our plans. We make him tiny, we are rarely being used to our full potential in our plans because we plan our life out safe.  Instead of jumping into God's arms allowing him to cause us to soar we say but wait God I need to strap on this harness first and put on my helmet and make sure it's all safe down there before I jump.  

The Christian body lost a soldier this week.  Elisabeth Elliot passed through the pearly gates of heaven to be reunited with her husband Jim and their missionary friends.  You see they were doing God's work in Ecuador when the people they were ministering to killed her husband brutally along with some of the missionaries with them.  She continued to minister to the tribe that took her husbands life.  You can read more about this calling in Elliot's book Through The Gates of Splendor.  This was not what Elisabeth Elliot had planned for her life, she planned to do God's work in a certain way with certain ideals, never was it to continue ministering to the this tribe following the brutal murder of her love.  However, an amazing work was done through that in this tribe and in the world as they looked at her thinking, "woman you are crazy to stay with those people after what they did."  Her God collision changed lives hers included.  In Jim Elliot's last journal entry he said the most profound thing:

 "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

This little boy is changing our life. We are becoming a better family, better people, better parents and most importantly walking so closely with the Lord.  He calls us to walk in such a manner with him that our lives mimic his ministry.  In a recent article I read by Rick Warren he states "Jesus calls us to a level of intimacy that can only be sustained by his constant presence in our lives" and to that I say AMEN.

Psalm 65 tells us:
"How blessed is the one whom you choose and bring near to you to dwell in your courts we will be satisfied in the goodness of your house and your holy temple."

This is hard, this is also a blessing. There is sweetness here in the storm.  It may not be my way. It may leave me dragging myself through the mud, but at the least I have a path to pull myself through, because Jesus always goes before us, no collision happens without God's knowledge.  As we brace ourselves for the impact he says "oh sweet child just jump into my arms I have gone before you let me show you the way".  

From one who is FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made in his BEAUTIFUL image to another I can say with great assurance to you today just jump...

Much Love,
Chrystan

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Send Me: A Step in Obedience

I want to tell you something that I have been holding close to my heart the last few weeks.  I feared that if I told you, you would see me differently, not bad but different. That you would think things of me that are not truth but God has given me the green light and so here I am putting myself out there to glorify God.  I want to tell you how God is making his name famous in my community, I want to tell you a story of OBEDIENCE, of LIGHT in dark places and God's glorious works.

A year ago the people in my church rallied together to step into a dark place.  A place where there was no light.  A place where there is evil running rampant.  My church sits on a hill and is surrounded by thousands of people in cute little homes with pretty yards.  One piece of this community is the trailer park down the road.  There is poverty here.  Now, I need to tell you I have seen the darkness of this place, BUT I am not saying all trailer parks are bad places.  I just want you to know there are some scary things happening in this specific place.  I have seen them, I have felt them, I have heard them spoken from babies mouths.  God called, we went.  We invited all the children once week to join in on games and fun and hearing about God's love for them.  Through this the Lord gave us a family of 7 babies ranging in age from 16 down to 6.  We love them.  Many people in my church on the hill have spent their time this past year pouring into, loving, transporting, praying for and teaching these 7 babies about LOVE and the Lord.  As God knew would happen, these children a few weeks ago were removed from their home.  They were put into the Foster system, some in homes some in shelters, scattered through our city.  We came together brokenhearted and asked what we could do. We have prayed, we have petitioned, we have combated spiritual warfare and we have begged God. God has blessed, poured into and LOVED us greatly through this.  Our church body has united to bring 4 of these babies into homes of church members.  We are meeting with and loving on all 7 babies.  God has blessed OBEDIENCE and we are all forever changed.  It has not been easy, it has been hard.  Hard only because we have been called out of our comfort zones to do something that looks crazy to the world.  We are BEING the GOSPEL, we are ACTING in LOVE and that is met with confusion, questioning, judging and attacks from the deceiver.  God has called us out on the water, and sometimes we are walking confidently and other times we are calling out to the Lord to SAVE US from drowning.  He has not guaranteed that this will be easy. He has not said that he will protect us in our OBEDIENCE.  As a matter of fact it has been made clear to me that this will be hard, that there will be scary things, that there may be danger and heart ache. But above all his name will be GLORIFIED, that the GOSPEL will be spread and that he is GOOD ALL THE TIME.  Is that not the most beautiful thing ever?  That in the hard places Jesus meets us.  He may call us out on the WATER. We may struggle to stay above the waves. But HE is there! He goes before us.  He is GOOD. He is GOOD.
My personal piece in this puzzle is to have one of these sweet babies in my home.  Adam and I sought God's will in this and he said yes and so we also said yes.  One of the boys moved in with us on Monday.  I have NEVER EVER in all my days been so needy for the LORD.  And guess what ya'll, we should ALL be living in a way that causes us to be NEEDY for Jesus.  If we are no depending on him for our daily bread then something is wrong in our lives.  I have come to a place of repentance in this.  What have I been doing in all my days to step out onto the water with my SAVIOR? How have I been reliant on him? How have I stretched myself in ways that call me out of the pew and into his arms?  In all the reflection, no ways. I have not been uncomfortable, I have not lived out the name of Jesus. I have proclaimed it with my mouth but my actions have not reflected that.

I have to tell you, if you are comfortable in your Christianity you are not doing it right. The disciples dropped everything to follow Jesus and then to proclaim his name to the ends of the earth in all the dark places.  We had 21 believers beheaded this year in the name of Jesus.  WHY WHY WHY are we still sitting in our pretty churches patting ourselves on the back my friends?  FEAR?  Uncertainty? Or are we not willing to give up comfort to increase the kingdom of heaven.  Because death is the other option. Being spritually dead to me is the worst way to die.  I don't want that for me, for my family, for my church, for my city, for my nation, for my world.  I desire for all to turn their eyes to the Father and I don't want to be comfortable until that happens.
So you are gong to see  and hear of radical things from me.  I am going to LOVE in all the hard places.  There is NO PERFECTION in me in this.  I am in OVER MY HEAD and I covet your prayers in such a desperate way words cannot describe.  This is not my "good dead" this is my GOOD GOD. I am so immeasurably blessed and unworthy and so very dependent on him for everything.  I literally am praying "Lord give me this day my daily bread". And he does, everyday.  Without him I am nothing and I have nothing and that is the best place I have ever been.

God is calling you to go.  In Isaiah 6:8 we read "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, "Here am I. Send me!".  GO into the dark places and SHINE light.
This is my anything story, this is me saying God anything for you.  What will be yours?  You are WONDERFULLY and FEARFULLY made in his BEAUTIFUL image, what will you do with that today?

Much Love,
Chrystan

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