Walking the Walk-Friendship Project Update #2

If you've stopped by from the Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome. I am posting a video update today. Let's chat...(hey, if you have trouble opening this, leave me a comment. Oh, any other comments are welcome too!)

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The FriendshIp Project 2009

Hey ladies. Check out the video below. And be gentle, it's my first time shooting a video and actually uploading it. Oh, I'm so nervous, but this will be totally worth it. I am so excited about this! Come back tomorrow for details on how to join our (soon-to-be set up) Facebook page!!

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A quiet womb and a broken heart

Welcome to those of you joining me from my "Encouragement for Today" devotion.

I'm not really myself right now. I spent this weekend at a retreat for my home church where I taught a series of sessions regarding the biblical mandate for friendship. It was an amazing weekend. I am in love with my friends. I am so blessed to have deep, abiding, make-me-better-than-I-am best friends. But this weekend I learned the stories of  so many women in our church.  In just a small delegation of women from our church, we had women who have:
-buried spouses
-who have lost homes
-suffered various and wretched forms of abuse
-survived infidelity
-come from unbelieving, broken or abusive homes
-buried parents or children
-had miscarriages both early and late-term

As I heard their stories I wept. We shared our desire to reach outside ourselves to use these experiences for others benefit; it is a ministry borne of pain. It was a supremely emotional weekend, but I savored every moment. I was spent in the best sense of the word. My Mom and I left the retreat laughing and celebrating our God-weekend. He was so, so good. As we were sitting over our last lunch before re-entering life we got a call from my Dad.

My brother and sister-in-law had just found out they lost their baby. My sister-in-love was just 12 weeks pregnant.  After some spotting they went to the doctor and sat patiently waiting to hear the promising, sweet swooshing of  an in utero heartbeat. It was a long silence interrupted by the tears of a young couple with a quiet womb and broken hearts.

I shared this weekend that the early chapters of Luke demonstrate the grace of God and the priority of friendship. God blesses Mary, the soon-to-be mother with a friend equally unlikely to be in that favored position-Elizabeth. Of all the things the angel could have told Mary, he assures her that Elizabeth is also with child and that with God nothing is impossible.

Elizabeth had chosen to keep herself hidden from everyone, but not Mary. These two friends walk this journey of expectancy together. Hearts are knit together for all kinds of reasons, but for women I don't know that many things draw us to another woman more than the knowledge that she knows intimately what we're feeling. She has been there.

Shared experiences transcend age, race, creed or distance; but that doesn't make sharing those experiences easy, does it? Shared experiences also require shared emotions. It can be hard to go back to that place of raw wreckage, to join someone in their pain. It requires revelation, transparency and risk.

But can I ask you to consider going there? I know you don't know my sweet, trembling, grieving sister-in-love, but she is amazing. She is resilient. She is faithful. She is private. She is choosing to deal with her grief at home with my brother. I support that, and I want to support her on her terms. I would love to gift her with encouragement and comfort that only someone who has been there can offer. I have not been there. You?

If you have ever experienced a miscarriage would you consider leaving her a comment here? Thank you in advance for entering her pain. "For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37


Un-miffed. Part 2.

I'm back. Sorry to leave so abruptly last night. I have a ten-month old with a double ear infection. A ten-month old who awoke six times last night between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. A ten month-old who has been sleeping through the night since four weeks old. I knew something was up because he was.

So one wild and hairy day later filled with a drive to drop off my (currently) healthy four year old and two year old at Nonnie's, a visit to the doctor's office and countless squirts of Germ-X; I'm back home and back to give you the rest of the story.

So to recap, I'm struggling to find my mustard seed. It's there. I know it is. I can feel it. In fact, I can almost see my  boys running through that house, scarring up the floors, nicking the paint, ruining new pairs of jeans in the yard.

But I am struggling. Is it okay for me to believe that God will give me THIS desire of my heart? Do I dare expect Him to act on my behalf for something so selfish? This is the question I asked my husband. You see He's a realist. Well, he says realist, I say he's a pessimist. He points to all the things God IS NOT doing as evidence that this may not be His will for our lives. I point to a dialogue I had with my head. I can't say I blame him for wanting more proof. (By the way, my love advice? Date someone you can be in love with sure, but marry someone you can be in life with. I found one; he's a keeper!)

We decided to look to Scripture to see how faith works. What can we hope for?

My beloved points to Hebrews 11. This hallmark of faith testifies to those who believed God. My beloved points out wisely that many of these super saints received a promise. They believed in something God told them. They had an encounter with the Living God and received a promise or command from Him.

So does what I heard from God constitute a promise? I decide I'd better keep digging.

I look to the gospels. Over and over Jesus either commends individuals for their faith or shames them for their lack thereof. Many of the individuals Jesus healed were healed because of their faith. Presumably they had had no prior interaction with Jesus before going to see Him. They believed in Jesus' capacity to grant their hearts' desires.

Where does this leave me? Why am I un-miffed? Well here's where I am today. And because this seems to be a sort of gray area in Scripture I reserve the right to feel differently tomorrow. But today, well today I've decided the only reason not to believe God for my heart's desire is to protect my heart from disappointment.  So what if I'm wrong?

You see what I know to be true about God WILL NOT change if He doesn't answer my prayer. His ways are perfect. His timing is without flaw. Unfathomably, He loves me more than I love myself. He purposes only good for me. I will not be moved from what I KNOW to be true about God. Experience doesn't trump Scripture. Period.

So it's a no lose situation for me. Either God answers my prayer or I learn more about His character and His purposes for my life. Until God tells me something different I'm going with what I heard. Hearing the voice of God isn't as hard as believing we've actually heard the voice of God. So today I want to tell you I heard God. What I heard I believe.

How about you? Have you heard something from God you want to believe? I don't have anything to lose. You?
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Okay. Update time. Our house hasn't sold. We did, however, have a couple walk through. They seemed pretty interested. That was two weeks ago. So no real update there.

We did find a house we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! There is, however, another couple bidding on it as we speak. So no real update there.

I can't totally say that God is moving or moving us. I know it doesn't sound like much of an update, but hang with me. I was having some quiet time last week. I was practicing the discipline of silence. Friends, that spiritual discipline eats my lunch. It is so hard not to fill the silence...with thoughts, with praise, with prayers, with my grocery list.

I was sitting there fighting off flesh and sin when the Spirit asked if I believed God was able to meet my needs, to take care of me. I immediately responded, "of course." 

Unexpectedly, my mind filled with images of our new home. It is that house we found; we were in it, doing laundry and life. God promised a future I could almost see and savor. I immediately wiped my mental screen blank.

"Lord, I am not seeking You regarding our home. This time is meant just to enjoy You, to offer you my silence as an act of worship." As I sat congratulating myself on my piety, my head filled with images of my new home again.

This time I was getting worried that my flesh was threatening to invade my time with God by distracting me with images of what I want, need, hope for. Maybe you've experienced this? Something in you tries to make worship, or Bible Study or prayer time all about you? Oh, no? Okay. That's just me. Anyway, so this time rather than just offer up a prayer, I offered up my crucifixion.

"Father crucify anything in me that isn't led by your Spirit, anything that doesn't honor You or leave you room to move. This time is not about me. I die to myself, God."

Thinking I'd done more than enough to ward off future distractions, I silence my heart and mind to revere the Lord. Within moments it's there again. Our red house. The one my four-year old stood on the deck and asked God to give us. The red house I've been eyeing for over 18 months. The gorgeous craftsman, European on nearly four acres. The house that features the kitchen of magazine spreads and my dreams.

I start to wipe it away when God whispers, "do you believe I am able?" Do you trust I can AND that I will?"

And that's where the conversation ended-a conversation that really never should have been a conversation to begin with. See, I stink at silence! Anywho...

So this is where I've been for over a week. I mean, do I trust that HE can? Maybe more to the point, am I allowed to trust that He will? I don't really live in the "name it; claim it" arena of faith. And yet, I sincerely believe God was trying to get through my doubt-laced, self-gorged heart. I believe He was trying to give me a promise. I think He was looking for a mustard seed.

In turn, I have spent the last week looking for a mustard seed too. Come back tomorrow to see what I've found. Until then try today to sit in silence before God. Can't wait to hear what you hear. You?
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