Friday, September 24, 2010

It's the middle of the night...

One of my absolute favorite pastors is Mark Batterson of National Community Church in DC. I haven't met him yet but I hope to before I'm 30 (a fast-approaching deadline)!

Mark's blog is a daily must-read for me. I almost always glean something from his experiences and insight, but this past Tuesday's post caught my attention in a major way: Womb of Imagination ...I just keep going back to it. I've probably read it 6 or 7 times in the past several days.

For most of my life I did not consider myself to be much of a dreamer. From a young age I tended toward cynicism, and this had quite a negative impact on my self-perception. In recent years I've realized most of what I considered myself to be for most of my life was based on skewed thinking.

For if I look back far enough, I recall that I was indeed a wildly imaginative child, and creative too. When I was 3 I regularly set up tea parties for my stuffed animals and I. My sister and I created entire worlds and "tv shows" with highly developed characters, relationships, and plots. I got an indoor "tree house" of sorts when I was 6, and would spend hours in it playing house and reading books with/to Teddy Ruxpin (80's children, remember him?). I was writing poetry and short stories for fun in second grade. I loved nature and science, and in third grade my greatest dream was to go to California to see the giant Redwood trees. I do remember thinking that was something that would probably never happen for me, though I believed it to be possible for others. By high school I was a full-blown cynic, passing judgment on "dreamers" while secretly envying their optimism.

All this to say, for years I falsely considered myself to be a non-dreamer. I now understand that it wasn't that I didn't dream, but rather that I allowed my insecurity, fear and feelings of inferiority from even a young age to squash my dreams before I could get my hopes up.

Now, back to Mark Batterson's blog. I've been captivated with these lines for days now:
"Almost like the moment of conception, dreams are single-celled organisms that so often don't make it to full-term. Most dreams miscarriage because we give up on them while they are still in the womb of the imagination. But when a God-ordained dream becomes reality, it's like the birth of a baby. Joy unspeakable!"
I don't want to be the poster child for miscarried dreams! I don't want to give up on a dream if it is a "God dream"! I don't want to be led by fear and dismiss dreams in the womb of the imagination. I don't want to put limits on myself, because the Spirit of God lives in me, and He is without limit. I want to be one through whom the Spirit of God dreams BIG- dreaming dreams that are impossible apart from a collision with the Divine! Dreams that necessitate His intervention every time!

I want to be one who nurtures and carries these God-ordained dreams to full term, laboring to see them come to fruition for the glory of God.

(I forgot about my dream of seeing the giant redwood trees for probably 10 years, right up until the brisk spring day in 2004 when I stood before hundreds of those wooden giants. It was surreal, remembering my dream at the very moment it came true. I still have bark from that first Sequoia I touched, a momento to forever remind me that dreams do come true.)


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

deep inside this armor...

"...the warrior is a child."

As a little girl I would sing this song at the top of my lungs, right along with our family's Twila Paris cassette tape. It meant something to me then, even as a child. But twenty years later I'm singing it from my heart like never before.

It is a confession of sorts: I'm weak. I'm not as brave as you think.
Or, if I was to be fully transparent: I'm not as brave as I wanted you to think.

So tonight I admit, with eyes full of tears, that the only thing holding me together from one day to the next is my precious Papa in heaven. Today I'm not afraid to confess that He is the only strength I have. For if it is truly in my weakness that His strength is perfected, He's never looked stronger than He does right now.


*The Warrior is a Child*

Lately I've been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I'm amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me
I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I'm amazing
Never face retreat
But they don't see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

-Gary Valenciano
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Encourage yourself!

My Dad was my rock my second year in Master's Commission. It was a rough year of ministry, and I often found myself overwhelmed with discouragement. Every Tuesday I'd call Dad on my lunch break, pouring out my heart and often quite a few tears. He usually just would listen then pray with me, but one particular Tuesday he gave me an unforgettable piece of wisdom. Years later, I still consider it to be some of the best advice I've ever been given.

He said: "Megan, you are not always going to have your Daddy or someone near you to encourage you. You have to learn to encourage yourself in the Lord."

God has blessed me with friends and family who believe in me and lift me up, but there truly are times when only God can bring comfort and strength.

There are times when no one will have the words to lift your spirit besides His Holy Spirit. His words will speak life.
There are dark hours, lonely seasons when we must look to Him alone for strength. He must become our joy, the One who causes us to smile.

I do not mean to diminish the role of the Church in any way! Fellowship is essential for believers, as we are relational beings through and through. But we must not go to others with our burdens before we've received the comfort and strength of God's Holy Spirit. We are not to place on someone the weight of our heavy burden. That being said, we ARE called to "share each other's burdens"(Gal. 6:2).

Share, not transfer.

And if we have first sought Christ to encourage, strengthen, and lift us, we are able to share our burden with a brother or sister without overwhelming them, and vice versa. God does the heavy lifting!

We must learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord. He is all-sufficient. He is. Don't doubt His ability to work on Your behalf.


"Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer."

-What a Friend We Have in Jesus

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

country livin'

here are a few things i really enjoy about living in floyd:

  • in summer we dry our clothes on the line, and they come down smelling like sunshine!
  • i have horses in my backyard. literally. i look out the kitchen window and see my home openers' horses running around!
  • i don't have to lock my car doors. being a compulsive door-locker, you'd think i'd lock them anyway. but my driver's side keyhole doesn't work. leaving the doors unlocked keeps me from having to walk around the passenger side and turn the key multiple times to finally unlock all the doors. i like this.
  • we recycle anything we can, and burn the rest.
  • there is a beautiful river, clean enough to swim in (be jealous, hoosier friends).
  • next weekend is the Gospel Sing, 2 entire days devoted to fellowship and enjoyment of southern gospel music!
  • my new friend ruth ann is going to take me to buy goat's milk! she and other ladies make their own laundry soap, too.
  • we have thrift stores that are so boss, you can't even imagine.
  • it is just plain beautiful here. i never would have imagined what a beautiful, peaceful place this would be! so much more than cornfields.
  • every night i can go sit outside, look up and fall more in love with the Maker of the stars.
  • the people here possess unparalleled kindness. in just a few weeks i have found myself feeling so at home with the loving people of floyd!

(for those who were wondering, the things i don't like involve having zero at&t reception and being 30 miles from taco bell. i'm sure i will survive such tribulations as these).