Sunday, July 7, 2013

One Thousand Gifts

   
(One of my beautiful little sisters)


Lately I have been reading a great deal of Ann Voskamp's Blog

There are no words to describe how it makes me feel to be reminded of the importance of living in the face of our Savior. 

I can't find a post on her beloved blog that doesn't make me cry--that doesn't stir in my heart a desire to be closer to my Lord.  I find myself challenged and convicted.  I feel this stirring in my insides... a stirring to strive for something more

I become blind.  My job blinds me.  Being single blinds me.  Trials blind me.  Life blinds me.  It blinds me to my precious One. 

I want to rant about the fundamentalism that haunts me.  The remnants of my scars plague my heart out and tears blind my eyes to the beauty that is right in front of me.  Past ghosts from the life of legalism that God called me to leave behind, rise up and echo the whispers of pride that beckon me to find unhappiness on the path my feet now tread. 

And then I read this...

And my heart breaks.  My heart breaks because I have succumb to the temptation to live in the sphere of myself.   I can't write this without crying.  Crying because I know it isn't about me.  It isn't about how much I need to feel accepted, loved or happy.

It is about giving every ounce of myself to the cause that Jesus spilled His *perfect* blood for. 

Which leads me to this...  Here is a quote from that post which made my spirit weep with both joy and sadness. 

"One of Katie’s daughters had whispered it:

“Mommy, if Jesus comes to live inside my heart, will I explode?”

And Katie had said —“No!” and then —
 
“Yes, if Jesus comes to live in your heart, you will explode… That is exactly what we should do if Jesus comes to live inside our hearts.

We will explode with love, with compassion, with hurt for those who are hurting, and with joy for those who rejoice. We will explode with a desire to be more, to be better, to be close to the One who made us.”

YES!  That is precisely what should happen when Jesus is in our hearts.  I have found this battle raging inside of me.  This desire to point my finger and feel as if I am better than others.  Or to be exceptionally disappointed when I have been sinned against.  

But yet He who was perfect did no such thing.  He made us!  He is amazingly holy and just and I sin against Him and am filthy before Him, and yet I only feel His gentle love beckon me back into His arms and feel His righteousness rush over me.  He condemned and chastised, yes!  But He had a disdain for those who were oppressing His precious sheep.  He was tender towards His sheep and aggressive with the wolves who threatened His delicate and vulnerable lambs.  

But see, I lose this passionate vision I have.  It becomes cloudy and hides in the darkness of fear that overwhelms my heart whenever my world shatters.  Whenever the earth quakes beneath my feet, I hide and cower, and the light that illuminates my zeal for love, vanishes when I close my eyes.  

And every day, my Father pours His Spirit on me stronger and stronger, and I see that His faith and love are to be my weapons against all that the enemy seeks to destroy.  All that Jesus has cultivated in my soul and nurtured, are to be protected and fought for, because they are the tools He desires to use to minister to the weary, to weep with the broken, to fight for the helpless, and to love the unloved.  To further His Gospel and show how He can take a busted, flaw invaded, dirty, scummy, worthless soul like me, and love.  Compassion my soul has seen, and mercy my eyes have beheld.  

So to help in my journey towards a deeper and stronger faith, I have decided to partake of the challenge.  I will make a list of One Thousand Gifts.  A list of one thousand things I am thankful for.  One thousand things that will remind me of all the good God has shown and given me.  One thousand things that will burn in my mind that I have been shown more love and mercy and grace than any one or any thing could possibly promise me.  

And my purpose is to share it with others...  

My purpose is to declare how Mighty the Living God is and be transparent enough that others will be amazed at how Jesus' fountain of purifying blood, can transform a despicable creature.  

So I will endeavor to share how it works with you, and I hope you will be inspired to act on faith and move with more grace and compassion, than is ever fathomable. 

Because Jesus is all we need... and frankly, Jesus is all I want. 


3 comments:

Charis said...

LOVE it Shelby!!! HE is all we should WANT! Ann V's stuff always challenges and encourages me!

Anonymous said...

"Past ghosts from the life of legalism that God called me to leave behind, rise up and echo the whispers of pride that beckon me to find unhappiness on the path my feet now tread."

Well said, and I feel it too, because what we lived privately was not legalism. It is amazing to me my dear loved one, that we found that legalism, not in our home, but in another "place", that ended up transforming the very thing we fought so hard against, and brought it right to our doorstep! It was "dressed" so well, it was hard to identify it and not open the door to it. Praise God Almighty forever, that He called and we heard His voice, calling us away to His place of truth in life. Mercy, grace, truth, sharing the Gospel, sold out to Him, and nothing else. Once your feet have been wet enough with those truths, the confusion of the "lie" will leave you and you will be truly free - but you are more than well on your way! "Keep the main thing, the main thing" and that "Main Thing" is Jesus, and the advancing of His Kingdom - not family, as important as it is. Love you~

Anonymous said...

This - like all if your writing - is absolutely beautiful. Perhaps you are the Ann Voskamp of our generation?