Saturday, July 20, 2013

When He asks me...

My keys jingle in the stuffy, close van. The motor fades off. Doors roll open, fresh air pours in. The seats clear out, happy voices sigh with relief.

I grab my purse and the driver's door clunks open. My feet hit the pavement, my skin feels the cool.


When I left, I was discouraged with it. The place of lonely, cold, freezing, icy, frosty, bitter, arctic winters and loooong school days. The place where I waited for spring, summer, and finally youth camp in July when I could be with my friends.

Not this year.

I headed off for Camp with  a very defeated attitude. "Lord, I need help, again...please rescue your poor, bewildered child and help her to feel joyful...although I haven't a clue how you're going to do it..."

No, that's not how I prayed. No, that's not what I told anyone, but that is how I felt - if you want the stark reality of it.

It was all about me.

Too many times, I think we have our focus all wrong. "God, I need grace. "Jesus, I need peace." "Lord give me strength to overcome this dark trial." "Father, I need help with..." And those things are all well and good - furthermore, He wants to bless us, wants us to ask much - but we forget that the one who has given (and is giving) so much, isn't just a "please and thank you" collector.

He wants fellowship.

He wants us.

All of us.

When I caught that reminder, my mouth dropped open, a horror gripped me and my heart whispered "Oh God, I'm so sorry."

I was looking at my life through the wrong lens. I saw all the frustrating things that happened to me (why it wasn't fair that I didn't get any of the regal Native American skin tones or eye color that runs in the family, why I had to be the big-boned person, why I had to be the one who went to a small church with very few young people, why I was so imperfect, why I had to be the one who didn't have..."

But my life isn't mine. God has plans. God has reasons. He could have stuck me in a huge church with 500 seventeen-year-olds to hang out with every weekend, He could have made me short and dark and skinny as a stick, He could have made me to be good at math, He could have given me a writing style that wasn't so much like Anne-of-Green-Gables', He could have given me different character flaws to overcome, but He didn't.

In my darkest moments I wanted to howl "But, Lord, Whhhhhhhhhhy???"

Because He has a very particular work for me and He makes no mistakes.

I never really thought that God had me up here in Wisconsin for a reason (other than perfecting me through all the pain and woe). This is where He wants me to work for Him. This is what He's given me to overcome.  It's not so much a crucible, as it is a commission.

Can the One who endured endless temptations for me  ask me to give up the things that please me the most?

Can the One who was spit on, beaten and embarrassed for me ask me to let my friends go, one by one, and stand with Him, even when it feels "totally not cool"?

Can the One who sacrificed His own body's blood for me ask me to dress and act by His standards?

Can the One who was misunderstood, misrepresented, and alone in this World, (face it! There was nobody like Him down here) ask us to walk through friendless places and lonely times?

Can He ask you?

He was tempted in like manner as we are. He knows it's hard - but He also knows we can do it.

As a disclaimer I want to  say that my life here in Wisconsin isn't dull: I love the green, I love the cool, I love my family (they've become my best friends), I love our small church (everybody knows everybody), I love the school year, I love going hunting with my Dad in the fall, helping local farmers in the summer, swinging in the backyard  (when the schedule isn't busy), watching those around me grow in the Lord, and laughing/giggling/crying/learning together. I love my life. But, for too long I had focused on the few hard things - and they were hard - but God had given me so many good things, too.

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