Monday, February 06, 2006

Less than 2 weeks to go, and flowers....

Two weeks until the wedding, and still... no flowers. I guess every bride has her proverbial "thorn in her side" and mine seems to be flowers.... Working against me: a tight budget and jacked up priced due to Valentine's day, time and the fact that I used to be a florist, so I don't trust anyone to do as good of a job as I know I can do. Let it go, let it go....Every morning, I lay those flowers at the feet of Jesus-and usually, I pick them up again at some point during the day. Oh well, all I can do is laugh at myself and trust God that everything will be brilliant.

I find it interesting that I do trust God so much... I don't feel particularly like I am doing things "well" lately in the spirituality department. I have a gift of intercession that is rusting for lack of use at the moment... I am not doing everything I was taught- the disciplined hour a day in prayer and in the Word, warfare.... I don't know. I feel like I have a better understanding of being in Christ and the authority that comes with it- yet I feel like- I am not doing anything with that authority? But I am still trying to open myself up to more creative expression, meditation, time with God- less restrictive- and I am praying that it's not just me being lazy. I want to be fruitful... It's a goal of mine to live a life of prayer instead of having a prayer life. I like what Oswald Chambers once said,"I never pray more than a half an hour, but I never go more than a half an hour without praying." How profound. It's so hard to be utterly dependent on God, and yet that is what He wants.... He knows the number of hairs on my head...but yet, we (I) can't trust Him with the flowers? What is up with that?

I've just spent the last 2 years pondering that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I cannot shake that concept- or the fact that I believe none of us really have any inkling what it really means. We use that scripture to explain the unexplainable- good and bad- and leave it at that. But I don't think that's even the tip of the iceberg. I think it's a paradiem shift. I think things we consider important- God doesn't- and things we don't even think about- have profound affects on everything. It saddens me to see the church's definition of "success" become very like the world's definition of success....and as a "shiny happy christianity" emerges where everything is always swell, full of faith and "Praise God, brother!"- it makes me wonder- how can the unsaved in our lives see the working of our beautiful and wondrous Savior in our lives if we never need Him? I have looked and looked in my Bible and I cannot find that scripture that says, "Follow Jesus- you will be happy, healthy, problem free and able to abundantly finance the kingdom of God. You're successful as a christian if you have a problem free life, and can give financially and serve the church with your gifts." Yet, that's what I see being taught in some churches. Where is serving God with our gifts- in and out of church? Where is taking care of people who aren't in our little church kingdom who need help? For that matter, where is taking care of people in our little church kingdom who need help? Where is the reality of life here and now can be hard and it's ok? Why is it so hard for christian people to admit life is hard? People smile and raise their hands- but there is darkness in their eyes as their marriage falls apart and they are alone...they are afraid to admit doubt and fear because then they feel as if they lack faith and are bad christians. They are afraid to ask for help- to admit things are less than peachy. But that's why God wants us to be in community- to walk through the darkness with one another. We are supposed to support friends as character is built. I don't think God is threatened when we question and doubt- because when we question and doubt- we seek- when we seek- we find. And there is grace. I pray that I can extend the grace given me by God to others. I think the church would be in a lot better shape if that were a priority with it's members. Grace instead of judgement (not compromising character or truth- but letting go of opinion and personality) - there's a concept. And I think a lot of grace is allowing people space to go through their process and journey. I've had such a lesson in grace over the last two years- and I am so thankful for it. So very, very thankful. As I have doubted and questioned and grieved my faith- God's constant presence and faithfulness and love have covered me. It has set me free from expectation and performance christianity. And while I have not arrived, by any stretch of the imagination, I feel as if I am on track in a way I have never known in my faith- and this is the richest wilderness I have ever walked in. I look forward to the future, to the changes in attitude, thinking and love. My prayer is to be aware, discerning, open and teachable. I desire the truth of who Jesus is to flow through me and I have to trust Him for that as most of my walk with Him has been so immersed in "culture" I really have no idea what true walking with Jesus is. But it is the desire of my heart- and I trust Him to fulfill that desire.

This kind of thinking has emerged as I have had "religion" ripped out of my soul...a painful healing process. It was a process I requested, I prayed for....and as when one usually prays such a prayer- I had no idea what I was asking. "Lord Jesus, I don't want a shred of religion left in me, not an ounce. Whatever it takes." It's a scary thing to pray "whatever it takes"- because sometimes, it takes A LOT.... It's especially hard to pray it for those you love, at least for me, it's easier to go through hard things myself than to watch others go through it. I find that's true with Marty. He's been going through such a tough spiritual wilderness for the past two years, I don't know what to pray.... But I know this. The call of God is a mighty one on his life. It's strong- and he's called to be a revolutionist- and to bring change...and change is always hard no matter how good it is. And we always have to change before we can bring change- so our character gets worked on...and it's painful. But I can see prophetically the potential in him- and I know what's in there- even if he can't see it right now. And so I pray "whatever it takes, Lord" because I know people need him...they need what he sees and what he knows... they need his creativity- and mine. And we're called- and it will ALWAYS be a big battle, a fight- because what we see- we see as artists see- raw and true...and people don't like to be pushed out of their comfort zones. We just need to know what our venue of presenting Jesus is- how do we do it? Where do we do it? I am not one for being offensive for the sake of being offensive- but I also don't shy away from challenging people to think for themselves. I want to see people pursue Jesus for themselves- to not take someone's word for who Jesus is but to seek the Man himself....then to obey Him. Period. Jesus is where life is. Religion confines and kills. It especially kills creativity- even when it says it embraces it. Michelangelo said, "True art is but a shadow of the divine perfection." How true it is. I want to be a shadow of the divine perfection- I want people to catch a glimpse in the shadow that is so intriguing- they look for the source.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And so it begins.....

My fiancee seems to love the blogging thing- so I thought I would give it a try and let the world see my own path unfold and unwind. I'm not really sure how all this works- but here's to giving it a go. So what is happening with me? I am getting married in 3 weeks and still have no flowers....and I'm stressed. I am tempted to hire a kindergarten class to make some flowers for me. You would think that I could handle the wedding planning- I've done it at least a dozen times before for other people- but egad, I'm just a wreck. Oh well. It'll all be good in the end. It always is. I just have to remember that it really isn't about the wedding, it's about the marriage and that I've got myself one wonderful guy. He's full of integrity, faithfulness, love and creativity- and while he does chap my fanny sometimes, I just can't imagine being with anyone else....amazing where life takes you sometimes.

This time last year- I was working in a craft store in North Carolina, packing up my home to leave Marty and drive myself and the cats in a U-haul all the way across the country. People are always amazed that I did that. To me, it just needed to be done. But I find that a lot in my life- people tell me I'm "brave" because I just will go when I need to go...I can't imagine being any other way- it's just how I'm wired... I mean, why not go live in Poland for a summer? So what if I don't speak the language- I'll learn..... oy, the things I've done.....ah, but I digress....

The show I've just designed costumes for is currently in the middle of it's first paid preview- seems to be going well as I listen to the audience reaction from the monitor in my office. I should mention I am a Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager- it only took being out of graduate school for 10 years to actually get a job doing what I trained for and actually make enough money to live on. It's nothing short of a miracle- seriously- God opened a door, I walked through it- and drove the Uhaul across the country. I am constantly amazed at how interested He is in the details of my life. There will be more pondering of my faith and revelation in future blogs- but I am going to publish this to introduce myself and see what TTFN