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Archive for August, 2016

Being Different

I grew up in an atmosphere of revival. It was the 80s in NYC and my parents were participating in the Catholic Charismatic Revival that had started for them in the 70s. This meant prayer groups, preaching, bible studies, conferences, retreats, all night prayer vigils, fasting, prophecy, tongues, miracles and healing masses where words of knowledge were called out and people came out of wheelchairs. I myself had been a miracle baby, whose birth was prophesied to a mother who had been diagnosed with the Stein Leventhal syndrome and did not ovulate.

By the time I was a tween it was the 90s and the NYC Charismatic revival was dying out and there were fewer and fewer events to go to and more bible studies and home groups disbanding because of lack of leadership. But it was too late for me or my family to go back to religion as normal. We had already experienced too much glory, seen too many miracles, felt His Presence and Leading too palpably to be okay with less and without realizing it we were already too DIFFERENT.

In 5th grade, I had an idea. I had children’s books of early church saints and martyrs, who had had a face to face encounter with Jesus and received a calling to either extend the gospel, care for the poor, heal others or just stand firm in their faith in the midst of persecution and possible execution. People who had given their lives to Christ.  I attended Catholic elementary school so I also knew the stories of shepherd boys and girls around the world who because of their piety and love for God had gotten to see Jesus face to face. In 1981, some real kids/non shepherds in their tweens and teens in Medjugorje, Bosnia had gotten to visit Heaven and meet Jesus! I thought, surely, this still happens and if so, I want it.

So, I thought, this must be something that happens because of how much time you spend in prayer and I don’t want to waste a single moment that can get me closer to getting to see Jesus in the flesh. During lunch and recess, instead of chatting or playing, I stood off to the side praying. Some of the boys in my class noticed and after taunting me just decided it was easier to rough me up. I got into my first real fight in the school yard as I fended off the pushing and ended up in the principal’s office. I quickly realized NYC schools were not the place for piety and heavenly apparitions.

I look back on this incident with tenderness for the naive yet always head over heels for Jesus girl that didn’t realize she was so DIFFERENT from those around her. I recently told my brother, “You know I’ve never cared to fit in,” and he smirked as if to say, “That’s been obvious!” I’ve probably cared a lot more since leaving college and entered a workforce/world that equates Christ with being ignorant. Yet, in spite of this I can say with Paul:

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 NLT

As an adult and a Christian who believes the Word of God, I know we can all see God face to face and hear His voice any time we take the time to listen. It’s not reserved to the holy and pious few. We are all His treasured possession:

“for you are a HOLY (set apart) people to the LORD, your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be His treasured possession.  Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession (KJV says a pecular people)…” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

and we ALL have  the promise of seeing Him face to face.

“…(The LORD) will still be with you to teach you. You will see your Teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a Voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.'” Isaiah 30:20-21 NLT

And that is what Being DIFFERENT is all about, my dear friends. Living your life guided by Him.

Kairos Moments: Knowing we are all called to spread the gospel, heal the sick, eradicate oppression and stand for what we believe. Being chosen to be His treasured possession. But even better than all that is the grace and promise to see Him daily that comes from His Love and not from works, or prayer time or being perfect. 

 

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Being Overwhelmed

In an instant I can go from feeling completely confident, on top of the world, master juggler and super woman to feeling overwhelmed. All it takes is one item on my checklist to not pan out and I suddenly question my competency at everything. It’s an instant before my action steps kick in and I’m on top of the world again. Still, that interminable instant can feel devastating.

The speed of thought is scary at times. I feel like I can do an around-the-world trip in my mind several times over about everything that is not as it should be or everything I could have done better before I remember to STOP and breathe.

And when I breathe, I remember the One who gives me breath. I remember His Faithfulness. I remember His Love for me.

This helps me start my “action” steps which I keep ready for times such as these:

  1. Remember how much you are loved.
  2. Remember what He has done for you.
  3. Remember who you are.
  4. Remember who you are called to be.
  5. Remember your guarantee that all will come to good.

The Guarantee: We know how much God loves us and we have put our trust in His love. – 1 John 4:16 NLT

I am now overwhelmed with possibility, overwhelmed with joy, overwhelmed with hope, overwhelmed with excitement. I remember the tangible manifestations of His love for me: my family, my friends, my church family, the great opportunities God has given me, the places I have traveled to, the people I have met, the successes I have had, the positive encouragement I’ve received, the daily miracles.

Kairos Moment: A flood of Faith fueled by Love now overwhelms me. Being overwhelmed now feels so much lighter, so much brighter, so full of Him.

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