Last year, I wrote an open letter to my four boys on being men. This year, I write to a special young woman who’s been a divine interruption in the life of our family—especially those four boys I mentioned. You know who you are. And, while you are infinitely inimitable and beloved, there are other women who will understand or need to hear this unsolicited wisdom [my opinions are also free of charge] I’m going to speak into your life on International Women’s Day.
I'm not into New Year resolutions. Mainly because they set our human flesh up for disappointment and failure and I've pretty much got that covered for life. However, these last few years I've had a word. Not a goal, not a resolute, but a single word the Lord etched on my soul.
But, before I share my word, let me first reflect on 2018. Specifically, a few lessons He taught me (some of them the hard way)…
One of the [most detrimental] misunderstandings of the Church today is the nature of God. Every individual, because of past experiences, personality, spiritual upbringing, and so forth develop their own “idea” or "belief" of who God is. We piecemeal ideas about what God is like and how He operates based on our encounters…
I'm not into New Year resolutions. Mainly because they set our human flesh up for disappointment and failure, and I've pretty much got that covered for life. However, these last couple of years I've had a word. Not a goal, not a resolute, but a single word the Lord stamped on my soul. Last year, it was sit (link provided if you want to read it). The year prior it was white space.
This year, I went more phrase-ish. You know, because one word wasn't enough and I had to raise the bar [insert sarcasm]. The phrase is this: Here I am. Three potent words I can feebly speak to Christ. I've chewed on these seven letters for a couple months now, and God has had an echo...echo...echo by way of His Word and in random conversations which caused me to latch on to this statement.
We read several Here I am examples in Scripture:
- Abraham spoke these three words in Genesis 22:1 and 22:11 when God was testing him with the sacrifice of his son, Isaac.
- Jacob answered the angel of the Lord in Genesis 31:11 by saying, "Here I am."
- Moses said it in Exodus 3:4 when God called to him from a burning bush.
- The Lord called Samuel and he answered, "Here I am" (1 Samuel 3:4).
However, with Here I am being a short sentence, it's easy to pin on conditions (and it was effortless for me to type these because they've been whirling around in my mind):
- Here I am...as long as it's doesn't interrupt my plans.
- Here I am...whenever it "feels" right.
- Here I am...once I get this next thing marked off my list.
- Here I am...but, please don't ______________.
I know God wants a period (.) after the statement. He's not looking for a comma, ellipsis, hyphen, or any other sort of punctuation. He wants the entirety of me; and frankly, that's unnerving.
When I was younger, I played the piano. I enjoyed it, but I didn't much care for performing in front of others. Any time I would have a recital, competition, or play for church, I'd almost always wear a long dress. No one paid attention (except Grandma), but I did it because my knees would shake so hard it was the only way to keep folks from seeing them rattle like a warped set of brakes. Maybe I'm a touch on the melodramatic side, but the words "here I am" rank far above my childhood performance anxieties!
In hindsight, I'm grateful I had those knee-knocking experiences. I still want to throw up in my mouth a wee bit rehashing those memories, but it was an invaluable experience. If I hadn't conquered those tousled struggles, I wouldn't have the courage I do today. As Mark Twain once said, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear."
While my 2018 "Here I am" statement makes me a touch nauseated, I know God will never force Himself on me. He overflows with everlasting patience, and as He calls me out upon the waters where my feet fail (and my knees knock), His grace will abound (props to Hillsong United for those lyrics). Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Samuel uttered those same words and served God fiercely. Don't miss this next part because what is even more comforting is what we read in Revelation 3:19-20:
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus says "Here I am," too. They weren't just words for HIm, but a complete expression and unabridged outpouring of Himself. I love how Jesus speaks to our hearts the very same words He desires us to say. And with that, I open the door and graciously accept those knee-knocking interruptions from I AM because I know He's faithful and it'll totally be worth it. Amen.
What's your word (from Him) for 2018?
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This past Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling extra tired. On top of this, I was also in an unusual state of anxiousness. First, let me be clear in that stress is not my zone. I can do pressure ALL. DAY. LONG. But, stress is like a dark, graffiti-ridden neighborhood of my mind in which you don't want to live. I could tell I was stressed because I had "work dreams." You know, the kind where you dream about real life in your head and you feel like you put in an extra six hours of labor when you wake up…