Gosh, I really don’t even know where to start on this post. I know many of you will have a hard time believing my loss for words :). This morning I watched the sun rise and thought of how a good many of us have lost all dreams, all imagination, all creativity, but God renews His every single morning. The same sun rises and sets, but do you ever see the same sunrise or the same sunset? I am amazed at His new mercies every morning… not old mercy refurbished…brand new mercy! He never runs out… just as He never runs out of ideas, or melodies, or truths, or love. Unfathomable!!
This past weekend was one of the best of my life…the best of my relationship with God. I attended a 5 day worship intensive led by Aaron Keyes and his wife, Megan. Aaron is the worship leader at Grace Fellowship Church in Snellville. Not only is he a worship leader, but he is a humble servant of the Lord and an amazing mentor.
Going into this event, I was not expecting much. In fact, my spiritual life had become pretty dry. Between church transitions, busy summertime, hosting and adoption details, and decisions being made about our future livilihood, I found myself preferring to be a zombie in front of the TV, rather than an excited follower of Christ. I really only wanted to know more about music and how to sing it, play it, etc. Instead I received manna from heaven… the food of angels. As one girl with an amazing gift from God put it…I climbed a ladder into heaven and brought back revelation. No, there were no audible voices or hallelujah choruses, but God entirely rocked my world.
There is too much to tell to even put on paper… over and abundantly too much to tell. I still am unsure of what exactly He is calling me to besides being light and peace to the world, but I do know that I have never in my life been so excited about my destiny. On the night before the last day of the conference, I woke up with a Scripture on my heart. It is found in John 14. I felt compelled to go look it up and study it… at 5am in the morning no less. I am not a 5am kind of girl, but I jumped out of bed and headed downstairs to my Strongs Concordance. During this conference, God had been pointing out lies that I had been believing all my life and it was a good amount of stuff. I was able for the first time to examine each of my thoughts according to the truth of God’s Word and reject the lies. So my thoughts on this morning began like this… “This isn’t normal?” I laughed at this out loud and said “Thank God!” Then I heard “It won’t last.” To which God pointed me to John 14: 23 “Jesus said ‘If a person loves Me, he will keep My Word; and my Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'” So my first question to God was “I thought God already loves the whole world? Why does this Scripture say ‘if….then'” So I looked up the word love in this context and in the John 3:16 context. In John 3:16, the love there is grace, charity, benevolence… sorta like if you saw a homeless person on the side of the road and gave him some money or food or encouragement. He did nothing to deserve that…he didn’t work for you or even like you, but you loved him anyway. The love in John 14:23 is the friendship or social love…like your spouse or your best friend. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Those of us who believe in and follow Christ are offered the opportunity to live with God! Not just for a day or 5 days or when we get to heaven, but from the time we start believing until ETERNITY!!! What I am experiencing right now is how God designed it to be all the time! Does that speak to anyone else??
So my next question was (and I wrote all these down that morning as I was trying to work this out) “Why do I not see this around me? even in Christians?” Next verse, John 14:24 “Anyone who does not love Me, does not observe My teaching, and the teaching that you hear from Me is not Mine, but comes from the Father.” UGH!!! O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E… remember that song? Obedience is the very best way to show what you believe… but not only that, it is the very best way to show the Lord that we love him. When we stand before Him, I don’t think “I was too busy” or “I was too distracted” or “I didn’t know” are going to work. I know that those excuses don’t work for me when I tell my children to do something and they don’t do it.
So in this analytical head of mine, I went on to ask “How do I know what to obey?” Duh! Yeah, all of this “world-changing” has not gotten rid of the “blonde” in me, which I find hilarious and endearing!! The B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me (they had something going on with those old children’s songs and everybody groans at now :). We HAVE to be in His Word or we will forget the truth and His voice will fade in our ears. Now I know why every time I reach for my Bible something says “Do that later.”
Yes, I have been revolutionized… I feel it, but I also know it. Thank Jesus for His incredible streams of grace, because I did nothing to deserve this awesome change of thinking being poured into my life. As a matter of fact, if He would have done this based on my devotional life, it would have never happened. Quiet time was pretty low on my list of priorities. Now I realize that I can’t live without it. I have to come and be refilled so that I can pour out more to others… so that Jesus can be seen instead of Candace. And oh, can I just tell you that life is SOOOO much more worth it when Jesus is seen instead of me. I really don’t know how I lived for so long so self consumed. It is so freeing to take my burdens, desires, dreams, longings, etc and put them at the foot of the cross to let God work through me in whatever way He created me. I feel like I have been a drinking glass trying to be a plate. Now I realize and take great pleasure that I am a drinking glass and it feels so much better to have living water poured into me than for me try to stuff myself with food.
Anyway, I had to let some of this come out, so I figured the blog was the best place. I don’t know who will read this, but if you are reading it… it is NOT a coincidence. That is a lie! This truth can seep into the soul of anyone who will receive it. We were all created to be vessels… the same playing field, none of us more or less important then anyone else…you (whoever you are) and me are loved the same by Christ!! Oh how He loves you! He longs to make His home with you, but just like in this physical life, He will not come where He is unwelcomed. He must be invited…and then even in the awkward, uncomfortableness of the first visit, He must be welcome. Then as you get to know Him, as the visits prolong, you will find yourself saying “Jesus, why don’t we just move in together? I want more of You all the time.” And then when you find yourself living with Jesus, you feel the weight of the privilege you have and you don’t even have a desire to do anything but cultivate that relationship. It’s completely AMAZING!
Last night, I found myself discouraged and depressed, maybe a little bit of coming off the mountain into a valley. Maybe a little bit because God had given me words for a song (I have never written a song before) and I had recorded it onto my iPad and listened to it and thought “My voice is horrible! Why has noone ever told me?” lol… probably another lie. But later as I went to bed, I found tears pouring down my face as I realized that I missed my 20 friends from the worship intensive. I missed them profoundly. I had listened to their stories and embraced. Some of them had spoken into my life. I had never really been mentored before or been in a community setting quite so deep and these people had quickly become brothers and sisters in Christ. I realized that when you open your heart to the Father, every relationship in your life becomes right… and you barely have to try. I have run out of words…