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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Open Door

A few weeks ago I was challenged by a conversation with a new friend. I was describing to her how my life felt like I was pinned up against a wall, suffocating, with no direction and no end in sight. I didn’t even know what to pray. Jen counseled me to start asking God for an open door. So I did.

Very shortly thereafter I received a phone call. An answer!

Back in February I when had been home from Haiti for about a month a good friend spoke into my life. She said she was seeing things in my life which she felt God was pressing upon her heart she needed to talk to me about. I’ve struggled (Ha ha ha! What a mild word. “Been engulfed by” is a more fitting description.) with an eating disorder since I was a teenager but I thought I’d had victory over it last year before I left for Haiti. Apparently, I was wrong; coming home from Haiti that became very evident. My friend felt strongly that I should admit myself into a residential treatment center to get help.

So we researched my options and pursued several paths but all paths became blocked except one. (And, boy, did that one drag on, and on, and on!) Six months later, I received my phone call! I had a move-in date! An open door!

On Wednesday, 18 August I am walking through that door. I will be living in a residential treatment center with 19 other girls who, like me, are there to work on an assortment of addictions, disorders, and issues! The program we are going through is called Vision of Hope. It is a ministry of Faith Baptist Church of Lafayette, IN.

How long will I be there? As long as it takes. (The staff says anywhere from 6-12 months.) Initially, the program is very restrictive so forgive me for not returning emails and phone calls. I will be allowed one personal phone call a week and you can bet I’ll be using all 14 minutes to talk to my mamma (and Daddy, and Taba, and Drew)!!! I will have no internet. I think I will be allowed to send and receive real mail, though. If you write, I will certainly write back!

I need prayer for transparency. My heart is so deceitful and deceived that I myself am often unsure what to say and do and think. I need Jesus to shine His light on. I need grace to respond to Jesus as He continues to pursue me for a relationship. For the past ten + years of being a Christian, somehow I’ve been totally missing out on that. More than anything, I think I need to feel and become convinced of God's love.

The Beautiful Letdown album seems to be providing the soundtrack to this season of my life. In my preparation, as I vacillate between pure excitement and sheer terror, the chorus of this song repeats itself in my mind…

When everything inside me looks like everything I hate
You are the hope I have for change
You are the only chance I'll take

And I'm on fire when You're near me
I'm on fire when You speak
I'm on fire burning out these mysteries

I'm standing on the edge of me
I'm standing at the edge of everything I've never been before And I've been standing on the edge of me, standing on the edge

Thank You, God, for good friends! and for the Journey You’ve promised to lead me safely on, as long as it takes.

Switchfoot - On Fire Lyrics

Switchfoot - On Fire Lyrics

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twenty Four (Six)

"Ok, what's the next Step?"

July, 2010...
Do you have songs which, when you hear them, immediately bring to mind a specific person, place, or season in your life? I do- in fact, I have entire musical albums which remind me of past seasons of life. Switchfoot’s “Beautiful Letdown” was one that I downloaded (uploaded?) onto my iPod prior to moving to Haiti last summer so when I ran the streets of Petionville for the four and a half months that I lived there a visual track evolved to accompany the music. (I especially laughed at the chorus of one song: “From the third world to the corporate ear we are the symphony of modern humanity”…)

God and I have been talking about the next step. I have officially been home for six months now. “What’s next, what’s next???” I demand, frantically. Back to Haiti? Where’s my passion? Do I have a heart for orphan care? Or is it against the cruelty of the sex trade? Is my calling on the foreign missions field? Should I go back to school? These questions reminded me recently of lyrics in Switchfoot’s song “Twenty Four.” I am a bit past twenty-four but I am still in my twenties so the song speaks personally to this season of my life:

I want to see miracles, to see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me

The gracious sifting and scourging and pruning that the Father is working in me currently is spoken of in the lyrics above. Yesterday the Holy Spirit showed me that, although the Lesson for me has been and continues to be, God, God, God, God, God- more of Him, getting to know Him, desiring Him and enjoying Him more than His gifts- my heart still clamors for some kind of definition outside of Him: a name, a feeling, a cause. The song speaks of something more valuable than even these enviable gifts: intimacy with God and a life made new.

So how can I respond? I am laying down my demands. I will cease striving. I will wait.

Francois Fenelon has this to offer we Pilgrims who find ourselves needing to practice the lesson of walking with God:

Your spiritual walk is a little too restless and uneasy. Simply trust God. if you come to Him, He will give you all that you need to serve Him. You really need to believe that God keeps His word. The more you trust Him, the more He will be able to give you. If you were lost in an uncrossable desert, bread would fall from heaven for you alone.
Fear nothing but to fail God. And do not even fear that so much that you let it upset you. Learn to live with your failures, and bear with the failures of your neighbors. Do you know what would be best for you? Stop trying to appear so mentally and spiritually perfect before God and man. There is a lot of refined selfishness and complacency in not allowing your faults to be revealed. Be simple with God. He loves to communicate Himself to simple people. Live day by day, not in your own strength, but by completely surrendering yourself to God.
-The Seeking Heart

A recent view along the Appalachian Trail, Dalesville, Virginia