I was raised to know God and the story of this Jesus who came to save.
I was "saved" as a young child of about 9 years old, one night after praying "....if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take..." After uttering those words, I felt that still small voice speak to me and say, "Do you? Do you want to be mine?" I whispered back a heartfelt, "yes"....and He moved into my heart that quiet night in Iowa as I lay under the covers of my little yellow Holly Hobby blanket. I proceeded to live a mostly fruitless life, but I tried really hard to be "good".
Many years later in 1998, I began a painful and beautiful journey. It felt like I was being bombarded by so many different "truths"....how could I really know what IS true? If there is just one God, surely there must be one standard of truth....God's Truth. I spoke to a Catholic priest, a Lutheran minister, my parents, a Mormon from work, and an Evangelical Christian friend. At one point or another during our conversations, all these different people mentioned one book at least once...the Bible.
How could this be? The Bible was just a book of stories....hard to understand, seemingly contradictory....and the few pieces I could understand didn't make me like or trust God very much!
So I did what any self-respecting intelligent person would do....I se out to prove that the Bible couldn't be true. That way, I could simply live my OWN "truth" and all would be settled.
I read. I gathered piles of info (thank you, internet). I talked. I studied. This went on for YEARS. Five years. I had reams of documents printed up. I compared the Jewish holy book to our modern Bible....to the Catholic Bible....to the Mormon books....
To my utter frustration, I was not finding much success in disproving the Bible. But I still wasn't really ready to accept it at TRUTH. After all, it was so HARD to read....confusing...frustrating....made me angry every time I tried to read it!
And then one day, that still small voice spoke to me again. Only it wasn't quite so still and small. I envisioned myself at a crossroads. I was perfectly free to choose either path I wanted, but those paths were headed in opposite directions....there was no "medium" or "sort of" middle road. And that voice said, "Daiquiri, you know enough. It's time to choose." It was gentle, but it was firm.
My pride, my "intelligence", my knowledge, my self-righteousness....all of it fell away and I got real with God. Heart to heart.
"God, I don't understand you. I don't understand this book of yours. The pieces of that book that I do understand, make me feel like you're not very nice. But I know this...there is a God, and I am not that God. YOU are God. I am not. I don't know who you are or what you want with me, but I want to be yours. I want to know you. I want my life to have purpose and meaning. Help me understand the Bible if that's how you want me to know you. I give up. From this point forward, I will stop fighting and just be all yours. I'm scared of you and what you have for my life. You, God....I want you to be my Lord."
There were no fireworks or thunderbolts. Just an ocean of peace in my heart. And love.... oh, God... it's as if God is a vast OCEAN of love, and He took one minuscule *drop* of His love and put it in my heart and mind. For weeks, I was nearly crushed by the enormity of that one small drop of God-love in my heart. I spend a lot of time praying and crying....in a good way....just trying to build up the muscle required to carry that little drop!
Needless to say, I've never been the same. And thank God for that!
My first Easter after being "born again" (I can't think of a better way to describe it) was OVERWHELMING.....oh, this Jesus of mine! What he did for me! How much he loves me! At the time, we were going to a big Christian church in Boise, Idaho (Calvary Chapel Boise), and they held their Easter service in the BSU Pavilion. There was this little start-up artist who came to sing for us.....he had a single guitar, and his friend sat on a beat-box. Those two people, those two instruments.....and man, I could NOT stop the tears. The joy and love in my heart....I felt physically incapable of containing it all!
That little artist was Phil Wickham....if you listen to Christian radio these days, you know that God has done amazing things in his music career! :-)
Anyway....this whole post was intended to be a, "hey, check out this song....this is the guy who led worship my first Easter as a born-again Christian"....but I guess a little background was necessary ;-)
This is one of my favorite songs to this day....Divine Romance, indeed. Your heart will never be the same if you lay it down at His feet.
Happy Easter weekend, friends. God loves you so very much.
See the video here: Divine Romance, Phil Wickham
I was raised to know God and the story of this Jesus who came to save.
He called to me this morning...."choose me, precious daughter."
I didn't want to. I wanted to grab my phone, cruise social media, and eat my breakfast mindlessly.
Ok, Lord. I choose you. I'm sorry, really I am. I like you a whole lot - why is it always so hard for me to choose you?
The feathery pages slide open to the Psalms, and I read aloud. I like filling my house with His Word. I feel safer with His living Words vibrating the walls, if only with my small voice. It's my way of saying, "Get away, Enemy. You have no place here. This home, this heart, this mind is filled with The Son."
My family is at school and work, so I am free. I grab the speaker that makes the big chest vibrating sound, and crank it up. Worship music fills the room....fills my heart....I choose you this morning, Lord.
It's a frigid winter morning, and I've fought a chill since shivering my way out of my warm covers. As the music plays, the sun finally blazes through the morning haze and through my back window. It feels amazing and warm and consuming. It warms the right side of my body, the side facing the window....but I want it on my face. I scoot my chair a bit closer to the window, and move around until the sun shines past the edge of my house and onto my face. There....this is my warm place...right here with the sun on my face.
And then it hits me....the physical position required for me to get the sun on my face was a strange one...I had to sort of hunch down, bow my head, and turn my head toward the window. It's the only way the sun could reach around the gutter on the outside of my house to find me.
I had to bow my head.
I've often wondered at the fact that we call that big bright thing in our sky "sun". Is it coincidence? If so, it's a mighty one!
Our entire being on this planet circles that sun.
The sun gives us heat and energy.
No single thing could live without it's rays.
Even when we can't see it, not a person on earth doubts that it's still there.
It is our center, our source of energy and sustenance, our light.
Our light that must sometimes reach around the dark edges to find my face. Our light that drives out the chill and darkness just by being present.
No - I don't believe in coincidence. I can't help but think of how all of this physical creation reflects something about God.
Today I will seek another Light....The Son.
My entire being revolves around Him.
He is my life's force and energy.
Without Him, I am gone. He holds me together with a thought.
Even when I can't see or feel Him, He is there. He never leaves me.
He is my center.
I choose you, Lord. I bow my head and long for your light on my face. Meet me here, Father and be my everything.
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20
- a persons steps forward in faith and pursues it
- it's scary
- that person starts to think that their fear and doubt is from God- thinking the fear is a message from God, the person is completely sidetracked or stopped all together from pursuing the good thing they set out after. They start thinking "maybe God doesn't want me here, and that's why I'm afraid". Or they think, "Oh no, God is preparing me for something terrible!"
My personal "trick" for fighting through the fear (not around it or running the other direction….STRAIGHT THROUGH) is to have a verse or two that I repeat to myself until it becomes my new truth. I've been known to go on a run and say "I can do all things through Christ" for the entire 2.5 miles
God is love. God casts OUT fear.
Or, before I pick up the phone to talk to someone who feels scary to me, I say "I trust you, Lord."
PS. This is a continuous battle. There are days when I feel crushed beneath the fear and doubt and ugliness. In fact, I sit here right NOW feeling vulnerable and afraid and nervous about hitting that 'post' button! So here we go….stepping out in faith and hope...
It was late afternoon, after 4:00. This little lake has a "no wake" time after 4 pm, so that's when I like it most. I'm a peace and quiet sort of girl. I put my life jacket on, and swam out deep enough that I couldn't touch the bottom and I couldn't feel the weeds tickling my feet -- always gives me the heeby-geebies! Deep…deep….deeper…
I turn over so I'm facing the sky, and I go completely limp. My arms and legs dangle….my head floats back….the water covers my body except for my face peeking out of the water and the front of the lifejacket bobbing at the surface of the water. All I can hear is water, my heart beating, and the sound of air in and out of my lungs. A cloud drifts overhead. A bird flies by.
I pray. I praise. It's almost an out of body experience.
One word drifts into my mind….HOME.
I feel a shift in my mind, my soul. Home.
I'm uneasy and a little scared. Home.
I doubt it. I second guess it. All in those 20 minutes on the water with God. Home.
We travel to Wisconsin a lot. My folks live there, one of my sisters and her growing family lives there. My extended family lives there. But we don't just travel there….we grapple there….we struggle and seek and try there.
Every single time we go to Wisconsin, we ask ourselves the same question: "Do we want to live here?"
Sometimes Luke says "yes" and I say "no".
Sometimes I say "yes" and Luke says "no".
Sometimes we both say "no".
Sometimes we both say "yes", but for all the wrong reasons. We can't move our entire family….our entire lives so that we can please someone else.
We can't move for the cottage.
We can't move for the economy.
We can't move for the beauty of the place.
We can't move for the guilt of being away.
We can't move because we're running from something.
We can only make this move for one thing….A Calling.
There is One who knows us. One who has a plan for us. One whom we serve and honor with our lives. It has to be for Him, and Him alone.
So this shift in my heart and soul….scared me. For the first time since we've been contemplating and debating and striving…..I felt a Calling…. a whisper from Heaven that this place is Home.
The practical side of me gets snarky…."well that's just great, how the heck are we supposed to pull this off? The job, the house, the kids….I don't see how we can do it!"
The emotional side of me needs my other half. I tell Luke, "I think something is different. I want this place for our family like I've never wanted it before. It feels like home. It feels like a calling. I don't know what to do next."
Luke, in his wisdom, says what any man would say…."I can't think about this right now."
But I'm excited. I see it. I feel it. I love this place down to my bones….but I can't talk about it, and it's making me crazy. I slip and jabber on about it a time or two, and I'm met with "Daiq, I know you're heart's in this right now, but I'm not there. I really can't even give it any thought for some reason. Let's let it rest until we get home, ok?"
The waiting begins….