I'm hidden in the One who already is.
I want to share a bit with you today. and hopefully, with the Lord's help, I can get back into the routine of writing on this blog. I love to write. I believe it's a gift the Lord has given me and my heart really is bursting with much to share. okay, where to begin...
let me just start with where Luke & I are at right now in life (i'll post some pics of our 'Christmas decorations', my latest prego belly pic, etc hopefully by this weekend. hang in there with the pics, people! lol!):
Luke is busy flying and heading up MWR (morale, wellness, and recreation) on base. He loves what he does - FLYING and helping people!! :) I am often reminded of Psalm 18 when it talks about how the Lord drawing us from the deep waters and setting our feet high upon a rock. I see how that's fleshed out in the physical realm through my husband's unique calling. In between keeping up the whole 'cool pilot' thing (hee hee), he's busy with duty, officer responsibilities, planning parties for the service members' families, and other fun events. Recently, his division secured box seat tickets to the Tampa Bay Lightning Game, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays, etc. yeah, he's good.
on a more serious note, I am seeing how the Lord is really growing him to be the man He's called him to be...a thoughtful, caring, observant man who loves to speak of what the Lord has done and is doing in his life (often not without a tear or two). He inspires me to daily get into the Word, to reach out to the new person or loner at church, to watch/wait/observe/pray more before speaking out (I am a Peter - verbal, impetuous at times!).
Apart from Jesus, Luke is my rock and is already a loving daddy. He prays over baby girl every morning and sings a special song to her. She will immediately kick and squirm at his voice. aah. I'm crying right now just writing all this. When he speaks to his daughter - still growing in the dark womb - I'm reminded of how my Father in heaven loves to speak to me, a babe still stumbling along in the 'dark womb' of this fallen world. I want to be still long enough to listen to His voice, to respond with joy. So many times, I shut out His voice with the din of my 'busy life'. oh God, forgive me. You ARE my life. Everything else is peripheral. Show me that in increasing measure. Help me.
Luke & I are very active in our church, Lifebridge. We love the people, the community life, the strong Gospel-centered teaching, and that fact that we are seeing good fruit both in the lives of our brothers & sisters there and within our own lives. I have never felt more compelled to see myself as a sold-out, radical missionary for the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST than in this particular season of my life. Before I'm a wife, a mother, a sister/friend/...I am His. He is Mine. I'm called to share the Good News, no matter the cost.
I am busy with holiday photo sessions, crisis pregnancy center work (i will quite my time there in January - have loved every minute of it and hope to continue serving there in the coming years, as the Lord leads), church responsibilities (currently serving in Sunday School and within our Women's Ministry), housekeeping, about a million different holiday crafts i committed myself to (haha!), hospitality, and of course...preparing for SWEET BABY GIRL! We just bought her crib (well, my in-laws graciously BOUGHT it for us - we just picked it out. Thank you so much, Gramma & Grandpa Grant!) and a cute plush recliner/rocker. We have everything painted and it's now a matter of setting everything up and adding all the final touches. I promise to post pics! :) We are taking a wonderful 12-week Bradley birthing class, touring the Birth Center next month, and reading/talking/asking questions/praying/preparing as best we can. Ultimately, it's in the Lord's hands...more on that in the next paragraph...
so for those of you who know me...you know i can tend to be a perfectionist (read: pride) and rather impetuous at times and yes, I even battle fear & anxiety (read: wanting to have control of [you fill in blank]). now some of you probably think, 'Man, Lizzy you really don't have to spill all of your dirty laundry on us. Everybody's got junk. Why are you telling us all this?" Well, I will tell you. This past week, our Pastor gave a wonderful...um, really stellar...message on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Listen to it HERE.
You know those times when you're sitting in church and you sense the Lord is speaking DIRECTLY to you? Yes, it was one of those times. oh, and let me add that our women's ministry has also been going through a great book called Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Man, it's good. If you desire to know your heart better and how full of idols it is and how much your God loves you and wants to refine you and set you FREE from those idols, then read this book. Anyway, Pastor Joe talked about availing ourselves to the activity of the Spirit and allowing Him to take over our lives. Near the end of the message, I just began weeping (quietly) in my seat, my heart bursting with a deep desire to 'know and be known' afresh by my God. I hunger for more of the Spirit. I desire him to wrest the reigns of fear-based control from my blistered hands. I'm tired of trying to hold onto them. I desire to be emptied out of myself (fear of man, guarding my 'reputation', not wanting to be sold out in sharing the Gospel) and filled up with HIM.
At one point in the message, my pastor referenced the time when Jesus was fellowshiping with his disciples on the beach shortly following His resurrection. Picture it: it's a cool morning. a crisp gentle breeze blowing the sea into lapping waves on the shore, bare feet in the damp sand, a fire going with fish sizzling, a bunch of guys hanging out with the SAVIOR. laughing, sharing, crying, praying. some more laughter. Then Jesus turns to Peter and says, "Peter, do you love me?" Peter replies, "Lord, I love you." Jesus goes onto ask Peter two more times the same question. Peter finally says, "Lord, you know I love you." I can just imagine him saying this in a quiet, reflective tone of voice while looking straight into the eyes of Jesus. Keep in mind this is following on the heels of Peter vehemently denying the Lord with curses right before the crucifixion and again, looking up to find Jesus looking at him straight in the eyes. It's just like God to give us a second chance. When Joe quoted, "Peter, do you love me?" i heard, "Lizzy, do you love me?" Spirit penetrating, piercing with His characteristic beautiful pain. Something snapped. Tears followed. O Lord, I love you. Help me make time for you FIRST before anything else in my life. I'm desperate for you.
So this past week, I had yet another opportunity to see how the Lord is after refining my heart of idolatry and disgusting sin. A certain situation arose where I was tempted to give into fear and feeling overwhelmed. I attempted to try to 'fix' things in my own strength and perhaps stepped on a few toes in the process. My one dear friend said, "you need to stopping stressing over [xyz] and just let go." The truth of her words far surpassed the immediate situation at hand. It reflected my current struggle for control over the impending birth of my first child. yeah, it's great to pray, plan, read, prepare, take classes, and all the other great stuff but it doesn't 'fix' my heart to be in a place of worshipful surrender to my King. I am battling fear, trust, control, letting go.
This afternoon, I decided to get caught up on some birth class homework which included writing an "ideal birth story". I had read others and they all sounded so nice and tidy. I put my 'birth songs' playlist on and commenced to write out my own 'ideal' story. As i was writing everything out (trying to remember all the terms, tips, and techniques we have learned), my pen took a sudden change of direction and i scribbled down words that dealt with a hypothetical complication. I wrote about the fear of losing control of 'THE BIRTH PLAN', of something going on that was not merely just out of my comfort zone or my preference but something being 'wrong'. I have no idea where it came from but I just kept writing and then I began weeping. Yes, some of it was definitely pregnancy hormones making their lovely presence known, but I truly felt taken over by the Spirit in those moments.
Something was being birthed from deep within me. It was like I was delivering up some ugly chains of bondage that I didn't even see before. It was painful, healing, and freeing all at the same time. My pen then went onto talk about how I chose to cry out to my God and ask for His Spirit to take over. The problem was resolved but not without a few procedures having to be implemented that I initially balked against. The end was full of tears, worship, rejoicing, and the miracle of new life. Granted, this was a totally hypothetical situation. The real thing may go better or perhaps not quite like I would anticipate, but what this time of pouring out my heart onto paper - motivated by the Holy Spirit - showed me was it's ALL about Him. He will ultimately deliver this child. He will draw her from the dark place...just as He done for me. i was reminded of Psalm 18. check it out HERE. I went back and read it through my veil of healing tears. Then, my 'birth songs' playlist played, "Breathe". check it out HERE. the Lord graciously ushered me into a time of repentance and sweet worship with Him. He is at work in me...He is wooing me out of my fear....just as He did with Peter.
I'm broken, fallen, and weak.
...but He makes whole, lifts up, and strengthens.
Well, that's where I'm at right now. more to come!!
Thanks for reading.