Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Living uncomfortably

I am uncomfortable.
I have become increasingly uncomfortable.
On a much too regular basis.

As one might imagine, it doesn't sit well with me.
This being uncomfortable on a regular basis.

Why this uncomfort?
Because God is taking me, once again, out of my comfort zone.

Some days I deal with this better than others.
Other days I want to scream, tuck tail and run for dear life in the other direction.
And then there are days where I just want to weep and weep and sob broken- wanting to melt in my puddle of tears because my heart just breaks and breaks and breaks. Days when I feel unfit for this new little job He has asked me to take on.
I wanna be like Moses and say, "No not me Lord. I'm not the right person for the job. Surely, Mrs. So-and-So is much better equipped to do this than me. I don't have the personality for this. You have got to be kidding. You know, Lord, if I do this like you ask, I'm pretty much gonna fail. Yep. Let's reconsider, shall we?"

And then He reminds me of my constant prayer.

The Prayer of my Summer 2012.
This prayer-
Lord, I'm asking You to crack me wide open. Spill all of me, every single drop, so that I might be filled with all of You. Turn me inside out and upside down- I want to be different. I want to live different. Lord, give me eyes to see what You see and a heart that loves like You love. Use me Lord, every piece of me for Your good and Your glory. Lord I give you permission to scrape out the numb areas of my life; places where I've become indifferent, ineffective, unconcerned, unmoved and unwilling. Scrape even if it brings me pain. Lord, I am learning, learning that to feel pain is better than to feel nothing. Please don't allow me to be blind to the needs right outside my front door. Lord, don't let me miss out on being Your hands and feet. Show me. I am Yours. Send me.

I have prayed this prayer for weeks and weeks. Seriously- daily- for weeks that have turned into months. And in bits and pieces, here and there, He has scraped my numbness. He has opened my eyes to others who need Him. He has pushed me to a deeper love and commitment to my little family than I could have imagined was possible. He has given me new eyes to see the individuals each of my children are...
He has done amazing things to my heart and mind.
I can't shout His praises high enough for all this good He has bestowed on me....
That's not all He has done. As I asked- He has scraped me inside out.
He has allowed me to feel great pain and anguish and in doing so has raised my levels of uncomfort to red alert status.
He allowed this good girl (that's me) who grew up with two loving parents in a Christian home and married an amazing Christian man, this girl who has never not known the love of family a day in her life, to meet up with a young teenage girl who lives an opposite life. He allowed my heart and eyes to be open and my ears to hear and my shoulder to bear the weight of heavy sobs as she spoke of a life filled with every materialistic thing she wants but not the one thing she desperately craves as much as the air she breathes, love. She wants to be loved, most desperately. So she looks for affirmation and affection and uses her physical attributes to get noticed and hold others (mostly boys) attention and she longs for a family like mine. A family who knows real Love- a family that lives love.
And my heart breaks and God cracks me open a bit wider and peels back another piece of me. And I know a bit more pain. My prayer time deepens and my knees hit the floor for her and I cry buckets because I don't have answers for her home life. All I can do is hold her as she cries and tell her how much Jesus loves her, how much I love and care for her, how much Jesus longs to hold her attention, how He desires to affirm her and show her love. And I love on this girl. I give love.
She can't hold up under the weight of her life and can't withstand the pressure and can't quite figure out how to trust God with her love, her affection, her future even though she craves it to be so. She goes back to what she knows- the attention seeking and flirting. She loves Jesus but can't quite see how He can make up the difference.
I am uncomfortable with the weight of her confessions and uncomfortable with my inability to give her clear direction. Uncomfortable with my own uncomfortableness. I cry out and tell my Jesus, "I can't do this! It hurts too much. I don't know what to say. I feel like I can't reach her and make her see You have your arms wide open." As I sit broken and spilled out in my prayer time- He nudges and reminds me of what I have been praying. I said I'd  take the pain. I asked Him to open my eyes and turn me inside out. I told Him to use me.
I am humbled in my uncomfortableness. I asked for this.
But He isn't finished.
I can't stop praying this prayer. I can't stop living at this level of uncomfort.
Jesus knows. He stands right here.
And He shows me more.
Inside out- becomes upside down.

It seemed like such a simple request, and I was totally and completely on board. I was all, "Yeah, Okay. Great idea." I even tacked on, "Use me! I can do this. I can love like this."
And oh, how quickly I cry out, "Lord, I don't know what I was thinking!!! I can't do this! I just can't!"
A simple request- Mr. Conductor asking the neighbor kids to bible school. It meant taking two cars to get them there and back and it meant asking our friends to help with rides too (who very graciously did) for six straight nights.
I thought that was all there was to it. Take them to church. Show them Jesus.
Oh how blind I can still be.
I missed the part where He requires me to pour out and empty myself. I missed the part where showing them Jesus isn't just a bible story, some songs and a snack--- it's living out your life, your family life in such a way that they crave what you have.
And crave it they do.
And my uncomfortable level goes up three more notches.
They want to be at my home. They want to play and experience our life with us, to interact with us, have meals with us. They beg to stay the night, for snacks. And more. They want the more. They want the real. We showed them Jesus and they want more.
I said I'd be hands and feet. I even prayed for Him to show me the needs right outside my front door.
My. Front. Door.
Oh Lord.
What was I thinking?

He and I talk. [I'm so glad my Jesus likes to talk with me!] and I share my heart. I tell Him this is harder than I thought. These kids aren't raised like mine. They don't have the same values. They don't have the same manners. They don't know how to behave as a guest in my home. Who forgot to give them the how-to manual? They don't close doors, wipe their feet or ask politely. They take things without asking, get into things they shouldn't and I don't get anything accomplished when they are here. I struggle with my own politeness when I need to send them home or tell them no or stop. I am most uncomfortable. Why does it hurt to tell them no? Why does it have to hurt when it's time to send them home and they beg and beg to stay and I just can't wait for them to go? Why, Lord? Why?
Why am I uncomfortable when I know I want to help? Why can't I cope with this? Why?

He doesn't give me the answers I want to hear but tells me this:
Keep loving them.
Keep showing Me to them.
Keep your door and your heart open to them.

He has cracked me wide open just as I asked. And He's keeping me open. Keeping me broken. I know this is so I will remain spillable and not fill up with self. It is what I asked. And yet, it is a daily battle to remain broken when the selfish parts of me cry out to batten down the hatches and remain under the covers 'til Jesus comes again.

I continue to pray this cracking wide open prayer. I pray for this young woman who craves love, for these two young kids who want this different life.
I pray...
Lord, help me to love them like You do. Completely, not trying to change them or point out their faults but to tenderly love them in their brokenness like You love me in mine. Show me how to meet them right where they are and show them You. Give me fortitude and guide me in all my dealings with these ones You love. Please Jesus, protect me, protect my family as I step out into this messy world. Keep me at a healthy level of uncomfortable so that I might not be blinded to those around me who need me and You. Don't let me be blinded to the blessings You daily heap on me in loads. Show me. Guard my mouth that I would not say things unkindly, help me to speak with lovingkindness and at the same time steer me towards those areas that I can gently teach and guide. Help me to be this gentle one You are nudging me towards- I've got rough edges Lord and I can be bitey and snarky. I can be stubborn and rude. When I want to dig in my heels and the little girl in me wants to stomp her feet at You and tell you, "No, I don't wanna." When I do this, as we know I am bound to at some point-- Keep nudging me out of my comfort zone. Don't allow me to forget they are there. Don't let me become complacent. Keep me broken Jesus. And hold my brokenness together for me.

Some days it isn't so bad living broken and uncomfortable and other days.... well, those other days are painful. Living with a softened heart is painful. Living with eyes that see more of these bits of brokenness causes me great discomfort. But I'd rather this than anything this world has to offer me. There are days when I fail miserably to carry out this "new little job" He's asked me to take on, days when I most definitely disappoint Him. Days when I choose not to follow His lead and reach out to those around me.
Thankfully His grace and mercy covers me-- each and every failed day. Not only that- but this great grace, this most merciful mercy He pours out so generously gives me the strength to pick up and try to love out this life He's given me.

And more often than not these new days, I find that pretty amazingly exciting.
Who would have thought I'd find uncomfort exciting?



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