Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall Beginnings

What a week. My oldest started high school, my youngest began her last year of elementary school. My role as pastor of women's ministries debuted with the beginning of Women's Bible Fellowship. And then today marked the first day of Sunday school. This week also held a lot more stuff than I'm willing to share here. But in all of it - the good, the bad, and the just plain sad - I sensed Christ at work. This is nothing profound or earth-shattering. To many of you, God's presence is a normal everyday thing. You can see, hear, and almost smell the aroma of the Spirit. This sounds very fluffy and pretty. But it's not. At least not this week.

This week it was tired, sweaty, stinky stuff. God didn't anoint me with some rich perfume, he didn't pour my cup to overflowing. Most of the time I felt like I was scratching and crawling my way through. A few moments here and there I caught my breath, looked up and saw beauty. But more often I saw brokenness, a clock ticking way too fast, and a pace that felt more frantic than faithful. Many times I asked God this week, "is there another way? What do you want me to do (aka: how can I get out of this)?" And the answer seemed to be, "I want you right here. To prove it, I'll add a little more. There you go. Feel that? That's where I'm God and you're not."

I know we don't always have to be at the end of ourselves to witness God. I'm grateful that He doesn't make this a requirement. But I do believe we experience God most fully when we lay down our priorities and pick up His. I am better able to notice the Holy Spirit working through me when just at the moment I would say I've got "nothin' left," I'm handed more.  I know Jesus as friend when He clears the room and makes space for me to whine, pout, and even cry....and He doesn't say, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Sometimes following God means walking in abundance, drawing from a deep well, feeling the richness, and bursting with life. These are days you want to write a song about. Days where you observe God at work and you want to shout from the rooftops, "Hey, Y'all should be a Christian. This Jesus thing is amazing! I've never felt more energetic, more wholly alive." Oh, those are good days. Days of feeling doubly blessed. (My Honduras friends know what I mean.)

Other days you just hope to get through. "Come on God, just help me make it till bedtime. 8pm is late enough, right?" Days where you just hope for hope. Whether or not this week leaves me feeling exhausted or elated, I know God will be there. He always is.