Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sacrificial Giving-Plus Qualifiers in #7QT

I wrote this article in a burst of inspiration from the Holy Spirit's prompting to share this idea.  After I finished it and reread for editing I became afraid that I wasn't worthy to share this message.  It has been sitting in my draft folder for over a week.  I realized I must share it, but here are my seven qualifiers first, before you think I am someone I am not.

Inspiration needs perspiration, so just having a revelation in your heart does nothing without a transformation of your soul and habits.  I am praying very hard this Lent for the transformation to become who God wants me to be.

I have said it before, I am only a sinner.  There is nothing more special about me, other than God sometimes speaks to me through writing ideas.  However, I read the quote recently, "A saint is just a sinner who kept trying."  I am going to just keep trying.

My life is not perfect, my days are not perfect, I am not perfect.  There is so much I do not share publicly, but know that those moments that I am glad no one else sees are real.

I do not want to come off as overly pious, nor pompous.  However, I pray often, "Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening."   So, when I considered just burying this article and not publishing, I felt like God would then say, "Hey, I spoke, you just didn't listen." And nobody wants that!

It has been my fervrant prayer for years for God to sent me where I can serve Him best.  I have been struggling with feeling like I am not getting anywhere where I can be God's Hands and Feet.  Howevver, I have realized, recently, that God has sent me to a mission field--our town and our home--with plenty of people in need to recieving God's Love and Light.

If not me, then who?

I would rather try for Christ and fail, then never even try.  

After all those qualifiers, here is the idea God placed on my heart:

At our Lenten Small Group Study, my dear friend, Dara, said that for Lent she was truly trying to give until it hurt, to give above and beyond by true sacrifice.  I began to think of how I could do likewise. When we think of giving, we generally associate it with giving of money, goods, and riches.  However in my reflection on how to live this sacrifice, a radical thought was laid on my heart.  What if I gave mercy until it hurt?  What if I gave of my time and patience and love until it truly hurt?

In the movie Fireproof, a young fire fighter and his wife are on the brink of divorce.  When Caleb, played by Kirk Cameron, seeks pity from his father, this father instead gives him a Love Dare manual.  While Caleb is the one being jilted, he accepts the idea and tries to proceed with the dare. It is daunting at first, cooking breakfast for his wife that she refuses to eat, sending flowers that she will not acknowledge.  Though difficult, his father persuades him to continue. As time passes, Caleb realizes how little sacrificial love he had been sharing.  His marriage is saved in the end, but it is Caleb' s heart that is most transformed.

So this is my challenge.  What if I take those five minutes to snuggle with my son, when I would rather get to read?  What if I woke up early to clean and devoted my mornings to being there for the children?  What if my first action in the morning was to truly pray for God to use me for His Glory instead of calculating how many more minutes I could eek out of my morning to lie in bed a bit longer? What if when my alarm for the Angelus chimes, I completely stop and patiently pray every word regardless of what I am in the middle of doing?  What if I met my husband at the door in a loving welcome instead of hovering over my pots, pans, and email?  What if I stopped craving time for me and sought only time for God?  What if I looked in my Bible six times a day and checked my email once? What if I let the person behind me check out first, held the door a little longer, gave up the primo parking spot, drove gently and joyfully?  What if I forgave instantly, gave blessing for ridicule, prayed earnestly for those who offend me, resolve to be unoffended?  What if I loved the LORD my God with all my heart and all my mind and all my strength and all my soul?

What if...?  It's a tall order but isn't this what being a Christian is all about?  Aren't we called to greater glory?  I know that it will be hard and that I will falter more times than I wish to admit, but instead of feeling the martyr for attempting a brief respite from chocolate and the decadence of western life, I am choosing to truly die to self and live for Him.  I have been feeling so depleted, so run down, and over stretched.  My prayers have been for rest and solitude, for "me time," for vacation.  However, it is in weakness that the power of God is strongest.  As St John wrote, "He must increase as I decrease."  There is no rest apart from God, my sights are set on Heaven, His Yoke I sling over my shoulder and pledge to work for Him alone. My God, I am all in!

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