Saturday, July 12, 2014

On My Role As Princess


This moment, right now,

Sitting in a café, drinking iced coffee, catching up on my reading.

I glance up and do a double-take. A young gal with a disarming, cheerful demeanor traipses through the door. She is wearing a tiara. And a banner that says in purple glitter, “County PRINCESS 2014.”

Suddenly she is aware that heads are turning, people watching her, smiling, and she smiles back self-consciously. She tilts her head toward the boy she’s with and looks down at the floor.

I remember a time, many years ago, when I woke up one morning with the stark realization that, wait a minute, if my Heavenly Father is the King of Kings and He’s adopted me as His daughter… that makes me a princess. Not because of anything I’ve ever done to deserve the title, but because He chose me.

I wasn’t even out of bed yet when I decided that I would engage my imagination and truly, fully experience the day as a Princess.

Upon declaring my position as Princess, there was an incredible sense of urgency. I leapt out of bed and quickly got ready for the day. I mean, ohmyword, with an entire nation to care for, I didn’t have a second to squander! Everything took on new meaning. Making breakfast for the four citizens living in my kingdom was important work.

I didn’t wear the hats of referee or taxi driver or teacher or cook or housekeeper. I only wore one symbol. And that tiara represented the call to yield my rights in order to give preference. To be an example of integrity and kindness and gentleness and generosity.


I realized, with sudden clarity, that I represent my Abba Father who loves lavishly, is gracious and merciful, and withholds no good thing. The title of Princess… my heart beat fast… I needed to serve my people and with no small amount of excellence. A royal position released in me a heightened sense of responsibility. A desire to lead with a gracious spirit.

This moment, right now. I won't be self-conscious, avert my eyes, tilt my head toward the floor. I'll hold my head high, walk confident, stand in your presence ready to lead, ready to serve. I'll embrace my identity as a Princess.

Linking up today with Five Minute Friday, Guest Host, Crystal Stine.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When I'm Completely On Board With the Mission, But I Panic Anyway

You've heard me say I must be Abba's favorite girl? It's just so amazing and sweet how He constantly surprises me with these Grace gifts that remind me how much He loves me. I'll tell you about today.

So, you know how my children are growing up in a home in which we preach the value of relationships. Oh, not so much in sermons and lectures. (Oh wait, there's an excess of those, too. oops.)

But, in light of eternity, well, people are all we get to take to Heaven with us. This is one of those subjects that I'm pretty passionate about.

I've been hanging out in the Book of Acts recently and, mygoodness! It's all about people! And Jesus. And people deciding to go all in following Jesus. And there are thousands of people coming together in community, becoming disciples of Jesus, encouraging one another, even selling all they have in order to give to anyone who has need. Some of them are persecuted. Some of them go to prison. Some stay up all night praying. And it gets outlandish and radical. Like when the Gospel is taken to the Gentiles, they believe in Jesus, and they're filled with the Holy Spirit, too. Yep. Read it for yourself. It reads like a suspense thriller with all the fast-paced action complete with chase scenes and mystical prison breaks and martyrdom. There's even moments of humor. (Seriously? Maybe Rhoda came from a family of over-reactors. Then again, like I have room to judge.) And the running theme? Relationships.

I know we're called to love people. Here's the irony: I'm an extreme introvert. I mean, in my head, I wield bullet proof bracelets, speak German and Russian like Jason Bourne, and am rescuing captives like, like, oh well like, Christine Caine. Of course. In my head, I'm a socialite who floats through crowds of people, connecting and laughing with people clustered in groups of three and four. We talk politics and sports and the latest on the Dow Jones. I converse easily with the fashionistas in the room complimenting them on that scarf and mentioning so-and-so's delicious salad recipe and asking about their upcoming family vacation.

In real life I make jokes about agoraphobia. And, oh! how I relate to Alexandra, the character played by Jodie Foster in Nim's Island. She too, writes fantastical stories about "the world's greatest adventurer." But she stays inside. And avoids people.

So when I told Jesus He could reign over my heart and my whole life so many years ago...  When I confessed to Him that I'd made a mess of things and well, goodness, what in the world did it mean to follow Him anyway? Spirit whispered, I'll show you. And in my heart, I followed. And He spoke over His shoulder as we walked into what-I-had-no-idea, you'll want to buckle up.

He changed everything. He keeps changing everything. That whole thing about transformation? Well, the truth is is that if your perspective changes, everything changes. And over time, it became apparent that -- this little tourist gig here on earth, this blip in the grand scheme of forever -- I want my priorities to matter. In light of eternity.

Hence the mission to live a lifetime of building relationships. And for my social husband, this suits him just great! And my super extroverted, fun-loving oldest... and, well, all my children. It's the culture they were raised in. Not just by us, but our entire spiritual community, "Love Jesus. Love people." I'm thankful for that. Incredibly so.

So, why do I feel panicky two hours before our people are scheduled to arrive? And why do I nearly always battle this panic in spite of the fact that as soon as their beautiful faces come through the door, the panic leaves, leaving me with nothing but gladness in my heart to be in their presence?

It doesn't make any sense.

Then today, on the cusp of a send-off celebration for our oldest, and processing that we'll have the honor (I honestly do see it as an honor... especially, like I said, when these people whom I love with all my heart come through the door), of hosting a gzillion people...

Here's what I can't wait to share with you. I found this today, laying on the end table in my basement:

 
Left by a little, (how you minister to my heart, Elan!), it reads, "Welkom to ohur Home. we sellebraght people. kom over." (Punctuation added.) See what I mean? It's an entire community loving one another. Encouraging one another. Praying for one another. Celebrating one another!

I'm overcome with gratitude for this community that continues to invest so much into our family. I don't know where we'd be without your constant love and support.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Exhale


Go.

The mental intake and emotional output.

I Googled the statistics. We take an average of 21,600 breaths per day, which translates to nearly 8 million breaths per year. 7,889,400 to be more precise. The reflexive pull and ensuing push.

Inhale grace. Exhale praise. Inhale grace. Exhale praise.

Approximately 10,800 praises per day.

Stop. 
 
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
~ Psalm 150:6 (KJV)


Linking up with Lisa-Jo over at Five-Minute Friday!

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Love... And The Power of Story


This girl, her heart full of dreams, passion for telling stories, a vision for making a difference in the world. Recently, she had the opportunity to be a part of telling a story in a series of two videos and some onstage acting. The videos were part of the running theme of Ephesians 6:10-18 at Life Center’s Arts Camp this year. All week, the students were taught through various arts and media that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but that the battle is much more than what we see on the surface.
Israel’s part in the story was to play a girl who feels unloved and lonely. Her role invited viewers into another’s story on a deeper level. On stage during the week she bullied her peers, teasing them and tripping them.

Yet, one girl continued to show her kindness and patience. And that love… regardless?












Well done, Israel. May the Lord continue to bless your passion for discovering stories... and bringing about reconciliation through the telling of stories.