Thursday, March 11, 2010

Capital "A" confession

Not sure why? but confession has been on my mind this week. Maybe its my Catholic roots, maybe its because I regularly talk with Christ-followers who still live condemned or ashamed, (I so wish they didn’t) Maybe its because Easter is so close and the thought of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins always overwhelms me and that he rose three days later! Whatever it is…it caused me to remember a time when I was a little girl, 9 yrs. old. With six children in our family and one working parent, there were not a lot of frills, but mom had one prized possession, her dining room table. It was a special table to her and to us. I think it was special because of the way it was treated, we were always careful pulling the chairs out making sure not to drag the legs across the floor, everyone had their own place around it, and extra attention was given to every setting, everything in its proper place. Sitting around that table was almost magical, the talk of everyone’s day and the laughter shared around that table are forever etched in my fondest memories. But one day something happened to that table. My mother was setting all its places when she found a very large capital “A” carved in to its dark, polished wood. I remember being lined-up like all the children from the movie “Sound of Music” and Captain Von Trap (my mother) wanted to know who the culprit was! No one fessed-up, can’t say I blame them, the death penalty seemed imminent! Forward two years later, I’m 11 yrs. old, our youngest sister Colleen is 7 and making her first confession. She enters the little booth, pulls the curtain shut and begins in strangely enough, a very loud voice, I mean she is loud! Everyone in the church can hear her! She starts in the Catholic way, “Bless me Father for I have sinned, aloooong time ago I carved a capital “A” in my mom’s table!” It was out! We finally knew who the woodcarver was! My mother’s knuckles turned white clenching the pew in front of us. Me and my other sister Kelly, barely manage to keep our laughter from filling the high ceilings of the church. Mom gives us “the look” and then says, “don’t you dare tell your sister we know!” I can still see their faces, I remember the look of relief on my little sisters face as she exited the confessional, the weight of her deed lifted and the look on mom’s face, was one of my first pictures of grace. To our amazement mom never said a word. So? How much more is our Father God willing and desirous to forgive us?

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who do you want to be?

I'm amazed by the insights God grants. There's pictures of it in Scripture, just look at 2 Kings 6:15-16. Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the enemy army and Elisha says,"O Lord, open the eyes of your servant, so that he may see." In this very moment his servant is able to see what he was not previously able to see. John Ortberg is a pastor and author who shares great insight in his new book, "The Me I Want to Be" becoming God's best version of you.

Don't you just love that God still does that today? Gives insight. Cuz, when He does, we change, our hearts change, from stone to flesh,fear to courage, hate to love, hopelessness to hopefulness, harsh to soft, unkind to kind, pride to humility...and yet, I have talked with many Christ-followers and not-Christ-followers who struggle with an unspoken fear or belief that God wants to change "me" in to something I don't want to be. A Sunday morning from 16 years ago replayed in my mind just the other day and as it did, I understood that it was the soft nudging of the Holy Spirit. Our son was just three years old and we were all getting ready for church. I had purchased his, first, 3-piece suit, it was navy blue and I had had to save up to purchase it. He looked like this, cutest, little man, I was beaming! But something was wrong, he wasn't beaming back at me. Then I noticed,tears were welling up in those big, beautiful green eyes and I watched the slow, soft flutter of his long eyelashes knock those tears down on to his little boy cheeks, and then, came... the cry! We thought something was pinching him, you know those moments, I didn't have a clue why, my son, was now crying uncontrollably. His dad finally asks, "Son, why are you crying?" It was the release valve. "I don't wanna be a preacher!" That's when his dad came to his rescue, "Get that suit off of him." Needless to say he never wore that suit! He was only three, but the conflict already existed.

God does not want to turn us in to people we wouldn't want to be, but... I pray that you and me become God's best version of ourselves. There is great freedom and joy to be experienced in that place.

Psalm 139:13-15 For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,