January 27, 2013

Called Out

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Christians really love to use the phrase 'season'.  Not like summer, winter, spring, or fall, but 'season' meaning a time period in your life.  For example, "My husband and I can't go out on many dates because we have small children.  {sigh} But that is just our season for now."
Or "I'm really being dealt a lot of adversity lately, God must be teaching me something to prepare for the next season."

Honestly, it's usually a word to make a crappy time in your life sound pretty and livable. Yes, I said crap.

Seasons have a purpose or theme.  Purpose is something you pursue. If you think about it, a literal season such as fall, was the the time to harvest and store up for the winter. Winter was the time to rest up for the next sowing season. There was a set goal in mind - a purpose. The bible does not use agricultural metaphors by accident. The people of the time understood the importance of seasons. They didn't have grocery stores. Seasons and their ability to capitalize on their purpose literally meant life or death. So while it's easy to lightly blame a 'season' for what is going on in your life, why not look at it with purpose? God, what is the theme for this season I am in? Do not waste a season.

Throughout scripture God constantly appoints. In Jonah, God appointed the fish. In 1Peter we see Peter speaking of God's foreknowledge in the exile and dispersion of those to whom he is writing. Proverbs says that the die is cast but the decision is the Lord's. God appointed Joseph in the OT and all his testing to ultimately bring about His plan for redemption. In Joseph's story we see him pointing to Christ. Your "season" is meant for your ultimate joy and His glory. We are not meant to simply sit back, speak good Christianese, and say "this is my season" while sounding like an Eeyore.

For example, 2 years ago I was really struggling with my attitude towards others and my heart as it related to serving. My solid prayer for 2011 was "God, teach me to find joy in having a servant's heart."  Not just serving to check off a list or because it's the right thing to do, but really seeing serving as an act of worship. That year the Lord opened my eyes to the needs of others where they had previously been closed. My friendships blossomed. Forgiveness was easier. My pride was popping like a balloon in a car door, and I began to see a higher purpose in the daily grudging tasks of taking care of my family.

In January 2012, my husband met with an elder in the church for some guidance and the elder told him, "This will be the year that you learn to hear God with your wife." I wasn't at the meeting, the man had never met me, and it was the first time he had met my husband. But he was right. In my heart, I desired that closeness with the Lord where I could hear from Him.  Soon, I began to hear when the Holy Spirit spoke. When God confirmed something I was able to accept it with such clarity. I started to feel His presence in such little mundane things like rain and getting a good parking spot. I would hear his voice in the most random times like while I was drying my hair or folding laundry.

In January, like many, I seem to flounder back into a funk. The climax of the holiday and all the bustle that goes with it makes me want to just stay in my house and get my heart and my head right. While that part of it is not a problem, I tend to sit back in my socializing and in my friendships. I forego some girl time or out of the house time that might be uplifting to my soul, and that is detremental. From the start of January 1 of this year, I felt like the Lord calling me out, "Don't fall into that funk this year. Get out of the house. Go do something." Instead of being obedient I just went on about my busy business of cleaning, organizing, fitting in gym time when possible, etc. A week or so into the month, one of my dearest friends sent out an email that she would be hosting a Bible Study and inviting me to come. I love time talking about the Lord and doing it with my besties, but it seemed so easy to not drive across town, not worry about baby's nap, and not try to fit it in. "I'll think about it," I told her. The next day, I ran into a friend at the gym unexpectedly and we ended up chatting for quite while. I got random texts from friends I hadn't talked to in awhile checking on me. Then, the next day, I receieved an email from our Women's Pastor checking in on me. That's when it hit me. Or should I say, that's when He hit me, the Holy Spirit that is.  I had been avoiding socialization and outings, but this year the Lord was not going to let me out of it. "I'm calling you out, " he says. Then with affirmation, my email response from our Women's Pastor repeated that phrase in her typed words, "He's calling you out." Thanks for that bomb Lord. He'd been setting me up in all these social situations and I was just oblivious.

Two days after that, there was to be a women's night at our church.  The women's nights are always amazing. The sanctuary is full of God's beautiful daughters praising him. I made plans to go and see what was in store for me. The morning of,  starting from early on, the enemy was bound and determined to keep me from going. Michael Jr woke up early with a random high fever that kept him out of school. Him not feeling well wore on my nerves all day and left me frustrated. The baby was teething and not nursing well so he was grumpy.  Of course, as luck would have it, my husband was running late leaving work and was not home to take over the kids as I was expecting.  I lost my temper with him. At one point, I put my sweats back on and said "Fine, I'm not going." But then I realized that the enemy had won if I stayed home. God was calling me out and I needed to go and hear what He had to say. I arrived late and snuck in next to my dear friend. It was during praise and worship and there was, as my precious friend says, a thickness in the air of Him.

Worship was amazing. There is something so beautiful about women coming together for worship. At one point, the Lord brought me to my knees weeping and told me the reason he had been calling me out. He said that this was my time to be bold and obedient. And bold in my obedience and obedient in my boldness. He said I was to speak because He had given me a voice and that he would use me to call out others just as he had called me out.
Wow. You know how you feel when you are craving chocolate and your body is aching and going crazy for chocolate? Then you get that chocolate and all is finally well in the world? That is how I felt when the Lord finally revealed his word to me. It was so refreshing and satiating to hear His promises.

So that is when I started blogging again. While I am not sewing or operating Darling Deuce Designs as a business anymore, it serves as a huge platform for me to reach people. If you read the post the other day about the boys, that was my test. My 'pilot', if you will. As if the numbers on the blogger stats weren't enough, the amount of people that crossed my path in the fews days after that were so appreciative of my words, was so humbling.

 Lord, please use me for your glory. You created me and my voice. Please use my ups and downs of being a wife, mom, and most importantly, your daughter, to inspire others an draw them closer to you.  Help them learn to know more of you and embrace your grace. I will be obedient and not ashamed of the trenches you have brought me through.

What is your season? What kind of purpose has the Lord promised for this season?  Don't sit by and let the seasons turn.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8