Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving my blog

Hello blog followers! (I assume there are still a few of you out there anyway!)
I am moving my blog to a new location.

You can find it here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is This Really Happening?

A year ago this evening I was sitting in a coffee shop staring intently into my cup and saying absolutely nothing to the poor nervous man next to me. I was processing at such a deep level. Could this really be happening? To me?

A month ago I shared the story of that day a year ago and all that God was doing in me then. The subsequent days did not get any easier to handle. On Easter Sunday my wonderful and insightful brother Jonathan reminded me that as a woman God had created me with amazing abilities and talents but that I needed a strong support structure to be able to function at the full capacity God intended for me. He said he wouldn’t always be able to fill that role for me and I’d have to find someone else.

My struggle to define and accept my friendship with Chris was only accentuated by the judgemental spirit and snide comments of others. I almost dropped Chris all together a couple times simply because I didn’t want to loose standing friendships and trust over a guy who I wasn’t sure I wanted in my life in the first place. But God wouldn’t let me, and I knew He was using Chris for something bigger.

This guy was so good for me. Anyone who knew me well could see it. He knew how to make me hear truth, he knew how to make me happy. He was so much fun and I loved spending time with him. I loved how I always felt like I had seen God after I’d been around Him.

The whole time God was asking me to trust Him more deeply, to completely relinquish my grip on my plans for my life and let Him lead regardless of the destination. I was so afraid of being hurt again or hurting someone I loved, of letting someone close and then loosing them. At this point I wasn’t so much afraid of God asking me to get married as I was of allowing myself to want it and then it not happening the way I thought it would. I was afraid I would let my guard down and fall in love with Chris but that instead of it being God’s way of fulfilling the need He had finally convinced me was there, that He would use it as a lesson in letting go and dealing with pain and finding Him in loss. I wasn’t sure I could handle another one of those just yet.

April 19th I had a long conversation with my parents. I expressed how I saw things, saw Chris, and couldn’t believe this was happening. I told them what I was afraid of. My mom did lots of laughing at me. My Dad didn’t give as much direction as I’d hoped for. “You’re in a good place. Just wait and see what Chris does.” Great, thanks.

I went for a long walk and spilled all my thoughts to God. I finally collapsed on a picnic table and waited for Him to answer. “As long as you and Chris continue to point each other to Me, don’t be afraid of it or where it might go.” That was all I got from Him, but it was enough. I knew my God was trust worthy and would never give me more pain than necessary. I know my relationship with Chris was good, and that whatever God did with it, He would only make it better. I thought I was ready for whatever came next, but when it actually happened, when I was actually sitting in that coffee shop having that conversation it was still so much harder than I thought it would be.

I sat there completely numb, still staring into the chai I had hardly touched. My mind was racing, begging God for clarity, for words, for something. I knew I needed to say something to Chris before the silence stretched any longer. He finally summarized. “Christy, nothing would make me happier than to be able to do all that I can to encourage you, to point you to God, and to make you happy.” He was asking me to let him be the support God had told me I needed.
I finally found words. “I think... I think I’m ok with that.”
Chris grinned.
“You sure?”

I’m so very thankful I’ve had that man in my life for the last year. I’m so thankful I took the step of faith and said yes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Do You Fear, My Lady?

A year ago this evening I was terribly angry at a man named Chris Ong who had the audacity to suggest, quite innocently I'm sure,  that I might need a man in my life. I very rarely get angry at my friends, but he had broached a dangerous subject. I was having a hard enough time with the fact that he was my friend, and was also a guy. I didn't have a problem with guy friends in general, but this one somehow seemed dangerous.He was getting too close.

I had gone through my stage of wanting a guy in my life, wanting love, wanting the white picket fence, but I was over it. I honestly didn't want to get married. I was so happy with my life as it was, and so satisfied with my wonderful close friends, my brother, my family, and I didn't want any of it to change. I also had dreams, grand dreams where God and I went out into the world all on our own and made a difference. I wanted to help orphans, lead girls retreats, counsel, minister, and be free to do all these things as much and as often as I wanted. Marriage, frankly, would get in the way. Marriage was accepting mediocrity, accepting normalcy, accepting the typical American lifestyle - raise a family, make meals, kiss the husband when he gets home from work, go to church twice a week, trying to be "good Christians" in a temporal world. I wanted to be as far from that life as possible. I wanted anything BUT normal. I wanted to see and know God in unheard of ways. And I wanted it it be just Him and me. I wasn't gonna share Him with anyone. He was my Love and I didn't need anything else.

I also seriously didn't think any man could handle my intensity and emotions.There was no way one person would want to have to deal with all that the rest of their life. I totally wore myself out, and I didn't want to do that to someone I loved. I dumped a bit on people I really trusted, my brother Jonathan got a lot of it, but never completely, never all the way. I was sure the only one who could take the "real me" with out running in terror was God.

Around the end of 2009 God began to challenge some of my thinking in these areas. I remember clearly when I felt Him asking me if I would trust Him enough to let Him have me get married. Not that it was gonna happen, just if I'd be ok with it. It took me a week to be able to say that I would still trust Him. I slowly realized that I was limiting God by holding such rigid views of a fulfilled life and of what He could do through people. He began to ask me to let Him show me that He was bigger.

Around this same time I was getting to know Chris better, and it amazed me how often our conversations would inadvertently end up on the same topics God was talking to me about. We had such good conversations about everything from abiding in Christ, asking God for big things, sibling relationships, and the character of God, to personal fears and dreams. One night in right before Christmas we had this conversation:
 Chris: So what do you fear most?
  “'What do you fear my lady?'
'A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond beyond recall or desire.'”
me: I resemble that quote. :)
  I think...I think I fear loosing hope. I fear mediocrity and complacency.
 Chris: I don't think i know you extremely well. But if I had to gamble.
I think you are scared you will be called to stay here and not be able to go to africa
  where all chance of doing what you deem is valor for the glory of God is
me: I just want to see God and know He's at work in and through me.
  Here, or there.
  The thing I truly fear the most is NOT having God.
Chris: God isn't only over in africa Christy
me: but He seems easier to find there and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be that way... or if it's just my fear that keeps me from finding him here
Chris: That is a great fear to have. However the way you are talking I think you currently fear something is in your life right now that is preventing you from finding him
  if thats the case
  africa is not gonna help
 me: yeah.
 Chris: So what you need to settle is.
The fact a housewife can be just as dynamic and powerful and know God and have as close a relationship
  as Amy Carmichael
 me: I know.
Chris: So then is it really marriage you are currently fearing?
me: Um....
I don't think so.
I just want to know and be used of God. Where ever, how ever.
  I'm just...
Not sure what that looks like and wish He'd tell me.Chris: normally I am not the blunt one but I think He is trying

I was frustrated with how often God chose to speak to me through Chris but couldn't deny that it was Him talking. The "cage" quote from The Lord of the Rings quickly became a theme with me, and God slowly convinced me that the cage I feared was of my own making and that as long as I followed Him He would never put me in a cage. Therefore whatever He asked of me, even marriage, could not possibly be a cage. I repeated this to myself over and over and over... and over and over. I know it sounds silly that this was so hard for me, but I had built a picture of Christ-likeness for myself, and was quite convinced it was the real thing. It took time to wipe away the lies and let God recreate the picture His way.

On that night a year ago, as I was talking through the confusion that was surfacing as God redefined His will for me, Chris got especially bold (I didn't find out til much later how it was that he seemed to know the secrets of my heart and the exact thoughts I needed to hear.)

me: Oh, that was something else Mrs. Spray said when I was talking about Africa and Haiti.
  She looked right at me, after we'd been talking for about 10 minutes, and said "Hun, I don't think you could handle that yet. It would be too much for you to carry."
  (or something to that effect.)
 Chris: wow.
me: I almost got mad, and almost started crying.... because I think God was nodding vehemently
Chris: your gonna hate me for what I am gonna say next.
 me: can't be worse than some of the things you've said before. ;)Chris: Could be you will never have the strength alone but will need the help of another person to help share the burdens you want to carry and help with.
 me: MY WORD!! What is it with you telling me I should get married?!
 Chris: Sorry.  I was so mad I wished he was actually in front of me so I could physically get up and walk away. He felt terrible, and the next time I saw him he brought me my favorite movie, bubble wrap, and bought me coffee to try and make up for it. I don't think he had any idea how much God was using his words despite my reaction.

I don't think either of us had any idea that exactly a year later would would have just celebrated our 7 month wedding anniversary.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just a Cup of Water

"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:40

A couple years ago I was wandering a large campus in hot and humid Texas during a homeschool conference. The year before I had been right hand man (figuratively, of course, since I'm not a man) to the head of hospitality during this same conference and had never had a moment to rest as I was constantly involved in getting something for this or that speaker, overseeing the girls cleaning, making a request on my walkie, checking people in the meal line, and hauling this basket of goodies or that special request to the other side of campus.
This year was different. I was still on staff but with no special position, and no great avenue to help important people. I cleaned some bathrooms, stalked some dorms, moved lots of towels, and generally just had to search for little ways to make a difference.
Honestly, I was frustrated, and as I walked around that day I asked God why in the world I was there. I was giving up precious time with my family, was in the middle of an advanced study course and had an assignment over due, and didn't seem to have much to show for it. I wondered if I was wasting my time.
God didn't say anything, but I looked up and saw a girl coming toward me with a camera around her neck. Her name was Julie and we had been roommates the first few days I was there until the conference started and she joined the photography class.
"How's it going?" I asked.
"Ug. The instructors are pretty hard on us. I'm hot, so tired, and really thirsty." She looked ready to cry.
I looked down at the water bottle I had just grabbed and back at her.
"Uh, here. I just picked this up. Haven't even opened it."
She accepted it gratefully and walked away.
That was it.
But then God said something.
"If just a cup of water I place in your hands, then just a cup of water is all that I demand."
Sometimes He asks us to give up our lives, our comfort, our finances, our dreams, our time...
And sometimes He just asks for a cup of water.
Great or small, He sees it as precious.
If I had failed my course just so that I could be there to give Julie a cup of water, I think it would have been worth it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well, how life changes!
Since my last post in March I started a relationship with a wonderful man, spent wonderful, whirlwind months packed with mountain wanderings, Denver days, day trips to the Springs, kite flying, airport days, MN visits, road trips home, afternoons at Loodles, lots of skittles, morning coffee dates, evening walks, tree house talks, weekly Dazbog dates, long talks, texts, lots of laughter and a few tears; I became engaged on my birthday, complete with a blue Mini Cooper, skittles, beautiful mountains and a bridge; I planned a wedding, took a road trip with girl friends, enjoyed a crazy month of lasts, family support and wild emotions; I got married, had a lovely honeymoon in Steamboat, settled in to a little basement apartment in Greeley, started working at Loodles and was laid off 4 months later, taught a semester and a half of a Names of God class at CHESS, sadly neglected my friends, spent some wonderful time under Eric's preaching at Ellerslie, loved my husband more each day, prayed a lot and enjoyed every day.
I have been married over six months now and am amazed at how different my life looks now, how much change I have dealt with. Change is beautiful, hard, but beautiful.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why Me?

    "For the kingdom of heaven will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away." Matthew 25:14-15
A few months ago I was telling a friend about my relationship frustrations with a family member. I wanted the relationship to be more than it was but I was mostly frustrated because I didn't think I had a right to want that. Honestly, I think I have a perfect family. The more I see of other families the more this belief is confirmed. I have some friends who have some pretty awesome families, but mine is still better. We communicate, we laugh together, we don't fight, we are comfortable around each other, and being an adult living at home is actually a pretty great thing in my house. I adore my family. Yet we're not entirely perfect, and on this particular evening I was expressing to my friend the things I'd like to see change, but how ridiculous I felt for it. God said something pretty incredible through her that night. "Christy, remember the parable Jesus told about the man who gave his servants different numbers of talents? You have been given so much, but that does not give you a right to bury what you have in the earth because you have more than other people. Your responsibility to God is to multiply what you have been given. Make the most of it. Make it all it can be." It is the way of the Kingdom.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having so much. Sometimes I feel like I have everything the people I love want. I hate it. It's not fair. I have asked God so many times to give them the next happy thing, instead of me - I have plenty. Yet He continues to heap blessings on me, and so many people I know continue to be disappointed. The other night when I was crying over one such situation I was reminded of the parable of the talents and God told me that I had no right whatsoever to waste what I was given because I wanted someone else to have it. Later God brought to mind the end of Hebrews 11.

    And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

The application God implied was different from how I have ever looked at those verses before. In a sense, if I live my life to the fullest, relishing the blessings of God and walking in triumphant victory, then I am validating the faith of the people who believe in God's abundant blessings but are not currently seeing them in their own lives. My life can give them reason to keep hoping. It's humbling to think that I have that kind of role.

    "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." Luke 12:48

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I am, and I am becoming

I am one with God.

Yes, it's true, but sometimes I find this hard to believe.

Jesus came to earth and took the penalty for the sins of man kind, not so that we could live forever in mansions connected by streets of gold, but so that we could have a relationship with God. Not just any relationship, but a covenant relationship. When God made a covenant with Abram He change Abrams name, adding part of His own. When God became Immanuel and lived among men, He took on our identity. He was called the Son of Man. He took our sin as His own, and gave us His righteousness and position before God as our own. The book of John is full of such references. Jesus states "I and my Father are one." And then says "that they may be one, even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may be in Us… I in them, and You in me, that they may be perfected in unity."

Scripture says that I stand in the righteousness of Christ, that in Him I have been made complete, that I am joint heir with Christ in the inheritance of the kingdom, that I am indwelled with the very Spirit of God, that I am currently sitting in heavenly places with Christ.

I believe all these things to be true. You see, God is not bound by time. He created it, and exists outside of it. All of eternity is "now" to Him, in a sense. He sees me, in what is "now" for me, as I simply "am" in His eyes – eternally perfect.

God's opinion is the only one that really matters, right? Well He says I'm perfect. He says I'm complete. He says I'm one with Him. He says I cannot ever lose His love.

This presents a dilemma. You see, I do not always live as if I am perfect. I do not live as if I am one with a holy God.

As I see it, I could respond to this dilemma in three different ways. I could say that it doesn't matter how I live because I am positionaly sanctified before God already, I could throw up my hands in resignation and say that no one is perfect so all I can do is my best, or I could believe that what I am in God's eyes is what I some day will be, and is something I can become this side of death. I choose the third response. I believe it is possible to attain at least some level of perfection even while I am tied to a carnal body. Why? Because perfection is not defined as a certain way of living, a certain set of beliefs or actions, a list of dos and don'ts. Becoming perfect is becoming the same as God, which is accomplished by knowing and abiding in Christ. It is walking in the Spirit. It is conforming to His image. This is something I can do right now. And the more I know Him, the more I will be like Him, and as a result, less sinful and like the world and it's ruler. To put it bluntly, I believe that as I know God better I will stop sinning.

I am one with God, yet I am also becoming one with Him.

There are times when I feel like I just might be getting there. There are times when I feel the unity of my self and my God to such a degree that mt every action and every word seems sacred. I can feel the very Spirit of God flowing out of me. I think His thoughts, I respond to His promptings. I love days like that.

Then there are other days. Days when I seem to come out of a stupor and am shocked by the selfish, sinful choices I have made… only to turn around and make them again. On these days I beg God for His strength to get out of the muck I feel stuck in, yet He is strangely silent. Mutely declaring that I already have the answer I am looking for.

I think I'm starting to understand. Sometimes, when I feel that I am quite in tune with the voice of God and am getting quite close to that state of perfection I am desiring, a little voice whispers in my ear, "Don't you know that you are one with God? Don't you know that your thoughts are His thoughts and your desires His desires? That means you can do whatever you want and it will be right." And sometimes I believe that little voice. Sometimes I start making little, selfish choices, and the next thing I know I'm having "one of those days" when I cannot seem to shake myself from the clutches of my own selfishness.

Here is why it is so easy for me to believe that little voice. Scripture says that if we walk in the Spirit we are not under the law. It says that Christ abolished the law and has given us freedom. Conservative churches have shied away from passages like these because of the very results I have found in my own life, but truth misapplied is no less truth. Truth must be approached through the eyes of it's Author. Galatians 5 says, "For you were called to freedom, brethren. Only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another… But this I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh."

So this lesson, like most of the others God has taught me in the last 3 years, comes back to abiding. If I am walking continuously in the Spirit, filled with the truth of God, in constant communion with Christ, and consistently wary of the voice of the enemy of my soul - or that of my own flesh - speaking things that sound like truth, if I live in God I will not sin, because I will become like Him.

So I am learning that I exist in two states at the same time. I am, and I am also becoming. And someday, when my eternal spirit is set free from my time bound body the two states of being will finally unite and I will simply be, before my God and also in Him.