10.19.2013

welcome to the Sahara (& for the first time i am seeing it is love)

here's the deal.
spiritually, i ain't so hot. just sizzling. in a will-there-ever-be-water-again way. i'm in a desert something fierce, since Oct 2011. that's when i think it began. i noticed a distance, a parching. something was less-feeling in my walk with God. i thought maybe it was the boyfriend, but that ended and the heat didn't. i thought it was all in my head; "maybe i'm just hyped on experiences" or "i'm not listening enough". i thought it was depression, but God brought me through that with no renewal of the vibrant, living-waterness. there's been terrain change... pits, different sand, sometimes rocks underfoot. a few mirages, but no rain. no oasis. i tried to dissect where i went wrong. what sin is trapping me here. what mistake did i make...i tried getting out. i started faking. i've started to doubt if i ever even loved God. if God really ever conquered my heart. but in the past few months diff words have been sneaking in an idea:  _it's not about what i did/didn't_
this sermon by {Matt Chandler-- Approaching the Divine} brought clar-i-ty. excerpts:

"What do you do in that moment where you wake up and everything your profess to believe seems so far from you? Because if you spend a lot of time in church, like here’s just one of the craziest things. [...] 
What do you do when you have the right answers, but it does nothing for your heart? Where do we go? Because if we sat down and talked to someone, they’re just going to tell us the answers that we already know, aren't they? That was my experience. I would unpack it and just wait to hear what I knew was coming next. And then, sometimes I would tell them the book they got that from... How do we approach God in those moments?
[...]
[on praying honestly like David] I mean, we don’t ever want to get to the real issue, we don’t ever want to pray the real prayer. You know what? Because I think the real prayer reveals the sinfulness of our hearts. And that’s not a topic we like to deal with. That’s not a topic we want to embrace, look at or even consider. The thing that happens when you set yourself under the truth of God’s word is it begins to flow through the heart and you finally get to real prayers. And real prayers are like this real fertile soil that spiritual growth occurs in.
[...]
Look at the last part. “...but God is the one you must fear.” Solomon ends this whole thing by saying this, “If you do these things, maybe you’ll walk out of the desert, but in the end, maybe you won’t. In the end, God is the one you must fear.” Now look at me because I want to say something that’s wildly unpopular, but in the end it’s beautiful. Sometimes, God ordains the desert. Sometimes, it’s not because of sin and it’s not because of disobedience, but because God put you out there. In New Mexico, for some reason, I began reading through the book of Hosea, a real family friendly book in the middle of the Old Testament. Hosea was a normal man who God came to, and He said "... I want you to marry a woman of ill repute. And here’s the thing, Hosea. She’s going to be horrible to you. She’s going to cheat on you over and over and over again. She’s going to betray you. And each time she does, I’m going to increase your love for her so that you can’t wash your hands of it and walk away. And you’re going grieve and you’re going to hurt and you’re going to sob and you’re going to wail, but I’m not going to let you walk away from her.” [...] But here’s the thing He says to Hosea in chapter 2 [...] He says, “Here’s what I’m going to do with Gomer, your cheating wife. I’m going to take her out to the desert, I’m going to allure her, and out in the desert, she’ll finally get tired of herself. And when she finally gets tired of herself...” You want to know the character of God? Listen to what’s next. “...there I will speak tenderly to her.” So, He doesn't take her out into the desert and go, “Shame on you, woman of ill repute.” He doesn't take her out into the desert to berate her for her sins or to pile on for her poor decisions, He says, “I’m going to take her out into the desert, and when she’s gasping for water, when she’s exhausted of herself, there I will speak tenderly to her and I will increase her vineyards.” In the Old Testament, wine and joy are this parallel, they’re equal. Like, if you see wine mentioned, they’re talking about the increase in joy. ... And He says, “I've got to take her out into the desert. I've got to take her out there, because the only way to kill certain things is to deprive it of water. And so, I’m going to walk her out into the desert, and I’m going to starve this thing out. And when she’s and almost dying, I’m going to speak tenderly to her, and I’m going to increase her joy.” And then, look at me, because the next line to me was so heartbreaking and encouraging. He says, “And out there, out where it’s dry, she’ll finally learn to quit calling me master and start calling me husband.

And so, for some of you, please hear me ... Tonight, your in a dry time not because God’s angry with you, but because He desperately loves you. That’s why. Right now, for some of you, the reason you can’t find Him is because He desperately wants you to really find Him. ...

So, maybe you've been allured out there. Maybe it’s not sin, maybe it’s not disobedience, maybe God just said, “Okay, I've got to kill some stuff in you. Let’s go.
“Well, what stuff do You want to kill?”
“Well, I could explain it to you now, but you wouldn't actually believe that it’s actually in your heart, because it’s really, really deep down. I mean, I've got to take the plow to you. Let’s get out of here. Let’s go to the desert.”
“Well, I don’t like the desert.”
“Well, I know you don’t, but let’s get out there. Because out there, I can really do a work in you, a work that will make you quit coming to church and quit doing Christiany stuff. Because you think in the end, I can kill you or that I wish you harm. It’s out here, it’s out in the struggle, it’s out in the fight that you’re finally going to learn that I love you.”
Sometimes the desert, it’s here for awhile, man. Because I think that’s the question when God goes, “Come on, let’s go to the desert.” “Well, how much water do I need to pack?” Maybe six weeks, maybe six months. Listen to me, maybe six years. This ain’t no Rubix Cube, man. This isn't math. Sometimes with God, 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4. He says, “Come on, let’s go. Out to the desert, come on. It’s dry, it hurts, but pay attention to your feet. Draw near and listen. I have not abandoned you. Pray for real to Me [...] I know you’re hiding in the closet. Let’s not play this game. Be honest. It’s where we have to begin. And when I whisper to you, follow Me because I’m trying to get you out of here. I don’t enjoy the desert either.”

Okay, for some of us tonight, this doesn't do anything because you’re sitting next to the spiritual pool with a piña colada in your hand [...] But for some of us, this is where we find ourselves tonight. It’s frustrating and agonizing and we begin to start wondering if we were ever really saved of if God’s real or if maybe it would be better to just walk away. I pray you find your hearts encouraged tonight. I pray that you would look at your feet. I pray that you wouldn't pretend. I pray that you’d be honest before God and man. I pray that you would put yourselves under the weight and the truths of Scripture. I pray that, in the end, you would listen to the still small voice, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit resonating inside your to come, walk this way, this way to water."

it makes sense, why i keep thinking the theme of this season is g r a c e

& how this ties in with abi's letter.
it takes a devastating, a breaking, a long walk in the desert to rid this woman of her fierce independence. her strength in self-sufficiency. her wanting to be enough for everybody.
all the while just to get at a deeper root:
i still view Him as Master only.

& how this quote revealed myself:  "God is a father, and you're His blessing. Some of you say: 'I don't act like His blessing, I don't feel like His blessing;' you ARE His blessing. If you accept the fact that you are, you will start to live like a blessing. it doesn't start with your performance but with His affection."

i am still afraid of Him. afraid He doesn't approve of me. afraid i disappoint Him. afraid to get close, because what if I find out He just tolerates me? how can i ever have worth if God does not see value in me? what if it is based on me?

here. in this sahara. i think maybe one of those deep deep things
is for me to finally stop calling God "Master" and learn to call Him "Husband"
aka
r e c i e v e
a c c e p t
g  r  a  c  e

[this might be a 6 year journey]

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