I make no promises in what I am about to share. God has His own plan for you. This blog post, as are the ones which will follow are simply how God spoke to me. See, the fact about this season of my life is simple: I need to hear from God in whatever way He sees fit. This is assuming a few things: I believe He will speak to me, therefore I go seeking Him. And second, He will speak to MY heart in the way that He knows I will hear him...and He is faithful and He never fails.
At the beginning of the summer, and subsequently at the end of my employment, my friend Robin told me about a book she read called “Love Has A Face” by Michelle Perry. What stuck with me is that she said when she saw Michelle, love just radiated from her. Um, wow. The book Michelle wrote, and subsequently Robin gave to me, recounts Michelle’s life and how God answered the question & prayer which should be on each of our hearts: Jesus, teach me how to love.
It’s such a simple statement which brings about thoughts, concepts, and even the best laid plans and reduces them to a few simple steps for us to follow: expect and go.
As I began reading this book, I asked God to show up. I asked God to show me. I asked God to teach me. He did show up, He is showing me and He is teaching me how...and soooo much more.
These notes are how God touched MY heart...and when something like that happens you can’t help but want to share those things. To shout from the rooftops. To shout “I believe in a living and loving God and this is what He has done for me!!!”.
Why put those thoughts out there for others to see? Think about it - it might alienate me from some people that I call “friends”. It might open me up for ridicule in my beliefs, or anger from someone who may not understand. Do you see what’s happening here? I do. It’s my lofty thinking and pride making it’s way out from my heart.
Here’s what I know to be fact: God gave me the ability to write from my heart. I also feel that my experiences are so incredibly common, that I might strike a chord. Do I know what His plan is for what I am about to share...nope...and that’s ok by me. I expected to hear from Him and now I go and do. See how that works? :)
I asked God to reveal how He speaks to people so that I will have the assurance that if He did “that” for a fellow believer and human being, He will most certainly do the same for me in a way that only I will understand. In a way that His power and abilities will become part of who I am, not just something I think I believe. We’re each made different , so how He chooses to speak to me may, and probably will be, different in the way He speaks to you.
For the sake of simplicity and flow, keep this in mind as you read this - when I say YOU I am saying ME. When I say US I mean ME, and I mean YOU. If it’s a plural of a possessive word, I mean to make it personal. I’m writing out my notes in a blog to serve as notes to myself so that when I doubt, I can be reminded of how I know...that I know...that I know...that He spoke to me. Ok? Ok.
What Michelle Perry’s Life Story Is Teaching Me About Love, Part 1
- God leads you to places for the experience of being where He has been in His ministry. He calls us to be among all sorts of people. People that may look and act and be different from us. But on the inside, they are the same. Genesis 1:27 - So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.
- The situations and places you find yourself in the course of His plan may be t-e-m-p-o-r-a-r-y. During that time open ask to “see” a truth about Himself or His purpose. In turn, as that truth makes its way into your heart, you will not be afraid to step out and move or act or participate. Keep your eyes open to what is happening around you and ask God to reveal Himself to you. 1 Kings 8:23 He prayed, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven or earth. You keep your promises and show unfailing love to all who obey you and are eager to do your will.”
- God will break up your comfort zone. He will blow out the boundaries of our expectations, ideas and plans. He will sweetly break us down and tear us apart...then lovingly and with great patience and mercy, put us back together. And in this exchanged life, in those moments when we face the seemingly unfathomable & unmentionable we can/will exude love. Love will come forth not in part, but in whole. It will come forth in abundance and to the point of overflowing. It’s GOD who will make this possible, not us working in our strength. When love comes from God it comes from a power and a place of abundance. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 - And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you. Colossians 2:7 - Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. Philippians 1:9 - I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.
- Forgoing our “self” and our selfish nature and turning “it” around so that it becomes about someone else, allows others to see and experience His love, not our fallible intentions of love. Ok, um ouch to the ego.
- God will show you how to love others by His example and by His guidance. Let go of your plans, ideas, thoughts and “proven methods” about HOW to love and let Him show you in the moment you are in.
All of that just 70 pages in and only writing out SOME of the notes I've taken!!!! With as many answers as I was given, came just as many questions. I think Michelle even said that some place in the first few pages of her book...I’m stealing from the best I tell ya!
- What examples and words did Jesus give us when He lived out his life, that we can imitate...that we should be imitating in our daily walk?
- What scripture supports that I should not live according to my feelings?
- What does love look like to me? How do I show love to others, how do I perceive to be loved? Love, to me, looks like the fulfillment of that which I lack in my life according to his will. If I lack friendship/companionship, then when I have friendship/companionship that says “God loves you”. But is that true?
- In direct response to #3 - how do I stop making this life all about me? Marsha, Marsha, Marsha...
- What does “on Earth as it is in Heaven” mean and what does it look like and how do I, just one person, show that and make that happen? I mean really??? God tells me in that prayer that this should be a quest for me! That’s a pretty tall order God...I’m just sayin’.
- With the word “love” being spoken so many times, I suddenly wanted to know how to say the word love in different languages. See, it’s not just learning how to show it, it’s learning how to speak it to others!
For a person who loves “task completion”, the whole "following God and doing His will" can sometimes be frustrating and mind numbing and makes me want to give into my “Achilles heel” - laziness. I think “won’t it just be easier to NOT seek the answers?”. Yes...yes it would be easier. But the TRUTH? The truth is no. The FEELING is yes, the TRUTH is no. I simply can not say this enough: we cannot live by how we feel. That is so deeply embedded in me and as I said in #2, I need to find the scripture that supports that!!!!
To spite the questions I have, I want to leave this message with a “vision” of hope. There were several examples in the book that I could share, but here’s the one that was burned into my heart. Michelle tells of “Jerry-Can Litanies” - a time of day when they worship God in song and dance. She says...
“It’s truly a family affair, with everyone joining in, from the youngest to the oldest. While rhythms of worship fill the night, some of our children are singing, most are dancing, but all are part of this jerry-can litany of praise to our King”
Here’s the visual for my soul to feed on:
“I cannot imagine anything more pleasing to God’s heart. I bet He silences the angels to hear true worship rise from this war-torn patch of earth”.
Just the thought of God silencing His angles who sing to him all day - holy, holy, holy - to hear us? To hear ME during an honest moment of worship? Little ole' ME?? Be still MY beating heart!!
My prayer for each of you reading this is that your worship, my worship - looks and smells and tastes like this to God. That worship starts there but goes beyond the singing and dancing in church and begins to manifest itself in each and every action and word that comes from our bodies.
Love In The Big Guy,
You can follow Michelle in her blog: Love Has A Face
Her book, Love Has A Face, is available on Amazon