I thought she was a righteous woman. Never mind that I ignored the prompting of the spirit and the pleading of my bored child to hightail it outa there. How could anyone say these things let alone someone I felt an understudy to. I knew what was being said wasn’t kind and I had hoped to sway her to love and compassion. I never intended to get caught up in the heinous crime. I wasn’t even aware that I was guilty by association until I was told to , “not talk so loud!” And if it ain’t about you, and it ain’t about me, and nobody’s having a surprise party… It’s gossip. CRUD! The slippery ugly sin of gossip. BUT— I was trying to speak kind words in her defense. BUT— I myself did NOT say ANYTHING ugly. BUT— I still feel like I did, and I still stayed when God said go. I still laughed at the ugly to fit in. If gossip is murder and the Bible says it is; then I was guilty by association. My heart hurts; partly because she pointed out the singularly most painfully discomfited part of me–my voice. The other part–I’m smack dab in the middle of gossip. The ugly murderous kind that’s in the Bible. I held the tears back until I got to the car, and even then made it a good way home before Josh ask me what was wrong and I outed the whole ugly story between sobs. Particularly broken by how this woman I had admired so much had not just disappointed me but had embarrassed me in an area I had been vulnerable in confiding to her about. The next morning I cracked my Bible. My eyes moved across the words but that was the extent of it. Desperate for peace I took my Bible to the bath (When I am sad I clean; the house, my body. It doesn’t matter I clean it.). I knew Ezekiel was a bust that morning. I needed lighter reading. So it was David. You know how David loved Saul even though Saul hurt him and even attempted to kill him over and over and over? Why on earth would he do that? I mean Saul’s a nut, a bad egg, a hot head. David, you know he can’t be trusted?! All I know is David kept saying Saul was chosen and anointed King by God and that was enough for him. So I pick up my book, and wouldn’t you know Max Lucado cleared it up. Max told of how he had left his dog at a kennel and another dog had managed to get in with his dog nearly killing her. Max wrote a letter to the other dog’s owner suggesting the violent dog be put down. Max took the letter to the kennel and the owner of the kennel said, “I ask you to reconsider. What that dog did was unthinkable, but I’m training him and I’m not done with him yet.” Max explained that sometimes people do unthinkable things, but God isn’t done with them yet. Is Gods forgiveness only big enough to cover my part in the crime? Does this mean this woman is not the righteous, anointed, mentor-worthy woman she was a week ago? David was hurt, scared, lonely: BUT— He knew that Saul was still special, chosen, anointed. I was embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed: BUT— I know God’s no more done with her than HE is with me.
On the way home from a ministry conference in Tulsa, I listened to fidgety kids and Josh telling me about one of his sessions. He said that the minister who was teaching told of how he and his expecting wife spent a week working youth camp. In the middle of the night, 3:33 to be exact, his wife woke him up and told him she was losing the baby. On the way to the hospital the car was silent and they believed that they were about to experience the ugliest of here.
Back at camp they gathered to pray. They didn’t say, “we will pray for them in the morning.” or “everyone remember them in prayer.” They got out of bed; blurry-eyed and held hands as they burst into the presence of God on behalf of ther friends. The speakers question to his pupils was, “who here is at 3:33?”
And my question to you is: who do you know at 3:33? You? Your mom? Your grandpa? A friend? A stranger you found on social media?
I’ve had to do a lot of growing over the last few years. During my efforts to “Moses out” He met me at every handicap I informed Him I have, and some I didn’t realize I had. He began etching me into a better person for His calling.
One of those handicaps was/is prayer. I have to set alarms or I’m likely to make it through the day without talking personally, one on one with God.
“I’ll pray for you.” Was a line I was accustomed to saying. As you can imagine; God wasn’t ok with that. I threw Him all my excuses. “You know I can’t just kneel here in the middle of the mall and pray right?” “I can’t bow and drive.” “I’m shy.” “It’s uncomfortable.” “What if I make them uncomfortable?”
I learned that during prayer—actually lets make that life; the posture of your heart is a lot more important than the posture of your body.
I learned God don’t care much about our comfort either… Does He Paul?
Seems like the more my prayer life improves the more people God entrusts for me to pray for.
Today skimming Instagram; my heart ached as I read a short comment left on another bloggers post. A request for prayer. Our sister who we’ve never met was asking for prayer for her 10-year-old daughter who received a brain tumor diagnosis.
Just a few hours before that I was talking to a mentor whose sister has advanced pancreatic cancer.
Maybe life’s looking good for you right now, but you’d have to be blind not to see a 3:33 anywhere.
It’s not a resolution it’s a requisition. This isn’t something we purpose to do then get to let our ambitions fade. There’s ugency here. You may fail but you must get. back. up.
I’m noticing two different kinds of friends in the Bible.
Jesus told the man with palsy, whose friends literally tore the roof off the place to get him to Christ, because their faith was through the roof; that because of his friends’ faith, “take up your mat and walk.”
Oh Job’s friends? Sure, they felt sorry for him. They tore their cloths and sat silently for seven days with him. They were even more than happy to help him get to the bottom of the situation by suggesting all the ways he must have blew it, but in the end; Job was the one praying for them. Seems kinda backward doesn’t it.
My timers set for 3:33. My prayer list can feel overwhelmingly long, and that shows me just how big God really is.
So I Sing
I called her a burn scraper. Yeah. I’ve never been great with conversations. That explains why that was my intro into telling her how through asking hard things of me, she was helping me to heal.
See, when I woke up in recovery I knew in my heart I’d never be the same. (Funny they should name it that, because I wasn’t recovering.) The doctors and nurses played it all off, but I knew. Gasping for air and unable to tell anyone why or what or how I was feeling. Strip a persons voice from them and they’ll be at your mercy. Whatever you or any other well meaning people want to say they need, are, want, feel… That becomes their new identity or prison.
My sister said that after Granny had her stroke, she felt trapped in her own body. That’s accurate.
You know what Satan says about your gifts? “You aren’t very good, and you certainly aren’t as good as_____. Just sing in the car; God hears you there and it’s for Him anyway.” Lose your gift and you know what he says? “Well you blew that. You didn’t use it and now you’ve got nothing to give God. You aren’t useful to Him now.”
So when someone strokes your arm and tells you the doctors say she’s only got 18 months at best, and she just wants to hear you sing. What can you say? I’d like to tell you that I didn’t care; that there were several other people in the room or that I wasn’t weighing my options, but that’d be false. I did know I didn’t have much, but I love her and what I had was enough for her so she could have it.
So I sang.
Then there was the time we were setting in the foyer after service talking. That same bald head wrapped in what the best I could tell was a turban of glory ask me to do it again. Yeah, that isn’t awkward. Just bust into song. Right there. As if I’m worthy of hosting some concert, and these people have nothing better to do than be my groupies.
So I sang.
Then that time after Satan lost and she had a silver crown of curly hair as a trophy to prove it. She came to the seat behind me cupped a shoulder in each hand and ask me to stand and sing. In the second pew from the front, in front of everyone, I found my feet.
And I sang.
She had the guts to obey God and scrape at the raw places. Because if cancer taught her anything it was that to really recover you had to endure. And if cancer made her anything it made her strong enough and brave enough to do the painfully pious.
I stood there with my back to the crowd and laid it all out. The little 10% of the one vocal cord that works; sang. This time I realized I wasn’t singing for Becky or because of cancer or for the ability to avoid regrets over not granting her a dying wish. I didn’t have much but I love Him and what I had was enough for Him so He could have it. And He did want it; like He wants the widow’s mites. It isn’t much but it’s everything I have, and it’s what he wants, and He says it’s enough.
So yeah, funny that my right cord is completely paralyzed and I have 10% on the left because that’s all God ask of us. Our 10%.
So I sing.