Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Living life as a "Receiver"

I went to a wonderful service at church last night where a very wise woman spoke about the importance of receiving what God has to give us. I have been practicing this in private. For days I’ve been playing my favorite worship songs and seeking God. I’ve felt him appear and speak to me. Now, please don’t think I’m crazy. I’m a very sane and intelligent woman. But a recent encounter with God in my bedroom overwhelmed me. I literally felt like the spirit of God walked through me and filled all of my insides with his power. I felt encircled by his greatness.

Last night I had a similar experience. I took in every word this woman spoke. She talked about how hard it is for us to receive blessings at times and encouraged us to receive all that God had to give us. She explained that she felt God was telling her that it was a time to receive more of him. Then, she began to call people out of the audience to pray over them. She pointed at me and said, “You, come over here.” I walked up to her and she said to me, “Put your arms up I’m laying hands on you… you’re already in the river.” I fell back onto the floor and surrendered to the presence of God. I lay there for a while soaking in the presence of God receiving all the words that I felt He was speaking to me. I’ll share more of that in another post.

About an hour later, I was at home contemplating on the events of the night while preparing a snack in the kitchen. That’s when I remembered the book that I’m reading. One of my all time favorite books is called, The Giver, which was written by popular children’s author, Lois Lowry. I read it in the 5th grade and fell in love with it. A week or so ago I felt the urge to re-read this book again.

The book is about a boy who lives in a Utopian community where everything is the same, every family unit has a son and daughter, and there is no pain or color. “The Committee” that predetermines the fate and destiny of its occupants controls everything. What always impressed me about the story was the main character Jonas. He’s a 12-year-old boy that receives a special assignment from the community in the “Ceremony of Twelves.” He is given the task of being “The Receiver.”

"The Receiver" is to meet with “The Giver” to receive whatever is to be imparted to him. Little does Jonas know that “The Giver” will show him the reality of what life used to be before the committee controlled everything. Jonas’ eyes and mind are opened up to love, desire, and the taste of an apple, the feelings of sexuality, and pain. He is to receive this knowledge from “The Giver” but cannot share it with anyone else because it could hurt the community.

The reason I always loved this book was because as a kid I often felt like I was introduced to a lot of information that was at times too great for me to comprehend. And like Jonas I had to hold it all inside. For whatever reason I felt the urge to re-read this book a week ago. But God is a God of details and I know that he often uses coincidences to prove his point. As I contemplated on the book last night I smiled, as I understood that I too am in a season of receiving. And like last night and a few nights ago in my bedroom, my arms are continually open to receive what THE GIVER would want to impart on me. Even when it’s painful…

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Exiting Egypt

I once read a story about a man in Germany who had been in prison for fifty years. After his term was completed he was set to be released. Instead of leaving prison he decided to stay in his cell. The guards tried to convince the man to leave his cell and enjoy his freedom, but the prisoner refused.

How many times do we continue to stay in our own prisons even after being set free? For some of us prison could mean an old mindset, an unhealthy relationship, or a bad habit.

I'm currently living in one of the most gorgeous cities in America, Colorado Springs. The scenery is beautiful with unrealistic mountains that often make me feel like I'm living in a painting. I am often in awe and wonder and I can't believe that I am fortunate enough to call such a beautiful place my home.

But even though the mountains are breathtaking and I see beautiful deer in my backyard on a weekly basis, it took me some time to really enjoy and take in the beauty of my surroundings. When I first arrived in Colorado Springs I was apprehensive. I had been so discouraged in the last few years of my life that I couldn't possibly fathom the idea that I would live in a place of such beauty. And even though my surroundings were beautiful my approach was a cautious one. I was so afraid of being disappointed again that I wasn't enjoying the place that I was in.

The Bible tells the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years. Although they had been freed from their bondage, their mentality was still in captivity. They literally had to change their thought processes in order to exit Egypt and enter into the Promised Land.

I have recently made the decision (and yes it is often a decision) to start believing that life can be fruitful again. Although my life was filled with much disappointment in the last few years, it doesn't mean that my future will also be. Yes, I did lose a house that I loved two years ago, and had to say goodbye to dear friends, but it doesn't mean that history will repeat itself. I have to learn from the mistakes of the past and accept the losses. I have to daily make a choice to keep my eyes set on the future and what's before me.

I have to believe that the future will be as bright as Pikes Peaks and that my dreams will surpass my highest expectations. I must keep my vision focused and high enough to reach the mountains before me. Life will be great.