Friday, February 14, 2014

Still Ringing In My Ears

So as part of my transition from clappy-sappy youth Christian to responsible, intellectual adult Christian, I learned to be very suspicious about, even cynical of, the "retreat high". I began to respond to group experiences that moved me deep in my core with a stoic nod, "it was good that we were here", and I will "ponder these things in my heart" attitude, that while it might have been mature in appearances, was stifling and disingenuous.

Because I am a girl who girl fired up when I am with others who love Jesus. I am a girl who repeats and regales others with what she has heard. I write it out in pretty fonts and carve into my heart. I speak over others I know need to hear it. I run headlong into the Word of God with new passion for what it has to show me. I found the stage where He has me in my life and I preach it.

It is who I am. It is who He made me to be. And it is good.

So, I am on an IF high. It's a week later and I am fired up and digging in and spreading out. My husband has heard it. My sons have been forced to watch the vimeo clips. I have encouraged every woman I have talked to in the last week to drop $25 bucks on the audio downloads because they NEED to hear them.

And now, it's your turn. It's interesting to me that some of the things that I thought were most powerful as I listened in real time are not the things that the Lord has kept ringing in my ears as I have dug into prayer and the Word this week with IF: Equip.

So here are the top ten things that ARE still ringing in my ears. I am writing them out because, well, frankly, you readers are one more audience I blast my excited trumpet at, but also, because when that fades and I can't hear the clapping and feel the high any more, I want to remember these very real things that the Lord is speaking to me. I want to come back in the quiet moments of life and the hard places and think on these good, lovely, righteous things:

1. Are you walking in the unforced rhythms of grace? You can read the full text of Sarah Bessey's devotional here. Go. Now. It is my constant prayer these days. So much richness there. Seriously, who among us does not need to hear this every.single. day:

So let me ask you, gently: What is the truth of the gospel that your life is declaring? Is it your own belief that you have to earn, work hard, run faster, do more? Or are you walking in the unforced rhythms of grace, abiding in the vine, a friend of God?
So yeah, that.

2. It is possible to build and still stay near the altar of God. -Shelley Giglio
Because I so often convince myself that this is an either/or proposition, that the Mary/Martha admonition means that we cannot do and sit at His feet at the same time, when the true admonition is to remember that we can work and build and stay close to Him all at the same time.

3. We can be delivered and still not be free. -Christine Caine
I don't think there is anyone who watched this woman speak the Word of God who was not blown away. I will come back to her message over and over again. The message was the Holy Spirit moving and at work, no doubt. But what I also took away was Christine herself, how the Word of God, Jesus, just poured so freely out of her heart that there was no distinguishing where Christine's words and thoughts ended and Christ's began. I want that kind of heart.

4. Kristin Armstrong's testimony of authentic forgiveness. Not going to leak spoilers. Just get the download and listen to it.

5. Amena Brown and Ann Voskamp's spoken word poem. You can not paraphrase poetry. So you have to listen to that too. But I will say that I felt like they pulled my thoughts out of head. And it was a relief to know that since they couldn't have, there are other women wrestling out those battles along side me.

6. Are you living the life that longs to live in you? -Rebekah Lyons I am still thinking about the answer to this one. But the question is so worth asking, is it not?

7. Jennie Allen's race analogy. Get the download. Read it in her book Restless. But think on it. Because, well, we all need to get back up off the curb and remember why we were running in the first place.

8. Ann Voskamp's broken measuring sticks and the cry to remember the passionate love of the one who says "Stop performing for love. I am the only one who will love you death." If you have read here long enough, you know how dear Ann and her heart for Jesus are to me. Seeing her speak it, express it with all her being, preach it? Yeah. I got big love and the all the feels going on for her now.

9. Annie Lobert. Because when a woman takes the stage and shares her story of being rescued from sex slavery and prostitution and the founding of an organization called Hookers for Jesus, AND that she's now married to a member of Stryper? You just can't help but love Jesus a little more. That is all.

10. Praising God. You probably have a hint that I am not your average Catholic girl. Jen Fulwiler's post made my giggle, because I have the opposite reaction. I see hands raised in praise and worship and amm all, "Whew. I can let it out now." It's just a natural part of me, a reaction that I have to stifle. It doesn't feel forced, make me feel uncomfortable or feel like something Catholic girls don't do to me. There is no one in my immediate family like this. I am not a convert from another denomination. It's just always been there, inside me. It doesn't scare me. I am a Jesus girl and I express my live for Him in so many ways. Some are distinctly Catholic, others are not the Catholic norm. I love that about me and Him, that He doesn't ask me to fit some definition of normal that doesn't suit me. And I loved standing up in my living room and raising my hands in air while my sisters just sat and sang quietly and not feeling weird about that. It was good, y'all.

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