Recently Sabrina Moore*, my beloved coworker and our ministry director here at Living Proof, let me read something God stirred up in her heart and prompted her to write down. (*Of no relation except in Jesus and we’re really, really related there.) I was so blessed I had to text her and say, “Girl, that thing is a BLOG POST.” She prayed about it and gave me a thumbs-up to post it here. I have told you a number of times how much you would love the women who serve at Living Proof so it pleases me to no end when I get to scoot out of the way and let them minister straight to you and you, in turn, minister straight to them. They are staunch women of the Scriptures and they love Jesus outrageously. I am incredibly graced to serve side-by-side with them. For those of you who have done the Esther series, this is the friend I call GP and she me. It stands for God’s Property, based on a Kirk Franklin song we’ve sung together about a jillion times. (GP, are you with me? Oh, yeah, we having church, we ain’t going nowhere.) My GP is serious about Jesus. She and I have gone face-down on the floors of this ministry countless times in prayer, asking Jesus to do within and through our walls things only He can do. Things that draw bold attention to Him, demonstrate His Holy Spirit and testify of His love, grace and truth. I pray He’ll use Sabrina today to provoke something wonderful in you. All of us here at LPM love and highly esteem you.
You sister and servant,
OK, GP! I’ll leave the rest to you! Thank you for serving our community today!
Title: We live by what we believe – not what we see
We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
For so much of my life I’ve made decisions based on the available options. Learning the options, weighing the options, talking about the options, all of which derived a final decision based on the available options: Option A or Option B, and on some occasions there would be an Option C, D… We can live one moment to the next with endless options and, truth be told, we are conditioned to it. We like it. In fact, we like our options so much that we are sometimes disappointed when there are too few of them. Simple case in point, the “frig option”. We need something to eat. We are starving, well kind of, but for what? Then we take that notorious, well-paved trek. We start making our way to the refrigerator, open the door and stand, staring. Hmmm. Then, like a judge with gavel in hand, we let loose of the door with a final analysis there is nothing – not one thing – in there to eat. When, really, the whispering truth is, there is something, but we do not want that something. We don’t like the options, therefore, we conclude there is nothing.
The same could be true for the insanity that takes place during every typical “what to wear” drama. Oh, my soul! How many times has this one caused us to miss half the worship portion of the service on a Sunday morning? Just last week I walked into church a little late, so thankful my oldest had me a seat saved next to her. I scooted in, leaned over and said, “Good morning darling, is this the last song?” Have mercy and forgive me, God. The irony is that the time I risk missing really is my favorite part of Sunday morning church! Fortunately, I came in during the first song. Anyone know what I’m talking about? Be honest, how many times have you stood, staring at the clothes in your closet, “hmmm…”, and said, even out loud, “I have absolutely nothing to wear”? AKA: I don’t like any of these options.
Options can be okay. I am not aiming for a boring stringent-living mandate. More times than not, my family is a swirl of option-pitching: restaurant options, movie options, time frame options and countless others, all with a sincere kindness and effort to do whatever fits for everyone. Much of life is lived by options especially in American where we have an endless surplus. The culture once dictated that a person purchased items based on the options his or her budget would allow. Then the credit era seduced Americans into the scheme of “have it now” and nonstop options popped wide open. But the endless options came with lies like,
You can have anything you want. Have your choice. Have it all.
Not all choices are visible. There are times to ditch all our seen-options and cut new ground based on what is unseen. True, that new road building is not nearly as easy. It can be – and usually is – the very intense “give it all you’ve got and then some” kind of work. The kind that may even come with heart-hurts that send shocks of pain to every nerve-ending in your body. The truth is, it can be really lonely to go a new, uncharted way, but, if it’s of God, the reality of it is bigger and better than every concrete, sure-fired option we could ever choose.
I was right there, living my life by what was available, all that was logistical, logical, my attainable reality.
My options. My choices.
Until, on one normal morning, on a normal day, doing my normal routine and activities I felt the press of God and it came with a sense of doing something that had no logistical steps. It didn’t seem at all logical. The press of God was so undeniably real and powerful that I remember it today like it happened this morning.
My thoughts were a mix of perplexed and pondering. Perplexed in a way that almost seemed to communicate to my human rationale, “That isn’t true” not as an argument so much as a means to clarify, understand and assimilate. At the same time, the spiritual and practical side of my understanding began pondering how I could obey. There was no attainable reality to form an action plan. It was so vast it could be compared to snowing skiing in Galveston, Texas. So not a reality!
I had recently fallen seriously in love with Jesus, having spent so much of my life knowing Him as my Savior, believing He died for me and believing He loved me. And, yet I had just awakened to His living and active Word (Hebrews 4:12), with freshly opened eyes to who He really was, how He loves me and how His captivating presence compares to nothing else in this journey of life. I wanted to say “yes” to Him, even if I didn’t agree, understand or know what, when, or how.
So I did. I said yes – “Lord, if You want it, You do it”.
Sometimes God’s plans are so far beyond our everyday thinking we don’t even entertain His truth as our reality. Without exception, His plans are always our reality. He is so much bigger than the “Genie” we ask for, so much more compassionate than just waving a magic wand and dropping the great and wonderful plan into our lap. He gives us the free will and the choice to participate. Priscilla Shirer puts the reality in this perfect wording: “God doesn’t drop __________ in your hands, God puts it in your reach”.
When our second daughter was born, my husband and I intentionally decided to change our lifestyle and live on less income (like to the penny) so I could stay home with both girls. It was a challenge, but it was our chosen challenge and so worth it. When our youngest went to preschool at a church near our home, I began to volunteer at LPM. A couple of years later my life went from the “chosen challenge” to an intensely hard season that made it very obvious I needed to get a job. Well, LPM was growing and there were possible opportunities not too far off, but nothing presently available. I freshened up my resume and started the hunt.
Checked back with LPM. Made a few calls toward other jobs. Checked back with LPM. I went on a few interviews at other places of employment. Checked back with LPM. Received an offer from somewhere else. Checked back with LPM. Nothing available yet so I accepted the other offer. With tears I resigned from my volunteer work at LPM.
I just couldn’t understand it. I was sure I was suppose to work at LPM but I was more sure I was suppose to work. And work I did. I went to work for a great company back in the corporate world. I loved it. I love it on the hard days. I loved it on the busy days. I loved the challenges. I loved new learning. I loved getting a few quiet opportunities to point people to Jesus. I loved all of it. At the same time I never stopped loving the ministry of LPM. I stayed in touch with my LPM friends; they were my partners in prayer, in faith and of heart.
Though it was faint, my heart still held hope that I would understand the pull that laid deep inside of me and the desire to return, a desire I prayed hard to keep down. About a year later, the day came. I was offered the “name your price” corporate position. My heart was still so connected to the ministry of LPM, I stalled in giving any answer. And yes, I checked in with LPM but things were still “holding”. So I replied to the corporate offer with an unheard-of price. They accepted it! What?! Why? This definitely qualified as one of those huge life options that leave us with no other options than to a “get on your face” and seek God!
I was grateful for the offer, it looked like a good thing, but I flat had no peace. It made no sense. I wanted to be excited but I couldn’t get there. My heart was “fine” but not at peace and my joy was flat-lined. Even with my next steps going against every logical point on my checklist, I declined the promotion and not because I had a better option. I had nowhere to go. So, Sabrina, decline a better opportunity to stay at the same place in my current position? Yes, that is exactly what I did. So odd, right? The best way I can describe it is like someone giving me an all-paid dream beach vacation but I’d have to leave my family at home. Even if that were my only option, it would not be the one I’d want to choose. It felt to me like an Exodus 33 moment…
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you…”
God tells Moses, I will give you everything you need and flowing blessings but I am not going.
Blah! No thanks.
About a week later, LPM called me and offered me a position. It wasn’t the “price” I had given corporate. Actually it was less than my current price but it was the fullness of my God. The pay wasn’t the prize; LPM wasn’t the prize nor was any other achievement. Jesus is the prize! Nothing is sweeter to me than believing He took me out of LPM, He gave me a job I would love with good pay and then called me to release it and to follow Him. He set me in a place to make the intentional choice and a defining mark in my “yes” to Him. His options include the show stopping. There we encounter relationship with Him, participation with Him. This is the stuff we remember all the days of our lives. He makes the call, He gives the call, He defines each detail specially and individually for each of us. He creates the timing of bringing the call to life and He gives us the option: the option to believe Him beyond all visible options and, yes, even when there are no options. The option to say “Yes, Lord. You want it, You do it”.
I have been at LPM for 15 years and I dare say – it is rare for me to go any length of time without saying afresh and full of heart, “Yes, Lord, You want it. You do it.” I said it 5 days ago. I said it this morning!
The warning in this time is vitally important. We travel a new road and, in blind faith we encounter
the better than life,
the all in all,
that consumes every part of our heart, soul and mind, surrendering with a trumpet sounding “yes.” Track the journey with Him and His mind-blowing ways. We are all in and boom! He rocks our world. And when we catch our breath, we stop for a moment, reliving the wonders. Be very aware, it is not time to set up house and decorate it. It is the starting line, not the finish line. Don’t default to thinking all is good and the mountaintop was the ride of my life and now it’s time to settle and live off the “remember when”.
No ma’am. He isn’t done and neither are you. This may look like an option but it’s not His way. We walk by faith not by sight. Get up! Drag yourself, crawl, increase your B12, whatever it takes. Fight yourself for yourself, fight the good fight, but keep moving,
keep dealing with the hurt, the challenges, the hard days and the harder days,
believing for the better days,
choosing joy, waiting for the season of change and believing God.
Some options are okay, sure. And, then again, there are times where option-living is anything but okay.
Make the choice, cross the finish line. There are no better options.
With love to all of you in the name of Jesus,