Friday, August 31, 2012

Giving What They Don't Deserve

The other day, God prompted me to give my bracelet away to a child who complimented me on it. I didn't do it. I justified my decision by telling myself how spoiled that child is and how they probably have triple the amount of bracelets I have and how I just bought this bracelet and how it means more to me than it would to them because they have so many already.

Even as I justified my decision I could hear God telling me, "It has nothing to do with the other person, or what they deserve -- and you know it; it has everything to do with you being a slave to that bracelet."

Sometimes, probably most of the time, when God prompts us to give, it has nothing to do with the other person, (God will provide for that person with or without our giving) but it is an opportunity for us strengthen our spirit by denying our flesh. 


You see, I don't think God is necessarily "mad" at me for not giving away the bracelet. I am the one who missed out, not God. I missed an opportunity to be free; free from selfishness and greed. But I let it slip away -- and now the bracelet remains on my arm, serving more as a handcuff than a stylish accessory. 
   


I should have given that bracelet away the moment the child complimented me on it, regardless of how much the child "deserved" it, or how spoiled they are, or how many bracelets they already own. 
 


God doesn't give according to us according to what we deserve, and we shouldn't give that way either.

Is the Lord prompting *you* to give something away?

I will give this bracelet away the next chance I get, and in doing so, I will become a little more free. :-) Thank you, Lord, for another chance.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Breathing the Name of God


I’m so prideful.

I’m so angry.

I’m so desperate.

I mock my husband.

I yell at my children.

I can’t even take five minutes out of my self-centered day to call my grandfather who lives alone – and lonely.

I spend my money unwisely and speak even less wisely.

Even as I write these words, I should be cleaning, or playing with my son. On the other hand, I probably should have written more lately, but I’ve been too lazy and managed my time too poorly to fit it in. 

But, I love the Lord. I love Him deeply, and sincerely, and totally.

I love Him, and I yearn for Him to be proud of me, but how---

How could He ever be?

I’m gross. I’m pathetic. I can’t even stand myself, so how could a most perfect and Holy God possibly stand even the mere sight of me?

I can’t fathom it.

It’s unfathomable.

I drop to my knees.

“Tell me who I am to you, Lord. Tell me…again.”

I know all the right words, the scriptures, and the songs, but what do I know of Holy?

“That’s just it, Morgan. You don’t comprehend Holy. You think you are making me big and you small by belittling yourself, but you are doing the exact opposite. You are underestimating ME, you are calling ME a liar, and you believe that your weaknesses are more than I can overcome." the Lord speaks to my spirit, "And, you know, it really is true, my grace is enough. More than enough.”

This revelation only makes me feel worse. Apparently, I can’t even demean myself properly –geez. My own thoughts irritate and embarrass me, and the thought that my thoughts embarrass me, embarrasses me even more. It’s maddening. 

All the while, Satan loves this; I’m sure of it.

I wish I could just shut up. I just need to try harder. I…I…I…

Ugh, that word! That letter!

I.

I hate it. I’m sick of it.

I don’t remember who said this to me, but when I was maybe five-years-old, someone told me that Satan was thrown out of heaven for saying the word, “I” too much. For years, as a little kid, I tried to avoid speaking the word whenever possible because I literally thought we weren’t supposed to say the word, “I.” Ha!

Of course, I understand now that this isn’t literally the case, but is there something to it? When we look to ourselves, to I, our world becomes so small, and thus, our shortcomings appear larger, more daunting, more hopeless.

I inhale as the weight of guilt pushes down on my chest; I exhale as my burdens press all the air back out. 

As I struggle to breathe beneath the heaviness, I’m reminded of something I recently heard singer Jason Gray say in an interview. He explained that the letters YHWH, which is usually written in English as Yahweh, sound just like breathing when properly pronounced in the original Hebrew. 

Yah (inhale) Weh (exhale). Remarkable thought, huh?

Especially given that for centuries people believed that God’s name dare not be spoken allowed because it is so Holy and we are so unworthy. Yet, all along, every human, with every breath ever taken, was speaking the name of God – over and over and over. God, in his mightiness, made our every breath dependent on His name; yet, at the same time, lowered himself to such intimacy with us, as to place His name in our every breath. Wow.

Tears fall from my eyes, making me breathe harder, faster, and deeper.

Yah-weh, yah-weh, yah-weh. Inhale-Exhale. Inhale-Exhale.

Even in my crying, I can’t help but breathe the name of God. In fact, I only live by saying the name of God, over and over and over. The second I stop breathing, I die. The second His name leaves our lips, we die.

Even the atheist is living breath to breath; Yahweh to Yahweh.

I feel like the rug was just pulled out from underneath me, but this time I don’t try to catch myself from falling. I free-fall into grace. What choice do I have? What choice do any of us have?

From a baby’s first cry to an old man’s last breathe we are living Yahweh to Yahweh, grace to grace, mercy to mercy.

David Crowder Band puts my current feelings so beautifully into song when they sing these lyrics:

“He is jealous for me. Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy. When all of the sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.”

What a beautiful lyric. Our afflictions are eclipsed by glory.

Once again, worship becomes the salve for my wounds. The song goes on to say, “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves me.” How true.

He loved us so much that he even does our praying for us. 

Inhale…exhale.  

Every breathe, whether intentional or not, we call out His name and He is intercessing on our behalf.

In The Message, Romans 8:28 is translated like this, “He is praying in us and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs.”

As I set my mind on Him, and I breathe his name in and out, my shortcomings and failures that, merely an hour ago, appeared so vast and so representative of who I really am, have now faded away -- eclipsed by His glory.

And for this moment, I know who I am, and it is not anything I said in the first nine sentences of this article. Rather, I am His beloved -- and it’s all grace.

Inhale, exhale, Yahweh, Yahweh…

Jason Gray wrote a short song about how we breathe the name of God and I think it is just incredible. You can listen to it here: