Wednesday, January 26, 2011

we only know when it's gone

"Why don't we dance anymore
I'm not okay with that
Why don't we laugh anymore
I'm not okay with that
The years go by like stones under rushing water
We only know, we only know when it's gone...when it's gone
-Need To Breathe

Those lyrics are have been replaying in my mind for weeks now. Over and over again. I am humming the tune, reciting the lyrics, and really coping with the meaning. Why don't we dance anymore... why don't we laugh anymore? Why  can't I hear from God? Why do I feel so distant? Have I allowed an idol to take His place, have I fallen out of love with the God who created me? No and no. Simply put, I have slowly begun to turn my relationship with God a religion and I can feel Him enticing me to come back to the romance. In May 2008 I wrote these words:

“Once you know who you are in Christ, you will change the world. 
Forget the sins, forget the Christian culture and just sit at the feet of Jesus.” 

Since my salivation five years ago I have had an intimate-personal relationship with God. However, once I began to make a career out of my faith, my heart began to change. I started to “do” for God instead of “just be”. I began to talk about Him, instead of talking to Him. It's hard to believe that it was a class assignment that really started to put this ache of God into perspective. In my Christian Theology and Social Work Integration course we are asked to do a spiritual 'discipline' each week that will create space for God to show up. I chose take a moment and return to sitting at His feet this week. I am ashamed to say I still only did so for about ten minutes, but in those ten minutes I danced with the Lord. I celebrated who He is. Not what He can do or what He can give, but how He is faithful, loving, and merciful. 

The hardest part to understand is that this month the church I am planning making my home, The Father's House (tfh), similar to many other churches at this time challenged us to start the year off right and create room in our lives for Him to speak. I made a plan to fast, I made a plan to pray, I made a plan to read my Bible.... and I failed at them all. I don't feel bad about failing in the sense that I cannot be forgiven and try again, especially since God still spoke. But- seriously? Everyone around me is encouraging me to do exactly what it is that will bring me closer to God and I choose to ignore it? Thankfully, even without creating the space for Him, He screamed to me through the noise, "KERRI, I MISS YOU" "Sweetie, why don't we dance anymore?" "Beloved, why are you searching, I am here, I love you" 

Trying to live with this void in my heart allowed me to really think about how we recklessly abandon ourselves when we fall in love in worldly romantic relationships. We just jump in, let go, ignore our better judgments and opinions of those around us... we do what we want and do what feels right. We don't think about consequences and we convince ourselves that there won't be any regrets. And that's a huge part. Our human nature is to live without regrets and act like our choices don't affect us negatively. Quoted best possibly by Katy Perry in her music, "Let's go all the way tonight... no regrets, just love" We feel carefree and adventurous when we offer our heart to a lover. Our heart, the very thing that makes us-us. Our soul, our dreams, our desires... we share them and give them away to those we feel in the moment deserve them and will take care of them. Believing and hoping that we will not regret that choice later on. Somehow though...when it comes to God we are unable to do the same. Recklessly abandon our souls. Allow Him to surprise us with love. To offer Him full reign in our lives.

I guess long story short, everything is suppose to be about my heart for God. Deuteronomy 6:5 calls me to  "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength"  And lately I have been trying so hard to do the spiritual disciplines that will create space for God, but I keep coming up short and doing less then planned. I hear Him again say, "don't try-just love". Hosea 6:6 states, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings" How simple is that? God is asking me to fall in love again. He is asking me to dance slowly... then, and only then will I operate out of an overflow of Him. I will do the disciplines because I want to and when I don't do them- that's okay also!

Matthew 6:33 gives clear instructions, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Fall in love with God, put Him first, and everything else will fall into place. That is not to say I should live sloppy again and allow little compromises to build the barrier I now must repent for. It is always wise to consider, 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." and ask yourself, where am I falling into sin? What possible temptations am I allowing to entice me?

I know what mine are. Me saying all of this is not to suggest I don't fight my own battles, because I certainly do. As always I just want to create an honest picture of where I am in life and with God. I promised at the creation of this blog I would be authentic and admit my failures. And this week I am remembering one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. Words that have stuck with me and really impacted the way I operate in life. While fighting my way through the hardest and best four months of my life in Nashville, TN my Dad text me one night after we had gotten off the phone and said, "Ya know- it's okay to not be okay"... I sat in that statement (and the release it gave me from my stubbornness) for a good couple of days. 

So here I am again. Lonely, searching, and desperate for God... and I hear Him say, "My lovely, It's okay to not be okay... just come be with me. Let's dance again. Sit at my feet and learn my ways. Recklessly abandon your heart to me. I miss you and I will never stop chasing after you. I have created an ache inside of you that will always crave me when your love for me is not priority. I will make sure you always know before it's gone-- and even better, you will always know how to get it back. Just love-no regrets" 

Friday, January 14, 2011

I know better

I believe that sometimes we really can't help where our hearts wander to. I do know for sure though that we can choose not to entertain the thoughts and pursue the situations. I need to not only know but act on the fact that my heart is not a playground. There is a sense of immaturity that arises from bitterness towards those in your past, you can not function well with bitterness. There is a fine line of recreating a future with someone and continually remembering shared past memories.

What if we were held accountable for what we did to our soul like we are for our physical body? What if we were allowed heart break days from work and there were prescriptions to cure soul wounds? Is there anyone who has a degree to tends our hearts like doctors can stitch cuts? And I can attest that scars on the heart need much more attention then a band-aid and occasional ointment. But we don't take the time. We allow our hearts to grow weary, our lives to be in disarray, and our soul is left restless and incapable of trust

I wish there was a heart doctor that held us as accountable as say a Gynecologist does. Warnings of STD's are used to scare woman away from sleeping with too many people. However, no one warns us to stop giving away our hearts and abandoning their worthiness to whoever looks our way. The heart doctor would quote things like, "You knew by sending that text back to him you would be tempted... but you still did it anyway". They would tell us how often we should get checked based on our heart's promiscuity. The doctor would tell us to take "heart rests", similar to bed rests, where we would not be able to even flirt with anyone to make sure we healed up before moving on. 

Almost any girl can relate to the feelings that arise in the Gynecologists office, you are left alone to really stop and mourn over all the "mistakes" you have made in the past. What if had to do the same for all the moments we men consume our thoughts, or desire take over? And the doctors are so blunt with their questions... they uncover the most concealed and private parts of our body and lives, just as the heart doctor would discover the deepest parts of our souls and the longing desires that hide there.

I am one of the few people I know that enjoys having accountability partners and a church that continually reminds me to check my heart first. But still, I give in sometimes. It always feels nice to be complimented and getting coffee with a guy who insists on paying makes me smile. But, I know better than this... having wisdom is knowing what is wrong and actually not doing it. It seems petty to most, but taking care of my heart is something I refuse to take lightly andI know better than this...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Claiming Zechariah

I wonder if the process of one's life coming together is just as scary as having one's life fall apart. Change, whether for the better or worse, still evokes fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing and most importantly fear that one will lose sight of what life is really about. 

I had a dream last summer that I was giving birth, actually I had a few dreams. All of which I was very pregnant and very ready to get this baby out of me. The one particular dream and if I remember correctly the last one of it's kind the father of the child was there and when it came time to name the baby, I blanked. I thought of how foolish I must be to be pregnant for nine whole months and still not have a name... the father then declared "Zechariah! Because the Lord is bringing a new season!"

"'Zechariah' means God remembers. What does He remember? His covenant. 'Iddo' means at the appointed time, and 'Berechiah' means God will bless. God remembers and at the appointed time He will bless them."  (, 2010)

Whoa, what? What a wonderful dream! Also this summer I received a prophesy that I would be coming into a position of leadership and it would be coming soon. I was told to prepare my heart, which is a very common phrase for Christians-- but what does it really even mean? How is it possible to prepare my heart to receive the blessing of God? The obvious is to find myself in prayer, worship, and having child like faith but I know there has to be more. Especially involving righteousness-- it seems we have wandered from that. As a culture we went from law to lawlessness and there is no doubt that God is calling us back to his grace but also his discipline.

With that, I don't know if my heart is ready for blessings but I know I am ready to start a new season. I wish I could say my new start came with 2011 and tell you I had some magical moment and some huge resolution that is going to change my whole life for the Lord. But I didn't and perhaps that really is for the best. God is the one making the plans, He is the one brewing up change, He is the one calling me back to the book of Zechariah.

Got quotes the practical application of Zechariah as, "God expects sincere worship and moral living of us today. Zechariah's example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society. We must extend God's invitation of salvation to people of all national origins, languages, races and cultures. That salvation is only available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died in our place to atone for sin. But if we reject that sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice through which we can be reconciled to God. There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved. There is no time to lose; today is the day of salvation" 

Today is the day. This is the season. There will be salvation in this Urban Ministry. And I will be in Leadership. I am lost but loved, confused but cared for, scared but sacred, I am ready to accept the new season... "Here am I Lord, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). I am claiming Zechariah:

"Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 
'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you' "