At The Cottage Background

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laying It Down.

We had a missionary come to church yesterday....
She made me think. Again.
What is it like to leave everything you know? Everything familiar? Everything comfortable......?
To serve God at a different level?
To serve Him away from family and friends? 
To go somewhere that you have never been.... to a people you have never met?

I imagine that is isn't easy. I imagine that the very day you decide to do it that there is excitement and anticipation at what is to come....
But then there are the realities that are just that.... reality.
Will you be missing out on other things? Will you have to give up on things that you thought you might have? Marriage, family, a practical job?
Leaving those you love. Going where there may be the unexpected. And taking the chance that you won't be loved or accepted at all.
But then again.... what if you are?
What if you are met with open arms? What if they come to love you the way you are loved back home?
What if you meet the most amazing people? What if it ends up that you won't miss any of the other stuff at all? The inconsequential in light of loving and serving the people God has called you to?
Sharing their tears... their struggles... their joy and their sadness... helping to meet their needs, the really deep ones... getting to be a integral part of their lives if only for a moment in a short span of time for you both.

So many what ifs......

As her words washed over me and as her pictures flashed up on the screen I just kept thinking.
And as my pastor got up to thank her and speak a blessing over her and all the work that she had done, I heard in his voice something so special. It made me stop thinking.... and I began feeling.
He called her a hero.
I really tuned in in that moment... all my senses became on full alert.
And as he prayed over her and her continued work still yet to be done, and as I heard the catch in his voice, my tears began to come with his.
I heard it from others around me.
She really is. A hero.
For what she has done... and what she has yet to do.
And in that moment I realized that for so long I have wanted something so much bigger than myself.
So much more than I can even come to expect.
When we step out for God we are stepping out into something big.
Something profound.
Whether it be in our schools, on our college campuses, in our community service projects, in our local churches.....
In our usual meeting circles, or town squares, in the shopping mall down the street, or while we are out getting groceries......
Whether it be over coffee with a friend, or on a date with our husband or wife, or even more importantly in our own homes....
It is all our mission field. 
And it all matters.
It is all big to Him.

Yes. I want more than this. I want all of it. The "big" stuff and the "little". To God it is all the same. 
It is all important.
Yes. I want to go to those far off lands and distant places that I have only seen in my dreams.
Yes. I want to actually feel the dirt beneath my feet and look into the eyes that I have only imagined.
I want more than anything to realize this longing in the deepest part of my heart.....
I would love nothing more to speak and be spoken to.
But I realize that in me is this innate ability to let go... get lax... even on my dreams.

So often these days I have been tired. Weary really.
So much that needs to get done. So many things that need doing.
Do you ever feel that way?
Like you are always playing catch up?
Like there is a never ending list of "to do's"?
So many things vying for your attention and time.....

I think sometimes that I often long to just get out of here because I know that the distractions are too great. The possibilities to forget too pronounced. Too profound.
I know my propensity to get lazy... to get complacent in my weariness... in my being so tired.
I need accountability. 
I need the discipline that need brings.
I know that when I am accountable to "be" the someone for somebody that I tend to step up to the plate... surrender more often to that need... my own... of needing Him more than I need anything else.
Why do I think that I have to go to get this?
Do I believe that I have a calling? Yes.
Do I know that God has called me to more than the so called "ordinary" life? Yes.
But do I also believe that He has to take me "out" to bring me "in"?
I know that I have been "training" for quite some time.
For whatever "this" may be.
My calling.
My thing that I move a little closer toward every minute of the day.
And yeah... I do realize that even this is training.
The getting weary and wondering what to do with it.

As I pulled down the covers last night before I crawled into bed I heard His whisper....
As I drove home from taking my daughter to school I felt it again like a sweet embrace....

"I am right here."
As I took communion yesterday I felt it more pronounced than usual....
His grace to forgive me when I pick up that senseless book that helps me not to think, instead of picking up His Word...
I know that He is just waiting for me to come around.... 
Does this give me leeway to forget.....? No.
Does it give me excuse to just do whatever I feel like in that moment just to get by? Of course not.
I know... as well as any Christian should that we are called to deep and committed relationship with Him. To Him.
Discipline is a part of our make up. As believers and non alike.
We need it. We crave it.
On our own too long and we almost always make a sweet mess of it all. Most likely not so sweet.
But oh..... I am holding out for that hope... for that grace that I felt Him pouring out over me as I repented yesterday. As I once again laid out my life for His correction.
And as our pastor gave us the opportunity to get our hearts "right" before Him, I took it in deep like a long held breath, the feeling that He forgives me more than I deserve.... more than I think I can realize in that moment.

We don't have to walk around confessing to be horrible people to everyone that we come in contact with. I don't believe that is what God is wanting of us at all. We'll miss His love for ourselves and others if that is all that we do.
I do believe though, that we have to always see  our need of Him in every aspect and area of our lives.
Confessing it to Him is the most important moments that we can take.
Like a missionary on the front lines of the missionary field. Waking each day with a renewed sense of purpose and a longing to serve and love Him and those around us even more than we did the day before.
Striving to be our best... drawing from the best that He gives us.
What He has made readily available to us all.
We are all on the mission field in our lives....
Making the small moments less important makes them less important.
But seeing even those small moments as big ones can raise the magnitude of  the life that we may be holding in our laps....
A sweet face asking for a "princess" story can turn into an opportunity to share one of the most extraordinary stories of all times... of a girl turned queen chosen to save a nation.... a lowly peasant girl chosen to birth a King.....
Do you see it?
Do you feel what I am feeling right at this moment?

Father God..... Oh Father.....
Please forgive me for wasting the moments that I could be doing something so much more important...
Loving You and loving others more than I have. More than the day before.
Forgive me for searching for other ways to appease my hurt... to alleviate my weariness....
And Father... thank You.
Thank You for loving me so much that I can't hold it in.
Thank You for sharing Your heart with me, even when I don't realize it, and even when I often turn away from it.
Thank You for Your grace that surpasses my understanding and covers me in the moments that I need it most.

I love You.
More than I love anything else in this world.
Please.... help me to live like I should. Like I believe it. Like I know it to be true.
To put down the things that don't last... that don't hold as much meaning as You do. As You should.
And Father, thank You for the grace that You extend to me every single minute of every single day for the moments that I do forget... and when I do need to lay down for just a minute.
I love You Abba Father.... my daddy... my heart and my soul.
I pray for those who are needing that measure of grace today. That love Father that is the only kind that can cover every hurt and every need.
May we continue to long and seek after You... long for You... and want only what You can give.
Help me in my own weaknesses Father God.... there are so many to count... and yet Your love covers them all.... with You I am not without Hope.
WITH You I am never ever without hope for more.....
I am never without.....
With You I lack for nothing.... nothing really.

.... until another tomorrow.


Psalm 51
"Have mercy on me, O God,
       according to your unfailing love;
       according to your great compassion
       blot out my transgressions.
 2 Wash away all my iniquity
       and cleanse me from my sin.

 3 For I know my transgressions,
       and my sin is always before me.

 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
       and done what is evil in your sight,
       so that you are proved right when you speak
       and justified when you judge.

 5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
       sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ;
       you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
       wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
       let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

 9 Hide your face from my sins
       and blot out all my iniquity.

 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 11 Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me.

 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
       and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
       and sinners will turn back to you.

 14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
       the God who saves me,
       and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

 15 O Lord, open my lips,
       and my mouth will declare your praise.

 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
       you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

 17 The sacrifices of God are  a broken spirit;
       a broken and contrite heart,
       O God, you will not despise.

 18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
       build up the walls of Jerusalem.

 19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
       whole burnt offerings to delight you;
       then bulls will be offered on your altar."


  1. friend..I believe with all my heart that you are exactly where God wants you. You have a beautiful gift, to be able to express and pour out your heart in words that many of us cannot do. God is using you at this moment to encourage, bless and make people in your life really think. I am very grateful for you and the way GOd is using you right now.
    Love you are a true blessing in my life...:)

  2. Melissa. WOW!!! Your words are so full of emotion and full of love for the Lord. I don't consider myself a hero at all but giving it all up for the Lord is the hardest and most difficult thing I have ever done. At the same time, it's the only place in the world I would rather be. Being in His will is the BEST place. Whether it's in Cali or in Uganda. It doesn't matter as long as you are doing what He wants you to do. You have prayed for me and sent me encouraging emails and notes. Those were sent exactly when I needed them the most. You have a special Antennae that I think links to God in order to say and pray the right words. Stay exactly where He wants you to be because I know I need someone like you praying for me and remembering me. Love you Melissa, wish I could hug you and let you know how much you mean to me.