Shooting Star

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Mom brought by a few books yesterday for Annabelle. And my mind must have been a million light years away as Mom sat at my kitchen table, Annabelle upon her lap. Because I didn’t hear any of the story. Not one word penetrated my ear.

No, I was somewhere in outer space. Day dreaming as I chased the thoughts and dreams around the corners of my heart while simultaneously swiping away crumbs from the corners of my kitchen counter.

Uninterested in a child’s story, I simply didn’t listen. I was lost in thought. And space. Thus, completely losing my way…

Traveling in the wrong direction.

Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! Isaiah 14:12

Interestingly, we talked about the listening ear just a few days ago at church. Or the non-listening one. And a question was posed… When was the last time you heard from God? And not in a vague “I picked up the Bible, read a verse, and went on my merry way” kind of way.

Rather, when was the last time you heard something from God that was earth shattering. Life altering. And direction changing.

Our Bible teacher quoted Jesus who said, “He who has an ear, let him hear,” and the verse stuck out. Because though I have an ear, it doesn’t always hear. Or simply, I choose not to listen. Like when Mom read to Annabelle.

No, all too often I sweep away unwanted words along with the crumbs from my countertop. And alarmingly, I dismiss what God has to say in favor of my own ramblings. I chase the words that flutter about in my head, which leaves me scattered as I follow unmet dreams…

seeking out star dust.

But you know, I heard Him this morning. My Father’s voice fell on a listening ear for His words resonated deep within my soul. And of all things, He used a child’s book to speak to me.

It was the very story Mom read to Annabelle. The one I chose not to hear yesterday spoke volumes today as the words fell from my lips. My voice tickling my little girl’s ear as she perched atop my lap.

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I thought it was odd that Psalm 51:17 was at the very front of a child’s board book. “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” Because it seemed beyond a child’s rationale.

Afterward, though, the verse made complete sense. At least it did to the forty-two year old little girl that I am. Because my Father’s voice went deep today, penetrating my heart as I sat perched atop His lap.

“The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands says: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not and you have found them to be liars. You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent. Anyone who has an ear should listen…” Revelation 2:1-5, 7

It all has to do with the stars in my eyes. See, star gazing has turned into star seeking. Or me seeking. And a child’s story painted the picture…

See, Baby was in a boat that sailed through the night. And amidst the blanket of darkness, bright spots of light dotted the sky. The stars floated by as baby fished for her dream. And her bait?

It was a silver star.

And this is how she caught her dream. A star. And baby is encouraged to go her way and chase her dream. However, she’s prompted to remember. A voice calls out, “Only don’t forget to sail, Back again to me.”

And that’s when I heard my Father. And when Psalm 51:17 made sense. Because it’s a story of turning back. A story of repentance. It’s my story for today.

And as Annabelle sat on my lap, it was as if I were on His own. And words meant for my baby girl resounded in my ear instead. Because my Father cautioned me to remember. To turn back.

He called out, “Return to me.”

Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

My Father says to repent. And it’s a hard word to choke down. One I’m tempted to sweep under the rug or into the dustbin along with the lint from my floor. Because repenting is not easily accomplished.

Know why? Because it’s a change of mind. It’s turning from your old pattern of thinking to a new way. To the mind of Christ. And this is incredibly hard to do. Because Christ and the world are at odds with each other. God’s kingdom doesn’t mesh with earth’s. But the thing is they both have a way that lead upward.

The world says work harder. Put yourself first. And eventually, it’ll all pay off. However, once you work your way to the top, only status will support you. Or money. Or power. Or beauty. Or talent. Or whatever it is that got you there in the first place. And before you know it, you fall right off your pedestal.

But God says there’s another way. He says the way up is down. To clothe yourself in humility, and He’ll lift you up. And when He’s your support, you won’t easily fall.

shooting star: a visual meteor appearing as a temporary streak of light in the night sky

I have to be honest. A part of me still hungers what the world has to offer. I gaze upon those silvery lights that sparkle amidst a backdrop of darkness and I chase them. Dream seeking morphed to self-seeking as I long to be like one of those shining stars.

And oh, I’ve hungered for the world’s approval. More so in the past four months than in my entire life. But you know, I realize that’s made me nothing more than a shooting star. Just a temporary flash of light before I burned out. And fell to the ground with a thud.

An so God’s words ring clear today. I hear His warning…

“Lose your pride, daughter! It’ll be the death of you. You cannot keep looking to the world for validation. And affirmation. And value. Likes and follows will not support your frail sense of security. They will not hold you up as high as you long to be. And eventually, they’ll run out.”

I find that to be so true.  That which I’ve hungered for has dried up. And so it’s with a smile that I think of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Their story depicts my own…

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. Exodus 16:2

See, God was devoted to the Israelites. He chose them and loved them. Not because they were more numerous, though. Rather, it was because they were the fewest. He brought them out of the land of Egypt with a strong arm and led them through the wilderness.

That’s where they were thirsty. Hungry. And that’s where they complained.

After their trek, Moses reminded the people how God led them forty years so that He might humble them and to test them to know what was in their heart.

God humbled His people by letting them go hungry…

And I see that like me, God’s chosen people hungered. And I, like them, complained.

Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation among whom you shine like stars in the world. Philippians 2:14

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God spoke to me this morning. Here in this chair. I climbed up on His lap and He caused me to remember. Through a child’s book, of all things.

He reminded me of how He brought me through the wilderness and caused me to enter a good land full of milk and honey. But I forgot Him when I’d eaten my fill… when the world sated my voracious appetite.

When I began to seek me and my own name rather than Him and His name, likes and follows bolstered my pride. They preceded my fall. And when the world’s affirmations dwindled, I grumbled. I compared. I doubted. And my light burned out…

But God is so good. My Father tenderly reminded me of how He chose me and devoted Himself to me. Not because I was more than, though. Rather, because I was less than. He loved me. And loves me still.

So, I fondly reminisce on how good it was in the beginning. Before my dream led me from Him. When my heart and motives were pure. When I sought nothing more than God. My first love.

It becomes clear. How far I’ve fallen. And I comprehend that just as there are two ways leading up, there are also two ways leading down. One way is like that of a shooting star. Nothing more than a streak of light.

But the other is when you lower yourself. When you choose to step down off your pedestal on your own. It’s called humility. And ultimately, it’s the only real way up.

And so, I find that God has indeed spoken. She who has an ear, let her hear. For the earth has shaken and my life has altered. Today I change my direction. And I do what my Father tells me to do.

I repent.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Micah 7:8

An Average Woman

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So, yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And honestly, other than noticing how busy it was in town and that my son was out of school, I didn’t give it much thought. In truth, it’s just another day on the calendar for me. A holiday that’s observed, and by observed I mean Federal agencies and various offices are closed. In the fullness of yesterday, that’s the only thought that came to my mind regarding the holiday… busyness and closings.

See, I’m a busy woman. And yesterday, my son was home. So I hit the ground running. I had places to go, people to see, groceries to get, work emails to answer, dinner to cook, and aerobics to attend. And after all that, I had a baby to tend to. She was a bit fussy yesterday evening and her sleep was not sound. So, I slept on the sofa with her by my side in her bouncy chair. I wanted to be close…

That brings me to this morning. And that’s when revelation struck… Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. But what does that mean? Or more specifically, what should it mean to someone like me… your average woman. Overloaded and overwhelmed by duty and tasks. See, at the basest, I know what the day represents. I’ve heard all about this significant man. And he had a dream. And he had a purpose. And he gave his life, literally, for that dream.

But you know, there’s a song that sheds light on something more about Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s called Up to the Mountain (MLK song). And from a video, I learned that Dr. King’s last speech was the inspiration for the song. And I believe anyone who hears the lyrics will be moved. Moved to go up to the mountain… just like he did.

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This morning, God reminded me of another man who went up to the mountain. Just like Dr. King. His name was Moses. And in Exodus 34, Moses’ instructions were clear. They were simple. Be prepared, come up, and stand before Me on the mountaintop. But God also said, “No one may go up with you.” And that stirs me this cold day. See, there are just some places you have to go alone. For some journeys are meant for only two… God and the individual. At least that’s what I gleaned from my reading this morning.

Moses, indeed, trekked up that mountain. Alone. And you know what happened? The LORD came down. God stood there with him. And God proclaimed His name to Moses. Moses received revelation, for He glimpsed God’s glory. And there he stayed for forty days and forty nights. In the presence of God… basking in His glory. Just God and him.

And so, I ponder Martin Luther King, Jr. And the MLK song. See, he went up to the mountain because God asked him to. I’m sure he prepared. And he stood before God. And most assuredly, I think he went alone. At least that first time. See, some journeys are meant for only two… And you know what I think happened? God came down. Dr. King received revelation. And a dream. And most assuredly, He glimpsed God’s glory. Just God and him.

But what does that mean to me? An average woman. Because going up to the mountain seems so lofty. See, I’m no Moses and I’m certainly no Martin Luther King. But does that mean God’s invitation went forth to only men like them? Or is it for me, too? A tired, harried, disheveled 41 year old woman. What in the world would that look like… going up to the mountain?

You know what? I can tell you. Because this morning, it happened. Amidst the chaos of my home, I heard God’s call. He told me to come up, and I did. But that meant I had to leave some things behind…

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Look at my house. Anyone who knows me knows how unhinged I can be when clutter abounds. But you know, I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t ascend the mountain dragging my stuff with me. So I left my duties and chores behind. The dust on my surfaces and the laundry in the basket and the emails in my inbox? They remained at the base of the mountain. And so, I prepared for my ascent in that I didn’t prepare my face. Or my hair…

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And I went up and stood before the LORD in my Spirit. All by myself. Face and soul bared. And the most remarkable thing happened…for He came down. He met with me. And I received revelation. A received a fresh glimpse of God’s glory. And there I basked in His presence. Just me… a tired, middle-aged, average woman. And God. A journey for two. And this… this is what going up the mountain looks like in my home.

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You know, this stained glass piece has been hanging in my window. But today, it means so much more to me than a simple decoration. It seems significant. For it’s a reminder of God’s invitation. But see, I can’t have it all. I can’t do it all. And so, every day hereafter, I’ll have a choice. I can stay at the foot of the mountain dusting and decluttering and accomplishing my lengthy to do list. Or, I can leave all that behind seeking something greater. Something more. Seeking God. The choice is mine. And today, I’m so glad I made the right choice. Because had I not, I would have missed God.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

So yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And it’s true he was a great man. He stood for what he believed in. He fought and gave his life for what mattered. See, he had a dream. And you know what… so do I. This average woman has a dream, too. It’s from God. It’s His purpose for me. It’s what I’m to stand and fight for. But you know… I could have so easily missed it. If I was too busy to hear His call, I would have missed His revelation. It’s so easy to do. We’re so incredibly busy… the average woman has such a full plate.

But hush now… quiet your busy mind. Can you hear Him? He speaks softly and His invitation is for you, “Come up to the mountain,” He says. Because there He’ll meet with you. But you must go alone. See, some journeys are meant for only two. God and you. Because He has a dream. And a purpose. Just for you. An average woman.

 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12

 http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=up+the+mountain+patty+griffin&qpvt=up+the+mountain+Patty+griffith#view=detail&mid=587AB0D52418B325C526587AB0D52418B325C526