Inspiration in the thick of it. That's what this blog is about and largely what my online life is about. My goal is for women everywhere to experience that heart-beating-chest-thumping feeling of LIFE, the glimpses of heaven on earth that are found when God's glory transcends through the thick of it - our every day normal and hard. I don't want to be a woman who soaks up life for my own selfish pleasure or growth, but more just to squeeze every ounce of His presence out of my minutes and days. To see Him more, to share Him more, to know Him more. And I want that for the rest of us - I want more of Him for more of us.
Do you want to hear a funny/sad story? I remember the first time I ever felt that ALIVE feeling that I now associate with the presence of God. It was shortly after I'd become a believer in Christ as a teenager, but my actual life was still kind of silly and messed up. I was boy-OBSESSED and not in a funny way. My identity was rooted to BOYS, what boys thought I looked like and who they told me I was. I didn't know worth outside of male opinion and I genuinely didn't know fun outside of being in their sights. By that point, I'd shifted my really unhealthy fixation onto Christian boys - but it was still problematic to say the least.
Anyhow, I was at a bonfire with friends from church and my boy of the month (the one I was either crushing on or dating, I can't remember) couldn't be there. Hmmmmm, what a predicament. If I couldn't talk to him, flirt with him, gauge what he was doing or thinking - how would I enjoy myself? I remember taking a moment to actually pray and ask God (maybe for one of the first times), what do you want me to do here? I mean - what should I think about?
And like that - all the senses hit me. The early fall breeze slithered up my arms leaving goosebumps in it's wake and the North Carolina sunset had lit the open field, all the colors glowing from inside out. I had been staring mindlessly into the flames of the fire, but then I saw it - REALLY SAW IT - a million different colors of red and yellow and the embers rising on up listlessly. I looked around and saw my friends - girls who KNEW God, who knew themselves and who He'd made them to be. Girls who didn't have boys on the brain because they were busy living. Girls who I could tell were loving me patiently and graciously as I fumbled through the first days of my faith.
I'm not sure if I said it audibly or inwardly - but the thought was screaming through my head for the first time - I don't need any boys here to make me feel alive. Also, I'm ALIVE. I'm ALIVE for what? What do you want me to do, Lord? How can these hands and this crazy crooked heart praise you?
Almost fifteen years later, I still am the biggest sucker for the smell of a bonfire. And I've learned enough about the Lord to soak those moments up - whether they're 10 seconds long or whether they last for ten days. I've also learned, He's not looking for anything in return, He just wants me to know I'm alive in Him and He's alive eternally and He's worth worshipping. The Holy Spirit, the Helper, does the work in me to make sure I'm responding appropriately. I have the freedom to just stand there watching the fire, but I'd be a fool to miss out on telling others.
July is no man's land for me. I just got done with an intense six months of life and to be quite honest - the next six months make the first six months of this year look like child's play. There's the temptation to start now - start producing and getting ahead, making lists and working it out. But each time I turn around and try to put the fire out - I sense the Lord saying, Stay here a little longer? Do what makes you feel alive? Be with me? Abide? Throw off the relationships and responsibilities that you feel tempted to build your identity with and let me tell you what I think of you.
So I'm asking you - do you know what makes you come alive? Is it bonfires or quiet times with coffee? Painting, reading, sleeping, being with friends? Jumping on the trampoline with your sister or laughing for a few minutes with your kids? Kissing your husband full on - right on the lips or cooking a fantastic meal for your girlfriends? He's there, even if you're not in church or parked in the Bible. Lord knows I'm a big proponent of being in church and being in the Word, but I think there's a lot to say for doing what makes you feel alive and being the body of Christ outside the walls of the sanctuary.
And knowing, the whole time - at the heart of it - it's the Spirt of God you're encountering.
What do you say we get after it?
How about we celebrate being alive?
It's July after all.