Friday, August 04, 2006

But You never said it would be easy- You only said I'd never go alone

[If You Want Me To, Ginny Owens]

Part III has come.

I know what the Lord has spoken over my life. I am set apart for Him, to love Him and chase after Him with every fiber of my being. His plans for me far exceed what my feeble mind can even hope to dream.
I teach high school, and that does, in essence, make me a teacher. But being a teacher is not who I am. It doesn't define me.

Who I am is a daughter of the King, and my purpose is to follow hard after Him no matter what He calls me to. Who I am is wrapped up entirely in the identity of Christ; what I do, or my calling, is teach.

Since last November- so for 9 months- there has been a growing desire to move back home to the P@cific Northwest. More specifically, Se@ttle. I'm a born and raised eastern W@shingtonian girl, but Se@ttle is where my heart longs to be. I refuse to just go somewhere because it sounds nice- I only want to be where the Lord clearly would have me. However, the more I pray the more I believe this desire is from Him. I would like to make the Se@ttle area a place where I can put down roots and build my life.

That said, two years ago I was certain I would never leave Spok@ngeles, and that I would marry someone from my church, teach in the Me@d School District, have 2.5 kids (ok, I actually want 4-5, some adopted), a two car garage, and a comfy suburban house in a nifty ticky-tacky housing development. The Lord had rather different plans- I never actually
asked Him if He was planning to make that my life, and now I'm fairly sure His will doesn't involve me living in Spok@ne ever again. But, time will tell :)

I am committed to one more year here in T*F_A. After that, I am uncertain as to whether I am even supposed to keep teaching. It makes sense, yet God doesn't always operate on what's sensible. In fact, He rarely does. His thoughts are so far beyond my own that were He to reveal certain truths to me I'd likely laugh at Him just as Sarai and Abram did. However, He changed their names and soon what was once ridiculous to even consider was tangible reality as they raised their son Isaac.

I would love to teach, but at the same time I would love to be more committed to working with youth in a church setting, and writing and teaching Bible studies. To be a good teacher requires at least-
at least- 15-20 hours beyond regular school hours, and that's just for planning and other essentials. That doesn't include investing in the lives of students via the miscellaneous extra-curricular activities that I am involved in. If the Lord says teach, then teach I will, because I do love it. I also am open, however, to the possibility of working a different job (such as an office job, where I have almost 6 years of experience at various tasks) where I could make a decent salary to pay off debt but also be done with work when I leave each evening in order to have more time to commit to church and ministry.

Either way, I want only to be in the center of God's will. I want His best for me, for my life. I don't know what the future holds, but I am open to whatever He says for me to do. I would rather be in a place I don't particularly love but where my God wants me than in a place that I love but in rebellion against the Lord. The very thought causes me to literally shudder.

Regardless of my location and career, I know that God has built a unique testimony into my life. I have a background that opens doors to share of God's faithfulness, glory, and grace in the life of one who wasn't looking for Him. He has given me many gifts and talents to use for His glory. Please see my heart- I am not saying I am any more special or unique than any other person- I'm certainly not MORE special or unique. I'm only saying that I am special and unique.

There are lives Jesus Christ can touch through me that He simply wouldn't be able to touch other people; similarly, there are people to whom I am not necessarily the best option for God's use . I embrace, however, whatever it is He does want to do with my unique and precious life. I fully recognize that nothing about
me is what makes me usable; rather, it is unconditional and complete surrender to God in my pursuit of Him that allows Him to use me.

I simply must insert the entirety of today's (August 4) entry in Oswald Chambers'
My Utmost for His Highest; to try and select a portion would do no honor to the impact it had on me:

Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say, "But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value"? That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are of value to Him He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then He can choose you to go with Him "to Jerusalem" ( Luke 18:31 ). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.

We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience— all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ). God's friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all— we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God'’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.

So, to reiterate, I desire to be in the center of where the Love of my life would have me, concerned only with His will. I have much maturing to do until I can honestly say I am in that place; perhaps I'll never entirely feel there, but that is the goal which I seek to attain.

Earlier I mentioned the changing of Abram and Sarai's names- by adding the H, and making them Abraham and Sarah, the Lord added His own spirit. The H represents God Himself in the new promise with Abraham. I believe names can mean so much- and in the Bible, again and again you see that someone's name in many ways represents their character. Seth, the first son born after Cain killed Abel and was banished, means "replaced". Jacob, famous for his deception of Isaac and his routing of his elder brother Esau, means "supplanter". Cephas means "rock", and Peter means "stone"; this blossoms with significance when Peter's role in building the church- as chosen by Christ Himself- is considered. Saul means "asked for" (certainly applicable to King Saul
and the man to be renamed Paul), Paul means "small" or "humble". Each of these names possess such significance in their meaning and how they correspond to the named.

I say all of this because my name is the root of the Hebrew word "tâmîym". Usually written as "perfect" in English, here is the literal meaning: entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: - without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.

I am
by no means saying I am perfect. I am, in my humanity, far from it. However, I believe that my past is filled with brokenness because it is in stark contrast to who I am as God makes me complete in Him. He is building into me the testimony of one who is complete in Jesus Christ.

As I yield more of me to Him, God makes me full and perfect in Him and desires to use me to flood the testimony of His grace and mercy into the world around me. His name spoken over me is to be one who walks in integrity and truth- without blemish, undefiled, and whole in Christ. Perfectly surrendered to Him. Completely yielded.

This, then, is where I am going. I am still human, inhabiting a body of flesh that can oft detract me from the Lord's purposes, but my deepest desire is to be that which the Lord has spoken over me with my very name- one I long despised for being so different from everyone elses; I am set apart to be
tâmîym in Christ.

This blog will detail, as appropriate, my journey as I seek to follow Christ, and you are welcome to join in what the Lord is doing at will. There will still, of course, be references to sports and randomosity, but as my heart changes I pray my blog would reflect that.

My life verses (those I most closely identify with as defining my purpose are:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. [Colossians 3:1-4, NKJV]