This will be short

June 28, 2007

I was IMing with Aly today. She was reminding me of God’s presence in walking me through this time, and how faith requires a certain amount of blindness or it’s not faith.

In the last 5 weeks or so, God has spoken to me over and over. Granted, He only says two things, really. “I am with you.” and “I am walking you through this.”

He even gave me a vision of Jesus walking with me through darkness and there was chaos all around me. His right hand (always the right hand) was holding mine, leading me. His left hand was held up in a protective, shielding posture.

I have revisited this reassurance many times and recalled His words, “I am walking you through this.” But while typing with Aly something occured to me. Walking. He’s walking me through this. He’s not sprinting. He is in no hurry. He’s so sure of where we are going and when we have to get there that His gate is steady and almost stroll-like. He’s probably even taking the time to stop and inhale deeply the smell of rain coming or to look at the storm cloud formations.

And I hate this. I would rather sprint to the safety of the porch, timing my run between lightening strikes. But I guess it’s His lightening. And I guess I can’t very well hold His hand if I insist on running ahead of Him.


Pardon me. Do you have anything besides Mexican food?

June 28, 2007

So, what do you think about the new immigration bill?

Go.


Some if this might be heretical.

June 25, 2007

I was going to sit down and write one of those stream of consciousness posts. But my thoughts are more like a stagnate puddle, a quagmire, if you will. Please forgive the convoluted nature of this post.

In II Corinthians, Paul says that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If a girl had written II Corinthians, it would have admonished us to take every emotion captive to the obedience of Christ. I can hear my dad arguing right now. “Cheryl, your emotions follow your thoughts. Think rightly and you will feel rightly.” Well, when he has a period, he can comment on the wiley emotions we of the fairer sex deal with on a daily basis. They are as much of a part of our every moment as lust is for a man during a Baywatch marathon. And they are louder than truth sometimes. I concede they are not more powerful, but they are louder. The conflict between truth and emotions is like sitting at the dinner table with your aunt and uncle. You ask your uncle a question and before he has a chance to answer, in fact before you finish asking the question, your gregarious aunt launches into her response. There’s no time to change the subject or even take cover. She’s compelling and determined. She screeches in a tinny, high pitched, nasally, completely unignorable voice, eventually exiting the room, still ranting, as she goes into the kitchen to show the chef how she cooks carrots. You’re exhausted and overwhelmed. You look at your uncle, and in a voice that is gentle and stable, he wisely offers a clear and rational resolution. As a girl, we often have to ride out the emotional tidal wave before we can find the anchor of truth. That’s the tough part. Girls have NO choice in whether they will be buffeted by their emotions. We do have a choice to get carried away in their current or to wait until we can find the lighthouse of truth that leads us into a safe harbour and not into the churning surf. (I don’t like that sentence. It is way too…emotionally driven.)

My mind tells me that I cannot mess up God’s plan. Forget my mind. His word says that nothing, not even your selfishness, Cheryl, can thwart God’s plans. My emotions, trained well at Camp Legalism, tell me that if I don’t make the right choices, I miss out on God’s blessing. This bites the proverbial thumb at grace. He blesses me because of HIS character, not mine. It is HIS Spirit that brings forth my sanctification in HIS time and in HIS way. I know that He delights in me and wants good things for me. I know that there is nothing good outside of Him. In fact, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that everything besides knowing Him is rubbish. But I also know that my heart is far more concerned with my own happiness than with suffering with Him. I stagger under the weight of desires beyond Him. I know that He is the only satisfaction, but I feel scared that He will ask me to do something I just can’t do, or that will ask me to sacrifice the things He has already given me.

I, Cheryl R. Wood, have a heart that desires things other than my Jesus who just wants me. I stand here an adulterous beggar who can’t seem to find her royal robes that were purchased with the Life and Blood of my great Pursuer.

Ah, the great disconnect between heart and mind. To know that He has good things, but to feel that if your heart wants it, it must not be right. But if I delight in Him, He gives me desires that He can’t wait to fulfill. But in my moments of greatest delight, I have given Him my heart in the most surrendered way I knew how, and my heart wandered right where it was not meant to go. How do you know when He has given you a desire and you should walk in it or when your longings are your hearts whorish passion for it’s own glory?

In the last two years I have learned to receive His love for me in ways that made me free, joyful and beautiful. And now I feel lost. People keep saying, “Cheryl, I see His blessing for you coming around the next corner. It’s coming!” Sometimes I feel like no matter how fast I run, the “corner” is always 50 yards off. This must be what they are talking about when they talk about life on the treadmill. But what would life look like when I arrive and some nebulous place that is “just around the corner.” Thus my prize should be running after Him. Those who seek Him will find Him. And I want to only want Him. But I want other things too. Somehow, there is a crack between KNOWING that He is the only satisfaction and still looking to other things to fill my leaky bucket. I read that cracks let the light in. I like that.

And that is where I am. The goal is surrender. I have a friend who I pray for…nay, PLEAD for God to bring to a place of surrender. God gave me a vision of said friend, prostrate with open hands presenting his life and dreams fully to God’s tender and wild heart. And so I pray this vision to come to pass soon. I claim it, if you will. But the more I pray for my friend the more God shows me that my petitions for him are what He is asking of me. I have prayed the “Here I am, all of me” prayer. Apparently that’s not a one-time deal. And so I wrestle with Him. I so desperately want to be at that place of release where all of my desires to fill myself with joy are given over to Him. The fears of failure, hurt and never being satisfied are let go. They walk loudly out of the room, and I can hear the subtle anchor of truth whispering to me from across the table. “I love you. I’m with you. I have plans for you that you can’t even imagine. Most of all, I have Me for you. Don’t be afraid. Let me change you. Be still, Cheryl.”

May that day be soon.


Taking up Donations

June 22, 2007

Amy: Cheryl, you need some sun on your legs. I can’t tell where your skin ends and your socks begin!

I can’t wear my bathing suit from last year (YIPPEE) and I can’t afford an new one. And in the last year or so, most of my dwindling wardrobe has been hand-me-downs, so I don’t have very picky taste. But I think it is unreasonable to go to Goodwill for a bathing suit. Sorry, Sam, but somethings should not be second hand. So I am taking up donations for a bathing suit fund. Feel free to send loose change or whatnot:) You have not because you ask not, eh?


From My Utmost

June 21, 2007

By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”

How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.


Charleston Makes Fox News in Two Headlines

June 21, 2007

My little town of Charleston, SC received national attention this week for two big stories. The first being the tragic fire that claimed the lives of nine fireman. To their families and colleagues I offer my heartfelt condolences and prayers. I, along with the rest of the nation, are broken-hearted over this. There are no words to express my sorrow for your loss. I only pray that the Glory of the Risen Lord will be seen through the ashes of these devastated lives.

The second mention came in the form of the embarrassing indictment of our state treasurer who was found distributing large amounts of cocaine. He wasn’t selling it. He was just passing it around. And people say politicians don’t care about anything but making money. It seems to me that if you are going to take the risk of passing out blow, get paid for it!

It’s a world gone mad. Maranatha!


Mom describing someone who qualifies as a EGN* person

June 20, 2007

“She doesn’t converse. She recitates.”

*Extra Grace Needed