In all my years of sitting in a fundamental church I can say without hesitation that the majority of the times I caught a glimpse of the Spirit of God was not during the preaching. Sitting there, facing forward, seeing the preacher running all over the platform trying to keep the attention of the people and my mind was wandering back through the lightened path of my memory of that third stanza of the choir special. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…the fragrance of rain..” and I ponder that for a moment…
He smacks the puplit and shouts, “Look up here! All of you,..look up here when I’m talking to you!” As he goes on to belittle those not keeping their eyes precisely on him. Next, a few jabs about being backslidden and in rebellion.
But I was mid thought on hearing God speaking to me in an area to grow my faith.
A few more minutes into the preaching and a cell phone chimes.
“Please turn off all cell phones. You’re interrupting the preaching!”
(Oh, but his screaming was interrupting God speaking to me as an individual.)
Sometimes the inward growing was from the Spirit bringing to my remembrance … that moment when I snapped at my toddler as we were rushing off to Sunday School and all she wanted to do was show me the butterfly that had landed on her nose. But in my hurried and frantic pace, I shew the insect away and command her to get to the car. God was telling me to take it slower, to enjoy the moment of being a mommy as my children get caught up in the beauty of this creative world He gave us. He reminds me that it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about creation and the beauty of each unique butterfly. I could have told her how she is divinely unique as well.
But the preacher thought keeping my eyes on him was more important.
I watch a movie with my husband that makes me think about sacrifice and compassion. A man who gives away his eyes so a blind man can see. Seven pounds of sacrificial love, but the woman teaching bible study says all PG-13 movies are from “the devil” and would seduce me to forsake God.
I observe a pagan ceremony that gives honor to my ancestors, but other Christian bloggers rebuke me as going down a slippery slope…but it’s ok *if* I have pushed the pagans to recite “the sinner’s prayer”. But the ceremony reminded me of the love of my Savior and solidifies my faith in Christ…and Jesus never said anything about “a sinner’s prayer”.
Boxes seek to define us, but we’re already defined as beautiful..created-in-His-image-kind of beauty.
I see and hear my soul-love in everything…because when you’re looking and listening… he moves and speaks.
But he doesn’t look down his nose at me from the platform, he sees me as equal. He walks side by side with me and holds my soul-hand. He doesn’t scream at me to keep my eyes on him, he speaks in a still small voice. He whispers.. “I love you”.
In all the noise, I tune my auditory attention inward..the noise seems to fade..it becomes distant..like the sound of children playing on the grass when I’m under water. Do you ever hold yourself under water long enough to really listen to under water sounds?
Sometimes the outer noise is religious, but the inward working in the heart is not heard audibly by those around me. Maybe this is what it was like for Paul on the road to Damascus.
Could that rushing river beating against the rocks be the voice of God? Is that the Spirit I see dancing on the pollen on that flower? What am I seeing and hearing?
I’m listening and I’m hearing..deep in my heart.
I hear my inner most desires coming to surface and I gulp hard to catch my breath.
Yes, Lord.. that’s what I really want.
But I’m afraid to speak about it out loud.
I have been told on numerous occasions that asking for what we want is wrong and that God is not a geenie in a bottle to be commanded.
I wrestle, I gulp harder.
Listening to the wind pushing through the pine needles above me…I sigh.
He brings the desires to the surface again and I find myself daydreaming about my hopes and my dreams…wishing they would come true..believing it’s the right thing for us…I choke up again.
I breathe deep and sigh..slowly allowing my exhale to escape my lungs.
Yes, this is what I really want.. I dare to speak the words out loud.
Why does prayer feel so wrong sometimes and yet so right?
Why do I feel guilt at communing with him about my desires? Does he not give us the desires of our hearts?
If it’s wrong to expect he’d give me what I wish for, I can at least tell him anyway. I don’t think he’d fault me for asking. I just don’t want to be rude, I don’t want to ask too much, dare I ask for simple things? I’m not asking for a yacht or a Porsche, just a relocation to live in a neighborhood where we are loved instead of hated and gossiped about.
I shout out into the wind that day, “Please help us move!”
Inside my heart is longing to be with those who are beckoning us to come. Is it simple enough? Nothing extravagant.
My heart pounds in my chest..tears streaming again.
I sigh deeply..inhaling the pine scented breeze deep into my lungs.
I close my eyes and the tears mingle with my lashes.
I can no longer follow recited prayers. The bullet point day planner type prayer lists… I throw them away.
He has shown me how to communicate with him.
Spontaneous, life giving breath.
Sharing pain and my tears being caught in his bottle.
Maybe he’ll use those tears to water me when the land seems dry.
No one can tell me what to ask for, how to pray, they don’t know the mind of God.
And God gives me freedom to commune with him and allows me to be honest with myself and with him..about what I’d like to have.
Even if he doesn’t bring me to the place in which I pray for…I know I can still tell him what I desire. I know he listens.
This post has been contributed to the Organic Faith Tour.
You can read about it here.