I Want to Live Alive

At 11pm, after a full night of working a fundraising banquet, and still suffering from the pain and discomfort of shingles, writing might be the last thing I should be doing.  But on my hour drive home, a song came on that I played over and over.  And I don’t know if it’s the caffeine from the extra cup of coffee I had tonight or if it’s the Holy Spirit…but I can’t sleep and everything that’s going through my head because of said song needs to come out.

First of all, I think it’s important to note – I recognize that I tend to talk a lot about my frustrations with today’s Church.  I would apologize, but I’m not sorry.  I don’t think if Jesus were in the flesh and here today that He would be happy with our Sunday morning version of “church.”  I don’t think we are living out what He wanted His Bride to be.  And I’m not okay with the status quo.  But, in saying that, I also think that it’s important to note that I STILL. GO. TO. CHURCH.  And it isn’t, necessarily, my favorite version of church either (if we’re being honest).  I believe that God plants us in His body where He wants us to be.  And we are placed there to learn, to serve, and to help others along (ALL three!).  I hope that if you are reading some of these posts, that you continue to heed His call.  The Church is sacred (read the Bible).  He is STILL using His Bride to accomplish His purposes.  And He can still use YOU where you are, as long as you are willing to be obedient to His plans and purposes for you.  And I can promise you that His purpose is not for you to be outside the Church.

But that isn’t why I’m writing tonight.  Tonight, I’m writing because…

I want to live alive.  Yep, you read that right.  I want to live alive.

“Don’t want to just survive
Be safe but half alive
This little light of mine
This little spark divine
I’m gonna let it shine

I am letting go of every fear
I am letting go of every lie
I am taking hold of every dream
You placed inside

I wanna live alive, I wanna live alive
I wanna live alive, I wanna live alive
Don’t wanna live a lie, don’t wanna live a lie
I wanna live alive and you make me alive

There’s danger up ahead
But I’m not running scared
You are the light of mine
You are the spark divine
You’re gonna help me shine

There’s a courage that is forged in pain
There’s a purpose in the furnace flame
I will risk my heart a thousand times
To feel again, to feel again, yeah

I wanna live alive, I wanna live alive
I wanna live alive, I wanna live alive
Don’t wanna live a lie, don’t wanna live a lie
I wanna live alive and you make me alive

…And you make me alive”

– Rend Collective, Live Alive

Listen/watch here.

I think a huuuuuuuge problem in the Church today is that most “Christians” aren’t living alive!!  How many church buildings or services have you walked into and the key ingredient that is missing is life?!?  Worship comes and goes and people barely even smile, arms are crossed the whole service, you might hear a cricket or two during the sermon, and half the people are out the door two seconds after service is over (or before!).  It’s depressing!  The Church isn’t just dying because numbers are dwindling and doors are closing.  I think the Church is dying because the people inside are already dead…well, at least spiritually speaking.  But I’m sure, sometimes, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference!

Did the Church forget what Christ has done??  The blood that was shed?  The forgiveness we will never be able to deserve?  Do they not know that they are in HIS presence?? Where is the joy?  Where is the love??  Where is the LIFE??????

Dear Church,

It is time to stop living in fear!  It is time to stop playing it safe and only living half alive!  As a blood-bought, born-again believer….as a Christian (little-Christ) – YOU are empowered with the Holy Spirit.  The very same power that rose Christ from His grave, lives within you!  Why aren’t you acting like it?!?  Why aren’t you living like it?!?

Are you letting His light shine or have you buried it somewhere deep inside??  Are the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, etc.) abundant?  Or has the enemy’s root of bitterness crept into your soul?  WAKE UP!!

He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine…and yet we “live” like He’s still in the grave!  That’s not living.  It’s merely existing.  That’s not what Christ has called us to.  He has called us to abundant life.  He has placed God sized dreams within each one of us.  Are you living His dreams?

What is keeping you from living alive?  Is it pain?  Let it forge your courage to keep building the Kingdom!  Is it trial or tribulation?  Allow Him turn it to good, as He has promised!  Is it bitterness?  Embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome and produce the fruit that only He is capable of.  Is it fear?  Let it go!  HE is the light, He will help you shine!  As I once heard it said, if you believe it, if you really have His joy within in you and are living the full life He has offered….don’t forget to remind your face

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I, for too long, have lived only half alive because of fear and the “need” to please so many other people besides Him.   But I am done.  I am done walking on egg shells.  I am done hiding my emotions and passion.  I am done allowing fear to hold me back from what needs doing, from what needs said.  I want to live alive!!  And He makes me alive.  Which means that every single day, I have to die to self.  I have to die to the selfish desires and wants that are within me, so that I can truly and fully live!  Because what He has to offer is SO MUCH MORE!  And, yes, sometimes I forget to tell my face.  Because life is hard and sometimes, I’m just not feeling it.  But that’s why they’re called the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of Bri – because it is HIS power within me that enables me to be joyful (kind, peaceful, loving, etc.) despite the feelings that exist within me (I’m not saying we have to fake it, even Jesus wept, but we need to live alive!).

So for today, and tomorrow, and the next day, as for me and my house:

“This little light of mine, this little spark divine, I’m gonna let it shine….” 

Church, are you with me???

 

I’m Worn

In the midst of all the big things happening, the enemy is still prowling. In the midst of our excitement there is still struggle.

When I first started this blog, the goal was to be transparent. To share the joys and the big stuff but also the struggles and the hard stuff. Since the loss of our sweet baby and other trials we have faced, I have been struggling. And I usually keep it all bottled up, tucked neatly away.  The grief, the hurt, the heart ache.  I let it show on occasion…but not much.  It usually just comes out in exhaustion.

And I lie to myself about it being there in the first place.

Then it surfaces in negativity and being snippy with those I’m closest too.  I lash out, get overwhelmed easily, and I want to give up (which is the point isn’t it??).

On my drive home from work today, the radio was fading in and out.  I would think it was clear and then moments later and it was all fuzz again.  I grabbed a CD out of the visor and put it into the player without really paying attention.  Tenth Avenue North.  Hmmm…good choice, I thought.  It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to them.

And then this song, Worn, came on.  And I broke.  It was like he was speaking the words that have been hiding in my heart for months.

 

“I know I need to lift my eyes up
But im too weak
Life just won’t let up…”

“Let me know the struggle ends…

Cause I’m worn
My prayers are wearing thin
And I’m worn
Even before the day begins
I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
Heaven come and flood my eyes.”

I realize that in comparison to some, my life is rainbows and butterflies.  But, now, on the days when the enemy does his best to destroy my spirit, I am drowning.  I’m struggling.  And I’m not okay.

But I want to be okay.  I know that He can give me rest.  I know that He is the source of my joy.  I know that He will take all of my pain and use it for good, so much good.

But goodness, some days it is hard.

There is pain on this voyage.

But in the end there is victory.  A song will rise from the ashes.  This, I know.

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He’s Wild, You Know

As a child, my father often read to us at bedtime.  My favorite stories were those of The Chronicles of Narnia.  They were magical – beautifully painted imagery that captured the  vivid imagination of a child so well.  Little did I know then that those stories were teaching me so very much about my faith.

I remember a conversation between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus about Aslan, the lion who clearly represents Christ: “He’s wild, you know, not like a tame lion.”

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He is wild.  The Lord we follow, the one we have given our lives to, He is wild.  He is unforeseeable and incalculable.  He never does things the same way twice.  When following the Lord, you must learn to expect the unexpected.  He is not a tame lion!

I currently work behind the scenes at a pregnancy crisis clinic.  We have been working through the devotional book, Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson.  He refers to following the Holy Spirit as chasing a wild goose.  At this point in our ministry, we are on a wild goose chase, following after the leading of a loving, anything-but-tame, highly unpredictable God.  But more on that story for another day.

The point of this is that God is wild!  No words can describe the voyage He has prepared for us, if only we would follow!  Justin and I are realizing this more and more each and every day.  In our personal lives, in our church, and in our work lives….when we follow the Lord, it will be anything but the expected.

One of our theme songs for this season of our lives is “Wild Heart” by Urban Rescue.  It is a beautiful foray into what following the Lord looks like.  When we choose to follow the Lord with our everything we head “into the great unknown…after Your wild heart.”  And we have committed, “No matter where You go, we’ll follow You!”  It is a grand adventure, a phenomenal voyage, that I cannot wait to see unfold.

But it isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, this I know.  Sometimes the adventure leads us into dark valleys where the only way out is a treacherous climb up hill.  We have been in a couple of those valleys lately, and the words of “Wild Heart” echoed in my mind,

“The cross before me, the world behind me.  No turning back, no turning back.  Though none go with me, I still will follow.  No turning back, no turning back.”

“Into the great unknown, no matter where You go, we’ll follow You….”

Why?  Because as Lucy replied to Mr. Tumnus, “but He is good.”  He is so good.  And because we have chosen to follow Him, one day we will know a world without pain or sorrow.  One day, those dark valleys will be no more.  One day, those treacherous up hill battles will have been worth it all.  One day all we will know is the presence of Jesus.

So off we go, after His wild heart, into the great unknown…

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