Sunday, July 26, 2015

Follow Me

I have been trying to explore what discipleship means in this day and age, what it means for me specifically.  I'm the kind of person who starts by creating a foundation of understanding in how something is defined. Discipleship is defined not only as a follower of God, but also a supporter of, a devotee of, a witness to, and a student of God.

The last two definitions in particular resonate with where I am at. How can I keep my testimony relevant if I am not learning more and more about God? If I am not experiencing Him in fresh ways in my life?  There are thousands of characteristics of God, if I am not learning about, experiencing, Him in new ways then it's because I'm not trying.

I have felt the pull to become a student in more than one ways these days, and this curriculum I'm finding is a lot like my Counselling studies, they need to be hands on, experiential. I need to be God's apprentice. Apprentice - to bind to a master artisan for instruction.

To me, discipleship has come to mean connecting with God, to understand Him better, which will lead me to receive His instruction better. But I think that's only a secondary benefit to knowing God, His ultimate heart is to connect with us for relationship sake.  God is always trying to use new things to show us another side of Himself, to become intimate with us on a whole other level.

Take for instance, waltzing.

Almost 3 years ago I was blessed with some newer friendships with women who experienced God tangibly, through very realistic visions.  Back then I mentioned here some life changing moments they facilitated in my life, like this vision and this vision, God had been responding to my choice to seek Him out in new ways, showing me sides of Himself I longed to know better.  Then suddenly, out of the blue, He chose to reveal a part of Himself that I hadn't even asked for.


One day at Church, as I was worshiping, I began seeing my own version of a vision my friend had shared, Jesus sitting on His heavenly throne, being worshiped by a sea of thousands, I being just one of those. I was far, far away from Him but yet still so in awe of His glory I could feel it even there. Then, suddenly I saw Jesus walking through the crowd, right in front of me, making His way through them, towards me. I could touch His robe, I still remember what it felt like. He looked like the earthly version of Himself, not the heavenly one that glowed so brightly moments before. And then He took me in His arms and we started waltzing.

While perplexed, I let the moment happen and just savored it. These types of visions are few and far between for me, I had wished dozens of times the visions I heard from my friends were mine, and this was mine, so I basked in it. It didn't matter why.

But now, two years later, as I contemplated discipleship, this moment spontaneously came to mind and suddenly it did matter why. I am just the kind of person who sometimes gets burdened by the why, and when I do, I need to figure it out. So I examined why God could possibly have wanted to connect with me through dance.

I DO have a desire to dance, I love dancing and find myself constantly moving when the right rhythm comes along. But it isn't a huge part of my life, I can't even full on dance when no one is watching, never mind LIKE no one is watching. Unless I'm not alone. I suddenly have the freedom to dance if I am not the only one I know on the dance floor. Growing up Mennonite, dancing was not encouraged, and I danced maybe a handful of times by my grad. I never dated anyone who liked dancing, only had 2 friends for most of my young adult life who would go out dancing with me. There has been only one time I've even danced with a guy using more movement than just a mere sway.

This one time was with my guy friend, who happened to be gay, so he didn't just dance next to me, he danced with me, swinging me all around the dance floor and it gave me this inexplicable feeling, this wave of femininity washed over me. There is just this mysterious chemistry that happens when a man and a woman dances, I've seen it in others many times before, but never experienced myself. But because he was gay, he and I were able to simply embrace it without any burden of a deeper meaning. And now, married to a non-dancer, I have never felt that particular chemistry or particular femininity ever again.

Weird, right? No one else in my life has ever been able to give me that feeling in any other way. I don't know what it is about a twirling twosome that elicits a womanly essence . Maybe it's all the Disney princess movies? Yet I've seen it in little girls who haven't ever watched Disney.

Or maybe it's a desire God has planted in females for some reason.

I am inclined to believe the latter since a couple of times in the last 2 years God has taken me for a spin on the ballroom floor of my mind during worship at Church.

After examining the whole experience, I see now He was blessing me for pursuing Him in a brand new way. For opening my mind to who He is, not who I want Him to be. And I think He was redeeming my one encounter with femininity of that kind. If I had not been open to getting closer to God, connecting to Him in more and more intimate ways, I maybe would have just dismissed that first waltzing worship, maybe even been embarrassed by it, shut it down because I grew up with dancing as 'bad'. But it turns out, God is a complete gentleman who wants to embrace me as we glide around to beautiful music, in step together, like only dancing can do. He wanted to meet a need I didn't even know I had, a desire to dance, a desire for a different kind of intimacy between man & woman. And, in a brand new way He spoke to me the same ancient lesson.

Follow me.

And so I've added this to my growing list of lessons on the character of God. And my discipleship has grown ever stronger for it the last few years.  Just a few weeks ago He showed me even more about the harmony of life with Him. Our life with Him a song, a dance. A song I can't get out of my head, or my heart, and I look forward to the many new verses I will discover until we finally dance again in person.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Never Imagined

I have the kind of personality that imagines.

Imagines in a good way. 

Like I just had fun water painting this.

Imagines in a bad way. 

When a potential scenario, no matter how bad, enters my mind I have to imagine it to prepare myself, somewhat - as much as possible, for the possibility it actually happens. 

I have imagined never having kids.

I have imagined Sean dying.

If there is one thing I have feared even more than those two sad, sad scenarios, it is losing a child I finally have. I haven't even been able to bear fully imagining that situation. 

But one thing I never imagined is attending the funeral of an 18 month little boy. 

I don't even know how this is really happening, I can't even begin to imagine how his parents are feeling. 
No matter how difficult the things I imagine, nothing is as difficult as reality.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Fellowship of the Burning Heart

God IS love.

Let’s break that down first.

I’m going to start with defining the kind of love God is.  Some people may think only Agape love (unconditional, charitable, selfless, committed) applies to God’s brand of love, but remember, God doesn’t merely HAVE love, He IS love, so He encompasses all types of love, Philia (brotherly or friendship affection), and Eros (intimate or romantic) as well. The best way to describe that kind of love is like a burning love. When fire is unleashed it does not hold anything back, it is all-consuming and fiery, it is intense, it is unwavering, and it is bold. That kind of burning love is wholehearted, it is powerful, passionate, perpetual, and profound. When consumed with burning love, there is no part of being that goes untouched, it is the essence of heart, mind, body and soul.

Love doesn’t just consume God’s heart, it IS the heart of God, the core or essence of God. God’s entire being is burning love. And if God IS love, then love IS also God! All that defines burning love can be applied to God, but also, authentic love also has the qualities of God; it is eternal, it is unceasing, it is infinite, and it is perfect. Another way we can see God and love are indivisible is through the Trinity. As the old saying goes, love isn’t love until you give it away. Love demands expression. Which is why God is one essence, or nature, expressed in three persons, where this burning love can be, and is, shared within the Trinity. 

This is the beginning of the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.  But God didn’t stop there, the joy of this burning love shared in the Trinity compelled the triune God to create beings who could also share their love, who could share the experience of the resulting joy. The expression of love doesn’t demand sharing on a small scale, it requires to be shared AND multiplied. 

For God so loved that He created the world.  

He loved us before we even knew Him. He loves us with the burning love He has for the Trinity (John 17:23). He loved us first, offering us a perfect love to respond to. And when that wasn’t enough... 

God so loved the world that He sacrificed His only Son.

The Son He loves intensely, with burning love. Because He loves us intensely, with burning love. All this so that we could participate freely in the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.  What we call salvation is really an invitation to participate in the Fellowship. God is searching for those who desire to participate.


Because God did not create humans to be passive recipients of love, but to be part of a fellowship where the love we have for each other consumes us. 

Because God doesn’t ask for anything that He hasn’t already given wholeheartedly.

There are so many ways we are privileged to participate in the Fellowship of the Burning Heart!

Delighting in beauty.
Passion for our purpose.
Loving others.
Loving yourself.
Loving God.

A heart on fire for God has a whole new meaning now!

Imagine my surprise when I picked up this book (Growing in Prayer, Mike Bickles) and started reading this amazing perspective on relationship with God, only to find, I had already branded myself as part of the Fellowship 20 months ago! Yet another layer of meaning God has given me for this tattoo!

Awhile ago I was journalling and asked God more about my purpose, He told me I was His walking billboard, advertising His love, beauty, grace, and joy through my testimony. At the time, it didn't occur to me that He also may have meant this literally, but it makes sense because I have always seen my tattoos as a part of my testimony, etching in significant lessons God has taught me so I never forget but also as a conversation starter. 

So here I am, a walking billboard for the Fellowship of the Burning Heart!

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