During college I worked as a supervisor for the afternoon program at a Montessori School in Little Rock. At the time, though I was pretty spiritually immature, I was also mildly vocal about my faith. I would often have spiritual discussions with my co-workers, many of whom claimed to be Christians. *Maria was a good friend of mine at work. She was very funny, somewhat controversial in her subject matter but when you were around her, you most definitely had a good time. She was a riot to hang out with.
One afternoon I snuck into the teachers lounge to warm up my lunch when I saw an open yellow pages on the table and noticed that it was open to the “abortion” section. I tried to shrug it off, thinking that it was just a mistake and that it just happened to be open to that page but I had a sneaking suspicion that one of my co-workers might be in trouble.
At the end of the week I was alphabetizing a school directory when Maria came into my office and shut the door behind her. She had a bewildered look in her eye.
“Brooke. I came to you, because I know you’re a Christian.” Maria said. She looked anxious. I felt anxious.
“I have five-hundred dollars in my pocket right now to go have an abortion this afternoon.” She became silent and waited for me to respond. The statement hung in the air, suspended like one of those Japanese paper lanterns… only a lot heavier.
I leaned forward and looked into her eyes and told her that if she aborted this baby she was murdering her own child. I told her that the child had a destiny and the the Lord was already drawing up plans for that destiny and she had no business altering the plans of God for her child. I told her that if she had that abortion she would be guilty of the bloodshed of a perfectly innocent human being and that she would be judged for it by God Himself. She would be judged because she not only knew it was evil (otherwise she wouldn’t have come to me, knowing I would try and talk her out of it), but because someone had warned her of how insidiously evil it was.
What happened? Ten months later she was strolling down our hallway with a tiny little boy named Michael.
I love Maria to death and I know that decision was a truly difficult one for her. She already had one child from a pregnancy when she was fifteen and now she would not only be a single mother for one but TWO children. I don’t pretend to realize that this would be an easy thing for her. But now she has this beautiful, precious little Image Bearer who was formed skillfully and uniquely for the enjoyment and pleasure of God.
We as Believers in Christ have the responsibility of warning this world of the judgement that sin will cause. Not only because we too will be judged but because those who commit that sin will be judged as well. It’s called mercy.
So this is what I get for trying to come to work. My van is now stuck at the bottom of the hill on Cleveland and I had to WALK the rest of the way home which is hazardous in itself.
Oh well. So I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the Lord clearly say “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”… Matthew 6:19-21. It was so clear and loud in my Spirit that it startled me a bit.
Last night, I had my first class of “Foundations of Healing the Heart” at FSM. We were asked to let the Holy Spirit examine our hearts and reveal hidden weaknesses. I have never thought that materialsm was one of my weaknesses. Yes, I like nice stuff just like every other girl in the universe but I never thought that it was out of control. Last night as I prayed that prayer, I didn’t think that “stuff” was an issue with me. But as I was thinking about it this morning, I realized that I do place too much value on all of my things when in reality… it’s all going to burn some day. None of it matters even though I think I place high value on it because it satisfies me temporarily or I think it gives me a higher level of social status.
This is not a Godly mindset. Several months ago, I was at FCF and I saw a group of FSM/FMA students. I felt like I was looking into the window of a high school, not a group of college-age students who are suppose to be practicing the Sermon on the Mount. Some really trendy, cute girls were sitting. They were clad in their urban outfitters ware and had cute, indie-rock haircuts. A couple of other girls came up to them and appeared to be attempting to have a conversation with the trendy girls. The new girls were dressed in what the world would consider a little dowdy and generic-looking. They might have also possibly seemed a little socially inept but that’s really not the point either. The trendy girls (that’s what I will call them in this context) simply rolled their eyes at eachother and then moved to another side of FSM where they wouldn’t have to sit next to the less-than-cool girls.
WHAT THE CRAP. This actually caused pain to rise up in my heart as I watched it happen. This has been an issue my prayer room team has been discussing a lot. Yes, we may study the Sermon on the Mount a lot here but I think there’s one verse that we fail to remember to actually practice “you ought to treat others how you yourselves would like to be treated.” Compassion. Sincerity. We are the body of Christ… this is not a popularity contest… this is the kingdom of God. Let’s get over ourselves… please.
The issue I see with myself is this… I really am just like these girls in some ways. I equate my own appearance and possessions with high social status when Jesus equates the purity of my heart, meekness, and humility with high status. We can talk all day long about how much we know about the Word and how we should be practicing the sermon on the mount but if we really aren’t practicing the second commandment ALONG with the first then it’s really completely POINTLESS to have knowledge about any of it.
Last night was a nice, fun break from the intensity of this year. I have to say that my years have been pretty intense from right out of high school but this year was intense in a different way. I can’t say that I’ve had a whole lot of “fun” this year. Anyway, though I had to sell some of my stuff to pay for gas money to the show in Lawrence, it was worth it. The show the Spree put on was probably one of the most incredible concerts I have been to yet. What a preformance! Let’s just say I have been to probably hundreds of shows in the last 10 years but nothing compared to last night’s.However, on the way home (an hour long drive) I felt this nagging emptiness coming over me. Though being in that club with all the excited people and hearing the music that was so loud I could feel it in my bones was thrilling for a time, it left me even more hungry for the Lord. I know some of you may think that I may over-spiritualize everything but I have tried all kinds of different ways to fill myself over the years… to bring satisfaction to the emptiness of my heart but nothing will ever satisfy me like He can. I could go on about my heavy involvement in the whole music scene for five years but really, as I was observing what was going on around me I was saddened to see a lot of extremely insecure, pretentiousness in that little club. I don’t miss those days. I guess if I approached it again in a redeemed way and God called me back to the same type of involvement again, I know that I would want to come into it without all of my insecurities and have confidence in who I am in the Lord. I wouldn’t want it to be about me anymore. I would want it to be all about Him.
I don’t ever want to forget that I’m not on this earth for myself. I’m living for eternity.
The other day, for the first time since I’ve been at IHOP, I found myself asking the question: what am I doing here? Everything in me wants to run out and get a normal job with a normal paycheck. Somehow each month I seem to have the money to pay my rent and buy food and I don’t know how it happens… it just does and it just affirms the fact that this is where I’m suppose to be but other times I feel like beating my head against a wall. I want so much to have control over my own destiny but Jesus keeps saying, “just sit here and receive. This is how it’s gonna happen, Brooke. This is it. This is what you’re here for.”
I’ve honestly had a lot of grace in my prayer times in the morning but then I go home and everything hits the fan. I’m confronted with the reality of my weakness every second I’m out of the prayer room and I am getting frustrated the more God seems to be asking for more of me. Am I willing to give Him everything? I don’t know…. EVERYTHING??? That’s so scary! I want the revelation that I’m here for something much greater, that I’m living for eternity. It is so painful being in this place of waiting on Him. As He exposes those hidden hurts, the blatant weaknesses and sin, it is almost unbearable. I just keep hearing from Him, my grace is sufficient for you and I do believe it. I know that I have access to a life of abandonment because of the cross, because He has poured his grace upon me, because His Spirit lives inside me. What’s absalutely killing me is the fact that I have to take steps to get there and what’s killing me even more is that the step is as simple as sitting before Him outside of my sacred trust I can’t even seem to give Him that. I know that’s what He’s asking of me. Jesus, do whatever it takes to get me there. We need you, Lord. We cannot, CANNOT do this without you. Help!!
I just recently changed my schedule slightly and now I come in on Saturdays at noon before I work in the prophecy room. As I was sitting in my seat, soaking up the presence of Jesus I couldn’t help but watch some of the people around me. Many of them were elderly and one older man in particular caught my eye. He was probably in his late 80’s or early 90’s but the joy on his face was contagious as he stood and raised his hands to heaven and worshiped Jesus. It gave me hope to watch him still so in love with God. As a pastor’s kid I grew up in a small church that was filled with many bitter elderly folk who seemed to suck the life out of everything. It made me wonder if I would make it after years of just living life and going through hard times. I came back tonight to the 8 pm set and the old man was there again and still praising Jesus with wholehearted love. I suppose it is a reminder to keep my heart tender and remember the mercy of Jesus and the gift of eternity in His perfect kingdom.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.;
Where are the wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who have been called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
Who can fathom this Jesus? How can the lost ever expect to rationalize the cross? It’s just not rational or logical… mainly because it’s something we can truly never understand to the full extent. So many friends of mine disbelieve the message of Jesus because it is such a mystery… but who can ever figure God out? He created us and we expect to know His thoughts and ways? I feel the fear of the Lord right now for those who don’t know Jesus. Not only do I have fear for them because they will go to hell for their disbelief but because I cannot imagine getting through this life without ever having known Jesus.