I am a Christian performing artist. I sing, I dance, I write, I make music and in this season my main focus is acting, and the teaching thereof. I recently completed a degree in theatre at a secular university.
I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of lame Christian theatre. Christmas pageants, Easter pageants, 12 disciples with little-to-no differentiation in characterisation… that is partly why I write. I was so frustrated at the lack of solid Christian plays that the Lord suggested I should write my own then.
Spirit-filled believers should be the most incredible actors on the face of the planet. We have access to the thoughts of the very Creator God, through His Spirit living within us. Creator God = creative God. He is not hindered by ‘writers block’ so we don’t need to be either. Plus, we should be able to portray Biblical characters with such authenticity as we are simply portraying a friend of a Friend of ours. The Holy Spirit intimately knows every person in the Bible, so why not ask Him what they are like, and then develop your character accordingly?
Hello world, letting you hear my voice (but not see my face) once again. I am still alive. Heart is still alive. I have been on many adventures of life and heart since my last post. More life, more heart. I am different… in some patches a more mature garden, other corners have grown neglected.
But He is still the same. He is still as kind, as faithful and He is still love. I will tell you more at another time. And I will still sing, because He still loves me.
So I ended there but then figured I might as well actually write about what has been brewing. You’re here for some rambles from the overflow, after all.
I am having a baby.
There is an eternal human being growing on the inside of me. This little one has existed forever in the heart and mind of God, and now is being physically knit together inside of my frame. This little one who has been loved all along by the Lord is about to come into consciousness and the opportunity to love in return. This little one is loved unendingly by Love Himself, and I have been entrusted to raise this one in the way they should go.
I want so much for my little baby. I desire for them to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. I want them to love people well, much as their earthly father does. I want them to love and know me. I want them to have a great love for the Word, and for it to be their sweet place of encounter with the True and Living God. I want them to know truth and declare it unwaveringly. I don’t want them to waste time like I do. I don’t want them to be as quick to forget the love of God as I am. I don’t want them to be bound by the same things as me. I want them to be wiser than I am, and more courageous than I am. But I realise that I need to be pursuing the life and heart I want for my baby for myself… not just for my baby’s sake, but for mine! Everything I want for my baby I want for myself, too. Those deep desires and dreams of my heart concerning my walk with the Lord I want for this little one, and woe to anyone who would get in their way. But I mustn’t forget my heart in the Lord, for a number of reasons:
- When it’s all said and done, mine is the only heart I have control over. My love is the only love I can give.
- I cannot expect to consistently and effectively lead this little one in ways I have not even grown familiar with myself, or am not seeking to walk with them on.
- I cannot live through my baby. They have their life, their calling, their destiny, their way up the mountain and I have mine. I have the privilege and terrifying responsibility of a role in these, but at the end of the day I will be asked to give an account for the days given to me. In that day what my child achieved in the Lord will be only be relevant in terms of was I faithful in the role I was given in that, no more. But did I love, from my own heart? Did I grow? Did I choose to obey? Did I love well?
I am amazed by how much I love this little one I have not even met yet. But stirred again to love the Lord well. To live for His delight. Not letting the joy we find in each other be stolen or carelessly given away. To spend time with my most faithful Friend and Love. To fear Him. To be found faithful, plugging away as best I can where He has me. To ever be making melody in my heart to Him. He wants to return to me the melodies of my heart. He remembers and treasures my songs in the night, but moreso wants the ‘now’ song of my heart. And I will not let anything, neither man nor fear nor oppression nor discouragement silence that song. My song for the Lord. It’s precious to Him. And I so look forward to the songs my child has for the Lord, too. I look forward to singing together.
These days I am a newlywed, studying an overloaded semester online. Needless to say, I have been having less time in the Word, and to be brutally honest I waste the time I do have while I’m figuring out my new season and context. Lately I have been feeling condemnation that the Lord doesn’t like me as much, or doesn’t want to bless me as much as if I had been steady in the Word. I was starting to get weighed down and despising the season He has me in.
But last night I was talking to Him about it and He spoke so clearly,
“You not being in the Word doesn’t make Me want to bless you any less, but it does make you more susceptible to being swayed by the voice of the accuser.”
I’ve been buying into the lie that He doesn’t want to ‘bless’ me because I’m not in the Word. But I am doing damage to myself by not building myself up with His Word, the anchor of my soul. AND by not being in the Word I am letting myself become more susceptible to such lies.
He totally understands that I have a pretty crazy schedule right now, with many demands. And He also understands that it’s a totally new and different season, and I am still learning what my pursuit of Him can look like in this season. And He sees the bad choices I make with the time I do have gifted to me. But regardless of my pursuit of Him, His pursuit of ME remains unwavering and relentless. All He asks is that I be faithful with the time I do have. And then He can bless me with the sweetness of His presence and revelation when I’m in His Word.
Let me preface with: sorry if I sound spacey, I’m sleepy and have spent the day getting my mind blown with the Logos (John 1) and Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 8).
This semester I am taking a unit on Christology. I was a leetle nervous ahead of time, since I had heard from a solid Christian friend who had gone before me down this road that it is an interesting experience, to say the least. Theology at a secular and very liberal university. It’s bound to have its curly moments :P But my friend said it was a good growing experience… and I’m finding the same thing.
A stand-out difference is being under teachers whose ultimate goal for my theological education is to think critically about the person and work of Jesus Christ, whereas I am used to Bible teachers whose ultimate goal for me is that I love Jesus and others more. But the two outcomes are far from mutually exclusive. Understanding of God fuels the heart to love God. And I want to think critically about God and the things of God, not just accept whatever is thrown my way. Paul praised the Bereans, who didn’t just mindlessly accept whatever he said, but they searched these things out in the Scriptures to see if they were actually true (Acts 17:11).
Proactive Christians, I love it. That’s how we need to be. It’s not enough to complain that you didn’t get ‘fed’ at that church service… what are you doing to feed yourself? Babies sit around and cry and have to be fed all the time. But part of life is growing up and learning how to feed yourself. NOT that getting Biblical teaching is wrong, we truly need other people’s point of view, and need to be under people wiser than ourselves etc etc… but at the same time, we have responsibility to take care of ourselves too. Let’s not be babies in the things and pursuit of God. Let’s not be like the Corinthians… “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Cor 3:1-2)
^^ bunny trailed. I am more susceptible when I’m sleepy… NOT saying that you need to study the Bible at a tertiary level to go deep in it. Do what you need to do. Go YOUR way up the mountain (SoS 4:6).
Anyways, back to the topic I started with :)
It is academically challenging, and they really push me to articulate well and intelligently. But that’s a good thing. I want to be more than an emotional teacher of the Word, although that is good and necessary. I want to be one who knows her stuff and can articulate things well. What’s the point of wanting to teach things that I can’t make understandable? I want to speak truth, not what I think is truth, but what is truth. Not just what the Bible says, but what it means… so I need to delve deep and prayerfully into the Word and let Him teach me what it means.
Yes, I know that it isn’t up to me to make hearts understand the preaching of the Word, it’s up to the Holy Spirit etc etc… buuut that’s like an untrained guitarist joining the worship team and saying ‘I’ll be fiiiine, it’s not my fault if the congregation can’t accept my playing’. You get the skills so that the God can use them through you. Memorising Bible verses is like putting arrows in your quiver for God to shoot from you.
There’s no easy way around it. If you want to teach the Word, you have to know the Word, and I think that a better teacher is actively seeking to know it better. If you want to know the Word, you have to spend time in the Word… better to spend time in the Word with the One who wrote it. And this takes time. No easy way around it, nope.
At first it grated me that it wasn’t enough to just quote and cross reference Bible verses, especially because I quietly thought I was pretty good at it (priiiiide… DIE DIE DIE!!). They wanted me to back up my ideas by referencing scholars and theologians. And at first I thought it was dumb, ranted a bit about only needing the Word… but God waited through my tantrum, and now I see that the whole quoting scholars thing is such a blessing. It keeps me in heresy check ;) makes sure that I am not twisting Bible verses to agree with me or say what I want them to say. I am learning new things about Scripture and who Jesus is, by methodically unpacking verses and passages I sing about all the time, and have even studied devotionally…
But I am joining the club of Jesus lovers who have found the academic study of Scripture to be a blessing. While I am not advocating becoming like a Pharisee… diligently searching Scriptures, thinking that the studying of them in and of themselves earns you eternal life (John 5:39)… but I am advocating that we all diligently pursue (Hebrews 11:6) the knowledge of the Lord through the Scriptures… for this is eternal life!
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”
– John 17:3
And now… to sleep. Adeiu.
So, I shared the word in a previous post that I’m getting married! To this man :) and the guy who’s marrying us asked us to study Ephesians 5:22-33 and write about it. Once my paper is back, I will share it here ;)
So anyways, this led me to ponder the high calling that a husband and wife have to reveal the love of Christ in the way they love each other. This then led me to realise that Satan HATES godly marriage. He hates such a God-created picture of Christ and His bride, and the love they have for each other.
I feel a sobriety in knowing that Satan wants to take TJ and I out. He wants to spread in us division and dissention, lying and pride, unfaithfulness and wounding… and ultimately divorce. That is what he wants for us. Like the vandal who threw acid on the Mona Lisa, Satan wants to smear and destroy such a picture of the love of Christ.
And yet I don’t have to be fearful and despairing. God is for us, so who can be against us (Rom 8:31)? I so clearly see the Lord’s fingerprints all over TJ and I, as well as the love and relationship we have cultivated. And He will fight for us and protect us…
… but I am realising that we need prayer, and that we need to be contending for and agreeing with the Lord’s heart to prosper us and use our marriage as a radiant testimony of who He is. And we need to fight for this. There is an all-out war over our upcoming marriage. Married people, don’t be fooled! There is warfare over your love. Fight for it, that Christ may be glorified and you may have the fullness of all the Lord has for you!
I just had a conversation with the Lord that left me really happy and encouraged… so I thought I’d share it, and hope that you too will be happy and encouraged :)
Me: You like me all the time? What does that look like in real life?
God: that means I like you all the time.
Me: what about when I’m bad?
God: “The Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Prov 3:12)
Me: sooo if You’re disciplining me, that means You like me. And if you’re blessing me, that means You like me. Oh wow! You like me all the time!!
I think the Lord lovingly laughs at me a lot. Psalm 116 talks about the Lord protecting the simplehearted… I think that word describes me well. He likes me :) and you
NB: His discipline is a blessing, I didn’t word that well, but thankfully, I don’t need to worry about perfect wording with the Lord ‘cuz He knows what I mean anyway :)
Tonight I was having words with the Lord, and He led me to Matthew 5:43-47… the bit about loving your enemies. Now, Jesus is one for putting His money where His mouth is. This Man wasn’t rambling random suggestions that we should love our enemies… He’s the One who died for the same ones who were crying aloud for His crucifixion (John 19:6), the One who interceded for the forgiveness of those nailing Him to the cross (Luke 23:34)… the One (who doesn’t lie [Numbers 23:19]) who called Judas His friend, fully knowing He was about to be betrayed (Matthew 26:50).
Hang on, selah… this is how we know what love is (1 John 3:16).
All that to say… Jesus knows all there is to know about loving enemies. And He tells us to do the same. And grace is poured upon His lips (Psalm 45:2), so with every command He gives comes the grace to walk it out. So I can’t expect to weasel my way out of it by telling Him that He doesn’t know how hard that is, or complain that that takes waaaay too much humility. He’s been there already, to the nth degree… and still tells me to take up my cross, follow Him and do the same (Matthew 16:24).
And it’s such a confronting calling. My flesh screams and rages “but I want them to hurt as much as they hurt me!” or “what about me and my needs!” or “why should I pain myself over loving those who willingly hurt me?”… but He quietly waits for me to get over my tantrum and waits for me to tell Him that I’m ready for that flesh to be denied and killed. He is the most patient One I know. Unendingly so, actually (1 Tim 1:16) :)
He went before me up the mountain of myrrh (SoS 4:6), as a man, tempted every way as I am (Heb 4:15). He knows how hard it is… and yet still calls me to do the same.
My flesh doesn’t like it, but the renewed part of me, and the part that greatly desires to be fully conformed into His image (Col 3:10) wants to love as He does. And maybe ‘they’ will never reciprocate that love, and maybe ‘they’ will never ask for forgiveness, maybe ‘they’ will never realise they were wrong, maybe ‘they’ will never acknowledge that ‘they’ hurt me… maybe maybe maybe. But all my maybes won’t earn me the right to weasel out of it either ;)
Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and HE is my vindicator (Psalm 17:2). And even if the ‘theys’ who will always come up through my life never realise the love I have fought to show them… the Lord sees, cares and is joyfully proud of me for choosing life, love and Christ-likeness. And He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb 11:6)
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” (Mat 5:46)
There is a reward for loving those who don’t love you. I don’t want to fight for pride and bitterness to be my portion. I want the fullness of what the Lord wants to give me, and want to fight accordingly.
So Lord… help me to love as You do.
As of late, the Lord has been healing my heart with revelation of how well He planned and made me.
He created me with great care, knowing the good plans that He had for me before I was even born (Psalm 139:13-16). He knew all the days He had for me to live and what I would do in them. Accordingly, He gave me specially selected gifts. So I don’t have to feel tormented by gifts that I want to use for His glory but get discouraged about rarely getting a chance to… because He gave them to me in light of the days He had for me. He tells us not to light a lamp and put it under a bowl (Mat 5:15), so why do I expect Him to do the same? I am the intricately, perfectly planned and made work of His hands, made for the display of His splendour (Isaiah 60:21). He uses things for what they were made to do. Lamps are made for lighting up a room, not putting under bowls. So He will light a room with them. Singers were made to sing. So He doesn’t make them forever sit in silence. Teachers were made to teach… etcetc
It so encourages me to know that He didn’t give me gifts by accident. Every single one is made for His glory, His delight and for the edification of His people (1 Cor 12). I love this verse: “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.” (1 Cor 12:18) I am made EXACTLY the way He wanted me to be. In accordance with His perfect love, wisdom, knowledge of the good plans He has for me and zeal for His glory… He made me exactly the way He wanted to. I don’t have to worry about being not enough and yet too much, being tormented by gifts and Godly desires, or long to go someone else’s way up the mountain (Song of Songs 4:6) because it seems better suited to me than my own.
It’s been good and freeing to hear :)
I’m sorry I’ve fallen off the face of the blogging world. I miss it. I have things stirring around to be written about too. But I’m busying preparing for marriage and all the associated craziness so blogs have been few. But I will try to be back…
Here’s something He’s been convincing me of as of late: He is indescribably, unendingly and faithfully kind. And He is totally ok with you asking Him to show you His extravagant kindness. Pray it. I have, and He has been :)
Also, check this out… :)
Song of Songs. Obviously I didn’t write it. God (through Solomon) did. Also, mad props to the NIV translation crew :P
… but it holds true, like I wrote it. Song of Songs is one of my favourite books, and probably the book of the Bible I am most familiar with, simply because I have studied it for myself deeper than any other book. And I’ve been aware of the living of it. Not that I so badly want my life to go according to it (although I do) and so made it happen… this is just how He leads me. And I think that’s true for all who love Jesus, but that’s another story for another time…
My heart is currently pondering chapter 5… you should read it. Good stuff :)
“This is my Beloved, this is my friend.” (SoS 5:16)