~week four~

In the summer of 2014, God made a request to me.  He put it on my heart to spend every Friday with Him in the summer months.  This meant putting aside other things, taking off work and being faithful for a season.

For those of you who know this story of my life, you know that I didn’t take off one single Friday that summer.  After confessing what I missed, I haven’t thought a lot about June, July and August of 2014.  I did take off this past Friday though.  A friend of mine traveled very far to spend a week with me.  As a result, my thoughts of the summer past came back to me.

Over that week with my friend, there were many days that I did things I normally do not do.  We sat at the beach and talked about the details of our lives that get missed when there is distance between two friends.  We smiled about age that continues to creep up on us.  We talked about the complications of love and relationships.  We ate out and shopped some.  We shared dreams, aspirations and hurdles.  We walked arm in arm in the warm sun and finally said our goodbyes for another six or more months.

As I headed back to normal life.  Having missed a few mornings and nights with my kids and husband.  Having missed some time at work.  After getting one good night of sleep back in my bed, I reflected on time spent with her.  I saw a few things differently.  It’s good to see beyond your own views.  I had some renewed enthusiasm for my daily grind.  Being away makes home better.  I said goodbye looking forward to next time.  Time spent with a good friend is good for the soul.

I see very clearly now what God was saying to me that summer.  He wanted to speak into my life so I could see a few things differently.  He wanted to renew me so that I could be a better woman.  He wanted to spend time with me because that is what friends do.  It would have been good for my soul.

I’m going to leave you with a call to action as I wrote it in the fall of 2014.  I am not sure that I could have meant it more than when I wrote it one year ago.  What is different now?  The call to action is lathered in love, quality time and friendship even more so now than then.

So, all of this about me, to say to you, that I am sure that there is something you are holding on to.  I am sure of that because we are not in heaven.  You have a lot of excuses like I do. Some come across as very justified, but they are not.  I know for a fact that you are braver than me and can let go of the thing, go do the thing, step out into the thing . . . before the thing expires.  You don’t need to wait anymore to do the thing you are supposed to do.  Please do it.  And, after you do, tell me all about it.  I’ll be encouraged to the thing He calls me to do.  At the very next redemptive opportunity. 

Jesus Girl v. The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl

By JMathis

I want to smell, see, touch, taste and hear the Holy Spirit in the everyday. I want to experience Christ authentically, richly and truly, and move beyond any and all of my childhood notions of “canned spirituality”.

I no longer want to compartmentalize my life into Jesus Girl v. The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl.

Instead, I want the dreams in my heart to be intertwined and inseparable from God’s vision and blueprint for my life.

As I smell cafecitos and fresh pastelitos waft through the hearth of my local Cuban bakery, I want that aroma to remind me that the scent of my life needs to change. That the aura and demeanor I project everyday is no longer something that is bitter, jaded and frustrated, but instead, a fragrance that is soothing, holy and pleasing to the Lord.

As I see how far the sand runs along to the left and right of me at the beach, and how the ocean knows no boundary or end, I want the expanse of the shoreline to reveal the endlessness and vastness of God’s love for me. I want to see how there is no limit to His mercy and forgiveness, despite my daily, minute-by-minute screw-ups and pettiness.

As I touch my daughter’s cheek as she sleeps, I want to imagine God touching my cheek as I sleep, as He prays blessings and speaks words of purpose and healing over my life. I want to take delight in my Father in the same way He delights in me—as His child worthy of love, redemption and forgiveness.

As I taste fresh, juicy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, exploding on my tongue with the flavors and boldness of summer, I want to be thankful that God has created so much in nature to help heal and restore the damage I have done to my physical body over the years. I want to be the walking, tangible embodiment of the sweet-tasting fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

As I hear the hustle and bustle of the city, I want to listen for the stillness of the Holy Spirit, guiding me through the storms and insanity of my day. When the client is yelling, the car horns are angrily honking, and the baby’s cries are deafening, I just want to seek solitude in the voice of the Spirit, as He leads me back to a place of safety and peace.

I want my senses to be awakened with mad, passionate love for my Savior. I am ready to stop seeing Him as a faceless Sunday morning deity that has no relevance in my day-to-day.

I know there is probably a long, grueling road ahead of me in making this decision, with mountains of personal doubt, setbacks, failures and “I Told You So’s,” but I’m ready to say goodbye to The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl.

Are you?