Thank you so much for your support and encouragement in this past week. I could feel the love all the way across the world through your prayers, emails, songs, messages, words and hugs that can reach across time zones. This week has been the most intense yet – it was a week of pressing in past what is visible. In lecture, we participated in a series of activities to understand our identity in Christ.
I felt God really challenging me to a new level of vulnerable – with understandings of myself I’ve never even known being exposed and shared amongst my family here. Vulnerable, and especially the kind of vulnerable that comes out in an uncontrollable, tearful, runny nose, my-business-is-coming-out-in-public way, is not typically how I do things.
It was intense, but so good. God called me to be His in a way that, quite frankly, I have no idea how to be! I’ve lived “successfully” – I’ve made people proud, when I do something I do it well, and I’ve been happy about it the whole time. I’ve even been “successful” in hearing God call me somewhere and going immediately. But God told me that I’ve been living out of a manageable power by holding to those standards of my own and others.
During a time of prayer over me and in asking God for a new name – my identity in Him, He called me Beloved. Instead of “doing” (and doing it well), He says He wants me to just “be”. All the way to Africa to just be.
Leaders prayed over me told me and shared pictures and words they saw and heard for me. The believed that when I really, really, really take off all the filters of standards, plans and expectations and let God’s grace flow freely – even through the broken parts – I will be Dangerous for the Lord. It will be like a bomb has gone off.
In a way, I’ve always known that God called me to be dangerous, but I’ve always lived dangerously within a safety zone. A safety zone where I knew people – people like you that I love and respect – could feel safe with me and could be helped and encouraged by what I know. I’ve pushed the limits just as far as I could to still be radical and acceptable.
I sat with God this week and asked Him HOW to live in a not-withholding kind of dangerous. HOW to abandon what I think I should do, how to be good and seeking approval to live vulnerably and love through that. What’s the PLAN…. HOW do I…
He said, “I named you Beloved. Be Loved. Just Be Loved. There’s no plan. There are no steps. There’s love. Receive Me as I have received you, My Beloved.”
On base, we have been calling each other by our new names. There’s a crazy freedom and joy here – that is powerful enough to counteract the exhaustion and the hard work ahead. Join us in praying for this new release and celebrating who we are in Christ as we prepare to go out. (ZAMBIA IN 28 DAYS!)
We each wrote our names on a rock that we will carry with us everywhere as a reminder. When we go out into communities for outreach and ministry, we will bring our rocks to create an altar as a remembrance of what God has done.
People will ask. And we can tell what God has done. Wahoo!
Joshua 4 talks about using stones to create an altar of remembrance for the Lord. 1 Peter changes the story.
“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Peter 2:4-5)There’s a new rock venue – and it’s us, living stones. We are to be a place for the Lord’s character, movement and healing to be remembered, lived and celebrated.
I am Beloved.
I wish I could go on and on about what I learned and experienced this week. Feel free to email or leave comments. I can’t wait to share more about these experiences when I see you again.“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deut 33:12)
This week, pray for our team. We will be going out into the community tomorrow (Tuesday – Sunday) to participate in a community stay. We will live with and live like the South Africans we minister too. I’m hoping to taste what life is really like and how they experience God and one another. Pray for safety, health (not sure how drinking the water will go), and that we become family. Bucket baths! Pit toilets! And eating everything they put on the plate! So many stories ahead!
Pray for my team: The Beloved One, The Chosen One, The Joyful One, The Constant, Faithful & Joyful One, The One Who Belongs, The Loved & Merciful One, The Fighter, Sunshine, God’s Radiance, The Beautiful Princess, The Faithful One, The Encouraging King, The One Who is Patient & Perseveres, The Fire Burner, and the Happy & Trusted One.
Talk to you next week!