Thursday, July 03, 2014

I Give Myself Away....So You Can Use Me...

I give myself away
I give myself away 
So You can use me.

My life is not my own
to You I belong
I give myself
I give myself to You.

There are certain songs that, when we sing them in church,
turn me into a racked-with-sobs puddle. I can't even get through the first line without tears streaming down my face, a clutching at my heart, and a deep knowing that in these words, these notes, God has a here-and-now message for me.

As I struggle to sing because I am crying so hard, I am almost instantly brought back to being a ninth grade girl at Malibu, a Young Life, Christian Camp in Canada, where I heard for the very  first time that God loved me and Jesus died for me. 

That knowing changed everything. And I do mean everything. And it changed everything for forever.

And now, this many years later, I am in Bethel AME, a primarily African American Church, one that is small and struggling financially, one that has wrapped its arms around me and my husband, singing words that remind me of what scares me most. "I give myself You can use me." I truly understood and lived that message as a ninth grader. I heard it loud and clear then. And now those words scare me to death at age 67. 

What God is asking of me, every day, is to live for Him. Not myself. For Him. He wants me to open my heart, even when I don't feel like doing it, 
and give myself away. Love everyone. Be used by Him. Be His daughter.

Here I am
Here I stand
Lord my life is in your hands

Lord I'm longing to see
Your desires revealed in me.

Well, it may have felt simple in ninth grade, but it doesn't feel simple now.
It feels confusing. It feels like there is an argument going on in my very own soul. The call to security, to live safely, to hang on to what I have and have earned is a strong pull. To really chase after God, to do His calling, to give myself and all that I am and all that I have to Him,  to TRUST HIM that is a different story. A very different story.

I ask God almost daily, what would you have me do today?
And sometimes, in the stillness of my heart and when I am really listening,
the answer scares me to death. Let me say that again...Scares me to death!

The battle of words and thoughts, my conversation with God, goes something like this...

Linda: OK, Lord. I am yours. What would you want me to do today to do Your will? What is your desire for me today?

God (whispers in my heart): I want you to go to the family next door and apologize for your part in the tension between you. I want you to own it all and ask for forgiveness and tell them you will try to do better.

Linda: (After a long, tense silence where my teeth are grinding) You want what? Those neighbors? The ones who have been shunning me? Those who turn their back when they see me coming? Those neighbors? Really? Are you kidding?

God whispers in my heart: No, actually I'm not kidding. Those exact neighbors. I want you to love them no matter what they have done to you.

Linda: ( now in a debating mode with God): But you must have missed how they have treated us. Didn't you see what they did? Why should I have to be the one to say I'm sorry? I don't feel sorry. They should be sorry. They should apologize first.

God whispers in my heart: This isn't about them. This is about YOU.
You asked what I would have you do today and now you know.

Linda: Do you get how scary this is for me?

God whispers in my heart: Yup, I do. (a small aside here, for me God says things like Yup and nope). But you are forgetting something. I will be right there with you while you do it. You can do it! Just rely on My strength and not your own.

And after weeks and weeks and weeks of soul-searching and debating....
I did do it and immediately knew it was exactly the right thing to do.
It was one of the hardest, hardest things I have ever, ever done...but God (again) was right. It was what I needed to do.

I wish I could say that the first time I heard God's whisper in my heart, I just smiled and with wholehearted JOY jumped at the chance to humble myself and do exactly what I knew He was asking me to do. 

Clear and simple...I am NOT there yet. 

Not about the really, really hard stuff. The this is so gut-wrenching you think you will throw up stuff. I am more in the "What? Really? Are you kidding me, Lord?" phase. At least for awhile I am.

Yet more and more... 
as I give myself away so He can use me
my trust in Him increases. My faith blossoms.

I am trusting in His whisper. 
I am trusting that if I heed His call...

All Will Be Well.

Take my heart 
Take my life
As a living sacrifice

I am not "there" yet, that place of immediate trust and obedience.
Yet each time I trust God, He is true to His word. He is there, just as he whispered He would be, holding my hand through the fear.

And  I am more certain than ever before that this is exactly how I was meant to live my life.

God Bless!
Love, Linda


Peggy Sue said...

OH MY! you once again...worded things I have learned and am learning!!! 4 years ago came the biggest test of all...admist utter I was reading a book...came the comprehension I was to forgive...!!! I paced for 3 days looking at the ceiling...chatting and arguing.."are you kidding me? do you know what they have done to me? Lord your truly asking way to much...can you tell someone else to do this! I mean really WHY? WHY? WHY cant I just be like everyone else..and ignore you!!! Three days off pacing, questioning, and arguing...guess who won??? NOT ME! the end I won in Spades!!! i had to forgive what most could never forgive..I had to let go...and follow...and forever...forever I am greatful for the true utter forgiveness that came...for following...for the miracles of following and the courage to do so...despite my arguments! because in the very end... I WON..for he my heavenly father new better then me! Loved this have a gift! love love love to you! and a big HUG!!!

Miss Myia said...

I love you, I miss you, hugging you....I'm proud of you....thanks for sharing from your heart, but then you have always shared from your heart....which I admire and so love about you....take care of Linda.... please.... Love, Myia

Vicky said...

This was so beautiful friend! I relate- oh my- how I relate. I find myself having to surrender, over and over, wrestling and debating, yes- exactly that. Somehow- I go back to thinking I am in control again, and then have to be reminded its HIs will, not mine. His way, not mine. Your post is such a lovely reminder of just this! Love to you sweet friend! Much love :)

Vicky said...

I've come to check on you dear one! I searched to see if I had email for you and I didn't find one. I worry that I haven't seen you blog for a bit, or come and visit for awhile. I pray you are well, and off on a vacation or, something restful or joyful.

Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you!

Finding Comfort in Kindness...sharing from the heart

                                If every person made it a rule that                          wherever you are, whenever you              ...