Real life. Real marriage. Real parenthood.
Real joy. Real struggle.
And the very real Jesus who leads me through it all.
Real joy. Real struggle.
And the very real Jesus who leads me through it all.
Last weekend my husband and I attended a GooGoo Dolls and Daughtry concert here in town. I have been a GooGoo Dolls fan since I was 16 years old when their first single "Name" came across my radio airwaves. I love their sound, I love their lyrics, I love their musicality. I loved their show.
We're also Daughtry fans, as we voted for Chris Daughtry faithfully during his season on American Idol. Love his voice, his style, his songwriting, his humility. (Although, truth be told, about the time his band hit it big is about the same time that our lives became filled primarily with Disney princess music, so we're less hip now).
Everything about the concert was great. It was a splurge for us to buy tickets, so I had a garage sale to compensate. The garage sale stunk, but it was so worth it.
The concert was at a fabulous outdoor venue, the evening was gorgeous, my date was super hot, our fried chicken picnic supper was perfect, the GooGoo Dolls were surreal. It took hours to peel the smile off my face, and my pandora station hasn't left the GooGoo Dolls since I got home from the concert.
While we were singing along at the top of our lungs to Iris and Better Days and Come To Me, I kept hitting my husband's arm and saying, "AGGGGHHHH!!!! This is so cool!!" I mean really, I got to sing the line "Yeah you bleed just to know you're alive" along with the GooGoo Dolls. That's just downright cool. (Are you singing it in your head now?) I've been singing it with the radio for 16 years, but now I sang it with them for real. (You can probably tell I haven't been to that many concerts...it's that whole single income budget and mom of four kids situation).
But here's the deal. Though extremely talented, my love for the concert wasn't because I idolize this band or think too much of them. It was a bit concerning at the concert watching women in front of me scream and wave and act as if Chris Daughtry or John Rzeznik were to be worshiped. Only Jesus is to be worshiped. It was also a bit concerning when these women ogling over the musicians were wearing wedding rings. It's like "Honey, your husband is right next to you. Ogle over him."
But my fascination with the concert is because these musicians on stage are so clearly in their element, and I love that. It sets my heart on fire to be around people who are doing the very thing they were created to do. It's inspiring. It's heart-stopping. It's beautiful.
It makes me aspire to take risks, to go all in, to be and do what it is that God created me to be and do. It makes me ache for more than just going through the motions and to never settle for trite things and empty purposes. It makes me want to be great not for the sake of being great but for the glory of the Great One who created me to honor Him.
The Bible makes it extremely clear that each person was created on purpose for a purpose. No one is an accident. No matter how the sperm met the egg, only God can breathe life, and He always does it on purpose. This is the travesty of abortion. God breathed life on purpose...who are we to take it away?
I love when God speaks to a young Jeremiah about His intentions in creating Jeremiah:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
I love this! God created Jeremiah on purpose for a purpose.
Before God had even created him in the womb, God knew Jeremiah, had plans for Jeremiah. When Jeremiah learns of these plans, he makes excuses. "Um...pretty sure I'm too young."
But God has no time for Jeremiah's excuses; rather in abundant grace tells him "I will be with you. I will rescue you." And then God, in His extreme awesomeness, reaches out and equips Jeremiah. Did you see it?
He touches his mouth and puts His words in Jeremiah's mouth! He equips him to do the very thing that God created him to do! I love it!
And, as you read through Jeremiah's ministry, you'll see it wasn't easy. It was extremely hard to do what God had created him to do. He needed a lot of rescuing. And yet, twenty chapters into Jeremiah, as we see him go through trial after trial in being a messenger of God, as we see him tired and exhausted and depressed and lonely, we also see him as inspiring, because despite the hardships, he says this:
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
I LOVE THAT. The Word of God is in him like a fire in his bones. God made him to be a preacher of God's Word. To be a prophet who brings the truth of God to God's people. And Jeremiah cannot withhold it. No matter if it's too hard or too lonely or too expensive or too risky or if he is still too young or if he has grown too old or if he is too poor or if his schedule is too busy or if he is too distracted...he is so in sync with the very thing that God created him to do that he cannot not do the thing he was made to do.
Seriously, just typing about it makes my heart want to scream. You should hear me speak about it. I do scream. I just love it! I love people in their element. That's why I kept hitting my husband's arm throughout the entire concert last weekend. Because they were in their element. The drummers, the vocalists, the electric guitar, the bass guitar, the acoustic guitar, the keyboarder...they were all doing the very thing that they have never been able to withhold. And now they are great because they never held it in. They knew their passion and they went all in. And it inspires me.
When I teach teens at retreats or camps, I invite the teens to dream about what it is that God has created them to do, and then share it with the group. Everyone has a passion for something because every human heart was created by God to be set on fire for something. First and foremost for Jesus himself, and then also for some avenue to share Jesus' glory with the world. So I invite the students to ask God to show them the desires of their heart and then share with the group. I most recently did this exercise at a camp in Iowa in July.
You guys. Seriously. I love high school students. The authenticity. The audacity. The courage. The boldness. The humility. The naivete. One young woman (a high school student people), shared that she is already working on starting a non-profit organization in her community to fight suicide. One kid is planning to find cures for rare diseases. One kid is planning to be an astrophysicist (you don't even want to know how long it took me to spell that just now) and then kindly helped me by writing down a bunch of definitions of crazy things like black holes and pulsars, so that I can better understand God's insanely amazing universe. One young man said he wants to be an awesome husband someday. Seriously. Oh my heart.
And it aches me, friends. It aches me in the good, godly kind of ache way to see young people and old people alike coming alive for the things of God. The things that God poured into their hearts to make their hearts come alive.
I want fire in my bones everyday. And for most of us, the fire in our bones isn't going to make us famous. The fire in our bones isn't about our own glory but about God's glory.
For me, speaking and teaching the Bible is fire in my bones, yet the simple reality of my world is that mothering four children is more of the fire in my bones right now because that's where I am on my journey. And I pray that God will let me mother to His glory, and raise my children in such a way that they would know that mothering them sets my heart ablaze for the glory of God.
The fire in my husband's bones is firefighting and emergency response and servant leadership. I likely won't ever get to witness him on the scene of an emergency but I know that's what makes his heart come alive. He can't not do the thing God made him to do, and I love him because of that. And fathering our children is also the fire in his bones and sometimes it makes me cry to watch him because he's all in. A father who is all in is one of the most beautiful things on earth.
Friends, what's the fire in your bones? What is inside of you that makes your heart come ablaze, that you cannot withhold? For my mom is was quilting. For one of my children it's art. For another of my children it's digging in the dirt. For another it's all things beautiful. And I totally believe that these "heart-fires" as children will continue to grow into heart-fires as adults that have some sort of mission and purpose for God's glory.
For one of my friends it's fitness; for another friend it's adoption; for another friend it's caring for people's emotional needs; for another friend it's teaching children; for my sister it's emergency medical care; for another friend its ending sex-trafficking.
I mean, seriously friends. This is such awesome stuff. The things that set our hearts ablaze, that we cannot withhold. The things that grow great within us, not for our personal greatness, but for the purpose of pointing others to the greatness of God. Heart-fires. Fires in our bones that we can't hold back.
We all have them, friends. Every single one of us was made on purpose for a purpose. A purpose that is larger and bigger and more magnificent than just us. A purpose that calls us up into an adventure that is bigger than we can imagine.
So what's your heart-fire? What's the fire in your bones?
I want to raise my children to seek hard after the God who created their hearts with a heart-fire...to find out what is the fire within their bones that they cannot withhold, and then to go for it, all in. For the glory of God.
That's the fire in my bones.