Monday, June 4, 2012

"In Emphatic Yes"

A few weeks ago a man who once was my 4th Grade Sunday School Teacher passed away.  He was a wonderful artist, teacher, and servant-leader.   I never knew him really well, but I admired the way he sought to live his life honoring Christ.  My husband (Jason) and I attended his memorial service.  The thing that has stuck with me since the service is the prayer his daughter prayed about living like her father.  She said that as they read Scripture and prayed while he was in the hospital he would raise up his one good hand and say, “Yes!”  He was claiming the Good News, Jesus, as best he could in that moment.  He lived his life that way, saying yes.  And he touched so many lives because God worked through him as he said yes to living in loving obedience—all the many stories shared testified to that.  She prayed that we too would say “Yes” to Christ like he did. 
                This blog has been a long time in coming.  What I mean to say is that I have been taking a long time to be obedient in beginning.  I have been wrestling with God since the fall.  First, it was "What in the world will this be about?"  He answered with many mornings of waking to ideas for stories of becoming in small moments— through Scripture, disciplines, books, and everyday experiences.  Next, it was "How can I be sure this isn’t me?"  And my yearly Christmas letter was His response.  I write a letter every year to our friends and family, it shares something of our year, but is more importantly written to lead people in considering Christ during Advent.  It is normal to hear back from people in the form of their own letters and cards.  This year I received emails, Facebook messages, had conversations with friends and received feedback from Jason’s co-workers (over the course of months)—all about the challenge to embrace the change God might be calling them toward.  It was so unexpected…so very like God. 
The next task was to begin.  My dear sister-in-law, knowing of my blogging thoughts, gave me a copy of Blogging for Dummies for my Thanksgiving birthday.  I began to pull it out off and on through this time of wrestling and into early 2012.  I thought it would help me think things through and begin.  And it was helpful.  I had thought through much of what was shared and was feeling pretty good, until I got to the technical part.  Then, I became totally overwhelmed by how much I did not know and how much work it might be to learn.  (In case you haven't been reading between the lines, this is basically code for FEAR.)  So I didn’t begin.  I stalled.
My wise husband lovingly confronted me about a month ago as I sat on his lap saying, “You told me once we moved you would write or you would get a job.  You’ve done neither.”  Ouch.  After a few teary minutes of letting me have a good cry as I shared how incompetent I felt, he encouraged me by saying he could help.  I began being real with the fear I had been hiding from and real about what I needed to do to begin.   So I slowly began preparing some pieces about me and the purpose of this space.  (Again, if you’re not reading between the lines…“slowly” is what you do when you’re still operating under fear…though I’d like to blame it on the quilt I’ve been working on).  Then we set up an account a week ago and I’ve been trying to figure it out.  Now, I’m writing this first post, even though all is not as I would like it to be.
I’ve been reading 1 John lately.  It’s a quick read.  I would definitely recommend it.  This is what 1 John 5:3 says:

“This is love for God: to keep his commands.”

In this first post I’m saying “Yes” to what the Holy Spirit has commanded me to do.  This is love for God.  Isn’t that exciting?  When we do what God asks us to do, it demonstrates our love for Christ. 
1 John isn’t the only place in Scripture where God talks about obedience demonstrating love.  The Bible has many references to the link between the two.  This is what Adam and Eve failed to do in Genesis 3—trust God, love God—by failing to obey the command to eat from any tree in the garden but the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
I fail to love often.  Much of the time, I fail to follow because of fear.  I’m learning the lesson that perfect love casts out fear.  So I’m saying “yes,” despite fear, trusting that God will tear it down as I go.  He has been faithful to do so in the past.  He will do so in the future.
I’ve been listening to the album “Invisible Empires” by Sara Groves lately.  I recommend it.  The whole thing is just wonderful.  There is a song called “Open My Hands” that I’ve been singing a lot as I go through the day.  The chorus says:

“I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I’m nodding my head in emphatic yes
To all that You have for me.”

This post is my emphatic yes.  Where do you need to say yes?   Won’t you join me in singing?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance as we become less fearful and more obedient as we experience the love of Christ who transforms!

Jessica :)


  1. Ah, Jessica, how lovely to be in communion with you again after all these years. Let us champion each other on, standing against the fear that would keep us from sharing all that is Good. So excited you took this step!

    1. Sweet Tobi, Yes. And thank you for your kind words. They are an encouragement, my friend. Love to you. :)