Monday, January 30, 2012

I want to be a Lover

I talk too much and I type too much.  I have difficulty keeping things short and sweet, let's just accept it and take my word for it when I assure you, my goal is to communicate my heart in this post in a somehow coherent manner.  Accept my apologies if it ends up being too verbose!

I am coming out on the other side of an amazing time with God.  He is the potter and I feel like he scoopped a big chunk of damage out of the pot he is making so that it is more useful, more beautiful in his hands.  It is so special, so sacred to me that it is hard to articulate, yet  it is too precious not to tell others of the wonderful things He has done.

We moved here almost two years ago.  I love Sheboygan and I love raising my family here, but recently I've hit a point of loneliness.  Certainly partly affected by S.A.D, but deeper.  A longing not just to serve, but to really be known, to really have a community that I am living life with.  A community where people know me and my whole family, where we go to each others kids games, have dinner spur of the moment, fold laundry together. Things I left behind in Chicago.  I have been mourning in a new way of what is behind.

I have also been struggling at our church- leaving service dissatisfied, wanting more- particularily in the area of worship.  Not surprising, in a sense since I was involved with worship at our old church and the culture there is night and day difference from here. It feels so different, we feel like a square peg in a round hole during we fit?

Discontent- it's not really biblical, is it?!  Precisely why God was not about to let me stay there.

We started a study in my women's bible study- Satisfy My Thirst Soul by Linda Dillow.  We are only through Chapter one....and my heart is overflowing with blessings.  A few things I've personally been impacted by:
Linda described her early years as a christian (she is in her 70s now;) as time spent making God known, yet neglecting to focus enough time KNOWING God.  She reversed the two greatest commandments; FIRST, Love the LORD with all your self, and NEXT love your neighbor.  She challenged us to be able to say, "I am a Lover who serves, not a servant who loves."  (Service comes easy for me, so I struggle to keep things in proper order and I was deeply convicted by this!)

The next challenge was what is the "one thing" David sought?  To dwell in the presence of God.  What is the "one thing" Mary sought?  to sit at Jesus feet.  What is the "one thing" Paul pressed on toward?  Jesus Christ.  Am I focusing on that ONE THING?

Her prayer was, "Lord I want to know you intimately whatever it takes, whatever the cost."  This is now my prayer, as well.  The journey she proposes is through worship.

I paused there- paralyzed.  "I feel thirsty, Lord.  I struggle to worship here.  I've had vibrant worship, I don't have that here!"  Gently, he reminded me of the journey we've already been on: 7 year ago, He took my voice completely through a severe laryngitis- for 10 weeks.  TEN WEEKS of sitting in church, unable to sing....he brought my heart into deep worship in those moments, by taking away my crutch.  Next, 3 1/2 years ago, He challenged me to CHOSE to worship.  I had found a last minute replacement to lead worship after my first miscarriage- reeling,  in pain, broken.  "Coincidentally" the second miscarriage a couple months later also happened before I was scheduled to lead worship.  I could have cancelled and no one would have blamed me, but he gently said, "will you still worship me?  Have I changed?  Will you worship me in your brokenness?"  I chose to lead, telling the congregation where I was and asking them also to come worship in their brokenness.  It was the only time I got letters in the mail after leading worship; people were touched, they wrote thanking me, they wrote of their brokenness.  God used me because of my brokenness and obedience.  Now he is asking me again.  "You feel thirsty?  Whose fault is that?  Do you still have my Spirit? yes!  Have I changed? No!  Am I still worthy of all your worship, even when you feel like you don't fit?  even if the style is different?"  I am humbled.

I am reminded he equates intimacy with Him to intimacy in marriage.  That makes me feel known and loved, but it also reminds me of total surrender and reminds me that I need to fight for intimacy.  Just as I need to fight distractions and exhaustion to make time for intimacy in marriage, I need to fight for intimacy with God.

We have been praying about what to do for community.  We have been attending a care group about to birth for the past two weeks.  They need leaders, we have much experience in leading groups.  We were invited to another care group.  Yet we both of us have asked, is this where God would have us?  The picture is blurry, but we have distinct impressions that he has something else in mind.  It may involves the first mentioned group, but we are pretty sure it isn't a complete fit.  So we are waiting- longing for community.  In prayer, I have a couple distinct couples on my mind, but they are busy, we can't force ourselves into people's lives.  If it's from you Lord, will you please let them initiate?

We spent Saturday with dear friends down in Kenosha.  We prayed and cried together.  My friend got a few pictures as she prayed for me and they confirmed all of the above.  What is the "one thing" I will seek?  I don't need to search for answers in all these areas, I just need to seek God, worship him.  Spending a day feeling known, was so refreshing.  We also prayed for specific things- one of which was a certain family I have felt very drawn to in praying about caregroups, but who I "knew" weren't open because they said in the early fall they just need to pull back and take time for their family.  I asked God to lead them to initiate if it was HIS will and I even said, "I see us going to their kids games, their kids loving ours, etc., but we can't force ourselves into people's lives."

God in all his mercy, reminded me through my friend on Saturday that sometimes when we it feels most dark, when he feels farthest away because you can't "see him", he has tucked you in the cleft of his rock and covered you with the palm of his hand.  Sometimes if we are in the shadow of his wings, we can't see him , but he is so close.  God assured me, he hasn't gone anywhere.  He renewed me.  He reminded me to fight for intimacy with him, to pursue him, to CHOSE the ONE THING that matters.  To forget all else and focus on the center point- HIM.  He'll take care of the rest of the picture in his good time.

Yet, in his graciousness, they very next day, he gave us another piece of the picture.  He assured me the impressions I had in prayer, that were desires of my heart, WERE in line with where HE was leading. One of the couples we prayed about....the VERY NEXT day (yesterday) mentioned seeking a caregroup with us.  Amazing- they initiated, just as we prayed, but WAIT- that wasn't all.  Would you believe she invited us to her sons basketball game!!!  God didn't have to add that detail.  But he wanted to remind me, he heard ever bit of my prayer- even the part about going to their kids games.  She had no way of knowing that....but God did.  He handed me a little Lover gave me a gift that wouldn't matter to anyone else but because he knows me deeper than I could ever understand myself, he gave a gift that reminded me how very near he is.

Now, I am confident this is only a piece of the puzzle.  But I won't try to figure the rest out, I will wait for the rest of the picture, chosing the ONE THING that matters, I will sit at Jesus feet and serve where HE directs me out of the fullness of his love. I will worship, with all my heart, soul, and mind no matter how comfortable I am, no matter what circumstances I am in, because GOD is GOD.  I will be a Lover who serves and I will FIGHT for intimacy with the Lover of my Soul, whatever it takes, whatever the cost.


  1. It's always such an encouragement to hear God answer prayers so directly. Awesome story.

  2. Note: my feelings are very real to me, but the don't necessarily mean they are a literal interpretation of culture or community here. What I feel is not necessarily indicative of where others are. I know that, God works personally with where I am. I do not think for a minute others are not worshipping or experiencing community or even friends who love me. It takes time to build what we had after 10 years in living in a place and that kind of hit me. I meant it when I said we love living here, we love our church, and love people....just anxious to go deeper with some of these amazing folks and live life together. It takes time to fit into lives that were in full gear before you ever arrived;)

  3. People don't "live life together" here. They are too busy with their own families, jobs etc. Unless you were born and raised here you are never going to be "known." From what quite a few of us see at church, you and your husband have a need to be popular and to have validation for everything you do, (ie this blog and trying to join or run groups etc). There are sooo many people that have kids as close as yours, or live in a big house (your words not anyone elses) have a good job etc.--live for yourself and your family. Perhaps you were the big fish in a little pond but I can assure you are a little fish in a big pond. There is lots of money around here, many affluent families. Don't try so hard. You are young and have sooo much to learn.

    1. I am figuring out how to reply on here. I tried once and it got deleted, then appeared as just a comment. I think I got it now-

      I was just trying to see if you would like to dialogue. It is clear that you are offended and I would love to talk through that with you. Please give me a call.

    2. Anonymous, I'm so sorry for you and for whatever "here" means to you; that is such a sad place. Sad because people are so insular they don't know the people around them and sad because people exclude anyone who wasn't born there. I'm sure if you listen deep down, if you listen as you fall asleep or in some quiet moment when there aren't any other distractions you'll feel the longing to be known that Kim is talking about. We all have it. Some of us just hide it deeper down or are so hurt that the callouses don't let us feel it. Some day when you do hear that little voice in your heart please listen to it and reach out like Kim is talking about doing. If you can find someone who will reach back and "know" you like Kim is talking about you'll never turn back. Having lived life with Marc and Kim in a great period of my life I can assure you now, living life with them is like nothing you've ever experienced --- if you had you would never have written what you wrote.

    3. Ha, I can't think of any definition of "big pond" that would fit Sheboygan. 14 square miles big. 50k people. Only 2 zip codes and one area code. I guess Sheboygan was awarded "Best Places To Raise a Family" ... in 1995. I'm sure Sheboygan is a great town to live in but a "big pond"? Have you been out of the county?

      I don't know anything about your church but I can't imagine what Jesus would say to any churchgoers who denigrated their fellow churchgoers like you just did, especially when all that person did was share their personal feelings.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. It appears you are offended. I would love to dialogue through your hurts or concerns with you. I can do nothing further at this point because I don't know who you are. Please give me a call.

  6. The previous response does not seem to reflect the biblical model for the local church body at all. That is exactly what Christ expects for us; "to be known by our love," to make every effort to be at peace with everyone especially the household of faith," "to encourage one another daily," "to bear one-another's burdens." How do we do these things if we do not "know" each other and are "known?" How unfortunate to say that unless a person is raised here they cannot have meaningful and intimate relationships within our church body. The first century church shared everything in common and "lived life together." They are our model. It is a sad commentary to say that we all need to just take care of our own families, this is just buying into the world's philosophy. Let us rise above that and live biblically, sharing our hurts and struggles and joys with each other, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Not comparing or judging someone's material success to ours, but trusting that God is giving each of us what we need and putting us in the positions of leadership and service within our local body to accomplish his purposes for our church and to serve His kingdom and reach Sheboygan County for Him. Thank you Kim, for sharing honestly what God is teaching you and challenging us all that worship is about God and letting Him take us through highs and lows as a community. Let us all make every effort to interact with each other in a biblical manner and to not let anything come out of our mouth except that which is helpful, for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who will listen Eph. 4:29

  7. Hi Kim - great post, I really appreciate your honesty and openness. You've got to know this but a lot of people (including me) feel that way (even though, or especially because, we don't live in the same "here" as you :-).

    1. Just trying to tie my gmail account to my post. :-)

  8. Kim, I appreciate your honesty! I love the lesson about being a "lover who serves." And I'm encouraged that God's providing community for you.

    We miss Chicago, too. It's been hard living someplace else, but we've gradually found a groove here. I still find that I call some of my old (Chicago) friends first - especially when hard things happen. It takes a while to build up trust with new people.

  9. Brokenness. As a person who has lived in this town most of her life I still feel disconnected. I can go to church on Sunday morning and say hi to so many people, but I'm not close to many of them. I desire to be. But it takes brokenness and vulnerability. Thank you for offering that ;) You are loved and cared for, probably more than you know!