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October 08, 2008

Yesterday's Clothes...

JordanAngieDirtbike

Greetings, Dear Friends,



And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Before I get into my topic, I have a little business to take care of. Each month I give away a $10.00 Caribou Coffee gift card to someone who posts on my blog (although my son thinks I should switch to Starbucks. What do you think?). 

Leave a comment; share your heart; you might win a couple of cups of java!

The picture above is of my son and his girlfriend after a time of dirt biking. I think it's adorable. It doesn't exactly fit my topic but sort of. 

Now on to my topic...

Last weekend I spoke at the beautiful Camp Lebanon in Upsula, Minnesota where two hundred women gathered to meet with God. It was a glorious weekend. 

But something troubled me...

Though my messages went well and women seemed to track with me, I felt something was blocking God's blessings for these women. It's one thing to hear a nice message, it's another thing to be transformed by the very presence of God.

Each night at bedtime, I curled up in a ball, hugged my pillow, and prayed. I prayed for the women and their precious hearts. I prayed for myself, that I might be a reliable messenger. I asked God to please show me if I was missing anything. Anything.

In addition to speaking at the main sessions, I offered to lead a Power Walk and teach a Power Stretch class. We had a great time together.

Sunday morning I prayed in the shower; I prayed while blow drying my hair; and I prayed as I put my clothes on for the day. I prayed that God would speak to me and through me.

I grabbed my socks off the floor and put them on my feet. They weren't especially clean. Okay, they were dirty. The Power Walk had taken its toll on my little white socks. But no one would see them under my black boots, right?

The whisper across my heart surprised me, "You might want to put on some clean socks." 

Huh? 

I prayed that profound prayer again, "Huh?" 

The Lord continued speaking to my heart, "You might want to put on some clean socks because you'll be removing your shoes in the service today. I want you to ask everyone to remove their shoes this morning because they are on holy ground. This is the Sabbath day and it's to be regarded as holy. These are My beloved Ones and they need to see themselves that way. My call is profoundly high and all need to consider it so. Re-establish the fact that I am a Holy God and you are My people." 

My knees were instantly weak and my eyes welled up with tears. 

I bowed my head and prayed. I committed the morning to the Lord, and I went and found the worship leader. I asked her to add a certain song to her list. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face. She asked, "Are you okay? Do you feel sick?" 

I replied, "God has something special for these women this morning and I don't want even one of them to miss it." 

The worship was powerful and the stage was set. 

When the time came for me to take the stage, I was all choked up. I shared what the Lord had shown me that morning. I added, "God's arms are full of things He intended to give you this weekend. Some of you run the risk of leaving this place without ever receiving what He has offered; maybe it's because of a hardness of heart; maybe because of unbelief. But I ask you to humble yourself. Look up. Open your hands. Receive what He so lovingly wants to give. All too often we wear yesterday's dirty rags when daily, God offers new mercies to us. He has a new thing for you today. Receive it." 

Women responded right away. 

I put on a beautiful song and with the lights down, we took off our shoes. Many kneeled to the ground. Quiet sobs of repentance erupted. The room became a sanctuary.

Many women came forward and received the prayer and encouragement they so desperately needed. 

Something broke loose that morning and we were all so blessed to be there. 

You know, without even thinking about it, many of us put on yesterday's rags. The rags of sameness, of doubt, of unbelief, or cynicism. 

But what about expectancy? What about hope? What about God's promise to do a new thing in our midst?

In this world we are promised to have troubles. But we're also promised overwhelming victory. Overwhelming. Victory. 

No circumstance can keep us from a fruitful, powerful, thriving life. 

But our own unbelief can.

Dear Lord, 
Forgive us for the countless times we've picked up our dirty socks and put them on our feet without even thinking about it. May we remember anew each day that the earth is Yours and everything in it! May we embrace today, that You've offered fresh mercies and new garments to Your people. May we slow down long enough to receive the peace and the comfort You so willingly offer us. And forgive us for the many times we've treated holy opportunities as common, everyday occurrences. You are everywhere. And we matter to You. What a privilege it is to be linked in fellowship with You. May we never take that for granted. Thank You for Your great and unexplainable love. Amen.

Here's to new days and new garments of praise!

Until next week~


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Comments

Dear Tena,

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. We did have a great time that weekend, no?

May God continue to bless and overwhelm you with His presence. And I love that you quoted C.S. Lewis (he's my son's favorite).
Blessings to you!

Susie,
I was there at Camp Lebanon!!! and yes it was a powerful time, my friend and I had a wonderful time of prayer and forgiveness. Thank you for being a listener, and hearing from Abba what His heart was for our time that Sunday morning. I was so blessed to hear your story, and know that as I am in the middle of a tough journey, there is an end to this stage, as God brings needed inner healing.
Late in 2008,I was struck full force with the truth of "by His stripes we are healed", that Jesus suffered to be our healer. All that was required for our forgiveness and redemption was the death of the spotless Lamb, not the suffering. When a perfect animal was brought to be offered for sin, it was never taken and tortured before its life was taken. SO...because He knows suffering, He is my Healer. And as Screwtape (C.S. Lewis)wrote His incarnation is the "abominable advantage" that Jesus has over the Enemy of our souls.
Hallelujah! tena

Dear Linda,

Wow, what a beautiful way to expound on what happened on the retreat. He is our rock, our refuge, our protection, and our provider. He's our safest place and our most beautiful thought. Awesome. :)

Bless you~

Dear Katie,

Bless your heart and thanks for sharing what God showed you long ago!

I was so honored to pray with you at the retreat. God's grace is all over you!
Bless you, sister~

Dear Rebecca,

I'm so encouraged and blessed that you were able to share the post with your friends. I love that!
Thanks for being such a faithful messenger of God's grace!
Blessings to you!

Dear Aimee,

Your post meant to so much to me, and wouldn't you know it, it came at a time when I got buried under a pile of emails! I've been slowing digging my way out and it's good to see the light from under the pile! It's a tough one, I care so much about connecting with people along the way, but it's getting to a point that I haven't been able to do my work because I'm spending so much time replying to email. Something's got to give! :) Please pray for me as I work hard at doing the highest and best thing God calls me to do each day.
Bless you!

Teresa,
A foster parent? That's amazing! Many years ago we prayed about that as well. God had different plans for us but I sure do hope it works out for you. Such a need out there. May God make your way clear. Peace to you and yours~

Dear Casey,
Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm thankful you were blessed by the post. I love it when God leads us to breakthroughs and better places. Peace to you!

Your blog today was very touching. I had tears in my eyes reading how powerful God can be. He gave you the sense of how something was being blocked and helped you to spread his Holiness on that Sunday! I appreciate these blogs and the comments from others as they are also very touching and powerful.

Susie,
thank you for sharing this! I was really touched by the "sameness" comment at the end. I had just heard a sermon about Peter and how we need to step out of the boat and this totally confirmed this to me. I've been thinking about looking into being a foster parent for a long time, but hadn't pursued it because it was out of my comfort zone. Thank you for this message about God wanting us to not wear yesterday's clothes.

Thank you, Susie, for your recent e-mail with the suggestion to look at this blog entry, "Yesterday's Clothes..."

"The room became a sanctuary." I read these words and my eyes teared up... a sanctuary... not just a "holy place" where we meet God but also "a place of refuge and protection"... in the Presence of the Lord... protected from the world... from evil... from being called and pulled in different directions away from the Lord and His good and loving plans for us and those whose lives we touch in His name.

The Lord protects us and delivers us from evil. The Lord refreshes us and restores our souls! We can live in sanctuary with Him!!! Praise the Lord!

Thanks for the reminder, Susie!

In Christ,
Linda

Hi! I was there that morning at Camp Lebanon. I know the power of that morning and the precious anointing God granted us all that day. I have been looked at very strange for years because God spoke that same message to me. To remove my shoes when I am in His Holy presence of praise and worship. This is Holy Ground, and I have not faltered since. It was amazing for another to hear the same call that I have listened to for over 10 years and have everyone know and understand the walls that come down when we worship, in preparation for His presence, by making where ever we are Holy Ground. Thank you for listening to His call that day. In His love, Katie (the gal with the walker you prayed with)

Hi Susie! I shared this message with my Tuesday morning bible study gals. We are studying humilty and this fit so perfectly! Many women told me they were blessed by it. Praise God!! Grace and peace~ Becca

Susie - I love it that you write back to each person that writes a comment. Thanks for not just writing this blog, but for caring about those of us that read it:)

Dear I.A.B.,

Starbucks, it is!

I'll be in San Diego for a speaking engagement in a couple of weeks. Can't wait!
Blessings~

Dear I.A.B.,

You are such a brave woman! Thank you so very much for sharing your story and your heart the way you did. Wow. I'm amazed once again by the power of love and humility. There's such great access to God's precious promises when we are willing to humble ourselves under His mighty hand.
Bless you, dear one!

p.s. Huh? Caribou?? In southern Cal. there is no such thing as Caribou, so if those are the choices I have to put my vote in for Starbucks. I'll put in a plug for my personal favorite: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf!!
love a committed believer that God loves us girlfriends that speak of His goodness over coffee!
I.A.B

I just wanted to say that God still does speak so clearly, and not just in the Bible! I want to relay to you how amazingly God used the words in your book: Alone In Marriage to guide, grow, and bless me.
As a friend prayed for me on the phone the other night, God immediately, and very clearly, gave me the peace and confidence to speak with my husband. All day I had been feeling unable to approach him, and resentful over feeling silenced by my fear and blaming him while knowing it was my own doing.

I got off the phone and knew I was to obey to God's calling to go speak to my husband. As soon as I thought that, God added that I needed to apologize to him. Okay, that's NOT exactly what I had in mind! So God brought you, Susie Larson, to mind, and how you wrote in your Alone In Marriage book about a time God told you to apologize to your husband. You also felt like you should be the one on the receiving end of an apology, but you obeyed God and apologized for committing the greater offense of "letting your love grow cold." God caused healing in your relationship thru your obedience to God.

So, much in the same fashion, I asked my husband if I could have a moment with him. I apologized to him, explaining that God had pointed something out to me about my behavior today (and last night). I said that although I was hurt by his actions from the night before, yet God had shown me that I had committed the greater offense by withdrawing my love that day. I allowed myself to pull away, withdraw my love, and let the beginning roots of bitterness to form, instead of dealing with it together with my husband. My husband, on the other hand, had not intentionally set out to hurt me by his actions. I know that I offend my Lord when He freely gives His love and then I turn around and choose to nurture my hurt, angry feelings instead of passing on the love and forgiveness that I receive from God. I confessed to my husband that I had committed the greater sin/offense by intentionally withholding my love, and I felt led by God to apologize and ask for forgiveness from both God and him (my husband).

Well, let's just say that God is still in the busness of healing relationships that we give over to Him. My husband had a soft heart, a miracle in and of itself, and he even apologized for his stuff as well. Unbelievable!! I've never felt convicted to do that before, but I knew that the enemy would use the "funk" I was in that day to derail me if I didn't take care of it soon. I couldn't seem to bring myself to do, that is, until my friend was praying for me (and she wasn't even praying for my marriage!). Amazing how prayer can lay on our hearts what God's will is.

God used your words, Susie, to speak His will for me. Thank you for being available to be used by God.

In His Love,
I.A.B.

Rebecca,

What a faithful prayer warrior you are! Thank you so much for thinking of us last week. Our fruit is your fruit! May God pour out on you what we received!
Thank you so much again. :)

Dear MarLo,

Thanks so much for your post! And you are right, God always has a plan, doesn't He? Any time I can be with the Hearts gang, I love it, but this one was booked something like two years ago. Even so, I'll see you all in November.
Blessings to you!

Hi Aimee,

I loved your post. 'We need to listen closely during those 'huh?' moments.'
Indeed.
Thanks for sharing your thoughtful words.

Anna,

You should win the Starbucks card just for using such a cool word in your post!
Ha!
And with regard to my sons, truly I'm the blessed one to have them. They are priceless to me.
Bless you~

Jeannie,
You didn't know you were praying profoundly but you were! Although, knowing you, I doubt you've ever said, "Huh?" You're more of a, "I'm sorry, what was that you were saying?" :)
It would be great if some of you rubbed off on me.
Bless you, friend.

Wow Susie! I've heard you speak and I've been to Camp Lebanon. As I read this post I was right there with you! What an awesome experience for you and those women. I wish I could've been there! Thanks for sharing it with us and contiuing to bless us in the reminder that we serve a GREAT God and that we can shine for him if we listen closely to those whispers and those "huh?" moments. God bless you.

Thanks, as always, for posting, Susie: your son is blessed to have a Godly Mama such as you!
And I'm afraid I have to agree with him on the Starbucks: I don't necessarily want to, but the closest Caribou location is 2 hours from here so Starbucks seems to be a more ubiquitous location for us all :-)

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