Monday, June 28, 2010
I See You!....
Last week was the annual Difference Makers Church F.U.S.E ministry (middle school/high school) camp and I was blessed enough to be a leader. My brother, Kirk and his wifey Dana run the F.U.S.E. ministry, and they are simply.....amazing. To say the least. This was my first camp ever. I never went to camp as a kid, so this was an amazing experience for me. So much happened that I don't even know where to begin. I feel like I've been in a cloud of wow! since I left camp last week. One thing that I want to share is something that I feel like God is not only saying to me, but to everyone.
The first night of camp as everyone is singing, dancing, and worshiping God...I look out over all the kids and leaders, and I see Pastor Clark's littlest girl, Anna, walk up onto the stage where her Daddy is standing and the worship team is playing. She is the cutest, sweetest, prettiest little angel. She is, I believe, around 5 years old. As she climbs up on the stage in front of the entire crowd, she just starts dancing. She is slowly dancing like no one is around. Occasionally she would stop dancing, but only to look up at her Daddy and make sure he was watching. If he wasn't, she would gently tug on his pants leg.
I remember so many times as a little girl that I would do the same thing. I wanted to be in the center of everything. I wanted to be seen. Throughout my life and even now, I still just....want to be seen. I know it's not just me that feels this way, but something about seeing Anna doing the same thing I used to do and would still do....just spoke to me.
In Mathew 18 Jesus tells us that we have to be like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It was in that moment, seeing Anna dancing so carefree like she typically does, that I first really understood what that meant. Anna has no problem what-so-ever climbing past all of the people that were worshiping and singing, and going straight up to her Daddy and make sure that he sees her. There is no fear of rejection. There is no fear of embarrassment. There is no question as to whether or not her Daddy sees her and finds her precious. There is not even a moments thought about getting right in her Father's face and dancing for him.
While I watched Anna's face light up as she danced around her Daddy. I felt God say to me..."I see you". Three simple words....but life changing words. Isn't that what we all want? Deep down....or not so deep down? Don't we just want to be seen? God wanted me to know, that He sees me....and that what He sees....He adores and loves more than words can express.
Our relationships with our father's are so special and unique...whether you're a man or a woman. I kept trying to write a blog on Father's Day about my Dad, but I just couldn't do it. For some reason nothing I wrote seemed to be right, because I just couldn't find the words to express the complex yet simple relationship I have with my father. Some of my most vivid and favorite memories are of the times as a kid, teenager, and adult that I have spend just me and my dad. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in this big purple velvet chair in the living room beside my dad as he rocked back and forth in his LaZBoy. He always has to be rocking. (Kirk and I do too). We were watching Charlton Heston play Moses in The Ten Commandments. We stayed up until 2am just talking about life, God, the universe....anything and everything I could fit into that time with him. I would have kept him up for days on end just to get the chance to see his eyes light up as he excitedly explained my many inquiries. My dad was and is a captivating speaker and teacher. That is why Kirk is such a natural and amazing preacher and teacher....he gets it from his dad. Of course we all have special and unique relationships with our mother's as well, but the relationship with our father is so very important. Mainly...as we see all over the world....we don't have a huge problem with motherlessness.....but we do have a huge problem with fatherlessness. When you don't have a father or father figure in your life to give you the approval, pride, encouragement, and discipline that you need....you will look for it elsewhere. And if that elsewhere isn't God....then you will be let down and empty every time.
We want our father's approval. We want him to see us. We want him to be proud of us. We want him to empower and encourage us.
When I saw Anna up on stage, totally confident and comfortable in the fact that she is "seen"....she is precious....she is beautiful....she is loved.....she is approved of....she is wanted....she is lovely....it just made my heart swell with both joy and sadness. Joy - because this is how God sees each and every one of us when we boldly pursue Him and dance for joy in His presence in full confidence that He finds us all-together lovely. Sadness - because one of the big reasons there is so much hurt and pain in the world is because people just don't know their Father. Even Christians. Even me. They don't know that they are lovely and perfect in His eyes......and that He sees them. Really really sees them.
My mom's favorite part of the movie Avatar is when they "I see you" to each other. But, it's not just your average "seeing" that they are talking about in the movie. It's more like how Namaste means, "the God in me, sees the God in you". The Creator of the universe, Who knew you before the world was created, Who knit you together in your mother's womb.....sees you....whether you see Him or not. He not only sees us physically, but He "sees" our hearts, our souls, our thoughts, our everything. There is nothing we can hide from God....and just like Pastor Clark said.....He ain't afraid of our stinky ol' sin. Jesus already died for our sins whether you want to accept it or not. Jesus isn't afraid to come into your life, wherever you are.....and meet you there. He already beat sin. He is God. So, why would any sin you could commit be anything He couldn't forgive and erase....if only you ask. He can "see" you when you are your prettiest, and He can "see" you when you are your ugliest. And either way....He loves you just the same.
As I spent some time with these middle school and high school girls I learned A LOT. I learned some cool new handshakes. I learned not to get in a food fight with kids that can run faster than you. I learned that the cool new fashion statement among the tweens are fun shaped rubber bands that you wear on your arm. I learned that asking teenage girls to not use their cell phones and....GASP....not text...is the equivalent of having your entire life taken from you and tossed into the raging sea never to be seen again. But one thing kept coming into my mind as the week went on. These kids...want so badly....to be SEEN. The girls want to be seen by the boys as attractive. They want to be the one that a guy picks out of all the other girls. The boys want the girls to think they're tough and cool. They want to be the one that a girl picks out of all the other guys. The girls want the other girls to look at them and approve of them. The boys want the guys to look at them and think they are tough and cool. This doesn't change as we get older. When we walk into a room, don't we just wish that someone in there is looking at us...seeing us? Why do we spend so much money on clothes, new technology, cool cars? It's because we want to stand out and be seen. But this crazy race to have all the cool stuff....unfortunately....makes you just like everyone else. You're bling....well....it blends. (That was the most uncool way possible for me to relay that message....I love irony). What really stands out???? A rebel. A rebel goes against the status quo. A rebel does their own thing even when others don't agree or like it. If you really want to be impressive, you have to stand up for what's right when the rest of the world is telling you to sit down. This is hard for me. I know what's right....but I don't always do it. I get so frustrated with myself. But the truth is....even though this is hard to say....I would rather be alone than compromise myself, my beliefs, or my God. And THAT....is something that God LOVES to see. And He's the only one that matters.
But if we really knew, deep in our souls, woven into our fabric like cloth, that God sees us just as we are, and thinks that we are perfect and beautiful and strong and COOL and amazing.....would we still kill ourselves with eating disorders, addictions, and all manner of other things that lead to more emptiness, destruction and death? The devil is a liar....and one of his biggest lies is that we aren't lovely, perfect, and amazing in God's eyes. He wants us to live in guilt and shame...always looking for the next way to fit in to the world's idea of beauty, cool, tough, funny, etc. This is something that I struggle with all the time. I want to live my life for God, but....some people may not think that is cool. So I try to fit God into my life, which is worldly, instead of living my life for God despite being surrounded by things of this world. I want to believe that I am beautiful and desirable without my makeup and without losing 10 pounds, but most times I lose that argument with myself and bend to the pressure to "look" a certain way.
As free as I am in my life, I still struggle with pushing my way to center stage, with my Father, full of confidence, to dance and sing. I pray that God continue to show me, and all of us, our true beauty that can only be found in living your life for Jesus. Cause I don't know about you all, but I can't stand another second of feeling like my Daddy can't see me....I think I'll pull on his pants leg....