Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This is going to hurt

This next guest post is from Marla Taviano, whom I love, and with whom I might just have been separated from at birth. Because I could have written almost exactly these words.

I like to be comfortable. I also like to be in control. And while we're at it, I like attention, I want everybody to like me, and I have a great big temper.

Shoot. Why stop now when I'm on a roll? I hardly ever clean my bathrooms. When I feed my family, I sacrifice healthy for cheap. I can be awfully critical. I'm pretty sure I'm almost always right. I have an aversion to the PTA. And I spend hours reading (or napping) on my bed while my kiddos fend for themselves (and watch entire seasons of Full House and Punky Brewster).

And believe me, you're not hearing the half of it (I want people to like me, remember?).

But here's the good news.

I've discovered that God is so big he can work around (and with!) all my crap and still use me anyway. I'm blown away really by how he wields his magic with my weaknesses and total blew-its to somehow get himself some glory. A lot of glory.

It's craziness.

And there's more good news.

I can't quite put a finger on it, but he's been working on my heart BIG TIME lately. See, I've always kind of secretly thought God might have big plans for my life. I mean, let's be real here. I'm smart and funny and write books and have cute kids. It'd be kind of a waste for him not to make something big out of it all, right? (Are you rolling your eyes? You should totally be rolling your eyes.)

So yeah, big, big dreams that all revolve around me and me and ME, ME, ME.

It took 34 long years, but I've finally connected enough of the dots to realize that my perpetual self-centeredness is waaaay off base. God does have big plans. And he's including me in them. But they're HIS big plans and they're for HIM. Happily, I get to come along for the ride.

And what a ride it is. It's fast (except when it's slow). And it's bumpy. And jerky. And is even giving me bruises. A bunch of big, ugly bruises.

Here's the deal. Back in July, my husband Gabe and I spent 10 days in Cambodia (a little country in SE Asia that borders Vietnam and Thailand). It rocked my world, y'all (and no, I'm not from the South, but my beautiful southern bloggy friends have totally sucked me in to mooching their jargon).

Cambodia. Rocked. My. World.

I saw poverty that made my heart ache. I met people and heard stories that ripped my heart in two. At one point, I sat in a renovated building that had once been a child brothel and bawled my eyes out. The new building was beautiful, but the workers had left a reminder of what had been.

Stall #9. An ugly cement structure barely big enough to walk around in. A bed made of slats of wood where a little girl (as young as 5) would stay chained until it was time for her to be used again. As many as 40 times a day.

My girls are 9, 8 and 4. I bawled.

We spent hours and hours with 20 beautiful, rescued children in an orphanage (that our church in Columbus, OH supports). As I held those darling, happy little girls on my lap and hugged their necks, I choked back tears as I thought of what their fate might have been. Would have been.

And this is just one tiny corner of our big, huge world. There is sooooooo much need.

It can't be about me anymore.

It has to be about GOD. And the precious people all across the globe that need him-and food, shelter, love, protection and hope-so desperately.

And it's high time I sacrificed my comfort and control and my "need" for attention and popularity in order that others might have a chance at life and hope.

God is chipping away at my heart. And it hurts and feels really, really good all at the same time. There's way too much to fit into a cute little guest post, and I've been slowly working through some of it over at my blog, but God is yanking on me. And I'm moving. Sure I've got a loooooong way to go, but I can already look back and see a trail of where I've been.

How about you? Are you wondering if maybe there's more to your life than just YOU? Do you think maybe God might have some (or a lot of) work he could do on your heart? But maybe you don't even know where to begin?

I have a place for you to begin.

A bunch of us are going to be reading through David Platt's book, Radical, in September and October. I've read it twice in the past month, and it's eating me alive.

You should totally read it with us. It'll hurt (and that's a promise), but it'll feel really, really good too.

Please allow me to cordially and giddily invite you to join us for our Radical Read-Along. We would simply LOVE to have you! Come over here for all the details about how to join us!

And I'd love to hear how God has been chipping away at your heart lately if you're up for sharing.

Thanks for having me, Missy! I love you, beautiful girl!


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