Sunday, October 14, 2007

Papa called me into his office this morning to show me a splendid surprise: a picture of Jonathan Heston and Chloe Maddux—engaged! I did a little dance and haven’t stopped grinning all day. Two years ago, Chloe and Hannah told me they expected to see me married with kids in two years, and figured they’d be single forever, since I knew so many guys and they knew none. Now they’ve both got me beat. And Chloe was having such a hard time with leaving for Mozambique, especially after Hannah got married. I know Jonathan will treasure her, too, as she deserves.

The cavalcade of foreign feelings that attacked me was not exactly what I had expected. I’ve never had to fight these emotions before. I’ve been so harsh to girl friends who were roller-coasting on feminine emotions, who were jealous of happy couples, or who fell in love before the right time and now I’m here. Twenty years old and I’m finally here, finally one hundred percent woman, with shifty, unstable emotions. And I want to take myself out in the woods and whip myself, because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to return to logical oblivion, where I always felt like I said I did, and my heart never exploded due to weird chemical combinations—like love and irritation, fascination and disgust, ecstasy and depression, joy and loneliness. My logic and emotion have become a miserable concoction to drink.

When I sat down to write, I wasn’t going to spill my guts like that. I was going to tell about Jonathan and Chloe and how happy I am for them, which is completely honest. Just not the whole part of what’s going on in my heart. And I was going to tell about the rest of what had me pumped today.

We had another good meeting with the S Family and Nick. Afterward Lin N came over (by my invitation) with Josh Potts. Every day I love that girl more. She mentioned that she’d like to come visit our church meeting next Sunday. We’ve set up some guidelines for who is welcome in our fellowship, and decided that they’d be screened by Papa and Don. She was very nervous when we headed in to talk to them, partly because her testimony isn’t a pretty one (really it’s beautiful by God’s grace), and partly because the idea of being “cross-examined” is intimidating. She passed with flying colors. She brought Papa and I to tears with her, as she shared how God had become her father, since her own had deserted her. And she soaked up the Bible discussion and teaching from Don and Papa afterward.

The enormity of spiritual orphans has to be America’s greatest tragedy ever.

Toward the end of our discussion with her, Josh and Josiah and Nick came in and joined us and Don shared his testimony again with all of us. Lindsey was very encouraged, and Josh was convicted. He began quizzing Don about the “tests” for salvation and Don shared those with him and began challenging him. We had some excellent discussion and challenges about the fruit of the Spirit versus the fruits of the flesh, and how to feed the Spirit instead of the flesh.

My heart burned within me as I sat there, listening, sharing and being convicted. I know I have invested so much time and energy over the past few days, weeks, months and years in feeding my flesh. I’m constantly undermining my conscience and the Holy Spirit. I’m such a hypocrite—such a pretender! I can talk the talk, walk the walk, sit the sit and smile the smile, but my desires are so base, my prayers so selfish, my thoughts so unholy!

I spend so little time seeking the Lord. I spend so little time in His word. I am so deceptive, I’ve even deceived myself into believing that I am a holy person, when I am wholly devoted to pleasing myself. When I am wholly bent on gratifying and glorifying myself. When I am wholly aware of everyone else’s faults and quick to criticize and point the finger.

Tonight, as on many occasions before, I desire to bow before the Lord in repentance and shame, to surrender my goals, my passions, my hopes, my pleasures, my daydreams, my body, soul and spirit before Him to use as He sees fit.

Lord, pretending falls away

There’s little else that I can say

Because Thou sees behind the face

To know what idols have replaced.

And I can only bow before Thee

Shamed and empty, stained, unholy

Begging Thee to break, then fill me

Since I’m helpless else to please Thee.

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