Caught Up and Called Out!

 

Isaiah 6:8

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 6.45.52 PM“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  

Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

 

      Falling off of a cliff or falling from the unforeseen elevations of a skyscraper frequently find their way into the film of my dreams. Prior to July 31, 2012, “heights” were my greatest fear. The sheer thought of soaring 25,000 feet above the ground would send a searing sharpness through my body, rarely allowing the thought of flying to ever cross my mind.

          Then came the planning of the “mini-moon”.   As a former teacher in the public school system and the former husband to a cardiac charge nurse, our vacations, when possible, had to be planned during the summer months. After tying the knot in late May of 2012, Anna and I decided that our “mini” honeymoon was destined for Boston, Massachusetts where my life-long dream of visiting Fenway Park, could finally become a reality.

         Anna, who spent her first five years after graduation as a travel nurse, had no reservations about taking the flight from Charlotte into Boston. For me, however, this meant the forever dread of having to face my unresolved fear of heights. Nonetheless and through the coaxing of her motherly comfort, Anna convinced me that flying was nothing to be afraid of; assuring me that it would be over before I knew it!

        Ain’t it just like the providence of God to place us in a position, wherein, we have misplaced our perceptions in His ability to protect, provide and even, promote?  With a no-money back guarantee on two flight tickets and two center-field seats waiting for us in the splendor of Fenway Park, a gentle persuasion began to assuage the fears that often board the emotions of a first-time flyer.

     I can vividly remember the morning of July 31, 2012, the excitement that my anxious mind eagerly anticipated and the life-changing call that would soon be dialed from Heaven and into my heart.  After packing up, pressing on and passing along our love to baby Cooper, Anna and I trudged through the airport terminal. Upon finding our destined gate, we began boarding the destined chariot that, within two hours, would carry me into a supernatural plane, far above the understanding of my finite fear and into the fold of God’s unfailing favor.

       Praying that the LORD would provide me with a wink from Heaven and shortly following the initial irritation that comes with mild claustrophobia caused by commercial airplanes, a sudden shift in my focus directed me to a young man sitting two seats down from me. Startled by the lack of adult supervision that attached itself to his “solo” boarding status, I introduced myself to him and enthusiastically began to inquire as to “why”.

         Hoping that there was a reasonable explanation for him not having someone with him, I poked and prodded my way through a series of indirect questions; ultimately getting the response that my fearful heart was flying toward:

“I’m not afraid of flying alone. This is actually my second time flying to Boston. There is nothing to be afraid of.”

        Encouraged by his words of wisdom, I sensed the still, small voice in my spirit begin to call out. “Ask him what his name is.”  With little hesitation to recluse from the recommendation of my inner man and now peering into the confidence clearly emitting from the boy’s eyes, I asked, “By the way, what’s your name?”

“Isaiah,” he responded.

 

       Enamored within the presence of the Holy Spirit , the rush of a mighty wind swept through my soul and a caused an uncontrollable “Hallelujah” to be released from deep within and out into the open air around me.  Despite the divine presence that God had enabled me to feel through meeting “Isaiah”, the apex of my first flight experience had not yet been fully reached.

         Not long after the takeoff and shortly following our ascension over the Atlantic Ocean, I reached into my carry-on bag and pulled out my travel-size, study bible. Climbing into a sphere undetected by the human eye, I began to feel my mind, body and soul align itself into a Heavenly union and settle into that sacred place that can only be experienced in the glory of God.

          Unable to approve my own agenda for where I should get my daily bread and with seemingly no authority over the destined devotion to which I would be directed, the writings from Old Testament prophet, Isaiah dove off of the page in front of me and dove twelve miles down into my soul.  Looking through the opened-face fountain that favors those commissioned by the call of Christ, my heart rate increasingly rose, as the cloud of glory that surrounded me enclosed my every thought and every action.

          In fact, outside of my own feeble attempts to explain what took place in my heart that day, no string of words or collection of illustrative pictures have been able to replicate the holiness of what I experienced at 25,000 feet above the ground. Panting as the hart panteth after the brook, I began to thirst desperately for divine plan God had designed for my life.

         Weeping uncontrollably and unrelentingly before the throne in the sixth chapter according to the Book of Isaiah, I staggered through my spirit-drunken state and into the similitude of Isaiah’s throne room experience, somehow shaping together the spiritual snapshots that had been taken up until the entrance into this eternal bliss.

          And no sooner than I had felt the assurance of seeing the unseen face of God, did a familiar voice echo from my left interrupting the celestial vacation my spirit had escaped into and cried out, “Kelly, Kelly. Can you help me”? Alarmed by his immediate need and unaware of what was going on with the frequent, but younger flyer, I switched seats with Anna, took Isaiah’s little hand and began to pray this prayer with him:

“Jesus, I’m not sure what you want me to say, but you told me in Matthew 18: 19-20 that if the two of us shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven, because you promised me that for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Well, Isaiah is asking for help and together we are claiming that you will take care of his every need. 

In JESUS name, AMEN”!

 

      Confident that God would keep his covenant with us and with the descension of our flight into Boston, Massachusetts, leveling off, Isaiah looked over at me and said, “Thank You for praying for me, Kelly. Jesus healed my hearing. Look, my ears aren’t clogged up anymore.”  Unaware that the changing of our flight’s altitude would cause some serious discomfort during our descension, Isaiah’s need for understanding as to “why” brought before me, the bright light of God’s eternal glory.

     While the revelatory experience brought me closer to Boston, Massachusetts, likewise, did the call of God on my life as missionary. Completely oblivious to the changes that would soon take place in my life and in the lives of those around, I humbly surrendered to the call that was knocking at my heart’s door, as I witnessed the wings of divine grace guide us safely onto the destined runway and into the experience of a lifetime.

        With no way of knowing that I had just accepted God’s call on my life as a preacher and with neither of us knowing that our lives would never be the same, Isaiah and I got out of our seats, grabbed our belongings and gathered together to bid our farewells.

      Yet, before I could impart any advice to his journey through Boston, Isaiah,the eight-year-old boy, whose name means Jesus is Salvation, leaned in towards me, looked up and let the voice of God whisper these words of wisdom to me:

“See Kelly. I told you there was nothing to be afraid of.”

 

        

 

 

 

 

The Trash Has Already Been Taken Out!

“The Trash Has Already Been Taken Out!”

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.30.52 PMEzekiel 11: 19-20

In the fall of 2013, while visiting with a friend in whom I had become quite fond of, I elected in taking up the liberties of “taking out” her trash.  Fixated on fixing her waste management issue and completely impairing my own awareness to the implications of what could go wrong, I immediately offered my not-so-handy services to her.  

Keenly unaware of the voluminous amount of matter inhabiting the trash bag and with no sense of what was about to happen, I tightly twisted the 13-gallon bag and gave no thought to the thin lining that was keeping all the trash on “inside” from spilling “out” all over the floor.

Rather, the human instinct we commonly refer to as impulsivity, had already intercepted any chance of me thinking twice about “helping” her out.  Not to mention, my masculinity was on the line and restricted any resistance of me not responding to the task at hand. 

But, let’s be honest, who can ever appreciate getting “cleaned up” before understanding first, the catastrophic chaos that comes with being in the middle of a big mess? And not until the aftermath of the mess that was to come, did any subsequent, spiritual truth spill out.

In a “rush” to check “trash” off of the chore list, I carelessly removed the twist tied container and with no caution to the principle of cause and effect, lifted the bag out of the trashcan and tossed it over my shoulder.  As I began my journey through the kitchen and out of the house, the bag busted, belligerently billowing its waste on the swept and freshly shined floor. 

Fumbling through the frustrating force that often accompanies having to clean up a mess, I felt a familiar sense of wonder flood over my spirit, foreshadowing a future event that would soon fasten my eyes to the unfailing favor that God’s forgiveness shows us throughout our lives. 

During the latter portion of my last resource class the next day, two students quarreling over a trivial matter and unaware of my inquisition to the unseen truth, brought before the classroom judge, an unsettled “trial”.

On the docket appeared wrong and right, guilty and innocent and sentenced, but soon-to-be, set-free.

After settling the matter between the two 2nd graders, one of the students persistently pursued pardon for his remark towards the other boy.  I vocalized to this individual that his plea had been stated, solidified and sealed in the forgiveness of the “defendant.” 

Through a collective countenance and a consoled comfort now streaming from his voice, the second grade boy then replied with these words:

“You mean, like the phrase, 

“The trash has already been taken out?”

 

Moments after hearing this spoken word, Ezekiel 11: 19-20 poured into my spirit, reminding me of the redeeming and restoring resolution we have in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and will give them a heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statues, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

All we have to do is admit that we’re completely incapable of taking out our own trash, believe that Jesus has the power to take it out and choose to let Him! 

Truth be told, Jesus doesn’t desire to just take our “trash” out; He’s devoted to taking the miry mess of our every struggle and transforming it into a message of mercy, hope, faith and love!

Has your “trash” been taken out, today?