I've Seen I AM

And now I know who I am. 

Have you ever known who you are? Like really known and then been ok with to the point of celebrating that knowledge?

I came away from Focus Leadership Institute this fall more sure of myself and who I was in the Lord than I have ever been in my life. It was a holy confidence with a byproduct of peace that emanated from every fiber of my being.  I knew who was in the Lord. I knew what He had done for me and in me – because I had SEEN I AM. I spent time in His presence where the description goes beyond words. I was beginning to know and see the person He made me to be. I didn’t know where life was going to take me, but I knew the God that would take me through it.

That was 100 long days ago.

Somewhere during the last few months the peace in my heart began to erode away. I was a very changed person walking in the shoes of my old life – same apartment, same job, same church and same circle of friends. Nothing there had changed and yet I had. I didn’t see life the same way anymore.

Have you seen I AM? The Lion of Judah?

The way in which the Lord met me in Colorado shook me to the core because I saw aspects of His character that I came to know and love in the Lion.  C.S. Lewis called him Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia. Like Eustace of those stories, Aslan stripped a lot of layers off of me. It was painful. It was real. It was worth it! As the layers of Katie fell off, I was left with nothing but the raw realness of who He made me to be. I understood in a tangible way that His thoughts were higher than mine, that His words were deeper than mine and His love was stronger than mine. It is no sacrifice to serve Him!

Yes it is painful to be stripped bare and laid broken – but the true healing on the other side and the understanding of more of who He is – nothing compares to that. What thing in this life with any great worth is easy? The beautiful thing with brokenness is that when we are broken the only thing that remains is Him.

Jonathan Helser wrote a song that best describes this time of my life:

I looked into the eyes of a lion
Felt the courage in his gaze
I heard him roar my name with passion
As I buried my tears in his mane

I looked into the eyes of a lamb
I saw love face to face
I felt grace destroy my sin
As mercy flowed from his veins

I’ve seen I AM, now I know that I am loved
I’ve seen I AM, now I know who I am

I knew who I was because I knew HIM. I saw I AM. I didn’t define my life. He did. The only problem is every day since I have been back to NY I wake up longing to see the Lion. I have searched for Him, wept with longing to know Him in that way again. Do I know why He has been hiding in the shadows? No. But I trust Him still. 

The thing with seeing I AM is you can never go back. You know that you know that you know that He is real.  And once you have let Him strip the layers away, a casual relationship with Him is a useless waste of time.  There is no room in life for complacency or mediocrity. Five minutes of scripture and prayer in the morning doesn’t cut it. Every fiber of your being longs for Him with such intensity that nothing else matters.

Several weeks ago I went to NYC and took a picture with the Statue of Liberty. Walking down a grey street in Manhattan on the way home a verse from Galatians 5 went through my head about liberty: “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm therefore…” Was this why I hadn’t seen I AM? Was I letting those layers build back up? Hiding the real, raw me? Had I let the familiar surroundings of my old life choke out the new me? I had. It was in that moment on 42nd street I felt the Lion’s presence. I went back into the hotel and wept.  He hadn’t stayed in Colorado while I had moved on. He was with me.

I don’t know how often I will feel His presence that deeply in my life. But I will look, wait and long for it. If it means being broken – then I will be broken.  If it means that will be restless until I rest in Him, I’m ok with that too. This agony in hungering for Him is worth the taste of His presence.  The more I long to see Him the more I realize how much more there is to see!

Rich Mullins wrote “If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You will see me through… If I weep let it be as a man longing for his home.” I weep longing for my home. When you encounter I AM this way it is hard to describe. You can’t fully put it into words; the work is too deep. But I can say I want to go home, and I want you to come with me. If you don’t long for home, don’t know who you are, or haven’t seen I AM – please ask the Lion to reveal Himself to you.

“Is He a tame Lion?”

 “No, but He is good.”

“Your real, new self…. will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him” C.S. Lewis

Perception

As the sound of tires leaving the driveway faded into the distance I turned to survey my kitchen. Mounds of dirty dishes and leftovers scattered everywhere left tell tale signs of a crazy weekend and a large pizza and movie night. With a deep sigh of contentment I turned to the sink and mumbled something about how I loved washing my dishes.


A loud gasp pulled me from my thoughts “You LOVE doing dishes? What’s wrong with you?!?” My 14-year-old sister who was spending the night with me looked at me in aghast, horror. How could someone possibly love doing dishes?

In an instance I flashed back 10 years to growing up on the farm as the oldest of the then 10 children. We didn’t have a dishwasher but at least we had running water and I didn't have to pump it by hand. I’ve doing dishes since I was old enough to fight with my younger brother over which stool we were going to use to reach the sink to do the dishes.

Dishes were THE bane of my existence at 14. I hated that chore with everything in me. It was my turn to look at my sister in surprise. How much my perception has changed in 10 years!

My world was so small the simple task of a mound of dishes had the power to make or break my day and world then. My world got a lot bigger in the last few years. I’ve seen heartbreak and hardship, evil and pain. But I’ve also seen the Lord’s provision, faithfulness, mercy and love.  Because of the chaos of life, the simple act of cleaning dishes is a small joy for me now. In a way - restoring order to the chaos of the kitchen brings security and pleasure.

What a change of perception. The same chore and the same mess - yet what a different feeling and way of seeing them. I couldn’t help but wonder, will the problems in my life today that drive me crazy and make or break the kind of day I’m having, still be there in another 10 years? Or will these perceived problems bring pleasure and peace?

Of late, I have been praying for a “heavenly perspective” in my life. I want to see life as the Lord sees it. I know I’ll live life differently when I do! Ephesians 3:17a says “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” What would it mean to grasp the love of Christ? What a perception change and action change that would be! The ‘grasp’ here is transliterated from the Greek word ‘katalambano’ meaning to obtain, attain, take hold of; seize, or overtake. What would it mean in my life, in your life, to obtain and attain the meaning of Christ’s love in our lives? To seize the love He offers? Not just in comprehending that love, but acting on it. To take hold of the opportunities to love, serve and minister to others that love would provide?

I’m currently helping as the assistant costumer for a large drama production of The Miracle Worker*, a story of the early life of Helen Keller - a girl blind and deaf from shortly after her birth. Through the persistent love of a teacher Helen learns to grasp how deep, long, high and wide the world is through sign language. Her perception changes, as language becomes her vision with which she can see the world.

I want the Lord to become my vision with which I see the world. How often do we all stumble around in our little worlds, trapped by the darkness of our problems because we are too stubborn to let Him be our vision and perspective?

Oh that we may grasp His purpose, vision perspective and meaning in our little worlds.  I worry about finances, school, and direction for my life – while across the world people are shattered from an earthquake, facing death, lack of shelter, food, radiation poisoning and more… How small my problems are!  There is a dying world out there and we are too wrapped up in us to see it. His perspective has the power to restore peace to chaos, meaning to discouragement, hope to despair, and dishes into a meeting place with Him.
Be thou my Vision oh Lord of my heart!



* The Miracle Worker - Performed at Family Life, March 10-19, 2011
** Photo Credits - Christine Britten

Call it Out

Several months ago I met a man named Jason*. He made a lasting impact and drew out the best in me without trying. Jason was a gentleman to the core; with full hands he opened doors and I never walked behind him - always in front or beside him. His respect for others and love for Jesus emanated in everything he did. Yes, Jason’s words reflected his love for the Lord, but his actions made the impact because he was living out who the Lord made him to be .

 By the end of the evening, I wanted to be more feminine and I desired to have a greater love for the Lord.  Why? Because in walking rightly before the Lord, Jason couldn’t help but call out the best in me. A brother in Christ without trying, called out and challenged this sister in Christ simply by the way he lived.

A question has been haunting me since that night; what if I reversed this situation? Am I living in such away that calls out the best in my brothers and sisters in Christ? I throw the question to you: Are you living in such a way that inspires people around you to want to love and know the Lord more? More specifically - ladies, are you living in a way that encourages the men in your lives to be godly leaders? I've been blessed to have other brothers in Christ encourage me too, but do I encourage them? Does our personal model of femininity, call out or squash a man’s masculinity?

Like it or not, the Lord created us to be male and female for the purpose of being masculine and feminine, to bring Him glory in it.  In asking if the way you act calls out the masculinity in the men around you - I’m not talking about what you want a man to be or your version of masculinity.  I’m talking about principles of godly masculinity, not personal preferences. A few of those godly principles being – an ability to lead (be it quietly, generously or passionately,… there isn’t only one “right” way to display leadership), a growing walk with the Lord, a desire to provide for and protect his family and friends, a respect of people in general but especially women and children… The list goes on, but you get my point.

If a man’s masculinity offends us, maybe it should. For instance, if a man is being a gentleman and opens the door for you, our culture says “I am perfectly capable of doing it myself” (a.k.a. I am woman – hear me roar)”. Well yes, we are capable and they know that. It’s not chauvinistic when a man chooses to be a gentleman by opening a door.  If you are secure and strong in who you are as a woman, then you won’t need to prove anything. We tell them to respect us, yet we don’t let them. Opening a door is respecting us.

Enough of what we do wrong – What can we as ladies do right to encourage and allow our men to be who the Lord made them to be? The greatest thing we can do for anyone around us, men and women, is to first live out our convictions and to walk in righteousness before the Lord. When we are on target, pursuing the Lord with everything we are, it will naturally flow out into the lives of others.  When we live authentically, we challenge others to do the same. It must be done authentically though - encouraging a guy to manipulate him, or ‘catch a husband’, is not authentic encouragement!

I surveyed a variety of guys** and asked them this question: “What can the women in your life do that will inspire you to walk in godly masculinity?” Here are some of their top responses and things we can do or live out:

A woman who:
    -  Passionately serves the Lord and is 100% sold out for Him.
    - Prays
    - Respects him and his input (especially in front of others).
    - Challenges and encourages him by asking questions (appropriately) about his walk with Lord. “What has the Lord been showing you lately?”
    -Allows him to be a gentleman, providing for and protecting her, and treats him as a man, not another woman (and does not expect him to act like or relate like another woman would).
    - Is genuine and authentic, giving him a safe place to be the same.
     -Doesn’t mother, nag, compare him to other men, or accuse and undermine his leadership.
Ladies, we want to be treated with love and respect, why can’t we do the same for our men? Instead of pointing out what they are doing wrong, point out what they are doing right. Love them for who they are now - imperfect as we are, and love them for who they can be – made perfect in the Lord. 

As I was blessed to have Jason and other men call out the godly woman in me, let’s call out the godly men in the men around us (men, I'm not saying you aren't godly already :) but so “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's  faith, both yours and mine”. (Rom 1:12).

Hebrews 3:13 says “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’”.  Well it’s still today, so who are you going to exhort and encourage? – Go live it out – authentically! 

*Permission was given to use the story, but names have been changed for privacy

** Thanks to all the men who answered the questions. It’s been a pleasure to learn from you the last few months. I respect you and thank God for you, as I was very challenged in listening to all your stories.  Please accept my apologies for all the times my gender and I, have disrespected you. For the many godly men in my life – Thank you Lord. 



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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.