I attend a weekly Bible study at my church each year. At the end of the year, our leader encourages us to create a piece of art that reflects what we learned through the year. I wanted to have a piece of art to offer for this year’s final meeting, but the only thing I could think of to offer was myself.
I am not the artist. No, I am a far from completed literal piece of work. The Artist is still at work, and to an onlooker, I would look like a jumbled mess; a piece of work only just begun. One would glance at me then walk away not sure what the Artist was doing and not yet knowing what I would become. For if I were put on display and the world could see me as the Artist sees me, they would see a tangled knot of sin and hope. They would see my sin; a self-centered, stubborn, and materialistic camel desperately trying to fit through the eye of a needle. They would see my hope; a woman in love with Jesus begging to be taught to love like He did.
My hope is a small flame, first lit when I trusted Jesus 19 years ago. That flame stayed small, flaring up only occasionally and burning hot for a short time before shrinking. The Artist began to stoke the fire a year and a half ago when my Bible study teacher spoke the words of Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I went home after Bible study and asked God to move me. I asked Him to give me a heart for those in need. He answered my prayer in such a big and unlikely way that it was impossible for me to deny that anyone or anything but God was at work in my life. God took me, a Kansas farm girl turned suburban housewife and stay-at-home mom to Uganda.
I thought I knew why I was going to Uganda. I thought God wanted me to see the poor who were desperate for my help. Instead, he showed me people who were rich beyond anything I had ever experienced. Yes, they were poor by the world’s standards, but their faith in God and their love for Jesus and each other made them rich. It changed my life. I want what they had.
Uganda and her people are never far from my mind. Christmas was different for our family this year. We gave less stuff and experienced Jesus and each other so much more. Sadly, after Christmas break, life got busy and the flame that had burned so hot began to cool. Then, my pastor started a series about the difference in the life Jesus calls us to live and the life we actually lead. After his message on simplifying, my Bible study leader mentioned a book to me and I read it and have read several others like it. The theme of the books is the same, we have too much stuff and we focus too much on ourselves. This is not how Jesus lived, and I don’t want to live like this anymore.
Right now, I am a confused mess. I look at my life and what my priorities have caused me to do and caused me not to do. I want a change. No, I want God to change me. I just wish I knew what that looked like. I want to see the finished product. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. I have no idea what the Artist is about to do, but I am ready. This is going to hurt, hot burning flames usually do. This is going to be hard, major life adjustments always are. This is going to be amazing, following Christ is a wild ride. I am ready. When I meet Him someday, He’s going to show me his finished piece of art. I am so excited to see what it will look like.
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