seeking kingdom space

November 20, 2018

I am Peter.

Peter before and after he understood his strengths and weaknesses. 

Peter in piles and Peter the rock.


I do resonate with women in the Bible. Huldah is a particular favorite. Huldah shows no trepidation when she says what the Lord gives her to say the way God gives her to say it. The priests hear it. King Josiah heeds it. End of story. 


Hagar and Sarai wrangle with each, striving for position in the master's house. I completely understand that. Decades of not knowing  what to do with myself in the family of God and trampled on for the strength of personality given by my creator. Hagar and Sarai had a God who saw them both well. A God who, no matter how hot the desert, never allowed either of them to be abandoned, even to the errors of their own ways. No, God always saw. God steadfastly fulfilled all God's promises. 


God promised me the same. That God sees me. That God knows my faithfulness. That God is steadfast lovingkindness. 


Through the years the heroines of God have shown me who I am as I seek my space on this journey through God's world. Still, time and again, I found myself in a pile on the floor. Others standing around me, arms on hips and feet tapping, clicking tongues. 


Why? Why did I find myself in these piles so frequently?


My love and passion for God is so deep it brings me to tears. Why have some people chastised and shamed and stood over me with clicking tongues all these years, almost as if they relish the pile ups?


Why, when I speak truth with the insight of Huldah, when I lead with the courage of Deborah, when I teach with the assurance of Priscilla, do I so often find myself down here looking up at these faces with looks saying, "We told you to be sweet. To keep calm. To speak in soft tones and stay in that space we made for you." 


Perhaps they are right. Maybe I need to be silent. Who am I to proclaim my love and allegiance to my Savior? It just keeps getting me in trouble. I keep landing in a pile of rubble. It's only going to get worse. 


All the while, though, in my silence, there was a burning inside that hurt me. It felt like the earth around me cried out with every step I took, "God loves you and you and you!" But I knew better. I knew if I jumped in with all four feet like I used to, I would be fine for a bit. But eventually I would drown. I would slice off someone's ear in my eagerness. I would find myself on a dark and cold night, in a pile of despair with leaders looking at me saying, "We told you." And I would be silent once again. And again. And then a third time all in one night. 


Best just to stay here in the safety of my silence. Let the rocks cry out. Let Jesus be the Savior. I am not a heroine of the Bible.


Except that through all these years of silence in my small space, others always came. Beautiful others who came near to share life and death and joy and sorrow and love and anger and to ask what I knew of God's steadfast lovingkindness. My greatest joy became the life I led alongside the people who came inside my space to love and be loved right where I was at, being silent, taking care not to be too eager, too outspoken, too confident, too strong, too Me. 


Then one day a friend said it was time to go feed God's sheep. I told him no. I am fine right here. Jesus knows I love him.


Not long after someone else told me to stop waiting for things to be perfect outside my other-constructed space. It is time to feed the sheep. I told him Jesus knows how very much I love him.


When I did finally take a few steps onto God's holy ground, the cacophony was glorious! The feel of God's earth beneath warm and sure. This time many voices answered, "Yes, thank you, this is how you are to feed us, God's sheep. We needed this so very much."


I am Peter. 


Peter who in his eagerness to serve his Lord and Savior jumped in with all four feet and found himself in a pile at times.

Peter, who traded silent safety for proclaiming his love for the Lord and was three times brought back to shepherding the Savior's sheep. Peter, who knew the rocks would cry out if the passion in his belly did not escape through his teaching of God's love. 


I am Peter.

Peter before and after he understood his strengths and weaknesses. 

Peter in piles and Peter the rock.


In finding my Self in the long story of Peter I found my space in the Kingdom of God. 

I am a sheep-herder. 

I am a shepherd. 


Where have you found your space in God's Kingdom?

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