I want to live transparent.
I have chosen to live this way for a number of reasons. First of all, I feel that by living in a way that everyone can see my vulnerabilities, flaws, faults, heartache, joys, triumphs and anything in between, I am becoming a greater testimony to Jesus. He is, after all, who I am trying to please. He is the only living God whose life I want to mirror in some way. I pray every day that I can do that by living transparently. I choose to live as if someone unzipped me from the inside out. I want to be an open book to all of you, my readers and friends so that you can know me. Not so that you can know about me, or know of me. So that you feel as if you truly know the real Ramee. I desire for you to know my heart and intentions. I desire for you to know the way that I think about certain issues that tug on my own heartstrings. I am not sure why I desire to have it all thrown out there; I only know that I do. The Lord has called me to share my life, my testimony, my journey and I long to do that in great ways!
I want to live genuinely.
I believe my desire to do so shines through my words day to day. When I write about something, say something to you directly, or express my concern or thoughts about an issue, I am doing so genuinely. I do not know any other way. I long for my words to be genuine, my thoughts to be authentic and my actions to be real as well. I know this is how Jesus desires for us to live. Jesus spent time with so many different types of people and yet He was genuine and authentic with all of them; showing them gratitude, kindness, selflessness, and generosity at all times. He genuinely loved and cared for them, no matter who they were or what they thought. Often times, as Christians especially, we get caught up in this "me" thinking. 'It's all about how I was raised, how I believe, what I was taught.' me. me. me. me. me. We get comfortable in church and begin to feed ourselves with thoughts of Jesus. All roses and unicorns in the pretty pew of Sunday, eh? But Jesus genuinely loved people e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y. I want to live that way.
I'm just plagued by some questions in my own mind today. Like, how are we going to reach generations for Jesus if we cant even accept the words someone says that don't feel cozy and warm in our tummies? How are we going to step out and show love if we are appalled by our friend or neighbor who does drugs or uses profane language? How are we going to reach the drunks who ONLY go to the bars if we are not willing to somehow step out of that comfort zone of "christian" and speak to them? Or go to them? We dress too pretty, are too dignified and feel wrong doing so. It's a shame, dont you think?
I pray over this home every single day. I am here, after all, and believe it is so much a part of the job required of me as a mother and a wife. The spirit of Jesus dwells here so strongly. We have had people come in and speak to us, eat with us, visit with us who have said that very same thing. They can 'feel' the spirit of the Lord. It's an awesome testimony in the process of faith. I pray that this home would be a safe place for those people who may not have one elsewhere. I pray that even the 'lesser of these' people would feel comfortable walking through our door and enjoying our company. I pray that no matter who enters our home, and no matter what is said or done that our children would be protected and through any situation, we would bring the peace of God to the unsaved and the joy of the Lord to those who already rest in His goodness. I truly believe that God is doing just that in this place. He did, after all, intend this home for just that!
It is a shame that so many Christan's are offended easily, frustrated easily, disgusted easily and are too downright lazy to open their homes and even their lives to those people around them that so desperately need to hear that sweet name of Jesus. They wouldnt let the dirty man sit on their couch, they wouldnt hear the nonsense of a crazy veteran, they certainly wouldnt allow their perfect little children be among the cursing of strangers just to witness to one of them. Why, that would be absurd! Well let me tell you my thoughts on that...;)
The other night we went to a benefit for a friend of ours from school that had an aneurysm in Iraq while serving his 2nd tour of duty. The benefit was in a bar on a Sunday night. .gasp. Sunday night? We were supposed to be in church! My oh my. No, no, my friends. Daniel & I entered a bar--it was a first ever for me and the first in a VERY long time for my dear, handsome, anxious husband. We were going with the intention of entering a few raffles, seeing our healing friend via webcast, and eating some BBQ. Our intentions were never to fall into the trap of sin because we know that we are covered in the blood of Jesus. Therefore it wasnt even a question whether we should or should not have entered the 'bar' that night. The bar, like the church in a way...is just a"building" after all. We had a wonderful time visiting with old friends and before we left that night had the opportunity to talk to at least 2 of them about Jesus! We wouldnt have had the chance otherwise, friends, because those people were not coming to us. They werent knocking on the door of the church. I'd love it if they had, but they had not and had no intention of doing so. We planted seeds that night and because we know that the word of God cannot return void unto Him, (Isaiah 55:11)we know that those people will someday love and serve the Lord in the ways that we do!
Another example is this:
A couple of nights ago I had a good friend stop by our house unexpectedly. I was cooking dinner like a good little housewife and singing worship like a good little Christian. I looked out the window to see my perfect little family playing and giggling about in the grass and thanked God for our close to perfect life. In a few minutes I was standing in my kitchen with a vulnerable and broken friend who had made a costly mistake. If I had acted like the "good little Christian" in that moment I could have came off very stereotypical and condemning. Instead I decided to act like Jesus. I came to her level and explained that it really and truly is ok. She did NOT let the King down and He would NOT punish her for her actions if she simply repented and gave it up to Him. In fact, He would do just the opposite because He is a loving God who is concerned about us and longs to see us joyful. He is molding her life and although I can see that, I pray she will soon too. Before she left that evening she looked at me and simply said "I knew I could come here and talk to you because you wouldnt judge me. Thanks. I needed that."
You're welcome. I love you.
Sometimes my kids are around people who have opinions that I dont agree with. My kids are not tainted. Sometimes I have to enter places that make me feel uneasy and jittery to reach someone for the Lord. My faith is not shaken. Sometimes people come into my home that do not look clean cut and shaven. My opinion is not altered.
I am not writing this to put myself on a pedestal or go to some high place. I am writing this because I am living my life as an open book. I am a sinner, too, ya know. The church is us, friends. We are the people-reachers for Jesus. They are not coming to us. Don't you see? They are going to say things that upset us, offend us, and frustrate us. I just refuse to live in my placid, comfortable little Christan box and accept that I am doing absolutely all I can for my Lord. It is just unfair and prude to think that way. I am not, ahem, a prude. I am a young woman on fire for the Lord. I cannot be shaken and therefore believe that I am called to open up my home, walk into places that typical Christians may not, and listen to those who may have crazy things to say. I will accept that calling and run with it because I am reaching people for God. by His spirit.
I love the way that Paul talks about this some in 1 Corinthians (9:19-23 in 'The Message' version):
"Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! "
I hope you hear my heart today. As much as we want to believe we are doing everything we can for God, we simply are not. Myself included. Many (most) of my friends don't necessarily have a solid relationship with Jesus. I love them the same...and I know that they all truly feel that.
This is transparent. This is genuine.
This is the way I choose to live. Are you?