19 January 2017

What's In Your Playbook?

...the plots we create in your minds on how the best moment in our lives would play themselves out.
...our secret wish or fantasy ... so EXTREME that the fear of sounding foolish has overtaken the desire to make them into accomplished goals.
...the treasures we quietly request, while singing through folding piles of fresh laundry.
...our imaginations filled with extraordinary plans, and higher levels, we dare not speak aloud.
...the hidden burden in our heart to locate our childhood friend - the one we've known for 40+ years and sadly, somehow, disconnected from along the way.

Jesus knows all about it... because He placed it there.

If only we could stop over thinking things and begin stepping out on the soft promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Step OUT IN faith.
Faith will not develop in the knowing of the thing.
It isn't faith, if you wait to be told you have the job, before you've submitted the application.
It isn't faith, if you receive the answers beforehand, guaranteeing a passing grade.    

The knowing of the thing isn't where faith is being produced.
It's in the unknown that we strengthen our personal walk with God.

Feeling the dark loneliness of a wintry Friday night; while scrolling through photos on your feed and staring fondly at images of couples that are DEEPLY IN LOVE, seeing how great a date they are experiencing, but where is your Prince Charming?  
Matthew 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This life-altering faith will have you swiping over to the bible app to recite all the verses you can find on promises & miracles. 

This faith, in combination with your loyalty to God, will bring about amazing results.

Let's take a close look at the following occurrence...
Matthew 14:25-29 - Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take Courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  "Lord, if it's you, " Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."  "Come," he said.
Consider the faith Peter must've acquired to believe that, not only was the figure they saw on the surface of the water Jesus, but that Jesus had actually called Peter out to walk the surface of the deep with Him.  To understand that the molecular structure of any body of water is not built to support the weight of a human... yet to also have the word of the Son of God, "COME", weight-in heavier and louder than the doubt in one's mind.  This is the beginning of faith.

Because if you remember the story well, Peter was able to take a few steps on the water.  His initial response to the word of Jesus was wrapped in confidence.  Not confidence in himself, but confidence in the ONE who called him out of the boat.  But somewhere between safety (the boat) and safety (Jesus), Peter lost his focus.  He turned his sight from his Savior to his Situation.  The change in his perspective caused his faith to fail him.  His trust slowly dwindled.  And Peter found himself sinking.  The same component, that just moments earlier held him up - being supported by God's word, was now losing it's stability.  What happened?  Peter lost his focus.  It wasn't Jesus who gave an incorrect command.  Because if we consider that in Proverbs 30:5 we come to know the word of God is flawless, then the mere fact that Jesus said "COME" would place the burden on Jesus to fulfill His own command.  And He did.

I recently experienced this "stepping on the unknown" type of faith.

Just recently I was able to reconnect with my old bestie.  Back then we called each other Best Friends, as opposed to BFFs.

Image result for 80sBack when REAL mix tapes were neon and were made on your pink Sony boombox.  And switching radio stations were considered an art-form.  Tracking your favorite jams, just in time to press that "Play" & "Record" button combo, hoping the DJ wouldn't ruin the ending with a mindless Motorola Beeper 30 second advertisement.  And only certain pens was permissible to label those radio-recorded tapes.  Then listening to those tapes on your walkman, making sure you were fully stocked with batteries.

Back when handheld video games were the size of a small laptop, required 4 C batteries and were only made in black, white or green font.

Back when it was cool to sport your favorite musical performers' buttons on your shirt... And even cooler if your denim jacket was filled with them.  Katty had hers filled with Menudo.  Remember them?  I think I had a crush on Charlie or Miguel.  I forget which.

I distinctly remember picking out my radio.  I got it as a gift for graduating 6th grade.  Up north it's called Elementary School until you reach 7th grade; which begins Junior High School, not Middle School as they do in other states.  And each passing grade meant another gift.  But on milestone graduations (which meant you left your current school and "transferred" to another), those gifts were special.  I took it everywhere.  I even took it to kids camp that summer.  I remember walking all over the campus with my awesome radio.  When no one was looking I'd switch from Rene Gonzales over to Gloria Estefan "Rhythm is Gonna Get You", and Whitney Houston... Back when the songs were less controversial.  I mean, all she wanted to do was Dance With Somebody! - Get the lady a dance partner! - lol...   Then I'd quickly flip the tape to side A (the religious coritos - worship songs), when a camp counselor was approaching.  Now... if you really wanna get personal on music, let's discuss 1988, (the following year), it was all about Stevie B. and "Spring Love".  And I was right on it (having a solid year of perfected radio recording experience under my belt), with the double fingers on the "RECORD/PLAY" buttons.  There was a method to the press, y'know.  You had to put the exact amount of pressure on both buttons, simultaneously, in order for the recording to work.

I miss those days.
I missed Katty.

The search for her all those years had been quite a quest.
I had such a huge and utter longing to talk to her, hear from her.  Know if she was okay, if she was happy.  I didn't realize how much time had past since our last interaction.
6 years.
She didn't get to experience my late night grilled cheese pregnancy cravings.
Or the crazy birth of my son.
And I was longing for her friendship.
Misunderstandings and distance kept us apart.

But God...

He knew the desires of my heart.
He knew I wanted her back.  I wanted to help her.
I wanted to let her know about the love of God I have experienced.

The grace, that she and I didn't know about when we were young... how it was okay that we snuck away from home to go to the movies.
He still loved us!

I wanted to let her know that what we learned as teens was not entirely accurate.
He didn't want to condemn us for every mistake we made, but restore and redeem our lives.
And I needed to let her know we can come back to Him.
He won't turn His back on us, for the sins we've committed or even for what we may still be doing.

The very point of Jesus dying on that cross, was for that exact purpose.
For redemption.
For the washing away of our damaged and derailed past, and to bring us into a new relationship with Him.

I needed to find her to tell her I'm sorry.
That I didn't know what happened, and it didn't matter anymore.
To tell her how much I missed her, loved her.

I knew she needed saving.
From a life of heart ache and loneliness.
From misery and deception.
I longed to be the light in her life.
The mouthpiece of God.

But I couldn't find her...
Years of searching MiGente (taking it back!), Facebook, Instagram and Google for all possible name combinations left me no where.
I even reached out to mutual friends and her old boyfriend for help.

Each time I came back empty.

I remember fervently praying one night.
I cried out in desperation for Katty.
I asked God to make a way.
To find her.
To bring her back.
I boldly declared for the answer by my birthday.
Because if He was going to give me anything this year, it was going to be this!
That unshakable faith prayer brought me to Friday, January 13th.
(God's funny)...
Roughly 25 days before my birthday, I received the very thing I had been wanting.

I reached out to her via text.  I expressed myself.  I cried.
And cried.
And texted her all day.
And cried.
And was filled with such overflowing joy.

Jesus knew I needed to find her...
Because He placed a desire in me, to share with her, all about the goodness and greatness of God we didn't know or had experienced as young adults.

We had one (very long) phone call in the last week.
I hadn't heard her voice in over 11 years, and even forgot what it sounded like, but we picked up right where we left off.

What a mighty God we serve!
That is interested EVEN in what we consider the 'minor longings' we have.

I am excited about mending and renewing our friendship.
People like Katty don't come around often (or even at all anymore), and I declared that I was going to pursue her, nag and bother her until she came to visit; which ***UPDATE*** may happen for Memorial Day weekend!
Psalm 27:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The story itself, on how I found her, is pretty amazing; maybe I'll share that one day.

Right now I just can't help but think about that crazy prayer.
If it weren't for that prayer, I'd still be wondering.
If it weren't for my radical request, I'd still be weary and anxious.
There would still be an unsettling and insatiable yearning to find her.

So I urge you...
The thing that's missing, or hurting or keeping you up at night...
The hope or daydream, that's too incredible to whisper...
Jesus knows, because He put it there, and it's been in the playbook all along.

Pursue it in faith.
It's yours to have and delight in.

Just in time for #ThrowbackThursday ...
Katty, myself & my pink Sony boombox, at kids camp.  Allentown, PA.  Circa 1987.
x0, d