Who Says You Can’t Go Home?
There is never a time that I presume to teach the Bible that my heart isn’t racing or my armpits squirting. It’s really not so much that I’m scared of the people or being on the stage though that does play a small part. It’s being accountable for what I’m teaching. Being afraid that my thoughts won’t resonate. Ultimately being afraid that in my humanity I’ll just flat out blow it. And believe me, I’ve blown a lot. That particular fear used to cripple me in the voices of self-condemnation when I was finished. “You are an idiot. I can’t believe you said that! I can’t believe you forgot to say this! Why do you do this to yourself when it’s not even necessary?”
At one point I really considered laying down the whole calling until the Lord reminded me in prayer, “Lisa, those accusations are coming to you in third person.” And when I thought about it, He was totally right. When The Voices are in full volume, the thoughts were not me saying, “I am not enough”. It is always YOU are not enough. The Lord helped me to recognize that it was the Accuser inflaming my flesh and using it against me in the form of pride. Now maybe that doesn’t sound like pride but the Lord taught me that if I’m focused on ME either being more than or less than worthy, pride is still present. I had a stronghold of reverse pride and even though it still threatens to dig its claws back into me often, the Lord and I have come a long way in beating it back to the praise of His glory. There is so much freedom in doing what you love – even if I am scared to death – and then trusting Him with the outcome.
All that is back story in telling you that reverse pride reared its ugly head before teaching this past weekend at Oakwood Baptist’s Women’s Day. The reason? It’s the first time I have taught back home in front of high school friends who knew me in life B.C. – Before Christ. I knew several who would be there and because it was my hometown, I imagined I’d be surprised by others due to the size of the church and its reach in the community. Luke and I have been gone for years and in my mind, I’ve always believed the Lord took us far from it so we may actually be free to minister to those who didn’t have some preconceived idea of who we were. It’s the whole ‘prophet has no honor in his hometown’ mentality I suppose. Though the thought never really formed in my mind, somehow I believed I’d never be asked to go back.
I literally sobbed before the Lord because the full circle gravity of the moment wasn’t lost on me at all. Like Jonah I’m sure I cried, “Lord, can’t you send someone else?” But over and over in my spirit I felt Him say, “Lisa, it’s time. In fact, it’s overdue.” But then The Voices started, “They won’t hear a thing you say because all they’ll be thinking about is Old Lisa. They will laugh at you.” I tried to take comfort in knowing there were people there whose hearts were for me. But, the whole thought of being jeered threatened to take me down.
Maybe I’m being too honest with you here but I feel the need to praise the Lord as one who delivers the exact opposite response than the ones our fears set us up to believe is coming. The ones that often cause us to avoid adventuring into the unknown because we live as though the thing we are most afraid of is already a reality. My imaginations already had people laughing at me and imagining how I’d steel myself to protect my heart (definitely Old Lisa mentality) days before we laid eyes on one another.
And it was lies! All lies! And I almost succumbed to them. Had it not been for some special girls praying for me, I would have. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Satan couldn’t have been more wrong though I’m presuming he knew that already. The day was one of my favorite on record. I met new friends – Lisa Eason and Oakwood ladies, your ministry is amazing. Robert and Carrie, your worship is reverent and lifted my heart straight to heaven. I saw some blog friends from Hurt Road Baptist (love you girls for coming all the way from Atlanta!). I saw friends who didn’t know me when but who have walked many years with me: Cindy, I love you and I needed you there more than you know. And then I saw many of my old friends and acquaintances. Shame on me for allowing myself to think that you would be less than the wonderful women of God that you are. I blame it all on the devil. Dern him.
Here are my friends Diana and Kristi. Our husbands used to be drinking buddies before the Lord rescued us all from ourselves and placed us all in various forms of ministry. (Kristi is the Women’s Ministry Director at Oakwood’s Gateway Campus where this event took place.) Man does God have a sense of humor:
By the way, Diana makes these fabulous bead necklaces with personalized charms. She blessed me with one that is BEAUTIFUL but my camera battery is dead so I’m showing you one from her gallery. (Want one? Leave me a note in comments and I’ll hook you up. OR you can message her on Facebook at Diana Newell Dotson.)
A crowd shot. This church campus takes up the better part of a mall in Ringgold, GA.
Some of my old buddies. Lisa is on the left. We were best friends in high school and I’m so happy after all these years we’ve been able to rekindle our friendship. Michelle is to my right. We were also besties back in the day. Then there’s sweet Wendy. She was actually one of Luke’s best friends since their families used to spend a crazy amount of time together. I’m dying for the two of them to get to see one another. They have the most fun stories. I love all of you and appreciate your encouragement more than you can possibly comprehend.
Thank y’all for allowing me to tell you more stuff than you really wanted to know.
It was cathartic.
Allow me to end with the spiritual lyrics of my boy Jon Bon Jovi:
It doesn’t matter where you are, doesn’t matter where you go
If it’s a million miles aways or just a mile up the road
Take it in, take it with you when you go
Who says you can’t go home?
Turns out, you can.
You have been SO on my heart! I have prayed for this weekend to turn out exactly like it did! PRAISE HIM for his faithfulness and protection.
You, my girl, are awesome and I’m so proud of you!
.-= Robyn (3girlsmom)´s last blog ..Haiti. =-.
Great testimony! Wish I could have been there!
I can so relate to those voices from the enemy. Thanks for sharing this. I had not ever thought that those lies come in the third person, but you are exactly right. I’m about to start a Bible study group in my new small town with our pastor’s wife. I’ve done Bible studies before, but I’ve had some of those doubing thoughts and I’m nervous. God keeps reminding me that He has prepared me for this and I’m ready. So here goes!
.-= Shelly´s last blog ..Stock show =-.
I just want to weep. Praise Him for He was and He is and He will be…fill it in with any definition here. Glorified, Praised, Redeemed, Honored.
Bless you, Lisa, for being His hands, feet and mouth (of course!)! As you are made less, He is definitely made more!
.-= Cathy Davis´s last blog ..Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins =-.
I really needed this. Thank you.
Loved this testimony.
And this quote from you……..
There is so much freedom in doing what you love-even if your scared to death- and then trusting Him with the outcome.
Powerful words. Thank you.
.-= O Mom´s last blog ..Friday night blues =-.
What a wonderful testimony! Praise His holy name! What a breakthrough for you:) He is the good God!
.-= rhonda´s last blog ..HARPER =-.
Well, if I didn’t love you before, you just completely stole my heart by ending with lyrics by Bon Jovi – ha! Love that.
Your post speaks VOLUMES to me. I am in the very hometown I caused much chaos as a teenager and young adult. Now, sheepishly surrendering to a call from the Lord has me daily wondering ‘what will they think’ or ‘i need to move because I will never be taken seriously here – surley you know that Lord’. Ofcourse, I know all the answers, but the walk isn’t easy.
I’ll end with … ‘Ohhhhh, we’re halfway there. Oh, oh … living on a prayer” ahhhh, forget it. :)
.-= Deidre´s last blog ..Link Love =-.
What a heart wrenching testimony. I am very proud of you for standing strong and delivering GOD’S message no matter how you acted in the town you grew up in. I can only imagine that someone needed to hear it there. You know it is easy to say our walk is our testimony, but that is for people around us everyday. Thank God, we have his grace, but you are correct, in the fact those folks haven’t seen the ‘new’ Lisa. But oh they wrapped their arms around you. Does it remind you of a David Crowder song “How He Loves”…..
.-= lori´s last blog ..I thought I was going to cry…. =-.
Thank you for sharing this with us. Praising Him for victory!
And um, yea… I so had to look up cathartic. And then I thought I remembered you using this word once before in a post.
And then I thought I was losing my mind.
Which I very well may be.
.-= Rena´s last blog ..Same Grace, Different View =-.
Isn’t it amazing how God can redeem absolutely EVERYTHING?
.-= Bethany´s last blog ..200 =-.
I love the grand ending with Bon Jovi lyrics :)
.-= Angela De Souza´s last blog ..Goals =-.
Lisa – I’m so proud of you I just can’t type fast enough. What a marvelous post you sweet thing. Your gift of writing is precious to my heart. I thank you for allowing the Lord to use you and for your genuine and transparent heart. You are a treasure. I love it that He let you go home and confounded the enemy on top off it all! I look forward to the day when we are all HOME and I can spend time with you with no restrictions. May God Hold You in the Palm of His Hand and continue to bless your ministry for His Glory. Amen and Amen.
Your fellow PW,
PS: Let me know about those necklaces. You know I have “girls” aka daughters-in-law in my life…and one grandgirl on the way in MAY! Can I give the LORD some praise!!!
.-= Jan´s last blog ..One Day, No More Earthquakes =-.
Its amazing how there’s a Bon Jovi lyric for just about every thing, isn’t there? Mine of the day …
Hey, hey, I finally found my way
Say goodbye to yesterday
Hit the gas there ain’t no brakes on the lost highway
Yeah I’m busting loose, I’m letting go
Out on this open road
It’s independence day on this lost highway.
.-= NYCRockerChic´s last blog ..On Hiatus =-.
Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do. I love your honesty, but mostly I love your heart. Oh, to just have a up of coffee with you. There’s no doubt I’d learn much from you and soak up as much wisdom as I could. You are a treasure, sweet Lisa. Keep doing your things, because He’s really doing it through you!
.-= Lindsee´s last blog ..A Neat Christian Guy =-.
Girl! You have so much to be proud of and when you were on that stage I couldn’t have been prouder of my friend Lisa the preacher’s wife! The girls next to me said oh she is so beautiful, some said wow she is really good. NO ONE saw the old Lisa (satan get behind me because I will wear you out!!) I know that I only saw a beautiful child of GOD! Thank you for sharing and we love you and would love to have you come again!!!! Diana
Oh girl! You are so right!
That jerk satan will try to sabotage anything good we have in us.
God bless you for pushing ahead and doing your thing! You were blessed because of it.
Reminds me….don’t fall for it!
I play that doubt game with myself too!
.-= wanda´s last blog ..S N A P =-.