I realize that I referenced this idea of "being poured out" a couple of months ago, in a rather sad post. Wow, those were some rough days. Every day I praise God for His provision and continued healing... indeed, He is electing to "fill me back up", rather than leave me empty. It will never be like it was... but it is sweeter by the day. Glenn Phillips (my oft-quoted favorite musical artist) writes a song called "Blind Sighted", where he is apparently (to me at least), singing to a lost loved one...
"I remember back when we were younger,
You filled me up like water.
It's different now.
And I can't see you now, but I still know you're here.
I can reach out,
and feel you near.
Indeed, Leslie filled me up like water. She was a torential downpour of blessings, from God, which He used to "complete me" (thank you, Jerry McGuire for ruining that line for everybody who actually knows something about being completed by another, by the hand of God). (No, I'm not bitter about it... but c'mon, that was a pretty cheesey movie. A wasted line.)
To be filled up... in order to later be poured out...
I believe I mentioned this in the old Leslie's Journey blog long ago, but it is worth repeating here, because it's been so instrumental in my own journey, in this next "chapter". My friend and mentor from when we lived in Indianapolis once had an encouraging "word" for me. Call it prophetic... call it a "vision"... whatever it was, it was indeed from God. It encouraged me in the moment probably 5 years ago, now, and it has proven true time and again, bringing me new layers of encouragement along the way. It went-- or should I say, it GOES-- like this:
A group of men used to get together at my friend Beau's house once a week to pray. We were a multi-generational group of about 6-12 men, depending on the week, from different churches in the area. We'd get into the bible a little, and Beau or one of the older men would "teach" from time-to-time, but the main focus was just accountability and prayer. And it was POWERFUL. Men, get yourselves surrounded by other men who are not afraid to lay hands on you and pour out their soul in prayer for you... and who aren't afraid to hold you accountable, or be vulnerable to accountability themselves. There is nothing like it.
Anyway, it was one of these nights when I just shared something that had been eating away at my heart... The thing was... Life was good. Too good, I feared. I had a good job-- one that came too easy to me, at that time... I was almost bored with it, but happy with the "financial blessings" that came along with it. I had a beautiful wife. We were "DINKS", (dual-income, no-kids), living it up in the suburbs, hanging out with friends and going on dates several nights a week. We were involved in our church's children's ministry, and felt like we were being "fed" well through the teaching and worship at the church... It was just all... so... EASY. "Surely, God", I was praying, "You have something more for me. I've always sensed You speaking and working in my heart... certainly this isn't ALL You have in store for us, is it?" As I shared with the men in the group that night, I was starting to worry that I wasn't listening, or afraid to be led by God somewhere other than the comfortable place in which I was currently abiding. I prayed and searched my heart and mind... I felt as though He had led me to that particular place, and I was "in His will"... but just felt that He had more in store for me... and I was eager to GET THERE already.
The men in the group began to pray for me. Most of them just prayed wonderful words of thanksgiving to God for who He made me to be... loved on me and encouraged me with their prayers. And then there was some silence, and then Beau half-prayed, half-spoke to me...
"Tyson, I have this image in my head... call it what you will. Time will tell if this is 'prophetic', or a 'word from the Lord'-- and maybe only you and God will ever know. But I just feel like I need to explain this image to you.
I see a reservoir. Something like Geist (those of you from Indy know what he's talking about). There is this little river running through a shallow valley that has been dammed up by God. The little river is fed with these little tributaries, ditches, streams, and of course, by the rain. And every drop of water-- every molecule-- from each of those sources, is a blessing from God. And God is letting that water-- His blessings-- fill up this reservoir. The water will rise. The once barren land will be lush with the fruit of His blessings-- indeed, just like Geist which was once just swamp and forests, and is now some of the most prized real estate in all the state. But you should know, Tyson... that the reservoir will not just sit and collect water forever. It will be poured out. Perhaps it will just rise up over the threshold of the dam, and trickle over the top. Or perhaps, the dam will break and it will flood into the valley below, downstream. But it WILL be poured out. Abide now, and collect His blessings, and accept them for what they were. You will be poured out in His time."
Wow, huh? In the months or maybe year-plus that ensued, God began to get very "direct" in His guidance-- very real and powerful answers to prayers and questions about where we should live, what we should do, where we should serve, when we should have kids, etc... Some of the stories would give you goose-bumps, they're so cool. Anyway, we were "led" to Bolingbrook, where we "settled in" for a couple of years, growing into our church family, starting our own nuclear family, getting my work established here, etc... And then, we moved to our new house. And then, a month later... The dam broke.
It is good to be poured out. What got me thinking about it was the thought of a conversation I had just last night with another stranger, whom God had obviosly had been placed there in my path-- at a particular place in that dry valley downstream-- so that I might be poured out. Conversation started with business-- we were both obviously out-of-towners, eating alone at a bar (I'm in New Jersey this week, by the way), making small-talk. And then the conversation migrated onto the topic of family... and from there... Well, you can imagine. This particular man is Roman Catholic and is dealing with the fallout of having just survived a messy divorce-- his wife basically had a mid-life crisis of sorts and decided she didn't want to be a wife or mom anymore, choosing instead the allures of the single "night-life", if you catch my drift... My heart just broke for him, as I related with him that in my opinion, what he's going through is so much harder than what I've endured. "I'm blessed with the fact that my wife died loving me. I don't know what I'd do with myself if she had CHOSEN to stop being my wife... If she had known me as she knew me and decided after all of that to just turn around and walk away." This resonated with him, and he was fighting back tears, just reaching for my hand, as if to "shake", and then just holding on with both of his, looking me in the eyes... it was just so good for him to be able to "relate" with another man like that. I encouraged him with scripture and a little discussion about God's grace and compassion.
Anyway... it's just another little story... These things happen several times a week, lately... It's just good to be poured out. I've never felt so alive.