Thursday, November 3, 2016

Over My Head

Bruised faces. "Spotted" stomachs. Black eyes. Lack of supervision. Neglect. Abuse of every kind. Hunger without excuse. It happens here. Over and over again. Sometimes it feels like a prison without bars or an orphanage with parents in the shadows. Sometimes I just feel like being everyone's mom and taking them home by the dozens. Sometimes I feel like quitting. Sometimes I have no answers and no words that are adequate. There are too many stories to even tell. But one thing I have learned? "Lower Still." This morning I told God, "I'm in over my head." And I was thankful. I know that is right where we are supposed to be. Then Jesus can take control, refill me with His strength and receive the glory when things keep moving forward and breakthroughs happen in spite of my weakness. If I allow myself I can get frozen...paralyzed by this "Giant" of Urban Poverty that surrounds me, breathes down my neck and dares me to continue challenging it. The problems are overwhelming. The need is great. Too great for me. But then? I bend low and look into the face of one. Just one little child. I lock eyes with them and I see Him. My hero in disguise. Turns out I'm not alone. Turns out there's a greater force at work that the Giant can't even recognize. I know who this is! He is always there, I just forget because of the "big." But He is bigger than any giant, when you multiply Him by a hundred little faces! He's unstoppable. He runs wide and wild, not tall and stiff. He's easy to miss if you are looking too high. He's in the moments. He weaves in between the crowd and the "need" and finds the one. And He finds ME too. Suddenly I'm with a person to be loved, not a problem to be solved. I don't have to fight "issues." I can just love the people with the issues. It's personal. This is no contest or threat. It's just love. Love in action. Love going low. Love slowing everything down and reminding me that Love is the point and Love is the solution to every curse that spews out of that Giant's mouth. "Addiction!" He yells. "Hopelessness!" He rages. "Worthless!" He spits. But I go lower, not in fear of him, but in defiance to him and in worship to my King. While Poverty screams the lies that bind generations, I whisper the Hope that will set them free. I hold close. I stroke a cheek. I feel dirt on my knees. I say to the one cast down, "You are seen and You are loved." Suddenly, I feel like a giant on the inside. Love wins. Jesus is right in front of me. And there's not a thing that Giant can do about it! Poverty is just a chain without a face. But Jesus? He shows up in the faces of those who are bound. He lives and breathes and brings life and change and freedom. Love breaks the chain, one link at a time. One child at a time. One prayer at a time. One day at a time. Jesus, friend of the poor...He is the real force to be reckoned with.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jessica Goodman/"Into The Deep"
2016 Watershed Music Group

The message behind the music...
“I want you to lead from under-water…” I heard the Lord whisper to me. 
I believe there is a deep and “all-in” place in God where we are fully surrendered and leave the comforts of shore-life behind. We dive in and follow Him lower, deeper into His heart until we are fully immersed in His presence and can hear His heartbeat. We say a resounding “Yes” to whatever He asks for the sake of love. It is a place that can feel dark and lonely at times, but the treasures found hidden here are worth it all! This has been a theme of my heart and ministry work for the past few years and from this perspective God has birthed so much life! He has also birthed songs, such as the songs included on this project. 
I want to live from the deep both spiritually and practically. This looks like finding Jesus in the secret place but also in the margins and in the faces of the poor.  This simple offering of worship music and words of testimony and prophecy are an invitation for you to follow me Into The Deep…
-Jessica Goodman

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Just sit down.

There is a sweet contentment and humility that comes when we learn how to just sit down.
When we are not trying to prove something, be "in charge" or stand taller than anyone else. In fact, I prefer the floor! Even though I grew up singing on stages and standing above the crowd, mic in hand, I actually get awkward now when it comes to public attention and leadership among "the poor." There is something so precious and less demanding about them. And nothing humbles and unravels you quite like the constant presence of needy children. Day after day, year after year. You begin to relax, blend in and learn from them. I have learned to speak "up" to people, not talk "down" to them. I remember preaching the gospel, the truth about eternity and salvation, to a man on a Sunday morning in "The Gardens."  No microphone, no megaphone, no stage. The man was sitting in a chair on the sidewalk. I went lower than him, sat on the ground right in front of him and preached with boldness and authority. I was looking up to him and He listened. I won favor by taking the low road. And I continue to do so. Not just when I "preach," but in so many ways, so many times. I have made it a practice to go low. To identify. Most importantly, To worship. The word worship means "Down." Meekness is the model. Jesus served as our hero-example of this position, or, should I say dis-position! (See Philippians 2) In the Kingdom of God, the ladder is upside down. Oh the treasures lying at the bottom of this ocean! I fall down and find them-I find Him as I surrender. Bending to put shoes on feet, crying, face-to-floor in worship, sitting on the ground spending time with children, eating my lunch under a tree with the homeless...Jesus enters the unseen moments. The river flows to the lowest places. It's true. And I want to be covered in the river of His presence! Sometimes that means covered in dirt, in pain, in kids! But it's long as I'm at the feet of my King. Why do we try so hard to be anywhere else?