Saturday, July 22, 2017

consolation


it is because a definite faith is lacking to appropriate the spiritual blessings we desire that so many prayers appear to be fruitless. for such an act of faith not everyone is ready. in many cases, there is not a spiritual capacity to accept the blessing; it is where there is no true conviction of the sin of disobedience and consequently no true sorrow for it. often there is not a strong longing or purpose to obey God completely in everything. in others, there is no deep interest in the message of scripture: that God wants to perfect us to do his will, by His working in us that which is pleasing in His sight. in such cases the christian is content to remain a babe. he wants only the milk of consolation. he is not mature enough to bear the strong meat of which Jesus ate: doing the will of His Father.

[a life of obedience, andrew murray, 1982]




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

seventh

re-learning rest - having given in to busyness, the reason why almost 11 months have passed since i've listed. that's not to say that I have't recognized gifts, but it's telling that the time it takes to type and list these things has been low priority. this week of "spring break" and cutting down from 50+ hours of work/week to just 18 feels like life again. it's that rest that God talks about in genesis on the seventh day when rest isn't the 24-hours of laziness that we tend to think rest should mean, but its an intentional time taken out of the week, holy, distinct from the other days, different in that God sat on His throne when He rested and managed all of his creation. He took up the reigns and organized and prioritized and took authority over His life. and its what i've felt called to for quite a while now, and this week has been that gift that i have needed. praise Him.

and if you don't already know, a few friends and i have been archiving treasures like these for a few years now, on our way to 3000. you can follow along here: www.3000gifts.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 5, 2017

disagree

"if you can speak about what you care about to a person you disagree with, without denigrating them or insulting them, then you may actually be heard."
-amy pohler

Sunday, January 1, 2017

importance

everything in me wants to defend this fortress
to "be true to myself" as i'm told to do
because if i feel it, it must be true...right?
it's shouted to me from each angle:
feelings are the barometer of truth
some days i try it out and i like how it feels
and i rise to the top of the hierarchy of all things important
they keep telling me this is right and good,
this is the way to happiness and confidence and success
i want it to be true
because it feels empowering
but i feel sick
every time
the instant gratification of being right and strong
it does it's job, gratifying instantaneously
then it flits away and takes everything with it
and does nothing to improve the interpersonal
or the intrapersonal
finally in the early morning hours
when eyes open sooner than usual
and the mind spins circles so that sleep is no longer welcome
i wonder if there isn't a way that yields more fruit
because the rotten fruit that i've peeled from the branches until now
has never found a purpose.
i decide to try the opposite, experiment.
the lowering of self to a place of minimum importance
so as to look up to those previously labeled inferior
i watch vulnerability blossom
freedom and acceptance exhale
and this feels even better
more right
more fruitful
more life

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

shoelace

selfishness stares me right in the face with an undeserved contentment on her own.
i break eye contact and stuff my face back between pages. this only lasts so long and my mind jumps from one "what-if" to the next while my stomach ties itself like a shoelace, double-knotted.
i read the same paragraph for the fourth time, retaining none of it. finally i exhale and the book lies facedown on the cushion and i close the soul-windows and allow my soul to be searched by the only One capable.
selfishness is. but it is not master.
selflessness is. greater reality. promise.
if surrender. if the heart is willing to be broken and anchor it's hope in unshakable rock rather than drifty sand below sometimes- storm-tossed seas.
rock. qualities and realities that don't change or move or depend on anything else to maintain their integrity.
sand. always uncertain, tentative, contingent on performance and competition and comfort. and the wind and the moon and the creatures that manipulate it's resting place.
selfishness is. but she holds no power that she isn't given.
selflessness is. and holds all power. all authority. even death has no voice where the selfless stand confident, willing to know shallow pain for deep joy and temporary discomfort for forever rest.
jesus, unshakable rock, be my rest, my confidence, my willingness to feel pain - to feel it deeply - but to know joy infinitely deeper.

Friday, November 25, 2016

unburdened


"in Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence"
a few weeks ago ali recommended a group study of ephesians
and because i was too deep in 3 other books [not in the bible, lest you think that i'm trying to make myself sound so honorable]
at the time i didn't step in with the 3-4 that kept a steady dialogue going
but later, now
i remember walking those streets in early december exactly 10 years ago
2000-year-old columns and structures that tell only whispered stories of what the prosperous city used to be
but i remember hearing of the darkness that lived there, where the early church held on so faithfully to this new news of hope and purpose and messiah,
i remember the stadium that created space for gladiators and lions and all of the helpless victims
i remember talk of secret tunnels that led from library to brothel so the men of the city could indulge at whim without public knowledge
and i read here
that Christ came to create a new unified humanity out of the two volatile people groups
that He made it possible for mankind to approach God with freedom and confidence
until that moment of reconciling two humanities, of reconciling Creator with created
there was no access to such relationship
pain and suffering and death and confusion and loneliness landed heavily where they originated with no outlet for the burden and fear and distress
and it would have been fitting, appropriate, deserved
"like the rest, we were by nature deserving of great wrath. but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ"
all of the mercy, the punishment entirely deserved but withheld, all of the grace
a good God, a kind and selfless outlet for all of the pain within which sinful humanity lives
He carries the hurt and confusion and fear and offers a burden that is light on the shoulders,
hopeful to the spirit
and joy-filled, evident in the eyes
His presence, immanence, companionship, and burden-carrying are the greatest gifts
thank you, Jesus, for making a way where there was no way and where burden was forever our lot in life

Saturday, September 5, 2015

expended

lindsey made me do it
she made me run
that's what i keep telling people
and myself
because if i'm doing it for someone else i can tolerate it
normally
i hate running
and my last memory prior to this summer
was running the warrior dash with all of my brother and sisters (that part was actually quite wonderful)
but with some sort of respiratory ailment
one that almost killed me at the first water obstacle
when i didn't realize that the far side of that first barrel was bottomless lake
i was all the way under
and came up terrified
just barely grabbing enough air to keep me going to the sand
and 2 more miles of squishy tennis shoes
complete with climbing and crawling obstacles
then the finish line
where kristi and i looked at eachother and agreed -
i hate running. i'm never doing it again.
but then lindsey made me do it
and i got the app
and i started [at least] trying
but before i knew it
i kind of liked it
the rush of meeting the next goal,
seeing the progress,
working toward something that i'll share with a small group of friends
friends who are as much family as friends
so i keep trying and improving
[except for today - i definitely walked some today]
and i'm able to say that i'm loving running
if we're getting technical though
i'm loving the first mile and the completely expended feeling when the 3+ miles are passed
those other miles in between are a blur - a miserable blur
diluted by matt chandler and andy grammer and iin lectures, thankfully
but the end result always seeps satisfaction and victory and pride
and i'm glad that
lindsey made me do it.

Friday, June 12, 2015

30

this year i started studying nutrition, a dream i've had ever since brooke told me about iin 7 years ago
and i must say that next to Jesus i've never believed in something more
this - this training in order to help other people -
this is fun for me and i've received encouragement from trusted friends that this is a good fit
as well as confirmation via peace, and so much joy in the learning process
i'm thankful
and God has made it clear to me that for now this is in large part what i should be investing my heart into
and the little ones that are my responsibility from breakfast to dinnertime
He's mentioned the possibility of an added responsibility for little hearts
but before i say anything more about that i wait to see what comes out of a few upcoming conversations.
i have a new home with a dear friend
and this place is mine for the long term if i so choose and that feels good.
this year i learned that i love to drive
i love roadtrips to see friends and to explore this country
st. louis and minneapolis at least, idaho to come
i've seen 2 of my girls finish high school and plan for the next adventure
my family will welcome twin babies!! in december...or november
this year we'll send nathan and jana off to oxford, both reluctantly and joyfully
and ben and jeanne to alaska
and God, He's not going anywhere
i've learned more of His steadfastness and the joy of remaining steadfast in trusting Him.

but if i'm really honest,
30 was not a milestone that i was excited to reach
i expected to feel like such an adult by 30
you know the same way you looked up to the seniors in high school
when you were a short, skinny, greasy-haired freshman
and they were all tall and beautiful with their curled hair and contact lenses,
all loud and laughing in the hallways while you secretly cowered as you had to pass by them on your way to the science hall
but then you get to senior year and you notice how little those wide-eyed freshmen are
but you realize that you don't feel the way that you thought seniors were supposed to feel,
that you don't feel as tall and beautiful and confident as they think you are
but also
that that doesn't detract from where you indeed are,
the responsibility and the gift of years and added wisdom
and then you get over yourself a little bit
and realize that you're not as important as you think you are
you're priceless and loved and gifted in impacting so many of those who are looking up to you
if you can stop long enough to see what you can offer
rather than wasting your time asking why the things you want haven't materialized
so i've had to stop and ask for God's help in changing my attitude
and to open my eyes to see the freshmen looking up at me
and to pray that i can help them to see Jesus a little more clearly
and to love Him more for always
because this is so much of my purpose and i've always known that.

"we are doing more good than we know, sowing seeds, starting streamlets, giving men true thoughts of Christ, to which they will refer one day as the first things that started them thinking of Him;
and of my part, i shall be satisfied if no great mausoleum is raised over my grave, but that souls shall gather there when i am gone and say, 'he was a good man; he wrought no miracles,
but he spoke words about Christ,
which led me to know Him for myself.'"
-george matheson

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

rose-hue

and then everything began to look different
when the rose-hue faded to transparent
and the self-imposed plans melted to a wick and a flicker and a threadline of smoke
the plans, stuffed into a box, shelved alongside numerous other plans made from limited understanding
but the dreams
the dreams only grew larger
and more real
with each passing day

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

point

she points me to christ, you say
who is this christ?, i ask
this christ who encourages deceit
this christ who delights in the breaking of the family
this christ who contradicts Himself
this christ who lives to satisfy only Himself
this christ who pursues instant [self] gratification
this christ who repels any accountability
this christ who has much to prove
this christ who strives to protect his own reputation
this christ who keeps a firm grasp on every last bit of his pride
this christ who runs after sexual gratification
this christ who lives in a sea of confusion and chaos

this christ? i don't know him.

but i know of satan, liar, deceiver.
he sounds like your "christ"
i caution you, dear one,
to know the voice of your Father
know His Words
know them for yourself
discern between the voice of truth
and the voice of falsehood
the voice of wisdom
and that of that woman in [proverbs 5],
who tells you what your itching ears long to hear

but the true Christ, He is a father to the fatherless
[and He'll fill both your shoes and His]
the true Christ, the One the Bible speaks about,
there is no falsehood in Him
and His eyes are too pure to look on evil
He says, delight in the wife of your youth
He took the Church as His forever bride to display a picture of faithfulness
even in suffering, to the point of death, because His love saw nothing of selfishness
the true Christ,
He's the God of all peace
who satisfies the mind that is fixed on Him
there's no life apart from Him [john 15]
because only He holds the words of eternal life [john 6]

we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. for we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body...
therefore we do not lose heart. though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. [2 corinthians 4]

i pray that He, the real Christ, is your greatest treasure,
that you're willing to sacrifice now, temporarily,
for joy, for redemption, for reconciliation,
for the prize that will last for always.