September 29, 2010

Prone to Wander

Lord I feel it, prone the leave the Lord I love. 
Lately I have been feeling like Hosea's wife....heartbreakingly cruel, foolishly fickle, and stubbornly unfaithful to the One who loves me best. 
When I am still and silent and listening I can hear God speak words of comfort and strength, but I only when I am looking in the right place.  God's word is the only place I will find these words.  So unless I have hidden these words in my heart or are daily reading them God cannot use this precious gift to calm my heart and soothe my hurts. 
Time and time again, lately it seems, more than ever, I find myself distracted....pulled away from the eternal by shiny objects.  Many of these shiny objects are not "bad" in and of themselves but they are not what I need, they will never satisfy.  They are like chewing gum when my stomach is growling and my hands are shaking from hunger. 
And the tragic part is that I know this!  I know for a fact that all the things I try to lose myself in...to relax, unwind, veg out...will never give me true rest!  Yes, there is a time and place for recreation, entertainment, and the like but they are not what I need when I am feeling overwhelmed.
I long for the day when in heaven my hunger will be completely satisfied and I will no longer be distracted by good things when I am to be pursuing what is best. 
Until then I will pray...praying that I would be more faithful the the Faithful One, that I would stop settling for good when I should pursue the best, and that I would develop a craving for eternal things.
 Until then I will continue to mess up and will bring my broken and hurting heart to God in repentance. 
Until then I will remember that He who began a good work in me will work it through to completion.

Joining with Emily and others as we lay our brokenness down at the foot of the cross at Imperfect Prose

September 26, 2010

Friends that stick closer than a brother (or sister as the case may be)

God has blessed me with more friends than I deserve and tonight I want to give a shout out to the fearsome foursome.

We have been friends for 19 years....growing together through girl scouts and slumber parties,
dress-up and junior high, first crushes, first kisses,
first heartaches and everything in between.
This summer has brought changes...two sisterfriends have gotten married, one has moved away and a younger sister has begun to be enfolded into the mix.




Sometimes this requires some crafty planning (like cardboard faces to fill-in pictures), multiple picture texts, and long conversations on various types of media.



But through it all, it means the world to me to have these girls who have known with and without braces, loved me through my awkward pre-teens, crazy teen years, put up with my quirks, held me accountable to the life God has called me to, and have always been ready at a moment's notice with a prayer or word of Godly encouragement.  Thank God for girlfriends!

September 22, 2010

usefullness

I have a bit of a Martha complex.  Cobwebs call for cleaning, recipes beckon to be tried, dirty dishes drown out the silence that I am called to.  My Loving Father tells me to be still and know He is God.  I know that He has truth to tell and love to lavish on me but somehow listening doesn't make the top of the to-do list.
"If I am useful then I can earn my keep.  Production equals purpose.  Busyness brings self-worth."  all things i hear my mind preach to my heart and yet I hear a still small voice saying, "stop....cease your striving and listen....let me teach you my truth, heal your wounds, forgive your sins....let me love you"  Then I look up and let the warmth of the Son warm my cold heart.
Yes, I know that faith without works is dead and that God calls us to do justice, feed the hungry, work towards His glory but obedience without love is meaningless.  Faith must come first.  Loving God must take precedence.  Trusting God to be enough must be enough when He says so. 
Work alone will never save, usefullness will not erase the sin-sick stains on my soul or the pain I feel or the pain I have caused for others.  Christ alone can save this weary soul.   Holy blood shed is the only cure to redeem the works of my hands.  Praise God that what I intend for evil He intends for good.

Joining Emily and others in a community of redeemed brokenness at Imperfect Prose

September 15, 2010

What is your only comfort in life and in death?

That I am not my own, I am not my own to define
but belong not rented or borrowed but owned
body and soul, all that I am, every word every thought every passion every dream every step
in life and in death even when reality as I know it no longer exists, this I know is true
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. by brother, redeemer, friend, and Creator
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, a price i could never have paid
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. Hallelujah, I sing because I am happy, I sign because I am free
He also watches over me in such a way His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me
that not a hair can fall from my head nothing is to small to escape His notice, He is concerned with every detail of my life.
without the will of my Father in heaven: no thing is a surprise to Him who loves me
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. not my immediate satisfaction, ease or comfort but my salvation
Because I belong to him, it is His grip that keeps me there and not my own
Christ, by his Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, working together to hold me
assures me of eternal life Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready there is no fear of turning back
from now on to live for him for I am not my own!


Today I bring my weakness to draw rest and strength in the shade of God's faithfulness and linking up with Emily for imperfect prose.  For when I am weak, then am I strong!

(red text from Heidelberg Catechism question #1)

September 8, 2010

Longing for the City with Foundations

"To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on." (Chaucer in Knight's Tale)
Sometimes I feel like my spiritual feet are made of lead...each step forward takes a bit more effort than the one before.  My legs ache to rest but I know that stagnancy is a slow killing poison and that lack of forward motion results in loss of ground. 
I read my Bible, I pray, I have my quiet times, I go to church...and sometimes it just doesn't feel like enough.  The overflowing joy, the peace that passes all understanding, the strength to mount on wings like eagles all seem to be just out of reach, behind a clean glass wall...a barrier not visible but hard and cold.  On those days I trudge
This has been such a season but God is showing me the blessing of nothing left to lose.  When I surrender my hopes and dreams, the expectations I have of God, He is free to work in me as He wasn't before.  There is a beauty in not quite hitting the breaking point because it is by God's grace that I am pressed but not crushed.
That "impulse to simply soldier on" can only come from God.  I know my heart, I know that my soul is lazy and would rather not move if it means discomfort.  Pushing on, beyond my comfort level and known ability, is something only the Holy Spirit can teach my heart to do.  Now I see that I press on because I have been taught look for something better. 
Yes, failure terrifies me.  Yes, unfulfilled dreams ache.  Yes, betrayals sting. Yes, temptations are strong and sin eats away at my joy and love of God.  Yes, forgiveness is hard to give and harder to receive. 
BUT all these obstacles shall pass away when I see my Savior face to face.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev. 21:3-5)
I trudge because I believe Jesus when He says He will make all things new.
Linking up with the community of hope and brokenness at Imperfect Prose

September 1, 2010

scattered

Most times when I sit to write it is because I have something to say that is gnawing to get out.  Today is not one of those days, my mind is scattered, torn between so many thoughts and questions that I am having a hard time discerning any one cohesive thought.
At a retreat in college i remember the speaker had a mason jar full of muddy water, murky brown and completely opaque...she had just shaken it up.  She placed the jar on a stool and began to talk about God's call for us to be still and know that He is God. When she spoke of even prayer requests being silenced she caught my attention. Thoughts, concerns, heartaches, and troubles are like the little bits of dirt in the jar...swirling madly around, diffusing light, blocking vision, becoming an obstacle to truth.  As she spoke of the peace which passes all understanding the jar began to settle.  Slowly, the jar's contents slowed down.  First light began to filter through.  Then bits of larger objects began to stick out through the muck.  Finally the dirt settled to the bottom and the water was clear....twigs once completely hidden became perfectly visible. 
I am reminded tonight that is I sit still before God and close my mouth and calm my heart dust will start to settle.  First the light of His love and peace will begin to break through.  Then parts of what He is trying to tell me will start to be revealed.  Finally, if I am faithful and patiently wait, He will show me what He wants me to know. 
My inability to hear God speak is not because He is busy or because my problems are too small for Him to care.  It is simply because I have not sat still or stayed quiet long enough to listen.  My thoughts and needs, hurts and cares are legitimate but I need to trust, for right now, that my Father already knows them. 
Tonight is a night for listening.

Recognizing my muddiness tonight and linking up with Imperfect Prose