Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That's all

I push "publish" and cringe.

Funny, though. I push the pen and I'm thrilled.  To express my heart. 
And my words empty my soul and fill the page until I can breathe again.  Writing my fears, my thoughts, my prayers - to God.  A very personal penning.  For years.

But then the blog.  A new world opening; shimmering with the joy of finding others feeling just as I do.  In their brokenness, in their fears and in their quest to find God in their lives.  And I am thrilled again.  By their story.

And I can't help myself.  I join the throng.  Having been to New Jersey at Christmas on a mission trip; the inspiration.  Taking pictures.  Writing about the stories there.  After Hurricane Sandy.

And now.  Barely able to get anything else done.  This passion to read.  To write. 

But mostly, this insatiable quest in a bruised heart.  To find more of God. 

Because in the telling of stories; the messy, the raw, the embarrassing even.   We begin to heal.  Our messy spilling out on a page.  Just to know we're not alone. 

And we need each other.

And so, a blog.  Often misunderstood and overlooked by some.

But for others.  A place to heal.  Finding God shining through the cracks of our brokenness.  Helping us in the struggle to keep our eyes on Him.  In telling our story.

God entering that space.  And it becoming a sanctuary.

I love Ann.  And I wonder why I even try.  She does it so well. 

But she encourages.  She needs our stories.  We need hers.  And in seeing her so vulnerable and how it has helped me heal,  I am also vulnerable.  It humbles me.  And reminds me that I, like everyone else, struggle.  And life hits hard. 

Sometimes we cover it up so well.

So, here, on these pages.  Just a telling.  A story.  Of a girl and a life.
And a God who does not disappoint.  In the daily, the hurts, the messy of life.
He shows up. 

And messy pointing us to God; His grace and truth.  Holy ground.

And so I push "publish" and cringe.   
Praying God will use my messy to bless.
That's all. 
That would be really good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To really learn

I pick up my pen.  Thankful.
For pen and paper.
How I live; writing.
Writing.  Reading.  Thinking.

This time; different.  The reading.
A new discipline challenges. 
And not just for the moment.
Or a day or two.  And losing momentum.
Not this time.

This time.  To really learn. 

It is one thing to read a book and appreciate. 
To have it resonate.  Deeply.
Or to listen to words and agree with the heart.
Truth to rejoice over. 
And to rejoice. 

But in the rereading.
Of 1000 Gifts.  Written by Ann.
Something more getting my attention.

And I'm listening.

Because the worry of life. 
The un-trust. The discontent.
So much to burden the heart. 
So much to slow the soul.

Worry, complaint, anger; our natural default. Fighting hard for self. 
Hiding the fear.  The angst.  The questioning.
The whys of the not-enough riddling our soul.

And so it resonates.  This story.  1000 Gifts.
In someone like Ann. 
Sharing her journey; so raw, so intimate, so brave.
So riveting; a best-seller.

God-glimmering truth through the cracks of the pain of this world.

Because he, the enemy, not winning the battle.

Already won. By God.

It was in the upper room that Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup.
For us to remember.
And giving thanks.  Always giving thanks. To the Father.
Knowing what was asked of Him.  The cross.

But giving thanks.  Jesus.

Me; having to be reminded.

In all things, give thanks.

And so I am reading again and counting.
Counting 1000 gifts.
Having counted a year ago.  And then again another time.
And then forgetting.  Losing the tablet.
Somewhere in a drawer.

Friends sometimes mocking.
I joining in. 
Ann even; questioning. At first.
Can it really be this simple?

The living full?

Because some days and some events tugging hard against us; being grateful.
Questioning a sovereign God.

But this I know. 
Life was not created solely for my happiness.
Even the thought; embarrassed laughter. 
And yet.  Living like I think so.  Sometimes.  Much too often.

Ann helping me remember.

And, more importantly, to learn.
To really learn.
The discipline required.  The coaxing on a hard day.
To count gifts.  To be grateful.

Writing it down.  Making a list.
So the default in my head changes.

The new default; gratitude.
By making lists.
#301. a quiet house
#302. good conversation
#303. sky rumbling with thunder
#304. summer warm on the patio
#305. stars coming out one by one
#306. the silhouette of pines tall 

And joy even and giddy happiness.  In the naming of gifts.

Appreciating what I overlook and do not see.  Usually.
By not picking up pen and paper.
Or my camera.

But to really learn; discipline transforming.  Worth the effort.
The lens changing everything.

#307. picturesque old barn in summer
#308. wooden rail fence zig-zagging across meadow
#309. window full of wondering high on a house
#310. dandelions dancing
#311. cornflower blue doors welcoming

And the ordinary, everyday; becoming holy ground.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

We have this treasure

We have this treasure.
In jars of clay.

Pondering the verse.
Wondering the implications.
My life.  Now.

A jar of clay.
Nothing fancy.
Liable to brokenness.
And often the feeling.  Indeed.
Cracked, broken, stretched  . . .

The verse continues.
Hard pressed on every side; but not crushed.
Perplexed; but not in despair.
Persecuted; but not abandoned.
Struck down; but not destroyed.

And the reason.
Jesus.  The Lamb of God.
Our treasure.

Therefore, we do not lose heart.

And yet we do, at times.
Lose heart.
And so the encouragement.

Reminding.  Again and again.
Life is at work in us.  Grace unfolding. 
We have this treasure.
To live full even when the vessel weakens.
Even when hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.

And the why.


With the resources of heaven available.
To come down from that cursed tree.
Instead, he stayed. 
He hung.

For love.

Desiring restored relationship.  Intimacy even.
A love story.
Making all others, beautiful as they are; pale.
In comparison.

Even watching a sweet proposal such as this.

Engaging the heart.  Soaring on joy. Just to watch the unfolding.
Of love.  The romance of the heart. 
And that with my man.  Meant to be.  Grateful always.

But this love affair with Jesus.  Something much more.
What my weary heart created for.

The Sacred Romance.
Only He filling our longings.
Wooing the heart with grace and truth.
Always the bride. 

We don't know God until we know Him as a lover.

Unfathomable.  Indescribable.
This love story.
This treasure in jars of clay.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Probably not

Just get over yourself!

I wrote these words, laughing, on the big kitchen chalkboard.
Finally, after the tension, laughing; me and my husband.  My best friend.

For I had asked him.  Again.
Asked others.
Read my own words - back to myself.
Desperate for answers.  This new season.  This life I have.
Not content being me.  Needing to be more. 
Never enough.

And I have to tell you.
The veil parted.
This time.

I got it.

After endless searching.  The asking.  The deep sorrowing.
Looking for truth.  The mirror up.  Seeing the ugly.


With myself.
With others.

How in the world to do it all?

Just get over yourself!
How easy to say.  How easy to laugh.
But how readily the inward groan when these words do not resonate.
To feel not enough.  To wonder the whys.

Expectations from childhood high and unattainable.
Cries from a pulpit resonating deep.
Opportunities round the globe.  Ministry.
Endless needs.

And my heart shuts down.
In the fear.  In the striving. 
Expectations.  Of others.  Of myself.

Where to start?  What to do?
Tired.  Overwhelmed.
Trying hard to meet. 
Sometimes only in my head.
To do what is required, what is asked, again and again.

But the striving to be what you are not; a dangerous road.

And in the studying and in the doing and in the asking.
Weariness and joy-gone and exasperation. 
Shame.  Inverted pride.
Not the pretty.  Nothing pleasing about it. 
For anyone.

So one last time.  Asking.
The words hanging in the air, coming between us.
My man and me.

And then I hear.

The words gushing forth like a runaway garden hose.
Filling the air with sound and gesture; hilarious.
But serious truth.
Impassioned.  Eloquent. Humorous. Unscripted.
Raw feelings expressed in the ordinary. 
Getting my attention.

And to sum it up.  What he says.

Hear me good. You are enough.
Do you think you have to save the world?
Get over yourself!

And I.
Shocked and grateful for the hearing.
Details eluding me already.  The impact full.
Wishing I could replay.
To remember. The truth I hear.
Standing stark and naked between us.

Hitting my heart like a tsunami.
Flooding me with relief.
To be myself.

And then I laugh.
We laugh together.

Jesus came to save the world.
Not I.
Not even a little bit.

Remembering other words.
Reminding me again.

"Come to me."
"All you, who are weary and burdened."

Maybe you.
Needing to hear.
To be reminded.

"Come to me."

What our relational God desires.
For this we were created.

"Come to me all you, who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

When we get over ourselves, the road takes a turn.
Taking us down a different path.
A life consumed with God.  Not self.
Not the measuring of the doing and the accomplishing; endless striving.

This time pleasing God.

But pleasing others; those mad-dash attempts to feel good about ourselves.
Nothing more than a dead end street.

"For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls."

Someone that good, that merciful, that gentle with us.
And me so undeserving.

Bubbling up goodness from my heart in gratitude.
Living a life to please Him.
The answer.
The road to take.

Struggles constantly reminding.

"Come to me."

And it is good.  So good.
Words on the blackboard.
In big letters.  Laughing.  Rejoicing. 

Do I think I have anything good to offer to anyone before I get over myself first?
Probably not.