Monday, December 22, 2014

Idol Management

Those moments when that deep insecurity creeps in and you wonder where you confidence bounded off to. Funny how easy it is to forget how loved we are.
I've begun to realize just how easy it is for me to have idols.

In EVERYTHING.

Whether it is a possession, people's affirmation, bitterness, anger, my love of food.
If it takes the place of Jesus, it is an idol.
That may sound harsh. But, it is the truth.
And the crazy thing is, when I have idols, in my head I know they'll let me down.
So, I sit around patiently loving them, hoping they won't let me down.
I put my faith in them, adoring the temporary they bring.
Suddenly, my feet are swept out from under me and I hit my heart on a sharp corner of their betrayal.
I am shocked that they let me down.
I gently pick myself up, eager to see if I can find a way around this hurt.
I decide the idol is worth trying again, seemingly forgetting the pain it caused me.
Yet, a seed is planted, some seed of doubt in what I have place my faith in.
My doubt creates insecurity--in myself, in things, in people.
But, still I try to justify my need of these idols.
Things start to spin out of control, and I ask God to help me manage my idols.
I wonder what He thinks of that, me asking Him to help me organize the things that take away His place as first in my life.
Life continues to spiral into a numbing swirl of madness for which I have no method anymore.
 I walk around, quietly shushing the nervous fool within me.
Telling myself not to let anyone see that maybe I'm not ok, we all want comfortable anyway, right?
No one wants to see messy.
 But, what we forget is those broken pieces we all try to hide, to tape together, can be rearranged, moved around, remastered, to create a beautiful mosaic.
 For who of us truly has it all together? We would be remiss in saying that we did.
There is only One who can truly re-master, and redeem our hearts.
And to tell you the truth, I'm tired of asking "what if?" "What if we opened our hearts?" "What if we did this?" "What if we did that?"
These seemingly endless "what if" questions have not gotten me anywhere.
They are good questions, but if there is no heart change and action proceeding from that change, there is no point in asking the question.

So, I WILL seek.

There is no "what would it look like if I would seek Him and His face?"
No. I will seek. I will run after Jesus like He is the only thing that can save me, that can bring joy to my heart. Because He is the only thing. The only One who can save.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fix My Eyes on You



I sit, my heart in knots. 
It came in the form of a "you're beautiful" moment.
I grin to myself, as I feel slightly not myself; and I know where to go. 
Then, I pull back and whisper quietly, “why? Daddy, why?” 
I step back a moment, step back into the Arms of Grace. 
He shows me gently where I have grown.
 He cries the tears that I can’t, the ones that my numb heart won’t let out. 
How I long for that stream of freedom to run down my face. 
Tears. 
They have are a grace-filled, funny blessing.
 Healing, freeing.
 I think through all the chaos of the last few weeks, the changes up and coming, the not-knowing what will happen in each tomorrow, the learning to trust Him in the middle of the “I-don’t-knows.”
 In the middle of scorching turmoil, I sit and thank Him for a new, precious friend; a friend who inspired me by the number 7. 
Such grace, crazy how one is blessed in the most wonderful of odd ways.

 He just knows. 

My Daddy knows.
 I forget most days how He loves me.
 I forget that He sings over me.
 I forget that He knows my heart.
 I forget that He thinks I’m beautiful. 
I forget that He created me and loved me to life. 
So for today, I hold it close and treasure the grace. 
Tomorrow will take care of itself, because He’s in control.

So, my eyes, remain fixed on Him.
Water-walker, I shall become.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Never Lose Your Wonder

Today, I took a lesson from a child.
To never lose my wonder.
We all do though, right?

As adults, we get jaded by the world, and we lose our sense of wonder. We lose wonder in God, of what He did for us. We lose the wonder of His created beauty surrounding us. We lose wonder in our relationships, friend or otherwise. We lose wonder in the little things that used to delight us as children.

Picture with me: I am sitting on a tile floor, watching with a smile as my little guy gazes in awe at the yellow strainer he holds. He turns it over, and slams it down on the floor. Picking it up again, he licks it, curious at its taste. He puts his face into the strainer, delighted that he can see through the small squares. Giggling, he throws it down again, crawling toward me. Climbing into my lap, he smiles at me and giggles some more. Such wonder, wonder of a strainer. And I had to think.

What would it be, what would it look like, if I had such wonder and delight toward my Savior?
Oh, that I would take such delight in tasting and seeing. To wonder at His creation all around me.
To ponder the colors and delight in His presence. To rest in grand arms of peace. To take time and delight in a friend, to treasure the friendship and heart of my mom. To hold closely the wisdom of my dad. To dance before my heavenly Father.

To never lose the wonder.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

What are you waiting for?
Are you waiting for it to all fall into place?
 Are you waiting for enough?
Are you waiting until your kids are older?
Are you waiting until you are out of school?
Are you waiting until you have it all together?
Until that perfect moment?

Not using texting language here, but you only live once.
You are here for a reason.
Do you have a dream? Or some desire or longing that you think is crazy?

Now hear me out. Before I say this next part, I am NOT suggesting that you go out from under God's authority or the authority that He has placed over you. But, what I am saying is, if you have a dream, don't be afraid to step out in faith and see if God will open doors for you to live your dream.

In Him, you, yes you, are capable. You are capable of literally climbing a mountain (if that is your dream, I promise you, it isn't mine). You are capable of starting that business that you have pondered deep in your heart (I have seen it done!). You are capable of reaching out to that neighbor woman you see so deeply broken. You are capable of doing ministry in another country (if God calls you, go; don't wait until tomorrow or the day that everything fits perfectly, just go; He's the Master of Puzzle; He'll put it all together for you). You are capable of being a single mom, to a precious adopted child, working and all (this for my latest superhero human). You are capable of making time to take a class so you know how better to speak to youth. You are capable of writing that book (don't think you're crazy, it's on my list too). You are capable of being free from addiction (alcohol, drug, sex, and those addictions people don't want to admit are addictions: food, sports, shopping, and the biggest one, ourselves). And most importantly, you are capable of not giving up on this life. In Jesus, you are capable of every single thing mentioned and more.

So what are your dreams?
Is freedom on your heart?

That perfect moment will never come.
Trust me. It won't.


"Everybody's gonna make mistakes
But everybody's got a choice to make
Everybody needs a leap of faith
When are you taking yours?"

-Nickelback*

So what are you waiting for?
Carpe' diem.

*As a rule, I would not normally post from their music. But, I randomly heard this song one day. Loved the point of what they are saying and it fit here with this post. So bear with me some small measure of grace.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

What If We Guarded Our Hearts? {Proverbs 4:23}

What if?

What if we prepared our hearts the way we prepare our faces?
What if we took care of our hearts the way we take care of a nice vehicle?
What if we treasured our hearts more than money?

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." {Proverbs 4:23}

I want to keep this post extremely general as I am just as guilty of this as anyone else.
But, I had the privilege of being a part of a meeting last evening that really made me think about where my heart is, what I am doing with it, and how well I am guarding it.

I would like to parallel preparing, taking care of/guarding, and treasuring our hearts with putting on makeup, detailing a car, and investing financially. Bear with me.

I am not a super huge makeup girl, never have been, never will be. The reasons are not important. What is important is how this can relate to our hearts.
There are incredible skin care lines out there, I make no joke of makeup. There are endless lines to make us beautiful, have fewer wrinkles, enhance collagen, etc.
We have counters filled with moisturizer, toner, exfoliating mixtures, foundation, etc. We get up each morning and spend our time using a small amount from each container, carefully following our normal routine. Time may vary for each person; but, once finished, most times we walk away feeling "unblemished" and "beautiful". 

What would it look like if we did this with our hearts? 

This may look different for everyone, so I ask for grace; I merely write. But, imagine if our hearts were our faces. Imagine if we get up in the morning and gently wash and exfoliate it with a prayer to start our day. Then we would tone and moisturize our hearts by quieting ourselves to sit and read His Word for a moment. In doing this, we would find that our foundation was a part of quieting, we are firm in His truth. Imagine singing, our blush, mascara, eye-liner, etc., of sorts. (Once again, grace). I have no more to write on this, but let's simply imagine that this would happen every single morning.

Moving on to paralleling this with detailing a car. 

Your heart is filled with junk. It's broken and dirty. Can you clean it all by yourself? No. But some days choosing to be at the foot of the Cross comes by you making it intentional. 

So, your heart, it's filled with junk, it's broken and dirty. Sometimes spiritually we just want to take our hearts through a quick-fix car wash; but I wonder if sometimes that doesn't hurt us more than actually do us good. Imagine walking to your heart and seeing that it could use a good wash and wax on the outside and a good vacuuming and cleaning on the inside. What do you do? You grab your supplies and get to work. Once again, those prayers, those desperate ones that ache? They have such a wonderful ability to lay all our dirt at the foot of that rugged Cross. Taking our dirt there washes us clean. But, we can't just stop there. Pouring over the Word of God will clean out our deepest inside parts of our raw imperfectness. Knowing the His truth by heart protects are hearts just like that coat of wax that is put on a vehicle. What would it look like having our hearts clean and brought before Jesus on more than just a once-a-week detailing?

Investments. Ahhh, I am no pro at this; yet I imagine this can definitely be paralleled with our hearts as well. 

Say you are blessed with an inheritance. The wise thing would be not to go spend it frivolously. You would find someone could advise you on how to invest it. You would discuss: stock options, bonds, IRAs, etc. You would educate yourself in this subject, discussing each decision with your adviser. Should this not be the same with our hearts? That we would take it to the wisest Adviser and ask Him where to put our hearts, that we would know how to spend it wisely for His glory. And in doing so, reap His joy, peace, and so much more.

Friends, I am preaching this to my own heart. It is so easy to reach for a distraction in hopes that it is a quick fix. This may be any vice: people, thoughts, possessions, alcohol, drugs, etc. There are so many things we run to instead of to the One that can truly heal, protect, guard, treasure, and care for our hearts. So, what would it look like if we took our hearts to Him, allowed Him to heal us, and trusted Him to protect, guard, treasure, and care for our hearts?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In Light of Love



In honor of one of my best friends as she looks forward to this day.


**************************

To love and be loved.

What does this mean? What does it look like?
I look at the last few years of my life, and it takes on many different meanings.

The gracious redemption of the Savior. Forgiveness showered. Grace poured. Moments of tears.
These are all love.

Wispy, clouded, golden-hued sunsets. Sitting on top of mountains, gazing around. Piano music dancing. Singing. Quiet mornings of rest. Laughter. Precious memories.
These are all an outpouring of His love.

And yet, so often we forget.
We forget to hold these close to my heart.
To remember that He has not forgotten us.

We focus on the busy of today, blinded to the day’s beauty.
Harsh words cascade when we forget love.
Patience is lost to fear creeping into our hearts.

Then a moment of longing comes, and we sit.
We sit down at the feet of the only One who can calm us.
He always gives so graciously.

This morning, He reminded me of this.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
-1 John 4:16-18

Ahh, there is no fear in love.
Its perfection casts out fear.
It makes me think of that moment, this moment coming soon.
That moment of a bride walking down the aisle toward her love.
In that moment, she walks, beautiful in white, trusting, toward the man she will call her own.
She has let him love her, trusts in that love.
He waits, smiling at the breathtaking beauty.

Human love is not perfect, but through Christ this love becomes more pure and perfect.
His love will endure. Fear cannot reign when the love of Christ is present.

************************

Ruby, love, we connected in ways that I have never connected with anyone else. God gave me you for many reasons. I think you would agree with me. I will always treasure our talk in the gazebo that one night. (You know which one :) ) That night gave me hope, as I know it did you. I will always hold dear those nights we talked in the car outside the duplex, tears and laughter. Both so precious. The moments you were in Ohio with me, our walks, and catching fireflies because we simply wanted to. Praying with you. My dear friend. You are a gift straight from the heavenlies, and I thank Jesus so much for you. I can't help but get teary-eyed as I write this. You are getting an amazing man. I've known him for years, and my heart is filled with joy that he found you and you found him. I pray Christ will always be the center of your lives, and that you will learn and grow with each other. I love you dear sister. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Tribute to a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Son, Friend Taken Far Too Soon

Tragedy was faced today. It has a magnificent power to break hearts in two, yet bring people together in love and community. Sitting in church this morning  listening to the sweet strains of "Nearer My God to Thee" on a violin made tears spring to my eyes. Voices raised to sing the familiar hymn and I closed my eyes to let the words wash over me. As I listened, a picture started to develop.

I was walking into the throne room. I look around as I slowly walked toward the throne. He sat there, quietly watching me. I looked up, tears welling in my eyes for my beautiful friend and sister and her siblings. I had so many questions. "Why would you take a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend?" "Why would you take away the arms that held a family?" "Why would you not allow my friend to be able to walk down the aisle with her daddy, her dressed in white?" "Why would you break an already weather-worn family even further?" The questions poured out, as He sat and listened to me.

He cried with me, and gave me another picture. I saw him in the hospital with the family, then later at the memory-filled farmhouse. He had been sitting there, loving gently, comforting with grace and indescribable peace. His arms surrounded the farmhouse, creating a safe haven of rest. He then gently told me that my questions were valid, yet at this time the answers were still His to have. In control He is, and sometimes I fight this, but grace, grace...incredible grace.

Tears stream now writing this all. I remember this gentle man, full of wit. Mention was made of his humor and quirky little quotes this morning, and my heart smiled as I remembered. Leroy was his nickname for me, so Leroy I will always treasure. He always seemed to love with his full heart, his smile lighting up a room. I remember small jokes, and much teasing, but always full of love for people. I can't even begin to share everything on my mind, but I give this as tribute in honor of a man who by our perspective was taken far too soon. So mourn we shall, yet I have hope that joy will in the morning, and that the sun will rise, because:

"Then like a hero who takes the stage when we're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late, well let me introduce you to amazing grace."
-Mercy Me

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Meadow



He says, “Write again.” I ask Him why. Nothing good comes from me, but in You. My hope has been dry lately, not flowing like a river in the wilderness. I look and I remember the meadow. That oh so beautiful place of hope that I long to one day see.
It is a wonderful place, so filled with rest. My heart aches to be there. I saw Him there once. I think it was before I started to dance in the middle of the meadow. He sat on a bench near the edge, trees shading the seat on which He sat. I saw myself there, His hands holding mine. In that picture, I was young. So very young. I remember the questions, so many “whys”. Gently, He said, “when you’re ready.” I didn’t know what that meant. When would I ever not be ready to understand? Why couldn’t I know now? Why could freedom not simply come immediately? I asked Him to show me my heart.
Next I saw myself in the throne room, watching Him interact with the children. I saw one girl walk slowly toward Him, her head down. It seemed as though the world had given her all its worries, for her shoulders were slumped, her weariness dragging like an iron cloak. Her clothes were torn and dirty, mere rags compared to those laughing and dancing around her. I sensed more than saw her desire for His love. I could feel her longing to dance, laugh, and sing in His presence. I had yet to see this young girl’s face, and as she lifted her head slightly to peer up at Him, I gasped, for I saw that it was me. Tears welled in my eyes; I knew why she was there. Her head downcast again, she shivered slightly as she felt His hand touch her shoulder. She looked up into His face; He reached down for her hand. As He lifted her to her feet, I gazed in wonder. Her rags were no longer; in their place she wore white, such splendid white. Knowing her heart, He had playfully woven pale pink into her gown of righteousness. She radiated femininity and purity, yet she also had a grace-filled strength that came straight from the One who held her. On her feet, I saw the shoes she had been longing for, for so long. Dancing shoes. I saw her smile, her heart filled with Him.
And suddenly there I was watching her dance in the meadow. Sunlight streamed through lacy trees swaying in a breeze so graceful. As she twirled, I saw how lush the meadow was. Bouquets of flowers woven with care through the bright green grasses, displayed a splendor far above man-made masterpieces. There was such a rest in the meadow, and I turned to see what caused such peace. I looked over to the bench; my heart jumped. He was there, watching her dance. His joy and delight in her was evidenced on His face. I wondered if that was truly how He saw me. And then, a rush of rushes swept over me; He glanced my way. He said, “Yes. Yes, my Love, this is how I see you. Hear how the birds sing, and the crickets chirp? See the beauty in the sunlight dancing with you? Feel that clear air that you delight in taking breath? This is my song over you. The things you delight in? They are from Me just for you. Your disobedience brought to a place of rags, but your longing for Me brought you to a place of repentance. That repentance is bringing you to a place of joy. See how you dance? I have plans for you, good ones; plans for your future, plans for you to dance. Wait a while my Love; sit in my presence. When you’re ready the meadow will be yours.”