dreaming…

Lately I have been sensing a call, a change in direction for my life. So I have been asking God a lot of questions, doing a lot of pondering, and attempting to listen best I can. Here are some of my ramblings, and then God’s answer to me, inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt, “protect.”

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I try to sit in contentment, which is hard, because my heart is a dreamer, made for a longer journey – eyes on the final prize and never completely comfortable in a world that is not my home.

I love the Church. It is beautiful. God’s people are beautiful. And yet we are so broken. God’s kingdom is so much greater, his vision so much beyond what the church looks like in America in 2016. My dreams for it are so much bigger. So great that trying to make a chip in that iceberg seems like an effort in futility. Foolish. Not worth my time, money, energy. I am just one person, and the cynicism (wisdom?) of my 32 years has left some naivety (optimism?) of youth behind.

Can I dream again? Can my heart stay whole, knowing now that “chasing a dream” of obedience to God is right and good, though it may be hard, difficult, confusing, and still leaving me feeling incomplete in this world? Knowing I will still be broken, still dealing with anger, depression, jealousy, pride & selfishness, because I’m human and those things in me won’t completely die until I’m resurrected?

Can I rest in Christ and run his race at the same time?

He says to me,

I will protect you my child. I am your strong tower. You may run to me and be saved. I give you the shield of faith, to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy. I give you my Word, to be your weapon and sword. I give you the gospel of peace, which lets you rest in the middle of war. I have fitted you with what you need – my Spirit, a helper. I am your shepherd, so you have everything you need. You can run your race. The path will include some still waters. You can climb mountains, because I will make them low for you. I will straighten your path, not let your foot stumble. You will fly on eagle’s wings, just as I shelter you with mine. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart – I have overcome the world.

Amen.

I pray you may know God’s protection as you let him fashion your dreams.

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losing my life

Joining Five Minute Friday, where we write freely for 5 minutes without second guesses and encourage one another. This week’s prompt: “lose.”

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“I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,” sings Toby Mac, the old song reverberating through my head.

But I do want SOME of the world. Can I keep some of the world without losing my soul?

I want to take hold of all God wants for my life. All he wants for me. But that is scary, because it means surrendering everything. All my will. All my desires. Emptying myself of the things that I think will fill me up – and trusting that he will instead.

As I grow older, I discover there are layers to my surrender. I use to think that as I grew older as a Christian, I would become stronger, “better,” more faithful, perhaps finally reaching the next “level” of maturity in my faith. Because of course I want to be the best, excellent in all things, especially my faith!

But as God calls me, as he leads me forward, as he gives me hints as to what surrendering to him might really mean for my life, I am terrified.

What if I lose it?

What if I lose what I want? What if I am not happy? What if it’s hard? What if it’s painful? What if it means financial insecurity? What if it means personal insecurity? What if it means sacrifice? Brokenness? Exposure?

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:39

It’s such an upside down kingdom. God leads me by the hand, beckoning forward, asking him to trust him yet again for just the next step ahead. I trust him. He’s led me this far. His dreams for me thus far have been greater than I have imagined. Rather than being a “giant” I am now just more aware of my self-righteous pride and deep need for my Savior. Feeling so inadequate, he calls me forward, to lose my life.

So I might find it. In Him.

STOP

this stage

Yeah, I’m making time to write a Five Minute Friday post today! If you need a few minutes to process your week, I highly recommend joining us for this encouraging, fun exercise!

This week’s prompt: “miss”

Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read about a momma venting/boasting/processing life regarding her 2 year old, stop reading now.


I miss ordinary tasks taking an ordinary amount of time, without interruption. Holy cow.

In the process of just sitting down to write this (in which I THOUGHT my toddler was occupied with Curious George), he politely asked me for the fifth time this morning if he could have more raspberries. I cut him off at breakfast, hoping to prevent stomach cramps and diaper rash. But I finally said yes, and before I could get to the fridge to help him, he had taken the half-full gallon of milk out of the fridge and dropped it, in a valiant effort to be independent and reach the raspberries that I had “hidden” behind said milk. SO. He calmly grabbed a towel (I grabbed 3), and we sopped up the milk and he proceeded to delight in some fresh raspberries. Once we started Curious George again with raspberries in hand, I went back and wiped up the sticky mess with a soapy rag, and then started a laundry load of kitchen towels, because low and behold they have all gotten dirty in the past 3 days cleaning up liquid spills of some sort!

So, 10 minutes later, let’s get back to what I was trying to do, which was… I don’t remember…. Thinking….

“Mom! More raspberries please?” We get more raspberries.

Thinking again… oh yes, I should do some writing… Go to my computer…

“Mom! More raspberries please?” Oh for heaven’s sake. We negotiate for crackers and cheese this time. Another Curious George episode.

And yeah, I’m writing! So yes, I miss ordinary tasks taking an ordinary amount of time, without interruption.

But I am also going to miss this stage, I know I am. Everyone tells me so. You know what I’ll miss? Our conversation at lunch yesterday, a rare moment when it was just him and me chowing down on our grilled cheese together.

“God changed my heart!”

“He did?”

“Yeah, he gave me a new one. A small one!”

“Yes, God can change our hearts, can’t he?” (Context: I recently made up a song about how Jesus changed Saul’s heart and he became Paul. So he’s on a Saul-became-Paul kick.)

“God is big!” (in a voice of wonderment.)

“Yes, buddy, God is big.”

“I love God, Mom.” (insert heart-melt-all-this-parenting-stuff-is-worth-it-the-mind-of-a-child-rocks moment)

Yep. I will miss this.

My friend Rachel shared a great reminder on Facebook yesterday… that as parents it’s so easy to fall into the trap of wishing for the next stage. I easily think, “Oh, I can’t wait until he’s potty trained,” or “I can’t wait until the baby can walk.” And doing that, I fail to see how they have grown, what they have accomplished, realizing that not too long ago, I was wishing for THIS stage. So my resolve for the near future is to be content with THIS stage. When they leave this nest I want to say (like the wise Angie Schmitt commented once) – EVERY stage was my favorite. 🙂

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Levi snapped this portrait of me writing during Curious George.

 

A season with a crack in the door

I’m not sure how to start putting into words what it means to have Christmas truly be my heart’s season of hope.

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The world is a dark, dark place, tainted by sin and the works of its tempter.

Terrorism. War. Murder of babies. Mass shootings and bombings of civilians.

Divorce. Brokenness. Unfaithfulness. Corruption. Deceit.

Loneliness. Depression. Illness. Suffering. Death.

Anyone feel like rejoicing and singing a cheesy song about how Jesus is the Reason for the Season?

It is easy to look around in the world and miss that God is still sovereign. It’s easy to forget who ultimately wins the war.

A great Needtobreathe song played on the radio yesterday as I drove in the dark at 5:00 pm to get groceries. I cranked up the chorus to Rivers in the Wasteland…

In this wasteland, where I’m living

There is a crack in the door filled with light

And it’s all that I need to get by

In this wasteland, where I’m living

There is a crack in the door filled with light

And it’s all that I need to shine

 

That crack of light? It’s Jesus. Pure and simple, the radiance of God, who Himself is Light.

“I could ask the darkness to hide me

and the light around me to become night-

but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.”  Psalm 139:11-12

Today as we’re walking through a dark world (literally and figuratively), I’m seeing a crack in the door filled with light. This season, sometimes that crack of light comes through the twinkling of Christmas lights in my neighborhood. A clear moon on a cold night. The sound of an old familiar carol playing. A jingle bell. Snow crunching under a toddler’s booted feet. The laughter of my children. These are the glimpses of heaven. Of victory here on earth. And I have a reason to sing…. I have a reason to worship.

“All of my life, in every season

You are still God, I have a reason to sing

I have a reason to worship” –Hillsong, Desert Song