11/26/15

because I am loved

This year I missed Canadian Thanksgiving but celebrated American thanksgiving with friends today.  I don't know if that means I'm acclimatizing or what.  Actually, I was just told by one of my Canadian cousins that I'm developing an accent =)

This was a bit of perspective that helped me today.   As I give thanks for God's admonitions that are for my good because He loves me, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on some of the things I have had to be thankful for recently.



3898.  "The Old Rugged Cross" and the unique way singing harmony allows you to simultaneously listen and agree.

3902.  Bubbles over the street

3938.  Apologies

3952.  Roommate laughter

3968.  Instagram squeals from the niece

3975.  Waking to the sound of rain



3979.  Irrepressible birdsong

4076.  Another free trial version of Photoshop

4086.  Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow

4095.  Stocking pigs and and toothbrush robots

4194.  My name on a welcome sign

4200.  The Psalm 126 song

4201.  Fall-scented candles



4206. How much my niece loves her mama

4211.  Breakfast with Mark, hot chocolate with Kenny

4212.  Grease and wrenches and the comfort of the shop, dad and brothers

4215.  Coworkers hanging over the railing yelling at me while I pull parts off the underside of my car =D



4218.  Lunch-break poetry

4222.  Light that shines in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6)

4227.  The kids that I babysit asking if I get paid extra for each meal I make for them because they think I enjoy "serving them"

4230.  Tilapia with cilantro, lime and parmesan

4232. So many thanksgiving pies

4234.  Hopeful watchmen, waiting for the Sun of Righteousness with the healing in His wings.


11/8/15

sunrise

stark velvet chill
bits of icy illumination
surround the contented moon

ahead of me the horizon blushes
faintly rainbowing the blue-black quiet
the light is certainly coming, but the anticipation drags on

there's a ray of promise,
I think
it builds a swell of glow

the sky-blind is lifted
and like a holy unveiling,
a sacred disrobing,
the brilliance overtakes us

after the shy of it
did you expect it to be this warm, this blinding?

9/21/15

pilgrimage

it's a strange state we're in
that's for sure
you can't be strong unless you know you're weak
won't feel held til you've tasted the lonely ache
must be broken down if you want to be made whole
can't be blinded by brightness without being encompassed by the dark
you can't love
without hurting, fearing, bleeding, weeping
oh friend,
push on for the prize



9/8/15

late night ramblings, because it's that time of year

Technically speaking my birthday has just ended.  I suppose I should be in bed but it's that time of night and of course I'm waxing eloquent and ignoring my need for beauty rest...
I just wanted to nail down a few things that stand out from my year of being 24.  (Because I know when I am finished being 25 I'll get nostalgic and go looking for birthday blog posts.)

I've had dark years.  Years that were marked by what one of my professors/coworkers calls the "dark night of the soul."  I don't know that I would say that 24 was dark.  But I think I have been learning how to grieve this year.  More than ever before I have seen my own weakness, my own limitations, my own fallenness and the lack and brokenness of the world around me.  And in many little ways I've been forced to give up the notion that I can do enough to reverse these things.  Oh, what precious grace that has driven me to cry out to the Lord more than I ever have before!  I've learned that very often surrendering to sanctification sounds like, "Lord, help!"  It's that breathing rhythm of "Oh God, how I need You!"  There have been countless times where I want Christ to explain, to share answers with me.  But in those moments He so often does not speak, per se; He just is.  Oh how precious His nearness has been to me.  How can I explain to you how much it means to me that my Lord Jesus wept?  He weeps with me, and the Spirit purifies my tears to image this weeping God by my own grief.  Because He's been showing me that this world is so very broken.  I am thankful to just lay aside the facades of "we can make this work, we can make our own hope, we will be successful" let's just go ahead and be honest with each other.  Life is messed up.  So much hurt, so much pain, so much evil.
But if my Savior is the Human who mourned perfectly, He is the one who rejoiced perfectly too.  I hope this will be something I'll grasp more fully this coming year.  He is also the God who is so pleased to see our joy.  And I will say my joy-spots this year have been so ecstatically rich in the context of this grief.  Sorrowful yet always rejoicing, I guess. (2 Corinthians)  I want to learn how to be sillier and happier, more willing to enjoy the people around me this year.  May I surrender my will to the God who designs, cares, feels and acts perfectly.  I live 'in Him'.


8/27/15

well, let's get on with it then








holy fire,
overwhelm the whens
when I hate everything that hurts
when I adore my ease and comfort
when I couldn't care less
when everything seems tantamount except Yahweh
holy fire,
insert the untils
until I love You fully
until topsy-turvy is set right side up
until I take another step in the right direction
until the Day dawns
holy fire,
please bring the finallys
finally You will come again
finally my rebelliousness will be silenced
finally the darkness will leave no trace
finally our eyes will be opened
holy fire that's
burning away
til God and man
stand
face
to
face




image source

6/21/15

seed

I feel like my creative juices have been depleted after a spring semester of exhaustion.  
But I am trying to rest, and trying to take time to reflect and be still.  This is a product of that effort...


it's the smell of damp,
it's rattling dormancy
crumbling velvet, under your fingernails
a little sloshing of faith
the anticipatory wait
just a little poke, 
and it's verdant
life and growth
sprung out of deadness
here come the light-seekers.





4/24/15

when enough doesn't feel enough



















insufficient
that's it
insufficient for the tasks at hand
but they
must
be done even though
the clock ticks a time-warp
don't we wish 
we could do them well?  
but sometimes it's all we can do to strive for 
done
when it comes to hearts
when I think of the flash in your veiled eyes 
your hesitating words
I feel as though I must do well
because how could I dare to hurt you with carelessness?
insufficient
simply insufficient
very insufficient
yet
the full plate is a gift
from a Master Chef
He wants me to enjoy
He wants me to live
and so all I can do is plow on
if I act
in worship
out of love
the failure holes in my pot
will merely serve as 
light-diffusers
and together
we will see.






2/20/15

cabin fever















fuzzy sentences
mucky brain cells
all I want to do is drink tea and stare
at the candles on the table
formulated thoughts
are as far from my grasp
as spontaneous space travel
ah the life of the student
pondering
concepts that ought to be
concise and captivating
but I'm actually out on the ocean
warm scent of salt
victorious gulls
breeze-whipped hair
ok but this introduction is
pathetic
so I'll backspace until I'm
gone
to the somewhere
where the green is rich and deep
blossom-speckled shady moss
quietly ringing brook-song
ticklish cushioned forest floor
Focus, focus, read the words again,
fourth time through the paragraph
except somewhere it's warm enough to sit
without shivering in the grasses while
the stars
dance in and out of the
thundercloud
as it rolls in
sorry,
you lost me
what?




image source


1/11/15

manna


I'm sure most of us have heard it at one point or another.  You're talking to someone who loves you dearly and is trying to comfort you after a plan or dream has fallen through.  You are disappointed, and they say, "God has something so much better in store for you!"  They are right, but somehow it's not comforting.  You might have wanted to say, "I don't CARE!  I don't want a better plan, I want this one!"  Sometimes God's sovereignty can feel like a cruel joke.  Certainly it's more comforting to know that an awful struggle is a gift from a loving God, rather than an uncontrolled catastrophe with the power to destroy us, but still I find myself looking in confusion to my Father and in my hurt crying out, "Really?  Why this?"  In times like this it can be easy to become angry with God for not letting us have it our way.

A few evenings ago I was with two friends and the conversation turned to the past year, of the things that have happened that would have surprised us had we known at the opening of 2014 what the Lord would do.  For each one of us the opening of 2015 had found us in a place where life feels as if it's spun out of control, and the year is full of uncertainty and difficulty yet to come.  Anyway I mentioned that I wanted to choose a word for 2015 but all that I see right now is Uncertainty.  One of my friends, with a wisdom that blesses me daily, said, "Maybe it should be Manna."
Sometimes it is SO good to be stopped in your tracks.  

See, God's sovereignty is no comfort if I think the goal is for me to have answers or to have my life figured out.  But it isn't.  Manna was about dependence and God was always enough for His people.  I look at 2014 and I know He has not changed a bit.  So in the midst of two January intensives and two jobs and a guy going back and forth on me whether or not he'll sell me his piano and my car in the shop more often than it's home this week but we still don't know why it randomly doesn't start, and keeping my phone with me at all times because my sister's two days overdue and I am so sad to be so far away from her right now,
I have enough for each day.  
Most importantly,
God is enough for each day.  

I guess I'm just being reminded that He is the point.  He doesn't inundate Scripture with reminders that we don't need to fear because we are strong enough, smart enough, or beautiful enough.  He says, "Fear not, for I am with you." (Isaiah 41:10)  Last night while babysitting, I had a few pertinent conversations with an adorable four-year-old who was having a grand time thinking of reasons to come out of bed (There's too much mess in the bedroom, it's too dark in the bedroom, I was wondering if we should light a fire in the fireplace, etc.)  At one point I went into the kitchen and when I came back into the livingroom to sit down with my homework there was a small foot poking out from under the coffee-table.  After he found a shriveled up potato (I think) under the couch we had a little discussion about what Mommy and Daddy had said about listening, during which I reminded him that even if I couldn't see him under the table, God knew where he was.  When we talked about how God was watching over him to keep him safe even if the bedroom was scary, he said, "There's just something I don't get.  How can Jesus be with me in my heart and in [his brother]'s heart and in [other brother]'s heart AND in your heart all at the same time?  How does He DO that?"  I told him Jesus could do it because He is also God, and he responded, "But why would He do that?"  As I replied, "Because He loves us!" I knew I needed this reminder more than the four-year-old needed to hear it.  God is with me because He loves me. 
This song just popped up on my YouTube feed today and somehow it was just the missing puzzle piece to tie in all the thinking I did last month about what incarnation means and how each of us as image-bearers also live out the character of God in a million little ways. Do press play:


So as I enter into 2015 I am reminded that manna is given one day at a time so I will look to the Giver.  That is why He doesn't show me what is coming, all the ways He will provide for me and give me enough for every car breakdown and late-night paper and friend in trouble.  He just promises that He will always be enough, not because it's an impersonal trust exam but because He wants me to turn to Him.  He will always continue to show up in people and resources and even sometimes in lack of them.  He wants me to know that I am not alone, not merely on paper but because I have lived it. 




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Sometimes I am melodramatic... Bear with me. My favorite thing is finding hope in hard places. If you enjoyed something (or not) I would love to hear from you! You can make me very happy by leaving a comment :)

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