Advent and waiting

Anyone else like me ever miss the start of Advent and subsequently feel like you just can’t jump into the middle of your Advent readings… and might as well just forgo them altogether? Recently a friend posted on Facebook that it’s never too late to start preparing your heart in waiting for the Advent season. This really stuck out to me and with just a few days until Christmas I ordered the book I initially had my eye on. It’s called Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy. Today’s reading really moved in me an urge to write. After handwriting it all out in my journal, I thought, why not share? After all, it’s a Level 2 Snow Emergency here, church is cancelled, and I’m just waiting

The reading today is called December 18: A Sign. I’m going to paraphrase some of it in my own words for sake of typing. Just know that I mostly read her piece of writing, spent some time contemplating it, and turned around and kind of wrote my own interpretation of it.

Kris Camealy talks about how God sent the shepherds in the field a sign. But the sign wasn’t the angel that appeared before them– wouldn’t that have been enough of a sign? An angel? No, the sign was Jesus. Born in a manger in swaddling clothes. Come to redeem the world. Jesus was the sign. The fulfillment of God’s promise began.

The beginning. Not yet fulfilled. The inkling that God was up to something. Keeping His promises. People were waiting long before this. What did it feel like to hear this news? What was it like to receive this confirmation?

There’s quite a bit of waiting while Jesus grows up into an adult. I’m not quite His age yet, and there’s been a lot of life lived!

What about the waiting for Jesus’ death? Again, a promise. The ultimate gift of sacrifice and demonstration of His love for us mess of a people. What did it feel like to hear this news? This confirmation…?

Oh, the waiting after His death. To see if Jesus had truly conquered death. But oh! When He appeared! A sign! What did it feel like to hear THIS news?! This confirmation.

And here we sit, looking back on the waiting and looking forward in our current wait. How long will it be until Jesus returns? What will it feel like when we receive our long awaited confirmation?

What about here in our day-to-day lives for those of us (all of us, I presume) who are waiting for something?

Waiting for a diagnosis or surgery or healing to our broken bodies? Waiting for this far too long season of depress, anxiety, or grief to lift? Waiting on the plans the Lord has spoken clearly to us that we just aren’t seeing come to fruition yet? Waiting to no longer walk through a life that feels lonely?

The weight of waiting can be so heavy.

Looking back and looking forward can help us to know that God keeps His promises. Even when there is a long wait between Him showing up in the ways we hope. Even when hard things happen in the long middle of the wait.

He does give us signs.

Maybe not angels appearing and speaking clearly these days, but there are signs in the small and mundane. Arguably more than we take note of. In this season of waiting, I will ask the same question as the author who prompted this writing in me today. What signs are you hoping to receive from the Lord?

Take some time today to ask Him for those signs. Be on the lookout and may the Lord bless you in your season of waiting. Whatever that may be.

 

 

 

 

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Bad Days and Rainbows

Sometimes people joke about “having a Monday”– you know, when everything that could possibly go wrong does. As much as I wish that I had my life all together, I find that I frequently have a Monday experience to start my week, regardless of how much I determine not to on my drive in to work. Today was no exception and was perhaps the most Monday-est Monday I have had in quite a while.

I woke up with a hunch it was going to become a “Monday.” Still getting over being sick, curling iron melted the plastic on the toilet seat cover, running late, can’t find something to wear, feeling irritable with those around me. Lunch rolls around and I am sitting there chomping on my mushy-centered carrots (gross! why?) trying to turn my attitude around after my fourth not-so-helpful phone call to my student loan company. I bite into another mushy-centered carrot covered in guacamole that ricochets off of my teeth, splatters all over my shirt, scarf, and crotch area of my pants.

I stood up and announced I was going home to change and come back and try again. This is progress, people. I am now almost 26 and have disciplined myself to try again instead of actually staying home and crying.

I came back shortly after putting on outfit numero dos for the day only to find my Monday continuing with full force through pretty much every interaction that followed. I wasn’t really sure after the guacamole incident I could become more annoyed, but it’s possible and I can. Just a little more complaining and then we’ll get to the good part.

As I was driving home the urge to write came over me. I am slowly but surely learning that this means God is going to speak and that I need to listen.

I just need to sit down and write out all the things that are making me so angry right now.

I changed into workout clothes (because I totally want to go for a run but it’s probably going to rain again and…outfit number 3 thankyouverymuch) and grabbed an old notebook after trying to determine which journal this entry should go into- ultimately deciding I don’t want it in a journal because it’s going to be full of all my hate. I started writing furiously the biggest list of whining and complaining ever. I hate everyone. People are rude. Why is it so hard for me to love people today? The weather is so gray and rainy and really makes it hard for me to function like a normal human being. Why can’t I just BE a child of God? Why am I a jerk? I have so much debt to pay off. So many people owe me money. I want/need to buy everything I don’t need/want to buy. I want junk food. I don’t want to cook. And a long list of other things I won’t list here because they’re just too personal and involve other people–although in my defense, those are the much meatier topics that make the list look like I might maybe have .5% ground to stand on in making the list to begin with.

And while I’m writing as fast as I can and wondering why everything is so hard today and why I am so filled with hate and annoyance, I start to hear the oncoming rain outside my window. The rain starts off soft and then comes on full force. It’s so LOUD and feels so out of place because the sun was finally, FINALLY, just starting to come out. It had been raining earlier but this sound caught my ear because it was so out of place from when I had looked out the window moments before.

Wow, there HAS to be a rainbow outside with this kind of weather…

A rainbow. God’s mercy. God’s promises.

I ran downstairs and onto my front porch in the downpour to see if I could see a rainbow. I looked around as far as I could see without going out into the rain…nothing. I half expected to see others on my street doing the same. No one. Well this is stupid. Is there ALWAYS a rainbow or is that just sometimes? Rainbows are like stars and cotton candy and unicorns and those are for kids. Rainbows are stupid.

And then I looked back over to my right and up in the sky arching right over the house next to mine was a faint rainbow starting to peek through the clouds.

Oh. It did show up. It’s kind of pretty and fascinating and my goodness it doesn’t even look real against the sky. When was the last time I saw one of these? Why are they so rare? They literally look fake against all the other earthly backdrop we see day in and day out, and yet, there it is– gigantic and real and totally not man made. 

Under the shelter of my porch I stood in the downpour and watched this faint little rainbow glimmer in the clouds. It wasn’t the biggest or best rainbow I’ve ever seen, but today I didn’t need a big, bold rainbow. I needed one that was certain and sure in the midst of all my ugliness. I just needed to know it was there like He said it would be. That He’s still who He says He is. That He will always show up.

Can we talk about how often I forget God’s promises that He’s made to me? To us? To all the living creatures for generations to come? I love that it says in Genesis that He doesn’t forget His promise to us. We might forget them, but He won’t. Just like the rainbow. I’ve seen them before, I know they exist. They’ve taken my breath away before with their beauty, but will one really show up today in the middle of this downpour? Yes. He doesn’t forget.

The promises He brought to mind in this moment were that He is who He says He is. He is good even when people are not. He is good even when my circumstances are not. He is good even when my attitude is definitely not. He is truth when I can’t see through the lies. He is constant when I doubt. He promises I will have trouble but He has already overcome it all. He promises life won’t be easy but He loves me and is with me and I get to spend eternity with Him. He promises He will complete the good work He has started in me even when I don’t look so good today. 

In Ezekiel, it compares the glory of the rainbow against the clouds and rain to the glory of God and His brightness. This is what the rainbow looked like today, God literally reaching into the world and into this moment and showing His glory right before my eyes.

In a new way, I am so thankful for a rainbow today. It isn’t just understood science, it isn’t just a cake decoration for a child’s birthday party, and it isn’t just a symbol for sexuality. Long before it was any of these things in our world, it was a promise- a covenant our Dad made with His kids- that never again would He destroy the world as He had before. That He had a better plan because He loves us and He keeps His promises.

Praying that if you’re reading this you are reminded of the promises you need to hear today and that they would continue to transform you too.

Can you see it?

Rainbow

 

 

I am not the same

This will be my first blog post of 2015.

The more time that passes I realize how hard it is to carve out time to write. To stay awake late at night. To sacrifice sleep. To push my brain to put together thoughtful words and ideas. But each time I log in and look back on my posts I am so thankful that I have written. I only posted twice last year, but I am so glad that I captured those moments. I can re-read my words and be taken back to the exact time and place in which they were written– memories that would have been lost had I not written them down. I can see where God was present when I only felt His absence, and how my faith was being built as He pulled me through each hard place.

Reading through past posts reminds me I am not the same. I am not the same girl who started this blog five years ago. I am not the same girl who was trying to find my place in college. Not the same girl who came back from Africa with a heavy heart and questions. Not the same girl who has fumbled through relationships with attachment issues and fear. Not the same girl who only found time to sit down and write twice last year, and amazingly, not even the same girl who stepped on a plane to South America two weeks ago.

This time last week I was in Quito, Ecuador. My first time traveling to South America and I couldn’t have planned a better trip if I had tried. Ever since I committed to this trip over the summer, life has been barreling ahead. Busy schedules, trying to make my life look a certain way on the outside, life changes, losses and grief. The week leading up to the trip continued to draw my focus further inward to all that was changing before me that I couldn’t stop. All that I didn’t have. All that I wanted to hold onto but somehow was just out of reach.

I boarded the plane with neutral expectations and was mostly grateful for some time to breathe. I momentarily wondered if the trip might overwhelm me, leaving me emptier than before? I had hoped to be more prepared. To pray, to think, to list expectations and check off my list as God showed up.

Thankfully God is not at all held to my schedule, plans, or expectations.

I had anticipated the feeling of the last few months to continue with me to Ecuador, but somewhere halfway between Atlanta and Quito the last few months dissipated. Quickly laughter started to sneak in. Everywhere. Excitement. Joy. So much Joy! Everything felt lighter. Friendship. Service. Anticipation. The good stuff. The stuff that makes you come alive inside. Seeing more of God’s beautiful creation. Watching His spirit move just as powerfully across a living room as it did inside the church walls.

Too quickly I found myself boarding a plane home wondering how I could feasibly stay a little longer. Ecuador was moving past me too quickly to be able to reach out and hold onto it. It was gone in the night just like our flight out of Quito. Soon everything around me was in English and I could no longer pretend I wasn’t heading home.

A few days back and home felt foreign, while foreign felt home. Where am I? I tried to fight comparison with there and here and I lost. Everything seemed more beautiful there. The skies, the people, the worship, the culture. Consequently I was short tempered here with those that love me and only want the best for me. They didn’t understand what I had been through. I wasn’t able to put into words what I was feeling or why. Why would God send me to Ecuador only to bring me home feeling like a part of me was missing? I couldn’t speed up the process of processing. Team members from the trip and friends from home have continued to remind me that I’m not the same. That I have been changed because of this trip. I was struggling to see it for myself because I felt less alive than I had while I was away.

Last night I opened up to the final chapter of the book I had been reading on the trip. The closing paragraph said, “The good news is that when we care for our proximal part in the world, the God of heaven knits these small pieces together into something beautiful. But we are not called to change the world. We are called to love the world. And to love the world, we are the ones who must change.”

Today I remembered words from the trip, “The hope isn’t that you would come and do some good work. It’s that you would come and fall in love with a city and its people and your heart would be forever changed.”

The change wasn’t left behind in Quito. It sat quietly inside of me as I flew home on the plane. It was eagerly with me the next day as I jumped back into my normal routine, and it is here buzzing inside of me as my Saturday morning rolls into late afternoon, complete with writing in a quiet corner of a new restaurant, a mimosa, and eating my second breakfast for the day.

The change that happened over the last 10 days has taken up residence inside of me. I carry it with me at work and at church. I carry it with me when I interact with my family and friends. I carry it with me whether I want to or not because my life is not my own. The change is evident when my heart is hurting because I am now capable of missing people and a city I had no mental image for a few weeks ago. The change is evident because my heart has taken on a new shape and capacity to wrap around the people and places of Ecuador.

Even though my routine and surroundings might shout that nothing has changed and God’s work in my life isn’t visible, I can hold to the truth that He is in the business of transforming hearts. I can look back on my writings and see evidence that He who has started a good work in me will bring it to completion. Experience after season after year I will look back and not be the same. The beauty is that we get to choose to live in the change which ultimately propels us closer to Christ.

view from our last night in Quito

view from our last night in Quito

Will you join me?

This has been one of those weeks where I come home and can’t even begin to unload all the baggage my mind has been lugging around. I sometimes feel as if these work weeks are intentionally coupled with busyness outside of work. Keeping me busy enough to keep functioning with very little time to process what’s going on around me and how I’m really feeling inside.

Earlier this week I was down at Children’s Hospital on the something-th floor visiting one of my kiddos who was admitted for a few weeks. As the big glass doors automatically opened towards me I entered onto a beautiful unit that looks more like a magical hotel than a hospital.

Royalty, I thought as I walked down the winding hallway. This place shouts that kids are royalty. That they matter.

Honored. Sometimes I can’t believe that God is still using me and allowing me to get THIS close to families and their inner workings.

Again, I am wondering what the heck I am going to say on this visit. These days I feel like I have nothing to offer anyone, but I choose to keep walking towards the room because I know that all I have to do is show up and God will take care of the rest. He always, always does.

I’m so nervous for a number of reasons, that I don’t really notice all the little rooms I’m passing on my way to visit this kiddo.

I’m sitting across from this parent who is sharing their life story with me and how they got to be sitting in front of me and all I can think is I’m so glad God is the one running this show. I feel like a fraud because I haven’t lived even half the kind of life they’ve lived and they’re trusting me with their kid. I wish I could share with them all the things that run through my head.

Like how I am so honored to be hearing their story. How I am so privileged that they let me into this part of their lives. That we’re going to have to figure this out together because I don’t actually have any magical advice that they haven’t heard before.

But instead I nod and listen and smile a lot. I hope they know that I just genuinely love their child and that’s why I’m sitting here in front of them.

________________________________________________________________

On the way out I notice all those rooms I passed on my way in. The floor is still and I see tiny little people in tiny little hospital crib beds hooked up to machines that go …… beep……. beep……. beep…….. beep…….

Televisions with happy kid shows are playing quietly in the background. The roomy is empty. Just a little kid in there trying to get well.

All of a sudden it hits me how precious this space is.

We all know of kids that are close to us who are sick, or we see a special story pop up in our newsfeed, but here in this place is where all those kids actually are… and where we typically aren’t. I think about how many stories up I am and how many kids are filling rooms just like this in every floor below me. Hundreds of them.

This pretty white magical hotel is saturated with brokenness. Broken families, failing health… not what God intended for His children. I immediately feel undeserving of being in a place so close to God’s heart. I slow my mind down and I talk to God about it. I ask Him to be ever-so-present in each of these rooms and with each of these children’s families.

But God is already at work because He always is. He knows the inner-workings of their bodies. He brought them to the pretty white magical hotel to be cared for and healed. God’s already been working in their lives but He wants me to pray. He wants to make my heart aware of where His heart is. He let me walk through that floor today because He wants to remind me that I need to be praying for so many more kids than just the ones I see on a regular basis.

He just wants me to pray for kids.
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Today I learned that a parent of one of my past kiddos passed away unexpectedly. Tears have been coming and going all day. Coming when I think on it long enough and going when my office phone rings or someone needs something.

Tonight, before I write this, they are just coming because there’s no phone to be ringing and no one needing anything. There’s just silence and stillness and the thoughts in my head that need some resolving.

Just a few months ago I was in this person’s living room talking with them about their family.

Now they’re gone.

They were gone much too young and I know without a doubt that leaving behind their babies where they are is the last thing they would have ever wanted.

But here we are and God is still present.

I try to put myself in the shoes of this precious five year-old losing their hero and I can’t really make it much past that.

I wonder where this kid is now and how they’re learning to cope.

I wish I could scoop this kid up and tell them how very much they are loved by someone that hardly knows them… and how forever, deeply loved they are by Someone who created every inch of them out of nothing.

He just wants me to pray for kids.

Will you join me?

Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

 

 

20 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your affairs in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Isaiah had not yet gone out of the inner courtyard when the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple. I will add 15 years to your life. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.’”

 

Today I wept bitterly with pain and misunderstanding. I’ve been entangled in so many lies about who I am and who my Savior is. I’ve been exactly where my enemy wants me: paralyzed, stagnant, apathetic, empty. Such Grace God pours out on me when I’ve let myself become so far removed from Him (from my perspective). He does not yell, He does not shame. He does not even overwhelm this time. He simply stands near, stands next to me in the midst of every conversation, every painful blow to my heart, and He waits. He weeps next to me, with me, whether I acknowledge Him or not. Because He is not above weeping with His children. He takes each painful blow upon Him and says for this I died for you. He has impressed upon my soul that He will not relent until every fiber of my being knows the depths of His love for me. For His daughter. Until I see His face in front of mine. His eyes looking back into mine and I realize He’s the only one who has ever truly known me. He’s known me all along. 

But in the mean time, He leaves a trail that leads to Him. He sends dear friends to my doorstep with a chai latte and lunch. He speaks to me through His Word and makes me laugh out loud because it couldn’t be more obvious what He’s trying to say… and because He enjoyed the laugh as well. He delivered a letter to my mailbox on the most timely day and didn’t even let me discover it until it would be well received… and as if the snail mail didn’t warm my heart already, moments later a handwritten letter is handed to me with an old photograph just reinforcing His love and His truth… just because. He sings to me through worship music that my heart is drawn to throughout the week… “It is for freedom I have been set free.” For freedom, didn’t you know? 

He plucks me from a slimy river of sin and places me in pure, fresh waters of forgiveness. He drenches my life with Grace when I’ve collected up enough mistakes to destroy all He has built. He heals. He heals me. He promises me this. He has and He will continue to heal me if I allowed Him into those places no one has ever been. He will deliver me. That’s a promise. 

And then it was October

I haven’t written anything soul-bearing in roughly six months. To be accurate, I probably haven’t written much of anything at all. I’ve taken countless notes in church and small groups, I’ve filled out endless pages of social service paperwork for my job, I’ve written case-note after case-note stating only fact and giving a completely unbiased account of my interaction with my families. 

I see a lot in the world, I read a lot online, and I think a whole heck of a lot of things these days. Not that I necessarily thought less before, but when I’m not writing it seems to pile up in my head and I carry it around with me everywhere I go.

I think about writing here a lot, and if you had the ability to log into my WordPress home screen you would see the beginnings of lots of thoughts. Thoughts sitting idle in a queue waiting to be completed. Waiting to be revisited and revised.

I think about the reasons why I haven’t been able to write. Why I’ve chosen not to write. Busyness. Life changes. Priorities. Relationships. Moving. Fear. Feeling conflicted. Stuck. 

I haven’t made much time in day-to-day to create. I miss being a creative person. Not that I’m not but that I don’t get to exercise that muscle in the same sense that I used to. Writing has been one of the last creative outlets I’ve held onto since childhood. 

I don’t write lately because I don’t know what I think about things. Or maybe I really do know what I think about things and I’m just too scared to share my voice in a sea of judgement and disagreement. 

Sometimes coming here and writing is enough. I don’t hit ‘publish’ and I get things out of my system. I think some of my censoring of posts has been helpful. Not that things I’ve written have been bad, but sometimes I wonder if what I’m writing is necessary to share? I’m thankful for growth in this area of my life. 

I think posting this today is necessary whether or not I have anything profound to say because I don’t want to let my love for writing die. I want to revive creativity in my life instead of watching everything fall to rest.

 

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It’s a Tuesday and I have found a new love for Tuesdays. I’m looking forward to them (along now with Sundays AND Mondays). The trash and recycling go out in the morning and my Green Bean Delivery shows up on my porch in the late afternoon. I change into pajama pants and wrap myself in the softest Ms. Shirley blanket on my couch. I reach for a book that’s easy, tender, and doesn’t hurt my mind and heart. I fold back the cover because I’m very engaged (read: rough) with my books and hold a pen in my hand. Not because I’m going to take note of anything in this particular book but because it helps me read better to know I’m prepared if I need to. I tell myself it’s time to rest. You’ve earned it. You’ve worked hard the past few days at taking care of responsibilities and this is necessary. I’m sure this is something normal people do but I have to talk myself into it. Today I agree with myself and am able to read and rest.

I sit in silence in the living room with my roommate and it’s the most wonderful, heavy silence to be shared with someone. Resting in the afternoon. Eventually we both fall asleep because that’s just what we do at this stage in our lives. We love it and we hate it.

I hear her shut the door quietly on her way to work and I lay on the couch soaking in my afternoon-now-evening. I open my eyes to the small city of candles we have lit that are now reflecting off the ceiling. Everything is dark and as my eyes adjust to the darkness, the romance of the candlelight warming the living room overwhelms me. God is romancing me with this new house and this new chapter in my life. The windows are open and my street is quiet. I hear crickets and other things that this city girl has no idea what’s making that sound. It reminds me of the one thing I knew I would miss about our old apartment. Thank you, God, for this sound so far away from the river. The breeze gently flows in through the screens and I think there aren’t many things that are near perfect, but the temperature outside compared with the warmth within are pretty close. 

There’s a sweet, sweet dog curled up on the couch next to me and a Panger Bon at my feet. Always on either side of me– they’re a good team, whether they’ve organized this or not. I want to be annoyed at them for putting their smell and their wonderful, ever-detaching fur on the couches, but they are so good to have around I decide I don’t really care.

I walk into my kitchen and do nothing but fiddle around because I simply love being in my kitchen. I think about how thankful I am for people who helped clean up all the food and dishes last night when I had to leave before our fellowship time was over. I flash-back to coming home last night to a spotless downstairs and experience the joy all over again. There’s that near-perfect breeze meeting me through the kitchen window again.

I open Facebook and I instantly regret it. So many opinions right now. So many things that people say. Stances they take ownership of that wound their neighbors. Things that stab instead of bridge. I try to think of what my stance is and this is where I get stuck with my writing. We are called to love one another. We are called to speak the Truth in love. I don’t believe the world would get anywhere if we all just “loved” and never called each other out on our crap. Because that is not something that Love does. But I just don’t see how either side is building bridges with their words and actions. So I sit quietly because, to me, it is not worth it in any amount to say something that injures my brother or sister or fellow human being just so that I can put myself and my opinions first, if I can help it. 

I think about all the other things that we could spend our time and energy talking about and fighting for and my heart breaks for things that I feel Jesus is holding so dear to His heart right now. The orphans and the widows and the broken and the lost and He’s holding them all in His arms and whispers for those who will quiet themselves long enough to listen, but what about these? What about THESE! 

These are the moments that I am so heavily reminded that I am not of this world. Some might chalk it up to me being a dreamer or being idealistic. Sometimes I feel as if maybe I am these things as well. But then I remember that Jesus did things differently and Jesus cared about things that no one else around Him seemed to care about and I think maybe I’m actually right where I need to be. 

“Wait and see what I will do,” — God. To me. All week. 

 

Sigh. 

 

Wait. 

 

How do I do that again?

 

Wait.

 

…………

“Wait and see what I will do,” —

Itchy Little Fears

It’s been so long since I’ve even had that nudge in my stomach to write what I’m feeling. As I think on this now, that’s probably why I’m feeling so unbalanced these days. Wobbly. Writing roots me to my Maker. It makes me feel. It rounds up all of the emotions I carry on my shoulders and puts them in front of me to be examined. To pick apart, to destroy, to nurture, to bless, to tame. When I write I find an inner balance. It’s all about honesty. I can’t help but be honest. I desire so very badly for those I meet to feel the same. Sometimes I feel like an outcast when people hold back. I can’t control other people. Sometimes I feel out of of place when I share too much. That it’s not welcomed. 

 

I’m always thinking too far ahead. Wasting my emotions on things uncertain, things that will never come to be, things that will blow away like dust. I want so badly to be “good” and not mess up (and I HATE that, it is not about being “good” it is about keeping my eyes on Jesus). I hate that this was ingrained upon me as a child. I hate that this happens to so many people. I hate that I am going to mess up. That it WILL happen. I want to always live in the light. 

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I spoke for the first time in front of a church, my church, last Sunday and I couldn’t have been more filled with gratitude that God took over and just used me as a vessel. I had such a profound moment of owning the transformation He has done with my life. It truly is a beautiful illustration of what it means for the Holy Spirit to come down and transform lives. It is good for me that Jesus went up and His Spirit came down. It reminded me why I am so absolutely enraptured by Jesus. Because He has done more good in my life than I will ever or have ever done on my own. 

I found my soul honestly asking God to let me continue in this race. To let me run for Him. Let my life be spent running and running and running for Him. In that moment, that was my sole desire. Nothing more, nothing less. I felt so connected to Him. So in tune with His plans. Seeing absolutely nothing as certain in the future and being 100% on board with whatever He tells me to do. To follow Him blindly.

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I read my friend’s blog, who is a missionary traveling the world, I wrestle with the reality of going. If not now, then when? Will it be too late? Itch. Itchy little fears. 

Am I wasting my time here? Am I getting distracted by things that will prevent me from doing God’s work? Are the little things in front of me, the things that trip me up and throw me into turmoil, are those actually part of His plan right here and now?

Step into them? Hold them at arm’s length? 

———————-

Sometimes I get frustrated that I’m so very human. 

Which just puts me right back at Jesus’ feet, being reminded that He is so much bigger than all of this. 

Thaw

Lord, please keep my heart soft in the waiting.

Cynicism and hurt sink in when disappointment and let downs happen. When people are people and don’t follow through. When I forget that your bigger plan is above my realm of immediate understanding. I open my heart and am hopeful and giving and open. I am hurt and let down and misunderstood. I want to build up walls to protect myself. I want to scoff at the situation and make jokes and dismiss it indefinitely; building up further obstacles for someone else to encounter. 

Do not let my heart harden. Do not let me harbor bitterness and resentment and skepticism. Lord, keep my heart warm and moldable. Do with it what you wish. Even if it hurts. Prepare it. Heal it. Equip it. Do not let this feel like waiting, isolation, a holding cell. Do not let me feel there is something wrong with me that I am not yet ready. Give me peace to walk out my story. Show me how my very small story is woven into your GREAT story. 

Fix my eyes on the things above. Speak your promises to me. Give me the desires of my heart.

Pause

You know those days when you feel like you’re starting to sink?!

Those days when something molded in your trunk and it’d be nice if the weather was warmer so cleaning everything out wouldn’t be so miserable.

When you get a letter in the mail from the city that they apparently never received your 2011 income tax… The week you’re starting to work on your 2012 taxes. And all your paperwork is still in boxes from when you moved.

When you finally got your proof of insurance mailed in from that annoying random check the BMV does that requires a lot of legwork (particularly when you moved and never got the initial letter)… Only to get a new letter in the mail about registration.

When you have lots of big decisions you need to spend time talking with yourself and God about. When it’s time to take ownership of your dreams and your life and make changes.

When your relationships with other people are getting distant because there are so many people you want to reach out to… and family you need to be praying for daily.

When you just want to sit in church and be a listener and go out to lunch after and set aside responsibilities. But you can’t because you’re called to more than that and your apartment is a wreck and you need to go home and organize and clean.

When you just get really pissed that you’re ALONE when other people leave church in pairs or go home to their families. You try to walk that fine line between letting yourself be pissed because that’s okay and not becoming bitter about it.

When you just have so many loose ends that need wrapped up and have no idea how to be healthy and still get them all done.

When you just need to scream and take a deep breath and put your eyes on Jesus and forget about all the Christianese that makes your stomach turn.

When you just need someone to come alongside you and say, “How can I help?”

That’s today for me.