30 September 2008

There are some days...

There are some days I feel like I fail at everything I even begin to attempt.

And those days, perhaps more than others, I thank God He sent Jesus.

30 August 2008

Summertime Chaotic Peace

There have been many times over the past few months where I have found myself just sitting and thinking about my life - what it looks like, what it means, how desperately I wish I had power to change things that don't turn out well, and how incredible it is that I serve a God who hears my every anguished cry, who sees me weeping on the floor and who reads the very turmoil of my heart.

I feel as though I am awakening to new life with Christ all over again. I feel as though I am living as I ought to be living - seeking and even knowing His pleasure and His glory. Until the past week, I hadn't quite grasped the sweetness in the peace that comes from feeling that I make my Savior smile when I surrender my great love of music to His service. Until the past few months, I don't think I have truly understood what it meant to be pinned against the wall for what I believe, to be falsely accused, to have people I love not believe the words that come out of my mouth or refuse to hear them.

And yet, the past few months have been incredible. It is as though I have grown five years' worth in three months' time. God has preserved me in such incredible ways! 

It has certainly not been easy - nothing worth having ever is - and it has certainly carried with it a share of pain that I am not capable of bearing on my own. But my God is faithful! And my God is not a small God!

How incredible it is to realize anew the grandeur of this God! Not only is He capable of doing the little, commonplace things such as finding Christopher a parking spot on his way to class or getting me through a 5-hour practice when I'm extraordinarily exhausted, He is also capable of changing people's lives eternally. How often I pray to Him as though He is not able!

He is more than able! 

And it is my greatest comfort - that while I am face-down garnering carpet imprints, soaking the floor through with my tears and weeping, praying though I can gather no words - that the God I serve is more than able to read the very unutterable prayers of my deepest thoughts and know me so intimately that I don't even know myself as well; and that He is the same God here as He is in Mongolia, in China, in Austria, in South Africa! 

The same God! Loving people everywhere - desiring them to know life through Jesus Christ! 

I sense that this post is quickly deteriorating, so perhaps I will stop it here. 

Something that I keep chewing on - courtesy of Oswald Chambers - is the idea that we should not look at ourselves as being of use, but that we should remember that everything we are belongs to Him who made us and gave us life. He asks for total abandon

And, I do suppose, the question we must ask: If we don't feel useful, are we truly abandoned to Christ and His cause? 

It's just something I'm chewing on. 'Night.

Mood: Exhausted Listening to: The fan running in our front window
Reading: A Continual Feast by Jan Karon

09 June 2008

in•som•ni•a |inˈsämnēə|

noun     habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep

I had no idea the pain could be this strong
I had no idea the nights could last this long
In my darkest fears, the rights become the wrongs

I am still running; I am still running

Build me a home inside Your scars
Build me a home inside Your song
Build me a home inside Your open arms - 
the only place I ever will belong

[[Jon Foreman, "I Am Still Running" from Winter]]

The last few weeks have been somewhat brutal. I have redeveloped a level of insomnia that I haven't seen in myself for four years. Most of the evening is spent in various pursuits before I drag myself to bed thinking that I am finally ready, when I simply wake up all over again.

So many things have been happening... just one after the other. Christopher's bike was stolen; we had some family issues arise; I misplaced my wallet (which I have yet to find, still); my parents had to put down one of the puppies that they just got because he contracted Parvo virus; I worked almost full-time this week, which is crazy; we started up summer things with the Rock. Lots of changes. Lots of nights weeping as I sat awake into the strange hours of the morning. 

And, yet, while I know that God is still in control of all these things, I also know that it has been so easy for me to just want to be numb. There have been a few occasions where I cried out to God that I simply wanted to stop feeling. The emotions came and went, in severe degrees, and in such a multitude of shades that I don't think I really recognized them all.

I still haven't reconnected with everything, though. Part of me still so desperately wants to run away and hide until Christ comes to make everything right. 

But that's why the lyrics of this particular song have come to mean so much to me. Though I am numb and hurting, I am still running because Christ has rescued me and, for that, there is no other reason to truly live. I have no other home than in the scars that purchased my life for me, than the arms of the One that have forever been pursuing me to restore me to Himself. 

The pain is strong. The nights are long, especially as this insomnia has kicked into full force. My darkest fears have been brought to the surface, as so many things in my life seek to define what is truly 'right' as 'wrong'.

But I am still running, and I will continue to do so until my dying breath, because I know the One that will give it to me - and He will give me the strength to endure.

If you think of it, pray for us. We need to fully lean on Jesus and all He has promised.

Mood: Relaxed Reading: Old thoughts, song lyrics
Listening to: "Feel This" by Bethany Joy Galeotti and Enation

27 May 2008

The Ninth Letter

Let us thus think often that our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity. You and I have lived about forty years in religion (i.e., a monastic life). Have we employed them in loving and serving God, who by His mercy has called us to this state, and for that very end? I am filled with shame and confusion when I reflect, on one hand, upon the great favors which God has done, and incessantly continues to do me; and on the other, upon the ill use I have made of them, and my small advancement in the way of perfection.

Since by His mercy He gives us still a little time, let us begin in earnest; let us repair the lost time; let us return with a full assurance to that Father of mercies, who is always ready to receive us affectionately. Let us renounce, let us generously renounce, for the love of Him, all that is not Himself; He deserves infinitely more. Let us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him. I doubt not but we shall soon find the effects of it in receiving the abundance of His grace, with which we can do all things, and without which we can do nothing but sin.

We cannot escape the dangers which abound in life without the actual and continual help of God. Let us, then, pray to Him for it continually. How can we pray to Him without being with Him? How can we be with Him but in thinking of Him often? And how can we often think of Him but by a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell me that I am always saying the same thing. It is true, for this is the best and easiest method I know; and as I use no other, I advise all the world to do it. We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure. This is an argument which well deserves your consideration.

[[Brother Lawrence, "The Practice of the Presence of God"]]

I have been very numb of late, wanting so desperately to hunger and thirst for spiritual things and yet I have not even been willing to take the first step, to simply talk (or wait) with God, or to even open His Word and ask that He direct me.

I have felt so incredibly dirty, an outcast of the very kingdom to which I so desperately cling. This evening, I looked over countless old songs and wondered what it would be like to be back in my six-year-old shoes and looking at a God I knew was stronger than anything I could ever face.

Granted, that part still lives inside of me - the part that knows my God is so much more than I could ever dream up in a hundred years. I, a mere member of the human race, am entirely incapable of understanding all the facets of this God that I serve.

Above all, I still cling to these three things:
1. In spite of my circumstances, my God is still good.
     Nothing can change this. No human; no animal; no grain of sand - not Satan himself. 
2. In spite of His goodness and His love, my God is still just.
     There would be no use in worshipping a God who did not punish evil. I don't want to.
3. In spite of God's justice, my God is still merciful.
     The death of Jesus Christ upon a cross 2000+ years ago still stands as the atoning sacrifice for anyone who dares to enter the living waters and breathe deep - to die with Him means to live with Him. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He paid for my wretched little life with His own so that He could be restored to fellowship and relationship with me! He punished evil - our evil - but He found a way for us to be justified without seeing that punishment ourselves!

Christ died so that we might fulfill our only purpose - to please Him!

Yet so many are still captive. So many are enslaved within darkness and try to ignore the disease that has set itself into the very marrow of their bones. If they do not have to be reminded that they are sinful, they do not need to even consider the fact that they might have been created by One to whom they will give an account for that sin.

And, all the while, the very cells that are diseased cry out for their Creator to be glorified - to receive the reward of His suffering. How long, Lord Jesus, before You set these captives free?

But some of them may never know freedom, and it is for those that I weep tonight. We hold onto hope, however, knowing that if "our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity," then, perhaps - just perhaps - God will continue to be good in granting mercy through His fulfillment of justice in Jesus Christ, and a few more might be awakened from death into life.

I love the first chapter of Colossians... "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves..."

All that is needed to illuminate the darkness is the smallest bit of light. I cling to that.

I need the reminders tonight, perhaps more than ever - that is, perhaps, why I was at the Ninth Letter - and God has been gracious to grant them. 

...all besides is but folly and vanity.

Mood: Broken, yet edified Reading: Red, Ted Dekker [finished yesterday, actually] 
Listening to: The rain as it falls outside of our apartment

08 April 2008

Desire Defined

For much of the past months, I have battled with myself, struggling to put a finger on what it is that I am wanting in my daily relationship with Christ, but never willing to sit down and work through it - and so I continue in my old way of communion, and (while learning some) risk stagnancy because I dislike the thought of the change I so desperately yearn for.

But perhaps that battle is nearing its end as I have finally laid down my desires, my 'mission statement' (as I have my women do). The bigger battle is now at hand - striving to sit daily at Christ's feet in so many things.

I want to study more deeply what I believe, taking what has been beat into my brain with my three trips through The Truth Project, and delving to greater depths to look more closely at how I, a believer in Jesus Christ, am to view the world.

I want to be faithful in seeking to center my marriage with Christopher more closely around Christ and what it means to seek the kingdom of God with fervor and diligence as a married couple. This means that I must seek to understand what it means both to find my significance in Christ and to learn how to fully love, respect, and serve my husband.

I want to lead better, with greater love, conviction, and confidence.

I want simply to take a running start and dive into the Word of God.

I want to be better and more readily equipped to speak with those who are of different beliefs, not out of pride or any other fleshly aspect, but out of the compassion that comes as a response in seeing the lies to which so many are held captive.

I want to worship God in reverence, awe, joy, and fear - musically, but especially in prayer.

I want to cultivate an unquenchable habit of turning to God in prayer and of desiring simply to sit at my Father's feet.

I want to more regularly record what I am reading, learning, rejoicing in, etc., so that God's handiwork might become memorial stones.

I want to learn about and re-discover attributes of God's character and seek to see how different aspects of God's character affect either my response to Him or the reflection of His image that I am to demonstrate.

I want to listen to messages by other teachers so that I might garner wisdom from men to whom God has blessed with wisdom.

I want to daily seek to serve my husband, both in ways physical and through prayer - reminding myself that my spiritual health is now linked to his.

There are a few others that I recorded, though some are redundant and some are not quite related to this topic. Perhaps the list will continue to grow, perhaps not.

The battle rages. Pray that I might make it daily to the feet of Christ.