Saturday, March 14, 2009

God Loves to Surprise Us

Romans 4:16 "People receive God's promises by having faith. This happens so the promise can be a free gift."

I love Max Lucado. I love the way he writes, how he surprises me with simplicity. March 14 in his Grace for the Moment Vol II was exactly what I needed to hear today. Though I credit him less than I credit an amazingly loving and intimate Father.

I never know whether it is a good idea to be so blatantly honest about my short-comings and flaws. But it strikes me often as the right thing to do... as the temptation to be proud is so very near and my upbringing also inspires such humility :) So this is the raw shameful truth of how this morning was spent: in tears, in self-pity, and a sense of unfairness. The great worldly truth of my situation hit me hard this week. I was alone thousands of miles away from everyone I loved. Stuck in the house with two energetic young boys. Cloudy cold days blew across the yard. I watched as Reba shivered and Ando barked at squirrels.

I started to feel as though someone had put me in a glass case, imprisoning me with freezing weather and endless miles land, rolling hills giving way to swamp, then desert... the epitome of desert stretching through parched thirsty eternal ground. My sight became distorted. I couldn't see the light through the clouds anymore. I sought God's joy in Word. I admit that Ezekiel isn't the most cheery chapter in the story of God's people. I even found my grey heart plodding through the meaninglessness of Solomon's Ecclesiastes. Even the bittersweet twist of the last chapter left me wanting.

I searched for coincidence in my life and readings and found king David. I couldn't piece that together, and I started to believe I was trying too hard. I stumbled through my days. Hiding from my kids, losing myself in Friends, grateful for the laughter it instigated. I decided I should write, so I began a story. I learned a lesson in friendship from a dear friend. The clouds seemed to settle lower and heavier. I wanted to find meaning and purpose but felt powerless and insufficient. I prayed for other people. I cried on the dining room table missing my family and friends.

I figured my husband could be more supportive and turned on him. I pushed him away out of fear of being utterly alone. I translated his actions (and inactions) into words that were intended (unintentionally) to hurt me and leave me completely isolated.

How many more people could I find fault in? Who else could I blame for the funk I had found?

Under it all, I knew it was me and my putrid attitude. It stunk from the core of me polluting the air around me til I was physically sick from it. Even the taste of food, the idea of food lost its appeal. Perhaps the idea of feeding the disgusting rot in my gut has been convincing enough to discourage the normal pang of hunger my body invariably evokes.

And it all boils down to impatience and a lack of seeing things unseen. I need to learn how to live in this world and still be heaven focused. How do I maintain involvement where I am and still see the bigger picture and trust in the invisible nature of what that entails? Can I be that detached from earthly matters and still love and find purpose while my feet are still under me? The conflict rages eternally in my heart and head. Push and pull. Humanity vs soul. I desire to perfect this delicate balance and the irony lies therein. After the daily battles, exhuastion, and open wounds I came home to this idea: I need God for everything. EVERYTHING. I need God to fight my battles. I need God to release my fears, my lonliness, to figure out my life.

I seem to think that after so much leaning and learning that I will eventually be able to do it on my own. I never stop to think how that could happen, or why I would desire such a thing. Because surely if I had I would conclude the insanity of it. The motivational error itself is astounding. The end result is agonizing... a life without God, a life denying His power, His control. This is not what I want by any means.

Back to Max Lucado... He reminded me that God gives us things in such surprising ways. While we see one thing, hope and pray for things, He has the greatest thing in store for us. And while we think up these small obvious solutions for our own lives, God is working out a far better idea and placing it in front of us at the best time. All this and I still sit and feel lost and anxious. I honestly believe most of the time that I could be doing so much more, spending my time more wisely. And maybe that is still true. But I don't need to feel guilty about it! God knows my heart and He knows I search for His guidance and His will. And He also knows how deaf I am to hear Him, how blind I am to see how plainly He cares about my life, my every day run of the mill life!

I get to be reminded endlessly about His love. I am afforded the ability to live another day in His world, in His care. He is ridiculously forgiving and patient with me. He knows I will forget again, that I will try to run my own life, beat myself up for not fulfilling a purpose unknown to me... that I will cease trusting Him and cry in anxiety and self-pity. How many times will He surprise me with His love?

......I love the answer.... Forever. Endlessly. Throughout eternity. Without fail. Constantly. Unconditionally. Immensely. Without limits!

Beyond these clouds, I believe in the Son. Inside my grey heart, is joy unending. All this ... for free? I'm out of words....

peace and love,

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Nothing about my everyday life is worth writing about. My feelings, reactions, thoughts about the past, future and where I am now are nothing new. I feel a little Solomonesque today :) What's the point of blogging? I was asked that somewhat recently by my sis. Why blog? I have to admit the question has not yet been answered for me. Why do I blog? What do I hope to accomplish? Am I hoping to accomplish?... now, frankly that doesn't sound very much like me - goal focused! Ha! Here, this one is for Leah... "I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya... it feels phenomenal." (Peter La Fleur in Dodgeball)

So... yes, I am in fact sitting here spending time blogging even though I don't have any real good reason to do so. But then again did I really have an answer when Pastor Spencer asked Dan and me why we wanted to have kids? Our exact answer was .. pause... look at each other... bigger pause... stare at floor...a shrug and then "I don't know... because God says we should?"

Macaroni, the phantom chaser

Why do we have pets?

Why do we dance in public?

Certainly I could answer that it is for mere enjoyment - yay! But pets and children are a lot of work. And dancing can be just as enjoyable at home.. why go to a club? Why not write in a journal?

Truth is I Iove writing. I feel a little directionless lately though. Where am I writing what? Why am I writing how? Questions for nothing... I need a something. I need inspiration. This blog is but a weak solution to a strong yearning. It's as though the need to write something (anything!) builds up inside up me until I can do nothing but dry heave this dribble. It's a pathetic shame. On the brighter side, I like have a nice collection of music here as I own very few of these songs. Kudos to the internet and the ability to plug in!

Death Cab for Cutie is a must have stand by for anytime listening - pure enjoyment!

Pinback has a repetitive sound that occurs in a great deal of their music - I still love it immensely - kind of a laid back feel good tuneage.

MercyMe is a surprise to me... I never thought I liked them as much as I do as they have a tiny bit of country twang that I tend to avoid. I also noticed their focus is on heaven - I love that!

Yael Naim - funky indie sound that I innately am drawn to.. I wish to have more of this for my listening pleasure. The thing about indie is how hit and miss it is... But, oh! to find a rare and talented gem like Yael is cause for celebration!

Downhere and Shawn McDonald are worth coupling because of how I feel about them both. There is a unique quality to each that will always draw me in and endear me to each new song.

I don't understand people who don't have a profound respect and love for music - good music. It is so much a part of who I am that bits of songs come out in conversations randomly. To remove music from my life would be the greatest torture and would change me irrevocably.

Tangent done, so is blog post :)

peace and love,