Saturday, December 17, 2011

It Doesn't Make Sense...

I woke up this morning with a headache.  

When I tried to sit up, my heart started pounding and I felt faint.

No, I'm not sick.

I have God allowed limitations.  I've discussed this before.  I've bemoaned the seeming smallness of my existence in terms of accomplishment and unquenched ambition.  

But it's a lovely thing to admit that am no longer disappointed in this state of being.

I love my life.  Honestly.  Whole-heartedly.  I am in love with what God has given me. 

Even today as I endure burning pain from a yesterday spent in unregrettable busy.  

Even today as I listen to fighting kids.

Even today as I ponder how to make the best use of the two rooms in my mother's house she has graciously allowed us to use as a transitionary home until we depart for Kenya.

It doesn't make sense...  but I am brimming with joy.

But then again, God's love doesn't make sense.  My Father did not just forgive my aberrant ways and allow me to continue to live amongst the incredible blessings of this world.  

He did not just put me back where I should have been.

No.  I can't even believe it most of the time, but He BLESSED me above and beyond what I could ever pretend to earn from a life lived in near complete obedience. 

How can I not just LOVE this God?  The One who made everything... but then saved His ultimate affection for ME!  (and you, too... of course)  And when He found us in sin, HE made the sacrifice to right our relationship with Him.  And then HE takes the sin we still conceive, the evils of the world and says "I will will make this even better for you than you can imagine."  

His love is so incomprehensible, I am frustrated by worded limitations and my own addled mind.  But my soul... through it, through the Holy Spirit (God dwelling in me?!  Amazingly insane!) I can perceive a taste of something so great all I can do in melt in His arms and dream of living with Him forever.

How can I NOT just adore our God?  How can I not praise Him with every breath?  Emotion aside, I KNOW this truth that stirs in my heart even in pain.  Even when my world seems broken by difficult relationships, I can hear my soul singing "God is enough... and so much more."  

And I hang on to this.  Yahweh has blessed me with this knowing.  He has allowed me to be humbled before Him, to SEE how small I am, how much I truly need Him.  And what's more - how much I desperately love Him in all things. No. Matter. What.

Some might say, it doesn't make sense what we are doing... packing up our lives and moving to Africa.  Some might say, it doesn't make sense that we have no set plans, no organization that we are a part of, that we have no training or discernable skills of which to speak.  Some might say, it doesn't make sense to have such peace and joy during the stresses and changes of moving and chaos.  

I say that makes a lot more sense than what God has already done for us and is continuing to do for us... every day, every hour, every moment.  

I can only hope to be more senseless everyday for Him, too. 

My heart is with you, Yah <3  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Hard Way

...I have learned that to sin is to inflict pain on myself.  

...I have learned that to sin is to willingly taste death.  

...I have learned that godly guidance is hard to find… even among God’s people. 

...I have learned that I need to place everything in the context of glorifying God… because when I don’t then I run the risk of idolatry. 

...I have learned that God is faithful to save, that the Holy Spirit never abandons us, that the only choice that fills me with joy without fail is the choice to focus on God and His ways.  Logic, emotion, physical, spiritual all find their complete rest in God. 

This I have learned. This I now know.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I am in the wilderness.
Oh, of course it’s easy to equate what I am going through with what I am reading in Exodus. Don’t we simple humans tend to find connection through proximal experiences? But I won’t deny that God works in this way.
I am definitely uncomfortable. How many times have I cried out in despair to Yahweh in the past 3 weeks? My aching spirit, my starving soul… so desperate to find an oasis from which I could drink in comfort and peace over my situation.
How dearly and wrongly I hold on to my desires for my own fleshly fulfillment. How I daily struggle to fight off my thoughts wandering back to my days in Egypt. How quickly I forget the pains of slavery that held me captive there. How can I cry out against my freedom? Just because it’s hard? Because it’s new? Because it requires me to trust the Unseen Love that delivered me? How weak I am!
If God delivered me from that slavery, how can I not trust Him to save me when it pursues me in the desert? Has He put Himself there as a pillar of protection against my enemy? Is He calling me to move forward, even though it looks impossible? Will He show me a supernatural exit to escape, where His glory is seen? Where I cannot take any credit for a battle won? Oh that my God would open my eyes and keep me from unbelief!
And what did Yehoveh do in the wilderness? He tested the Israelites. He taught them. He showed them His presence, His provision. He taught them to rely on Him… not Moses. Not Aaron. Him.
This is leads to a thought: If I were truly in a wilderness, I would have to rely on Him entirely. COMPLETELY. God did not say, “Ok, folks I understand this is hard, I have set up some psychologists and counselors to help you cope with what happened. They will help you work through your thought processes and figure out why you are feeling the way you do.” I often wonder if we really get the complete reliance on God Himself…
And what is the alternative here…. “If Yahweh is God, then follow Him!” says Elijah (1Kings 18). There is NO alternative. What if the Israelites had turned around? What if they had denied Yahweh’s power? But really, how could they have? And how can WE??
Bottom line: we would be idiots to deny the power and love of Yehoveh. We would be mindless and blind to NOT follow Him wherever He leads. So the path is painful… and we can’t see how we will even make it another step. There is no water. No food. How much we need Him! How desperately we need Him in this desert life… and what an amazing story it will tell to follow Him and watch His glory be known through our trust!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I have to pen this now before I slip into my own one-mindedness.

This is why writing is important. This is why my thoughts are worth hearing. This is why I believe so many people can write and find a large audience. We need to be delivered out of our one-mindedness. Ok, I will step out of the general subject and honestly address myself.

I need to hear other’s perspectives. I can easily believe that each person has their own uniquely designed shoes to be walked upon their own path. But believing it, knowing it, is not the same as having a window into that world. And oh how valuable it is! How much I deeply cherish and treasure those windows, whether it be a fictional window or a real one. Don’t we all just eagerly lap up the alternate reality we can never know?

I am an avid reader. I love classic novels with insipid old English rants. I love sappy love stories. I love the action and detail of epic books! These windows are pieces of me now. If my soul were a house, the more windows the better! How dearly I cherish the views! My eyes can scarcely take it all in.

To suffer from one-mindedness is to suffer greatly. We can all learn quite a bit in our lifetime. We learn love, regret, sadness, struggle, pain, joy, awe… all in our own shoes. But to see it through another’s eyes is priceless. Maybe we are looking at the same thing, but here I am at my angle and they you are at yours. Do share with me what YOU see! I am desperate to know!

My own one-mindedness has made me an impossible jerk at times. It has caused chasms of difference between my heart and those I love. My one-mindedness has left me steeping in unwanted judgments. What a blessing it is to hear your story. How very little I believe our perspectives are treasured and honored by others.

One-mindedness breeds hate. It gives birth to arrogance. It separates, divides, and conquers the lives of people.

I will share my story. I will give others the freedom from one-mindedness. What a beautiful thing this life is and how much more so when seen in your light, her light, his light, their light…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I am.

It’s time for me to acknowledge that what I experience and how that affects my perspective causes a great rift between me and others.

It’s time for me to understand what this transience is doing, has done, will do to me.

No more shrugging, here is the low down.

Without going into too much history, I will say this: I have always had a heart for the lost. I remember lying in my childhood bed and weeping with a broken heart for those who were already in Hell. I decided early on I wanted to be different, go down another path, leave the path entirely maybe. I was dedicated to being what my Aunt Jean deemed as “unique.” That word was like a security blanket that I would cling to when nothing else made sense. And sure enough, there came a time when nothing made sense, when my family was scattered and divided, when my future seemed a big empty void of irrelevance.

But I was different, I reassured myself. It was ok that everyone else calmly packed up their high school memories and made off to college for 4 years and a degree (most often also a marriage). It was ok that I didn’t want that. It was ok that I didn’t choose that. I still regret not fully committing to what could’ve been an amazing path. I had dreams of packing up everything I owned into a VW van and driving across America seeking purpose, hopefully finding a way to see real people and love them, finding flight instead of iron clad shoes of stability.

I didn’t do that. Fear drove me to make a logical choice: college. Fear drove me from that choice to the heavy boots of Martin Luther College. I met my husband while there, yet another stable choice in the works. Consequences of choosing such an unnatural path weighed heavily on me. I was walking in someone else’s life. I became so uncomfortable and confused that gradually darkness enveloped me.

Who knows this about me? That I was made for a different path? How much do I share with others that isn’t preempted by and concluded with a shrug and a smile. As if no heavy weight had ever touched my shoulders.

Now I ask this: do I yearn to move because of fear? Am I afraid of stability? I don’t feel entirely equipped to answer that. How can anyone really know oneself? We are biased and hold skewed perspectives of historical events in our lives!

I admit, I don’t fully know myself.

What I cannot continue to ignore is this sense of unrest in my heart. How long has it resided there? My whole life? And it only seems to be growing.

My friends conclude that I am discontent. That I have removed myself from where I am into my own bubble so that I cannot even find purpose in any given place I geographically reside. I wish to dispel that opinion!

Is it wrong to want to go somewhere where hearts and minds are open to the idea of an Almighty God? “That’s too easy. The real challenge is here,” says my friend. Do I want to surround myself with hard-hearted people instead of people who earnestly desire to know a power bigger than themselves? Even just typing that brings tears to my eyes…

If God has given me a heart for these people… should I just go ahead and take that hateful normal path and ignore that I KNOW my path is different? How can I?? Every logical path I consider sits crooked in my heart, like an awkward unbalanced load. Sensibility soothes my passions, reassuring me of good intentions and safe choices. But passion does not die, it only cries out louder and longer.

Now I have to ask an important question. Have I left already? In mind and spirit, am I already gone? I know that God’s plan unfolds in His time. I know that He refines and shapes and prepares in ways and lengths I cannot even begin to fathom. I believe my heart will be unsettled until its call is made complete.

But I am here. Now. And I pray that God will show me what to do with this here and this now. In the meanwhile, I cannot check out. I cannot fold my arms and wait until I get my heart’s desires, no matter how well intended they are.

I need your guidance, YHWH. You who have created me, with purpose with passion with a different path… Show me how I can serve you here. Show me how I can grow closer to you here. Give me the sight to see your plan for me here. Show me the doors you open. Father, I need your strength, your Spirit… Keep my heart on your heart’s desires, my eyes on what YOU see, close my mind to useless distractions.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today my body and mind wage war against my best intentions. Best intentions and godly ambition sit sleepily in the back of my fogged brain, hastily shoved there by exhaustion. It’s not just droopy eyelids and sore muscles. I cannot rise out of this muck and mire. The sweet February air and clean sunshine register lightly in my consciousness. The melodic and often contagious laughter of my children is barred from my barricaded awareness.

Where am I? I wonder. How may I numbly move from this room to the next with intention? There it is again… that stirred feeling, unsettling thoughts. I can’t seem to focus very long on any one thing without this silent plow moving through my brain. What is that?

I am sure I will ponder in future days of my survival, my very existence residing this way. How did I manage? I will muse.

Right now, I know I have to just “get through” today and all that entails. Dishes, meals, keeping kids out of trouble and well engaged, teaching Caleb… checking off the boxes of today. Will I accomplish what is mildly put before me? It seems innocent enough, not threatening in print. But here it looms before me, a grand shadow darkening my day, an obstacle that leads me to believe it is in fact much too large for my meager provisions.

My meager provisions… Is this how I perceive my life? Today I do. I resolve (which is strong word for today) to determine what these meager provisions are. Are they indeed meager? Don’t I often feel like something has been taken away rather than given in slight servings? I feel robbed of something for sure…

Who robbed me? Did I rob myself which yesterday’s activities? Have I found a way to rob tomorrow? If so, I highly recommend that no one try it. The inevitable question (either issued by me or my husband) is offered: “Was it worth it?” *groan*

Was it worth it? To rob tomorrow I plainly see I’ve punished myself for not disciplining myself against those “best” intentions. Look where intention got me… stirred, foggy, in pain, mush.

I can’t even fully appreciate the lessons of life today. I can’t fully do anything. I’m a half wit with half energy and half a mind to quit myself altogether. But as it remains, I will just have to “get through.”

I will not look for exceptional things today. I will not reach out for something that cannot be grasped or understood today. I won’t lament anymore. I will not mourn the robbing of tomorrow. I will not begrudge myself over stealing this today. I will not despair that a brighter light yet remains for another day. I will “get through” and may God give me a spirit (that I cannot fathom) of patience, contentment, and peace.

Afterall, do the things God gives freely to me everyday depend on even my state of mind? Do they depend on my physical abilities? Has His gifts ever depended on anything but His unchanging (oh what that would be like?) love and full acceptance of me, His dearly loved and cherished (yet wildly irresponsible) child?

Goodbye heavy weight of yesterday’s guilt. Getting through may yet be a gentle breeze over my consciousness. Like a deep sigh of relief, a full release of pent up air… giving up what is left of me today and letting Him fill me up.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I pause.

I hesitate.

This is my thought process: Are my words worth hearing? Is there some kind of arrogance in believing that my thoughts should be read? Aren’t the only truly meaningful phrases, thoughts, and proses found already written in Yahweh’s book? What can I say besides that which would echo truth therein? And lastly, what is the point of that?

Do I benefit from reading what others say? Do I at least enjoy what is produced from a thoughtful mind? Of course!

So why do I hesitate?

I thought silence would humble me. I believed the quieting of my mind, the outward focus of my thoughts would bring me into a better perspective. I nearly assumed I would guarantee a success in selflessness.

I have not seen that to be true.

The less inward I’ve become, the less outward I’ve also become. As though an internal balance made this outcome necessary… like a law of physics.

What has occupied my mind hence? I find myself constantly questioning things. I have lost a bit of innocence in the process… My investigation into the Torah has left me dumb at times, yet inwardly spinning. My feet have been uprooted in new knowledge and I can’t find where to set them down again. This is disturbing, but I belief also purposeful. Does anyone who finds a new piece of truth wish they were yet ignorant? I suppose sometimes so in the midst of grief and mourning over a life lost.

But at the same speed, life changes anyway. Without new truth, the ground is still moving. Without increasing knowledge, decay still sets in. What do we save if we keep our mind from this painful growth?

America is sedated, I’m afraid. No, not just sleeping, for sleeping indicates a complete lack of awareness. The song of each day is sung upon each sunrise like a melody you can’t resist. The serene and predictable nature of our lives lulls us into a rhythm we breath like air. Even with the strongest gale of opposing truth, we walk on to the heartbeat of America. Is there any escape?

Each house a tepid, stagnant pool. Filth within, new odious growth on top. The smell gets to me. Can I stir it and keep on? Am I the pollution here? Or is it in the air of this landscape? Is it breathed on our country with each morning song?

I fight this fight. I resist resisting but my heart cannot settle faithfully here. I am convicted through and through and I loathe to admit that fear holds me back.

I feel this in my heart day in and day out.. yet I am ever susceptible to this world’s quicksand. Some time on facebook. A few hours watching a meaningless and often offensive movie. Books of fiction that fill my mind with another reality. Obsessing over what to eat, are my kids getting enough physical activity, aspiring towards accomplishments, money, achievements, accolades… etc. Quicksand.

This is the obsession of my life.

I can forget it for a few hours, a day, but it comes back in a rushing wave and pounds my heart over and over. I feel as though I’m in chains, and my instinct is to get up, move, leave, GO. I feel my impatience physically. I feel sick from each morning song, like a sweet saccharin spoon dipped in my coffee. “Ready for another great American day, Mrs. Tinsman?”

I don’t want these gods. But here they are so subtly displayed at every turn.

Stability. What is stability? A physical temple to yourself? Look here! I’ve got enough money for this and that and emergencies, of course. Look here! I’ve got a house and yard that is all mine (or will be in 30 some years). Look here! I’ve got a great job with room for promotion. Look here! My kids are in top schools with solid friendships with kids just like them. Look here! I even give 10% to charitable causes. Look here! Picture perfect picture and nothing to distress us…

Health. What is health? Waging a battle against inevitable decay? I refuse to age (though time argues the point). I will not put this or that into my body (because we CAN afford to be picky). I will be in top shape for my own pleasure. I will readily engage in a skewed and corrupt medical world because of my vanity and lack of discernment – and, oh yeah! Threat to my stability, my normal life as I wish to always know it.

Doing. What is doing? (A painful memory for me… a painful reality for me.) If I do this much, I have earned myself some worth. My service to others will mask my own purposeless and misdirected heart. My doing will fill voids in my life that seem bottomless… Doing for the sake of doing.

In all of these open judgments, I sit. Am I condescending? Can I cry out that this is all around me permeating my life? I can hear nothing but Godlessness and emptiness. Am I wrong to hate this sing-song life, pretty picturesque scene complete with frills and daytime drama? I am filled to the brim with this insipid way. May I speak against this?

What are my words here? Is this anything new? I don’t believe it is. How can I feel so strongly opposed to the operation of life all around me? How can I so vehemently deny abdicating my life to this pattern? What’s more, what can I even do in response?

We are slaves to our desires here. And slaves we will remain.