Faith

I am not myself in this hour.  I am…

                                                                Unsettled. 

                                                                                         In turmoil.

                                                    Troubled.

Deep things of my heart churning up anxiety and sadness, uncertainty.  My mind perpetually roving over questions, phrases, words… seeking understanding, searching for assurance, clarity… something to find grounding in.

I feel as one grieving before it is time.

Memory of an encounter with one hurting deeply… numbly… so hidden is the wound that it’s only evidence is betrayed by a look… a phrase… a slip of the tongue… something so faintly different that it is hardly detectible. Now so obvious in my mind.  And now, this pain presses my heart, moves me, grips me.

And so I find myself here.  Heart brimming over with tears, pulsing with an ache that wraps around the inside of my throat.  All I can do is sit here, the pain is not numb for me, and I can feel it.  See it.  Hear it.

So with this hurt I start to pray.  Not even knowing how, what to say… where to begin.  Just remembering the verses in my Bible that tell me God knows each emotion, each tear, sigh, hurt, wound.  Just remembering the verses that tell me of His love. That talk of His own deep feelings for His creation.

I plead for the numb with words I’m borrowing.  I plead for us both to be released from this burden.  For healing… I plead with a sob and as I sigh.  I plead and I pray until the pressure is lifted.  Until the grip is loosened.  Until I am drained.  Exhausted.

Though tears trail my cheeks, I find a deep tranquil peace.  Though a shadow of an ache remains, I am at ease.

And I wonder…

When it is me so determined to smile, unable to acknowledge the wound, to take in the reality… will someone be moved to pray for me?

And I smile.  Warmed by the truth I know.  Soothed by the understanding I have just glimpsed.  Humbled by the omnipotence just displayed… by the smallness of myself.   My heart is flooded with gratefulness.

“But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Hebrews 7:24-25

 

 

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Remembering

I am learning to face days of unending change with a steadfast unwavering memory.

Remembering daily

                               ….. the sun comes up no  matter what the weather is

                               ….. I am not who the world says I am.  I am made new, like each day.

No matter how many mistakes I make or sins I commit.  Or how many times I forget.

                               ….. today I am made new, in Christ.

                               ….. today I have peace in this; John 3:16 still applies to me.

Remembering daily

….. His love for my children is stronger than mine.  More capable.  More.

Remembering that if Love is first Patient

…. this applies to me too.  He has patience for me.

Today, I am remembering that I am loved, and today I can face what is here.  Today, steadfast, unmoving, unchanging Love

…. He has called it mine.  It’s not something I have claimed for myself.

…. He has called it, first, patient.  Then kind.

Love that never fails.  Never changes.  Steadfast, unmoving.  Patient.

If I but remember that I am loved, what can I not do?

 

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old…

A pair of kind brown eyes and silky straight brown hair, the kind I always envied. An orange fun noodle in a pool on the other side of the world. Daring and fun loving, easy to laugh with and even more comfortable to share my heart with, our friendship was born of God’s ordaining.  Late night praying, laughing, dreaming, confiding, God knew we could be conduits of His heart for each other.  Years have passed, through college, marriage, children, always mirroring but never returning to the same circle, our lives have been woven even more tightly.  Picking up where we leave off, you carry my deepest secrets and encourage my hardest journeys, regardless of how many months go by between our visits, as we love and pray over our children, marriages, and families.  You are what makes my life so beautiful, a glorious sunrise and a calming sunset. Your constant reminders of the things God loves, of the simple pleasure of being a mommy, of the compassion and long-suffering a marriage takes.  Each day I thank God for you, and each day I am reminded of something else to thank Him for because of you.

Just a comment at first, a “like” and a twinge of relating.  A thread of topic, and more in depth conversations pass over the internet, and we find more in common.  An invitation or two and a willingness to dare something new. A friendship, so sweet and so young, intertwined with past and connected to now.  How wonderful it is to find a kindred heart, a related life and a companionable frame of mind.  What an encouragement you have been in such a short length of time.  I am, once again, enjoying the beautiful way God works as I watch Him provide needs I hardly knew I felt.  You are what makes my life exciting, the unexpected find, the bright flower growing in the rocky hillside.  You remind me to thank God for all He has yet to reveal, for the faith I am assured of in the way He provided your friendship so far.

One is silver, the other gold…

 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9

Just In Case It Isn’t You…

We pile into the van, hot and sweaty, bellies filled, legs stretched and ready to get going again.  The rest stop was starting to fill up with other travelers. Perfect timing.

“Wait!  My toy!” my son calls, panicked.

“It’s impossible to find,” she says.

“Did you look for it,” I ask.

“Please, I need it,” pleads my son.

“Really, it’s impossible, with all the running and all this grass.  It’s tiny and you aren’t going to see it,” she says. I want to take her word for it, and battle annoyance.  But his pleading tugs my heart.

I turn and walk to the long grassy field we were just playing in.  Okay, I pray, Lord, please show me where to look.

Without waiting I start under the tree they had just been sitting by, trying to be quick and thorough at the same time, with very little idea of what the toy actually looked like.  Logically this would be where the toy should be found, as this is where most of our time was spent.

Look by the bathrooms

I feel the urge, practically hear the words tho not audibly.  I hesitate.  I take one more cursory look around the tree before heading toward the bathroom, just in case, before leaving the area that makes most sense for the toy to be lost in.

Slowly I move away from where my logical mind tells me it should be… I keep searching the grass.  And I wonder to myself why I am so hesitant to just look by the bathrooms.  If I asked for the Lord’s help, shouldn’t I be willing to take it?  I chat with myself silently…

“Well, just in case it isn’t You,” I tell Him to console myself.  I tell myself things that aren’t true all the time, hoping, wishing, it is God’s prompting instead of my own desires.. it could just be my head getting the better of me.  But, really… something inside me stirs.  I do know the sound of His voice.  I have mistaken it enough times to know the difference… I just don’t want to be wrong, again.

I reach the benches by the bathrooms, I pause.

Right there, just outside the bathroom, near the bench… right there in plain view.  His toy.  Tiny grey, and yes, impossible to find in grass. But not on that rust colored cement, outside the bathrooms.

How many times do I play the fool, saying, “Just incase it isn’t you, Lord,” how often do I miss out on some small, yet tangible miracle?  How many times have I asked for His leading, His help… only to not believe He is helping and leading?   How many times have I fooled myself into thinking my thoughts are His leading, and ignored His still, quiet voice?  When logic overtakes His voice, when I doubt the knowledge of Him I have been graced with… When I act as tho I don’t know Him…

And yet, He still offers… even for something as trivial as a tiny plastic toy sitting on the rusty colored cement outside the bathroom.

Grace

Grace is not always beautiful.  At least not for me.

God once told me three things He delights in when He sees me.  Boldness. Honesty. Passion.

In my mind these traits are not filled with grace. Experience has informed me that boldness is pushy, honesty is cutting, passion is overwhelming.  I have learned that these traits invite criticism and judgement and rejection.  When forms of my boldness and honesty and passion intruded on those around me ungraciously.

I hear words spoken over me in childhood, remember opinions and actions of people in my early days, and I hang these memories around the interior of my mind, adding to them the things that I hear in these adult years. Sometimes in my cobalt moments I walk the halls of my mind where these words and interactions are hung.  I wrap myself in the ache they invoke.  I hide in the fear of them, to proud to admit or examine which are true and which are lies.

I hear so much about combatting lies.  In church we’re taught to treat the media and the criticism of others with kit gloves and extrapolate the lies, kicking them to hell so that we are left to live in the light of truth.  But really, it is not the lies I fear.  It is the truth that holds me captive, strangles me, weighs me down suffocatingly defeated.

The truth is, I have been everything I was or am accused of.  Isn’t that the very reason Christ died for me?

When my boldness has been pushy, insistant, ugly.  When my honesty has been hurtful, cutting, vengeful. When my passion has been overbearing, judgmental, ignorant.  When these traits have made myself bigger than life in my own eyes, and when I have clung to my own understanding of right and wrong…  that is when words, judgements of others, have hurt the most, been the most debilitating.

As if in quick sand.  I struggle and fight against perceptions of myself, and I sink.  I panic, I strain, I twist. I sink. I hide, embarrassed.  I sink.  I give up and wallow in misery.  I sink. I fight some more and sink further still.

It is not until I lay my face on the surface of the mud and quietly work my way prostrate over the surface.  Until I realize that only in this position do I find leverage.  When I am face to face with the truth of my situation, of my choices, of my imperfection… as in prayer, prostrated before God.  This is Grace.  Face down in mire, precariously leveled and inching my way toward solid ground.  Facing all the truth I fear.  Inch by inch, prostrated before God, until He places my feet on solid rock.  This is the Grace I have found.

By Grace I am bold enough to lay prostrate, exposed, vulnerable.  By Grace I can honestly lay before the truth of myself, lay in the muck of my state, lay it all before Him.  By Grace, His passion for me fills me with passion to move forward, to inch my way in humility toward Him, passion grows for a glimpse of His face.

By His Grace.

Grace is being drawn near when I am filthy, face first, and unholy.