riding a wave

Our community group has been going through a DVD study by Francis Chan. The man apparently loves to surf, so he always throws in a good surfing illustration. When we were re-watching the video last night his illustration really made me stop and think.

When a group of people go out to surf they can’t stand on the beach and raise their hands up and call up a wave. They have to go out into the ocean, look for the wave and then ride it. I hate to be out further than my chest in the ocean so the idea of riding a surfboard on a wave pretty much freaks me out. But what stopped me in my thoughts last night, wasn’t the issue of fears, but the issue of control and letting go.

I’m a list person and I’m a planner. I know I can’t really control my life, but I can at least be prepared.
If this surfer were me, I would make a list of what I need to bring with me to the beach. I would make sure I had a great group of friends to go with me. I would watch the weather and tides forecast to make sure we picked the best day. I would make sure we had snacks and towels and everything else we might need. I might even watch some videos or read a book or talk to a friend to make sure that I knew how to get on the surfboard. Heck, we might even go to a pool and practice paddling out and trying to stand up.
I would basically do everything in my power to get ready to ride that wave…except actually ride it.
I would probably convince myself how much fun this was going to be and how much fun it was preparing for it.
Yet, like so often in my life, I would be missing out on the joy.

I’m sure there is nothing like climbing onto a surf board and riding uninhibited on a wave. Something of such amazing power, lifting you up and carrying you on this wild ride. I guess the closest I could think of would be riding a roller coaster. A roller coaster really isn’t fun until you get on it and lift. up. your. hands.

To steal from Ann Voskamp, we can’t live a life with our hands clenched.
To experience full joy,
to experience that freedom,
we have to open our hands up.
We have to get off the beach, paddle out into the ocean and ride the wave.
Trusting in Him completely to get us where we need to go.
And when we do let go; when we do offer up to Him open hands, can you imagine what it can do to a life?
We begin to experience life lived in the center of His will.
Not mine.

Writing along with many others for five minutes on a word prompted by the gypsy mama.
Today’s word was DIVE

Five Minute Friday

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evil present

I’ve been pondering and reading a whole host of responses to the tragedy that occurred last Friday in Connecticut.
My first thought, obviously, was to my own children who at that time were still sitting in their classrooms in their own elementary school . My second thought was to all the times I had sat in a closet or bathroom with my students for “intruder drills” and I thought about all those teachers who were doing that same thing; only it was real.

I’ve read a host of comments about obviously the question of “why?”. Some people have mentioned that it’s all because pray and God was taken out of schools. And the thing is, God never left public schools. I don’t say this to make any sort of argument for or against any type of schooling decision, but the fact that we even begin to think that we remove God. The idea that we can move God where we want Him to be or not be.

God was present in that school. And so was evil. Just as evil entered into the Garden, sin walked into that school on Friday. A fallen man made a fallen choice and destroyed countless young lives. I see photos and hear names and ages of the children that died and hold my own 6 year old a little closer. And I remember that although evil walked in; it won’t have the final word.

Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the innocent and often times he uses the innocent to do that. For in destroying the innocent, he attempts to destroy us. He makes us question God and God’s intentions. He makes us doubt. And when we doubt; when we say that there is no way God was there in that maddness, we let evil get hold of us. God was there in the Garden. Satan didn’t slink his way in, our God is so much bigger than that. And God was there in that school.

God hears our cries. He hears the cries of everyone who is touched by this tragedy. He even heard the cries of the man who did this. And He has a plan. His plan from the beginning was to rescue us. It is a plan that involves fear and love; death and life. And hope.

3The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

4“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.

5“Again you will plant vineyards
On the hills of Samaria;
The planters will plant
And will enjoy them.

6“For there will be a day when watchmen
On the hills of Ephraim call out,
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the LORD our God.’”

7For thus says the LORD,
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise and say,
‘O LORD, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel.’

8“Behold, I am bringing them from the north country,
And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together;
A great company, they will return here.

9“With weeping they will come,
And by supplication I will lead them;
I will make them walk by streams of waters,
On a straight path in which they will not stumble;
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.”

10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
And declare in the coastlands afar off,
And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him
And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

11For the LORD has ransomed Jacob
And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.

12“They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD—
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again.

13“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.

14“I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 31

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moving on

My baby girl lost her first tooth this week. I say “baby” because she is my baby, my last born of me and this right of passage has hit me hard. There are days when I would never want her to return to her toddlerhood along with days that I do wish she would just grow up a little bit and be more independent. But most days, days like this one, I want her to stay just where she is and stop growing.

We tease our kids all the time that we need to put a brick on their heads so they might slow down and stop getting so big and when I look at this little girl with her missing tooth I have to stop myself from going outside and searching for a good brick.

There are so many aspects of my life that move along so quickly. I stop for a moment and realize that days, weeks, months have just zoomed past me. And this is the way life is supposed to be.

But there are other aspects of my life that stagnate.
And these are the things that eventually bring me to repentance.
These cycles of sin that spin on repeat and never change.

On the Sabbath I heard the word “presumptuous” and it cut right to the heart of this cycle I spin in. It is like being on the same sit and spin, going around and around. I think that I’m spinning the right direction. I think that this spin is actually going to take me somewhere. But really I’m just going around in circles.

I think that I know best for my life.
I think that I can answer all the problems and worries that come up every day.
I think that taking the reins is going to to stop this spinning.
But it doesn’t.
I find myself sitting stagnant.

The answer to this is an opening.
It’s a step off.
It’s a living sacrifice…dying to the part of me that thinks it’s safer to keep where I am.
Painful.
And yet so freeing.

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being real {spending myself}

beingrealbutton

I can become crazy jealous and consumed in a heartbeat.
I can hear exciting news and be genuinely excited for that person,
but at the same time crazy jealous that such news isn’t happening in my life.
And then I become self-condemning because I’m not rejoicing with that person…I’m thinking about myself.
Such is the reality of my sin.

We’re each given different gifts and talents by our Master. The thing that matters most is how we use what we’ve been given, no how much we make or do compared to someone else. What matters is that we spend ourselves. ~ Francis Chan

I walk through my days wondering how to become more joyful; more grateful.
I wonder how I can cultivate a heart that continually rejoices with Him.
But I don’t stop and focus on Him.
Because that is how it happens.
I must become consumed with Christ.
The joy, the gratefulness, the security
it all comes not from focusing on the process
but focusing on the Master.

I can’t be truly joyful with my friend’s pregnancy…unless I’m focused first on Christ.
I can’t be truly comfortable with where we are financially…until I’m focused first on my security found in Him.
I can’t be grateful, finding joy in every aspect of my life…until my eyes focus first on Jesus.

With trepidation I ask to see the Lord. Like Moses.
I ask for Him to come into my life and tell my life’s story, irregardless of my comfort or safety
because it’s not my story – it’s His.

And it won’t be a story of JOY until I let go and let Him write it.

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anxiety

I’m a big fan of the NBC show Parenthood. I watched all 3 seasons last Spring while I was sewing and was beyond thrilled when the new season started up this Fall. Until I started watching it. I’ve really come undone watching the storylines this year and today when I watched this week’s episode I was a total wreck.

The season started with the announcement that Christina has breast cancer. This is a crazy scary storyline to follow for me as I’ve just walked through a hysterectomy due to issues (thankfully all benign) and a long history of all sorts of cancer in my family. I’ve had one “off” mammogram and I’ve put off going back for another baseline (I’ll go next week, don’t fret) because of what happened to me this summer. That said, I struggle with identifying myself in a storyline (via book, tv show etc) and I can’t own her story because it’s not mine and it hasn’t (and who even says it will) happened to me.

But I can own Julia’s story this week. I’ve written throughout the years about my deep struggle with anxiety and fear. In this week’s episode, Julia is standing over the sink with burnt toast scraping it off while her kids are going on with life in her background. She then collapses onto the floor because she can’t handle it anymore.
I have lived that exact scene and while it was hard to watch, it was also amazing to remember where I was and what God has brought me through. I have no idea where I would be if I wouldn’t have gotten help and if the Lord hadn’t rescued me from that fear and anxiety. I still have bouts of it, but nothing that drives me to my knees in deep setting anxiety.

The Lord has truly brought me to a place where when my life is overwhelming, He drives me to His feet.

And for that I’m so grateful.

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