Using this space to process…

This post (and maybe more) are my attempt to process some things that I’ve been learning lately. Feel free to read on or ignore!

“We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He’s preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and bye, but as we go on in grace, we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.” (Oswald Chambers)

Thinking back over the last year and posts that I was writing this time last year, I’ve begun to realize the amazing journey that the Lord has taken me on. I wrote multiple posts about how I felt that God was leading me to a crossroads, that I felt this great thing was coming, that He was preparing me for the amazing ride. Wow, did He ever. But it surely wasn’t the ride I was thinking.

I’m in the process of setting up boundaries and journeying onto a new path; but with such a different perspective. I’ve struggled for years to come to terms with what my identity is (who doesn’t?), about how to let go and be free, about how to just relax in my space. I’ve longed to be anonymous and learned how crappy that is and I’ve found a new respect for close friends and their accountability, honesty, wisdom and love.

What I’m realizing is that I’m such a pleaser. I have no fear of God, but an amazing fear of people and especially myself. But in that, I find that I can’t please anyone…not even Jesus. It is only through His grace and mercy that I can find myself uplifted and protected and loved by Him and not feeling his wrath. I fear so much letting myself down, letting others down and just letting go. But in the midst of the last few weeks, I’m learning what freedom there is (even in the midst of fear) of finding my identity in Christ, clinging to Him and finding boldness in His word.

I long for boldness like I never have before. I long to be filled with grace and gentleness and peace like I never have before and the sweet Lord is delivering. Does that mean I don’t scream at my children or throw my shoes at the wall or that things are always ‘easy peasey lemon squeezy’? NO! But in the midst of my failure and sin, I can shrug it all off so much easier in the grace of Christ.

I am also learning where I am so vulnerable to attack. I make plans, I make decisions and I do things that I feel confident are the Lord’s will. Then something comes along and I question my decision. That fear creeps in. What a freeing thing to know where the attack may come and how to pray for that hedge of protection!

And here is what I’m reading, daily as I seek to walk this new path of freedom, boldness and grace:

Grace Active

Lord Jesus, Great High Priest, Thou hast opened up a new and living way by which a fallen creature can approach thee with acceptance.
Help me to contemplate the dignity of thy Person, the perfectness of thy sacrifice, the effectiveness of thy intercession.
O what blessedness accompanies devotion, when under all the trials that weary me, the cares that corrode me, the fears that disturb me, the infirmities that oppress me, I can come to thee in my need and feel peace beyond understanding!
The grace that restores is necessary to preserve, lead, guard, supply, help me.
And here thy saints encourage my hope; they were once pooor and are now rich, bound and are now free, tried and now are victorious.
Every new duty calls for more grace than I now posess, but not more than is found in thee, the divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells.
To thee I repair for grace upon grace, until every void made by sin be replenished and I am filled with all thy fullness.
May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened, that I my honour thee by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.
Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all.
May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

From Valley of Vision

Thank you sweet Jesus for the ordinary. May I stop constantly and give you praise for it.

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What 4 Little Legs Taught Me

From Ellie

So last Friday ranks up there as one of the hardest and most miserable days of my life. While these little four legs were adorable and sweet, they drove us (especially me) to a most amazing point. After much tears, conversations and more tears (and loads of barking, nipping, pooping, more barking and very little sleep in this house) we ended up taking our sweet Ellie back to the shelter. But this is what she taught me:

1) I have a very good life. It took an amazingly hard week to smack me on the head and wake me up to the beauty of the life that I have right now, as it is.

2) Sometimes God moves in quiet whispers and sometimes He grabs your face and screams in your face “wake up!” I often think that if I had this or if we did that, then we would be much happier as a family. That days would be smoother and more graceful. This was part of the dog dream. If we have a dog, then it’s going to bring us together and be fun and sweet and create such amazing memories. What I woke up to is the realization that that is happening EVERY DAY even without a dog or a cat or another baby or a new house or….fill in the blank.

3) I love my husband. Today we celebrate our 12th anniversary and we decided at the very last minute to go away. It had to have been the most amazing, sweet, relaxing 24 hours we’ve ever had.  I’m sure much of that had to do with the fact that we had both experienced an amazingly difficult week, but we like to think it was just because. I love that he loves me no matter what stupid decisions I make, no matter how much I lose it and not matter how much I am not the woman I want to be for him.

4) I am embraced daily by such a sweet Jesus. I read this morning in My Utmost for His Highest such a sweet reminder of what Jesus did for us. When He was on the mount of Transfiguration, He didn’t leave and go into heaven at that point. If He would have, He would have only been a glorious being to us. But He turned His back on that glory and came back to become the Son of Man. At the Ascension, He didn’t just return to heaven as the Son of God, but also as the Son of Man. He opened the door for anyone to walk through. I am beyond thankful this day for His grace, mercy and yes, even for taking me in His hands and screaming in my face. I am thankful that He has woken me up.

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Spontaneous Abandonment

“When we’re rightly related to God, life is full of

“You have led me to place all my nature and happiness
in oneness with Christ
in having a heart and mind centered only on Him
in being like Him in communicating good to others…”

Abandonment to His will
Uncertainty with a certainty in God
Loyalty to God
Expectation that He will move
May I wake daily with the expectation that He will move greatly, but with abandonment to my expectations and things I am certain of. May I move throughout my day in joy knowing He will come.

(Quotes from My Utmost for His Highest and Valley of Vision)

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I *heart* MJF

41lnl2yjil_sl500_aa240_I am a child of the 80s. I grew up watching Family Ties, Teen Wolf and Back to the Future. I have always adored Michael J Fox, but as I’ve grown up I’ve really come to realize why I love him so much: He is so anti-typical. Despite everything going on in his life, I’ve never, ever seen him on t.v. without a smile. He always looks refreshed and really just at peace. He has a new book out, so he is all over the tv again for interviews and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. It’s about being an optimist. And I tell you right now, who doesn’t need to hear that?  And for it to come from a guy who has gone through, is going through and has yet to go through so much. I admire him.

I admire him for his ability to start each day despite what he knows is coming. I grump about getting my legs out of the bed in the morning, but at least they cooperate! I admire him for his wanting to look at the good in everything and for being the model of someone who really does do that.

I’m at a place right now where I have two pretty distinct directions to go in my life. But I’m handling this time so differently than ever before. I’m “letting it play out” as someone encouraged me to do. Instead of trying to force my way down a certain path; instead of trying to glue myself into the tree…I’m abiding there. I’m not jumping fifteen steps in front of where God might lead, but I’m leisurely walking along the path and just seeing where it leads.

It’s a peaceful place (mostly) and people like MJF remind me that it is so important to just wake up in the morning, try my best to flip my legs out of the bed and seek the best that day has to offer (and I have to offer it) and just abide.

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John 13: Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet
1Now(A) before(B) the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that(C) his hour had come(D) to depart out of this world to the Father,(E) having loved(F) his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2During supper, when(G) the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3Jesus, knowing(H) that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that(I) he had come from God and(J) was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel,(K) tied it around his waist. 5Then he(L) poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7(M)“What I am doing(N) you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8(O) Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, (P) “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash,(Q) except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And(R) you[b] are clean,(S) but not every one of you.” 11(T) For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” Jesus answered him,

12When he had washed their feet and(U) put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, (V) “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13(W) You call me(X) Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,(Y) you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example,(Z) that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you,(AA) a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things,(AB) blessed are you if you do them. 18(AC) I am not speaking of all of you; I know(AD) whom I have chosen. But(AE) the Scripture will be fulfilled,[d](AF) ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’19(AG) I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20Truly, truly, I say to you,(AH) whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

In my Lenten devotional I’ve been reading this passage for the last few days. Honestly it’s just one of those that you read and it just kind of washes over you because you’ve heard the story so much (think Jonah and the whale or Noah). Today when I read it, though, it just kind of hit me: Jesus washed Judas’ feet. I’ve always read this story and just thought, yep I need to be more of a servant, I need to do this or that, I need to change the way I respond to others etc, etc etc.

But the thing is, Jesus knowingly washed the feet of someone who was about the walk out the door and do something horrible. Because of what Christ did for me, it’s not hard for me to imagine he would stoop so low as to wash the feet of the disciples. But what I started thinking about today was: what was Judas thinking while this was happening? Did he sit there all puffed up with bitterness thinking “this is precisely why I turned him in…look at this man!” or was this a moment where he truly realized what he was doing?

When God gives me things or takes away or doesn’t give me what I pray for; when He lowers himself for my good, what is my response? I’m so much closer to Judas in that room than Peter. Peter just calls Jesus out on His act of service (see verse 6). But Judas, he betrays Jesus not only by letting Him wash his feet, but by getting up and walking away. I so often in my life see Jesus moving so gently and mercifully in my life (whether I like it or not) and then I just get up and walk away just to betray Him further. Ah, but how sweet is the mercy and grace of Jesus. No matter how many times I walk away he always welcomes me back into loving arms.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. One who knowingly sees you washing over me with love and then stomping away in betrayal.

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