water

Water is one of those things that is amazing. I love to sit and watch the power of a waterfall.
There is nothing like sitting with your toes on the edge of the ocean and feeling the waves lap up at your feet. Rain is a lovely sound falling on my metal roof. It can even freeze and you can skate on it. My dream is to have one of those crazy showers where you have like 5 giant faucets all streaming down on you.
It’s water we use to baptize. That symbol of the covenant between us and our God.
Water is beautiful, amazing and it’s necessary.

But water is also devastating.
Just like many beautiful things in this world, water can do things to us that we never imagined.
Today 4 inches of water inundated our basement and upset our lives.
This week, rivers have overflown, people have lost their houses and I’m sure before this whole wild weather week is over some people might have lost their lives.

So today was a practice in holding my hands wide open.
Ann Voskamp says that we have a choice in life:
We can clench our hands and just let the water run over us; holding none of it.
We can open and close our hands when we want to. Catching the water that we think is the most important or the best fit for us and closing us to the things we think would be too hard.
Or we can keep our hands wide open all the time to accept whatever overflowing that the Lord would rain down on us.

When I walked through the mess that is our basement and saw the damage of all that we had worked so hard to do, all I could do was look around and say thanks.
Thanks to Jesus for the hands that came to help us.
Thanks to Jesus for the drain in the middle of the floor that we were able to open up.
Blessings for my husband’s employers that he could stay home today and help clean up
Blessings for the fact that although we lost the room and the floor, we lost very few valuables.
Blessings for this home. That as the rain continues to poor down, we have a roof over our heads and warm heat that blows.
Blessings for the calm that invaded my soul as we felt like those poor people on the Titanic who just kept shoveling water that just kept on coming.
And that calm came because every time I started to become overwhelmed and focus on the impossibilities of this day, I praised God. I opened my hands.
I took the rain.






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multitudes

One of the things that keeps me from writing my daily list of blessings is just the mere fact of stopping. If I were to do what so many others are doing consistently, my day would have to slow down. I would have to stop and look and write. But isn’t that what it’s all about?

This dare to write 1000 gifts is a dare to stare life head on. It’s a dare to not just say in my head, thank you Lord for that grocery bill that exactly matches the dollars in my wallet, but to stop and document it. So for the days that I scream to heaven that I’m a failure I can remember.

It’s a record of God’s promises to us.
It’s a record of the ways that God defeats the giants in our lives…and the mice too.
It’s a way of forcing me to engage with my life and all of those in it.

I praise God for the way that He is changing my heart.
I pray to be filled with the courage daily to move forward in that.

a budget that is met perfectly…only by the grace and giving of God
the reminder that He calls me and equips me for everything in my life
the friendly hello of the checkout lady
finishing a good book, so good I need to go back and reread it
Downton Abbey and a sweet husband
curled up in flannel sheets
sweet faces that the boy makes while he slumbers
painting over the old and making it new
creativity
rain that falls on our roof
a community of worship
the anticipation of a study that is taking me already to unknown places






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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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When I ordered the DVD and study book for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts I threw in another book just because. I had heard a lot about it and the title totally jumped out at me. The book is “Undaunted” by Christine Caine

There is nothing about this book that is what I thought it would be.

I’ll hopefully do a more “formal” review of this book when I’m completely done with it…although the opposite is happening to me. I’m becoming undone.

My word for this year is unrelenting. I long to be unrelenting in so many aspects of my life, but ultimately I long to be confident. I feel like this space here, while a good space for me, becomes just a repeat. Every post speaks of how I am honestly stuck.

And to be honest, I’m not stuck. I just don’t want to move.

The chapter I read today in this book reminded me of the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. People walked by the wounded. Good people walked past him. But only one chose to cross the road. Only one chose to interrupt where he was going to help this person. And more than that, only one chose to not only give of his time, but also his resources.

It’s almost like this story woke me up. Startled me really.
God has created so much space in my life right now. And while I do know that some of this space is for me to create a business with the work of my hands, I also feel like He is creating space for something else.
This book scares me. It scares me because it wakes me up (rise O sleeper! as Paul writes in Ephesians).
I started this book and got about half way through it thinking how great this woman was and how this was just an encouraging sort of book.
But it’s more than that. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t just sit and read about others doing.
I have to answer that call too.
Not to fill up the space that God has created with so many things, but to use the time that God has given for Him.
So with great hesitation I walked this morning and prayed for God to give me courage to listen and respond to Him.
To reveal to me the interruptions I need to answer to in my life.
Counting on Him to uphold me every step of the way.

As Christine Cain says so beautifully:
God doesn’t ask us ‘are you capable?’, He asks us ‘are you willing?;”

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fmf {opportunity}

Five Minute Friday

2013 starts up five minute fridays again
a time to write for five minutes
unabandoned
uninhibited
that’s my prefix this year…”un”
so here goes…
today’s word is {opportunity}

GO

God has given me a life filled with opportunity.
He has given me so much of what I have longed for.
Yet I refuse to be in it.
I keep trying to move out of it.
Never believing for one moment that it’s a good thing and always waiting for the sky to fall on it.

Living in the opportunity that God gives is scary.
It’s a choice where I can walk in fear (and get no where)
or walk in faith (and go to amazing places)

The problem is trust.
If I want to walk head first and live in this opportunity that He has given me…that He has laid in my lap
I have to keep my focus on Him.
I have to remember that He has given me a Spirit of strength and power…not fear.
I can continue to move out of this fear, out of the anxiety, out of all those things that keep my hindered
and walk like Peter into the storm, onto the waves and not sink.

And even when I do sink, remember Who holds me up.
What an opportunity.

STOP

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