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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no longer stuck

One of the reasons why I think the word “unrelenting” spoke to me is because I feel as if I’ve been stuck.
I’ve been on this Emmaus Road walking. Sometimes maybe seeing the Lord walking with me, but most of the time with my head down pondering everything that has happened but not really looking up and moving on. Like the disciples walking, I feel like I’ve lost heart and that the things that have happened really can’t be overcome. I’ve listened to the Scriptures and the words Jesus has spoken, but I still haven’t really seen Him and heard him.

So, there I am on the road and at the table nodding my head yes, but not really letting it all sink in…soak in.
That’s why I declare 2013 to be a unrelenting.
I’m not giving up this year.
I’m persisting through my disappointment, fear, worry, anxiousness, frustration and even joy to put aside and move towards Him.
Moving into this longing in my heart to know His scriptures and actually knowing His scriptures.
Refusing to stay stuck in this place that is keeping me from knowing – and moving – into His goodness in the land of the living (Psalm 29:13).
Even when moving in the shadowlands of sadness or worry or frustration, knowing that He is there with me and choosing JOY even when everything else seems crazy.

It’s funny to write all this about being stuck and choosing joy because I’m walking into 2013 feeling so much freer than I have in years. I’m not depressed. I’m not in this place of great fear like I’ve been before. I’m not in a horrible place in my marriage. My children are healthy. I’m not facing illness. My bills are paid.
Yet even in the midst of all this, I know that there is so much more than I’m missing.
I’m still on that road with my head down.
We can be moving in the shadows even when things seem to be going just fine.
But yet God has so much more for us than just being fine.

And that comes with an unrelenting pursuit.
Soaking my daily minutes into His scripture.
Refusing to listen to the whispers in my head and around me and going to His word.
Fully giving over my heart into forgiveness
Choosing to be healed and moving into that healing.

Never ceasing.
Walking into 2013 with my head up and eyes on Him.

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running away or returning

In Joshua 6, the Israelites have crossed over into the promised land. They have been given the city of Jericho and are sitting at the brink of Ai. But the Israelites have grieved the heart of God by disobeying Him and plundering from the city of Jericho. God leads them into a battle with the men of Ai and they lose.

At this, Joshua tears his clothes and begins crying out to God in frustration. He whines that things would have been better had they stayed on the other side of the Jordan. He so quickly forgets how they crossed the Jordan, what life was like on the other side and what even happened at Jericho….walls falling down at the blow of a horn.

I so recognize with this in myself. When life becomes challenging, or my story isn’t going the way I wanted it to, I immediately long for the way things were before. As if before things were better than now. I forget where I have been and what “miracles” God has done to get me here and I sit and mourn.

God tells Joshua to “get up!”. Someone has sinned and it must be atoned for. He reminds Joshua of the story that he is in and that God is writing. He reminds Joshua that he is there and moving in and among.

It reminded me of a portion of Henri Nouwen’s book the Road to Daybreak called Running Away or Returning.

It’s not easy to let the voice of God’s mercy speak to use because it’s a voice asking for an open relationship, one in which sins are acknowledged, forgiveness received and love renewed.” (p.158)

This is what God offers me on this side of the Jordan.

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When my friend recommended this book on prayer to me, she added a caveat that it had turned her prayer life completely upside down. In many ways it revealed to her that what she thought was a fairly “right” prayer life wasn’t one at all. Between this book and Ann’s book I feel like my life has done a 180 for sure. I feel like the weather has changed and that crispness comes into the air or the chill of winter is edged off. Spring has come again to Narnia.

Miller tells of chapters 14-16 in John; how Jesus says to His disciples six times to ask.
Just ask.
Once He tells them that they need to abide, but the key is to ask. But in asking, we have to “ask boldly but surrender completely to the story that God has placed us in.”
In asking, in revealing our true selves, we are essence abiding.

God is telling us to ask, through the Son, for our heart’s desire because it is His hearts desire to give it to us. No matter what. He stirs up within us desires and out of those He wants and longs to give them.
No matter how crazy or impossible they seem.
We serve a God who does the impossible.
In His way.
In His timing.

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from the inside out

I have three tiny scars on my stomach. They are so small now that I cannot hardly see them.
The problem for me lies in the fact that from the outside I look “back to normal”, but on the inside I am still healing.
As I was reading today about the healing process from my recent surgery, they kept reminding those in recovery that it takes time. Don’t assume because you wake up one morning feeling great that you are fully healed.

I brought the heating pad upstairs this weekend and my little daughter says to me, “you don’t need that anymore huh? I guess you are getting back to your old self.”
But am I? This is the danger of healing. The view that because I look ok on the outside, I am fine on the inside.
And I am not.

In this, God is forcing the habit of rest.
He is forcing the habit of process.
He is bringing me to a posture of focus.
I can stuff as much distraction as I want into my days, but they don’t remove the fact that I have to rest.
This distraction that I keep stuffing is not bringing me healing.
It is not bringing me out of this fog.

I type words here and then I check websites.
I become afraid of my words and the things spewing out.
I try to close my eyes and lists of things to do explode in my head.
I check budgets and paychecks and checking accounts and worry about where we are headed.
I feel backaches and twinges and pulls and struggle to find comfort in a new way to sit.
When all I want is to curl up the way I used to.
I want to be done with this.
I don’t want this quiet, this forced rest, this forced healing… to become a habit.

But this healing is more than just the tissues that are repairing within me.
This healing is more than just the tiny scars on the outside.
This healing is part of His story that He is writing with my life.
It is Him changing, not merely these tissues inside,
but also my heart.
And in that, He is creating a new habit in me.
A habit of healing.

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