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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a new beginning

Today is the last day of 2012. I’ve been praying that God would reveal a word for me to focus on and live out this next year. Instead of a list of 20 resolutions, I wanted one word to encapsulate this next year for me. This morning it hit me like a brick.

unrelenting.

Through a host of books I’ve finished and one that I just started (reviews to follow in the coming weeks) this word truly brings out what God has been teaching me and revealing in me.

2013button

Unrelenting is a way of saying never ceasing and this is the year of being unrelenting in…

my quest to be freed from the bondage that is holding my heart captive to trusting
my desire to daily pursue gratitude and thankfulness for everything in my vision
my pursuit of God and the hearts of my husband, children, family and friends.

I do not give up easily in life on 99% of things…except Jesus.
I give up on Jesus all the time because “I know better.” (ha!)

This year I long to be 99% unrelenting in my pursuit of Him. Irregardless of where it might lead me.
For where He leads me will be 150% more amazing than anywhere I might have imagined.

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leftovers

I like leftovers.
Leftovers mean that my husband has 5 more minutes to sit on the couch with me in the morning instead of making a lunch.
Leftovers mean that I don’t have to scrounge around at lunch time and figure out what to eat.
They mean that maybe I get a night “off” from making dinner.
In an odd way they bring me peace because there is less work for me to do.
If I have something leftover I feel a sense of security.

But lately, I’m figuring out that God doesn’t work with leftovers.
They are not faith builders.
When I know that I have something left in the fridge to eat, I don’t have to think about anything.
I have a back up.

God has continually been filling up our plates.
He has been giving us exactly what we need…for that meal.
Like the manna that fell in the wilderness, as much as I’ve wanted to have something to save, I haven’t.
And it’s driving me mad.

I want something leftover, because I’m clinging to the leftover.
And honestly, there is very little that is leftover that is still as good as it was the day you made it.
Why would I cling to that?
Why would I think that having something left-over would bring me more satisfaction?
would cause me to count me to count more blessings.

Sunday night I had some of the best pizza that I’ve had in a long time.
But, I guarantee had we had any leftover it would have tasted nothing like it did the night before.
And as the 4 of us sat and stared at the last couple of pieces, we knew that.
Deep down, all of us knew that we couldn’t leave any of it.
It would be a loss to just leave it there and not eat it.
It would be a loss to take it home and reheat it the next day.
So we all shared in it.
We enjoyed it.
We embraced that moment and gave thanks for it.
Something as small as a pizza.

And that is what God is calling me to. Repeatedly.
Banging me on the head with. Repeatedly.
To embrace right now.
To enjoy what is front of me right now.
To praise Him for the provision….right now.
Refusing to focus on whether there will be leftovers.
Not worrying about what to do if there isn’t any left.
But calling out thanksgiving for this.

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ask

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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the danger to compare

I visit with an old friend and in response I bring up an old enemy.
While there are days that I have wrestled greatly with fear, there are more days that I wrestle with comparison.
That old enemy of my eyes being on the lives of others which brings eyes of discontent onto my life.
And as I wrestle with my feelings, this overreaching desire to criticize her choices and her life brings me to a new place.

I drive down a highway pleading with God to remove this discontent.
I attempt to pray for this friend every time I start to mull over her.
Then I am stopped in my thoughts by this…
while comparing my life to others I am living in discontentment, yes, but
I am even more saying to God that the choices I’ve made; the choices that I know He has led me to,
are wrong.
That with each frustration over my life compared to hers;
with each jealous thought that stems when I think of what I don’t have
I am telling my Jesus that He has me on the wrong path;
I am telling my Jesus that I don’t trust Him.

So then my prayers for her turn to prayers of forgiveness for me;
for my sin and my shame.
And then I am reminded of Ann’s words:
Every breath is a battle between grudgery and gratitude.”
Every breath is a battle between
comparing and loving.

Again I remember what Ann writes it is “impossible to simultaneously give thanks and feel fear” and I add that it is impossible to keep my eyes onto the blessings, to recognize the details of God in my life and ponder the better life I think others might have.

I walk home from dropping off my children at school. It is a crisp morning, one that stirs you up, energizes and renews and I am overcome with gratitude. I am overcome with the simple act of walking my children to school. I am overcome with the healing in my body, but even more the change in my soul.

I hear the words of Zephaniah playing in my head…
The Lord your God is in your midst and living among you
He is a mighty, victorious warrior who can deliver and save
He takes great delight in you, rejoices over you with gladness.
He renews, quiets you with His love, He no longer rebukes you, His love calms your fears
He shouts for JOY over you, exults over you with singing…loud singing.

How and what could have ever brought me to the place where I think my life is so much worse than others…that the choices, places, things He has given and led me to could ever be wrong? Or that their choices are wrong?

And I look at the words I’ve started to sew and I continue the count. Knowing that every number I count is one more step, one more detail, one more way that I am emptying myself of all these things that keep me from Him.

431. opening the windows on a September morning to feel the coolness
432. stepping outside after a rain
433. the smile of my girl this early morning
434. the bearing of wounds in the heart of my son
435. twinges and pulls slightly dimished
436. an overwhelming sense of Him as I walk home
437. a raging conversation with my God as I drive down the highway
438. old relationships
439. emails that blow my mind
440. arrival of parents/grandparents after long being away
441. the joy of ice cream in the middle of the afternoon
442. a fridge so overflowing with His bounty that keeps on giving
443. worship, conversation, relationships growing
444. the reminder that, yes, He rejoices over me!
445. quiet, stillness
446. the look, swagger, walk of a husband so proud of the work he has accomplished
447. a lifting and stirring that I’ve long prayed for in him
448. the blue and green and light outside my window
449. laughter right before sleep
450. the perfection of His provision

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