being found

There was a lot of anger in my house growing up. But although I wasn’t the recipient of most of it, it still made a huge mark upon my life. I’m not one to blame my parents or my past for the struggles I have today, but living in a home filled with anger you learn a few things.
You learn how to hide, but you also learn how to bring about the “right” kind of attention.
You learn how to run away, but the longing to be found grows stronger and stronger.

God found me. It wasn’t who I was looking for to be sure, but He found me and grabbed hold of me and has never, ever let go. It is me that has loosened my grip.

These last few days have found me struggling greatly with a lot of negative self talk. I’ve loosened my grip on Jesus and the accusations, the discontent, the demand for fairness has come flooding back. I’ve found myself looking for the wrong kind of attention and I’ve found myself wandering slowly in the wrong direction.

Yesterday found my family sitting in the balcony alone. It was awesome. But not because I could focus better. Not because my kids weren’t bothering anyone. But because I didn’t have to do anything. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I didn’t have to be honest, open, real or anything. I was truly in a place of running away.

But in my history of letting go of Christ and running away, I’m always looking back to see who is pursuing.
But I’m never looking back
and hoping it’s God pursuing.

But it is.

Titus 3 declares: “there is foolishness and disobedience in us but Christ died to bring His goodness and loving kindness to us.

The truth is: I am going to run away. I am going to let go of Him.
But I am never going to turn around and not see His hand reaching out.
I am never going to turn around and not see Him running fast behind me…or standing and waiting for me to stop.

I am your God. I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made.
I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved.
Do not run away from me.
Come back to me – not once, not twice, but always again…
I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me.
I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words.
I see all your actions.
And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love.
Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself.
Let me love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty,
a beauty that you have lost sight of, but which will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy.
This is the voice that Jesus wants us to hear.

~ Henri Nouwen from The Road to Daybreak

 

222. watching my boy strut back from a football game where he only played 2 minutes, but was so proud of himself
223. listening to that boy sing out “how great thou art” on Sunday morning
224. a new faucet
225. a husband who fixes
226. remembering
227. the four quarters that kept us within budget
228. dresses that fit
229. space to create
230. time with family
231. a God who is sustaining us
232. a Sunday afternoon lunch out
233. a crisp morning walk to school
234. the joy of running my needle through
235. the constant pursuit of Him despite my wanderings
236. the bottom of the laundry basket
237. pulling out all the clothes that we have for the Fall…and how we are blessed
238. the glance of a friend
239. the constant assurance that I am where He wants me
240. the joy of holding a sweet baby girl
241. forgiveness

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face forward

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

~ Matthew 14:22-36

Peter declares: “if it’s really you, tell me to do the impossible. Prove You are who You are.
Jesus declares: “come”
So Peter steps out and he doesn’t sink. What’s running through his mind, I wonder?
He starts to move forward, but at some point he starts to freak out. He stops thinking about Jesus and starts thinking about himself. Does he become too sure of himself? Does he think that all he had to do was take that first step and then he could gather a little bit of the control back?
Jesus reaches out and grabs him. He says, “oh you of little faith…why did you start thinking it was all about you?”

Peter got what he asked for. He got the impossible.
I’ve been given the same gift. Something I never thought would ever happen in my life.
But I so easily become focused on the wind. I try to find ways to buffer myself against it.
But all I really need to do is just keep my eyes ahead.

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me,
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

~ Psalm 32: 6-7

173. I am thankful for the wind. I don’t like it, but it reminds me that I am not in control. That I have to keep eyes forward in order to get through it.
174. I am thankful for the Hand that reaches for me and pulls me out
175. I am thankful for prayers given over a child struggling on the driveway as we set off for school
176. I am thankful for provision given
177. I am thankful for scripture that hits my heart, even though it is familiar
178. I am thankful for fishing and walking on a Sabbath day
179. I am thankful for those that show mercy and grace to my son
180. I am thankful for rhythm, but also thankful for the times when there isn’t any
181. I am thankful for a God who reveals my sin to me, yet still offers hope
182. I am thankful for forgiveness
183. I am thankful for a sweet girl’s reminder this morning that God is going to crush Satan and we won’t struggle anymore

 

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throwing my net

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. 

~ Luke 5: 1-11

Every Sunday morning, my husband and I enjoy the newspaper and a cup of coffee. It’s been our Sunday routine for the past 14+ years of marriage. Included in that routine is a cursory look at the employment section. Usually every Sunday I will grasp straws at some sort of “real” job that maybe I can obtain to help give us some financial security.

Despite the fact that I’ve spent the last few months hitting my head against a wall and knowing without a doubt that I’m not going to find my financial security in finding a job for myself, I keep looking. Yesterday was no different, I found a “job” and of course my mind started wandering how to make it work; how to obtain it. No thought to whether this is what the Lord was leading me to. Then we went to church and the pastor preached from this passage in Luke. I felt so much like Peter. The Lord is continually calling me to get back in my boat and be content and follow and trust. To stop whining an complaining and not trusting. I don’t want to. I want to do things my way. I don’t think it’s worth it. I don’t believe that He can do anything or make anything happen.

But I knew yesterday that Lord was telling me to get in the boat and cast my net out. I don’t know what He is going to fill it with, but I know without a doubt that he is going to fill it. And not by me looking and grabbing the fish myself, but in focusing on Him and Him alone.

164. so thankful for His mercy
165. so thankful for His patience with my lack of trust
166. thankful for time with friends this weekend
167. thankful for cuddles from a sweet little girl
168. thankful for watching my little guy get tackled in football and stand up smiling
169. thankful for the way that He is teaching all of us perseverance
170. thankful that I am home and don’t have to figure out how and who is going to take care of a sick little girl
171. thankful for 15 minutes of prayer this morning
172. thankful for the promise of full nets

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when your back-up fails

I used to be a teacher. The past few years, I have been in and out of the classroom and my attempts at obtaining a job for this school year all came to nothing. Even my back up failed. But as I’ve been sitting with the path my life is taking right now, I’m beginning to realize that the words “nothing” and “failed” aren’t true.

The reality of being home; of not bringing any sort of financial support to our family, is truly beginning to hit me. My back up didn’t fail. My job search didn’t result in nothing. But rather, it’s opened up in me and in my home and family something that is amazing.

I am being moved into a place where I can do nothing but trust. Completely. I feel as if I have been moved into this place where I am surrounded by a force field. A place where I cannot move anywhere but within His will. I can do nothing but stretch out my arms to him and reach for His arms stretched out to me.

But, while the panic does begin to rise at times, it gives way to an amazing sense of peace. Where can I go to flee from His spirit? For I know that He is there with me. And I am oh so grateful.

151. He is working in me…for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13)
152. I am pressing on to make Him my own, because He has made me His own! (Phil 3:12-14)
153. His sense of peace in my moments of despair over our finances
154. The steadiness of the husband that He has blessed me with
155. the endurance of my little boy as he has his first football practice
156. the smile of my little girl as she poses for pictures
157. humility…and the many little deaths that are moving me beyond myself
158. a visit from a very old friend
159. relief
160. words repeated and learned that bring such comfort and lifting to my soul
161. the hugs of friends on a Sabbath morning
162. bedtime rituals…snuggling up as a family of 4 on our little bed
163. the comfort of routines and the stretching of new ones

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