Becoming Beacons

Often, I find myself craving the days when all the Christians around us knew their faith could cost their life. Many were already forced out of their homes into shacks along the feces-filled grey-watered Ganges river, forced into the lowest rungs of society and unable to move up because their beliefs were discovered by their neighbors. They had a fire to them, they were willing to do anything for Christ. Cross the Pacific, and here we are debating whether Sunday morning worship is worth trading the extra hours of slumber and pancakes for, as we pour over Instagram stories, strive after appearances, aesthetics, and vibes. As if any of it mattered… Yet I’m one of them. We idolize this life more than we realize in the West.

Meanwhile, wisdom cries out in the streets…

“Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates.”
– Proverbs 1:20-21 –

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
– Proverbs 9:10 –

ales-krivec-188743.jpg

As a generation, we millennials speak as though we want wisdom, yet as a church, we fail to do those things which she calls for. We choose bagels in the cafe over sitting in service, or to watch service from the comfort of our cozy couches, coffee in hand and fuzzy socks on, over truly attending and fellowshipping. With that, we think we’re good.

“So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:12 –

Please hear, I am one of them. Without fail, each Sunday morning as my husband gets ready for church, I have an extended debate with myself regarding if I want to go or stay home. “I could take an Uber to the 12:30 service,” I argue, telling myself I don’t really need to be there for the first two; I could do homework instead. Now, for some, this is true. They will actually get homework done, and truly have no reason to be there for the other two services my church offers. For some, this is actually the wiser, more responsible choice. Not for me, though, and I know that. I know that if I stay home, I’ll sleep until it’s time to come in for third, if I even make it for that. Chances are I’ll come in just in time to honor the commitment I’ve made which takes place each week after all the services have ended. So I pull myself out of bed, slap on some makeup and clothes in the dark, and stumble into the passenger seat of my husband’s car counting the minutes until I have a coffee in my hand.

This all has to do with the comfort factor, though. What about the cost? What I witnessed in India was just the upper crust of the surface of what goes on there, much less places like Sudan or Afghanistan. The other day, the Lord slapped me across the face with a truth I had never considered. I was spared so much- this I’ve always known. However, I never considered what it cost Him. Without diminishing the reality of what it was, I don’t only mean the Cross here. I mean the spiritual battles afterward, throughout the past twenty years of my life, and even before. The continual battles, because time is different for Him, even if I can’t fully comprehend how or what that means with my human brain. Flooded into my mind like a waterfall of flames were blood-red images of Him fighting brutally on His white horse, amidst the odious smog of sin and death; fighting Lady Babylon (Revelation 17:3-6) to shield me from her immorality, the destruction she brings, and the end she comes to. I saw the beads of sweat on His forehead, the anger in His eyes.

joel-filipe-198667.jpg

If I daily saw the war going on for His church, His bride, how would I fight differently? This isn’t about legalism, this is about engaging fully in the purpose for which we were created. I’m not saying that purpose is sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, either; but rather that the fellowship and strength and respite that offers, that of sitting in community at His feet, is what prepares us for the battle we have been called to.

“Furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
– Proverbs 2:3-6 –

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 3:13-14 –

soren-sandbothe-46417.jpg

It’s not about whether or not we’re in church. It’s not about going through the motions. It’s about how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the call He has placed on our lives. Slowly I’ve been coming to the conclusion that when there’s so little we have to give up in this free country for the title of “Christian,” it’s imperative we then, even if only as an exercise, give up things as love offerings for the sake of honoring Him. Things like Sunday mornings at home to be instead at church, at His feet. Not because He needs it from us, but because we do. In these tiny acts of trading comfort for clout, we allow ourselves to be strengthened by Him into the warrior Bride He has called us to be. We grow into beacons burning bright in this world doomed for darkness.

michael-held-133902.jpg

Until next time,

XOXO

Advertisements

We Are the Good-For-Nothings.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites: They are wandering around the land in confusion; the wilderness has boxed them in. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yaweh.’ So the Israelites did this.”
– Exodus 14:1-4 – 

We had just all gone out for Starbucks, and I had finally revealed to my friends that there was a boy, and I might be in love with him. As their slightly amused faces gazed back at me, seeing as how I was always the girl who thought every crush was her future husband, I shared with them the Spark-Notes version of our story and that we were currently fasting to see if this was the Lord’s will. After finishing our coffees, we went together to Calvary Plantation for the Wednesday night service, and the study was based around this verse. My stomach so filled my lungs there was no space for oxygen to pass through. First one sister grabbed my arm, then the other. The one thing holding me back from pursuing this guy was YWAM on the horizon. I felt I was caught between the two, between Migdol and the sea. Beads of sweat forming on my forehead, the Lord told me He was going to part the Red Sea, and I was to continue talking to him, and everyone would know it was an act only of Yaweh.

When I came back from YWAM, it was like walking into a desert storm. Everything was changing and had changed in those six months I was away, and because of the effect the illness in India had on my hormones, I felt trapped inside my own body. A voice would be hurling insults at the man I loved, but it didn’t feel like my own. I was just as outraged as he at this voice hurling insults like bullets towards him, but it was coming from my lips and I didn’t know how to stop it. Daily I would return to this verse, begging for the reassurance that He would carry us through to the Promised Land. After seeing a hormone specialist to get my body back to normal and working through the fears hiding behind the outbursts, I began to see the trees in the distance, and know they weren’t the mirage I had so often envisioned.

We’re walking through life in our Promised Land now, and each step is a testimony to God’s grace.

“But Moses said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.'”
– Exodus 14:13-14 –


With all the disapprovals and continual concerns regarding at a nineteen year old girl marrying a twenty two year old rocker she met on a phone call being voiced, not always so lovingly, the last part of that verse was something I had to learn over and over again, as much as I understood where they were coming from. Now I can say with confidence that the concerns of those who matter were quieted, and the curious commentators have at least grown silent. But issues always arise. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Through it all, I have to remember that I’ve no stones to throw. The courtship between Jonny and I is simply one example, but as I prayed over this blog post what I felt the Lord most pressing on my heart to share is that He who promised is faithful. When we’re caught between Migdol and the sea, that is when He will part the waters for us just to use the same waves to crush the Egyptians.

“He said to His disciples, ‘Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.'”
– Luke 17: 1-2 –

“Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
– Luke 17:33 –


We cannot waste our time worrying about where the next attack will come from. Time is running out, and we have a job to do. Sometimes choosing heaven over earth as a priority will reek like sweat and blood, and sometimes it will be as serene and comforting as eucalyptus’s ever-potent perfume. Fighting is never pretty, but the joy and glory of reaching Home is worth it. With the passion of Odysseus, we are called to wage war on this world’s brokenness for the sake of saving all we can for love. One day the brutalities we’ve felt here will be just a distant memory, like the days I spent in a fever-dream longing to be back safe with Jonny.

“But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.”
– 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 – 

“In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.”
– Luke 17:10 –


Until next time,

XOXO

Remembering in the Light.

“Your soul finds rest in Me alone.” After pouring out my soul to the Lord this morning on everything I was thinking and feeling, from friendships to constipation, these words refilled me.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28 –

e4lvp0lwls0-jakub-kriz.jpg

He doesn’t say rest for your back in this verse. The work on this earth will never fully stop. He’s referring, I firmly believe, to rest for the soul. When I first realized this, spoken by my surrogate uncle and high school math teacher, I almost wept. At this point in my life, my back was sore, my spirit near breaking. Perhaps it was already cracking. Death was at every corner, to the point that each time my mother got a phone call the first response in my mind was “Who now have we lost?” Coupled with this was the natural senior year stresses and the weight of being a ministry kid, which began to feel a heavier and heavier burden as I grew more and more aware of it and the difference between my life and those of my classmates’. When I heard these words, then, I was done, and I knew the load on my back was nowhere near letting up. But now, spoken from the voice of one outside the situation, someone I loved dearly, looked up to, and knew I could trust wholeheartedly, I had the assurance that in the midst of this chaos there would be rest.

f1dsr7i4amy-luca-bravo.jpg

Fast forward a few years, and that storm is a mere memory and testimony. Whenever I read that verse now, I hear it in Uncle Don’s voice in an 8:00 AM math class, but now pertaining to less back-breaking worries. With it I sense His whisper:

“I will take care of the one you are praying for.”
“I created time- don’t you think I can stop it long enough for you to be with Me this morning?”
“Have I ever not taken care of one of your needs?”

Our peace ought never be in the circumstance around us, but only in who He is.

fnqlznqhlk-jon-tyson.jpg

“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, ‘Destroy!'”
– Deuteronomy 33:27 –

In this season of simplicity, painful memories remember to arise. Our minds are often so brutal to wander exactly where we wish they wouldn’t when we forget to purposefully occupy them elsewhere. But that is when He commands, “Destroy!”

“He lets me lie down beside green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
– Psalm 23:2 –

“I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.”
– Psalm 62:1 –

dozmkys5cdw-planetmitch-aunger.jpg

Before, and in the beginning of, that awful storm I often refer to on here, I would tend to invalidate my own feelings because my situation was still so much better than those of the ones my parents would counsel. In the middle of the season, I realized that no, mine are just as valid. A broken heart is a broken heart, whether it was a twig or a sledgehammer that broke it. However, now that I’m past that season, I’ll catch myself being so relaxed in this time of rest that I will forget to bring my little cares to the Lord and watch as He deals with them. Instead they pile inside, only to spew out all over Jonny at one wrong word, and I miss the blessing of watching my God work. This morning, I finally let the ink flow with every care, no matter how petty they feel. Within fifteen minutes, He met one of the requests. My challenge to you then, dear reader, is to remember in the light what you learned in the dark. The lesson which was total openness and dependance on the Lord for me is likely something different for you. Hold onto it, remember it. And should you still be in the midst of your storm, take heart. Rest is waiting for your soul to take hold of.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield.”
– Psalm 5:11-12 –

Roads of Rhododendron

“You’re safe now.” As my emerald voile curtains waved in the morning breeze, He whispered this quiet assurance. There was a vague unrest in my spirit as I had communed with Him that morning, and when He spoke those words it became clear. My heart was still running. Not from Him, but running nonetheless. For a moment stretching along more years than I can now recall, I’ve been running for one reason or another. Always, there was a sense of something to be fixed, and I was either the one to fix it or was the broken one. I didn’t realize how true it was until I shared this revelation of safety to a sister, and her exhale was audible even over the phone. At last, I am safe. Trials will come again, but I have reached a point of security unique from any I had known. Before, the peace was that of “He will carry me through any trial, even if I can’t see how.” Now, it is the peace of “He has carried me through every trial I thought would conquer me, and there was joy in the midst.” He has, quite literally, carried me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and led me to the stream on the other side. Had I not been through the Valley, I wouldn’t have known the Mountains that lay just beyond it. The whirlwind of change that so wrecked my sense of peace has started to take order now.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19 –

I know as I write this, however, that some of you reading it are still in that Valley. Please know, that’s okay, too. That’s where His love met me most deeply.

“The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.” – Psalm 31:15 –

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple.” – 2 Kings 20:5 –

“Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.” – Isaiah 58:8 –

Now that I’m safe, I can’t coast, no matter how tempting. I must press on towards deeper righteousness in this freedom and joy. It’s that of remembering in the light what you learned in the dark; now that comfort has set in, I can’t neglect the One who rescued me. Now is the time when I choose Him, because without Him this is all worthless.

“Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1 –

“A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the redeemed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
– Isaiah 35:8-10 – 

“The Lord values those who fear Him, who put their hope in His faithful love. ” – Psalm 147:11 –

When His whisper reached my ears, it was like a dam breaking. Years of pushing against what felt like wall were erased in that one moment. I am safe now. There is nothing I need to fix, and in His own time, He will restore me to the perfection He intended for me. No more running, no more striving. Seasons of struggling to breathe will come again, because the battle on this earth will never fully stop. But for now, I have a season of celebration and rest. When the time comes to fight again, a foundation of peace and former victories will be under my feet. But for this season, it is time to rejoice.

Ending the Cancer of Comparison.

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye! Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.” -Matthew 7:1-6-

When I was younger, I used to love this passage because I pictured two cartoon guys, one with some dust in his eyes, the other with a massive tree coming out of it. While the guy with the dust was complaining how his eye hurt, the one with the log would turn around to take out the dust, and, unaware of the log, completely knock out his friend, and then wonder what happened.

So it is with comparison. Whether you come out on top or see yourself as the guy with the log, somebody gets knocked out, and the other is left wondering what happened. Recently my husband bought me the planner I’ve been lusting after for ages, Passion Planner. Beginning with mapping out your dream life, it then walks you through breaking it down into achievable steps, complete with deadlines. At the start of each month there is a space to make another mind-map, this one using each specific month’s “game changer,” broken down into week-by-week goals, which will ultimately help reach the year’s goal. Personally, this year’s main resolution is to discover on a clear and tangible level what Christ designed me for. January’s game-changer, then, is to stop comparing myself with peers.

As I prayed through the steps necessary to reach this, this is what the Lord showed me. It will look different for everybody, but as we can all agree, I think, that the old adage of “comparison kills” is brutally accurate, I thought I’d share. Maybe one of you can take my “passion plan” for the month and tweak it to suit your own life and pursuit of ending this societal cancer of comparison.

Keep your heart set on Limber-Lost. Limber-Lost is a beautiful and iconic swamp in Indiana, and the setting for some of my favorite books. Because of how these books shaped me and my writing, I’ve begun using the name Limber-Lost for that place inside myself which remains concrete, no matter how circumstances alter or how I grow and change. It is the garden in which I meet my Maker, the place from which all these ramblings you read flow. Each person’s “Limber-Lost” is unique to them, but I would argue that we all have one, a secret core of our identity none can touch besides its Creator. By keeping my heart set on Limber-Lost, my gaze remains fixed on Christ and His unique plan for me, outside of what my friends are doing or what society says I should be doing.

Pour into what you love for the sake of Christ, forgetting the outside voices. The Lord has an individual plan for each of His children, and to forsake that to fit in with those around us is a waste of a beauty and art which never truly belonged to us, but Him who designed it.

Weekly ask: Why am I doing what I am doing? Is it to prove a point? For some sort of status? Is it out of a sense of obligation or striving to look more like my creative role models? Because the reality is, any aspiration founded on this will breed pretension. For each piece of writing I produce, the prayer is that it be an overflow from talks with the Lord, that each post is centered on bringing Him glory and reaching others for His name’s sake.

Regularly ask the Lord to give you His eyes for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Once we see each other through His eyes, comparison becomes nearly impossible. He created us entirely unique, without rival.

When thoughts wander there, remember the individuality and beauty of the rest of God’s creation. In the same way a deer isn’t meant to sing like a bird, so I’m not meant to have all the same traits, strengths, and gifts as those around me. “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!” -Luke 12:27-

Be real with Jonny about how I’m doing with all of this. Jonny has always been such an agent of growth in my life, inspiring and encouraging me to chase passionately after anything the Lord places on my heart. However, he also has always reminded me to then keep my eyes on the Lord, because if He’s not in the center of whatever I’m doing, it’s worthless. By having him regularly keep me accountable with all of this, I’m more apt to follow through and will have his wisdom to both call me out when comparison creeps in, as well as encourage when it feels a hopeless endeavor.

As we walk forward into this new year, I invite you to join me in this war against comparison. Because it’s so subtle we don’t always realize we’re doing it. However, once it has been called out in ourselves and a plan has been made, we can change the mental track and run more fully along the path He has uniquely called us to.


In the morning stillness
Your voice whispers
“I’m here,
Come away with Me
Back beyond the trees
Where we once danced among the leaves
As the sky turns green
In the January breeze.”

If Not…

Throughout this week in California visiting Jonny’s family, there is a specific theme I’ve realized the Lord has been impressing on me. Be it through my father-in-law’s sermons, conversations with my new sister, and various other random circumstances, He has been whispering this consistently: And if not, He is still good.This isn’t an “it’s okay, I forgive you, Lord,” saying. It’s “Your ways are higher than my ways, Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts.” He wastes nothing. Through it all, He is sovereign, working in His church, in each of His individual children. Even in the pain, the disappointments, the times it felt like He didn’t come through. But are your ears and eyes going to be open to the Spirit so you can learn what the reason was?

We won’t always know. We won’t always get the answer. But Christ knows, and maybe in Heaven it’ll be revealed. We’ll have the mind of Christ, then. But for now, trust in that He is still good. He knows what He’s doing.

When I was little, my father would warn me not to buy certain cheap toys, but save my five dollar allowance instead. I remember clearly buying the toy, having it break within a few days, and then crying because I wished I had listened and saved it for the next toy I wanted and bought a better quality one instead. So it is with the Lord. Maybe that job you so desperately wanted was withheld because within a few years the business would tank. We never know. There is always a million more factors in each tiny decision than our human eyes can perceive.

Your life won’t always look like those around you. That’s okay. It isn’t supposed to. It’s supposed to look like the one He designed uniquely for you. The joys will be different, the trials will be different, and the day to day schedule will be different. I find myself getting so caught up sometimes in comparing my life with those around me. I catch myself wondering if I’m doing enough to somehow pass as a productive adult, if I can handle as much as they can, be it the fires they walk through or the loads they carry. But they were trained for their unique loads, certain muscles hardened for specific weights. Mine were hardened for others requiring a different set of muscles, and that’s okay. That’s how He designed it to be. God’s grace will always meet you where you’re at. There is a special measure that will be given to you, when you need it. Until then, you won’t have it. You ONLY have grace for today’s leg of this journey through earth, and the strength it will require.

Even as I write this (January 2nd) I’m anxiously wondering if everything finally worked out and I will actually be able to start classes January 4th. Honestly, if it falls through, I will be extremely disappointed. Studying English Literature is what I know I want to do, at least for this season. It’s the field I have always wanted to be involved in, and I’m tired of sitting around waiting to immerse in it. Diving in on January 4th seems like the best possible route for this time in my life. But if not, He is still good. If I never study English Literature and spend the rest of my life a little housewife (not that there is anything wrong  with that lifestyle, it’s simply not the one I desire), He is still good! Because the reality is He knows what’s best for me and my husband more than I ever will. He knows the secret desires of my husband’s heart, of my parents’ hearts, and even my own more than I ever will. He knows how my being or not being a full time student right now will affect them and every other area of our lives more than I do. He knows what will fulfill the heart of His daughter more than I do. So if I don’t start classes, if I end up in an entirely different major, if I never become the writer I dream to or am involved with words in any sort of capacity; if my ministry ends and I can no longer engage with the young girls I so adore and speak into their lives, if we move from Miami never to return, if these aching feet never again kiss the dirt of the mission field, He is still good. 

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 HCSB

Until next time,

XOXO

I Can Be Soft Now.

On Sunday, during the most lovely Indian blessing from my sweet, sweet friends, my engagement ring went missing. Understand, I loved that ring. I am that girl who spent her childhood dreaming of her ring, her groom, and her day. This ring was perfect. When I gazed at that stone, I saw Jonny’s love, Christ’s devotion, and my younger self’s hope gazing back. I saw the hardness I thought I needed for survival. After scouring the apartment- trashes, drains, everything- over and over again with countless sets of eyes, we determined it was lost. In my head, I thought I’d handle such a situation with my mother and fiancé’s ethereal outlook- remembering the whole earth is dying anyways and the ring is just a symbol. 

No. Yesterday, I broke. Meltdown in Macy’s, type breaking. While those same friends were being so gentle and caring (and distracting), David and Jonny devised a plan, bought a ring I had been eyeing, and surprise-proposed to me again, now with a new ring, in a new moment. The first time around, I wasn’t present fully. Sickness, in so many forms, was still lingering. I wasn’t surprised and was unable to fully treasure the moment. This time, with this ring, with the select few who were there, it was more than I had ever imagined. In this ring, I see fresh life. I see the commitment of my groom, the redemption of the Holy Spirit, and the hope and joy of pressing forward into both eternity, and maturity. I can be soft now.

Losing my ring, I realized, was one of my deepest wedding fears. Having a day-stopping meltdown affecting more than myself was another. In the moment, it felt like the world was crashing in. I didn’t know how we would afford another engagement ring. I couldn’t imagine getting married without such an important piece, knowing I had once had one. But the Lord has a way of stripping everything down to then rebuild things you didn’t know were broken. 

I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate, the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust—My great army that I sent against you.

Joel 2:25

A Collection

Citizen

There is joy beyond
The paper walls of fear
They scream I’m stuck here, when,
The strife is over

Dwelling now in the dawn
I’ll never again dread the night
For I am Yours
And You are mine

 

Kathmandu

We were walking
Down flights of stair
Into the unknown
I hear their laugh
I feel their footsteps
The worst was over
The rails were blue

Now I’ve come to become
Myself anew
The thunderstorm has passed
Can you taste the dew?

 

Reep

What to do, who to be?
I’d lost myself, you see
Now we’re discovering
That all worth something
Lies in the land
Beyond the sea

 

 

 

In the Courts of My King

Today is one of those days I’m sitting down to write praying the Lord will take over this post. Because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. But that’s usually the case.

More than we choose to accept, I think, that’s the case. After oversleeping by two hours this morning (I set my alarm for just ten more minutes…), the weight of the world started gradually pressing on my shoulders, along with the strange lightness of “But I’m a freelancer. I don’t really have to do anything today if I don’t want to.” The only way to calm the confusion was to have some Jesus time. It’s like my mother says, “I don’t spend time with Him because I’m oh-so-spiritual; I do it because I’m desperate!” Today was a desperate morning. This post is quite desperate. Bear with me.

As I sat down in my favorite green chair to spend some time in the courts of my King, He whispered the truth to me I needed. It’s never been me, it’s always been Him. From the first time my words impacted someone for the better, it was Him. When my first post sold, it was Him. If any more sell, it will be Him. If my words ever touch anyone’s soul again, it will be Him. It will always only be Him. Without Him, I am nothing. 

This is a shorter post today than normal, but it is what was on my heart. Thank you for entertaining my ramblings this afternoon.

Until next time.

XOXO

He must increase, but I must increase.
John 3:30

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a little weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child.
Psalm 131:2

You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.
Psalm 21:6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
Psalm 23:5-6

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14418639/?claim=z3ekhsy96r4″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

Be Still

He tells me, “Be still,” but how? With dreams and duties eternally raging in my little mind, how do I possibly “be still?” 

It is laying my hopes and plans and worries at His feet, both in submission and expectancy, because “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9);” “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent (Matthew 10:29);” “His left hand is under my head, and his right arm embraces me (Song of Solomon 2:6).” Having forgotten we can access His inner courts and commune with Him, the Creator of everything, how often do we choose worry instead? Enter the temple, hear His thoughts towards you, and then release the rest, because could anything be better than His will?

When I got sick in India, naturally my earthly father got equally concerned. I am and always have been his little princess, the apple of his eye. The quiet assurance that I am even more adored by my heavenly Father, and was in the center of His will, was his and my mother’s only comfort, the only thing keeping him from flying out there to save me. It was also my only cure for anxiety.

However now here I sit, the healthiest of my family, and stronger for having been so terribly ill. Up until that point I had been dealing with (while in denial of) an eating disorder. Because I was in denial of it, I can’t tell you for how long it went on, but I can tell you it wasn’t the worst it could be. Lately I feel like society tells us it is only to be counted as an eating disorder if nary a breadcrumb passes through your lips, but I disagree. According to the National Eating Disorders website, “Eating disorders… include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.” So while I was eating, even though it was varied between equal and less than the diet of the nine year olds I babysit, I still obsessed over each breadcrumb, mentally planning how I would make up for it or why I deserved it, et cetera. Dogmatically searching Pinterest for pictures of celebrities I admired where the slightest belly-bulge or thigh curve was apparent became my routine coping mechanism, the way I prevented it from being full blown anorexia. And just to get everything out there all at once, it was not so much an issue regarding weight as it was control- if everything else was chaotic, at least I could force my body into order. Also, eating disorders stem from a hereditary mental track, just like OCD or ADHD, and, as most of you know, my mother dealt with multiple at my age.

Now that that’s all out there, my former eating issues are not what this post is about. It’s about my King’s devotion. He knew this was what it would take for me not only to recognize my detrimental eating and thinking habits, but also to make the decision that it simply was not worth it. Through my sickness, I finally reached my goal weight, and realized first-hand the damage it took to achieve it.

It was His devotion that had me learning His voice, and once His audible laugh, by the time I was in elementary school. It was His devotion that reminded me through every storm I can remember that “this, too, shall pass.” It was His devotion that created the imaginary worlds I grew up in and still hold on to that shape the way I see both this earth and the next.

Just this week I have felt crippled under the weight of everything that needs to be done. Wedding planning, writing, shooting, taking care of the home, all the many shades of ministry… The list goes on. But He tells me “there is a time for everything under the sun.” Even now, as I’m feeling overwhelmed yet again, I’m reminded of the times I’ve been through tougher months, the turmoil of which I now no longer remember. This will be the same. And in His devotion, these thirty one days of stress are closed with a week long retreat with my grandparents. 

It is His devotion singing grace over me when anxiety comes like thunder in the night. It is His devotion reminding me that each moment has a meaning beyond the next thirty seconds. It is His devotion leading me into the subsequent season, which He has termed my year of Jubilee. It is His devotion that will lead me on through that, when the next storm comes, and carry me through to the other side stronger than before.

And I need only be still.

“After these things I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, so the rest of humanity may seek the Lord- even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, declares the Lord who does these things, known from long ago.” ~Acts 15:16-18