loss

28 09 2014

The more days I travel as a pilgrim on this earth, the more I am convinced of this truth: to live is to lose.  As young children somehow we think we can grasp and hold onto the things of this life, but to me now as an adult loss seems to mark my journey more than gains.

Yet.

Yet.

The only loss we will not have as followers of Christ is just that: Himself.

The time we spend earning more material possessions or working hard to maintain our neat squares of grass called “yards”… less time we have to spend with the One who will carry our souls into eternity.  Where yes, we will spend the rest of time, until there is not more time.  Forever.  With Him.

God.  The triune God.  Father, Son and Spirit.

The more time we spend on this earth being quiet before Him, and allowing those “things of earth” to grow “strangely dim”… He will become more beautiful to us.

He will become that which we desire most in this life.

And that my friends, is GAIN.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 34:4)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)

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Throwing away old bras

7 09 2014

I was raised in a frugal family. There you have it.

I have three younger sisters and I can recall in seventh grade only having two “cool” shirts and one pair of ultra cool wide-legged jeans (seriously, “classic” fit or “skinny” jeans were NOT cool!). I always hoped Mom would do laundry on Tuesdays so I could rotate and wear the two cool shirts again Wednesday and Thursday, and then of course Fridays we had to wear dresses to chapel, so I could some how put together a semi-cool looking chapel dress. On one occasion, I remember on a Saturday not having anything clean to wear that was “cool” so I threw on a pair of pink colored jeans and a non-cool shirt to make a trip over to Wal-Mart. To my complete horror and utter embarrassment, one of the popular girls was also there, shopping with her Mom.

Yes, I hid in the aisle.

We were on a budget.

So along these lines, I have this habit of never really throwing clothes away as a result of growing up in such a money-conscious family. I’m not a pack rat, I can throw things away, but clothes, that’s a different story.

Same thing with bras. (Sorry, maybe not so sorry if you’re offended by this post, but it’s true). I have so many bras that have been washed, rewashed, and then worn over and over again. Think about it, you wear a bra every day, so of course it’s going to get used a LOT.

Over time, these rather essential female undergarments get extremely worn out. Stretched. Sweat upon. Then there’s body fluctuations: weight gain, weight loss. All these things play into a bra really being treated poorly. Sorry there little guys.

I have a few bras I’ve been wearing for way too long, but, how could I possibly throw them away? Tossing one of those into the garbage can like a dirty tissue, then letting it sit there so every time I go into the bathroom and see it sitting there I hear it crying out: How could you do this to me after all we have been through? Why are you getting rid of me? Don’t you ever want to see me again? Let me give you another lift!!!

But you see, just like these bras I really need to toss into the garbage, tie the bag, walk out to the garbage bin and say: SAYONARA!, there are also many things like people, attitudes, fears, worries etc that we tend to keep around way too long in our lives, can I get an amen? We keep them around for security. What will my life be like without this person? Or, Can I really live with freedom instead of fear? Or…. the list goes on. Excuses to keep things around that honestly don’t belong in our lives in the first place.

Why do we hold onto these things?

There are probably many reasons, but one big reason: fear.
We humans fear the unknown.
We fear what we cannot control.
We fear that letting go of something that has become a security blanket for us, and we simply cannot imagine living without it. Him. Her. Security. Meaning. Future. Past. Pain. Worry.

So, I cannot promise anything. Letting go is scary, I know this. I’ve walked through this… BUT, we serve a God who is constant. Unchanging. Ever present. WILL NOT LET GO OF US.

Sometimes we are asked to give things up that we think are “good” but actually are not good at all. They serve a purpose of comfort for us, but ultimately may have no purpose in the greater story of our lives. They may be holding us back from what truly is GOOD for us, not just “good.”

This is not a sermon or exegetical paper, so don’t take these verses to mean I’m saying they directly can be interpreted or applied to what I’m speaking about. But let’s consider: God gives only good, that is His determination of what is Good, to us.

Psalm 34:8-10
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
Young lions lack food and go hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
will not lack any good thing.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

Now, I might still get a few more uses out of my old bras – don’t judge me, it takes time for me to let go of certain things!  But, can we learn to let go and trust the Lord in those areas of our lives where He is asking us to open our strong grasp on things that may not be ours to hold onto at all?





Simple Trust.

1 08 2014

A familiar verse, one we like to quote a lot, but even less often do we live it:

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

Trust.  Sounds so simple, but how much do we really trust God?  I was reading a commentary tonight that hit me really hard, it brought me to tears because I often don’t live this way.  Trust demands a response from the entire being, the entire person.  It means we must humbly set aside our human understanding and and with our whole heart, our whole being, trust God.  The difference here
is contrasted between the understanding that comes as a result of treasuring wisdom, and the wisdom that comes from our own understanding, which “undermines faith.”

“Acknowledge” of God has a different understanding than you may realize.  “The verb is ‘know him,’ and it reflects the intimate experience of a personal relationship.  The sequence of the lines may also suggest their communication of a promise: by trusting him fully you will know him […] When obedient faith is present, the Lord will guide the believer along life’s paths in spite of difficulties and hindrances…” (Expositors Bible Commentary: Proverbs).

Trust is a call for total commitment.  There is no middle ground, you either trust God, or you do not.  Will you choose trust today?

 

 

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to those who wait

28 06 2014

To those who wait,

I am one of you.  I am you.  Longing, waiting hope and fear.  I am one who waits.

I live my life in quiet, or I strive to.  Though in my quiet, here is waiting, anticipation and… much restlessness.

While I wait, I wrestle.  Part of the waiting is a stream of doing too.  Waiting for me is not idle.  It is active.  

What am I waiting for?  Many things.  For my eyes to one day behold what I hope for, faith becoming sight.  For perfection.  For joy on this earth.  For promises to become realities.  Many things.

In my restlessness, two years ago I sold most of my earthly possessions, and packed my tiny two-door car with whatever would fit and moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Seminary.  My life will never be the same since that day.  I can’t explain it, but my two years here have been like a gentle breeze, making its way through the empty spaces of my heart… awaking many things in me by the means of the Holy Spirit.

This past week was one of those gentle breezes, only it was more like a powerful wind, studying grace and salvation in a one week intensive course.  

There are many people to whom I have much gratitude to give, and Dr. Glenn Kreider is one of those people.  Thank you Dr. Kreider for your sacrifice of this past week, and your life given to teaching students at Dallas Theological Seminary.

I cannot sum up this week in a simple blog post, or even many blog posts.  It is just not possible.  But as I sort out these things and work out my own salvation, some of those “working outs” may appear here on my blog, to those who read, and to those who wait (for the posts.. sorry!  I’m slow..)

To those who wait, and to myself, as one who waits: do not stop waiting.  Live in the tension of that which is now, and the hope of that which is promised.  It has to be worth it, because there really isn’t much else to hold on to as I look around at this ever changing world we live in.

There are many things in life I am not sure about in life, but I am sure that I am desperate for God’s grace.  And I am also sure that I know I’ve never deserved that Grace, and I never will.





Mystery

15 02 2014
Here in the Quiet speak to me now 
My ears are open to 
Your gentle sweet whispering 
Break down the door, come inside 
Shine down Your bright light 
I need a lamp for my feet, I need a lamp for my feet 

I want to hear the thunder of who You are 
To be captured inside the wonder of who You are 
I want to live I want to breathe 
To search out Your heart and all of Your mysteries 

You were the first and You’ll be the end 
Time cannot hold You down 
Why save a wretch like me? 
No eye has seen, no ear has heard 
No heart could fully know 
All of Your mystery 

Your glory burns in the stars 
Shine down your light let it burn in my heart 
Bring me to glory, bring me to you 
Lord it’s your heart that I will hold onto 

Your glory burns in the stars 
Shine down Your light let me know who You are 
Jesus, Your glory burns in the stars 
Shine down Your light, let me see You, let me see You

 

 

 





The mystery and wonder

10 12 2013

There is something about Advent 
Filled with mystery and wonder
in the midst of busy lives filled with noise
noise that simply fills the silence
we are invited to pause, reflect and wonder once again.

Imagine how it is that God himself became man
how it is that God took on human flesh
we stand in awe of the mystery of the incarnation
can we ever humanly understand this beautiful, awful, preposterous thing?

But God dwelled.
God dwelled among his people
Tabernacled with his people
so we could have a mediator
the God-man.
Emmanuel, God with us.

The wonder of Advent is the story,
the story that each moment,
we are invited once again to join
again and again.
Because no, it’s not just a story,
its the reality of mankind:
hope.

And hope is a person: Jesus Christ.

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2994 Hawaiian Avenue.

27 10 2013

I’m not sure what triggered it, but the other day I had this intense longing to go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  The arrival into their driveway, the few steps you take up to the doorway, then after a good, loud knock (Grandpa definitely has some hearing problems), Grandma would greet us at the door with a huge smile across her face and wide open arms to hug each of us.  One, two, three, four girls… then Mom and Dad.

No doubt on this visit, like all the others, Grandma would have her apron on, covered in flour after just finishing the pie crust for chocolate pudding pie, my personal favorite.

The smell of Grandma and Grandpa’s house isn’t one you can replicate in a tiny candle called “Grandpa and Grandma’s house”, but if they did make a candle that smelled like their house, I most surely would have it.

The smells of dinner in the oven, pies baking, dusty books in the library, a collection of old coats from the 80’s in the closet, leather cowboy boots, laundry detergent, the dog and of course Grandpa’s aftershave and Grandma’s “Moonlit Path” lotion from Bath and Body Works.  All those smells together just make your troubles melt away as you step in the door.

Of course like any other visit, my sisters and I would either be fighting over who would use the computer, who would first play the keyboard or who would swing on the swing set built by my Grandpa outside.

Before too long, Mom gave us a look that so clearly communicated: “Remember to ask Grandma if she needs any help… OR ELSE!” and of course as the oldest, and most responsible, I was the only one to actually help.  But, whatever, I never minded because it usually meant I could sneak a little sample of dessert while no one was looking.

Dinners were memorable, and of course better than any weeknight meal we might have at home.  Grandpa always piled his food so high, and we could bet he would ask someone to “toss a roll” at some point during dinner.  So of course, we did.  Literally.

Peace.  Their home with all the smells, sounds, sights and memories makes me feel at peace, it still does.  Even today, seven years since my Grandfather’s death and almost almost three years since my Grandma’s death.

I can think of that home and be instantly transported to those treasured moments.

I miss them.  A lot.

Now, the home is unoccupied, owned by the bank.  I think.

One day I hope it will be filled with the laughter that so filled our family dinners, the tears that often streamed down my face when I sat in Grandpa’s empty chair needing advice from my Grandma and joy that will impact a new generation.

Nothing is meaningless.

Nothing is lost.

Hope remains.

I can’t wait to see Grandpa and Grandma again one day.  This time, in our TRUE home.








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