Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

An Unexpected Journey-prologue

“Perhaps the most beautiful work you can do today is to begin to accept your creative inheritance from God and learn to become yourself in the presence of others, moving into the world as the person you fully are no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what’s gone wrong.”

-The Art of Your Work by Emily P. Freeman

 

i didn’t intend to take a blogging break this summer.  and i didn’t see the light posts and potholes along the path of moving into the world in this way that Emily describes.  but light posts and potholes they were, and as i found myself unexpectedly spending a week without internet or phone but with my laptop and time, i began to see it.  i began to see the unexpected journey i was being taken on and the threads of freedom that would weave themselves into that ‘beautiful work of accepting my creative inheritance and learning to become myself in the presence of others.’

 IMG_3387path at Harney PeakIMG_3425

and so at hand is the challenging task of putting it all into words that make sense for a reader who is not me, written by a writer who is me.   i’ll be back here with those words on Monday, August 4th.   till then, may the journey you find yourself on be full of unexpected joys along the way.

 

on looking out into the great unknown and being afraid

it is truly wonderful to know He has the blueprint and is following it to the dot….He knows what is best and will work it out.  if we want our way we not only spoil the plan but in gaining, we lose.

There is nothing better to calm our spirits and keep us on the way of duty (when we are tempted to an indirect course for our own relief) than to hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

-Arthur Matthews

 

On second thought, ignore this letter. Tear it up and pitch it. The road you’re on is the one marked out for you and it’s a good one. No matter which way you go, it’s a train wreck that God puts back together his way. I don’t want you to miss a thing.

Your friend,

Gary

 

these quotes bear a weight to me within their context.  the first, from Arthur and Wilde Matthews.  in January of 1951 the China Inland Mission had given the call for all of their missionaries to evacuate communist China.  for two years Arthur and Wilde and their little girl Lilah were ‘held by the cold and cruel elements of the Red Regime which deliberately tried to starve them.”    -from Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Kuhn

the second is from Gary Morland.  it’s from a letter he wrote to his teenage self.  He has also written an ebook;

I drank three quarts of beer a day for fourteen years. From Beer to Eternity awakens hope for anyone who has experienced discouragement and loss of faith because of an addiction (your own or others).

 darkmoon

today, i am alone in my house.  and there is quiet and time to sit with my fears.  there is time to cry before the One who knows everything.  the truth is, i am afraid of the changes before us.  i’ve had lots to ponder over the last few weeks.  to introspect at what really it means to live a life that has been blessed by the Lord.  to take to Him my wants; be it a new floor in my kitchen or a daughter who does not lose herself in the presence of others.

we’ve had all these school decisions to make.  and we have multiple graduations to attend this weekend of young ones that we love dearly and want for them too to not lose themselves in the presence of others.   want for them to know the depths to which they have been loved by the One who knows everything.

 i sit here and i know how powerless i really am.  i know full well the train wreck that lies in wait to suck the life out of the ones i love.  i want to avoid the wreck, not learn how to deal with the wreck in a whole and healthy way.

in my parenting, i want there to not be stuff.  rather, what i have instead is the call to deal with the stuff that there is in a whole and healthy way.

feet

when i mention the high school that my oldest has chosen to a friend the gasp is audible.  it’s a big school.  it is public.  it is full of knuckleheads.  she might just lose her way.  she might.

right now she is at a very small school.  it’s technically public, but it’s a charter school and appears ‘safer’ to the onlookers.  but sometimes i fear she’s lost her way already.

the God of the Universe, who placed the stars in their places.  Who set the Earth precisely where it must be for life.  it is truly wonderful to know that He does in fact have the blueprint and is following it to the dot.  to know that though we all may have completely lost our way and it just may be a train wreck-He will put it all back together in His way.  and so in losing we will gain.

railroad

que the hymn….
be still my soul
the Lord is on Thy side
bear patiently the cross of greif or pain
leave to thy God
to order and provide
through every change
He faithful will remain.

 IMG_1667

i did spend a couple of days pondering over what a life blessed by God really looks like.  and these are a few things that i discovered in my studies:

is comforted
inherits the earth
is filled
is shown mercy
sees God
is called a son of God
possesses a great reward in heaven.
is forgiven
has his sins covered, his sin the Lord will never count against him
has a hope that does not disappoint because
                and only because
                   God has poured out His love into our hearts
                      by the Holy spirit, whom He has given us.

this God who blesses in this way; He is the God who knows everything.  He is the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

in my powerlessness-my soul is stilled.

He faithful will remain.

 

to draw further in:  Matthew 5; Romans 4 and 5

on leadership

dandilion

One of my volunteers standing in the kitchen says to me;

“shall i put the strawberries in the fridge?”

“uh….sure?”

And i walk away shaking my head at the both of us.  If she thinks the strawberries should go in the fridge, then just put them there-why ask me for permission?  And me?  Why when the question comes my way do i find myself stuck completely unsure of the answer?  It’s the simplest question ever.  But, of course.  i must begin thinking about how i just discovered that tomatoes are better if not refrigerated…hmm…is that true about strawberries?  i don’t know.  What. In. the. World. Is. Wrong. With. Me? Just pick an answer-yes or no-it doesn’t matter! It’s just strawberries for crying out loud!

There are bigger decisions to make this week and bigger areas of leadership than the strawberries.  And i seem to fumble along the same in all the scenarios. It’s all a bit much.

Driving home i ponder who’s brilliant idea it was anyway to put me in charge.

Oh yeah
It was Him-the One who names the stars.

if you are obeying only when it makes sense, you’re refusing to admit the wisdom differential between you and God.  That’s not obedience, that’s agreement. -Gary Glover

When i’m asking Him to make sense of the assignment, i want to both understand the wisdom in it and see tangible fruit in the outcome.  To get to really see that it ‘worked!’

And this is a joy-sucker

Because there are way too many variables in life to insure or predict outcomes of anything.

And if my satisfaction and joy come solely from results?  Than the lack there-of will suck the joy right away.  And if results happen?  Then my joy will be resting on shaky ground.

And as to making sense of the assignment?  That for me often means agreeing that i am the one for the job.  and if i lose sight of my dependence, then my joy will be resting on shaky ground.

And anyway, the words the Lord continues to whisper to me day in and day out are these:

You don’t know. You don’t need to know.

He’s not asking me for agreement; He’s asking me for obedience….He’s asking me to Trust. Him.

becuse this Trust of Him
is a link to Joy.
To the Joy of simply having obeyed.

How?

It boils down to that whole wisdom differential-
trust of the One who does really know everything.
trust rested on the solid ground of Who God Is and What He has Promised.

For He who promised is Faithful.

And that’s really all i need to know.

on pretending

mexicostage

Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
from the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness –
only wounds and welts and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.  -isaiah 1:5-6

 

When we talk there are slight hints, but i miss them.  Later i stumble upon things as they actually are.  And my heart breaks for the child who is broken and hurting and there is no one who will acknowledge that something is wrong.  And i think about the legacy of pretending and the damage it causes.

i was given this legacy too

We had talked about how important it is to be personally journeying towards wholeness.   And the “I know, so right!” came with the unspoken denial…”so right for you….I’m doing fine, we’re all doing fine.”

i’m calling it the lie that it is.

 Hpim1119

Alcoholic families do this pretending thing well.
and abusive ones too.
and then there are the upstanding moral going to church families.
i’ve seen some masterful pretending there too-equally damaging.

As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace….How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate.”  -Jesus

It doesn’t have to be this way.

i learned a long time ago that honesty precedes repentance which precedes love.

And so its not a far leap to see that pretending is not loving-its selfish-and peace crushing.

And lest i get comfortable with the finger-pointing.

i see the pretending in the above situation.  i see the hurting child.  Will i love?  Will i expose?  i have been praying over this ever since.  How can we come alongside?  It’s been years of seeing truth spoken into the lives of the grownups-and the patterns remain.  Is there any hope of freedom?  Is it too late for the child?  Will anyone be willing to be gathered under the wings of the Only One who carries with Him the salve needed?

i don’t know.  Once again, i’m “driven to my knees in prayer by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

…on the Sabbath day He went into the Synagogue, as was His custom.  And He stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.  Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the Year of the LORD’s favor.”

Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down…..and He said to them,
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  – Luke 4:16-21

This is why He came;

…to comfort all who mourn….to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. -continuation of isaiah 61

Why is it so hard to face our sickness?  Pretending that the infection isn’t really growing on a wounded soldier’s leg is stupid and may cause the loss of the entire leg.

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Let’s not be stupid.

mountain

 

Let’s be healed

for when i forget what i know

zekesand

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

He came to her as she meditated on His knitting.  He came to her with joy and assurance as her belly grew.  as she and her first born looked at all the photos of the stages of a baby being formed-and marveled at His work.

until……

“i wish i wasn’t me” -zeke age 5

what about when the knitting needles missed a stitch along the way and one is left with a broken body?
when your 5 year old is speaking words that sound too much like suicide?
            what then?

He came to her with His words

“not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord Almighty”  -zech 4:6

and He came to her with a song in the dark hours of those hard days
            (because He knows how the songs work for her)

the Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell….

and she believed Him.

and He strengthened her.

and He made her to believe His love was in fact greater and deeper and beyond the body that was broken.

and it never occurred to her
not even once
to pray for healing.

zekefeed

last night it occurred to me, that it had never occurred to me to pray for healing.

and now that it had
would i pray?
knowing all the ways we’ve known His deep and great love
         as a result of
this broken body that belongs to zeke?

he’s 11 now.

and weeks before this most recent insight, i was given another.

how of all my children-this one has the most freedom to be fully himself in the presence of others.

and i’ve pondered that for a while-perplexed a bit at how in the world that came to be true?  and how in the world can i help my other 2 along the path?  

but last night as i listened to the question that formed (inside my head) with it’s accusations; “why did you not ever pray for him to be healed?  do you not have faith?  even through a year of studying all the ways Jesus healed in the book of Matthew-it didn’t come to mind then.  why?  what does that say about you?  what does that say about your love for your son?”

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there are a lot of lies mixed in with doubts mixed in with perplexity at the initial questions.  and as i sat there clueless.  the piano began to play the familiar words that would come to me all those years ago…

oh Love of God
how great and pure
how measureless and strong….

Who is this God?  who hears the thought churning inside my head-that no one else hears?  who moves the hands of a pianist to play the very words that my heart understands.  words that only He could know would soothe and remind of what is true?

 

the longer i live, the less answers i have.

but one thing i have come to understand is this

God’s love is real.
it’s measureless
it’s strong.
it’s constant
and is not expressed in the way that i think so much of the time.

i praise You because zeke is fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
i know that full well.

my frame was not hidden from you
when i was made in the secret place.
all the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!  -psalm 139

 (please don’t misunderstand, i in no way mean to imply whether or not prayer for healing is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. i still don’t know why we never thought to pray for healing for my zeke, or if we will begin praying for this.  it’s not really about that.  this post is about being settled -yet again- in the midst of doubt and confusion-and attack.  being settled-yet again- into the love of a Father who knows everything.)

dying for me

grieving and chasing joy

Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender.”

-from the song Dawn to Dusk by All Sons & Daughters

i’ve been chasing after joy

for  a very long time

and one thing i’ve come to understand

is that real, hard, authentic grieving

is how those rough places become smooth

along joy’s path.

grieving
   is on the pathway
        to joy

but rather than take my small words for it.  

grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee

and maybe a tissue or two

and spend some time with Jason Gray and Wally

it may just be what you need.

if you are grieving.

but if you are not, and someone you love is?  than these 30 minutes with Jason and Wally will enlighten you so that you can love them well.

stick it out till the end-the song is deeper and beautiful sung in it’s context.

Jason Gray extended interview

(i’m done waiting for this space to be ready.  i’ve decided to just begin over here anyway.  even though i think the look is a bit off and i haven’t yet learned things like how to insert a video, so you’ll have to use the link to click over to youtube.  thank you for grace.)

changing

water

posted over at the old blog site; blogs.lucashome.net  to let those who visit there know what’s happening over here….and to help motivate myself to be diligent to finish getting this space ready.

 ~~~~~~~~~

I recently heard someone share a story about how they begged their parents to let them do something, their parents agreed, then they realized what they begged for was altogether too much, too scary, too big and so they begged again to retreat and return to how things were before.  Mom and dad said no.  and this person shared that it was the hardest thing ever…..but she made it through, and experienced a growth that she is thankful to have experienced to this day.  grateful that mom and dad said no to the second begging and not the first.

Well here I am.  I didn’t actually beg, but I did ask my husband to switch me over to WordPress.  And he did.  And he even was able to bring all my old posts over.  And now I’m faced with learning a new thing and feeling like maybe I should have just stayed with the old software and all its quirks, cause it’s hard to figure out this new one.

But I’m not yet ready to ask to retreat and return.

though I am fumbling slowly through the back side of things.

And it will take time.

And though I don’t really know who you all are out there who come here-I felt like I should explain.  And beg for patience and grace and maybe come back soon?

The new address will be chasingjoy.lucashome.net

If you begin to visit there, you’ll not see the content change, but the look of the place keeps changing as I try different things out in the moments that come available.  And I suppose there are some blog etiquette rules that say to do these things first and then let people know when the new and polished pages are up and running.

But this space is where I get to be me and etiquette is for the birds in my opinion much of the time.

I’ll shout out an official ‘moving’ post once the new blog is all ready.

Thank you for grace.

asking

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

a knock on my window.

and i rise

from my place before the alter.
      where i sat.
          preaching the gospel to myself.

i open the door

and fix two cups of tea. 
         knowing without asking
to make hers green and mine black.

and we sit

next to each other

the immoral and moral.
      the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by breaking all the rules.
            the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by keeping them.

and is it true?

both the same in their need for a Savior?

both the same in their value to Him?
really?  is it?

both with a chasm that we must see.

a chasm that we cannot cross

that keeps us altogether separate,
without God and without  hope
 in this land we traverse.

And both of our hands
Are equally skilled
At doing evil
Equally skilled
At bribing the judges
Equally skilled
At perverting justice
Both of our hands
Both of our hands      -jon foreman

but God

But God has provided

and we must see
       we must see the provision

              for the joy to come in and take up residence in these hearts traversing this land.

God’s love which satisfied His own justice.

And both of His hands
Are equally skilled
At ruining evil
Equally skilled
At judging the judges
Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands

Are equally skilled
At showing mercy

Equally skilled
At loving the loveless

Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands    -jon foreman

and so

this is why i keep asking.

because we both need….. we all need

desperately need his skilled hands

to give us the very thing this day requires

Spirit of wisdom to know Him better
eyes of our hearts enlightened to know the hope and riches of inheritance and power for us who believe.
richness of His mercy that gives life
power to grasp the vastness of His love
strength in Him and His might to take our stand against the devil?s schemes.

help in the struggle.

help in the struggle.
     and hope…..
          and joy in spite of the struggle.

and both of His hands are equally skilled.
at providing the solution
and showing us mercy
and loving us well
and restoring
oh the skill of His hands to restore.

 

to draw further in ephesians-all 6 chapters

grasping

wonderstruck without words
         at who You are
look up,  You beckon
        look up at the vastness
              and remember the sky
                     and the way it reminds you of the vastness
of My love for you.
a knowing….that surpasses knowledge. 
(what does that even mean??) 

And i pray that you, being rooted and established

in love,

may have power…. to grasp

how wide and long and high and deep is

the love of Christ

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

that you may be filled to the measure of all

the fullness of God.

Now,

to Him who is able

to do immeasurably more

than all we ask or imagine,

according to His power that is at work within us,

to Him

be glory for ever and ever!

Amen.  ephesians 3:17-21

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