Chasing Joy

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

Category: 31 days on Wonder

the Wondering. "Who do You say that i am?"

 

pay attention to your tears. emily freeman. 

Behold His glory. Theaomai His glory. Theaomai from thaomai – “to wonder.”  Not a glancing – but a gazing…. –Ann Voskamp

 

 

he sits bent over with tears over the “D”.  i tell him; “that D doesn?t define you.”

i stare at the official box checked on the very official form delivered by the very official officer; “public nuisance”.  and i look down at the four paws in the air with the big belly waiting to be petted.  and i tell her; “they say you are a nuisance, if only they could see you for who you really are.”

identity.

Matthew 16 and 17

Jesus; “Who do the people say that I am?”

Disciples; “John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet.”

Jesus; “Who do you say that I am?”

They head up a mountain, Peter, Jesus, and the brothers James and John.  Moses and Elijah join them. 

This is my Son, Whom I love, with Him I am well pleased, Listen to Him!

identity.

this morning the Lord turned the question around…..

because i’ve spent enough time thinking on who the people say that i am

 God, who do You say that i am?

identity

tho i can?t actually head up a mountain today…i can lock myself in my room.  i can shut the door. and….

Listen to Him…..
      behold His glory…..
          gaze…..
                and be struck

identity

oh the Wonder of it all

oh the Wonder

the wonder of both grace and peace in abundance

Man’s love of truth is such that when he loves something that is not the truth, he pretends to himself that what he loves is the truth, and because he hates to be proved wrong, he will not allow himself to be convinced he is deceiving himself.  So he hates the real truth for the sake of what he takes to his heart in its place.  -Augustine as quoted by Os Guinness in Time for Truth p.117

 “pay attention to your tears”  -emily freeman found in her book a million little ways.

if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. -Jesus Matthew 16:24

the pain of rejection stings.  and of being found out. 

it stings because this is still my life.  my identity.  i am still taking cues from outside assessments of me.

this is my cross.  that i must daily take up.  it’s dying to the getting of my identity from this world. 

but Jesus has said; “whoever wants to save his self will lose his self, but whomever loses his self will find his self.”  self.  psyche.  identity. 

it comes in all sorts of pretty packages.  like bible study, or social justice, or ‘works God has prepared beforehand.’  these were never meant to be my identity.  never. 

and my heart is deceitful above all things, who can fathom it?  it self-protects.  when threatened, it fights back.  hard.

but Jesus has said; “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

the truth is, i am selfish.  materialistic.  idolatrous. etc. etc. etc.  in its mechanism to self-protect my heart will reject this and fight with every argument and reason that these things are not true.  but they are.  i am more sinful than i dared to imagine …..

and more loved than i dared to hope for. 

when i know this love.  really know it.  it melts me.  and it does set me free…. 

to be found out.  to be rejected.
          to die.

so that i can be resurrected to real life.  real self.  real identity. 
       taking the Gospel into the corners.
            daily. 

maybe this is the ‘mid-life crisis’. (those aren’t really the right words, but i don’t know what else to call it) the realizing the name i’ve not made for myself and the wondering what i now want to do about that.  the investing of years of unknown little deaths…and just wanting them to be known and valued.  the being worn down by all the messages of what truly makes up a life well lived.

now that i ponder these things, what i want more than anything is to live

hating the real lie for the sake of what i take to my heart in its place…..

and in its place…

 could it be joy? …..overwhelming joy?

 in an identity found and dependant on

 the amazing grace
          and greatness of my God.

is this what it means to have grace and peace in abundance?  -2 peter 1:2;  i mean when i am aware of the abundance of grace needed, it’s usually because of the abundance of screw-ups, and so typically an abundance of peace isn’t what goes with that….

here’s my heart Lord.  speak what is true.

the wonder of a life hid

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
            Because the sinless Savior died,
           My sinful soul is counted free;
           For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold Him there, the Risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!
            One with Himself I cannot die
            My soul is purchased by His blood

My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God


Before the Throne original words by Chartie L. Bancroft.  I happen to like this rendition musically.  Photos taken in Uganda in 2010.  in that last photo if you look closely you can see the lions in the bottom left hidden behind the grass.  we almost didn’t see them and stop because we were watching the elephants.

the wonder of understanding

My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.
            -psalm 119:25-27 nasb

every day i read Sara Hagerty’s adoration instagram

last year i read the book Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg.  

both have been such gifts in regards to awe and wonder and focus on Who Christ Is.

and it has been extremely tempting lately to think with these amazing words, what could i possibly add?  that’s partly why it’s been quiet around here. which is just plain…ridiculous.  but there it is.  moving on….

my daughter and husband are over in the kitchen heads bent over the f (x) and the function of y and and some such algebraic equation to figure out something about the weight and height of some random basketball player.  

i tried to help.  but i kept saying the same thing and she said, “no mom, that’s not right,” and i said, “but yes, isn’t it?”  and “why are you asking me?”

so dad was called in and he sits next to her and asks the questions that lead to understanding and they wrestle through it and tears come but they keep going and eventually the tears dry up and understanding replaces confusion and hope of completing the assignment returns.

the help of a father that works.

i sit back and observe.  not to compare and condemn.  but intrigued by the process.  especially because i’ve been sitting here in psalm 119:25-32.  

Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; 
     then i will meditate on Your wonders.
-psalm 119:27 niv84 

 

hmmm….if the video doesn’t work, try this one

 

words have been hard to come by lately-not sure what is completely up with that.  hoping to continue writing more regularly here….maybe even finish the month off with adoration and wonder?  thank you for grace. 

just Wonder

i’ve spent 3 days trying to write this post.  i’ve written it over at least 3 times.

and i’m seeing something.  

the whisper of wonder wasn’t necessarily an assignment of sorts to write for 31 days about it.

it was an invitation to enter into it.  to live it.

yet again.

this post was originally titled the wonder of His counsel.

and it was all about how he counsels me in the outcomes……of my decisions.

the outcome of where i decided to live….where i decided to send my kids to school….who i decided to let walk through my door….the worlds i decided to enter into…the “ministry” i decided to engage in or leave….

before us is a crossroads….all. the. time.

we were watching a video of a pitcher.  He pitches the ball.  a bird’s flight path intersects the ball at precisely the moment to be struck.  the ball never makes it to the batter.  all you see are feathers exploding everywhere.  that bird never. saw. it. coming.

one. half. second. later. 

if he had sent that ball only ½ second later

the bird’s life would have been spared.

it represents what i’ve been asking for with the latest decisions related to my children especially.  i’m not really asking God for guidance.

i’m asking him to tell me which path will be the one where the bird will not get pummeled by the pitch…..i happen to like birds and seriously, what are the odds??

and it’s because i’ve lost my sense of wonder.

my vision has clouded over

and i am afraid.

and so He is a wonder of a counselor.  and He has been counseling me over the last few days.  

but today i sat at home while the rest of the family headed off to church.  after sleeping for roughly 18 hours (from the bug going around) i’m up.

and i did my homework:

Matthew  14   “Take courage…I Am”

and Shannon’s assignment. 

So, it seems the only way through this life is the constant reminder that it doesn’t belong to me.

and then i looked up that song i remembered from so long ago by Natalie Merchant.

and wouldn’t you know it.

it’s called Wonder.

 

and all the pieces of counsel are falling into place.  

and i know.

that the choice is ever before me-to transfer my trust from______
     to Christ.

one choice is safe.

the other leads to Wonder.  
it challenges everyone’s balance because it will require a
‘but God’

 

the whispering is an invitation to live Wonder.

each step of the way.

the wonder of guidance

we have some decisions to make.  
and we have limited information.
because i don’t know beyond this moment.
this i have learned along the way.  

tomorrow could hold any number of joys or sorrows.  
and my decision today may have something to do with that.
or it may not.
either way deadlines come and the decision must be made.  

and so i pray.
and i seek the Lord’s councel.

and sometimes i just don’t know.
so i just decide anyway.

but my mind is learning how to have rest
no matter the outcome

because, and only because
of the only One who knows anything. 

“i am senseless and ignorant; i am a brute beast before you.
yet
i am always with You;
You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward?…..
You will take me into glory.”    

Whom have i in heaven but You?
earth has nothing compared to you
my flesh and my heart and my decisions may fail.
but
God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

it is good to be near God
i have made the Soverign Lord my refuge.
i will tell of all His deeds.     psalm 73:22-28 

all photos taken while traveling around in Uganda 2010

wonder-ful light

 

 

well…. two were home sick today.  it came on suddenly for them both.  my husband came in from work around dinner and he’s now in bed.  that leaves me with my youngest and he had a rough day at school and so we’re playing with clay. 

i’ve been asking God all day to open my eyes to His wonders.  and He has.  but i’m too tired to put it all into words.

but there are words already and a Spirit who will do His work with them.  so i’ll let Him speak to you….
     in His personal and wonder-ful way:  

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him who called you 
out of darkness into His
wonder-ful light.    
1 peter 2:9

the wonder of worth

Long lay the world
in sin and error pining
till He appeared
           and the soul felt its worth.

 

 Shannon Martin over at Flower Patch Farmgirl made this canvas and i’ve been pondering those words ever since.

visiting with a friend from accross the ocean.

we talk of the kids and life and it takes awhile to get to the heart of things.

but get there we do.

we talk of the inner heart longings for a father to declare that we have value

and how that permeates everywhere.  

it all goes back to that child who wants their dad to notice and to like what he sees.

and neither of us have that from our own fathers.

………………………….

“i’m so proud of you” came once in an e-mail from my dad and it enraged me.  

because i felt in the depths 
         that those were empty words 
                      because if he really knew me he would not say them.  

and i’m Jacob dressed up as Esau wanting the blessing.  but when the blessing comes i know that it’s Esau’s blessing and if he really knew it was me, Jacob,  he would say something different.

and i’m done playing dress up.

but it doesn’t mean this soul doesn’t long to feel it’s worth.

…………………………..

the Wonder of it all is that the One who knows that it’s me, Jacob, He knows me to the depths of the bottom of who i am.

and it’s not good.

i am an enemy.  
             an idolater. a Sabbath breaker. a liar. a thief. an adulterer. 

yes, but.

to Him, i am a pearl of great value.  i am worth coming down for.

how can this even be?

But God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

grace is a much better motivator for growth than guilt and shame
       but grace is not understood unless guilt is understood.

………………………….

any mere mortal’s declaration of my value, my worth… it’s not always a bad thing. 
it is lovely to be both known and valued by another. 
it just can’t be the main thing. 
and at some level it will always leave me wanting.  because there is not anyone who really knows all of me.  
and i always know that.  others’ praise can only go so far.  it leaves the lingering fear that ‘what if they find out the truth?  then what?’

but God?

His declaration of my worth is comprehensive, encompassing. it. all. 

there’s no fear of Him finding out, only freedom because He already knows.

and He, my true Father, declared me worth it and came.  

worth the leaving of heaven
worth the stench of the trough
worth the snearing and rejection and being misunderstood
worth the stench of walking around this planet with all of us who are unclean and have gone astray.

this is why the gospel never gets old.

this is why i pray to never loose sight of the Wonder of it all…..or maybe to finally grasp the Wonder of it all? 

and this is why i have kept the tree up and the baby in the manger….just a little longer i ask my husband, just a little longer please?

because long i lay in sin and error pining,  

pondering and grasping to truly comprehend His appearing

so the very depths of my soul will feel it’s worth

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Saints, 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  Ephesians 3:16-19

the wonder of Christmas

our tree is still up

i’m just not ready to move on yet.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
let earth
       recieve
             her King 

i’m still finding myself in awe of His coming
 

Oh the glory of it all
is He came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
                                 -David Crowder Band 

all day long i found myself humming this tune-only with my minds focus on wonder, i inadvertantly sang it this way: “Oh the wonder of it all  is He came here….”

i’ve been thinking about the whole ‘New Years’ thing.  
            the new goals and resolutions and words

and i’ve been thinking about Christmas.

and to me, i’d like to back it all up a bit. 

because it seems to me that it’s Christmas
        and  His coming
             that makes any new thing even possible.

       His coming as a babe in that manger because there was no room elsewhere
                so He could come and make His home in my heart

oh the glory of it all….
for the rescue of us all….
we will never be the same…..

may this next year not be more of the same
but instead more
       of 
 Him 

 

forward and back and January has 31 days

     

after christmas sale at Hobby Lobby and our outside tree has decorations!

i’m not really with the program here.

yesterday was tuesday, today is wednesday. the calendar still rests on December (tho actually yesterday was New Years Eve and today is New Years Day and it’s now January)

we’ve been spending these days all together. there have been moments of that gut wrenching laughter (i didn’t think it had to come at my expense, but whatever), and time up at the cabin and time with family and friends. there have been late nights with new shows to watch (Foyles’ War and Inspector Lewis). there have been plenty of the other things that come with being together-the bickering, the taking a walk just to be alone with only the sound of my footsteps.

1000 pieces and 2 days of togetherness

and i’ve wanted to write about my favorites from 2013 – looking back
and i’ve wanted to write about my longings for 2014 – looking forward.

but i also know that these days are numbered. the oldest will continue to grow older and in the not too distant future will be doing her own thing with her own friends…driving her own self around. and the other two will follow. and our time together will change into something other than what it is right now.

and right now with these who are right here is right where i want to be. i wish somehow i would have made both the writing and the being happen.

but i’ve also been hearing some whispering deep within on Wonder. just like the whisperings on provision back in October when the nester hosted her 31 days series.

January has 31 days in it too.

and so today-this 1st day of 2014
i’m slipping in here with a very hesitant and loose commitment to another 31 days of writing

this time through the lens of Wonder.

and He will be called
Wonder-ful

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