Chasing Joy

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

Category: being known (page 1 of 3)

pondering with Mary

141228_0001

 

And coming to her, the angel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was….The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Highly favored, that’s what the angel told her; she had found favor with God.

“While they were [in Bethlehem] the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

i’ve been pondering Gabriel’s words, coupled with all that lie ahead for Mary; all the loneliness, the misunderstandings, the rejections…. it would have been a long and exhausting 9 months.  then they arrive in Bethlehem to discover no room for them.  As Mary set up camp in that barn, did she grumble and stomp;

is this the way the Lord favors?

how many days did they stay there before the ‘time came for the baby to be born?’  a week, two?  uncomfortable and very pregnant, was she able to sleep?  did she snap at Joseph-had he tried-really tried- to find them somewhere else to stay?  the baby would be coming soon-were they to have him here?  Had God completely abandoned them?  were they so very alone?

He was despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.

as the ones chosen to carry this Savior to term, to then love and parent him….did Mary and Joseph bear this same fate?

as a follower of this Savior-as one in whom He dwells….is this my story too?  when loneliness, fatigue and rejection set in, when the condition of my home is frustrating me, when the contrasts of this world seem to weigh heavier on the dark side…. will i grumble and stomp;

it this what it means to be highly favored?

nativity2

And if we are His children, then we are His heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.

maybe for Mary, when she began to set up camp in that barn it went this way instead;

huh…this is not what i thought it’d be like in Bethlehem.  thank you Joseph for trying your best to make my bed of hay comfortable.  the baby will be coming soon.  let us pray for the strength we need.  Gabriel said i am highly favored.  God will be present here.  He will provide help.  we are not alone.

 

maybe for me too,  setting up camp in this life, it can go this way instead:  “He has said he is enthralled with my beauty, He keeps track of the stars, He dearly loves me.  God will be present here.  He will provide help.  i am not alone.

For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!

 

20161223_121208

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth Peace to men
on whom His favor rests

May you experience His assurance of His delight and deep deep love for you this Christmas season.  


To draw further in: Luke 1:28-38; Luke 2; Romans 8: 17-18 amp; Philippians 3:9-11; Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 45:11

 

underground

IMG_8255

As you wait upon the Lord, you learn to see things from His perspective, move at His pace, and function under His directives.  Waiting times are growing times and learning times.  As you quiet your heart, you enter His peace: as you sense your weakness, you receive His strength: as you lay down your will, you hear His calling. When you mount up, you are being lifted by the wind of His Spirit…When you move ahead, you are sensitive to His timing, When you act, you give yourself only to the things He has asked you to do.

–Roy Lessin

i entered summer bone tired and weary from a long season of care-giving and loving of others.  the One who knows my frame made it clear to me i was to step away from certain ministries i’d been a part of for a very long time. since obedience is better than sacrifice, i obeyed.  it really wasn’t that difficult at the time, there was the natural end of the school year which always put these things on pause coupled with having my children home for the summer and all of the hidden work that comes from where we live and move and have our being.  a couple of weeks before my youngest’s last day of school i penned these words in my journal:

i’ve heard it said that as swimming is to fish so is loving to a Christian.  does a fish ever get fatigued from swimming?

my heart is struggling with fatigue, yes, but something else has taken root, something subtle, yet it feels a bit ominous.

maybe its time to go underground for a while.  to hide away with my savior and work through what it is that is threatening my heart:  a growing resentment for those who sleep ignorantly peaceful in their beds while the whole world is hurting.  a resentment for not having control over being inconvenienced when it comes to strangers….or a call to love. an anger at being so alone in our way of living.

i’m finding it hard to be in the presence of others.  i am aware of my inner pulling away….
                something is wrong here.

i walked through summer with this sleeping dragon in my heart.  my Wonder of a Counselor and i have been getting to the root of things and it has felt messy.  and very difficult to explain.  the light and warmth and fun and slowness of summer has been a nice companion, but community remains challenging.  there have been conversations that have set my heart to churning and made plain the reality of my aloneness.

i’ve longed to write here as i live and process through this season.  but have felt a quiet nudge to allow these stories i am living and struggles i am feeling to remain hidden….for a time.

and so i wait.

20160831_070900

the voices of our day call out; “show yourself, show yourself, make your story known!”  they are loud voices, constant voices, overpowering voices.  so to find myself in this underground and hidden place, well i have felt this need to rush.  to hurry up and learn what i need to learn; grow and process through, and then get back to work.  for goodness sake, the time is short and there is no place for waiting or hiding, the investing of time in the inner man needs to be minimal, and the work that flows out of that needs to be made known.

but there are other voices.  they rise above the noise.  it is important that they do.  because without the courage to speak of another world, another type of King, another Life, those of us traveling the narrow road lose our footing wondering if maybe we have made a mistake.  i have numerous drafts written regarding this season of hiddenness, unpublished because i’ve been unsure. could i really declare this as holy work?

and then one ordinary day i am given the gift of these words:

One of the reasons that hiddenness is such an important aspect of the spiritual life is that it keeps us focused on God. In hiddenness we do not receive human acclamation, admiration, support, or encouragement. In hiddenness we have to go to God with our sorrows and joys and trust that God will give us what we most need.

In our society we are inclined to avoid hiddenness. We want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be useful to others and influence the course of events. But as we become visible and popular, we quickly grow dependent on people and their responses and easily lose touch with God, the true source of our being. Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.

Henri Nouwen via Shawn Smucker on the Importance of Hiddenness

waiting and hiddenness-i do declare it to be a wild and holy work.  i am learning to see things from His perspective, more than ever going to Him with my sorrows and joys and learning to trust that He will give me what i most need.  as i choose not to rush through this season, accepting what comes as direct from His hand, blurred lines are coming clearly into focus that it is He, the God of Israel, who calls me by my name.


to draw further in: proverbs 1:20. Isaiah 45:3; the hymn Be Still My Soul

frozen

the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.

IMG_6786

discouragement threatens to take over like ice holding life captive.  and i know what is true.  i know Jesus wins.  i know His light will break through darkness.  i know His presence is real and true even though it isn’t felt.  He keeps track of the stars, He holds the ocean in His hands.

still, reciting the truth to myself doesn’t seem to melt my heart growing cold.

IMG_6780

i join other’s more faithful and rest my hands on a man who is suffering.  and the words they fall short, they stumble under the tears and longings unmet for oh, just a glimpse of You Lord.  Stephen, while being stoned, got to see heaven open before him, oh Lord, just a glimpse of you would bring such encouragement and strength to endure.  please?

and grief sidles up next to the discouragement and they draw a wider circle around my heart.  grief over my own lack of faith in the goodness of a God who gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.  i’m pleading with the Lord with more doubt than faith, it seems these days there is more doubt than faith and i long to be a better lover to the Shepherd of my soul.

little baby,
i am a poor boy too,
i have no gift to bring,
that’s fit to give a king

the ice wraps around and knowing that my Sovereign God is faithful and true, oh so worthy of my trust, doesn’t melt the discouragement grief and doubt away.  i know i’m struggling to trust Him.  I know He is worthy of my trust.  i preach the gospel to myself, i remember and remember and remember.  but i can’t seem to create the trust i lack.  i am a poor girl too, i’ve no gift to bring, fit for my King of Kings.

IMG_6463

we’re driving along this beautiful winding road.  the kids in the back seats delighting in the curves and hills, my capable and loving husband at the wheel taking his family from place to place, navigating the weather and traffic and enjoying the ride.  He slows down for pictures and speeds up for tummy-tickling joy.  i sit in the passenger seat missing it.  i’m the drowning swimmer needing a slap in the face so as not to drown the lifeguard seeking to rescue her.  i know this.  i know there is no reason for the fear that has joined in with discouragement, doubt and grief.  but the knowing doesn’t melt the ice.  and i long to share in the joy of the others and for peace to descend out of the chaos and take a firmer hold of my heart.  i pray and pray and pray.

and wait.

IMG_6399

take heart, your redemption is near

dear ones listen, friends pray.  hymns penetrate.  tears fall freely while the worship band sings.

we are a flock unworthy, lambs frightened and silly and dumb.  we are the sheep of His pasture.  we are the sheep the babe came to save. we are desperate and needing redemption from a God who comes down.

the preacher reminds us of the cloud of witnesses, those who’ve walked in such darkness, who’ve seen a great light and bear witness to the glory of knowing Christ.

and the suffering one reads aloud…

though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  Praise be to our God and Father, in His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through His own resurrection from the dead.   set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

IMG_6081

there is no hope in my ability to respond to the stuff of life with faith hope and trust.  my hope is reduced fully to the grace given when Jesus Christ, the One willing and able to keep me from falling, the One who fights for me, the One who never leaves or forsakes even when i think He has, my hope is reduced fully to the grace given to me when this Jesus is revealed before me and i see Him as He is.

Abba, i belong to you. *

peace descends and the ice begins to melt.


to draw further in:  Acts 7, Revelation 6:9-11, 1 Peter 1:3-13; 2:9-10, Isaiah 30-33; 40-42; O Come O Come Emmanuel, Christmas Canon

*Brennan Manning.

 

misunderstood shoes

151103_0011

I’m standing on the street corner with my two boys when a voice calls out from a car window;

“What kind of mother are you? Get some shoes on that kid, sheesh! Have you no love or care?”

Yes, it is cold out and yes my older boy doesn’t have shoes on.  It takes about 45 minutes of therapy for him to wear socks….and then shoes. There was this helicopter you see…..but there is no time to explain, he just calls out his disdain and speeds away.

….he knows nothing of the countless hours of pouring out my very self as mother to 3 children, one of which has sensory processing disorder. What kind of mother am I?….

in celebration of National Family Caregivers Month, i’m sharing a bit of my story over at Anita’s caregiver connections blog Blessed (but stressed).  Join me over there as i discuss the loneliness and pain of being misunderstood.

 

life | down paths i fear to see

140806_0004

I said, “Let me walk in the field.”
God said, “No, walk in the town.”
I said, “There are no flowers there.”
He said, “No flowers, but a crown.”

I said, “But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din.”
He wept as He sent me back,
“There is more,” He said, “there is sin.”

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in heaven
to have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the field,
Then set my face to the town.
He said, “My child do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for a crown?”

Then into His hand went mine,
and into my heart came He.
Now i walk with a light Divine,
The path i had feared to see.

-What Christ Said by George MacDonald. 
find the complete poem here

Hpim0806

ten years ago i found myself in the middle of packing boxes preparing to move into the tiniest house ever right smack dab in the middle of town instead of the dreamed and worked towards log cabin in the mountains.  i remember clearly hearing the Lord’s whisper; “I am answering your prayers”  It made no sense at the time for it felt like He was answering my prayers with a big fat NO! still i pondered His whisper in my heart and watched and waited.  now, these 10 years later, i can see it.  how my deep heart longings and desires for my children and family were answered with a big YES! via a path i would never have known to choose.

HPIM1962

the children have grown from toddlers to teens, yet following my Guide down paths i fear to see has remained a consistant theme for me.  what i’m beginning to grasp is that these are becoming the very places where He does His best heart work.  where He grows us and heals us and frees us.  these paths are often neither easy nor comfortable, and at times i’m being led straight into the valley of sorrow unable to comprehend the rivers of joy that await me on the other side.

141011_0001

recently i found myself praying during the long dark hours of the night.  unable to sleep with an ache that can only be quieted by the One who knows, i walked circles in the floor and laid my heart bare before my faithful and wise God.  daylight came and life continued on as it does, but there was a settling and a watching and a waiting on my capable Father.  doors appeared and decisions were made completely unrelated to my late night longings….or so i thought.  as far as the eye could see there was no connection between the ordinary goings about in that day and the restless wrestling of the night before.

150625_0003

but the One who governs the sun, moon and stars-He knew.  and today i find myself completely amazed at the way He orchestrated such a perfect answer to those prayers that night.  i’m in awe at the ways He is responding to the desires and secret petitions of my heart.  here again it is on a path where i have said-out loud to other people-that i would not walk.  a path i said wasn’t a good fit for our family.  today-this particular path-is precisely what our family needed.

what if the thing we think we need will actually prevent our true longings from being fulfilled?  what if the things we think will ruin everything will actually give us life?

could it be that some of the places we run away from are the very places that hold the deepest treasures, deepest freedoms, deepest joys?

 

He’s teaching me to go where He says go, when He says to –not because i understand, or even expect anything but more pain or frustration, or even have any notion of the connection between the latest command and prayer of my heart –no, i go because my Guide can be trusted where He leads, because He is for me, and He knows better how to fulfill my heart longings than my small brain can comprehend.

sky words

where is it for you?  is there somewhere you are running away from, turning back because what is ahead is a valley of sorrow and you are afraid? confused?  take heart!  there is a whole cloud of witnesses cheering you on.  david was afraid too as he trusted in his God.  Abe was confused too when he reasoned that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead.  and dear ol’ Paul, through learning, was persuaded that this One he knew and believed was able to keep that which he had committed to Him.  and then there is JJ Heller….

He is able.  i know Whom i have believed.  i will trust.

 

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in

Psalm 37;  2 Timothy 1:12, Genesis 22:5; Hebrews 11:19

life | running

150616_0004

the alarm goes off in the dark of summer.  the inability to quit on my girl is stronger than the mighty ability to quit on myself, so i get up and rouse her out of her slumber.  we push it to the very edge, she and i, giving ourselves first 20, then 10, and then 5 minutes to get ready. yes, 5 minutes will be enough, our sleep hungry bodies think.  this is the logic of one whose natural body rhythm does not include mornings.  so we run late and we don’t comb our hair, but we show up.  she has a swimming class.  and i will run.

my health is not where i want it to be.  and i am a simple minded person, not one to cook complicated food or start complicated plans.  i know two things that need addressing, an addiction to sugar and a lack of exercise.  there are more, but two things are enough to focus on for the time being.  so for the sugar addiction I’ve replaced my daily chai tea lattes with just tea and for the exercise, i’m running.

150615_0002

i want to quit.  i really do.  mightily when the alarm goes off yes, but even still after my girl has sauntered off to class. i rationalize other things to do during this hour, maybe stay in the car and read, or go sit next to the other moms by the pool and get to know them-that would be neighborly and right wouldn’t it?  no, that still small voice replies,

run.

150617_0004

I’m Brennan.  I’m an alcoholic.
How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life.
But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan.  I was a priest, but am no longer a priest.  I was a married man but am no longer a married man.
How I got to those places, why I left those places, is the story of my life too.
But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan.  I’m a sinner saved by grace.
That is the larger and more important story.
Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it.

-Brennan Manning from The Furious Longing of God

there is a storm swirling around inside, dark clouds looming thick and strong.

and when i run it rises up from those deep places within and spills forth into view and i see it.  like Brennan, this is not my whole story, only one part of many other parts that make up the whole of me.  but it is an important part to look at and sit with.  today, however, i resisted for 30 minutes.  i just sat in the car and kept the storm just below the surface, glancing at it a little, forming words around it a little, only a little.  but the One who always wins had His way.  knowing the invitation for what it was, i opened the door and got out of the car.

150623_0006

too often i think satan is winning.  too often it feels like he is winning.

he is not winning.

he does not win.

O LORD, the king rejoices in Your strength.
How great is his joy in the victories You give.

-psalm 21

i am no king, but i too rejoice in the victories He gives.

150624_0001

today as my feet hit the pavement the tears flowed freely.  out here on these public streets we wrestle, He and i, deep calling to deep, mining for the treasures He’s promised in the dark places.

personal words with real and deep laments brought before me to hold in my hands and look at from all directions. invited to know that He is the Lord, the God of Israel who summons me by name.

i have no hope for change or remedy or relief.  these are the places the fight has gone, He knows this.

150616_0002

but i am still running.

and there is hope in that.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in:  Psalm 21:1 and Isaiah 45:3

 

life | dreaming

 

hspokane4

my boys, they talk of firemen and joining the army and playing baseball for lots of money.  my girl, at the wise old age of 2, announced she wanted to be a garbage man when she grew up.  “cause then i can make all the children of the neighborhood happy.”  fully believing that every child enjoyed watching that garbage truck come and pick up the trash in its especially interesting way.

h spokane

she glowed with excitement as an eight year old girl, when she described what she dreamed of becoming when all grown and out on her own.

and i did what any mother of an eight year old does.  shared her delight and encouraged her in her dream.  not because i thought she knew anymore than that 2 year old aspiring garbage collector knew.

i delighted in her dream because i delighted in her.

hspokane3

here we are, this grown taller than me fifteen year old and i, and that eight-year old dream still resides in her heart.  she’s more passionate now and carries more wisdom than her eight-year old self.  she’s experienced more of life and more of joy and more of sorrow.  the dream has taken the shape of a calling, a calling from the One who knit her together and mapped out her course.  and the invitation has come to this mother to watch out for the opportunities to spur her on into who she is.

hspokane6

those watching seem to find themselves perplexed and needing to form conclusions.  we visited a campus this past weekend, you see, and i’ve heard so many declarations of; “wow, you are on top of things” as if we held some superpower they lacked.  or; “a campus visit as a sophomore?  why didn’t you wait?” as if we lacked some wisdom they held.

150507_0114

the truth is i don’t know what i’m doing, mothering these kids.  what i do know is that the One who knits together and gives desires is holding their future in His hands.  and He’s entrusted me with walking alongside them as they journey into who He is making them to be.  and He’s been teaching me about becoming.  about becoming more fully myself.  about listening to the desires of my heart and unpacking them in His presence.  and as He’s gifted me with encouragers along my way, i have drunk deep from refreshing springs when the journey feels foolish and stupid and wasteful.  so why would i offer my daughter something else?

hspokane5

i have no idea how we ended up far from home in an airplane hanger listening to all it takes to become a missionary pilot.  i don’t recall how we learned of this school.  or why, when the postcard came inviting us to Experience Spokane!, we took notice and decided to go.  this wasn’t a well-thought out plan.  i’d like to think that this is the movement of that Spirit who hovered over the waters and brought forth light.  that the One who called to Abram to leave and go to the place He would show him, calls forth Abraham’s children to follow step by step still.  that maybe He who breathed the starry host into existence, can enable an absent minded mother to tune into the symphony He is forming within her daughter….. His daughter.  i have lived long enough to know that it is entirely possible that this movement towards flight school may or may not produce a missionary pilot at its end. regardless, any movement towards the direction of the Spirit contains its own promised end….

…the eyes of your heart enlightened
in order that you may know the hope
to which He has called you,
the riches
of His glorious inheritance in the saints,
and His incomparably great power
for us who believe.

 150507_0116

maybe, just maybe, a dream is an invitation from the One who gathers the waters of the sea into jars.  “Take Courage,” He says; “it is I, don’t be afraid.”

step into your dream, my child, and live

 

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in: Ephesians 1; Psalm 33; Genesis 1, 12

1st – 4th and 6th photos taken by Hannah, 5th and 7th by me on our recent trip to Spokane, WA

 

life | when you’ve really screwed up

150505_0007

he took something that didn’t belong to him.  when caught he lied.  when sent to the principle’s office he got scared and confused and went back to class instead.  i discover this last bit on the way home and turn the car around and walk beside him as he reluctantly faces things.

this 12 year old is having a very bad day.

this mother of a 12 year old is having a very bad day too.

the problem is that the thing he took is lost.  somewhere in his room.  so he’s tasked with cleaning, looking as he goes.  after dinner i decide to join the hunt, only to discover how my boys have been cleaning their room.  you know, grab a handful of stuff and shove it under or behind or i know, these dirty socks and odds and ends will disappear nicely into this empty Lego box.

now there are 2 boys having a very bad day and one mom who needs a time out.

150505_0005

while the boys clean their room like they’ve never cleaned before, i pray the prayer that never fails.

Jesus, i need help.

He leads me beside still waters and i sit with His words and let them soak and settle in.

gathering the boys to my side we kneel to pray- the thing we should’ve done in the first place-regarding the lost toy.

the first offender begins, and i hear the words he’s been telling himself all day.

he wants to be a better person.  he wants to be responsible.  he wants to think before he acts.  he wants to want to return to school instead of dread it.

underneath those words i hear the self-loathing that i know full well.

150113_0001

i move toward him, i cup his head in my hands and look straight into his red puffy eyes. he tries to look away.

“son, look at me.”

our eyes lock

“you are my son and I love you.  this does not change that.”

he melts into a puddle of sobs

i rub his back and speak the words that give life.

words of Jesus seeing over the span of time to that day last week when this all began.

words of His deep love.

words of the cross.

words of a standing that is secure.

“you are His son and He loves you.  this does not change that.”

birdsinsky

 yes, the wages of sin is death.  oh don’t we all know it?  haven’t we all felt it?  especially when we’ve screwed up?  screw-ups of the 12 year old sort and screw-ups of the beenwalkingwithJesusalongtimeandknowbetter sort.  the weight of the death feels heavy on the chest.

and we want to be better, more responsible, think before we act.

and it’s easy to slip from real sorrow and repentance down down down into the self-loathing.

that’s a sorrow that leads to more death.

there is another way.  a locking of red-puffy eyes with the eyes of a Father who knows it all.

and breathing in His words….

you are my child and I love you.  this failure cannot change that.

….His words that bring the dead to life.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in, Isaiah 53, Psalm 32, Romans 6-8

 

 

life | through grief

chairs2

Three days of mourning have been declared in Haiti after a power line fell on to a carnival float in the capital, Port au Prince.

-bbc news

Moses was 120 years old when he died… The People of Israel wept for Moses in the Plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.

-Deuteronomy 34

OSO, Wash. — Washington residents paused Saturday to observe a statewide moment of silence at 10:37 a.m., exactly a week after a devastating mudslide tore through this rural mountain town.

-LA Times

I remember when i first read of Haiti’s 3 days of mourning in the aftermath of the carnival tragedy.  not only did they cancel the last day of the event, but 3 whole days of mourning?!  i wondered what that must look like.  businesses closed, schools closed, families gathering together talking about it, openly weeping? i only imagine-not having ever experienced such community grieving.  i read of how Israel mourned for 30 days when Moses died. 30 whole days until the days of weeping came to an end.  wow.  this contrasted against how we do it in the States.  we pause for moments.  and they are moments of silence.  that feels like a slight acknowledgement and then back to work and moving along as ‘normal’.  i have felt the shock of that.  in the face of deep personal loss, i can recall being perplexed by the moving about of others-folks who know nothing of the loss i’ve experienced-doing normal things like getting groceries and picking up their kids from school.  i know in my head; “of course they are, why wouldn’t they be?” while my grieving heart can’t figure out how to make one foot move in front of the other and my grieving mind can not be trusted to work the stove.

our bodies are made to feel.  and some feelings need time.  life follows death, healing follows brokenness, rivers of joy follow valleys of sorrow.

i learned as a child that pain and grief were not to be felt.  count backwards from 10, breathe deep, but by all means, don’t cry.

it takes courage to feel.  i come from a family of wimps.  i mean no offence by that, we wanted to be strong, it’s just that the understanding of what real strength is got mixed up somewhere along the way.  and so i grew up stoic, priding myself on my lack of tears and pretend indifference.  but the color of my world grew more and more gray.  and my heart shriveled.

Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

-Isaiah 35:3-4

This One who wept and groaned loudly, He did come.  and He taught me how to grieve.  and through grieving all the losses past, and continuing to grieve losses big and small as they come, color has returned to my world.  and my heart has opened…

…and i have come to life.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


All photos except for the first one taken by Hannah Lucas

To draw futher in:  John 11, 16:20-22; Hebrews 5:7; Ecc 3; Deuteronomy 34

life | retrieved

wall H

He surrounds himself with words.  fine sounding arguments to deal with the broken places.  i stand alone in his space and i read them and grieve over how far away from truth and real healing he is.  i lose hope.

but i do remain in that place of acceptance.  acceptance for where he is at and what he is able to give and receive.  another kind of death assigned to me is this relationship.  great glory goes to the Father of the fatherless for the way He enables me to love this man who is limited in his ability to love in return, to love in a way i desire to be loved.  and there is still great weakness and fear that remains in how i’m relating.  i am fully aware of the trembling inside when conversations begin to shift in uncomfortable directions.  i find my own self coping through diversions and distractions, keeping things safe.  i lose myself in the presence of others here, but when it is quiet, the One who gives sight to the blind helps me to see.

Finding the Love that Retrieves at www.everybitterthingissweet.com

in the dark of the night we stand debating over another one far gone and a false prophet among us.  the scene shifts and i find myself in an arena full of those held captive by Balaam and his deceptions.  searching through my belongings, they grab hold of my blue bound book, the one with my name inscribed on the front.  they empty it of the treasures i’ve tucked inside, passing them out to bystanders and mocking me in the process.  i don’t care, i snatch it back-letting the little things go, knowing that the real treasure is the pages and words contained within.  taking my seat, i’m discovered by the other truth bearers who’ve infiltrated these ranks and we band together standing united against the fray.  it’s invigorating and delightful to find i’m not standing alone.

and then i wake up.  it was only a dream.

light H

i look over at his chair and i remember sara’s words.  i remember how far the Mighty Warrior Jesus went to retrieve me.  the dream brings into focus the truth of the battle, the truth of what i stand on and cling to, the truth that there are fellow soldiers who have infiltrated the enemy’s territory.  i rise and retrieve that blue bound book with my name engraved on the front.  The Spirit brings to mind words and i turn page after page searching them out.  and then i breathe them in.  my Hope Bearer fills me with renewed hope all the while reminding me of my source of worth and joy, lest i misunderstand and stumble into expectations and seeking where worth and joy cannot be found.

Oh Lord, You are my God!  i will exalt You and praise Your name-
for in Perfect Faithfulness
You have done marvelous things…

This is what the Lord says;
I have seen his ways, BUT i will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.

Can plunder be taken from warriors?
or captives rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the Lord says;
Yes
captives will be taken
and plunder retrieved.

ladder

life begins when the Source of life retrieves.  i know this.

i forgot this.

i have renewed hope for this one who surrounds himself with fine sounding arguments.  he is seeking life where it cannot be found, but i do recognize that it is life that he is seeking.  i also recognize that the current god he’s bowing to is successfully tricking him into thinking he’s found it and there is no hope in that.  rather, my hope is in the Mighty One who is Mightier, the Powerful One who is more Powerful.  that greater is He in me than he that is in the world. i hope because Life Himself retrieves captives from the fierce.

See now that I Myself am He!
there is no god besides Me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of My hand.

life

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in;  Colossians 2:1-8; Romans 16:17-18;  2 Peter 3:3-9; Isaiah 25; 57:18; 49:25; Psalm 119:72

 

Older posts

© 2017 Chasing Joy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑