Chasing Joy

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

Category: hope (page 3 of 5)

life | retrieved

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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.

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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

 

a death by which glory comes

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Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then he said to him, “Follow me!”


as the kids are getting older the parenting is getting more complicated.  or maybe it’s just me and the way i strive and think and wonder and fear…

in any case my need for the God who is so very Wise continues to grow, it seems so opposite of what i would think.  most jobs, the longer you do them, the less help you need as you become efficient and capable.  that’s how it was for every job i had before this one.

we’ve got one teen and 2 more following close behind.  and i would be lying if i said it wasn’t hard. and i would be lying if i said i’d become efficient or capable.

i’ve always known that the best gift i can offer my kids is my own mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  the more healthy i am the more free i am to love them well, and in a healthy life giving way.

but what i didn’t know was that loving in a healthy life giving way would feel like the very death of me.

This is not a time in which motherhood is reveared or respected.  It is not a time of recieving gratitude from the child.  Nor should it be….

-The Mom Factor by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, on adolescence-emphasis mine

i bow to the idol of knowing, i question and question; “am i being unreasonable? ….too lenient?  am i not taking their sin seriously enough?…to much?”  on and on it goes.  there is One who knows the answer to all my questions, and i must listen to Him…..and that requires the deeper trust i’ve needed all along.

It is a difficult process. And it is even more difficult because mother bears this process within herself.  She is the laboratory for the child to become an adult, and it takes its toll on her.  The good mother gets her needs for love, affection, and respect met by God and the safe people in her life.  Only in this way can she altruistically and sacrificially do the best thing for the child, who desperately needs safe passage toward adulthood.

-Cloud/Townsend

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Jesus said that for Peter, there was a specific death that would glorify God.

so too with me.  being a conduit of safe passage towards adulthood-that is a kind of death. and it’s the death assigned to me as their mother.  a daily cross to take up with a command to follow the One who knows the hairs on their heads and loves all of us perfectly.

it is a death that promises life-life in me and life offered to them.  it is a death whose only outcome can be God’s glory.  my strength indeed is small, but my God is big and i love them and they are worth it.

I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
’cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed

Jesus
Take my all
Take my everything

I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything

-Rend Collective The Cost

To draw further in: John 21:18-22; 1 Corinthians 13; Philippians 1:1-6; Ephesians 4:17-32; the stanzas in the hymn Jesus Paid it All

when the journey feels like death

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been walking alongside the nation of Israel as they journey from slavery in Egypt to the land promised to them.  it’s been a long journey, and all along the way they have talked about death….they seem so often to be fearful and obsessed with death:

at the very beginning of their journey:  “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Part way through: “But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

at their destination-right outside the land: “And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

At the beginning of their wilderness wanderings (the result of the above rebellion): “And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the LordWhy have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”

it has been a hard road-this journeying out of slavery and into freedom.  it seems to me that their early cries are a question of; “is the Lord with us or not?” but then move into “is the Lord for us or not?”  so often thinking that anything else, even death or slavery would be better than this.

..

i’m moving along on a journey out of slavery and into freedom too. and i ask the same questions.  it comes as no surprise really, these questions all got started in that garden with that theiving serpant.

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she says words that make me cringe and my blood begins to boil.  i halfheartedly try to talk my pounding heart down enough to get past the hot button words she’s used and  actually listen to what she is really saying; “compared to the alternative, followers of Christ do get a better life.”  i don’t hold back and give in to the pounding heart rather then the listening one; “that all depends on your definition of a better life.  followers of Christ get beheaded.”  my cynicism wounds and i see it too late to take the words back.  she stumbles over her response and the pounding in my heart gives way to the sting of understanding my sin and my cynicism.

in many ways i’ve been being made aware of my tendencies towards cynicism-and i’m beginning to see it for what it is; hopeless acceptance of grief.

i’m right there with those Israelites-wondering if the Lord is for me or not- if the path the Lord has sovereignly brought me on is meant to destroy me and my children and my livestock.  i see that going back to Egypt is not an option, and so i resign myself to wandering around in the desert-because i’d rather be wandering around in the desert with the Presence of the Almighty God, than back in Egypt without Him.

but oh the difference it all makes when i move out of that acceptance without hope cynicism and into the truth that…..

You have a Father’s heart
and a love that’s wild

J.J. Heller Who You Are

..

because i’m reading the Israelite’s story, i am able to see beyond their current circumstances causing them to fear death.  i can see the Father’s heart and wild love.  i can see that it has never been the Lord’s intent to bring them out of Egypt to starve them or kill them.  it has been His intent all along to bring them out of slavery and into His presence.  to be their God, their hero, their provider. To give them not just a land flowing with milk and honey, but to give them the gift of Himself, of knowledge of Himself.

and so it goes with me.  He is with me and for me.  He is for you too.

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During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.  You ate no bread and drank no wine.  I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD Your God.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of His great power and Mighty strength
not one of them is missing.

collect wages from your grief work….there is hope…


to draw further in:  Exodus 16, 17; Numbers 16; 20; Isaiah 40:26-31; Jeremiah 31-in The Message

 

 

 

 

 

 

comforted beforehand

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it was early on an unassuming Saturday morning when i am given that glimpse of the mountains and subsequent truths to tuck away and rest into.  it won’t be even 24 hours later when i will need desperately those very truths-and i could not have predicted, prepared, or known beforehand that would be the case.

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a dear one brings me nourishment for the sick bodies, and nourishment for my weary heart.  but neither she nor i could have seen that in less than 24 more hours how desperately my body will need the nourishment, and my weary heart will need to be reminded yet again that i am loved and not alone.

these days it’s the little things that are having a big impact.

the sun shining through my window warming my feet sends my soul soaring.

waking up to yet another sick one sends my soul plummeting. 

the thing that is causing me to be wonderstruck is the fact that the One who sets my feet like the feet of a deer, He keeps one step ahead of the slow drip of discouragement and provides Truth.  He moves within the hearts of those dear ones He’s surrounded me with and sends them with soup and voices speaking words that cheer and delight, lovingly giving to this heart that is so tired and unable to offer anything in return.  it’s such a picture of the gospel-so very Christ like and i doubt they even realize how well they represent Him in their offering.

this comforting beforehand carries a depth to it because it reminds me that He has hemmed me in behind and before and laid His hand upon me.  He saw all of this coming, He sees all of this happening, and He doesn’t prepare me by giving me a better life-plan (do and do, rule on rule) but a better understanding of Who He Is and How He loves.

When i said my foot was slipping,
Your faithful love supported me
In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me
Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.

 


 

to draw further in  Psalm 139, Psalm 94:18-19 , Isaiah 28:10-13, Sara Haggerty’s Adoration, today it’s specifically this one.

overshadowed

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while driving, i glance over and the perspective i see of those massive white peaks above massive blue ones is stunning.  it is such a contrast as i can almost see the entire bustling city at its base.

they stand there-so strong, so constant, so unmovable, so still.  i know that if i were to turn the car towards them and drive closer closer in, i’d lose that picture and see the hustle and bustle happening in their midst too, but here-this view- and they are saying something else.

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arrows fly at lightning speed, aimed straight at those sore and weak spots of my heart.  they fly from words without, but mostly from words within. they beckon me back into the courtroom before the prosecutor who always comes to steal and kill and destroy.  the attack is always strategic, wolves tearing at flesh striving to snatch joy away. always striving to snatch joy away.  and they come in all sorts of clothing.

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those massive peaks remind me of what is true.   like the city nestled at the base of those Rocky Mountains, i am small, resting in the Shadow of a Mighty Warrior.  He stands behind me and the wolves scatter.

“But was you not afraid, good sir, when you see him come with his club?”
“It is my duty,” said he, “to distrust mine own ability, that I may have reliance on him that is stronger than all”.”
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress    

this Stronger One has adjourned the court-the verdict is in.  why do i persist in returning?  my identity has been determined by the only One who knows everything, the One who calls me beloved even tho He knows everything.  He is majestic, He is massive, He is formidable, He is mighty, and He is kind.  The Lord Almighty is His name.


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 in my moments of clarity and hope, i entertain longings, desires, dreams;  i look at my laundry/everything/dumping room and form a picture in my head and the steps to take to get it there.  i look at my front yard full of hundreds of years of neglect and the weeds that love to grow and i imagine a new picture and all the ways to get there.  i imagine the hospitality that i will offer and the enjoyment we will all share with the new space i will create.  i look at my 40 year old figure and see the form of my days and how exercise fits just right-right there. i can visualize the enjoyment and joy of all 5 of us getting our heart rates up and the energy and whole body health that will come as a result….. just to name a few.

hope deferred makes the heart sick.

but then i get a call and bring 3 extra little boys home and it’s everything i can do to come up with enough dinner for all of us and a bit extra to send home with them to their sick mom.

but then i’m rinsing out a throw-up bowl one more time and making honey toast for another one who can now keep food down.  i’m washing sheets and learning how to sanitize silverware and cups with no dishwasher.

a couple of days to recover, the desires and hopes flood in only to be hit with another round of illness or something else.  and the only thing constant is my need for strength from the only One who can give it.

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just three days ago i began to formulate a plan of execution for that laundry room.  today as i’m walking though to bring medicine to another sick one it stands there mockingly.  i let myself sob at all the ways it’s a representative of even deeper things, crying out to the One who delights to show Mercy to me.  and together we go to all of the places of deferred hopes.  i breath deep and remember that even if my children flunk out of school, even if we are not able to get well, even if i never tackle that laundry room, even if my husband’s travel schedule never ends, even if on this green earth all the people who want answers to our questions will never get them and will go on assuming how if we only did this or this we could be happy and healthy and wise.  even if, even if, even if….those mountains crumble and fall into the heart of the sea…

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…our standing, my standing, before the King of Kings will not be shaken loose.  His delight in me will not be effected by failing grades or messy spaces, or sick bodies, or cancelled responsibilities.

i think back on those mountains,  i can’t see them from where i stand, but i know they are still there.  and i think of how sure and strong and steadfast my Mighty God is, how He is present in all His grandeur and glory, overshadowing the ins and outs of what feels like a crazy life.  deep within i am filled with joy and awe at the constancy of my Everlasting Father.

i will rejoice in the LORD,
i will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights.

 


 

 

to draw further in:  chapter 4 of Pilgrim’s Progress; The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller, Romans 8, Psalm 46, Habakkuk 3

 

 

 

Restoring Wonder | Far As the Curse is Found

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oh the curse. my eyes have seen it.  my prayers have felt it.  my hope for change has been dashed in so many ways by it.  and i’m tempted to think that Christmas has lost any Hope of Joy because of death or divorce or addictions or etc., etc., etc…

but then on an ordinary day driving an ordinary road He shows me the roots of my cynicism and the Wonder of Who. He. Is.
yet again.

and so, i find myself standing next to that old Grinch…..

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!    

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….what if death and illness and loss and divorce and curse….can’t trump that Babe’s coming?  can’t trump the joy of that Babe’s coming?  No! it can’t! in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us;

He is enduringly strong.
He is entirely sincere.
He is eternally steadfast.
He is immortally gracious.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.
He is the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizons of the globe.

He is God’s Son.
He is the sinner’s Savior.
He is the captive’s Ransom.
He is the Breath of Life.
He is the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands in the solitude of Himself.

He is august* and He is unique.
He is unparalleled and He is unprecedented.
He is undisputed and He is undefiled.
He is unsurpassed and He is unshakable.

He is the loftiest idea in philosophy.
He is the highest personality in psychology.
He is the supreme subject in literature.
He is the unavoidable problem in higher criticism.
He is the fundamental doctrine of theology.
He is the Cornerstone, the Capstone, and the stumbling Stone of all religion.
He is the miracle of the ages.

Dr. Samuel M. Lockeridge
*august-as an adjective it means; inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic:

i am becoming convinced that what Paul said is true.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, divorce or illness, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

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Christ came!  He came just the same!


to draw further in: Isaiah chapters 9, 40, 44, 61; with Luke 2 and Romans 8

 

Restoring Wonder | Breaking Down and Breaking Through

hope is not hope at all without something to hope against

-seth haines


the dark skies hover overhead while flashlights illumine words we are intending to sing.

no more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found….

“mom, you must be really cold.” my youngest wonders aloud as he’s trying to interpret my shaking and cracking voice.  we’re standing before a shepherd and his wife, the depths of suffering against which Hope is springing forth in the chorus of their beloved sheep who’ve come to sing to them in the night.

Lord, i have beheld Your glory


life trudges along as it does.  bickering and bantering abound and push-ups on the side of the road* and spilled boxes of cereal and husbands who are far away and finals and sickness and Christmas time is here the radio has said.

i fight hard against it all for hope and Hope fights hard for me.

* (push-ups is one of our standard consequences-and sometimes you just have to pull over and deal with stuff before moving on down the road for everyone’s sake.  just keeping it real here.)


we arrive for worship frazzled and late and without coats even tho it’s beginning to snow.  but for an hour we breathe in deep the beauty of corporate worship and the power of Words read and songs sung.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.

Then i saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and there was no longer any sea.

i saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautfully dressed for her husband.

And i heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live among them.
they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

He who was seated on the throne said,

“I am making everything new!”


we rejoice together at a successful long division time with those same 4th graders who brought me to tears last week.  “I need help getting snacks for Friday’s party….i hate to ask you….” i know she knows this isn’t my thing “it’s ok, i can make some calls.”  we laugh together at how neither of us has our Christmas Trees up yet and that there’s one week left till break.  It’s monday, but it’s off to a good start for both of us.

later on…..
i glance over at my 4th grader; “how was your day?”  “well…it was good except for one thing.  we were all lining up for 2nd recess you know….”

and my mind wanders a bit to what may have happened-some rowdy ones ruined it all and they lost their 2nd recess, or maybe he missed a great catch at kickball……

“….Mrs. — phone was ringing and when we got back she wasn’t there.  her brother died all of a sudden of a heart attack.  he was her only brother.”

my gasp is loud and i try to keep driving through the blur of tears that are filling my eyes.

“did you know her brother, mom? ”  he wonders at my response.


i glance over and notice some interesting spots on the neck of my 4th grader.  i look him over and there are interesting spots all over him.  the doctor will see him tomorrow afternoon.

it’s only been 3 days since that fog lifted but the chorus is still working it’s way into each and every day.


Then the angel showed me the river of  the water of life,
as clear as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
down the middle of the great street of the city.

On each side of the river stood the tree of life,
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

No longer will there be any curse…….


Joy to the World

The Lord Came
The Lord Comes
The Lord will Come

Hope

against the curse
far as the curse is found
no longer will there be any curse

Take Heart

Our King has come
He has overcome


to draw further in: Revelations 21-22 and pretty much any Christmas Carol including their 2nd-4th stanzas

Restoring Wonder | Lament

i’ve sat on these words for a few days now, wondering; who am i to write on suffering and lament?  there are many wiser and more qualified folk who have covered this subject well- C.S. Lewis’ A Greif Observed and Amy Carmichael’s Rose from Briar are long time favorites of mine on the subject.   The God of all Comfort-He is a Mysterious One.   but this is where i am-battling yet again for Hope and Wonder amidst deep pain and suffering and so much i don’t understand. the only thing i know to do is wrestle with the Angel-because there is no other Rock; I know not one.

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Job’s Second Test

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.  Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.   -p.492 of my Bible

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my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  Why are You so far from saving me?  -Jesus

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Dishonesty allows my false self, the imposter who is the slick, sick, and subtle impersonator of true self, to engage in life on a fraudulent basis…..The denial, displacement, or repression of feelings is blatant dishonesty and leads to a loss of integrity.

-Brennan Manning, in his introduction to Fil Anderson’s book Running on Empty (p.xiii)

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there was this battle for hope… (so many battles for hope)

the pray-er approaching the Throne room with loud cries and supplications-that she believed with all her heart came directly from her King in the first place.  it was a real battle on another’s behalf for hope to be supernaturally supplied and a real battle to believe that her prayers were not in vain.

the appearance of things from that day are that hope mockingly laughed at the foolishness of this pray-er to believe that God prompted or heard, and even worse, hope mockingly laughed at the one prayed for-the one suffering terribly already-that she would trust this pray-er’s words and believe that God would respond with comfort and a glimpse of Himself.

Sometimes our Faithful One says yes to the sifting and no to the cry for release.

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i don’t know if Job ever sinned in his suffering.  i do know that Jesus never sinned in His.

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with toddlers underfoot my days were often spent chuckling whilst wrestling one into time-out because of their wailing and kicking over not getting their way.

if not for the honest lament, i would not have been able to address the selfishness.

those days also found me wrestling with one wailing and kicking because his broken nervous system could not process the air touching his skin-these were cries for relief from horrible pain.  again, if not for the honest lament, i would not have known to seek help for his suffering.

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like my children, some of my laments are shallow and immature-stemming from a root sin of selfishness and pride. and some of my laments are deep and mature, stemming from a root of utter fear of the One whose love i’ve trusted will not fail.

either way…..

I want to see miracles, to see the world change
I’ve wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
and I’m not copping out, not copping out…..
Cause You’re raising the dead in me

-Switchfoot-Twenty-Four

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The Lord delights in those who fear Him; who put their hope in His unfailing love…..

sometimes i think Hope looks a little like Lament…..

Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.

Rise up and help us;
redeem us because of
Your Unfailing Love.

 

To draw further in…. Psalm 22; 40; 42:7-11; 44:23-26; 103; Lamentations 3

 

 

 

 

for understanding | pursuit

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Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
    and for their children it will be a refuge.

 the door slams and i start washing the dishes. the tension is thick and i think to myself, no one is feeling very safe or very loved right now.  how can a fortress provide refuge if the battle is inside its walls?

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 i stew in all the ways that i am right and have been offended.  as is often the case with these dishes of mine, the Spirit begins to stir within and i’m told to pursue.  to seek out.  to walk the path to where she is hiding out.  and i’m reminded of all that i do not know and all that i long for our home to provide to it’s inhabitants and all the ways it doesn’t.

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and so i walk the path and do not expect the tears i find.  we walk the path back together with dad (who is so logical and steady) and talk it all through and at the end we have come to understand each other (related to this particular issue anyway) and it makes all the difference.

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i too am hiding away in my pain and grief related to this season and all the ways we’ve failed eachother.  and He pursues.  He walks the path towards me and together, my Steady One and i talk it all through…..

i’ve attempted all the things, but all the things appear to be no match for the wounds from without or the wounds from my own sins.  my misjudgments (read misunderstandings), my leanancy when strictness was called for and my strictness when tender mercy was called for.

You have said i’ve been redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to me from my forefathers.  -1peter 1:18

and i resolved not to hand down an empty way of life to my kids.  but deep within i fear that is the very thing i’ve handed down.  which leads me to wonder;

what is it that makes a life empty?
what is it that makes a life full?

it is not perishable things that redeem, it is only the blood of Jesus and i too am helpless in the handing of  that down…..except for a demonstration of my own neediness for it, of our neediness for it.

this is what these teen years have been revealing to me-the wounds have not been covered by all the things, even the good and obedient things.  they can only be covered by Christ’s blood. 

oh Father, that she would…..that we all would …feel safe and feel loved…

in You.

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……and i begin to understand the One who Pursues. …and this One who Pursues provides understanding.

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days later we’re all crammed together working at this workhorse of a kitchen table.  with papers strewn between us, this Pursuing One breathes hope and i am overcome with perplexity and gratitude.  in this moment, amidst this mundane, she grasps my true heart towards her and speaks it forth.  in her words, i grasp her true heart towards mine and my heart swells with the joy found amidst papers and assignments and drudgery.

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oh my Lord-

i have beheld Your Glory.

breathing among the papyrus reeds

Then [Moses’ mother] placed the child among the papyrus reeds along the bank of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe.  She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.   -exodus 2

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at the last minute we decide to walk to school.  i place a ball cap on my head, grab my phone and off we go.  i decide that walking is nicer than driving and we talk more than when on the bike.  i walk him all the way to the playground give him a hug and off he bounds for another day of 4th grade.

i see a friend that i can’t recall ever seeing in the morning before school.  she looks at me and says;

i know why you are here.  God brought you here on purpose.  He knew exactly what i needed today.

on a fluke, she had walked around the building with her 4th grader too.

did you catch there what i did?  i called it a fluke.  but it was no fluke.

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all the disciplines have been a fight lately.  i fight to pray.  i sit with my Bible in my lap and my eyes blur and the words are still and dead and stagnate.  so i talk with Him about it.  and i ask for help.  but day after day i find it the same.  one day last week the words became alive again and in my joy i shared it all here.  i thought maybe the dry season had ended and the rainy season had begun.  but the fight returned and it’s been more of the same.

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we sip tea together and talk of the deep heart issues.  His Word springs forth and quenches as only It can. and i am left to marvel at the words that come and the Truths that we embrace together.  i share a little of this marveling especially in relation to how things have felt this summer.  and she says;

it’s because it’s in you.  His Word is in you.

i’m entering a different place of trust here….always another place of trust.

what she said is true in its way.  He has promised that just as the rain waters the earth, so do His Words that go out from His mouth, accomplishing what He intended.  He has also said that streams of living water will overflow from within those who are His.

But there is more.  i remember Joseph’s words;

and God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this place…

and i remember how Pharaoh’s daughter happened upon that little baby in the basket.  and i acknowledge that it is no less a miracle that my friend and i happened upon each other.  And what i so enjoy about the whole thing is that i didn’t have to have showered or dressed for the occasion.  i didn’t’ have to have any profound revelation.  i didn’t even have to know to show up.  i just had to be breathing.  all the rest?

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was God surely coming to our very aid.

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