Chasing Joy

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

Category: interlude (page 3 of 3)

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(emily freeman*)

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

*i didn’t link to the exact quote-i can’t remember where i first heard that from her, but i linked to a post where she speaks on it… here are some others.

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.)

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.)

melting

“What do you want?”

…….

the accusations and temptations to do more/have more
and the accusations and temptations to do less/have less

who can know what it is they are to do?

i’ve been personally becoming aware of the whole identity thing….
and had a couple of meltdowns over the state of the lives of the 5 living here in this home
….and the state of this home
and some meltdowns over the state of the lives living outside of us, the state of this dying world.

this week in Matthew-we are in chapters 19-21

been also studying David and Saul and struck by (read: identifying with) Saul and his crisis of identity and battle with envy….and the picture of what he becomes-it’s not even human anymore.

……..

days go by and time alone to sit at the feet of the One who gives the best counsel and listens and knows everything…..the days go one after the other after the other and there is none.  and the world shouts in my ears and i forget what is true and meltdowns partner with striving and there is no peace inside.

until today.  and i sit with this question:

“What do you want?”

and i just don’t have a clue what the answer to that is.

but He does.

and so He shows me:

tho i have not seen Him, i love Him, and even though i do not see Him now, i believe in Him and am filled w/an inexpressible and glorious joy.  for i am receiving the goal of my faith, the salvation of my soul.

what do i want?  joy.  unspeakable, inexpressible and glorious joy. 

and all my striving and pining and trying to figure it all out what to do and what not to do and where to live and where not to live and how to live and how not to live
             is all a frantic search for this joy.   

it doesn’t come as i think it will. those words in 1 Peter were written to….

God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered…..who have been chosen (through the sanctifying work of the Spirit)
                for obedience to Jesus Christ.

i don’t like being a stranger.  i don’t like being scattered.  i don’t always like obeying.

melt me with Your beauty, melt me with the truth of who You are and who i am.  the truth of the real goal of my faith-vs. the lesser things i make it.  the real source of joy vs. the lesser things i’m pining for

Restore to me the Joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.  -psalm 51

for further melting….in a beautiful way:  

When Life has Taught You to Run Past its Best Conversations

Being a Closet Radical

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