Repost from an old post…on time, that I don’t have, and passion that I still want

I saw something today that reminded me of this post on my old blog from a year ago.  I smile at the words because at the time, I wasn’t aware that my word for the coming year would be “love.” It is interesting how often the Lord begins something within us as a flame deep in our hearts that grows into a zealous passion for Him and His children.  I should keep this in mind so so much more often than I do.

“I haven’t blogged in awhile. You know what I don’t have? Time. I have no time, and yet, i continue to spend my valuable little time that I do  have on things I can’t afford. I am forever living in a state of time-debt. This morning, I did a very rash thing and mentioned casually to my eldest that maybe we could go to the mall today. Bad idea. I didn’t really have the time, you see. I still haven’t finished this week’s laundry and since my in home Bible study is on a break, apparently my house cleaning is too…or at least that’s what it currently looks like. But I said it, they heard it and ran with it, and I should probably keep my word. Let your yes mean yes and no mean no? sigh.

So everything is thrown into crazy mode as I attempt to ready myself and three littles to leave the home. One of which is crying, one is hurt, and one is mad about something. Then they switch so that another is crying, another is hurt, and another is mad. That’s pretty much how all outing attempts have gone thus far. Anyway, as we’re walking out the door, the 30% chance of rain came and it started pouring. We’re finally all in the car, only for me to realize that I didn’t even LOOK at my two oldest children (who dress themselves) and Story is wearing a shirt (I couldn’t even tell you which one), silver and fur boots, and black legging capris. ….

I don’t have time for this.

I RUN back into the house, half-annoyed and half-relieved that the basket of (luckily folded) clothes belonging to them is still right on the kitchen table. I grab jeans, RUN back to the car in the pouring rain and dress the slowest moving child I’ve ever seen. I don’t have time for this. We go to the mall, look through things..they want to go look at the baby dolls which means play for 30 minutes.

I don’t have time for that.

We walk down the mall for the first time in months because we’ve heard there are Christmas decorations. As we near the center lobby, there’s a HUGE Christmas tree and an empty throne chair waiting for Santa soon and the girls are staring. Meanwhile, my eye catches something else. A modest tree, tucked behind everything else, covered in paper. It’s the Salvation Army Christmas Angel tree, and my spirit says, “You do have time for this.” It’s COVERED. Covered in papers listing ages, gender, and sizes for children. Covered in nameless numbers with handwritten notes at the bottom that say things like, “learning toys. princess things. dora.”

And as I look through them all talking to my girls, I can’t help but think of a blog post I read this morning. A blog post I used some of my precious time that I didn’t have on, to be honest. I agreed with the blog post that spoke on modesty, but I honestly got pretty fired up about reading another post about the same old thing. It’s been in the back of my mind every second since I thought about it, actually. And I looked at these papers that do nothing to speak on the bigger topic of the hearts and souls of children. A little girl aged 4 years that loves princess and dora. A little boy, seven years old that wants a bike. A baby, that needs clothes and blankets and maybe some learning toys.

And darn it! We don’t have time for this!

We do not have time to argue denominations when twenty-seven million people are in slavery.

We don’t have time to argue until we’re blue in the face on whether or not a Christian should drink alcohol when there is an epidemic of orphans in our own country, state, city.

We don’t have time to talk about yoga pants in public when people are dying without love. Without a Father. Without knowing that it doesn’t matter. That clothing and arguing and hatefulness and all that junk are symptoms of a real heart condition.

I don’t have time. I really don’t! Life is fleeting. a vapor. I don’t have the time to look at another person and think about what they’re wearing unless it’s to form a compliment in my heart I really mean for them, or to assess a need that they may have. I don’t have the time to look at anyone else and broadcast a message that is anything but the love of Christ. I have spent too much of my life doing that. I am the walking poster child for legalism. I promise you that. But not anymore. Not if I can hate my own sin more than your’s. Not when I am struck right between the eyes with the hateful, malicious pride I have carried in my Christian heart for far too long. And not when Christ came down to. save. us.

We just don’t have time for that anymore.

We found some little girls on that tree that are the same ages as the girls and love some of the same things. I explained to my four year old that now had big tears pooling in her eyes that I can’t possibly afford to take every child’s card on the tree, but we could pray. We could pray that those children are taken care of. We could use our time to broadcast the message that others need us. We could do what we could for the few. So, we walked back to Target, to play with some dolls, wait out the rain, and shop for some nameless new friends.

For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 2 Cor 2:2

When you’re staring at an ocean of Grace & deciding to jump in

When you’re staring at an ocean of Grace & deciding to jump in

This morning, I sat alone in my living room looking out my window and being happy that dawn was before 7am. I love a quiet time at dawn, an awakening of a soul at the awakening of a day. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to jump right into praise that doesn’t feel empty still so groggy, and seeing the heavens declare the work of His hands makes it so easy to bow a heart.

I often associate the sky with God, but this morning before the sun rose, I was led instead to a beach. I mentally stood at the edge of an ocean and looked out at the magnitude of His creation. I stood there feeling insignificant in comparison to His Glory and realized how much of Himself He has put into that part of His work.

I’m not really a beach person. It’s beautiful and I love to go, but I get bored out of my mind within two days of sitting on sand and leaving to go eat, and sitting on sand, and going to eat, and…you get it. Others love it, I’m okay with that. But another reason that I don’t like beach vacations has to do with a seriously large phobia of mine. Sharks. Sea life. Pretty much anything that is bigger than me and can swim faster than me. WHICH IS EVERYTHING IN THE OCEAN. Jellyfish don’t scare me, but the sting isn’t fun and the probability of getting at least a tiny sting at the beach is high, at least at the beaches I’ve been to. The probability of a shark sighting? even far off? too high for me no matter what it is. Those are just risks that make my vacation so so far from relaxing.

But risks are a part of Him too. The difference in the sky and ocean is that I can see a plane flying in the sky thousands of feet away. I can watch a storm rolling in. In the ocean, you can never be certain of what is even a few feet from you, much less thousands of feet away or under you, which can be unsettling. It’s a vast mystery of beauty and majesty and creation. Just like God. So many things about God are so clear to us, but only because He has revealed those. Because we stand at the shallow end of a clear beach and gaze into those things He has revealed. But there are so many plans for us and good works hidden away for now in the depths of His majesty that haven’t been revealed. They’re hidden away because from our view from the beach, those things may not look so “good.” Trust me, if you had asked me 7 years ago if three children in 4.5 years would be a good plan from God for me, or if overseas missions living single would be better, I would have chosen door number 2. Praise Him that He knows what is better for each of us. But that’s just it. Surrendering to His will is a bit of a risk for someone saturated in American culture and society. You don’t know what is out there. And the ocean is not a lake or even river. You get out into it and you don’t just bob up and down in the same place and swim where you will. You are pulled and pushed along in the currents of its power. You can sometimes swim against the current and go where you want, but it is exhausting and sometimes impossible. But imagine if the ocean was filled with only good things…cuz sharks aren’t good, y’all. I don’t care what London says, I don’t care if they would be kind and gentle and plant eaters, I don’t want them in Heaven. 😉

But imagine if the ocean was filled with sometimes hard, but always good things, and those currents were slow and soft at times, and at times strong and powerful, like our ocean, but instead of pulling you down to danger, those currents, even if frightening, were only going to pull you to more good. To plans He has for you that are for your good and not for harm?

You can stand at the edge of the ocean, covered in sand, and let the waters lap at your feet…even up to your knees. But that is no way to get the sand off. Have you ever watched those people at the beach? The ones that stand in ankle high water, bending over and whenever the waves come in, they scoop as much water in their hands as possible to try wiping off the sand on their arms, shoulders, entire body? … many. people. I have no idea why it doesn’t occur to people to wade in deeper and spend a fraction of the time. But they don’t want to get wet. They don’t want to go in that far, or get pulled out too far, or get into the unknown with unknown things. Sounds a bit like the church at times, eh? Because I’ve seen even more people try to stand at the edge of His Grace and get a little Jesus when the waves come in, when the emotions rolls. When they go to church, when they go to a Bible study, when the worship team plays that one song with the emotional climax at the end, whichever. They try scooping up as much as they can of this Living Water and trying to cleanse themselves but it just doesn’t work. You end up forever scooping and wiping, scooping and wiping.

I get it. Sometimes they don’t want to jump in because they don’t want to be one of those people. (You know the kind. The ones that are just out there far off swimming around in the ocean like it’s a swimming pool. The ones I watch like a hawk waiting for one to go under from a current or shark. Geez Louise people, get into the pool before you die!!!) But, though those people look crazy and might be a bit to our standards, no one is enjoying the ocean like they are. No one. And sometimes the risk of a life dying to self looks insane from someone on the beach. And sometimes the risk of things He could ask of you that you can’t foresee are uncomfortable. Like the time a sea turtle swam past me in Mexico. Umm beautiful, but the surprise of it was uncomfortable to me, though I look back and am amazed and grateful that it happened.

The point is, that like the ocean, God is mysterious and awesome in every sense of the word. But more than that, He is life-giving and good. Majestic and glorious. But one can never truly experience that standing on the beach. You have to get in. The words for ocean in Hebrew in the Old Testament all mean deep, abyss, unknown. You may not know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, but He has promised that it is good.

It reminds me of that quote from Narnia:

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Word of the Year

abcdz2000 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Do you participate in the word of the year thing? If you’ve never heard of it, basically, you pray and ask God to give you a word…a banner that will arch across the next year as a guide.  My first year I tried it, I was given the word Peace and the verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. That was a very difficult year and a hard lesson learned.  The next year, I was given “gentleness” and discovered much about that word as well. By the end of my year of learning gentleness, I had decided I was pretty much done with lessons forever and preferred to just plateau spiritually and call it good.  Just kidding. I didn’t really want to never grow again, but I did feel pretty bruised from the last lessons. I did really think about skipping the word thing for a year and taking it easy (or easier) for just one year…half a year? maybe?

But in mulling this around, I realized that those hard lessons would have come even without a word of the year. But, in the midst of those lessons, God had given me a focal point, something to aim at as I watched for His hand.  I was actually surprised that I even remembered my word by the time February rolled around, much less was still thinking on it by December. (I’m not really a new years resolution kind of girl because I get all pumped about something and then never get past January.)

This year, my word was “love.”  I was actually a bit confused the first several months, because my lessons were all focused on pride, not love. Turns out, humility is step 1 in learning to love. Who knew, right? I cannot truly love the way God calls us to until we lose my ridiculous need to look out for myself first and foremost.

The next lessons learned were a series of lessons on leadership. Those lessons didn’t even fully sink in until last month when a Godly woman repeatedly commented on situations of someone stepping into (what I would call) leading moments and praised their servant heart. Servant? But they’re leading… turns out, true leadership actually is serving. When I attempt to lead someone spiritually (whether my children or a Bible study group), I end up far off the path and distant in my relationship with God.  When I do the exact same things but this time, in an attempt to serve that person or group, I draw closer to Him.

Here it is, December and before you know it, Christmas will have flown by and you’ll be staring straight into a brand new year.  Want to try out a word of the year? Let him put a new song in your mouth to sing for 2015. I promise you’ll reap the harvest from it long after the year has passed.

Because sometimes, you just ride the wave

Today, I’m leaving the fan on, not for temperature but for white noise.

Because some days, the sound of a rocking chair squeak,

mingled with the breath of wind is soothing for the soul.

The house is a mess today, not because of laziness,

but because life is crazy and what we really need is to soak up that crazy.

We need ride that crazy and chaos like a glorious wave and not fight it so much.

That way, you’ll end up on top instead of drowning beneath it.

I’ve decided to let the last load of towels sit in the basket for now, not because I’m tired (though I am),

but because sometimes the image of a half done chore is a reminder that you’re in the middle of life.

Because some days, you need to let go of the gotta-get-done mentality,

and fall into the middle-of-the-best mentality.

Let it wash over you like that big wave.

The wave so big that you’re not sure if you’ll ever see the end,

but you will.

A wave mysterious and full of life beneath the waters,

that half scares you and half thrills you to your toes.

And after one washes you ashore,

don’t immediately get back up to fight or ride another.

Lie there on the sand and soak up the sun and life of what the crazy just handed you.

Then get up and do it again.

It’s Monday, after all. And this Monday begins the countdown of Advent, a looking forward. Not looking back. Not looking all around. Look forward. He’s coming.