Thursday, July 11, 2013

Live NOW...


     Dawn creeps in early these summer days, as if aware that life is speeding by -- And more hours are needed to finish all that calls for our attention. To-do lists grow like the weeds in the garden rows, and interruptions in every day life, like the rain showers that come unexpectedly of an afternoon. But strangely, it's those rain showers that bring rainbows, and it's often the "interruptions" in a day that end up being most important. 


     The future calls, clamoring about all the opportunities that lie ahead. Decisions crowd in and crossroads sprawl out in front of us. Deadlines loom, screens blink, cell phones buzz, and projects wait to be completed. And they all need to be answered SOMETIME. But sometimes if we're really going to LIVE, we have to remember to breath, to clear a space around us to just to BE. Because after all we weren't created to be human-doings, but rather human- beings. 
    And TIME presses in SHORT, and we tend to BOLT to try and get ahead of it. But we never will. There will always be more to DO. The only way to truly LIVE is to not to run ahead of time, but instead to ENTER it and live FULLY right here -- right now. 


And thus, we pause, in the midst of the business. We stop long enough to laugh, to pray, to eat pizza in the park with friends, or walk in the dusk and count the fireflies. Because no matter what we are accomplishing, if we forget how to really live, then what are we really accomplishing? And if we haven't FULLY lived, than have we really lived at ALL?


     HERE is where God has me. Not in tomorrow. Not Yesterday. But today, with all it's deadlines, and interruptions, and projects. And with it's NOW of breezes, and blue sky. Shimmering lakes and baby laughter. HERE in the anticipation of what God is DOING in my BEING. 


     Yes, change is imminent. Tomorrow calls and we anticipate. But today, we enter the moment and LIVE. Because today will never be again, and when we look back, we will have no regrets if we have lived fully, we will only regret if we have not taken the time to truly live and love and BE WHO He made us to be. And as we SLOW, the simple becomes sacred, the interruptions become divine appointments, and our hearts beat in rhythm with His, who created us not for time but eternity, and we LIVE fully alive, in the gift of NOW.

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”― Jim Elliot 

Friday, November 16, 2012

A love note in brown

    
      The cold of late October nipped our faces as we walked along the nearly deserted back road. The yellow gray ditches and somber gray sky added no warmth to our surroundings and we drew our coats tighter round us to ward off the chill. I glanced into the young face beside me and saw there the same  ache I heard in her voice. Her blue eyes were shiny with tears and my own heart ached with an intense longing to somehow ease her distress.
     "I'm so uncertain. I just don't know what to do..." Her voice trailed off as she tried to explain the drama of feelings that were unfolding within her. In the last few months her world had been turned upside down. Her Dad had been torn from her.
      "I miss my sheep." To some it may have seemed like an odd thing to say at this moment. But I knew her well. And somehow more than the familiarity of the animals she had loved and raised from girlhood, I sensed a deeper cry. Not so much the cry of a sheeperdess missing the sheep she had sold, but the cry of a little lamb that feels lost from the Shepherd. The Shepherd of her family flock was gone. And in the darkness she was reaching out, crying, searching for the face of the Heavenly Shepherd she had committed her life to follow. And somehow in the darkness, the stumbling thorn strewn pathway by this precipice seemed dubiously uncertain. She felt a need like never before to hear His gentle voice, and to feel His carrying arms. But in the raging storm of emotions, change, and grief, she felt bereft.
     "I want to buy brown wool to make something warm for my brother." she added. "But I don't know if I should really be spending the money right now." Again the deep uncertainty that spoke of so much more than surface story. The deep longing that crops up in all of us for the familiar, for something warm and safe to wrap our hurting hearts in. The tangible ability to untangle something tangled, when the threads of our own lives are tangled beyond our recognition. 
     She had been talking of getting a spinning wheel. Working in wool was not a new interest. But now despite her busy schedule with a heavy load of college classes she was longing more than ever for the familiar, for the comfort of at least some dream come true to give her hope to go on. 
     Looking at her in the midst of her sorting her thoughts, both about her wants and about the spiritual battle that raged in and around her, I felt I needed to remind her of the truth it is so easy to lose sight of when life hurts most. "Don't forget. God loves you. And He loves to see you smile." I had encouraged her to surrender her dreams and desires to Him. "He delights to give us the desires of our hearts. But don't forget, it is when our wills are aligned with His that we can truly delight in Him." But more importantly than anything right now she needed to remember her Shepherd's tender love.
     As we walked on we prayed together, bringing her needs to Him, her confusion, her desires. and her wants and needs.  I prayed He'd show her that love.
     In the weeks following I wondered if I should try and find a spinning wheel for her myself. She had a birthday coming up. But I knew it was rather beyond my own budget. So instead I prayed. "Lord, you know how much this would mean to her right now. Would You be willing to give her one?"
     It wasn't more than a month later that I got the email. "I have just been given a spinning wheel." I could have laughed out loud for joy. The next day she came to visit. As we stood in my Kitchen doing dishes together, she bubbled over with the whole story. "And it even came with a gift tag with my name on it." she enthused, a special shine in her blue eyes.
     "Really?" I looked at her curiously. Trying to follow her train of thought. 
     "You remember the brown yarn I wanted? Well, after God told me not to buy a spinning wheel I prayed that if he gave me a spinning wheel he'd give me three pounds of brown wool for that gift for my brother. When I went to get the spinning wheel the lady took me back into her craft room and started shoving things into my arms to take with. At the last she pulled down a bag and asked. 'Do you like to clean wool?' I told her I did thinking maybe I could clean it for her as a bit of payment for her huge gift to me. But she told me it was for me to take and keep. And when I opened the bag inside was approximately three pounds of brown wool. It was as if God was going above and beyond and saying, 'This is for you from me with love.'"
     I grinned at her and quipped. "Remember? I told you God loved to see you smile." And I could see in her return smile that her confidence in His love was being renewed. Because God in His great love had sent her not only the fulfillment of her dreams, but also a very personal love note in brown. 
     
     

Monday, October 8, 2012

Living Loved...

 Image

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph 3:17

     

     The season's fierce beauty is haunting. We wake to mornings filled with the biting glory of frost. To morning sun rising through forests set aflame -- Brilliant with the Autumn bedecking of umber, ochroid, coral, and crimson. And the SON of Love arises in this heart -- beckons with a scintillating call to abandon oneself to the wildness of this moment and the untamed beauty of something more.
     The long summer days have given way. The geese fly in low formation overhead, the heavy flapping of their wings, whispering goodbye to all that was. The heavens mirror the moods of the season in it's ever changing crisp azures and chilling weepy grays. Thus too the changes of life come flocking. The flying days like the low flying geese, calling goodbye to all that once was and the changing mirrors of the heart's sky, crisp vision and grays of contemplation and sorrow by turns.
    And then the early snow. I've been abroad ten days and the carnival heightens to it's peak in my absence. My arrival home is met by sullen skies and a haze of choking smoke from the forest fires that burn through the North Land. Swept by gusty winds and dampened only slightly by a cold melancholy drizzle --  the following day brings the snow storm. This the first week in October.
     So too the fires of life and dangers rage around us. The smoke of confused pain sometimes clouds our view. Then the snow. The frigid reality of this fallen groaning world. Despite our feeble protests that this is "too soon." Yet through it all, just as through the swirling dancing whiteness -- as it mingles with the wild colors of fall yet clinging to the trees, I hear the call.
   And the voice that calls is the Voice of hope -- a hope that opens my eyes to see the beauty IN the cold whirling madness. It is a voice vibrant with the strength that invigorates, stirs my heart to action, renews my vision, -- It is a voice filled with purpose that sees the good of things being worked by a Sovereign Hand through the shattered mosaic of life. 
    It is an invitation. An invitation to find my identity more deeply IN HIM. Because after all it's all about Him anyway isn't it? And the wildly wonderful finding of our identity IN HIM gives us the freedom to be poured out FOR HIM. And as I answer the call, He comes to meet me. And as I look into His eyes I see tender laughter, and dangerous strength, and wild freedom. And in that moment I know what the call means. It's an invitation to living fully alive. Not just walking IN the Pain and the joy but ALIVE to it...It is an invitation. An invitation to living loved.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pressing On

   
 The battle's roar is all around you. The enemy guns are constantly firing. The dust is thick and hardly ever settles enough for you to get more than a hazy view of what's going on. The cries and moans of the wounded are always at hand. The duties press in on every moment. If you ever sleep it's curled up for a tight hour of sleep in a musty fox hole. And then the commander calls and you are on your feet again.
     We are in a battle. And sometimes it is easy to grow weary in well doing. Sometimes we feel as if we'll faint. It's then that our commander's words ring again in our ears. "Be strong and of good courage. Your work will be rewarded. Seek first my Kingdom and all these things will be added unto you."
     When did we begin to buy into the lie that it's about our comfort? "Take up your cross." We knew this was the cost of following our Christ. Perhaps we failed to count it? When did we begin to view our happiness as the end of our faith? No, we are to count our lives but loss for the high calling of Jesus Christ. To run with patience the race set before us. FOR HIS GLORY. It's so easy to forget that's it's really not about us at all but about HIM.  And there is so much at stake. Eternity waits, but the question remains WILL WE BE FAITHFUL?
     And yet when you are utterly weary, wounded in the battle, it is then that the Commander in Chief steps in as the medic and stoops to lift us. Jesus too desired rest. Jesus too knew the press of the crowd and noise and dust and longed for quiet. He knew the strain of struggling souls, the pain of rejection, the agony of the garden, and the death of the cross. But He did not stay there. He rose victorious and conquering King. And this is what gives us the strength to go on. The truth of the LOVE of our commander for those under Him that makes them MORE THAN CONQUERORS. THROUGH HIM.


     Thus, we band together, following our wounded war Lord, the footsteps of the crucified, the Servant of all embodied in the Son of God. And as we draw on His strength we find we are sustained to go another step, another day. Because we have glimpsed again the journey's end when it will be WORTH it all. When we who have shared His sufferings will also share His glory. When we shall KNOW Him as we are known BY HIM. THAT WILL BE GLORY! Let's remain faithful and press on in the name of our KING Jesus.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Real Compassion -- Real Christianity

"Hopeful garments are SATURATED in DESPERATION, not CHRISTIAN PROFICIENCY."

Compassion is called out of us when we see situations where there is an obvious absence of something or someone life giving. It calls us to ache, mostly because we are forced to long for the restoration of whatever or whoever is absent. For those of us who have tasted the riches of Christ, compassion calls us to want to extend His heart into the situation, to be ministers of reconciliation and restoration. Sacrificial living requires nothing of our hearts because it has no sight, no memory, no vision. Compassion requires us to see what is gone, to remember what was, and to long for those things and those people to be restored.Compassion is being BROKEN over how little we grieve the absence of Christ in our lives. 



                                                                                                                              Jan Meyers





Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Middle Choice...


 

 "Sooner or later God meets every trusting child who is following Him up the mountain and says, "Now prove that you believe this that you have told ME you believe, and that you have taught others to believe." 
     THEN is your OPPORTUNITY. God knows, and you know, that there was always a hope in your heart that a certain way would not be yours. "Anything but that, Lord," had been your earnest prayer. 
     And then, perhaps quite suddenly, you found your feet set on that way, that and no other. Do you still hold fast to your faith that He maketh your way perfect?
    It does not look perfect. It looks like a road that has lost its sense of direction: a broken road, a wandering road, a strange mistake. And yet, either it is perfect, or all you have believed crumbles like a rope of sand in your hands. There is no middle choice between faith and despair. "


                                               Gold By Moonlight pg 71 Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Celebrating Life with Siblings... =)

So when my little bro's girlfriend asked us out to go bowling -- how could I say no?! =)


Pick your ball carefully Carrie -- Your score depends on it!

My favorite shot of the night - 3 size 8, a size 10 and a size 12.

Go Aaron! 

And the way you swing tells me a lot about WHO you are...always analyzing ya know. = p

Carrie - won both games of the night -- You are just plain fun to be with Carrie gal!

I'd never been bowling before...but the first ball wasn't a gutter ball either. 

Another first time bowler...Go Sarah Bear!

Yes Aaron, you always were the lady's man little bro! =)

Celebrating sisterhood and Victory!

High fiving and happy cheering were irresistible!

Cold Coke

You guys are amazing! =) Love you all and thanks for the amazing evening!