The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Less like scars and more like character.

It's been a hard year 
But I'm climbing out of the rubble 

These lessons are hard 
Healing changes are subtle 
But every day it's

Less like tearing, more like building 
Less like captive, more like willing 
Less like breakdown, more like surrender 
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here 
And you're picking up the pieces 
Forever faithful 
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation 
But you are able 
And in your hands the pain and hurt 

Look less like scars and more like 
- Sarah Groves lyrics "Less Like Scars"

I hadn't heard this song in a LONG time and it came on my Pandora station the other morning during my run.  It was timely and quite the response I wish to give those who ask, "how's your summer been?"  It's just been that kind of summer.  Lots of tearing apart.. but MORE building anew.  Subtle changes; but changes none the less in my journey toward holiness... a broken road full of humility and grace.  Broken isn't bad, though.  Broken is beautiful.  Broken exposes our need for Christ... cries out to Christ... breathes Christ.  Yes, I am learning to be quite comfortable in my brokenness.  There is no shame in needing a Savior.  There is no shame in not being able to do.  THIS is why Jesus came.  Brokenness precedes the building.  I am but bones, but HE will cover me and clothe me in HIM.. and in Him, I become NEW.

The kids and I have LOVED going to the pool this summer.  We've spent much time up there and FINALLY Thomas joined our joyful troop of pool goers.  This took a while.  See, at first, Thomas was fearful of the water.  I would hold him and say, "I've got you, it's ok... I've got you.."  He would cling for dear life to me as I waded around the shallow end only letting his toes dip into the water... then his legs... then we would bob up and down.. up and down until I would see a smirk on his face followed by, "again, mommy.. again!"  Eventually he warmed up and wasn't fearful.. but every time we got in the water he immediately began saying, "I got you.  I got you."  I would repeat, "yes, I got you.  I got you."  We would walk around the pool together and in a loud confident voice, he repeated, "I got you.  I got you."

One morning, my eyes became a pool of their own.  I realized what Thomas was speaking.  In his fear, in his need of assurance.. he didn't speak HIS words:  "You have me.  Mommy has me."... he spoke MINE.  I GOT YOU.  

I thought about all of the times I have begun to fear.. all of the times I fight my doubt that God is in this... What would it mean for me to repeat the TRUTH Christ speaks over me!  YOU ARE MINE.  I LOVE YOU.  YOU ARE PRECIOUS.  DO NOT FEAR.  I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.  I HAVE PLANS FOR YOU..PLANS TO PROSPER YOU... PLANS FOR HOPE AND FUTURE.  Not to question it... but to STATE it.  To speak it out loud in HIS own words.

This has profoundly affected me.  Through the lens of God's goodness, the trials are bearable... they have purpose...they are a part of the great story of my life HE has written.  Covered and cared for in the hands of Christ, that which wounds actually strengthens.  And in time.. according to His will... those wounds do indeed become less like scars, and more like character.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you for the work you did on the cross.  Thank you for the suffering you endured for me.  Thank you that you are always at work for our good.  May I speak your truth to myself as You speak it over me on my behalf to my Heavenly Father.  You are GOOD.  You ARE good!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

STOP living in the Now!!

I read what I thought to be one of the saddest blog posts from a young mother of four a few days ago.  It was written in a Voskamp-esque fashion in which she described this intense romantic love affair with a city.  Yes, a city.  She described all the things this city had taught "he" (the city) had loved her well..inspired her... gave her peace..and understanding as to who she was... most importantly, "how to live in the NOW."  This, from a woman whose "living in the now" philosophy ended her with a divorce.  My heart grieves still.

Oh, how I cringe at that phrase.  I want to scream from the rooftops:

Oh believing women of faith, STOP LIVING IN THE NOW!!!!

Stop examining bubbles and butterflies and taking pictures and posting and blogging and tweeting and texting and everything else we do to worship our "now".. our "immediate moment."  Live for the Not Yet.

I know it's hard.  I know we come wired to "feel".  We are emotional.  We are fueled by deeply relating to one another.  We long to nurture and care. I am the FIRST to admit, when not in check, I am an emotional roller coaster. Emotions and passions are good qualities that can catapult us bravely into the Lord's work, but they can also be paralyzing.  Living in the Now and responding to immediate feelings that are driving our NOW can destroy our future.  They lead us astray.  There is little hope in the Now.  Have you ever thought about that?  The Now is of this earth.  The Now is decaying.  Anything that is beautiful and precious in our immediate Now, is only because it is a glimpse of the Not Yet.  Everything that is filled with beauty on this earth is but a dim, faded, eroded image, or emotion of that to come.

As C.S. Lewis so perfectly pens in The Great Divorce: "When you painted on earth- at least in your earlier days- it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape.  The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too."

Living in the Now only grants me my current feelings and circumstances in which to hope.  THAT in itself is hopeless enough.  Living for the Not Yet propels me to draw from a another well... a deeper well.. one that NEVER runs dry.  I drink.  I am supernaturally satisfied.  Nothing of this world can satiate quite like placing complete trust in Christ... and nothing of this world can remove it.  Here is the joy of living for the Not Yet.

I was awakened  yesterday morning to Psalm 130 being recited in my mind.  Yes, recited.  The words were audibly heard and I was grateful for the Spirit giving me this word from the Lord.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications....
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.  My soul waits for the Lord 
more than those who watch from the morning---yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O, Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.

I don't know where you find yourself today.  Are you living in your Now?  Hope in the Lord.  Wait for the Lord.  It's hard isn't it?--the waiting.  Hosea 6:3 states:

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

"As surely as the run rises, he will appear."  THIS is why we wait for the Lord as those who watch for the morning.  Another translation says.. "as watchmen for the morning."  We stand on our wall, on guard.. waiting and looking NOT down at our feet and fearing- not distracted by our feelings of being exhausted or how we feel emotionally.. or how cold or hungry we are... NO!  We look out--to the horizon--waiting for the the DAWN!  Because unless the Lord returns, we can be assured that the sun is rising.  It rises EVERYDAY.  Completely reliable.  So it is with our great and awesome God!  We look out from our wall of darkness towards the HOPE that WILL appear.  Because He is coming.  The sun is rising.  The dawn is almost here.  We need not question.  He will appear and He will rain on us and water us.... soon!  but Now...we need to start living for more than this minute.  We need begin living beyond our own strength.  We need to begin living for the Not Yet!