Field of Dreams

I walked tall through my field of dreams
enjoying imagining the possibilities.
When new flowers started to grow
I could feel my self let go of the old
that never made it through the storm.
I breathed in the fresh new breeze;
times of change, I might even be happy.

I watched longingly through my window
looking out at my field of dreams
soaking up the darkened rains,
we haven’t seen the sun for days
Yet while I’m waiting, a smile on my face
Could it be we’ve found better ways
to dream again and behold the pain?

It doesn’t take too long for while the windows all are open
A quicker storm spins through and tears the field apart.
You wonder what it was for once the damage has been done.
You wonder what you’ve gained by tearing up your heart.

I walked low through my field of dreams
laying all about in shambles.
Was it worth it for the joy,
though fleeting and now unraveled?
Is memory enough? Does it consummate the dream?
Was this the life I was made for?
A trail of scattered, broken dreams?

Maybe many months go by when finally I glance out at the field
New flowers have grown up and colors abundantly yield.
Tempt me as it may, I consider staying behind
But there’s just something there worth tasting and growing again
this dream I have inside.

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When I am at the end

I’d learned to love what I thought
was a hope that’d never cheat
but there wasn’t enough to follow through
I was cornered and fighting was no use.

I’d learned to live my life for me
at least that was what I could control
but even my mind felt like a waste of time
and my body couldn’t keep itself in line.

I’d learned to think if I was strong
that protection came from my release
and there’d be no need to rely on love
where the stronger hurt those underneath.

So you put it to the test. Where would I be then?
When all my strength is invested
When my control becomes ineffective
When my soul becomes infected
When my body is unrested
When I’m at the end
of myself
Will my hope begin to doubt?
Will I find a new way out?
Will I put my strength in men?
Will I hope in this clown
who thought there was enough to go around
but feels kind of foolish now,
now she knows that there’s no doubt about
who is really in control

Now it’s time to give it up, soul.
Take upon your back His yoke.
Lean in now, and let Him pull.
Your spinning tires were getting dull.
Because you were never enough
to make your soul feel whole.

And when we’re in the clear
and the end is drawing near*
maybe you’ll remember who to fear
your Savior, a love so dear
who gave you ears to hear
a hope to hold, unfailing.
Promises unchanging.
Comfort, not assailing.
All mine for the taking
as I arrived at the end
of myself.

 

*grad school

Hoping IN versus hoping FOR and why it’s ok to listen to your heart

“Do not put your hope in [fill in the blank here]” says every Christian mentor ever. Years have been passing as I’ve struggled in trying to understand myself, my desires, and God’s desires. Message after message I’ve heard telling me to not follow my heart, don’t pursue happiness, don’t put your hope in marriage or a job or kids or friends or family.

Maybe it was me or maybe it was actually the message being given to me… I’ll never know, but the truth wants to come out. There’s dreams and desires stuffed down in there that feel covered in shame because either I was told to not have hopes and dreams, I’m afraid of loss/disappointment, or whenever I was being told not to put my hope in something I thought it also meant that I shouldn’t hope for anything either. Maybe they were telling me that, maybe they meant I ought not to hope for the things I longed for. Maybe I didn’t know the difference. Either way, my heart and soul are finding freedom. Here’s is where I am now:

Hope: the expectation/longing for good, a desire for something to happen, a type of trust/assurance

Hoping in: 

“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” Psalms 146:3

“Here’s what you say to those wealthy in regard to this age: “Don’t become high and mighty or place all your hope on a gamble for riches; instead, fix your hope on God, the One who richly provides everything for our enjoyment.”” 1 Timothy 6:17

Man can turn away from the Lord, the strength that comes from man is not strong enough for what we need. Man was never going to be able to save our souls. If we want good things, why not look to God and expect the good we desire from him who provides those things instead of leaving it up to chance or asking man alone to provide?

Hoping for:

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”…So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1

 “As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.  They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” Luke 18:35-43

Beautiful longings come from the pouring out of our souls, our desires, our dreams. God doesn’t always answer yes, but the outpouring of our souls finds favor in his eyes. In it lies the confession that we know it is he who provides and we didn’t earn or deserve his favor, but it is a gift.

The heart: an anatomical feature given to describe desires and passions

“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life” Proverbs 4:23

“Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility. Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.” Ecclesiastes 11:8-9

The heart can be deceitful, it must be watched over, but from it flow the springs of life. We have the freedom and permission to follow the impulses of our hearts and the desires of our eyes, we are to enjoy the days that are good because they won’t last. Yet, there is a warning… God will judge our hearts. He will declare them as righteous or wicked. We will be held accountable for what the impulses of our hearts led us to do.

What God does with the heart:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lordhe turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Provers 16:2

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9

“‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.'” Jeremiah 24:7

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

God knows our hearts. He directs our hearts. He weighs our hearts to test if it is pure or selfish. He cares about our motives. God sees our hearts. He searches our hearts. The Lord gives us a new heart that longs to know him. He creates a clean heart in us. The Spirit of the Living God has written the gospel on our hearts. He removes our hearts of stone and replaces them with a moving, breathing, bleeding heart.


Hear what your heart is saying. Listen to it. Listening doesn’t mean doing what it says, listening means paying attention. Take note. Affirm the desires and passions. Bring them before the Lord and ask “Have mercy on me!”. “Treat me unlike I deserve”. “Give, though I have not earned.”

Pray and do not lose heart. Luke 18:1

Nehemiah was merely a cup bearer to a king. Upon hearing the news of the destruction in Jerusalem and the despair of the people, with sadness of heart, he asked the king if he could aid to rebuild the temple. The Lord made a way for the conception and establishment of Nehemiah’s desire.

“And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid.  I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.  And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah,  and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.” Nehemiah 2:2-8

It wasn’t an easy task, it wasn’t met without trouble or consequences, but where would Nehemiah been if he had never asked? What of Hannah or the blind man or the persistent widow begging for justice? What does silencing our desires do? If our only excuse is to avoid disappointment and pain, then I think we are choosing not to believe the Lord can truly satisfy in our unmet desires. That his comfort is sweeter than numbness.

Never allowing your heart to have a place in your life is about as crazy as not allowing your heart to hope for heaven. All of our hoping and waiting is just a small picture of the greatest redemption and gift our hearts long for.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:23-26

“Do not follow your heart, if it means your going to settle when you know there’s something better.” What if you’re not settling? What if following your heart is you becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be and the person God has always wanted you to be?

I’d say listen, I’d say go… and God will hold you accountable for all that you do.

Anymore

Somewhere I heard a bird, in a meadow softly sing
distant, melancholy; a secret stolen dream.
It didn’t take me long, to arrive beneath her throne
the dream it kept her waiting so here she made her home.

“Why, little bird,” I asked, “do you soulfully sing?
If a dream is what you really want, go! Take wing!
Are you afraid of flying, or reaching a distant shore?
Why do you keep stagnant; when you’re capable of so much more?”

Somehow the little bird, it stopped and turned its eyes towards me
wrestled, worn and weary; without words I heard her speak.
“Is it so unfamiliar, to stay against all hope?
What is more enduring: to leave or remain home?”

I guess I hadn’t wisdom for the bird’s questioning.
Who was I to really say giving up was the better thing?
“But do you believe its right, hiding here alone?”
Ah, but she seemed to say, if you stay then I won’t be
anymore.

O, But For Hope

To Lauren,


Some nights you end up in my dreams
and we embrace as if no time had passed
as if the words that’ve been said, hadn’t
and the hardship between us didn’t last
I awake from the sweet
trumped by the reality.

I wonder if I’ll see you in passing,
and if you’ll recognize my face
or if you’ll pretend you didn’t
and break my heart to pieces
and I wonder if I’d even speak to you
or if I could.

I said I’d be done begging.
I’m done searching you out.
But hearing the silence you’ve surrounded yourself in
makes me wonder if you’re drowning in loneliness
like me.

But maybe you’re fine. Maybe your new life without
is much better now that I’m not there to make a sound
maybe its really much better
trusted wounds, my friend
but I’d take a kiss
just to know you’re alright
or understand
why you left
or won’t come back
or why you hide
why this dread?

just one sound
and I think I could finally sleep.
Just one ounce.
Oh, how I miss you my friend.

Some nights you end up in my dreams
and we embrace as if no time had passed
as if the words that’ve been said, hadn’t
and the hardship between us didn’t last
I awoke from the sweet
trumped by the reality.

O, but for Hope that you’ll come home.


Diary of the Abused

Between the ages of 10-12, I experienced a variety of sexual abuse. While I used to think this was a huge statement of who I am, a big secret to unveil, it’s no longer defining me and instead I’m finding peace. Washed clean by the purity of another child, I didn’t realize what bondage I was under until this last summer.


You might not take compassion on me if you saw me on the street. I walk up rightly and I can run with speed. There are no scars from what I’ve seen or what’s been done to me.

But if you might have examined what is in me – these are the things I’m convinced only Jesus can love me in spite of.

I used to think my innocence was stolen from me, but as I consider who I was becoming at that time, I can see that I was offering an invitation. While that’s not everyone’s story, its part of mine. And while that doesn’t make me responsible I know I cannot blame just one person. I would have liked to, however. I’m haunted often by guilty memories of my letters of vengeance and words of unforgiving hatred; once heavily burdened by the weight of responsibility for the discouraging direction their life went after. Those are things Jesus has helped me let go for many years now.

But, there were a lot of other consequences, a lot of other scars I wore and carried. A lot of distortions of who I saw myself as, my sexuality, my relationships with other people, and the intertwining of all of those things. I think as I started following Jesus in college, I tried covering up those distortions with my convictions I was building only as an effort to silence a few demon hounds. They sounded a lot like temptations I indulged in the past, but as soon as my convictions began to be challenged, those temptations met me right in the face by the small hands of purity and innocence.


After crossing the finish line of high school, possibly on my hands and knees, I was convinced of a few things: I decided I’d probably never get married, never have kids, and that I was asexual. It was very complicated. At the same time I also desired those things a lot, but convinced I was too dangerous to ever take part in them.

I’m not entirely sure how to communicate this next part except to just be blunt.

It was like every time I experienced pleasure from touch, I was convinced it was sexual. It had to be. That’s all I ever knew it as. Every pleasure was lust. Slowly I convinced myself I was a monster. A twisted sickness that I couldn’t escape. I was stuck with myself. Too afraid of what I might become, I put up walls; marinading in solitude. Stuck in a push and pull of curiosity and fear.

Coming to college, I was hit upside the head with a 2×4 to follow Jesus, to find healing and forgiveness. Not only that, but I found this place where brothers and sisters just hugged each other. People held hands and cried on each others’ lap.

But of course, those old temptations followed so I built convictions about not touching that protected me; probably hurting my brothers and sisters a long the way.

About a year ago, it became time to face it when I was babysitting. We were reading a book when the child began to pet my arm. It was so sweet and nice, but my blood pressure raised as I considered that I’d been enjoying this moment in all the wrong ways. I remember thinking, “Is this who I am?”.

A prison of shame.

I’d read verses that Paul wrote to Timothy like “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst” and nod in empathy. I’d pray things like “create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me,” utterly convinced nothing could ever make me pure in the inmost places of my heart and mind-too ashamed of these temptations.

At some point during the beginning of 2014 I had a revelation about temptation and sin. Romans 6 says specifically “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who was died has been freed from sin”.

Temptation became just that. Temptation. A mere, weasily word that can be resisted and is rewarded when done so (James 1:12). I suddenly squelched every opportunity for the tempter to have any power over me, and so put to death the power sin held in my life. The mortification of sin, as John Owen calls it. As I think of that time, I can see this was a good foundation God was laying for what lie ahead.


Fast forward to this past summer: same home, same child, same lap; a lonely heart and a courage to change. He laid there with his back up to me and I asked if could draw a picture with my finger for him to guess. This was exactly how it happened the first time for me, when I was abused all those years ago. But, I felt compelled to re-live this memory. He said yes, and so I began to draw letters; he giggled and guessed. As he laid there, this little boy of 4 years, in all enjoyment and peace, gave to me an example of pleasure in perfect purity.

The next morning as I was waking in my bed, he came in to lay down with me. I sat up and started humming and drumming on his back gently. As he lay there, eyes closed, it was the purity in his face came up and washed over me as I witnessed such pleasure of a touch. It was possible. It was pure, and it was good. Not all touch had to be sexualized. It was like opening a door from a world of brokenness to a world of hope.

After that I remember thinking… I’ve been missing this part of human connection my whole life???????? No wonder I was swallowed by doubt and loneliness; I’d been missing one of the main forms of human connection! And so, somehow, my heart is healed by Jesus working through a child. And so we are the hands and feet, eh?


As I reflect on 2014 and think about the things I’ve learned this year, that was by far the most impacting. And why share all these considerably intimate details in a public domain? Well, first to glorify God and to show his healing work, secondly to confess my own sin and prove God’s great grace in forgiveness, and thirdly that maybe someone out there might feel burdened by the same thing looking for compassion or empathy. Or maybe that you might have a friend or a sibling, a wife or a daughter or son who was or will be here. That maybe you are burdened by your guilt of sin and need a reminder that our Lord Jesus is mighty to save.

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 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.”

The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you. At that time I will deal with all who opressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.

At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,”  says the Lord.

A great Hope.

I hit a rocky place a few months ago. Despair enclosed in on just about every side and I started to forget why all this life was happening in the first place. So discouraged I remember praying “God, I don’t even know what hope is anymore.”

Out of hope and out in the mountains I spent some time in Colossians and came across the verse that says our hope has been secured, stored, sealed in heaven. (1:5) I started to do more in depth searches which basically meant I did a lot of dictionary searching and translational stuff. Hope is the expectation of good. And that goodness comes from having redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. (1:13)

Getting my right perspective back on track, I began reading through Isaiah again. (Most of the time I read Isaiah and I’m frustratingly like “Lord, I don’t understand any of this.” Amen?)
I wanted to share this though:

Joy of the Redeemed (Isaiah 35:1-10 NIV):
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will greatly rejoice and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of The Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf un stopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongues shout for joy. Water will gush forth in wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not he found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of The Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

What a great hope of joy for those of us who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus!

Carry on in faith, love, & hope!

Pizza and learning to play without the queen.

(This is a long one, but a long time coming! God has done some great work!)

First I think I need to describe my grandfather. Yes. This is a good idea.

He was average height and dark skinned. Polish. I remember him best seeing him growing his giant, tall tomato plants in the garden; always shirtless, his skin was tight but also wrinkly. When he spoke his polish accent shaped every word, it was a low grumbly voice. Inside the house, he would always offer us (the grandkids) gum. My favorite was finding really old Big Red in a drawer because it would snap when you bent it. My grandpa was a hard worker and spent time in a concentration camp as a POW during WWII, but he never talked about it because somethings in life “were best left in the past”. He coined the catchphrase in our family “you can do it like a lion or you can do it like a lamb, but you still gotta do it” and that was the mentality my mom passed on to us kids. My grandpa didn’t have a mother figure in his life, apparently she had died when he was five so his dad raised him and taught him to play chess. When my great grandfather taught my grandpa and his siblings to play, they learned to play without the queen: to teach them that the other players had very important roles and could win the game without her and then also to show them that as they depended on each other (the knights and rookies, pawns and bishops) they would work wonderfully together and if the queen came back into the game, the rest of the pieces knew how to function to their ability and could compliment the queen. This my grandpa passed down to my mother as well, as her mother was diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia and was placed into an institution so my mom too had to learn to play without the queen.

chess-shutterstock

My mom was telling me this story tonight as we sat at a local pizza place (its much too classy to be called a ‘joint’) in my hometown.  I want to share with you an amazing story that unfolds to show God redeeming love and power! Last Thanksgiving break I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t understand disappointment because I had such an easy life; I remember responding with tears and shouting as I confessed to her that I had been suicidal and stuck in depression for most of my childhood. Before coming back she had blamed me for the riff in her relationship with my dad, words that stabbed far deeper than any knife could and I cried myself to sleep listening to Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North praying and waiting for the pain to stop. Coming back to school, surrounded by believers I sought to allow God to change my circumstances and to change my heart. Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” and Ephesians 6:2-3 quotes Deuteronomy by saying “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I went to a conference over Christmas break that year on the same topic. I knew regardless of how I felt about it or how much I thought she earned or deserved honor, I was going to honor because of the promise God made if I obeyed. It’s been a roller coaster of humbleness since.

Now that I’ve caught you up on the mess (and you can read plenty of previous posts on the matter) I’d like to tell you where we are now.

My mom and I sat at the restaurant for an hour talking about the magnificent work Jesus has done in our lives and the brokenness it has come through. Both of us. Mainly her. Oh Frabjous Day! Cahloo! Callay! How I chortled in my joy!Better yet, we wept beside one another in a church in my hometown yesterday when singing From The Inside Out by Hillsong. What is the cause for this change?

God is at the end of your rope. A couple times a week I pass a sign outside of a church on the west side of Ames and that’s what its said for the last week. God is at the end of your rope.

I mentioned in my post Lord the Healer and Redeemer that my mom’s boyfriend Jeff was diagnosed with cancer and only had a limited time (3-9 months) left to live. 3-9 months turned out to be three weeks. I received a call one night from my mom that Jeff wouldn’t make it through the night. God put it on my heart to share the gospel with him so I left everything and a beloved sister (my kindred spirit) drove 6 hours with me. In the span of 22 hours, we drove there, met his wife and kids, and paced and prayed for 7 hours (well, my friend slept somewhere). I had no idea what I was doing- but I knew that as the hour grew later (or earlier I should say) my time was coming as his time was ending. 6 am I asked to speak to him alone. His body was frail and almost non existent on the hospital bed. His eyes yellow. He reached out often to grab things that weren’t there, but when I called his attention he would look at me. As I shared I asked if he wanted to accept Jesus as his payment for his sins, but no answer. I left it in God’s hands. 5 hours later I gave him a hug and said goodbye, I whispered into his ear to watch for Jesus and lifted up the rest to God. I left and couldn’t hold in the tears. The sadness was too real. I hugged my mom tightly and we talked of Gods love. My friend and I drove back to Ames. 22 hours. The next morning was a friday and my mom had called to tell me he had passed. It’s been God’s healing work ever since.

I had been praying recently in the last month for my mom, that she would find a church to get plugged into and another believer to come a long side of her. Last week (or so) my mom called me on a Sunday to tell me about her time at church for the 3rd week in a row and how she wanted to make it her highest commitment. No excuses. She just ordered glasses and as soon as they came in she was going to start reading two pages of the Bible everyday. I’ve been sending her messages on CDs about topics I think will help bring healing to her heart and songs about God’s love to bring comfort. She’s been going to church with a woman named Judy, who I was able to lift my hands of praise next to at church. I couldn’t wipe away the tears fast enough.

Its like- in the depths of ALL of this brokenness that just thrives all around me, knitting my family together, God is working powerfully. Theres still more work to do. But if you are encouraged by anything out of this, let it be that God can and will change your life and your family’s life if you seek to obey His words. It may take a long time, but let it be worth it. It makes take hours of tears and heart wrenching pain, but get through it. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Keep thanking God for the hard stuff even when nothing in you wants to. Look your self in the mirror and say “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfied your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5) And don’t let your self forget it.

This thanksgiving I’m thankful for everything above written. Even the messy stuff. It was worth it just to experience the glory of God within my family.

What are you thankful for?

Lord the Healer and Redeemer

Today has been quite a day. I called my mom today expecting to have a hard conversation; her boyfriend had been diagnosed with lung cancer and they were waiting for some results. I didn’t intend to hear such a short end to his future. It’s not for certain but somewhere between 3 months to 9 months left for him. That was really hard to hear, and it surprised my heart so much to find out just how much I cared.

Harder yet, he doesn’t believe in God which means because of his hard heart and rejection of truth… heaven is not his destiny. This saddens me far greater because I care a lot about him and I know God does too.

I’m writing this for prayers and encouragement. I’m not entirely sure what role in showing God’s love to him that I or my mom can play, but I’m praying God would guide me. I don’t know what its like to find a way to trust God through all this hardship from his perspective… its nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

I do trust God though, I trust that He has a perfect plan for Jeff and our family and that He will use this cancer to draw Jeff to himself,  but I’m afraid Jeff’s heart is too hard. I pray God would soften it and speak love into his life and he would have ears to hear and eyes to see. I also believe God is a great healer and a lot can happen in 3 or 9 months.

Please join me in prayer if you read this or pass on any encouragement I could share if anyone has similar experiences! Jesus talked about the effort a shepherd will go to save one sheep… I pray Jeff is that sheep.

Thanks,

from a loving sister in and servant of Christ.

Defying Logic: Day 1

Yesterday I took the day off. I told the ladies I meet with that I couldn’t and I emailed my boss and asked that it’d be ok if I skipped work. With approval all around, I went out to a park and sat for 4 hours. 

The wind was cold, but luckily I brought a blanket so I wrapped myself in it and sat. 

My apprehension was that I was going to go and God wouldn’t meet me there. My heart was too proud. For the first minute I wept actually, just to be away from everything. How my heart longed to just escape, but only this teeny tiny part that was still alive. So being there, putting myself in God’s presence was whelming. 

As I prayed through the different things, searching my heart, giving things to God, coming back to prayer, reading, singing some, readjusting my seat… God guided me to the Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer. In it, I found that it spoke a great depth of truth to the doubt in my heart. 

Then Tozer mentioned something that I hadn’t really considered which was that science, in a way, takes our awe away from God and what he’s done. It becomes so normal and makes so much sense to us that we never get back to worshipping God. I began to realize this is what I’ve been doing. 

Logic. I want God to fit inside my box of logic, and if it can’t… it must not be. But… if God is infinite, and as our creator, we have no ability to comprehend all things that are God. Even if we are given the truth we cannot know fully. There are many truths in the Bible that I have not been able to comprehend, one is the trinity and another is Christ’s payment covering all of our sins.

Tozer used a quote “The fact that Christ has died for my sins is incredible; and the fact that He was raised from the dead for my salvation is impossible.”  

As I reflect on my time with God in the past months I am reminded of the frustration of not understanding and how that leads me to doubt. Who is God that we can understand? These things should cause us to worship him in wonder and majesty. As I idol knowledge and wisdom in my heart… I am looking forward to coming back to the heart of worship. 

So I’m hoping to post a different blog on something about God that doesn’t entirely make sense to me, but is incredible. 

This morning I read Matthew 20:20-28. The part I’m picking out is verses 26-27

“…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as the ransom of many”

This is amazing to me because the God of the universe came down and did not come in glory. We spend all our lives trying to glorify God and He gave up glory to become a servant to us. He could have come down in power and majesty and won us over, but he had a greater example in mind, and instead he serves. 

What a great God.