Thursday, December 13, 2012

Auctioneer's Platform... Part 2

I am just like her. I have been bought, but I don't know how to just be. Years of slavery have left me scrambling, doing, working, striving, pleasing. I feel disqualified when I mess up. I beat myself up and search for a way to be punished when I fail. Why? Because I don't understand the Grace of God. I don't get it. When I am doing well, I feel like God loves me and wants to use me. I feel like I have done something to earn His love, to earn His goodness. Because I think that I can earn his acceptance, when I fail I feel like I deserve harsh punishment. It's like one tiny mistake sends me plummeting down to the jagged rocks below where I have to somehow pick myself back up, clean myself off, get myself healed or fixed, and make the hike back up to the top of the mountain where God loves and accepts me.
I don't understand grace.
I know in my head that I can never do good enough to earn anything from Him. He freely gives it all. But it is still in the process of making its way to my heart.
I am realizing how filthy I am. I am completely and utterly filthy. There is nothing in me that deserves love or acceptance. Nothing. I am a ragamuffin. (Yes, I am reading Ragamuffin gospel right now...) 
I am so undeserving of any good thing. I am just a filthy, worthless, prostitute.
His grace is sufficient.
His grace doesn't see my rags.
Grace clothes me in a beautiful gown.
His grace doesn't expect me to do.
Grace knows that Jesus already did for me.
His grace doesn't condemn me when I mess up.
Grace covers my ugly.
His grace doesn't let me fall and slam into the jagged rocks below.
Grace is there to catch me.

I am a dumb sheep.
I take off, full speed, and dive off the side of the cliff.
Even though I know the cliff is there. Something in me just can't resist. I must run to the edge, full speed.
Two things about grace for this little sheep.
1. Grace is calling me back away from the cliff's edge, but when I dive off, Grace is at the bottom to catch me. Grace puts me on His shoulders and carries me back up the mountain. (And then the process starts over... because I don't get it yet.)
2. As I dash for the cliff, Grace, the Good Shepherd, reaches out His staff and hooks it around my neck to pull me back in. Ouch. That staff hurts. I hate it. I kick and scream and fight. But that staff, though it is painful at times, is grace at work.

I don't understand yet that Jesus paid the price for me so that I don't have to pay it.
I don't understand yet that I can do nothing to be good enough for him... or anyone else for that matter.
I don't understand yet that His grace is sufficient for me.

But I will.
Oh, I will.

I am convinced of this, He who began the good work in me is faithful to carry it out to completion.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separated me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
I am convinced that He sees my ugly, and He loves me anyway.
I am convinced that He paid the price to set me free.
I am convinced that He set me free simply so that I could be free.

I don't have to perform for Him.

I don't get grace.

But I will.
Oh, I will.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the Auctioneer's Platform

She stood there on the auctioneer's platform, clothed in rags. Dirt streaked across her expressionless face; filthy because she hadn't had the luxury of a bath in some time. She stood, head down, wondering where the bidding would begin. She cringed as she heard the too familiar sound of children screaming as a sibling was bought while the other left. Memories of her own siblings flooded her mind. Where were they now? Were the safe? Did they remember her? Regrets overwhelmed her heart. Why did she choose to set out on her own? Promises of an exciting life, broken. She spent the last three years of her life in the brothels, selling her body to strange men in hopes of making enough money to get by.


The auctioneer's voice rang out. So lost in her thoughts, she didn't realize the bidding for her had already begun, let alone ended. She searched the crowd wondering who bought her. She wondered what her new life would be like. For a moment she was gripped with fear as she reflected back on past owners; she quickly pushed those memories out of her head.
A man began to push through the crowd, fighting to get to the front. All eyes were on him.

"She's mine," he said, "I pick her."

He handed over the biggest bag of silver she had ever seen in her life. Her heart raced as she wondered how she could ever pay him back. She resigned to the thought that she would be in slavery to him for the rest of her life, doing whatever he wanted. She hung her head as her heart seemed to crash and shatter on the ground around her, with it went her dreams of freedom. She had nothing to give him.

She was nothing but a filthy, poor, prostitute. 

He reached out and lifted her off the auctioneer's block. This was strange, she had never been carried before. No buyer had ever looked into her eyes like this one either. His eyes seemed to pierce deep within her heart. She looked away, ashamed, fearful of what he might see. Expecting him to put her down and make her walk, she squirmed a little, ready to be dropped. He didn't. He carried her.
He carried her for what felt like miles, close to his heart. She was deeply confused by this buyer. Who was he? Why didn't he treat her like the others had? He carried her into the door of a house at the end of the road. Carried her in the door, down the hallway, and into a room with a big bed where he laid her down. She quickly sat up, and began to remove her torn clothes. She knew what to do from here, she had been here many times before. He must have carried her so that she wouldn't be tired from the long walk and could perform well for him. He walked over to a tub in the corner of the room and began to fill it with water. He pulled a new gown out of the closet and laid it across a comfortable looking chair.
She was so confused. He hadn't barked a single order at her. She sat there, exposed, wondering what to do. She thought, how could she please him if he wouldn't tell her what he wanted? He turns, and she watches him walk out of the room, closing the door behind him. She sits for a few moments, perplexed, not wanting to do anything wrong.
After several moments, she stands and walks over to the tub, she hadn't had a warm bath in such a long time. After she bathed, she put on the new gown that he laid out for her. She brushed her matted curls with a brush she found in the drawer by the bed. She inhaled deeply and smelled the delightful aroma of food being prepared in the kitchen. She curiously tiptoed her way through the door, out of the room, and down the hall. Peeking around the corner she saw the man who purchased her sitting at the table with other children her age.
"Great," she whispered, "I'm in another brothel." She took a step backwards to return to her room before she was caught, but the floor board creaked. The man with the intense eyes looked up, right at her. She gasped and quickly turned to scurry back to her room. As she began to take off down the hall, she heard the most gentle voice.

"Won't you come join us?" he beckoned. 

She stopped in her tracks. She had never been invited to dinner before. Who is this man? What does he expect of me. She slowly turned, and studied the man's expression. It was one she had never seen on the face of a buyer before. It was gentle, loving even. He stood. She took a fearful step backwards. He walked around the table and pulled our a chair, he waved her over, calling her to sit.
Not wanting to cause trouble, she complied.
He went to the stove and prepared a plate for her. He set it before her. The food smelled delicious. More delicious than she could remember anything smelling before. In that moment, she realized that her stomach ached with hunger. How long had it been since she had last eaten? Days?
The man walked back around to his seat and continued to eat his dinner.
She slowly picked up the fork and began to eat. Careful not to drop anything on her new gown. Surely her buyer would be set off if she made any sort of mess. This treatment was too good to last for long.
After dinner, she returned to her room, wondering when her work would begin. He came in to bring her another blanket before he retired to bed. She drifted off to sleep, wondering how long this would last.
How long would it be before he realized she was nothing but a filthy prostitute?
The next morning she woke to the sound of the man singing and children laughing. She smelled breakfast cooking, as she sleepily crawled out of bed and walked down the hall. 
"Good morning Sunshine!" the man called out to her, "Did you sleep well?" 
"Yes," she whispered. 
"Breakfast is ready if you are hungry," the man said. 
She sat down and began to eat. She studied the children around her, wondering how they could have such joy. This buyer confused her greatly. What did he want with all these children? Who could he be?
As the day drew to a close, she still had all of the same questions racing through her mind. 
That evening, as she got ready for bed, the man came in to her room. She stood, waiting on a command. 
He lifted her back up on to the big, comfy bed, and sat down next to her. She looked up at him. His eyes once again burned deep within her soul. 
"What do you want from me?" she whispered, as her eyes welled up with burning tears. "I don't know how to please you and I could never pay you back." 
"Child, I only want you to be free." His gentle voice was overwhelming. She couldn't take it anymore. Tears rushed out of her eyes and flooded her face. He reached over and began to wipe them away. Still confused, she jumped, startled at this sign of affection. She had expected him to be angry at her emotion. He just sat there, his eyes loving eyes piercing her heart.
"Free?" she asked. "How can I be free? I can't ever pay you back, you paid too much for me."
"I don't want anything from you. I paid for your freedom. You don't deserve slavery." 


"It is for freedom that Christ set us free..." Galatians 5:1

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lessons in Grace

Jesus, where are you in this? I don't understand....
These are things I hear myself cry on a regular basis.
I trust that He's got it. I trust that He knows what is going on. I trust that everything that touches my life first passed through the sovereign hand of a very good Papa.
But sometimes, it hurts more than I ever expected it to.
Sometimes, I find my self kicking and screaming and fighting the only One who loves me fully.
Who am I to question the creator of the universe?
Who am I to ask Him to hold my broken heart?
I am so good at saying "When I don't understand, I will choose You." .... but it is MUCH easier said than done.
I never thought this would be so confusing. I never thought I would find myself here again.
Jesus, I know you are still teaching me to trust you enough to rest with you in the storm. I thought I got the lesson last time around. Apparently, I didn't.
Maybe I am not one to question Him, but I can ask Him questions.
Where are you in this?
What are you trying to teach me?
Will it feel this way forever?
What do You want to do?
Will you please hold my heart closer to you?

Jesus, you were acquainted with my suffering.
Acquainted...  Yada....
You yada my suffering.
You yada the things that pain my heart.

You mean I'm not alone in this?
You get it?

I am so selfish.


Forgive me.

Show me grace.


I throw my little fit like a 2 year old.
I scream and cry and beat at the gate that you have lovingly locked for my protection.
I beat my head on the walls and kick my feet, hoping that if I scream loud enough you will decide to open the gate and let me run where I please.
I don't realize that those boundaries were placed for my good.
I don't realize that outside those borders, great danger awaits.
I blame you.
I kick you.
I beat your chest.
My snot and tears are wiped across your robe.

But you.

You lovingly hold me close.
You gently wipe my wounds.
You reach down an pick me up out of the dirt and you wrap me in your arms.
You let me scream.
You let me fight and swear and bargain and plead.
You hold me close as all my ugly spills out.
You wipe the dirt mixed with snot and tears from my face with your precious, white robe.

Who am I to deserve such grace?
Who am I to have Grace Himself stoop down and scribble in the sand?
Who am I to be told, "You are not condemned."
Who am I to be loved so deeply.

I am lovely, because you love me.
Even in my selfish naivety... Even in my pride.
I think I know.
I do not.

The boundaries I abhor so deeply, they are your grace.
The correction I fight so fiercely, it is your love.
The discipline that I curse you for, it is your mercy.
The storm that causes me to think you are killing me, it is you teaching me to rest.

When I don't understand, I choose you.
When I don't understand, I cling to you.
When I don't understand, I. Trust. You.

Give me grace to follow well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roaring, Raging, Radiant Grace

I don’t understand it.
I don’t know how to explain it.
Most days I don’t even know how to receive it.
But this I know.
Jesus runs circles of grace around His bride.
It’s dizzying.
My filth.
My unfaithfulness.
Circled by His grace.
My fears.
Circled by His grace.
I am hedged in by grace.
His grace looks like thorns sometimes.
His grace looks like a desert sometimes.
It looks like a waterfall other times.
His grace is fierce.
His grace is overpowering.
His grace is tender.
His grace is kind.
His grace wars for me.
It wars for my heart.
Hosea 2 is full of grace.
Verse 6-7a
“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them...”
Hedge: To hedge or fence about.
A circle of grace.
Up her way: “Derek” (deh’ rek)
1.       Way, road, distance, journey, manner
2.       Direction
3.       Manner, habit
4.       Of course of life
5.       Moral character
God builds fences around us to protect us.
I read a blog post once from goodwomenpoject that talked about rejection. When we think of rejection normally we instantly think something bad, painful, or unfair. But rejection is actually God’s grace. It’s him building a fence around us to protect us. Think about every boy who has ever rejected you. How different would life be if you never experienced that rejection? If God hadn’t shown you grace by allowing you to experience that rejection where would you be today? Some of us shudder at that thought… I know I do.
In Hosea, he is building fences around her way. Her way, habit, direction, course of life…. All of that… Prostitution. Harlotry.
He built a fence of thorns around her to prevent her from continuing down a hazardous, painful road.
Thorns hurt.
Thorn fences are not comfortable.
But if the thorn fence keeps you safe in the end…
Isn’t it worth it?
Jesus would rather you be angry with him, uncomfortable for a time, and be protected than you be comfortable and going down a destructive path, or worse, end up separated from him eternally.
That’s grace.
Verse 14
”Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”
The word allure one of its meanings is to deceive. To bring to a place by deceit.
Wilderness- uninhabited land.
This last part…
“Speak tenderly to her”
I will come back to that one.
That one wrecked me.
Verse 19-20
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”
Side note: Jesus, write my love story. You write the most beautiful ones.
Verses 19-20 are just incredible.
He is fighting to make you his bride. He is warring to make you his bride.
That’s grace.
Even though I have played the prostitute.
He is warring for my heart.
He is fighting to make me his bride.
He is chasing me down. Fencing me in. Holding me there and speaking tenderly (I’ll get there) to my heart, while I kick and scream and beat my fists into his chest, squirming, cussing, begging him to let me go and let me be. He is fighting for my heart.
A grace that fights to win FOR me
A grace that sings and dances WITH me
Jesus fights FOR you
He rejoices OVER you
He delights IN you
And He dances WITH you
Grace is not so fierce that He cannot lift you up tenderly.
Grace is not so tender that HE can’t destroy anything that tries to come against you.
I said that I would go back to the “Speak tenderly to her” part.
The Hebrew word for speak used here is “Dabar” it’s pronounced  da-var’
To speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing.
That word.
It so beautifully paints the picture of grace.
Grace speaks to us intimately.
Grace declares victory and freedom over us.
Grace converses with us. It empowers us.
It commands the enemy to flee.It gives us sweet promises, and keeps those promises.It warns us when we are going the wrong direction.Ha. It threatens us (in love) when we don’t listen to the warnings the first hundred times
It gets better when you see what the word tenderly means. I didn’t believe this at first glance. I just knew that there had to be a flaw in my program. I dug deeper and realized there’s no flaw. It’s not a glitch. As I dug deeper, it just got better.
Tenderly- The Hebrew word is Leb, Pronounced lave
You’ll never believe it.
When Hosea 2 says that He speaks tenderly to us… It’s saying he speaks (The full definition from above) He SPEAKS leb to us…
Inner man, mind, will hear, understanding
1.       Inner part, midst
A.      Midst (of things)
B.      Heart (of man)
C.      Soul , heart (of man)
D.      Mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
E.       Inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
F.       Conscience
G.     Heart (of moral character)
H.      Seat of appetites, emotions, passions, and courage.
He speaks over the most inner part of our being.
He commands the enemy off the most inner part of our being.
He declares freedom and victory over the most inner part of our being.
He speaks his promises to our hearts.
He warns us to protect our hearts.
He converses with us in the most intimate way, in the core of our being.
Our memories… no matter how good or bad they may be
Our reflections.
Our thinking.
Our hearts.
He sings over them.
That is Grace like I have never known before.
Grace does that.
No matter how filthy we are.
No matter how many times we run back to the brothels.
He comes.
He buys us back.
He purchases us.
We stand there with our hands tied and heads hung.
Broken. Bruised. Scraped. Filthy.
On the slaves auction block.
The man starts the bidding.
We stand there broken.
One voice from the crowd cries out.
She’s mine.
I’ll pay whatever it takes.
She will have no other lover.
Strong enough to fight for you. Gentle enough to clean your wounds.
Remember how I said I didn’t believe it so I dug deeper?
Want to know what else I found? 
Isaiah 40
Full of grace.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
That word speak. Same word. Dabar.
That word tenderly. Same word. Leb.
He sings over you.
He declares over you that you warfare.
Your fight.
Whatever it may be.
It’s over.
Because of His grace.
My warfare is over.
Because of His warring grace.
You don’t have to fight any more. He fights for you.
You don’t have to struggle to be free.
Don’t fight the fence around you.
That is his grace.
Jesus, I surrender to the roaring warrior, raging waterfall, and radiant lover that is your grace. I surrender to grace so glorious it's blinding. I surrender to a grace so amazing that I can't contain it.
Jesus, I surrender to your grace.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scary prayers

Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of praying something only to realize that you are praying the scariest prayer of your life?
Well I've caught myself mid sentence of some pretty awful prayers lately. The one that scares me the most happened about an hour ago.
Inviting Jesus into the depths of the closet of my heart. Opening the "junk drawer" of my heart wide and saying "Here, Jesus, Come and dig around. Clean it out. Do what you will with the items you find."

This is where I panic.

Ummm..... did I leave it in the drawer... or is it shoved under the bed?
I really hope he doesn't find THAT THING in the closet... that would be painful.
Oops, I haven't dug through that drawer in a while... I'm kind of scared of what I might remember if I let him dig around.

Then I begin to try to rewind my prayer...

No, Jesus, You see, you don't want to go in that's kinda dusty... your allergies might act up... *cough*
Jesus, you don't have time to go through the drawer, I understand... there are other things we need to sort though... like what the heck am I supposed to be doing with the next five years of my life.... yeah, that's the important stuff.
PLEASE JESUS, It's too painful for me to let you go through that closet... the things I have shoved in there hurt too much... I know you don't want to inflict harm on me right!!!????

But it's too late...

With His tender hands and loving eyes He looks right at me, almost like He is looking deep in me, He holds up an item.
I cringe as the memory floods back to me.
Tears begin to flow.
Jesus, I can explain that...
Jesus, I don't want to let that memory go.
Jesus, please, it hurts too badly to remember.
Jesus, no.

He takes out a stamp
Across that item, He stamps the most beautiful thing.
Paid for.

He reaches back in the drawer and pulls out another item.
He writes.

And another.


The next one.

One by one.
He stamps His name across my filth.
Across my sin.
Across the things that have wounded me.
Across the things that I am ashamed of.

I created this one to soar.

All that hold me are paper chains. The lock is broken. The door is open. Jesus, teach me how to fly.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Taking the Fall

I don’t want to write this blog post. I don’t want to be this real. I don’t want you to know what I am dealing with. I don't want to. Because I don't want to, I know I need to. So give me grace as you read this, friend. Cause I know I need grace. Desperately. 
The past several months have been filled with huge victories for me. I have experienced freedom and healing and life in a way that I had never known possible. I can't even begin to express to you how much freedom I have experienced. Deep parts of my heart have been exposed and Truth has won. Love has won. Love is winning. Truth is winning. 
Somewhere along the journey...
I let pride take hold.
I decided that I could do it on my own.
I decided that I could say no to sin on my own.
I decided that I could say no to bad attitudes, bitterness, and fear on my own.


I decided that I didn't have to be vulnerable with sisters in my life.
I decided that I didn't need to confess the little things...
After all, there was grace.

False again.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

There is nothing humble about where I have been the past couple weeks.


Nothing graceful about it either.

I have been bitter, offended, offensive, rude, unlovely, pushed people away who were trying to love me. I have done everything I can to prove that I should be rejected. I have tried to convince people that I was doing well, when really I was struggling. I have tried to find healing in things that bring no healing. I have tried to find freedom in things that only wrap me in bondage.

I have kicked and screamed and fought and ran and threw a big tantrum just because I didn't want to let a sister in. I was angry that she cared enough to ask the hard questions.
I didn't think I was deserving of that.
It pissed me off that she is so young and so wise and loved so deeply.

Ouch. That one hurt to admit.

I could go on to tell how pride comes before the fall...
But the fall isn't as important as the getting back up.

What did I learn in the fall?

I desperately need sisters in my life who will be honest with me.
I desperately need sisters to help me keep myself in check.
I can't do life alone.
Even more.
I DESPERATELY need God's word and presence in my life.
I cannot say no to temptation without Him.
I cannot forgive others without Him.
I cannot be humble without Him.

Ultimately, I am accountable TO Jesus.
I am accountable WITH sisters in my life.

I am so thankful that I have women who are willing to do life with me. I am so blessed.
I told someone that she was the thorn in my side to help keep me humble.
But she is so much more than that.
She is my saucy friend. She is my partner in antagonizing a mutual friend. She is my Friday hangout buddy.
She is my sister.
And I get to do life with her.

Jesus, You are the perfect example of one who is humble. You took on the body of a human. You took on the form of a servant. You took on my sin. You took on my filth. Because You love me. Because You wanted me. Give me grace to walk humbly with my God. Give me grace to follow Your example.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TIme to be real

‎"We're all walking around with these glossy eyes. 'I'm just tired,' we say. But you know what? It's bullshit. Yes, we are tired, but it's not all from lack of sleep. We are tired of waking up with nothing to look forward to, tired of going to bed exhausted after doing a million things we find no enjoyment in doing. We're tired of this void, this emptiness that looms over us even though our days are packed. We're tired of the loneliness that presses down on us even though we're surrounded by dozens of people. So why can't we just say it? Humans are so afraid to look into each other's eyes and say, 'I am unhappy, I am broken, I am hopeless and fallible.' We've been conditioned to associate pain with weakness, sadness with coldness, loneliness with unworthiness, difference with disease, as if these feelings are contagious, as if ambivalence is something not to be felt but to be feared. Well, I say screw all of that. Screw forced smiles and polite handshakes and I'm fine, thank yous. Screw the fear of crying in a public place, screw the fake chipper voice, screw the lies we spit out to cover up our problems. We are humans. We are meant to feel. To feel everything and to feel it all openly. We are not metal—we are flesh and bone. Our boild blood courses through our cold, clammy hands. We are intricate and beautiful and we should never hide our human parts, because if we do, then what's left to show?" -So Worth Loving

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning to Rest

On August 3rd I had a long conversation with God. I had been seeking Him all summer for some answers and on this day, as I sat in a lovely little coffee shop in Garden Valley, TX; I told God I wasn't leaving without hearing from Him.
That comment in itself was scary enough to me to drive me over the edge.
I was just back from India. I had said "good bye" to my wonderful team the day before. I was jet lagged beyond belief.
But I was determined to wait on God until He showed up.
It gets scarier when you consider what I was seeking God for. The questions I was asking and the decisions I was facing made me tremble with fear. I knew that I had to hear from God, because with out hearing from Him I would never truly know I made the right choice.

Looking back... had I known then what would happen in the weeks that followed I don't know that I would have been so eager to hear from Him. I may have been content to just stay where I was. Thank God that He knew better!

After some intense conversation with God and picking through a passage He gave me until there was nothing left to analyze, I threw myself into the answer He gave me.


I heard Him very clearly call me to a season of rest.

What this looked like for me...

August 24th I officially stepped out of leadership.
Not because of any sin or struggle in my life.
Not because I was tired of being a leader.
Not because I wanted to do my own thing.
I stepped out because I valued my relationship with Jesus more than I did a title or a position.
I stepped out because I wanted to fling myself into the arms of my Savior.
I stepped out because I just wanted to love Jesus.


It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.

It didn't make sense.

But I knew.

Let me teach you how to rest.

I heard Him call me, in the most inner parts of my heart, to rest.

My Lord wanted to teach me how to rest.

In my mind, a season of rest sounded wonderfully pleasant.
Rest was laying on a fluffy, white cloud, singing songs to Jesus.
Rest was a peaceful, calm season where nothing bad happened. I love Jesus, Jesus loves me.
Rest was the next best thing to heaven itself.


In the past couple days I have looked up to the clouds that I am supposed to be floating away on and screamed, "God, what are you doing?! Where are you?! This is NOT what rest is supposed to look like!" more times than I am willing to admit.
In the past couple days I have fought God through many tears.
What do you do when circumstances make it seem like God decided you are the exception and He is not longer going to keep His word to you?

Well, what I do is throw a fit.

I throw a huge fit full of snot, tears, and angry words.

I get in my car and drive 2 hours in one direction screaming and crying the entire way.
Venting all the pain and confusion that is locked up in my heart.
Then I scream at God for not punishing me for my tantrum.

God just whispers,

"I rejoice over the honest expression of your emotions. 
I dance over you when you are fully alive." 

Once I am satisfied that I have let go of the anger, I turn around and drive the 2 hours back home.
(I am convinced I experienced more freedom because of that 2 hour drive back home than I have in any other setting in my life.)

Rest, beloved.
How do you rest when everything you have ever known seems to have been ripped from under you? How do you rest when your heart has been broken into a million pieces. How do you rest when you are shaken to your core?

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 
And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" 
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, 
"Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
-Mark 4:35-41

Beloved, come and rest with me. Take my yoke.
My yoke is easy. My burden is light.
You are safe with me.
Jesus and the disciples left the crowd. They left what they knew.
They entered one of the biggest storms of their lives, and Jesus called them to rest in the middle of it.
Jesus rested. He was so confident in God's ability to sustain that even in the most frightening, dangerous, painful situation he rested. 

Once they crossed the sea and got out the boat Jesus set one man free. 
Then they got back in the boat and crossed back over.
One man.

The storm they endured...
That was so that ONE man could be freed.


Was it worth it?

That storm.
The pain.

Is it worth it?

Abba, change my perspective. 
This storm. It's worth it. For one to be freed. 
For me to be stretched.
For your to be glorified.
It is worth it.

This is not the only story of resting in the storm. (Believe me. I tore the Bible up looking for all I could find.)

My favorite "walking on water" story is in Matthew 14:22-33
You know the story.
Jesus sends the disciple on across the sea while he goes away to pray. 
They start rowing and this huge storm comes up. 
The Bible says that Jesus SAW the storm. 
He walks across the sea to where they are. 
Disciples freak out... It's a ghost! 
Jesus says "Don't panic, It's just me." 

Matthew is the only gospel that talks about Peter walking on water with Jesus.

Peter calls out, "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you." 
Jesus says, "Okay go for it. I'm right here."

Peter steps out the boat and starts to walk. 

At this point, the storm is still raging on. 
Wind blowing, rain beating down on them... 
I'm sure it was not a pleasant spring shower.

The word says that Peter sees the wind and waves and becomes fearful and begins to doubt. 
When that happened, he began to sink. 
Peter does what any sane human would do... Screams for help!

Jesus reaches out, grabs him, and asks him why he doubted.

Well, Jesus, it's not normal to walk on water...
They get back in the boat together.
The winds and rains stop immediately.

John 6:16-21 adds that as soon as Jesus got in the boat, the storm ended and they arrived at their destination. 

I could take that several different directions, but for now, I'm going to leave it there. 

The point I want to make is back when Peter began to sink.

If you have ever fallen out of a boat, or into a pool you know that something about you has changed when you get out. 
Obviously, you look different... You are soaked.
However, if your sinking was unexpected, you may have lost something you had held pretty close to that point.
A cell phone, fishing pole, sunglasses, flip flop...
Something is different.
Something is missing.

Sinking can be beneficial. 
1. You realize that you need someone to save you and you cling to them.
I'm sure Peter clung to Jesus pretty tightly until his feet were firmly in the boat again.
2. Things like doubt, fear, anger... they get left in the water. 

Abba, Drown my doubt. Drown my fear. Drown my unforgiveness. 
I don't want to come out of these waters the same.
I don't want the wind and waves to stop until I have changed.
Give me grace to rest in this storm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eyes of Fire

You are seated on the floor in the middle of a room
Brilliant light surrounds you
You hear what sounds like waters rushing
You feel a cool, peaceful breeze

Looking up, your eyes are met by the eyes of One who is indescribable
His eyes seem to pierce through you
They burn deep into your heart
All is laid bare before those Fiery eyes.

Everything in you wants to run
It's terrifying
Your mind is screaming "Run, Hide!"
But your heart hears a whisper

"You are safe here"

You mind screams 
"Run, exposure is painful!"

Your heart replies
"Here I find healing"

You mind argues
"Don't stay, He knows"

You heart rejoices
"When I am known, I can be free"

Here, gazing into the eyes of fire of the One who knows you
You find healing
Your brokenness is made whole
Your heart is restored
You are redeemed
You are rescued
You are free

Friday, September 21, 2012

Galatians 2:20

I have been learning so much lately. I feel like Jesus is giving me a crash course in like 50 different subjects.

A beautiful sister and I were talking a couple days ago and she shared this picture with me that absolutely blew me away. I have never thought of it like this before. It’s actually a concept that I have struggled to understand up to this point.

When I was in India, the Pastors I had the great privilege of working with amazed me. These men lived dead. When they surrendered their lives to Jesus they died. They no longer focus on their desires. Their only desire is to see Jesus’ will be done. They are such an incredible example of what it means to live a crucified life. I can’t really even begin to express how amazing these men and their wives are. It’s overwhelming to even think about it.

The picture that my sister shared with me was this:

You are drowning in an ocean. You are thrashing around, choking on the water as you try to call for help. You are quickly losing all hope of being saved when you see a Man walk by.

With one last breath you call out for help.

The Man sees you drowning.

He exclaims, “Oh no, you are drowning!! Let me come drown with you!”
He runs out to where you are and begins to drown right next to you.

You both die.

You are dead.
The Man is dead.
Drowned in the ocean.


In three days, the Man comes back to life!

This crazy Man who decided to drown with you rather than save you comes back from the dead.

You are still dead.
You drowned.

The Man is alive.
The Man is living.

You are not.
You drowned.

And with you drowned your sin.

Your failures.

Your mistakes.


All of you.


You did not come back to life.

Jesus did.

He is the one who now lives.
He is the one who is living in your place.

You don’t live.

Those things that drowned with you…
They don’t have any hold on you.

They are gone.

In the sea of forgetfulness.


I know that sometimes I get so caught up in trying to put to death my sinful nature and work my way out of sin.
That’s not how it works.
If not sinning is my goal; sin will be inevitable.
If loving Jesus is my goal; sin will have no hold on me.

When your focus is Jesus, you don’t desire anything but Jesus.
When your focus is on not sinning, you don’t desire anything but sin.

Stop beating yourself up.

Just fall in love with Jesus.