Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter's Rest

Gentle Winter
You whisper sweetly in my ear
Your wind refreshes my soul and brings healing to my heart
Winter, you bring me such peace

Fall is gone
Summer is just a memory
Winter has come to rest

Back home, winter means rain
Soggy, yucky, wet days
Being wet and cold is so different than just being cold
I never loved winter at home

I have seen the beauty in winter
I have felt the peace that winter brings
I have experienced winter's rest

Winter, have your way in me
Sing me your song
Teach me your dance
Bring me into your rest

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hope that Winter Brings

The last leaves have fallen to the ground
Dry and brown, they crunch beneath children's feet
Tree branches look like fingers stretching, pointing to the sky
It's clear the direction the wind blew all summer, the branches are all twisted that way
Really, it kind of excites my heart to see

The sky is grey, the ground cold
Summer is over
Flocks of geese fly in perfect v's
Winter is here

Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

The holidays are busy
Hurried people
Grumpy cashiers
Giggling children

Oh, the traffic

Winter is here

Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

Winter reveals what other seasons hide
The fluff is gone
All is still
All is sleeping

What remains

What is seen

The tree weathers the blizzard
The branches bare, bear the weight of the snow
The quiet moments
The stillness

Hearts can hear the flicker of the fire burning
Flames dance in each heart
Peace fills each soul


Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

The trees may sleep
but the fire, oh, the fire

This is the hope that winter brings

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Winter in the Oak

Strong Oak,
Your roots reach deep
Your bark is weathered from the seasons
Your leaves have fallen to the ground and you feel so bare
You fear the cold. You fear the judgmental glances towards your naked branches.
Every flaw in your bark is exposed for the world to see.

As the cold wind rushes through your branches, you shudder and covet the pine, the evergreen, who keeps his green throughout the year.

If only I were more like him. I would be welcomed into homes on the coldest of winter nights.
Children would adorn my branches with all that glitters and families would sing round my whole.
I would want for nothing.
I would be beautiful.

But you Oak, you are strong and wide.
You have seen many seasons. You have weathered many storms.
The wind has blown. The freeze has come and gone and come again.
And still, here you stand.

Lovers have carved their initials in your bark
Boys have climbed your branches
Little girls have squealed with delight as they swing back and forth
Families sit on a quilt in the shade that your branches yield

You don't realize your strength or your beauty. You don't see your majesty and grace.
Your roots reach deep, your branches stretch tall and wide. Your bark tells the story of the battles you have fought.  Your rings sing the song of the victories have won.

You, great oak, are strong.

Though your branches are bare, there is a beauty that winter brings.
Embrace this season as you did the last.

You are strong.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trust Without Borders

At the beginning of this year, I heard Papa tell me that he was taking me to a place where my trust would be without borders. There have been many times in this season where I have sat back and said, "Yeesh! God, you weren't kidding!" I have lost count of the number of times that I have looked to my Father and said, "I trust you, that's all I can do here".

Here I sit again.

Abba, I trust you. 

I don't know what you are doing, but I trust you.


A belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

An assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

One in which confidence is placed

Dependence on something future or contingent: Hope

A charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship

Something committed or entrusted to one to be used r cared for in the interest of another

Care, custody

A hope is more than resolve, and it is based on trust in a divine faithfulness that operates not only within history, but also beyond history.-John Polkinghorne
I told Abba that I trusted wholly and completely. Tonight I sit here and that "Yes" to Him echoes. It rings loudly and clearly in my heart. I declare it loud and proud once again. YES.

I do not doubt the goodness of my Father.

Not too long ago I did. I knew He was good, but my heart was overwhelmed and I grew afraid and doubted, as Peter did when he saw the waves. I feared and panicked as the disciples did when their little boat was taking on water and the Master was sleeping peacefully.

But I have seen time and time again the faithfulness of God. I have looked upon the the faithfulness of a really good dad. So while I do not know what He is doing or how He is going to provide in this situation, I know that he will provide. I know that He can be trusted.

I do not regret a single step I have taken with my Father.
I do not regret a single time that I have trusted.
That I have relied.
That I have depended.
That I have said "yes".

He has never once let me down.
He has never once failed to come through.
He has never left me unsatisfied.

He always comes through.
He always amazes.
He always is faithful.

He never gets tired of providing.
He never gets bored with me.
He never refuses to come through.
He never breaks a promise.

I will say "yes" every day for the rest of my life.
No matter the circumstances.
No matter the sacrifice.
No matter what fear hangs over me.
No matter what popular opinion screams.
No matter what peers think.
No matter what family says.

I will say "yes" to my King because He cannot fail.
He is the only one who truly has my best interest in heart.
I have nothing to offer Him.
He does not benefit from anything that I do.
He has no selfish ambition.
He truly, completely wants my good.
My good brings Him glory.
Me thriving glorifies Him and points to His goodness and faithfulness.

My trust has no borders. There is nothing limiting it or enclosing it in. I trust Him in all areas.

I am a zero resistance zone to His work in my life.

How can I trust Him in this way?
How can you trust Him in this way?

The Holy Spirit lives inside of me.
The Holy Spirit never doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God.
The Spirit inside of me trusts wholly.
I trust wholly.

I have seen His goodness in the land of the living (time and time again).
He doesn't change. Yesterday, today, and forever- He is the same.

Since He came through last time, He will come through again.
Since He was faithful last month when I needed a roommate, He will be faithful this month.
Since He provided when I needed a job in April, He will provide again.
Since He answered when I has no where else to turn, He will answer again.

My God does not change.

My God does not fail.

My God does not disappoint.

My God rests in the middle of storms.

I will join Him on that pillow below deck. I can hear the wind and the waves pummeling my ship; so I think it's time for a nap. 

The only storms you have authority over are the ones that you can rest in. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Letter Series: A letter to the one who was hurt by the Church

Precious you,

Yes, I am writing to you. This is for you. 

I am so sorry. Your hurt is valid. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I  told you that you are dirty. I told you that you didn’t belong. I told you that you weren’t good enough, pretty enough, or spiritual enough. I shut down your questions because they assaulted my ego. I shattered your dreams because they made you look better than me. I expected more from you than I could muster from my own maturity. I called you names. I laughed at your hurts. I told you to get over real wounds without offering any assistance. You came to me seeking love and acceptance, and I pushed you away. I rejected you. Thus, I proved to you what you feared all along-that God rejects you. I taught you that you couldn’t do enough to please God. I repeatedly showed you that you weren’t welcome in God’s group. I manipulated you into doing things that you didn’t want to do. I withheld attention when you didn’t do as I wished. I compared you to others. I used fear as a motivator to cause you to do or stop doing things that didn’t please me. I rebuked you when it wasn’t my place to rebuke. I corrected you when you didn’t need correction. I demanded respect when I didn’t earn it. And I required trust, though I let you down time and time again. I controlled you and abused you. I didn’t have to say anything, you knew from the look in my eye that I was disappointed. I required you to prove yourself to me without me ever doing anything to show I cared for you in the least bit.

I am so intensely, deeply, incredibly sorry.
I was so wrong.
You deserve to be angry.
You should run away from all that I showed you.
Run far away from my teachings.
You shouldn’t serve a god who is like that.
I am so sorry.
Please forgive me.

I know that it’s hard.
I know you don’t want to forgive me. 
I surely don’t deserve your forgiveness.
But if you could find it within your heart to forgive me and hear me out one last time, it would mean so much to me. 

You are perfect just the way you are. God is not and never has been angry or disappointed in you. You are good enough. You are beautiful and feminine. You are strong, handsome, and masculine. You are not dirty. You belong. Your dreams are wonderful! Dream them! Live them. Follow your heart; it’s not going to lie to you. Your emotions are wonderful and were created by a really good, glad Father. Your hurts are valid. Your struggles are nothing to be ashamed of. You are so loved. You are worth extravagant love. You are good enough. The Father delights in you. He accepts you. You are not rejected. I know you have been assaulted with abuse and lies from the church, from me, but please don’t hold on to them. We were wrong. I was wrong. The god I preached to you doesn’t exist. The father that I created in your mind deserves death, not love. That is not Christianity. That is not your Father. Your Father is good. Your Father is loving. Your Father is so gentle and kind. What I taught you is none of that. Please, don’t run from a Father who loves you wildly because of me. The god I taught you is not God at all. Please, give the real, true, God of Love a chance.

I know Him now. 

He is better than your wildest imaginations.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Never an afterthought

Something that has been wrecking me lately is the reality of being on the front of the Father’s mind. I have never been an afterthought. I have never been on the back burner. I was never a “screw-it-I’ll-give-her-a-chance” to Father. He has never once forgotten about me. He has never once wanted to exchange me for something better.

From the dawn of creation, He has had absolutely everything that you could imagine. He created everything that you could imagine to bring pleasure to anyone anywhere. He created the sun, moon, and stars. He knows the depth of the seas and the height of the skies. He dances on the clouds, and frolics through fields of wildflowers. He looks out over valleys from the heights of mountain peaks. He lays beside trickling springs and rumbling oceans. He has it all.

He. Adopted. Me. 

I am His prized possession. I am the one whom he directs all His affection upon.

The way He purchased me gives proof to my value to Him. I wasn’t a flippant purchase.

He thought long and hard. Charts and graphs, pros and cons. He sorted through it all. He knew me fully. He examined my heart. He examined my nature. He knew my tendency to wander. He knew my weaknesses. And still he said, “I want her”. His choosing of me echoes. His delight over me ripples. He sings over me in my sleep; He dances over me in my wake.

He lavishes extravagant love on me. Forever. There’s nothing that I can do to convince Him to return me to my former state. There’s nothing that I can do to convince Him that I am not worthy. He has never once regretted purchasing me with the precious blood of Jesus. I have never depreciated in value. I have never been a burden to Him. He is wildly obsessed with me.





And so do you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Values: Loyalty

Today I want to continue my values series with the third value that I have esteemed highly in my life- loyalty. If you haven't gotten a chance to read the first to values I wrote about you can do so here for Kingdom Family and here for Raw Authenticity.  Though these are not valued in order, I feel they go hand in hand in my life and reading them all will give a better picture of my heart. 

I did an internship several years back called 220i. During that season, my favorite class was loyalty. I was taught so much about what it meant to be loyal. While some of what I learned was inaccurate (as most teachings from imperfect people are), this class gave verbiage to much of what I had felt my entire life. I have always held loyalty at a high place, close to my heart. Sometimes, I have held it in such a high place that I have caused myself extra pain because of it. I have held on to friendships that were hurtful because I am loyal in friendship. I have held on to jobs well past burnout and wisdom because I didn't want to cause a company or ministry a burden, and did want to break a self-assumed-and-created contract. I don't let go of relationships until I know they are over with out any doubt. I don't break promises. If I tell one person that I will maybe show up at a hang out later I will not hang out with anyone else that day if I don't go to the first person's hang out.

I value loyalty.

I am devoted to friends. I am faithful to friends.

I am loyal to my country. I love being an American. Maybe it's because of being raised in a family that is patriotic. Maybe it is because many of my family members have served terms overseas. Maybe it's because I have traveled all around the world since I was very young. Whatever the reason, I have a loyalty to my country. Do I think this country's leadership is perfect? No. Do I feel devoted to this country? Yes.
On a total side note- I am still thinking about enlisting in the AirForce.

I am loyal to my Father. I am devoted to His word. I am faithfully in love with Him. I do not think about how I can shirk time with Him. I don't think of ways to partially obey. I am devoted to Him. I want nothing more than to serve Him and His will, knowing that I am His dream and His will. 

When I think of loyalty, two examples always come to mind. The first is David and Jonathan. The second is Ruth and Naomi. These two friendships challenge me more than I can describe. 
I ask myself frequently if I am able to say "Where you go, I will go, even if it means I never get married". Am I able to say "I am with you till the very end, glory or no glory, joy or no joy"?

My prayer is this- Lord, cause me to decrease, so that you can increase. It's not about me. It is about you. Form in me a heart that is devoted to you alone. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letter Series: To the Middle Schooler

This is letter two in the Letter Series. To read letter one click here.

Dear middle school girl,

Middle school-aka- hell.

Middle school is quite possibly the most painful, confusing time in a girl's life. You aren't an adult and you are hardly a child anymore. You feel like you have to prove so much to so many, and other middle schoolers can be real jerks. No one really knows who they are, but they think they know who you should be. You forget that it is okay to still be a kid. You forget that you actually don't have all the answers. You do not have to have it all together. You are still figuring out so much. You don't know who you are yet. There are so many changes going on all around you- internal and external.

There is so much that I wish you knew. I wish I could run to you and hold you in the tightest, warmest, most loving hug you have ever experienced. I feel like even if I did I wouldn't be able to clearly communicate all that I want you to know.

Here I sit, over a decade later, thinking back on that time and the thought that keeps echoing in my heart is this: "You are breathtaking". You don't see it, and you won't for many more years, but it is true. You are beautiful. Your curls are lovely. Stop killing them with treatments to make them perfectly straight. You will love your curls one day. You will be sad you ever didn't want them. You have never been ugly. Everyone sees it but you.

Your smile lights up the room. Your laugh is contagious. Your face exudes life. Your heart is so kind. You are beautiful inside and out. You are stunning.  You likely have one of the most loving, compassionate, gentle hearts that was ever created. You love people. You love loving people. You are loyal. You are kind. You are a treasure. Be kind to yourself. You treat yourself worse than you would wish for your fictitious enemy to be treated. You don't deserve that. Please stop hating yourself.

My heart breaks as I see the little girl who felt so much pain she saw no other way to deal but to hurt herself. I get so angry at the enemy who lied to her and told her she deserved to be punished. You don't need to hurt yourself! Listen to me! Please, stop hurting yourself. Please. You were never meant to carry those secrets. You didn't deserve that. Secrets aren't supposed to hurt. It is done now, be free from the weight of the guilt and shame that you are feeling. You weren't responsible for it. You didn't deserve it, and you don't have to fix it on your own. So many people love you. You don't have to hold all the emotion in. You don't have to be strong for anyone. You don't have to have it all together. Be a child. You are so young. You don't have to prove your strength to anyone. No one will be angry or disappointed if you let the emotions flood out. You will find such love and acceptance when you do.

Precious, you are carrying many weights that aren't yours to carry. You feel responsible for things that were never ever supposed to be your responsibility. You don't have to do that. You are not responsible for your family. You aren't responsible for the many friends who come to you with broken hearts and deep wounds.  You don't have to carry their weights. The weight of the world was never meant to be on your shoulders. Be free from the burdens that you carry. Be a child.

Jewel, you are perfectly loved and accepted. You don't need anyone to give you worth. You are worth more than one thousand rubies. You are extravagantly loved. You are worth affection.

Don't try to be anyone that you are not. This season of your life will be over soon. Try to enjoy it; I know that's difficult. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. It is not a train.

You have such a beautiful, fulfilling, fun life ahead of you. You have so much hope. I am here, cheering you on. You will make it.You will come out as a beautiful diamond. You are surrounded by many cheer leaders. I am the one cheering the loudest. You can do this. I love you.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Letter Series: A letter to someone I used to know

Dear Friend,

I sit here on my couch. Spotify is playing my favorite play list, but somehow the annoying house fly is buzzing louder than my laptop speakers will play as it rams itself into the light bulb for the thousandth time. I'm not writing to you to tell you about the dumb fly though. I am writing for my heart. Maybe your heart too. Who knows.

I don't know where you are or what you are doing. I have lots of friends now. I love Missouri. I love my life. I am genuinely happy. I realized last night that I am a really good friend. That was a huge step of healing for me. I am a good friend. I have always been a good friend. I deserve good friends. I think you were a good friend. I know you tried. You were a good friend.

From time to time I think about you. I wonder how you are. I hope you are well. I think about you at random times- like when I am reading an article I think you would enjoy, or when I hear a quote that I know you would love. I think of you when I pull out my paints and begin to create beautiful things. I remember our art day. I remember the railroad tracks. I remember laughing till we cried. I remember crying until we laughed. I remember crying alone. I remember when you told me you heard from God covenant. I remember when you changed your mind. I remember when you heard it again. I remember the hard times. I remember the happy times.

Since that day earlier this year, I have fought to forgive. I have resisted forgiving. I have refused to forgive. I have tried to forgive. And I have fought it harder. But I forgive you. I forgive you. I don't forgive you for your benefit, because you will likely never read this or know. I forgive you for my benefit. Because it hurts more to fight than it does to let go. I think I will feel better if I keep holding on to the unforgiveness, but the truth is, I won't. You have moved on. You don't know where I am. My hurt and bitterness and anger don't affect you. They only affect me. Holding on to that hurt only hurts me more, and we both know that I have been hurt enough. I know who my Father is. I know who I am. I am a good friend. And I choose to forgive. I choose to let go. I forgive you.

If you ever read this, know that I still love you. I wish you well. I am not angry at you. You are free from any weight you may feel. Father is a really good Dad.

And I forgive you.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

True Holiness

When I initially began to jot down thoughts for this blog, it was going to be more of a don’t-use-holiness-and-living-above-reproach-as-an-excuse-to-avoid-sinners kind of post. And while I may still hit that, I want to instead share the realization that train-wrecked me this morning. My train of thought for this post was totally derailed by this realization.

The Greek word for holy is hagios. It is used a total of 229 times in the New Testament. It is defined as "most holy thing, a saint".

Friends, this messed me up.

1 Peter 1:16 (KJV) "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy".

The word hagios is used twice in that verse. The holiness that God is calling Himself is the same holiness that He is calling us to.

Hagios is also the same word that is used to describe the Holy Spirit.

That Holy Spirit is the same one that lives in you.

Hagios Pneuma. Holy Spirit. 

The third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son. His personality and character is Holy. 
His work and power is Truth. 
He is never a depersonalized force. 
He is Life giving. 
The spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ. 

Romans 8:9 says the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us.

Hagios Pneuma lives in you.

Hagios is in you.

The Holy is in you.

You. are. holy.

Hagios Pneuma. 

You have done nothing to make yourself holy.
You can do nothing to make yourself like God, like the Holy.
You need to do nothing for it.

When you said "Yes" to Holy Spirit, "Yes" to Jesus Christ. You were filled with the "Holy One".
You are a son or daughter of God. You have God's last name. He adopted you. You are His. Therefore your name is now "Holy". Your nature is "Holy". You are "Holy".

You don't have to fear being tarnished by sin around you. Jesus was never afraid of the sin of the prostitutes and tax collectors rubbing off on Him. He was confident in His nature as Holy. You have His Spirit living in you. You are Holy. You cannot be tarnished by spending time with sinners.

Jesus never feared losing God's approval by spending time with the "worst sinners" as they were called.

Jesus came to bring the Spirit of Holy to the ones who do not know they are holy.

He didn't come for those who are righteous (dikaios). "Those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined."

He came to declare the ones who have not been set free from sin as hagios.

Jesus wasn't afraid of the appearance of evil like so many in the Church are.

I was a part of a church for a long time that disapproved of spending time with those who were outside of the church. To spend time with homosexuals, atheists, fornicators meant that I was in sin too.

The church (even I have at times) has preached that we are to live above reproach- therefore we are to abstain from this and that and this person and that place. Jesus hung out with the "worst" (though I don't think He considered them to be worse sinners than the pharisees) in the "worst" most reproachable places. Jesus' best friends were involved in the "bad sins". He hung out with prostitutes. He invited them to parties and went to their parties. There was alcohol there (oh my!). He hung out alone with a woman (NO!!!!!) adulterous woman!(Blasphemy!) But He was holy. He didn't lose His holiness or his God-ness. He was surrounded by the appearance of evil. And everywhere He went, God went, Holy went, Truth went, Love went, and miracles followed. 

Our calling to be Holy includes loving like Jesus loved.
How many times have I heard that we shouldn't give to homeless people on the street corners because they are just going to spend the money on drugs and alcohol?

Jesus didn't say love those who are going to use the love well.
He didn't say feed and clothe and give to those who are going to instantly become "good" and un-sinful.
He didn't say care for those who have their crap together.
Our call is to be like Jesus.
Our call is to love like Jesus.

When I look at the way Jesus lived, the way the Holy lives, and compare it to my life and to the lives of many in the church, so often I am disappointed by our misuse of love and grace.

We are given exceedingly more than we can ask for or imagine, but we won't give to others for fear that they may misuse the gift.

What if we are misusing the gift friends?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Journey to the Weeping Room: The Father's Favorite Place

Matthew 5: 10-12, 43-48 (The Message)
You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that- count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak likes about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens- give a cheer, even!- for though they don't like it, I do! and all of heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. 
You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend, and its unwritten companion, 'hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish- to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like ti. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
If you aren't a fan of The Message translation- Check it out here.  

Most of you are well aware of the horrible things going on over seas. Most of you know all about the violence and injustice. Most of you have made mention of it on social media. You have changed your profile picture to the "N", you have tweeted your support for the Christians, you have vented about the horrid deaths thatIsis is causing. You have watched the news, read and shared articles on your newsfeed. You are aware. You are likely even thinking about it now with deep pain in your heart. You have cried and pleaded with the Lord to end the murder and bring about justice for His people. 
Abba hears your prayers.
Abba hears the prayers of the ones being persecuted.
Abba hears the prayers of the rape victims.
He hears the prayers of the ones who have lost children and friends.
He hears the prayers of the ones who are taking their last breath here on earth, and He hears their shouts of jubilation as they find themselves in eternity, with their Friend forever. 

Our Father sees. He knows exactly what is going on.
He experienced it Himself.
His disciples long ago experienced it.
His disciples today are sharing with Him in that suffering.

He isn't unaware. He hears their cries. He hears your cries.

Can I be offensive to some of you momentarily?

He hears the cries ofIsis. He hears the cries of terrorist. He hears the cries of rapists. He sees their brokenness. He hears their longing for freedom. 

And the Father weeps. 

His creation is living lovelessly. His children and deceived. The ones whom he so longs to call "friend" are lost. 

Do you not think the Father is just as sorrowful, if not more so, about the thousands who do not know him and are persecuting His church?

Friends, yes, my heart breaks right along with all of you who weep for the women and children who are being horribly treated, even unto death.

My heart breaks for the ones being abducted and kept as personal sex slaves! 
If you forgot, I work to fight sex slavery and injustice.
I am all about social justice.
But my Friend is all about people living in Love. 
My Friend wills that none perish.
He wills that everyone will know Him intimately.

Any who do not know Love send Him running to the weeping room.

The Father is calling us to journey with Him to his favorite place- the weeping room. 
The room where every cry is heard, every tear is bottled. Every tear of the just and the unjust. Every cry of the good and the evil. 

Friends, If your sin can't change the way the Father feels about you, then why do you think it changes the way He feels about those who are persecuting the church?

Think about Paul. Before Saul became Paul he was murdering Christians. He did exactly what is going on right now. Then he encountered our Friend, his name was changed, and he wrote a huge portion of the book that you build your life upon.

How many Sauls are waking up right now? How many more will wake up as a result of your prayers? 

I guarantee you that the persecuted ones are praying for their enemies at this moment. 
If they can gather the strength to pray for the ones who are beheading their children, who are we to not join them? 

Abba, we pray for the persecuted church. We thank you for changing the direction of the missiles in mid-air as you have done time and time again. We pray for you to deliver your children, yes; but I plead with you Holy Spirit, to bring those who are walking outside of Love home. Pour out your Spirit on those who do not know you. Give them dreams and visions. Wake them up in the night with encounters with Love. Abba, bring the lost ones home. Leave the 99 for the one once again. Jesus, we long for you to come. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Boxes, Houses, and Castles: A Home fit for a King

I've placed you in perfectly ordered boxes. 
Each one labeled distinctly on it's side. 
I know what goes where and when it expires.
Sort of.
I have your ordered in a way that makes sense.
The You that is loving is right next to the You that is kind.
The You that is good is stacked on top of the You that is called Dad.
The part that is merciful is next to the box that knows my weaknesses.
Your grace is right next to your expectations of me.
Your will is stacked on top of surrender.
Your justice is overlapping your seeing of evil.

But then things get hairy.
Your holiness spews over.
Your jealousy is causing the walls of this castle to tremble.
Your anger is too close to your delight.
I can't make your fire stop burning away chaff.
You wound the ones you love.

The boxes are labeled as fragile, but really there's nothing fragile about you.
It is I who is fragile.
My ideology.
My theology.
My wish-ology.
That is what is fragile.
You don't fit into my preconceived ideas about who you are supposed to be.

So I build a bigger enclosure for you.
One that will make you look more homey
One that will hold a Dad like you.
I build you a House.

It has a roof.
Windows and a door.
I even add a picture on the wall just for you.

I invite you inside to meet with me there.
To share a cup of tea.
Maybe bake some cookies.
Then dance in front of the fireplace with your daughter.

But soon I realize that while you are a dad,
You are also a King.

A holy, passionate, King.

So I tear down the house and I build you a castle.

This castle is fit for a King indeed.
You have plenty of space to pace as you ponder your decrees.
You can sit in your throne.
You can prop up your feet.
You can look out over the kingdom and hear the peoples praise.

I have finally built something that you will love.
I have finally built you a home.

But you.
You walk through the walls.
Your glory all around you.
Your power spilling over.
Your love like an ocean.
Your passion like a wildfire.

You waltz out of the castle I built for you.
Instead, you begin to build.
You begin to build a dwelling place that is fitting for you,
God, Dad, and King.

I see you building.
I see a coffee shop.
I see a laptop.
I see a chair up next to the bar.

What I see next, surprises me the most.
It's not a box you a building.
It's not a house,
Or a or a kingdom with a castle.

What you are so intently building is me.
I see you smile.
I see love flood your eyes.
I see joy fill your face.
The place you feel most at home in,
The home in which you love to dwell,
Is me.

I am your favorite place.

I am the one you created to hold your glory.
I am the one you long to set up camp in.
You plant your roots deep inside me.

Yes, you are God.
Yes, you are Dad.
Yes, you are King.

And yes, you are Friend.

Come and dwell in the center of my heart.
Make yourself at home in me.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Values: Raw Authenticity

Several months ago, I posted part one on my values. The first value I detailed was Kingdom Family. If you missed it, you can read it here. I have delayed in blogging more about my values because I wanted to be sure that I actually am valuing what I say I value.

I finally decided today, after procrastinating on writing this one for months, I will take the brave step to share my second value. Knowing that, while I already live this one out day to day, once I state that it is a value of mine, I am accountable to it. (Scary at times, eh?!)

Raw Authenticity.

Merriam-Webster defines authentic as:

1. Obsolete

2. a. Worthy of acceptance or belief
b. Conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features
c. Made or done the same way as an original

3. Not false or imitation: Real, Actual

4. True to one's own personality, spirit, or character
Synonym: Genuine

Webster also gives a synonym discussion of Authentic, and I really like what it says.
authentic, genuine, bona fide mean being actually and exactly what is claimed. authentic implies being fully trustworthy as according with fact ; it can also stress painstaking or faithful imitation of an original . genuine implies actual character not counterfeited, imitated, or adulterated ; it also connotes definite origin from a source . bona fide implies good faith and sincerity of intention .

That value, being authentic, in itself is a huge task that requires deep vulnerability and willingness to be transparent. But when you add raw in front of it, things get intense.

Good ol' Webster says this about raw:

a. Being in the natural state: Not processed or purified. Not diluted or blended.
b. unprepared or imperfectly prepared for use
c. Not being in polished, finished or processed form.
d. Having the surface abraded or chafed
e. lacking covering
f. not protected, susceptible to hurt
g. lacking experience or understanding

When I say that I value Raw Authenticity, I am saying that I value being unfinished, rough, unmasked in the realest real of my heart. To be raw means that you have no protective covering to hide flaws. Not trying to imitate what culture, the church, people tell you that you need to be.
In this state, I am very susceptible to being hurt.
Obviously, I am to use wisdom and not throw my pearls to the pigs, but if I am to walk out raw authenticity, it requires great risk.

Authenticity, rawness, realness, all require risk.

There is no one in the world who is like me. I am the only one who looks like me, thinks like me, processes like me, loves like me.

The Creator gifted me with something beautiful that he wants to share with the world. If I am not my truest, rawest, authentic self, I am causing others to miss out on a side of our very good Father. For me to hide from others is to do an injustice to not only them, but me too.
When I am my truest self, I am more alive.
When I let the walls down and allow myself to be vulnerable and raw, I receive a greater gift. I receive friends. I find that there are others who can relate. I find other real human beings.

The more you cook vegetables, the more nutrients (life) drain from them. The more raw, the more alive.

I want to be raw. I want to be full of life.

God is most glorified when man is fully alive. 

Joyous Suffering

It's a word that you cannot say while smiling.
It's a word that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
It's a word that you don't often here in America.
It's a word that you hear even less from Christians in America.
It's what I have been studying lately.
Is it a reality for New Covenant Believers?
Is it avoidable?
Is it a sign of righteousness?
Is it proof of humility?
Is it a Biblically sound doctrine?
Does it make you a better Christian?
Does it make you love Jesus more?
Is it worth it?

Who the heck knows?!
Because of all of this and some recent circumstances, I have began to tear apart the Word with the Holy Spirit, my Teacher.

I have shared bits and pieces with a couple good friends and have gotten varying opinions on the subject. Each friend's opinions have been encouraging, However, my friends are not the Holy Spirit. My friends are not perfect. My friends, as well versed and experienced as they may be cannot give me absolute truth on the subject. Only the Holy Spirit, the interpreter of the Word, can give me absolute truth. It doesn't matter how convincing someone's argument one way or another might be; if I am not certain that I have heard from the Lord on a matter and have made the truth my own, when things get rocky, I will sway and stumble.

I sit here tonight sorting through what I know to be true about God, life, His voice, my identity. And right smack dab in the middle of it all is this towering thing that seems to be unaffected by good effort or pleasant thoughts. This thing is the cause of much pain and struggle in my life.

Honestly, I was going to share all of the cool things that I have been discovering in the Word relating to this. All the fun Greek and Hebrew words and meanings that I love so much, along with all the cross references that I have gone back and forth, making this beautiful, complex web between. But at this moment, the only thing I feel pressing to say has nothing to do with all I have "learned" about suffering. It has nothing to do with answering any of the above questions. It has nothing to do with comparing "suffering" in the American Christian culture to the suffering (religious, political, and economical) I have observed all around the globe.

The only thing I feel pressed to say is this:

My "suffering", the hurt, ache, longing, situation, as it is, has led me to one thing... it is an experience I will never be able to have again after I die.
Once I am gone from this life, I will never feel the ache of pain or suffering ever again. I will not cry. I will not mourn, I will not be angry with God ever again.

Suffering is an experience we only get to have on this side of eternity as believers. 

I take courage and joy in that fact.

Not joy because there will be no more suffering (while that is something to be joyous about).
I take joy because this is an experience, a emotion, that the Father has created me to be able to experience here and now. Jesus felt it. God feels it. God suffers in deep emotional pain daily as He sees His children live their lives outside of Love.
God created me to be able to experience this deep emotion with Him. If He feels it, I want to feel it too.
I want to sit with the Father in the weeping room.
I want to tarry with Him in the hours of darkness, realizing that even in the darkest dark, He is the brightest light.

If He didn't think suffering was worth it, He wouldn't have created our hearts with the ability to feel this emotion.
There is a part of my suffering that the Father is glorying in. No, He is glorying in my suffering.
And I wear the crown of one who suffers well.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Follow My adventure

I have been sending out newsletter updates to those who verbally requested to receive them. Now is your chance to sign up for them too!

Apparently I am technologically challenged/new to the whole subscribe to my mailing list thing. If you tried to subscribe already, it didn't go through.
To subscribe, click HERE!

Or scan this nifty QR code with your handy iPhone!
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Enjoy your updates!

Dancing Among the Wildflowers: The Beginning

I started writing this a couple months ago. I am now stuck. I do not know how this story ends. I could easily make up a pretty little ending, but truth be told, I have no idea what happens next because I am still in the middle of the story. With my own personal life - I don't know how this story ends. However, I am choosing to vulnerably post the unfinished story, with hopes that I will soon be able to return with an ending. For now, I am content with where I am in this process. There is grace for my process.
Jewel loves wild flowers. She loves picking beautiful bouquets and placing the perfect crown of flowers on her head. Spring fills the fields with her favorite flowers, summer ushers in even more.One day, while Jewel was out picking pretty flowers for her kitchen window, something horrible happened! Under the brush, hiding in the shadows, was a snake. Jewel, not knowing a snake was hiding, reached to pick the prettiest flower she had seen all day and was suddenly bitten by the cruel snake! "OUCH!!" Jewel cried as she dropped all the lovely flowers she was holding and fell back into a thorny rose bush. She cradled her injured hand. The snake hissed and slithered back in to his home under the flower bush. Jewel gathered up the scattered flowers, picked the prickly thorns out of her skin, and sobbed all the way back to her quaint little cabin in the middle of the flower field. Once home, Jewel bandaged her wounded hand. As the night carried on and her little hand continued to hurt badly, Jewel vowed she would never let that happen to her again. She began to build a big, thick wall around her cabin to keep snakes and other harmful things out. She wanted to be certain that she was protected so she never experienced that terrible pain again. So she builds. Before long, her wall became a tower around her little cabin, blocking out all sunlight. Her flowers began to die for lack of sunshine, but Jewel didn't mind because at least she knew she was safe from all snakes and danger. Spring ushers in summer, which soon passes to fall and finally winter. The last bouquet of flowers had long withered and died due to passed time and neglect. Jewel didn't even take time to hang and dry them to preserve their beauty. She instead vowed to never enjoy the fragrance of fresh picked flowers for fear of the venomous, painful bite of snakes. Inside her wall she sat, safely away from the risk of pain that comes with rosebushes and wildflower fields.
How could something she loved and treasured so much hurt her? She was wounded because of her love.
To Jewel, this translated to "love hurts" and "love isn't worth the risk". She continued to hide from love.
Eventually, the seasons turned, the snow and clouds of a harsh winter yielded to the fresh fragrance and lightness of spring and someone came knocking on Jewel's door. The sudden knocking startled jewel. She was unsure what to make of the surprise visit. Timidly and cautiously, she approached the door. The sound of her voice saying, "Who is it?" startled her even more, for she had not heard her own self speak in nearly a year. It's a wonder she even knew how to anymore. The stranger was a traveler passing through. He needed a place to stay for the night and wondered if he could set up camp in her field. Jewel consented to his request, but with a bitter tone, she warned him of the dangers of the field. The stranger didn't seem to be worried. He graciously and genuinely thanked her for her hospitality and assured her he would be of no trouble. The next day, brought about torrential rain showers, so heavy that the traveler decided to not set out on his journey. The sudden downpour caused a tree to fall. It fell right on top of Jewel's wall! Jewel shrieked at the loud crash and shatter of the tree crushing part of her precious wall of safety. She had no idea how she would ever be able to move the tree and rebuild her wall before snakes and thorns took over her safe sanctuary.The stranger, noticing her frantic anxiety, rushed to her side. He assured her that he would stay a few more days before setting out again to help her remove the tree from her wall. "Besides," he added, “The trails are much too wet and muddy for me to begin my journey today anyway." Jewel was relieved, but still fearful. The next morning, the sun broke through the clouds and peaked through her curtains. (This was odd because the sun had so long been shielded from view due to the wall surrounding her cabin.) Jewel sleepily stretched as she climbed out of bed. She heard an unfamiliar noise coming from outside, the sound of an axe chopping away at wood, and she remembered the horrible event of the prior day. She quickly got dressed and went outside to assist the stranger in the daunting chore that lay ahead.
As they worked together to cut up the fallen tree, the stranger made small talk. He commented on the beautiful spring weather, the delightful scents of spring flowers, and the refreshing breeze that blew across their faces. Jewel grew more and more bitter at his joy over spring flowers and nature. She grew quiet and solemn as he chatted away. The stranger didn't seem to notice or mind. He seemed content to carry on joyously detailing his love for spring. Eventually, Jewel couldn't stand it anymore "Enough!" she shouted. "I can't take it anymore!" "Stop with the spring-time celebration! Don't you know that it's not safe or smart to love something so much?”Startled, the stranger stepped back. He apologized for his oblivion to her solemnity over spring and got really quiet himself. In silence, they worked for the next hour. The only sounds to be heard were that of the songbirds and the breeze rustling the leaves in the trees and blowing softly through the grass.
Finally, the stranger worked up the courage to ask the question that was looming in the air. "What caused your disdain for spring and flowers?"
Angrily, Jewel stated, "Not that it’s your business, but if you must know…it's just not smart to love something so much. Thorns hurt. Snakes are good hiders, waiting to strike an innocent passerby."
The stranger gently asked, "Is that what happened to you? Is that why you built this wall?"
Annoyed by his sudden persistent interest in her personal life, Jewel retorted, "Yes."
The two grew quiet again and continued to work on the fallen tree.