as promised.

I said I'd share some of what God did in my heart at NA. Specifics. I'm going to pull from my journal so we'll see if it makes sense. Here goes.
If I had to pick one word to describe what God did at NA, it'd be renew. Or refresh. (adjectives. I can’t use just one.) It began on the ride up. Jill, Heather and I took turns reading scripture out loud. We all chose very different passages yet their common theme was grace. This really impacted me. I'd been struggling with condemnation for awhile. I prayed. And prayed...but it seemed like a losing battle...When we walked into worship that night there was a word on the screen. GRACE. During worship, God came. He washed away the condemnation. How much sweeter does grace seem when you feel the weight of your sin! It is always precious, but my perspective is so often skewed…He reminded me afresh of the blood of His Son. That amazing transaction by which all my debt was paid. Forever. I was so freshly aware of my undeservingness. But in a new way...my condemnation was aware in an introspective, prideful way. This was awareness with joy. “Oh God I cannot thank you enough!!" Amazement at His glorious gospel...It set the tone for the rest of the conference. That, and the "uplifting of my head" sunday night. (bob kauflin's "should remain in silence" spontaneous song.) With a burden removed, I could receive conviction. Before I'd grown weary and discouraged. Now I was ready to continue the fight. But only by His strength. I am supposed to be weak. Dependant on Him. It is then, in my utter helplessness, that He's glorified. With His help, I can defeat sin. Without it, I only fool myself. He took my eyes off my circumstances to see Jesus, “the author and perfecter of my faith”.

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed.
{in the valley, sgm music}
O Lord, this is my heart's cry. May I learn to trust you more and more, to rely on Your grace. It is always enough...


isaiah 45.

"I have blotted our your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth...For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and will be glorified in Israel!"

The wondrous gift of salvation. It is not based on any merit we think we have, it is all by the work of Jesus on the cross. It is not nullified by our daily sins, they are covered by the blood of Christ. He is not surprised when we fail to bring Him glory. We are, because we do not fully understand how truly depraved our hearts are. Neither do we fully understand His Holiness--or we would continually be on our faces. But He understands. Completely. Yet still loves. Still chooses. Still pours out more, more, and more grace.
I need this grace. Desperately.



((photocredit: for the first time i succumbed to using a web photo))
Three (3) weeks. Four (4) days. Five thousand, two hundred and thirty (5, 000) miles between Fl and Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. (!!) As I pray for Beks and the others in Haiti, my thoughts wander to my own trip. Because many of the other trips take place before or during Wales, my preparation has had an "eventually" mentality to it. Until today. I received our flight itinerary...and proved that I DO possess some amounts of girliness. (as my bros said: "when boys get excited, they smile. when girls get excited, they think everybody else wants to join in." haha.)
It's finally starting to sink in. I'm actually going to Wales. July 12-23. With about 18 other Floridians. For 11 days. We'll be staying in welsh houses, eating welsh food, trying to understand welsh accents, serving the welsh, and {hopefully} maybe even learning a little welsh. What's the point? Ultimately, to glorify God and spread His glorious gospel. Practically...to help our sister church their  put on a "Family Fun Fair"-type outreach. (memories, anyone?) Now you know almost as much as I do...I know it'll be nothing like my imaginings. I can't wait to see what God does. Anything He does for/through us is amazing in light of what we deserve. May we always be a living proclamation of the gospel--no matter where He puts us.

*regular programming will now continue...*
{als, i didn't forget your request for a wales post. here it is}


precious words

"O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold,
O LORD you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written,
every one of them, the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
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!"

{from psalm 139}