11.30.2011

(hannah)

i want to be like hannah from 1 samuel.
she was honest. she poured out her heart to the Lord. with all the emotions she felt. she didn't minimize the negative effect/appearance of her circumstances, she didn't try to put on a brave face, she didn't say "i know i shouldn't but i feel this way...". she just was transparent, honest, feeling, human. "She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly." (1.10)

she was transparent with others. when eli rebukes her for what he assumes as drunkenness, she doesn't ignore him. doesn't say "i'm not drunk just praying" or "i'm fine". she doesn't pretend everything's alright. "But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation." (v15-16)

she casts her cares on God. and she leaves them there. she doesn't try to fix herself. she says alright Lord, here is my heart,here are my desires, You have them. then she seems to walk away unburdened and rejoicing in her God. "Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad." (18)

she prayed with open hands. granted, her desire was just to have a child. she probably didn't have to keep him in order for the social stigma of "barren woman" to be removed. but in a time where women's lives were only valued for work and pleasing their husbands, having a child to raise seems like it would be something to look forward to. a task to take pride in when your worth was considered less than a man's. then take into account natural maternal instinct and love for your own...therefore i believe hannah's vow shows an open hand. willingness to give God everything. "And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord." (26-28)

^^^none of those things could be said about me. not consistently. by the gracious work of God, i can say i have experianced each one. there have been times i've walked away off the dock gloriously free! feeling the joy of a God who takes detailed care of me. Who is big enough to deal with my seemingly intense issues. (that really aren't) but? far too often i walk away still thinking. still carrying too much on my tiny shoulders, still playing God. or i take them back, one by one throughout the day.

{{Change me, Lord! i cannot keep this up. i am too tired to walk, i stagger under burdens i was never intended to hold. take them. take my fears, doubts, practical plans to fulfill my needs. take the burdens i carry for others, the desires to heal, cleanse, redeem, cause fruit to come forth. ONLY YOU can do those works! and You cannot use me as a tool, when i am trying to be the One working. forgive my arrogance. Jesus, breathe grace on me. breathe rest, restore me to joy, freedom, total reliance upon You. Your shoulders are broad, and Your heart is loving.
thank you.}}

11.29.2011

thank you, matt redman for loving Jesus and writing about it

*confession: i adore matt redman. i just feel like he gets it. gets it as in, i feel like he loves Jesus above all. i feel like that has been tested by fire, and he writes out of his heart. doesn't mean i like all of his songs. & dang his old stuff is musically cheesy! but over the years God has used his songs to nail me. comfort me. and wage war. a matt throwback:

"You made me fruitful in the land of my suffering Father,
You made me hopeful in a place of no hope,
poured oil of gladness on the wounds of my struggling
and You poured oil of healing on the depths of my soul.
When i needed a savior, You were there..."
(when i needed a savior)

and now tonight, i'm singing this truth to myself:

"kneeling on this battle ground
seeing just how much You've done
knowing every victory is Your power in us
scars and struggles on the way
but with joy our hearts can say
NEVER ONCE did we EVER walk alone
carried by Your constant grace
held within Your perfect peace
never once, did we ever walk alone
never once, did you leave us on our own
you are faithful, God you are faithful..."
(never once)
thank you, Jesus. for music. thank you for never abandoning me. for always loving. for forgiveness! what a blessed thing to be forgiven.

11.13.2011

beloved. HE is jealous for (me)

I am my Beloved's, and He is mine.

My God is jealous for me.

He wants me. Not just my intellect, not my head, not just my emotions or heart. All of the above, everything, will-feelings-self. the whole ALL of me. He doesn't have any need of me. He doesn't have to have me. I need Him, desperately; yet I try to run. I don't always want Him. I need Him more than I need anything else, but my desire for Him is faithless and changing as the tides. But He? He wants me. He doesn't need me. His desire for me is faithful, steady. Jealous. He will have me, and He will let nothing separate us.

Astounding.

and today, oh HOW He loves me! it's incredible that God will meet just with me. i worship a God who meets with a young girl in her bedroom on her face. no fanfare, no human mediator. no distractions, just my God and i. He wanted to set me free. to tell me He approves of me. i am his daughter, his workmanship. words fail to express just how overwhelming, intense, insane to my logic His love is for me. there is NO reason HE should care for me!!!! but He does! i read the greatest surety of this Love, the story of His death & resurrection for me and then a spurgeon sermon titled "Oh, How He Loves" and the following words from it do some justice to the thoughts of my undeserving overwhelmed little heart:

"Many days have passed since then, and I asked you now to recollect what Christ has done to us since we first trusted in him. Has his love for you cooled in the slightest degree? We have all of us tried that love by our wondering and waywardness, but we have not quenched it, and its fire still burns just as vehemently as at the first. We have, sometimes, fallen so low that our hearts have been like adamant, incapable of emotion; yet Jesus has loved us all the while, and softened our hard hearts as the glorious sun melts the icebergs of the sea. We were like the insensible grass which calls not for the dew, yet the dew of his love gently fell upon us; and though we had not sought it, our heart was refreshed by it. Our Lord has indeed proved how he loved us by the gracious way in which he has borne with our many provocations; and think too, beloved, with what gifts he has enriched us, with what comforts he has sustained us, with what divine energy he has renewed our failing strength, and with what blessed guidance he has led and is still leading us! Take thy pencil and paper, and try to set down in figures or in words thy total indebtedness to his love; where wilt thou begin, and when thou hast begun, where wilt thou finish? If thou wert to record only one out of a million of his love-gifts to thee, would the whole world be able to contain the books that might be written concerning them? No; all thou canst say is, "Behold how he has loved us!"

11.12.2011

help my unbelief!

"Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?
Shall I, who cause to bring forth shut the womb?
says your God."
Isaiah 66.9
"...I was expecting the labor pains to end in a miscarriage. But God uses our pain to create life, not death!"
my friend's words cut me to the heart yesterday. how true of my own soul! i'm afraid God isn't doing a good work. i believe lies. i've been fighting His loving hands, b/c I don't expect good fruit. i don't consider them labor pains bringing new life forth. i consider them pointless, i'm waiting for death. i don't want to be okay with being broken, i don't want to roll with the punches. i fight them, i try to fix myself as soon as i possibly can.
yet. somehow, by His amazing grace.
He has planted hope in my doubting soil.
He has answered my daily prayer of "Lord, HELP my unbelief!" i do truly believe He's going to heal me, completely. i don't believe my scars are permanent. i don't believe He's cracking me open for no purpose. i've given it to Him, surrendered. He can have His way with me. if that means tears and heartache i don't understand every day for years, alright. He's good. if that means tomorrow i wake up to problems solved, broken lives mended overnight, hallelujah! but His goodness is the same either way. i've asked for healing, ending, joy that endures and freedom. He will give them to me. in HIS timing. not a second before.
but i'm ok with that now.


11.11.2011

yellow tulips

i have this friend...she brought me a mason jar of yellow tulips today. (smile) just cause she understands the fight to wear yellow & not grey. she wrote a note that nailed me, convicted me, and gave me hope. it meant the world to me. and it wasn't at all practical or convenient--she drove 35 miles out of her way, just to show me love. just to remind me God is greater than my hurt. just to say, "i know you're heart's been taking a brutal beating, but you're not alone in this fight, & it's worth it, so don't give up. deliverance is coming!" ah wow. undeserving me!

abi gives me a reason to believe in God's goodness. she LOVES Jesus & pursues Him no matter what. she has a hard time saying the words "i" & "love"; which is funny b/c dang, she says it without words far better than almost anybody i know! she has a talent for writing. a magic with words. she's astounding. oh, did i mention she's one of my childhood best friends ever?! yeah. THAT'S how i KNOW God loves me!! seriously. she is an example of Christ's love for me. i never feel in danger of losing her friendship. no matter how unloving, self-focused, doubtful, selfishly downcast i am. she's never given up on me. no matter what, she'd still fight for me. still encourage me. still listen. i'm not sure how i know this, i just do. i never feel as if i could, or need to, earn her friendship. i just have it. the same way i just have Jesus love-- that is not typical of me. i don't think i'm a very lovable sort & i don't trust people. i'm secure in hers, in this friendship / sisterhood. How kind He is!

THE biggest gift she gives is in making Jesus more beautiful to me, in whatever way I need it. sometimes, that means stabbing me with truth. she convicts me. pushes me to love Jesus more, reveals areas i question Him, asks hard questions. sometimes directly, sometimes the Lord just uses her without her knowing. her direct correction is painful, but loving. truly the "faithful are the wounds of a friend" kind. she takes the time to know me, to really find out where my heart is first. so it goes down easily. perhaps it's because i respond to gentleness, and her direct correction is always honest, gentle& loving. i feel that she legit cares for me when she cares for my soul. prob helps that we have the same mind & heart 90% of the time...lol. God uses her as His scalpel. i am so grateful for it.

i can't come close to returning the blessing & encouragement abi gives me. i want to! even though i never feel like i have to, in fact that makes me want to try all the more...
thanks for being a spot of yellow in my life too abi. you're part of how Jesus makes life beautiful.
(^^^)

11.06.2011

rawness (on the subjects of pain, Jesus' rich love, &fragility)

i am fragile.
i am tired.
i am aching.
{i feel defeated}

i am fragile, physically & emotionally. (i've become aware of the latter just recently)
i am tired, cause i feel hard pressed on every side. (nowhere near to the extent of Paul!! but see above. i am not paul.)
i am aching, b/c i am still learning Jesus' way in loving others. in being vulnerable. i hurt b/c i sin, b/c others sin, b/c healing is painful.
{my feelings don't define truth. or me}

but in Christ: OH Christ, how sweet the Name!
in Christ, my fragility forces me to lean into His strength.
in Christ, my exhaustion makes every victory HIS; not mine.
in Christ, my wounds give me compassion for others. push me into His arms. & are healed!!
{in Christ, i will never be ultimately defeated}

kicker: i have to fight to get to Christ. i have to fight for joy. to believe in hope, light, grace. i have to battle what my eyes have seen, the warnings of my head, past experiences with their bitter taste of disappointed hopes still lingering in my mouth. i have to fight for His perspective when i am blind. He is there, always. but i stubbornly have to fight to keep my eyes open.

lately i haven't been fighting. because sometimes i don't want to. sometimes i believe the lie that i'm alone in the battle. the lie that fighting is more painful than being whatever i feel or think to be true. sometimes, i feel the darkness is going to win. sometimes i feel everything in me is going to collapse in battling it and all the hard effort will be wasted. sometimes i inform the Creator of the Universe that i'm done. that i'm not going to fight until i see something to hope for...as if He had not given me the surest most lovliest of hopes!! He saved me from myself!! my sin separated me from Him-- He gave His Son to give me LOVE! to give me the most delightful satisfying relationship i could possibly know. that of His friendship. yet. i act as if He is not the sweetest most beautiful treasure. as if it's my right to choose to fight or not; when rather its the kindest undeserved mercy, that i am free too! well. look who has a new, shining sword in her hands...and look Who has His hands over hers, guiding, strengthening, comforting.

oh foolish child.
oh gracious Father!

Father. forgive me. i don't want to fight tonight. i just want to let hurt swallow me, i want to give up. part of me wants to say "one ray of hope, one night of peace, one glimpse of something lovely. then cruelly you let satan at me again. you let the darkness of the past threaten to kill that vision. so soon. why? why test me on the joy, peace, love you spoke to my heart this morning so soon? it's been less than 24 hours!" what blasphemous, untrue, evil words! that is NOT the character of my God! oh what faithlessness, that i would entertain them. forgive me for emotionally controlled, evil thoughts Father!! ah, but. only *part* of me. is that not evidence that You save me continually? that this mornings promises were true? is it not true, that underneath all this there is a peace i've been lacking? thank You, for being my anchor. thank Your for allowing me to feel & see the strong scarlet cord that ties me to You. How are You so good. You are far more precious to me than anything else. So much evidence of Your mercy...i didn't cry all the way home, b/c the little sparks of joy you put in me are rooted in YOU. not a state of mind, not circumstances, not relationships. How sweet that is! i am determined to keep the joy You've given me. haha. Oh Jesus, we both know. without Your intercession this moment. i would be in a crumpled heap of bleeding heartness on my floor, angry at myself for feeling, swearing to lock my heart up if it's going to be so pathetically easy to cut. but i'm not. i sit here upright. in calmness of mind. slightly bleeding, but slightly smiling. mostly singing! of how beautiful Your constancy is to me. How beautiful Your grace for my many sins. How astounding is Your forgiveness. Yes Lord, I will fight. You have given me a taste of freedom & light. if You are with me, i will let nothing take that from me. nothing, no one.
You are my treasure. You are all i need. i HAVE you!!
wonder.}

11.03.2011

fantastic much?

um, why yes, i'd love one of my walls to be covered in the book peter pan, thank you very much... www.spinelessclassics.com