12.26.2011

hope

"in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..."
((God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 22))

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool."
((isaiah 1.18))

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
(luke 2)

The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak...And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.
(isaiah 59)

And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

((luke 4))

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

(isaiah 53)

that's what christmas is all about. the cross and ressurrection too of course! but these are the passages i have been drawn too. i've been meditating often this holiday season on the mystery and truth that Jesus is mine. i have the greatest treasure! a treasure so grand, vast, majestic; my mind cannot begin to grasp its worth. Jesus. He is my all in all. my Redeemer, He who paid the debt i earned & my Ransom. my Messiah. He who sets me free! Who breaks my bonds apart again and again. my Healer. my Wonderful Counselor and Comfort. my Compassionate High Priest, who intercedes before the throne of grace. my Joy. the Lover of my soul, who woos me back when i wander. Faithful One, Promise-keeper.

i have ALL i need! i don't always believe this <<. i think that i lack. i forget to find my satisfaction in Him. i feel needs real and unreal, & i don't run to Him to be the source or provide or show me where that need is uneeded or met. i am faithless. but, HE is not. He always meets me, saves me, frees me with love. He is my source for all delight!! even His amazingly good gifts are meant to point me back to the One who is better than anything and anyone earthly. My God embodies goodness.

oh to believe this more fully!

12.18.2011

i love this crazy life

joy in the little things...just wanted another spot of sunshine. there are so many little ways God shows His unmerited love and favor to me. and as mum says, "you have more favorites than any other girl in the world." it's true! how can i not when so much of life has hidden treasures? six year olds, we are just so easily amused... ;)

FAMiLY. ooohh how i adore them! crazy adhd artistic blunt honest sarcastic goofy loving got-your-back loyal hilarious. they are the bestest people i know.

in christ alone. k hymns in general. well some hymns in general...yeah.

eric church's voice. idk why, i have this thing for voices...certain ones i fall in love with and i can't help it. even if they're not the best.

eire. and all things irishness, so grateful one-eighth of my blood is irish...we're proud stubborn people, but Jesus still loves us.

the hours right before sunset, when everything is bathed in golden shadow.

car dancing/singing at the top of my lungs with bre.

Philippians. oh make me a soul as content, joyful and satisfied in YOU alone as paul, O Lord.

sharpies. all kinds.

a green and yellow football jersey. superbowl mvp, sparkly #12, yeah that'd be aaron rodgers...we wear the same clothes on sunday afternoons. ;)

nailpolish. not a fan of how it feels on my fingers. but how fun is it to paint colour on yourself?!

"Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death! come awake, come awake, come and rise up from the grave, Christ is risen from the dead, we are one with Him again!"

mhhmm. thank you Jesus that there will always be beauty in life. may i always see Your goodness no matter how rough the road You lead me on.

12.10.2011

praying out loud.

Hi Father,
thank you for revealing frailty in me. on a level i have never allowed you to touch. thank you for crushing me, to reveal a fragrance i did not know You had built in me. thank you for emotional vulnerability. Lord i hate that concept. the very words make me tense, but you are changing that. ha, ha-as i am powerless to control these feelings, powerless to stop them. i could suck it up and pretend. thank you that You don't want me to! Thank you that You understand and have created me in Your image. YOU have emotions Lord, therefore i must. You are not frail in Yours-but i am human. i am tempted to despise myself, to harden my heart, to fake it. i'm tempted to pretend it is godly self-control to lock this empty ache inside, to not allow tears when i feel ripping pain deeper than any i have experienced. to act as if the void in my chest isn't pressing against my sternum some days with such force i'm surprised it hasn't cracked. Lord you are showing me you don't want self control. you want me. all of me. you want venerability. you want me to feel. to stay soft. to be weak. to admit i have pain, and be biblical. to be like david, who knew that God's truths do not always stop the pain or take it away, but give a reason to live through it. to rejoice in truth when you don't see it!

i can be human, and not sin. i am learning that my attempts to fortify my heart and deny pain in the name of "joy" and "self control" is running. is an attempt to morphine myself out of this place where i feel pathetic. those are sins! of pride, control, distrusting you and watching my own back. allowing myself to feel, is humility. allowing myself to break, is trusting You. NOT attempting to put myself back together, fix it or stop the breaking, is admitting my utter dependence on You. trust. is love. loving you in a new way that makes noo sense to me...how You could view this as good is beyond me. How you could love a wreck, is amazing. How it is that I am more wrecked then i have been, but i don't feel the old woundedness. How i could be so hurt by you when i thought i was prepared is revealing.

but somehow, i KNOW. i know i am where you want me most when i am sobbing on my knees and giving you the pain, asking you to take the missingness; and believing You've got an astounding dawn with lots of colour just waiting for me to fly to someday. when we are through this. How is it, that in pain, for the first time since i was 16, i am beginning to feel whole? we are going to be tighter than ever as a result of this. what a strange gift.
be still my soul, and see what a loving generous Father is yours!!

genesis 22

God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you." And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba..."

I've always loved this story, but is especially dear to me these days. Abraham and Hannah, I wish I could meet them for coffee! I feel I understand them somewhat better these days. My circumstances are VASTLY different!! But. I relate. To Hannah, in her barrenness. Like her, there are things I long for that God has not seen fit to answer. Yet I have faith--must have faith--that He will. I must take my burdens, cast them, and leave with joy that He hears me. Every morning. Yet in another circumstance, I am like her in the surrender of the very thing she prayed to receive. There was an area God saw fit to answer. I've been unsure whether it was mine to have or mine to give. His answer has been to give. There is a relief in letting go, but also a pain. A natural ripping of my heart. I doubt Hannah felt nothing as she left her son year after year with Eli. I cling to the verse where God gave Hannah 5 more children. After she gave Him the one, the first and seemingly only one, she had. That resonates with me...my God is generous!!

I relate to Abraham, as I've found myself in the position of offering something sacrificial. I've been here before. Only it is much harder than it has ever been. This is my Isaac. The adjectives "love" and "only" are more profound in v.2 than ever before. I know them well.

Abraham, how I want to learn from you. He was listening for the Lord's voice. He obeyed immediately, without questioning. He had faith that God would restore Isaac to him. God would keep His promise. BUT. Abraham did not see how. Maybe he thought Sarah would get pregnant again, or God would resurrect Issac, or Isaac would not be burned by the fire. Nobody knows what thoughts went through his mind...nobody knows if he had only joy & trust, or if it was a battle. nobody knows if he felt sick or had to shut off his emotions as he took that knife in his hand. Did he weep tears of joy and relief? Did he fall on his face when the angel appeared? we don't know. but we do know he was human. imperfect. made in the image of God, with the frailty of humanity and emotions just like us.
i forget this.
i forget that abraham was not always a man of faith and power. i forget that he felt. he obeyed with trust. but he did not see the ending. indeed, the Lord's generous promise that a descendant of his would bless the entire world? abraham died long before that came true. it was over 400 years later!

Lord, give me this kind of trust.