l e n t :: day20_thirst

day20_thirst

This morning, since the next IF:Equip study hasn’t started yet, I perused John Piper’s recent articles and decided to read one titled Love is the Main Thing in Saving Faith.  Here’s a quick excerpt (although I encourage you to read the whole thing!): 

Here is the way Paul put it:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9–10)

Literally, it says, “They did not welcome the love of the truth in order to be saved.” The issue is not just welcoming the truth, but being willing to have the love of the truth in our hearts. Many people presume to have truth and speak truth. But it is all mental, intellectual — notional, [Jonathon] Edwards would say. They do not love the truth of the gospel. They say things about Jesus, but they don’t love what they say — that is, they don’t love the one they speak of. They don’t treasure what they say. And Paul says this is why they are not saved. Which means, they don’t have saving faith. Because saving faith has in it the love of what is believed — the One believed.

Saving faith receives the truth of Christ not merely as a fact, but as treasured fact. Not just as the description of a person and his deeds, but as a treasured person whose deeds are treasured for how valuable they really are. That is, saving faith includes loving Christ — treasuring him for who he is.

Last fall, a dear friend of mine was peeling carrots, PEELING CARROTS, and she burst into tears simply because she was overwhelmed by the love of Jesus.  Then, a night before a conference on the other side of the country, she didn’t sleep, overwhelmed by JESUS.  She treasures JESUS.

So today I am realizing that I am thirsty.  Sure, thirsty for water, Perrier, water from a curly straw (isn’t he a cutie by the way?), a good hoppy beer, but above all I am thirsty to fall in love with Jesus.  To want His return more than I want to spend another 50 years on earth in my safe place.  To want to participate in the breathing, life-giving love the Trinity shares.  And I know I’ve been invited to take a sip.

It reminds me of a song with lovely welcoming lyrics:

All who are thirsty

All who are weak

Come to the fountain

Dip your heart in the stream of life

Let the pain and the sorrow

Be washed away

In the waves of His mercy

As deep cries out to deep

Come Lord Jesus come!

All Who Are Thirsty by Brenton Brown & Glenn Robertson, Vineyard Music UK

 Are you thirsty? 

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l e n t :: day18_heal

day18_heal

When I was a younger child, many of my family members were not my biggest fans.  They said I was bossy to my other cousins.   That I didn’t go with the flow the way children are supposed to.  Spoiled, I suppose.  An aunt even brought up last week that I was demanding.  Over the years, I have reached out to many of those family members that I hurt, hoping for forgiveness and reconciliation.   But I admit it has been a place of great pain for me, as well.  Why didn’t people like me?  I wasn’t intentionally bulldozing my way through life without regard for others; I was, and still am, just trying to understand how to not misuse my gifts and desires.  And really, now looking back, that is what I see it as: a misuse of my gifts and desires.  I do like to develop strong, informed opinions and change my lifestyle accordingly: demanding.  I am capable of handling many projects and problems, especially delegating to a team: bossy.  I have preferences on clothes, food, cars, translations, etc. and have pursued them, rarely being denied what I’ve work hard for: spoiled.   For all this I’ve pursued healing for myself and hoped to step into it with others.

I recently reread The Screwtape Letters, a satirical compilation of letters from an experienced demon named Screwtape to his young nephew temptor Wormwood, and was wonderfully smacked in the face by this segment:

“You must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. Let him think of it not as self-forgetfulness but as a certain kind of opinion (namely, a low opinion) of his own talents and character. Some talents, I gather, he really has. Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue. By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible. To anticipate the Enemy’s strategy, we must consider His aims. The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the, fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal selflove as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.”

                The Screwtape Letters,  C.S. Lewis

What a healing process we must journey through, to acknowledge and use our and our neighbors’ gifts with a heart of gratitude for the One who gave them!   To recognize all creatures as glorious and excellent things, to have charity and gratitude for all selves, including our own.

What healing do you need to step into, for yourself or others?  How can you begin a journey towards recognizing all creatures with charity and gratitude as glorious and excellent things?

l e n t :: day17_see

day17_see3

day17_see2

Sometimes I don’t register all that I see.  Like these girls and their eyes.  Raena’s eyes are a dark brown that can barely be differentiated from the pupil.  She has incredible depth and is often hard to understand as she lives in a unique world (plus she sometimes speaks in her own made up language).  Then there’s Reis: she has brilliant blue eyes that sparkle and change with her environment.  She’s the quicker to smile and goof off and longs for cuddles and constant interaction.   But I sometimes forget to acknowledge the individual gift they each are.  I see them, sure, ALL THE TIME.  But I could work on acknowledging them a bit more.

What do you just see that you need to acknowledge?

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l e n t :: day16_joy

day16_joyToday’s post may seem a little bit like fluff, but let me say that often joy is found in the fluff.  When a song you jammed out to in elementary school comes on your Pandora station: JOY.  When the Party Store clerk calls you “Miss” not “Ma’am”: JOY.  When you get an extra fifteen minutes of child-less morning time: JOY.  When your little brother somewhat begrudgingly dries dishes so that you can write this post: JOY.  When after nearly 4 years of not being able to consume regular coffee without a massive, vision-changing, four-day-long-misery-of-a-migraine you come across a DARK ROAST ORGANIC FAIR TRADE DECAF COFFEE: OHMYWORD JOY JOY JOY.  So today I’m letting my joy be found in the fluff, the music and the decaf coffee.

What kind of fluff brings you joy?

l e n t :: day15_shelter

day15_shelter

The wind blew strong today.   I spent the morning grocery store hopping with my mom and two babes, hoods up and eyes down.  Then drove back to NE Indy later this afternoon for another appointment.  Each time, jumping as quickly as possible from each place of shelter to the next – the car, a building overhang, the house, a store.  Nobody wants to be rained on when it’s barely above freezing.

I don’t remember much of the details or even who spoke, but once I heard a talk about “the meantime”.  We often jump over “the meantime” to get to what we think of as the good stuff.  I’d hate to lose the majority of my life to the meantime when it may just be the time.   Who might I have chatted with today?  Sure, I may have been cold, but in the words of Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations, “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a … life, any single conversation can.”

What are you missing in your journey focused on shelter?  What have you deemed only the meantime when it may be THE time?

 

l e n t :: day14_covenant

day14_covenant

My 2nd year college roommate painted this for Jeff and me for our wedding.  She had previously done a simple sketch the inspired that painting and that we used on our wedding invitation.  It is lovely.  We asked her to draw it based on a song called “Closer” by Jars of Clay, specifically the line “I want your kites strings tangled in my trees all wrapped up.”  We liked the idea of two individuals, blowing separately in the breeze, secured together by a Big Deeply Rooted I AM.  We stepped into the second Covenant of our lives, making an unbreakable promise.   No matter what happens in life, heartbreak or death cannot take away the experience of our togetherness.   Thankfully, nothing can separate us from the togetherness of us and I AM.   That covenant is sealed, binding, rooted in dirt deeper, denser, than any substance or tool man throws at it.  That’s encouraging today.

With what or whom are your kite strings tangled?

My birthday/Christmas present this year was a lens upgrade and I’ve been wanting to pick up my camera a bit more—not to join the leagues of professional photographers but to be able to capture memories of my family and natural beauty along the journey.  I’ve also been meaning to write quite a bit more but you can just check my blog to see how often that’s happened (hint :: not).  So, as a part of my Lenten rhythms, I am doing rethinkchurch.com’s Lenten Photo A Day Practice.  I’d love to have you follow along.  Subscribe on the right.  

l e n t :: day13_vision

day13_vision

Before we moved back to Kokomo, I’d forgotten how beautiful Indiana skies could be.  Although the lack of sun during Michigan winters didn’t drastically effect my mood, the bright blue in the summer, watching dark clouds bring in a storm, or the articulate night sky has shocked me multiple since we moved back.  I didn’t realize I missed it.  I know other places in the world are flatter, but the miles and miles and miles you can see from one vantage point in Central Indiana is a bit ridiculous.  I can see the stop light at State Road 19 and 22/35 from 4 miles away at the stop light at 19 and 26.  You cannot ignore the great expanse.  You can’t feel big here.

What fills your vision today? 

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a summer sunrise
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a summer storm

 

l e n t :: day11_live

day11_live

This morning I sat around a sunny table with very dear friends – one taking a journey to open her home, two just settling into new homes, another trying to figure out her next steps to having home, and me soon moving from the temp stay in my parent’s home to a separate home.   I loved hearing their stories.  Such different women with different ideals and varying values.  This morning we lived together.  No, we don’t share closets or refrigerator space but we breathed and shared and asked for input and disagreed and crashed into each other with our good and bad.  We slammed up against windows, soaked up the sunshine, let down our hair, and watched four hours disappear like minutes.  The best kind of living I know: with.

Who did you live with today?  What did that mean to you?

l e n t :: day10_love

day10_love

Love means that I find your needs and wants as important if not more important than my own.  Perhaps at first that sounds a wee bit selfish, but I am being honest.  How did I know I loved Jeff?  His happiness became inherently more important than my own.  How do I know I love my dearest friends?  When they’ve had a bad day with their kids and I’ve had a bad day with my kids, I’m willing and wanting to go to their home, rock-a-bye a screaming babe, and wash their dishes.  Love isn’t losing yourself, but it is the daily crashing into other human beings and asking “Are you ok?” before checking your own wounds.  And when I think about it, I guess I don’t really love that many people, not in practice at least.  I need to work on that.

How do you love? 

If you want to read a bit more on love, my dear friend Caitlin Boersma wrote a beautiful piece including a summary of a challenging talk by Jen Hatmaker on loving like Jesus.

l e n t :: day9_refuge

day9_refuge

Perhaps my bed would seem an odd refuge as I am an extrovert and am generally rejuvenated via wine, conversation and art.  Recently, in a counseling session, I was compared to a lightning bolt.  I doubt beds are fond of lightning bolts, due to fire and whatnot.  And honestly, I somewhat despise sleep; we have love/hate relationship since I rarely snooze straight through the night, tossing with deeply personal and generally overly emotional dreams or your average check-the-clock-every-49-minutes insomnia.  With littles, at least with my littles, we’re lucky if sleep is uninterrupted once or twice a week.  But you know to whom my bed is a refuge?  My kids.  Bad dream?  Sleep with mom.  Sick?  Snuggle up with mom.  Sister won’t be quiet and go to sleep?  Go to mom.   Cold?  Mom.  Thirsty?  Mom.  Need to poddy?  Mom.  Want Mom?  Mom.  (Quick disclaimer: Jeff is an awesome,,awesome, awesome night-time Dad – well all-the-time Dad.  But let’s be honest and say that at night even though Jeff is willing and often does much of the work, the girls’ prefer Mama.  Feel free to comment if you disagree, Babe.)  Speaking of Jeff, our bed is also a refuge for Jeff.  He needs a lot of sleep to function and without ample time in those navy flannel sheets, he’s no good come the middle of the day.   He snuggles up with his three (yes, three) pillows and quickly enters ZZZZzzzzville.  I guess I’ve never stopped and thought about how much this chunk of fabric, wood and springs supports our family (pun not intended, but welcomed).  It makes me wonder, what else is an essential part of our rhythms that I take for granted?  How many people don’t have a decently new, warm and dependable place to rest their tired bodies at the end of the day?  All from a bed.

Where is your daily refuge?  What is a place of centrality for you or your family?

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