Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday

The youngest came in with mud squished between his toes, and feet bottoms covered in a silt-like sludge....

....not once, but twice today.

And so I took him to the sink, hoisted his little diapered bottom up on the counter, turned the faucet on, and wiped away the clay.

Two times.

It wasn't until half-way through the second wash - that it dawned on me....

I was washing dirty feet.

And on this day thousands of years ago......

 Jesus was doing the same.

Normal mom experience turned supernatural God encounter.

I got all the mud off, rinsed his sweet toddler toes, and grabbed a kitchen rag to wipe his feet down.

As I dried him off - my mind went to Christ.

Jesus....all kneeling and servant like....washing the sand off the disciples feet and drying them with the towel around his waste.....

This God of a man who came for us all....serving and washing....and wanting to.

What wild grace!

The moment grabbed me.

I'm still reeling from it.

Because for a moment - it was as if I was staring right into His face.

The magnitude of what Christ did that night - the night before He would hang....is downright staggering.

The Lord of the universe cleansing the hooves of the very ones who would betray Him the next day - it's inconceivable.

The whole thing....

Christ coming as an infant in a barn....
living and moving and eating and being right here amongst the broken....
healing and redeeming and saving....
serving and teaching and loving...
enduring whips and thorns and pain....
aching and dying.

It's outside my capacity to fathom.

Oh God you are great! So greatly to be praised!

As we turn the page here....

And head into Good Friday - oh let us ponder and meditate and focus and realize how the Maker of the world....became the Savior of the world.

And let it undo us.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

We've had a steady flow of strangers streaming through our home here lately.

Apparently, when you tell your landlords you are moving - they waste no time filling your spot.

And so....sometimes on a moments notice - I have to make my home look like no one lives in it, pack my children up, and leave my house for over an hour - so that future renters can rummage and roam through my home.

It disrupts naps.
It interrupts dinners.
It stops play-times.
It ruins schooling.
It steals rest.

It makes you feel like your home....is no longer your home.

And to be honest....it's making Mama go a bit mad.

It's been an interesting season.

And by interesting I mean awful. Not really all the way awful...but ya know, kind of a little bit awful.

Today was no different.

With the youngest down for his nap, the middle one not feeling well, and the oldest playing happily in the back - I got a phone call. When I saw the number - my shoulders dropped, and my spirits drooped, and as I was answering - I was already picking up toys and flinging them into bins.

Another showing.

Having non-background checked persons roaming my abode is unsettling for me. It almost feels like a violation - having people looking in my closets, and opening drawers, and laying eyes on my children's belongings.

Call me crazy - but it creeps me out.

When you are selling your home...getting a call for a showing is hope-filled delight. But when you are renting your home? It's scary disruption.

To get away from it all, and break up the monotony a bit - we rode down some roads today we haven't ventured on before.

We currently live smack in the middle of a house-farm and concrete - so finding out-of-the-way back paths is a rare occurrence.

But find one - we did.

If anybody can sniff one out...it's my oldest.

Much to the pleasure of my almost eight year old - with a few quick turns we found ourselves in some green.

And that first child of mine....the one that pines for pastures and longs for wide open spaces.....he glued his little face to the window and locked his gaze in a stare the whole way.

If I hadn't been driving - I'd have done the same thing.

But instead, I kept the car between lines and held back threatening tears.

Because if the next few months are like the last few weeks - you won't waste a prayer on me. 

No alarm....I'm alright. It's just that this current season is like the refining of gold - all my impurities and weaknesses seem to be rising to the surface - as I face the strain of long work days for the husband, tight budgets for me, and up-in-the-airness when it comes to a home.

The slothing away of what's weak....this is good. This is needed. But that doesn't make it easy.

The kids are asleep now. One is ill. So Mama here is in an anxious wait - praying that no one else falls sick....and praying that the ill one mends swiftly.

Yes, Lord. 

And God....this hard hump day in Holy Week - make even this.... sweet, fertile, faith-growing ground.

As I wrap this up - just to my left there is a new drawing from that farm-hearted boy I'm raising. It's a sketch of trees and owl holes next to a rocker-adorned porch.

And it brings me some ease.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Disparity

"Charles Spurgeon once said that when a jeweler shows his best diamonds, he sets them against a black velvet back-drop. The contrast of the jewels against the dark velvet brings out the luster. In the same way, God does his most stunning work where things seem hopeless." - from Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala

The above quote is underlined and highlighted, bracketed and starred... in my copy of Cymbala's book.

Those words work well for what I feel like the Spirit has been impressing on my soul for this week. And they speak loudly to a world that's pained.

So many people in my sphere are finding themselves in dark, hope-void situations right now.

And it's crushing.

Even me here.... I'm sitting in such an odd season....where certain situations just seem near impossible to mend.

This very day....I have caught myself in moments where I'm wondering down the lane of a quiet despair.

And I'm discovering that this is more commonplace than I once thought.  The more people I get to know - the more brokenness, pain, and joylessness I see.

Oh mercy, we need a Savior.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I felt strongly about us being a praying people over the next few days....

....people who almost search out situations of gargantuan impossibilities - so as to usher in God to them.

I've already seen a glimmer of His goodness this week in a few friends' lives - but I want more. I so desperately want more.

For them....for me.

Because God....

He is still in the business of unbinding and binding.
 
Like with Lazarus - Christ orders the unwrapping of our grave clothes and sets us free to move about and live.

He snaps chains, and opens cages, and cuts chords....unbinding us from evil.

But at the same time - He binds us. He binds us to Himself.

Like a broken finger is bound round tight to the healthy one next to it - He splints us right next to Him....in Him, even - and there we are made healthy and whole.

So know....

That in the seemingly irrevocable - He can order a total turnaround.

And where all seems black - He paints a light-reflecting hue.

We must pray fervently, this week in particular, that it be so!

And as we look back....and see the dark in the distance against a forefront of shining color.....

....we will marvel at the contrast and kneel in a praise-filled thanksgiving. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Week: Monday

Clouds are hovering dark and heavy here in Houston today....

threatening to all out pour on this city.

And I feel it's rather appropriate.

This Monday of Holy Week - with skies ready to empty out a quenching, and all of us here needing it....

all of us here - walking toward the cross - where Love poured forth from a Savior on a tree.

Indeed, skies willing to spill and God willing to sacrifice - it's very fitting.

For the last few days here - I have felt a strong impression to pray down Heaven on people. I've felt a keen and different desire to see miracles this week.

Big ones.

I want the Lord to pull hearts to Himself in crazy ways.
I want wayward children to return to the Lord.
I want completely shattered marriages to be restored.
I want healing for ailing bodies.
I want addictions to leave.
I want broken relationships to be mended.
I want atheists to become believers.
I want dreams and wonders from the Lord to be encountered.
I want provision....
 joy
 belief
 breakthrough. 

It's Holy Week..... why not?

So as I take these first few steps here toward a dying, rising Jesus - I pause to implore.

Because...

Over 2,000 years ago...around this time of the week - Jesus went into the temple and cleared it of all things twisted and evil and proclaimed.....

"Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."

"A house of prayer for all the nations."

We then read in 1 Corinthians 3:16 that we......we are now the temples of the living God. 

Us.

Not buildings. Not divine residences. Not some faraway kingly manner....

But God in His fullness dwells in you and me.

Therefore...

If Jesus said the temple was for prayer...
And we are now the temples....
We should be praying!

While God is certainly able to administer, and deliver, and sure-up any week of the year...

I feel in my gut that there is some kind of special anointing on the prayers of this week leading up to the resurrection. I feel like the Spirit is already moving, pouring, revealing in an increased measure this week, friends.

So let's partake. And petition. And praise.

What may I pray about for you? What needs an outpouring?

Do share. It's my honor to pray on your behalf.

The skies did end up showering us with a cool rain today.

And our Savior really did end up being our Stand-In.

And this God - He is still in the business of resurrections.

I'm praying and trusting that every soul that passes by this way this week - will end up experiencing that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter 2014

I come into Holy Week....needing healing, hope, and wholeness.

I come into this season - needing faith, courage, and a heart that trusts.

I walk into this week, friends - longing to know Him more, desiring to see His face, wanting to hear His voice, needing to feel His hand on my life.

You too?

I'm not alone in this?

Perhaps, over the next several days - I'll pop in to punch out what the Lord is revealing..... as we journey toward the cross and empty tomb.

Lord willing - I plan to sit here on this step everyday this week....to just let the Spirit do some speaking.

The days leading up to Easter deserve that, don't you think?

The love that poured out on those nails and on that tree - it's worth our full attention and constant pondering this week.

Let's not allow the eggs and chocolate to outdo the Sacrifice.

Let's not let the new dresses and clove-studded hams to take prominence over what Christ did on our behalf.

Let's not fester over bunnies and gatherings and cantatas and church attendance numbers.... let's just linger....

In scripture.

In prayer.

In thoughtful meditation....

On the One who came for us all.

May your week be filled with precious and intimate and startling revelations from the Lord. 

I pray it's so. 

See you on the flip side, friends :)


 


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Currently

I'm sitting here this morning, right on the cusp of dawn....

Thinking about what a doozy of a month it's already been.

The husband's job transition
A home search
Constant rental showings of our current abode
Little sleep
Tiny hearts that need tending in all the change
A big Mama heart that needs tending, too.

It's an odd season.

Lots of ups and downs and twists and maneuvers. 

Lots of long days, and short nights, and inefficient hours.

Some affliction and oppression and warfare, too.

I've felt the last few days that perhaps I've come to the end of myself.

The end of my patience, and my energy, and my mental capabilities.

So this early A.M....I come to you a bit short and fried.

There have been lessons learned and revelations shown in the midst of the nutty - but I'm in no manner to convey such things in words to you now. I'm afraid it would not make a lick of sense :)

But I did want to come - before the blondes stir from bed for the day... to walk along side anyone who may be feeling strung out, stressed out, or flailing.

I don't offer much in the way of wisdom on this and I certainly can't write with authority on the subject..... but I do offer you my company in the drought....and I do offer you a prayer in this season.

Because sometimes....in the midst of the crazy....

Companionship and petitions..... are just what we need to get us through.

Oh Lord, come and minister.
Come and meet me where I am....
And gird me up where I need it.
Clear out confusion
And ring in calm.
Sustain me because I'm feeble!
Give me Your presence....
And let me discern it.
Where I'm parched - pursue me.
 Fill me up.
Where I'm lacking - make do.
Where I'm worn and thin - sustain me God....
In mind, body, spirit.
And let me, in turn, lift up the ones around me...
Who need a boost themselves.
Have Your glory in all this, God. Be famed!
And let this season finalize in joy, blessing, wisdom-gained, and victory.
In Jesus, Amen.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seek Them

I've discovered that the bravest among us are those who hope.

Those souls who find a way to offer up optimism, vision, expectancy.....

Those people who choose to stay in the realm of possibilities and who maintain a keen, ambitious outlook....

They're the ones you want to know.

They're the ones you want to mimic.

Because those of us who tend to err on the side of doubt, despair, and disbelief - we are lacking something.

It's not happiness, or blindness, or naivety.

It's not youthfulness, or greenness, or even truth.

It's courage.
It's work ethic.
It's energy.

Because being pessimistic....is really just a cover up for being lazy.

It's also a coy... for fear.

If we give up on the possibilities.....we don't have to keep striving for them. We don't have to keep fueling our faith. We don't have to overcome.

On the contrary however, if we hold on to hope that good things really could occur, that healings happen, that talents rise, that triumphs come....we have to expend our energies on it.

We have to hang in their....
and stick it out...
and put forth the gumption to pursue.

But those of us who choose discouragement over determination - we tend to let the whole dream go, in the name of being a realist. And because of that - we release ourselves from the burden of hanging on. And we free ourselves from the possibility of disappointment.

While that's safe....and understandable...

it's also a mistake.

It's true.....  A lot of the things we hope for - end up falling flat. Many of the prayers we pray - seemingly go unanswered. A ton of the goals we strive for - remain unreached.

And yes it's true....that being a dreamer alone, or an optimist without work, or a visionary without action.... is just as foolish.

Yes, we should note those things.

But still...

We should all watch the ones who dare to keep an eye on the prospects.

We should emulate the ones who can remain buoyant in choppy waters.

Copy their routines.
Inquire about their stamina.
Seek their endurance and wherewithal through it all.

For they're the ones who will see lots of glee-stealing failures, yes.

But their also the ones who will see the most joy-filled victories.

Ah, friends. He is writing this to me. I think I'm typing this all out here simply for myself.

I'm currently facing painful setbacks physically. Morning after morning I face new pains in new places. And hope is often squashed. And tears easily flow.

So know....

the one punching this out here feels the pangs - just like you do in one way or another.

And I also understand that being hopeful can leave you flailing at times.

Oh, yes it can.

As I mentioned in my last post....

Having hope - can be hurtful.

That's why those who can hold on to it.....are the bravest, most courageous, most Spirit-filled people on the planet.

Let's persist in seeking them out.

Their testimonies and their joy and their faith - will rise up good things in us.

Consider yourself embraced, friend. Hugs and hope and love to you all.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.
~ Psalm 43:5