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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I hereby resign my position as superhero.

How abundant are the good things
    that You have stored up for those who fear You,
that You bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in You.
In the shelter of Your presence You hide them
    from all human intrigues;
You keep them safe in Your dwelling
    from accusing tongues.
Psalms 31:19-20 (NIV)

I’m hanging up the cape, laying down the shield, giving back the ring (okay that’s about it for the DC and Marvel references for anyone keeping score). I hereby resign my position as superhero. I’ve seen the goodness of God, experienced the indescribable luxury of resting in Him, and now trying to do it by myself just doesn’t feel the same anymore. While I will feel better about this decision tomorrow, tonight I am weary, defeated, and close to tears.

When I called my mommy weeping, she told me to take a bath, brew some tea, and head to bed. Mommy, I am bathed, sated, and resting comfortably while tapping out my thoughts before laying myself down. I am so very grateful for you, your faith in God, and your constant encouragement of me. Thank You, Lord, for a praying mama. 
Why settle for piddly human solutions...
at best a patchwork quilt
to cover the mess,
when God has stored up abundant good things for me.

Attributed to David, Psalms 31 Matthew Henry gives context to the words in which I find such great comfort, writing
David professes his cheerful confidence in God, and, in that confidence, prays for deliverance out of his present troubles. He complains of the very deplorable condition he was in, and, in the sense of his calamities, still prays that God would graciously appear for him against his persecutors.
Yup, that pretty much sums up my day. There is a children’s book that comes to mind, detailing a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” It wasn’t just the circumstances of what happened today so much as it was the realization that the way I’ve responded to days like that in the past just wasn’t going to work for me anymore. I’m opting out.

Why settle for piddly human solutions that are at best a patchwork quilt to cover the mess, when just over the hill are the abundant good things stored up by God for me. He offers refuge and safety, and I’m coming in from the cold. While I committed to spending my season in the crucible, somehow I wiggled my way out.  I forgot myself for a moment; thought I could do it on my own.  David’s words remind me that in the shelter of His Presence we are hidden from all human intrigue, all foolishness, even that of our own making. Why settle?

I am begging you to pray for me. Please help me to be delivered from myself. Lord, once more, I humbly surrender. I want refuge. I desire Your good things. I want to be kept safe in Your Dwelling Place. Saving the world is for the birds--I quit.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
Jeremiah 31:25 (ESV)

We used to call it nap-challenged. You know, that desperate, frantic way that young children run around just before they collapse in an exhausted heap? That’s how I feel some days. Except that when you’re no longer a toddler it requires a bit more defiance of convention, for me at least,  to justify a good rest spell. We should treat ourselves better.
After all, I am the first to tell those about whom I care deeply to rest and restore the temple. The last time I had a deep tissue massage I nearly wept at the release, the obligation to be still, to pause, to rest.

It is time to prepare for Sabbath rest. And as I do, as I literally put things in order in order to be still, I consider the notion of resting well. It is one thing to not be in motion. It is another entirely to be at rest.

Matthew Henry sheds light on the words of the so-called “weeping prophet” Jeremiah, saying,
In the love and favour of God the weary soul shall find rest, and the sorrowful shall find joy. 

That’s kind of enough for me. We don’t even have to earn anything. In God’s love and favor, rest is. So, having read and received the words of Jeremiah, spoken over a broken people in desperate need of restoration, I will acknowledged the nap-challenged state of my body and my soul. I surrender. I’m throwing up my hands and seeking His Face. I will embrace my Sabbath rest, and await the restoration that always comes, like the morning sun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gifts, particularly the ones you'd NEVER claim for yourself...silence

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
Proverbs 17:27 (NIV)

I have been described as prolific. I have lots of words in my head, and they regularly come tumbling out of my mouth. Sometimes, I speak so rapidly that almost no one can keep up. We call it a family trait, a Jersey thing, and NY-Hurry-Up-Get-it-DONE-or-move kind of thing. Whatever. Lately, with age and hopefully wisdom, I am embracing a new Godgift. I am taking on the mantle of silence. I am learning to keep my peace, to meditate in silence, to Hush.

I am currently reading Proverbs, and there is richness in there. In searching myself for gifts, I am appreciating that aging has given me great appreciation for the pause. Not only does this disengage both my brain and my mouth, that worshipful peace makes space for silence, so He might speak to me. Every time I pause and pray, my thoughts and the words that frame them are better. 
image originally found here

As a younger women, I wanted to get it all done; get it all in. A typically driven type-A personality, it was all about the go, go, GO. Praise God for having broken me, in spirit, of habits, that new things might grow. Quiet has overtaken me. Click here to tweet this...

Quiet has even become a hallmark for the way I process. I have discovered that with age has come introversion. I am easily described as a “social butterfly,” but the more piercing analysis is that I need to steal away to a quiet place to process. I may produce a lot of words, noise, and sound, but I crave quiet to make it make sense.

But God. Who knew that the gift of a noisy, chattering little girl would be worshipful, thoughtful silence. Considering the words of Proverbs, that restraint is the pause, the space where I recede to allow God to enter in, and reign. It is my extended breath. It is my acknowledgement that in quiet He will speak to me. It is my sacrifice of noise in which He delights. I gain not only clarity but peace. I gain the embrace of the Almighty because I am rewarded for my hard sacrifice (it is becoming easier). In releasing my desire to be first, to be right, to be heard, he stills me, and it is beautiful.

I’m still prolific, but I am learning to take worshipful time to savor, to filter, to edit what comes out. There is power and a blessing in the pause…and I am grateful. Thank You, Lord, for a gift I never even thought I’d want, and one I cannot imagine doing without…the blessed sound of silence.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

You’re going to be okay (really)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12(NIV)

Imagine receiving encouragement from someone you’ve never met. Imagine being lifted up and out of your greatest trials by someone so deeply faithful, so relentlessly sunny, that you cannot stay down. Imagine someone teaching you, biblically, that worry and fear can be replaced with hope and faith. Imagine someone who is not only a cheerleader, but a profoundly anointed praying daughter of the Most High King who brings smiles that resonate from every page along with solid, practical Godly guidance to get you through what you’re going through. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I’d tell you it was crazy if I hadn’t lived through it and hadn’t come to know and love Holley deeply (and no, we’ve still never met, but we plan to, and soon). 
My friend Holley has written a new book, “You’re Going to be Okay: Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days” launching today. Somehow, a person I’d imagine would be least likely to connect with me does, and speaks directly to my heart and hurts in a way that never feels false or disingenuous.
Sister to sister, this girl CAN preach, and does.
We chatted recently, and I confessed that in the early offing, I didn't get her AT ALL. She is southern, soft-spoken and lovely, where I am East coast fast and furious...but God. For every hesitation I had in reading her words and getting to know her, God wouldn’t let me give up, and He wouldn’t let me shut down. I stayed in there, because I really needed the encouragement she was pouring over me because at the time, all my days seemed hard. By God’s Grace and because of my brokenness, I came to know that her as one of the wisest, most fierce Grace warriors God ever fashioned. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you, as they say…only a warrior writes like this... "Don’t ever let anyone tell you that kindness and gentleness and acceptance are anything less than scandalously brave. And world-changing."  
Here me when I tell you, heart to heart, Holley is, quietly, one of the best Divine gifts ever.

So, when she tells you that You’re Going to Be Okay, she knows whereof she speaks, and I do too as her words touched my shattered heart and helped heal my broken spirit. I want that for you. I want you to meet Holley and experience the healing in her words because if you don’t have someone cheering for you when you are too weary and fragile to even lift your own head, she’s your girl. She is my holy soldier. She is my virtual coffee buddy, but God-willing not virtual for long because there are some prayers and praises I need to share with her in person. I thank God for her heart and her words; they are too good not to share. 
and go buy the book!

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