Friday, May 24, 2013

On really living this life we've been given

Late in the night wrapped in my brightly splashed comforter, laptop glow lighting my face pale blue, teary eyes were glued to a video posted by several Facebook friends.

Why I felt so compelled to watch at that odd hour of night, though body was weary, I will not know.

What I do know is it etched a mark on my heart.
 A mark uncomfortably enlightening,
a mark sending thoughts inspirational erupting each minute of my day,
a mark slightly stinging as salty tears permeate the flesh, the realization that a soul so happy, so over-filled with life, smiling so sweetly is not on this earth any longer,
a mark stinging more when the video stops and I am still here and appreciating my gifted life far less than the one who had it and savored it and moved on from it at such a young age,
a mark deepened further as the Word reached in and cracked open the sweet wound.

"For in our union with Christ He has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world..."
-Ephesians 1:3b (GNT)

Words reminding me that in Christ, in this dying every day to the old self, I have everything!

I close the eyes to imagine how I'd live if I had everything, and open them to wonder what is stopping me from living that way.
How many praises do I pass up in pessimism?
How many exuberant hallelujah's have I neglected in craving more, more, more?

Every spiritual blessing. Every one. It's all around. In the breathing, in the serving, in the living and loving, in the smiling and laughing, in the graces and the prayers, in being known and the jubilant hunt to know a loving Savior! 

As Zach said, "It's really simple actually, it's just trying to make other people happy."

Living like we're dying? How about living like we've already died to the drudgery of meaningless life? How about fearlessly loving and recklessly serving and unashamedly joyously tasting running dancing experiencing this life?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Winning when you lose

Summer breezes and sunshine, freckles arising on the nose and sunblock aromas wafting amidst lawnmowers buzzing and school books slamming shut:



But, more than any other season for me, good memories come tied with less-than-cheery memories.

 It was this time last year that I was getting ready to go to the United States Air Force Academy. When my dreams resided in a uniform worn and boots laces tucked and standing at the perfect position of attention and the seven basic responses of a basic cadet, in packing the standardized underwear and excessive physical training. 

Two summers in a row this was my rock solid. This was my strong tower, my unsinkable, my unmovable, my forevermore.

And two summers in a row the words "medical turnback" would be the sword plunging into my plans, the shaking and the tears, 

and the new beginning that was the best grace-filled shocker God has ever done for me. 

Reminded of this as more minor things in life are revealing their unstable and staggering nature in this last week, I can know these with a heart that is not utterly defeated. Discouraged? Maybe for a time. But brought back blooming with fruit upon fruit of sweet lively truths. 

For this is knowing who is really the solid gain in life. On the very same day, craving encouragement in a tough day at work, flip open the pages and there is the sum of my last three years:

it's all loss. 

all loss compared to the knowing Christ.

 Just knowing Him. That's the only gain, the only rejoicing, the only life. 

Expectations, life plans, goals, 
of course they have light adorned about them, all part of God's plan, the opportunities to follow and be a faithful servant.
but without the one we're serving? 
nothing. mere garbage, squalid emptiness.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Sometimes isn't loving the God who saves enough?
Or is it everything?

Just breathing "I love You," in all sincerity, with all delight and meaning and truth.
It is my purpose for existing, and something so hastily overlooked again and again.

At times I feel like King David's soldiers, braving enemy lines in wild exertion for a glass of water, an offering to a King. Nobly risking for my King, expecting a medal of honor, and then watch in horror as all the work is spilled.

What a waste! I say

But it is spilled for God.

My words I type, I write, I work so hard to think up. The next most original idea, the greatest words, the flowery poetry that will send the God I write for into a whirl of praise.
They are spilled and no one may comment, no one may "like" the post or tell me they enjoyed it.
They are spilled, nothing but a puddle before Him.

But it is for Him.

 And God does not judge by human standards.
No, God sees what I write and sees it's for  Him and smiles at my meek attempts at pleasing Him.
And I do not see the outcome, but He knows and He sees and that is the air I breathe.

So I will continue to exert words, just words that are from a heart in love with Him.
In all insecurity, in all uncertainty, for the Living God!

A Prayer for Ending a Spiritual Drought

A friend prayed at my beloved Young Adults Group last night and his Words to Him sparked the flight of my pen in a room full of people, randomly, irresistably, for the first time in a long time:

Crack open this shriveled rock
The one that pumps blood into the veins wire worked around this skeleton
and flood me.

Flood me full of You so I drown from the inside,
and streams flow trickling, gushing, now surging.
Crashing waves into waves in the steps I take in lovely union with You, my best friend.

Let the waters of knowing You nourish pastures where they will come
and taste and see and drink freely of the love You splattered and spilled all over my life 
though these blind eyes do not see it in it's entire splendor. 

Like a child still,
grasping frenziedly for truth in this 20-year-old body
and still You died for this weary heart.

Because who am I to tell You when to nourish this broken body with Word everlasting and delightful?
To simply declare I am not in the mood for what I was made for?
I resist the love I know will quench this drought, ignite me forevermore.

My feeble pen scratches,
my weak thinking that doesn't even hold a candle.
So again, I say, let the flood ensue.

It's the violent craving of my spirit,
It's the painful longing I carry until You come
and then it's evaporated, separated, and all I can do is celebrate it.

Praise to the inkling to whip the wrist into letters for You!
For pen to glide!
and Your Spirit saves me from this drought once more!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Damsel in Distress

Sometimes His Word is strung together, woven perfect, tangled through careful reading and then elegantly tied into a bow,
and He made it that way, in this moment, for me, the huntress of grace, to see and be fed for a lifetime.

This connection, the south and north poles of the magnetic fields attracting me closer and closer to His truth click in my heart and soul and I know a newness from words read over and over.

Just one verse of a Psalm reveals it. One verse that I would've simply written off as King David's incessant whining and moaning, but light shines through it this day:

"Arise, O Jehovah, Confront him, cast him down: Deliver my soul from the wicked by the sword."
-Psalm 17:13 (ASV)

Am I the only woman of faith who has read these words and thought, 
"Okay, Lord. Arise! Defeat this affliction, might to save! Where are you? Are you here  yet? I'm waiting!"
 And so I assume my condition as a damsel in distress, waiting, waiting.

Wait a minute... I think as I read the last word of the beautiful Psalm, The sword... the sword... where have I read that before?

Ah yes, the double-edged sword   
The one otherwise known as the Word, cutting to the heart, overcoming the inner demons that stop us from defeating the outer ones. 

Deeper than that, daughter. The grace of quiet time is God gently leading to the answer, though so obvious to Him; guiding His rambunctious and distracted lamb like the magnificent shepherd He is, guiding her to the water.

The Word... Ah yes! The Word who was with God and was God.
And I re-meet the Word this morning. 
The Word who is the well-spring of life, 
the light gifted to mankind which darkness trembles in the face of,
the Word through which I was made, who is a part of me and I don't even recognize it,
The Word who did the unthinkable, so that I , the repugnant, ruthless orphan could call God Abba.
The Word who blesses one blessing after another after another, coming in fullness of grace and life and truth!

Hallelujiah for the Word. 

And on this morning I am freed from the chains of the lamenting and the curse of waiting and waiting and waiting I sentenced myself to.
In the Word I am no longer the underestimate-r. In the Word I recieve the fullness of grace and don't doubt it ever.

For He already came and arose and saved this damsel in distress from every distress, without exception.

Friday, May 10, 2013


It's rare that fingers are beginning to moisten with nervousness as I type a blog post.
But God called for vulnerability this morning. 

His exquisite words at the end of a quiet time would push a pulse to race just a bit faster and stomach feeling just a bit more uneasy but would set a soul on a concrete foundation and lips upturn into a euphoric half-grin:

In my recovery God has taken me far, but He has blessed me with reminder after reminder that it is not over yet and I will never stop needing Him worse than air, with a thirst greater than any thirst for water and with a hunger greater than any hunger for sustenance this body will ever know.

In a doctor's office a demand is too much to ask at first:
Five more pounds.
The look of the words is not welcome to these eyes.
I don't even look like I need to gain weight! a disordered mind begins to rationalize. All the same excuses not to get better creep in.
But God has a beautiful way of turning off the venomous whisper of lies that my disorder likes to let echo throughout the mind.
That is the beautiful thing about this disease: I get to witness God conquering the world within my own mind and soul and body.

The truth sets in: more weight is needed for bones to become dense, and for the body organs to begin working again, and for recovery so God's plan can commence.
To go to college. To have a career. To have a family someday. if God wills.

To be healthy, finally.

Like so many times before, I crumble like a sandcastle consumed by an ocean wave, thinking I stood so strong and mighty, and in an instant things change and here we go again, playing with more food and more ice cream and more calories and more and more until numbers are sufficient.

Not "here we go again."
 It did not replay.
It was not a catastrophe.
Tears were shed, but louder than my pain was the repeating of my strength from the second book of Corinthians: "I am badly hurt at times but I AM NOT DEFEATED! I am troubled but I AM NOT CRUSHED! I am in doubt but NEVER IN DESPAIR!"

And in a car camped in traffic on the way home, I shout to my Lord.
 I turn to Him and give Him a new surrender.
There is nothing sweeter than surrender renewed.
There is nothing sweeter than knowing this time is going to be different.
 That in my continued recovery, I am falling more and more in love with a Savior. 

And so I can know what those crazed men writing my beloved book meant when they said God calls us to rejoice in trial.
 Now I am with them. Now I can know.
And simultaneously not know yet. There is still so much to be known, and that is utmost loveliness. 

My trial is no different than yours, my friend. 

Trial after trial, clinging to Him, having a new longing to be drenched in His word, to eat and eat of His promises until beyond fullness and still crave more. To fall in love recklessly, passionately, becoming foolish in adoration for a Savior who does not fail, who becomes more and more real to this clouded earthly view as tribulations come and He conquers without fail.

He makes all things new. Surrendering to become the living proof. Today, and everyday, I pray.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chock-Full of Grace

"Reveal your wonderful love and save us;
at your side we are safe from our enemies."
-Psalm 17:7 (GNT)

His saving grace need not be found.
Blessed, that He is never too far!
Blessed, that it's scattered everywhere, a life on earth chock-full of grace abundant.

Easy for me to say today when the sun is blocked out only by the flowers blossoming on trees in the yard, and the semester draws to an end and the taste of summer is just so sweet on the tip of the tongue, and the Lord's Word rests beside me on my couch and a mug of coffee decadent rests on table.
But it's in the hardest times we like to play hide and seek with He who is constant.

Believing some days that He heads for the hills upon my crossing the threshold of a Comparative Religion classroom where my Christian beliefs will be under fire, after another believer has criticized my honest prayers, when deadlines pile and exhaustion stabs at the body's energy and collapsing seems perfect.

No, the soul begs, just come home and find Him.


He is found in the thunderous praises echoing from a longing heart.
Found in the many thanks written in a prayer journal.
Found in His Word played over and over and over in a mind craving a lullaby of truth to soothe the storming soul.
Found when I close my eyes for a moment to just be still and simply know Him.
Or by some miracle His loving encouragement sparks on my tongue and it is spoken to the stranger-girl met during a break in classes, struggling with her English paper and being a single mother.

You never hide, but I seek You still.
Huntress of grace
absurdly, faithfully, blissfully, elatedly  chasing the thing that never leaves.

Monday, May 6, 2013

My First Confession

I remember my first time of hiding from God.

Rewind the memories to the first confession in the Catholic church of childhood. Walking shaking from the jubilant stained glass colors into the back room dark and awaiting the utterance of my sins.

A priest asks my 7-year-old self what I would like to confess to God. I had been taught that He already knew, but somehow I waned to belittle the sin. Wrap it in a nicer package, tie it up with a bow, paint over the rotting in brighter colors, spray fragrance on the stench.
I carefully confessed a silly story about how my mother told me to pour some milk and I went to fast and spilled it.

I did not confess the screaming matches we would get in as she combed my knotted curls.
I did not confess the lies about making my bed, nor the times I had laughed at the less popular boy in my second grade class as my friends made fun of him.

I purposely sugar-coated my confession to the God who knows it all, sees the nastiest of my thoughts and darkest of my sins.

I stand now in this 20-year-old body struggling to wrap my feeble mind around this knowing.
This frightening knowing. 

Realizing that God even saw right through that my fearful plan meant to hide, to still seem good to the God who loves me anyway, constructed on that day of confession.

Realizing that God sees every time I turn away from Him for something else.
Realizing that God sees every less that lovely intention.
Realizing that God knows every moment I've doubted His capabilities.
Realizing that God knows every time I've consciously turned my back as He pursues me in passionate love.
Realizing God is well aware, knows intimately every thought I've had where I believe a size 0 pair of jeans or a career in the Air Force would replace the real joy indulgent, His real joy.

But after all of this, I find comfort in something that I did not fully know seated in that dim room, confessing to some man in a robe, antsy and palms sweaty.

Knowing the love spread on a cross and a Savior who willingly bled in humiliation and felt every pain known to humankind and felt separation from the Creator of love and joy and freedom.

Knowing He chose to do that despite all these sins He completely sees and understands.

What need I hide? Jesus victorious conquered any condemnation, trampled any punishment for what I've done. In confessing the dirt that inhabits my soul, I need not fear. I need not play my games of deceit with my Creator who knows my heart, my soul, my pains and what sets my heart on fire with joy, better than I ever will.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Life Prayer

a thing I've underestimated often,
a thing I've done out of obligation,
a thing I've taken for granted
 a thing that has literally given me life in this year, saved me.

Yet I've heard it said "What good will that do?" And I once said this to myself.
Yeah, yeah, pray. Whatever. Last resort, the tool taken out when I'm desperately desperate.

But this prayer life, it is life in all its fullness, in Him.
Prayer is the Good News spoken, the barrier separated by the Son's brutal death so that I could be called a friend of the God who made this spectacular miracle of a planet.

Improve my prayer life? No, improving my life's prayer.

Prayer revealing
Prayer rejoicing
Prayer constant
Prayer tearful
Prayer gushing
Prayer smiling
Prayer thirsting
Prayer desperate
Prayer loving
Prayer worshiping

But uttering heartfelt words to an empty room? Yes, that is faith spoken.
 Living a prayer is living by faith.

"For we fix our attention not on things that are seen but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever."
-2 Corinthians 4:18 

Let this life be a prayer, a longing to see You, a love song to You, a light-filled offering, a friendship seized, a dance because You are love, a trust exhaled to inhale more than I deserve. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Afraid of Fear

Frankenmuth News lays sprawled on the breakfast table, and for once I pick up the leaves of gray paper to read over hot oats.

Why I decided to read my father's hometown paper, I will not know.
Eyes fell on the "Reflections on Faith" corner and I saw the topic and inwardly sighed, Here we go again.

Fear, that entity sewn within every devotional I pick up.
Fear, the sermon topic advertised in black and white on the church sign.

I believed for a time I was above that fear thing.
Like a child sputtering "I am not afraid!" trying to prove themselves, perhaps believing it for a moment, reassuring the self of what was not true.

How utterly wrong I was.

Did I not say, "For I am to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified."?

Knowing the cross is knowing surrender, which for the morning spent pouring over the newspaper of a town I had been to just a few times in my life, meant surrendering a fear of being afraid.

Admitting to a Savior that I carry fear, of all shapes and sizes, sneaky creeping in the heart that was not humble.
Approaching the cross with His humility, letting go, collapsing with a grotesque monster to offer the God who offers me a lightened burden, an easy yolk.

To know that knowing Christ crucified means knowing no fear,
 means adorning a brightly lit humble heart and becoming unearthed and uncovered to rise with the Lord who knows and loves anyway.