Sometimes, I Forget

From December 6th, 2016

 

Sometimes I forget, God.

I forget that You come close when we find ourselves sinking.

I forget You loved me when I was darkest.

I forget that You love us so much, you sent your Son and the Advocate to help us.

I forget You are the God who humbled Egypt for your people.

I forget You are a God who gives children to the barren.

I forget You spilt your blood for us.

I forget You gave us rulers because WE insisted.

I forget all the ways You have been faithful to a faithless people.

I would rather be anywhere with You than in paradise without you. You are my paradise.

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Two Questions

“Who is this guy?”

”Do I trust him?”

These two questions sat at the heart of our service today. They were talking about God and Scripture. Discovering who “this guy” is through the Word and asking us where we have stepped out in faith. Where we have trusted Him. To illustrate this, the woman speaking shared a story from her own life when she found herself trusting in a group of strangers.

And as she spoke I felt conviction about this lie that I’ve treated as truth for so long, I didn’t notice how it had entangled me. This lie that said I can’t be trusted.

It is rather unfortunate that I’ve been through some pretty dark seasons. Seasons that most often involved me looking at a boy or man and believing I knew him and I could trust him. And then being proven very wrong. Although I have forgiven them and found healing around those things, today I realized I hadn’t forgiven myself. After discovering over and over how wrong I was about so many people, I started to believe I could not be trusted with my own well-being. That if someone wanted a relationship with me (dating, friendship, etc) it was because they were deeply broken. And if I was attracted to someone, it was a sure sign to run. Literally. All sirens went off internally and I would flee.

Ultimately though, this story isn’t a story about me, but about God and God’s desire to redeem, restore and reconcile. A God of Truth certainly cannot abide this lie I have been somewhat unknowingly agreeing with.

When I began to seek God, one of the first things I discovered (and one of my favorite attributes) about God is how available God is to me. God gives me complete and total freedom to explore who God is, to know God’s past and future. To seek God not because God isn’t already here, but because the breadth and depth of God is so vast that I am able to become totally “lost” with God.

God and I have been through some good times and bad, but the characteristics of god I read in the Bible are present in our relationship today. I am confident I can trust God.

But I couldn’t trust me. I couldn’t trust the people around me. I couldn’t take that risk because I thought my judgment was impaired. It wasn’t. The problem was that I had tried to discern through my own humanness, my brokenness, my wounds rather than through the Spirit that God gives me and the wisdom God blesses me with both through our relationship and the Word.

So I repent. I repent of believing that God could not equip or protect me, of not trusting that God would continue to shepherd me. And I bless this space, that I would move forward confident in that I am covered in the armor of the Lord, who is my stronghold and my rock in difficult times. I pray that the rest of my story would be a testimony to the kind of Love God extends to each of us. I pray that I would be able to step with the confidence of one who is led by the King of Kings. Amen.

A Dream of Woman Camp

My sister and I are walking with all the other women up to the big, white tent at the top of the hill. As we draw closer, we can hear the rhythm of the instruments and the sound of voices singing.

Then my vision changes.

The sky is so lovely; the bright white of the tent pops against a sky that’s so blue I feel like I could dive into its depths. And the voices, the songs, sound so beautiful! I feel them soak into my very core. They fill me with joy and love. My sister and I look at each other and laugh; the joy bubbles and spills out of us like children breaking out of the school doors to summer break.

Then I notice there are other voices singing. It seems to be coming from the beings of light that are around us now, but not quite. Almost as if their voice is the wind, as if they make the very molecules of the air rejoice. As I pass by one of the light beings, my heart responds to it as if it knows it, like this saturating and abiding peace that envelopes me is as recognizable as a face, a laugh, a fingerprint. This one somehow I know.

I smile widely in the beings direction and begin to sing as I reach for my sister’s hand. I answer it’s peace with love, with gratitude. With thanksgiving. I am sure this is a friend who has been with me all my life. My Comforter and Protector. Tears fill my eyes as my sister and I begin to dance; jumping, twisting, laughing.

Suddenly I see us from outside myself, like the being of light was revealing to me for just a moment what it was seeing. And my sister was 4 and I was 8 and we were lost in our joy, and surrounded by other girls laughing, dancing, hugging, singing. We glowed, Light spilled from us, and we were surrounded on all sides by innumerable Light beings who moved, a dance wholly unlike any dance I’d ever seen. And in the field and space where colors were more than colors and light more than light, the universe suddenly expanded into this fixed moment and I glimpsed the infinite.

And then I was back, and the world was small, and I was just one of the many grown women out in this totally unremarkable field. And yet the beauty of what was happening here was not lost. Here in this moment we had let go of all the things the world had laid on us and we danced as we did when we were children, reckless in our Love.

Reflections on “Love Does” by Bob Goff (Part Four)

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest starting at Reflections on “Love Does” by Bob Goff (Part One) and working your way up to here. Not really necessary though.

Bigger and Better

I used to think I needed to sacrifice for God, but now I know faith is like a game of Bigger and Better.

Bigger and Better is this amazing game where you start with something really small (like a dime or a rubber band) and you keep trading it with people and you end up with something bigger and/or better than you started with. Instead of seeing endless sacrifice and suffering, oftentimes God is offering something more amazing than we could come up with ourselves. Bob references a CS Lewis quote, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (90) For me, I oftentimes feel like God has asked me to sacrifice so much when, in fact, he’s been taking my false idols and giving me Himself, giving me Love, giving me Truth, giving me Relationship. I cling to my heart of stone as God offers me a heart of flesh. I cling to a job that pays a lot of money when God offers me a job that brings joy, freedom and the ability to transform lives in the city I love. I cling to a dead relationship when God offers me healing and sanctification. Bigger and better is the name of my Abba’s game. I need to respond with joy when he asks me to lay something down so I can pick-up what He has for me.

Hunting Grizzlies

I used to think I had missed the mark and God was mad about it, but now I know “missing the mark” is a stupid analogy.

I’m going to skip the story here and get to the point. A lot of people take religion and focus on how we fail God, the ways that we “miss the mark” and fall short. But most people aren’t doing this out of ill-will or malicious intent. “The people I know, they are mostly aiming their crosshairs at stuff like being loved, not being lonely, finding some security, and a bunch of other things that are actually pretty normal and worth pursuing. In fact, I think God put it in our hearts to aim for those things…” (107-108) But God also created us in such a way that we start out life helpless and… kind of dumb. We have to learn everything, and part of learning is failing. It’s getting hurt. It’s understanding the bad so we can better appreciate the good. It’s how we learn discernment and gain wisdom. “These days the view of God I hold on to isn’t Him being mad because I missed the mark. It’s the one of Him seen through a bloody eye, scooping me into His arms, getting blood all over His shirt, and carrying me away to get healed.” (108)

Emmanuel,God with Us

What kind of God are you

that would be the Creator of all that is, ever was, will ever be,

with power unknown and depths unsearchable,

yet you would walk amongst us?

You, who would call us ‘very good’

and give us authority over your creation?

What kind of King dies for the least deserving and most wretched?

Who suffers for the sake of those that inflict the suffering?

 

Your mercy and grace are unfathomable.

Darkness yields to your Light.

Deceit and Lies are dust in the Wind of your Truth.

Hatred crumbles when pressed by your Love.

All the universe will kneel at your name.

And I am betrothed to You.

I am Your beloved and you pursue me with relentless patience.

You are my God, my Sustainer and Helper, my Stronghold and Salvation.

My Hope and my Redeemer.

I give thanks that You would know me and love me with an everlasting love.

 

Lullaby

Oh, my sweet one

I shall sing a song over you

A song of thanks

For you are a promise delivered.

 

I call out to my God and say,

I hear You and trust in Your promise

for You are a living God

who works miracles far beyond me.

 

I sing a song of Love,

I sing Your praise all my days,

I sing blessings over you from above,

My little act of my God’s grace.

My Love

My love is deep and beautifully reckless when it moves. It is a force against which nothing can stand.

It is a love that does not ask about conditions, but assumes the eternal.

A love that deepens not in spite of your flaws but because of them; that delights in your humanness and celebrates your growth. A love that sits with you in the struggle.

Those who know love the least draw the closest to Mine. They proclaim the impossibility of such a love as this, all while dwelling in its midst.

This is not a passive love; it is a love that transforms. It moves broken hearts to wholeness; it plants seeds of compassion in a barren field of apathy.

The sweetest of fruits are yielded from my Love.