Monday, February 18, 2013

grace song

"But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..." Romans 5:20
The farther I walk this journey, often, the more brutal it grows. Somewhere along the way, often during times of green pasture and still water where beauty captivates, you forget there is yet ... the war.

But as the good shepherd, always and ever restoring, leads you out of rest for your weary soul and back along the treacherous paths of the straight and narrow, there you see it. The ugly and the broken, the war torn and the wounded. Casualities of an enemy many deny exist, lay bleeding out, barely living. You work to heal, bind up wounds, speak life. You call others to break from the trance, lulled to sleep by the charms of their enemy, their master. You plead with them, to stand up, to walk along with you. To chose life and follow this shepherd, can't you see he his good and you are waiting here to be devoured?

You wonder why you have to travel these roads, why the good shepherd would lead you here? He explains how his love compells him to seek and save these lost. And he has made you to join him in this war. He calls forth courage within you, calls you 'Mighty Warrior' though he knows how you quake within. In his calling you become, and there is more, a new name he has yet to bestow. A name that will only be understood between he and you, when the war is over and your journey complete in the Great City, there with the King.

It takes me remembering the truth of the big picture to get over myself, get over the trivial hurts of my small story so that I can live out the bigger story he is calling me, calling us, to embody. And as I see us all, so fragile, so desperate for our Good Shepherd and hungry for love and so continually wounding one another in our insecurity, I become a grace addict. I need it, you need it. And I'll never keep to this straight and narrow without it. The bitterness of pain and the aching of wounds would tangle me up keeping me captive in its thorny hold. You can't live free holding onto hurt, holding onto wrongs.

So where sin increases, Lord Jesus, make your grace increase all the more. In me, in others. Let us be the people of grace. Let it be the banner that waves above us and the song on our lips. We who have been forgiven much, love much. And how we have been forgiven.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


i've got words, but the tongue is a wildfire.
so i hold them close and lay them down.
death of self for life of heart.

i've got feelings, but they paint a wounded heart.
so i bleed them out and let them puddle.
trust in Him over trust in perception.

i've got a choice, but the holy is so hard.
and some days, the bitter just tastes so sweet.
chewing on hurt like a glutton, i know it will choke me dead.
so i cast down rights and chose this day life,
forgiveness seventy times seven.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Courage to Paint

You and I, we are walking together, each of us in all postures of joy and pain, beauty and suffering, often intermingling, flowing simultaneously through our lives. The current sweeps us through our moments flowing into days, carrying us somewhere, we are certain, even if we cannot dictate our destination

"But awakening to joy awakens to pain. Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living."
                   - Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts

The realization of this fact has paralyzed me in this space. I have grown so accustomed to needing to keep many things quiet until God brought about the proper time, that I found I no longer knew just quite how to share. Afraid to share joy, for fear of wounding a hurting heart; afraid to share pain, so much in ministry must be kept between one's own heart and God.

And so I just stopped writing.

But I have been praying for God to show me what he would have me do with this space, this voice, this megaphone to share with a few the story God has given us, for His glory. I began blogging here mostly as a way to share life with our family, who though separated by distance and quality time, might still know our kids and see them grow. But as time went on, I found I had more to share than cute pictures, and that God, for some reason, chose to use my feeble words to encourage and inspire.

He has been pouring out His Holy Spirit in ways I have only dreamed. But I read it here:

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13
And how I have asked. He is rocking our world and blowing our minds with His faithfulness, pouring on us his love in so many ways. When you tip toe to the edge of a leap of faith in life, the "what if's" race wild in your mind. The "losing your life", the losing control, so counter intuitive to everything this culture teaches. But in the closing of eyes, heart pounding and fear racing even still, the holding of breath, and in the trembling wild jump, you can only hope that the fall you experience is one right into the net of his love. That no matter height or depth nothing will separate you from Him, and that is enough.

God has been gently pointing out in my heart the ways I so desperately desire the approval of others. The thought of being misunderstood or misjudged plagues me, and so I've coiled back, to self protect and self insulate. He is calling my bluff, showing me that a hidden life smothers the light within. I often fear in this wide wide web of egos and self worship, people will read about our 2-d world on this screen and make assumptions about our life that are simply unrealistic. In order to avoid painting an inauthentic portrait, I've stopped painting all together. It seemed better to say nothing at all than to cause anyone heartache or longing or frustration if somehow in my sharing, desires unfilled were stirred. There are so many who ache so.

God has reminded me, though, of my own aching. The moments when others' words, completely innocent in intent, but enemy shot right to the heart, bleeding out longing, sending me to a pile of broken tears in the unguardedness of home. We are all so fragile, so beautifully fragile. And you know what, God made us tender that way. And he is showing me that despite any circumstance, He is faithful, even in and especially in our longing. We just have to hold on long enough to see him work the promise of our good through it all. And his faithful love is a story worth sharing.

So I lift up hand now, and begin to paint. The words my brush and our story the canvas. But the art - it is all God. His story. His glory.

He is pouring out too much not to share.

Deep breath, brush to palette,