February 28, 2012

Holding On.

It flooded my mind as I drove back home today- the way I'd found it just sitting there in that bush by the side of the road. His wrist watch. The time had stopped at the moment of impact. He was a cousin-in-law and an officer and he was much, much too young and there are things in this world that don't make any sense... that leave you with a heavy 'why' and the daunting question of where you're going to lay it.

When I had found it there, all those years ago, my heart stood still and something deep in me cried out sharp. All else faded away and there was a clear message waiting for me to reach down and pick it up, gingerly, like it was a holy thing:

"Time here is fleeting! There will be a last recorded minute for us all. When all is shaken away, what of all your frenzied building will stand firm?"

It is good to be reminded of the fragile state of things sometimes... this precarious dance between life and death that we count in candles. When I am reminded that I am but a vapor, God rises large in my sight and the problems and anxieties are blown away like dust from an old trunk in the attic... like smoke from a candle buried in sugary cake.

There are a lot of full-bodied hopes hanging upon a lot of fragile unknowns for Chris and I right now. Will they burst forth and ripen? Or will they fall to the ground heavy? It is a hard place to have been in for so long and my soul is weary from the tension of it all. How does one desperately hope for fruit and yet steel oneself for the possibility of a fall? How does one survive the sickening 'thud'? How does one get to the place where either outcome is accepted with gratitude, knowing that God only authors good?

Hope is a perilous thing.

And yet a life without it is no life at all.

So, we continue on in our treacherous hope... our eyes set upon a good thing, knowing that the stripping away of that thing will be counted good as well. Because even when the fruit tears away from the branch and lands heavy, the seeds are forced down and new things grow up through the mess. They are nourished by the mess and made strong.

Our ultimate hope will never fail, and the cares and anxieties of this life are counted as nothing when we allow ourselves to see God as He is... eternal and unshakeable. What are these months of strenuous uncertainty when compared with eternity? Minutes may freeze on the face of a watch, and things may not turn out like we think they should, but this hope in GOD trumps all time and all pain and even death if we will hold fast to Him and refuse to deny Him in the face of difficulty and trial.

Lord strengthen my hands to hold firm, no matter the outcome. May You always be more dear to me than a "yes" or a "no".

February 4, 2012

Elbow Room, Small Appliances, & Clarity.

I don't know how to receive gifts without this constant low-rumbling feeling that I don't deserve them. That I haven't earned them.

Gifts from others, yes, but most especially gifts from God.

We are in a season of extreme change. There are more question marks floating around our heads than definitive periods. It's hard for me to bend down and scrub my baseboards right now because I don't even know if that baseboard will belong to me in a short amount of time. Something deep in my gut longs for a little more than this 1100 square foot house that holds all 5 of us and our belongings, but this longing in my gut hits a brick wall in my mind and I somehow feel better telling myself that I don't need or deserve such an outrageous dream. I have been blissfully happy in this home for the majority of the last 6 years, but I'm suddenly beginning to yearn for more.

"I need to be able to make 1100 square feet work. There are people in the world who live in huts with dirt floors for God's sake! How can I possibly justify not being able to make this 1100 square feet work?!?!"

These thoughts hound me until I become vaguely aware that the voice of God does not operate in such a way- berating and confusing and making one feel wretched and unworthy. His voice comes with hope and conviction and peace and life! So I try to ignore the part of my brain that has convinced itself that it needs to sit quietly in the corner, keeping its heart-requests quiet.

"Be the child that doesn't rock the boat. Be the child that doesn't require special attention or favors. Be the child that doesn't pester."

The problem is, that is EXACTLY the child that God commands me to be! I am to ask and pester and long and dream before Him! I am to pound the door and frazzle the judge and ask like a child whose heart is set on that ONE thing in life like a shark after blood.

"I want a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time!"

Does asking mean that I am guaranteed to get what I want? (Currently, in my case, a little more elbow room for my family to expand into?) No! Absolutely not. I am not guaranteed anything in this life other than a desperate need for God. But by not even trusting His goodness enough to ask for the things that are in this heart that He created? What treason!! God has never once demanded that I not speak unless spoken to! He has never once commanded me to stifle everything that makes my heart surge to life! All he asks is that I ask... in honesty and truth... trusting that His answer will be good and trustworthy, no matter what it may be.

It makes me feel so silly, but so ALIVE... this asking big things of God. Are all of my requests bathed in spirituality and high virtue? Heck no! One of my most recent requests has been for a small kitchen appliance, of all things. Is a small kitchen appliance something to bother to the God of the Universe about? I'm beginning to believe... yes.


He cares for you! Not the spiritual facade of you, but the real you! The one with the mess all around and these raw desires beating in your chest! And, oh imagine... just IMAGINE the glory and honor and praise He will draw from your heart and your lips when your big & small requests come to fruition! Even a small kitchen appliance will seem a holy relic then, almost too holy to touch with bare hands, because it is most assuredly a gift directly from the hand of the God of the Universe, who cares for you.

So, I'm scrawling my requests out on a journal page... writing my heart out on paper... and seeking to know His heart in His Word so that my desires will slowly, over a lifetime, begin to look more and more like His own. Like an old married couple who can finish each other's sentences, my desires and requests will, by the grace of God, become mere extensions of His thoughts and His heart. For now, it's elbow room and small kitchen appliances and clarity. And I believe that the God who pours out blessings on those who could never even hope to deserve them or earn them hears me!

I believe that He hears me, and that He cares.