Monday, January 28, 2013

scars to prove it.

I was reading a review of a movie about faith the other day. I didn't watch the movie so I can't really comment on it, but people seemed to give it positive reviews....things like, "it is so refreshing to see a faith-based film that is not cheesy...." Yea, makes sense. I thought that comment sounded nice and it made me want to give the movie a try. The following review, however, had a phrase that lay stuck to my brain like a burnt cookie to an ungreased pan: "this is a great movie because it’s not slamming God in your face." I mean, I totally get that.... I understand what the person was trying to communicate; it just rubbed one of my arm hairs the wrong way... and then all of the other tendrils followed suit. I've heard things (and probably said things) similar to this before.... phrases like, "yea it was great, they didn't shove God down your throat." I'm a little stunned, to be honest. I'm stunned at the ease with which we open our mouths to form words and noise that make the Creator of the universe out to be someone who could possibly be, "shoved down a throat"....or "slammed in a face...." -as if we were big enough to encompass Him to even be able to do the shoving. The thought that we would see ourselves fit to take on the task of making Him palatable for the masses.... trying to prove Him to the onlookers that are the very work of His hands. I'm stunned at the pride of such a thought- at the darkness of my own irreverent heart. And the burnt cookie isn't budging....

My faith hasn't come easy to me. I don't have a specific "moment of salvation"- I don't remember getting baptized and emerging to see blurry white doves flying over me as the water was blinked from my eyes. There was no halo.... and I didn't feel even the slightest feathery brush of an angel's wing on my skin. No. For me, it has always been a struggle to just believe. Believing, for me, was as easy as breathing.... and I grew up with asthma.... a convenient word picture for my faith story: wheezing. If I could just get a deep breath in, I would be able to calm the unrest inside and release carbon dioxide as a gift to the nearest plant... but this has not been my journey. Mine has been, and continues to be, more like asking Jesus to let me put my fingers through the wounds on His hands. I don't just gotta "see it to believe it"..... I gotta feel it too. I often wonder what the ratio is of pride to mere wonder that's inside of me. I know that I have a skeptical side... which is not always a bad thing, but I also know it can be a gateway drug that often leads to pure unbelief. My lifeline in this struggle? That God is merciful. That He is full of grace and compassion, and in response to my need to investigate, He extends His Holey hand to allow my little fingers to touch the wounds as my eyes lift their gaze to His face in awestruck bewilderment. Can you imagine what "doubting Thomas" did after Jesus actually let him do this!? I would imagine he probably fell to the floor in adoration.... and in thanksgiving... that Jesus didn't deny him that desire- though He had every right to.

So.... It would be an honor to be slammed in the face with the One true God.... with pure holiness and majesty.... go ahead.... slam it in my face.... and let His goodness pass before me. If there was a movie that could succeed in doing this- it would be most welcomed :-)

Though He was God and "no one could take His life from Him," He sacrificed it voluntarily. He actually did let Himself be shoved and slammed. He wore skin and placed Himself in the hands of His creation, to be spit upon.... beaten and bruised... with scars to prove it. The humility of it all! It's UNthinkable. There has GOT to be a reason for this! You may be reading this and you may not believe, but you have to admit.... there has to be some sort of reason for this kind of act. Or maybe you think it just never happened. That's fair- I've been there too. In fact, I would say that doubt is a thorn I find myself repeatedly plucking from my side. It's Okay though, because you know what? He is the bigger man here. So much so that He would be so big as to stoop so low to kneel down and let me touch the wound so that I can take in that deep breath of faith. I grew out of my asthma... I can only hope that one can grow out of doubt as well :-)

We must decrease. Though our own hearts deceive us, and an enemy prowls to devour our very souls, we must fight to have Him increase. To have Him increase in us until we are brimming with a Spirit, Holy- as He is Holy.

With love,


A Man's Promise

I wouldn't be able to do this justice from my keyboard.... so just click and watch:

Much love,


Sunday, January 13, 2013

somewhere between my green skirt and holey jeans

Oh man...I need to write.  I just had a time of speaking in which my volume was higher than normal and my heart rate was elevated (a more ladylike way of saying that I just yelled for a while).  I obviously need to process. Oh how these situations make me wish I was an introvert that could sneakily process my own crazy thoughts in my own safe head without the need to externalize them into the unsafe world where I leave the conversation feeling vulnerable and drained.  Oh to be an introvert....I think in my glorified body in heaven I might be an's hopin' :-)

As it is, this is the way God knit me a scarf that needs to process its feelings out loud.  The scripture talks a lot about the difference between fools and those who are deemed wise, and it often boils down to this (oversimplified) fact: Fools vent their anger....but wise people quietly hold it back.  Sigh....sounds so nice and dainty.....and so very difficult to carry out.  I'm working on it though- maybe I'll start wearing heels and pearls and carrying one of those fancy fans around the house to remind me to be dainty.  I'm not trying to poke fun at the scripture here....and I know I'm exaggerating...God is not claiming that a wise lady = a quiet girl who carries a fan and faithfully works on her etiquette.  I do so long to be wise and virtuous though.  I want to listen MORE than I talk and I want to THINK a whole lot before I release words into the wild where they escape the ability to be reigned back in.  As it is with most things in life, this too, is a process.  I'm tired.  This being human stuff.....the learning and sucks sometimes....ahem, I mean it is a bit of a challenge (she says daintily in an English accent as she sips her tea without slurping ;-)

I will clarify that, though this post is sprinkled with silliness, I'm actually speaking on something much deeper than mere girlieness.  It's an unspeakable kind of presence that I want to exibit when I walk into a room...that can only be described as...exuding the nature of Christ.  I know some "southern belles" that, (bless their hearts ;-), can walk into a room appearing so sweet and kind-natured....and it's not this that I'm speaking of.  I know some "northern gals" that, (insert northern pun here), can walk into a room with a kind of jarring confidence.....and it's not this that I'm speaking of either.  I'm talking about somewhere between my green skirt and my holey jeans. Huh?  I have this green skirt that, when I wear it, it makes me feel like a lady and a little more reverent.....and then I have a favorite pair of ripped jeans that make me feel comfortable and relaxed.  This place I'm talking about lies somewhere between the two.....where I can just be both....where I can be all He created me to be and I feel valued and loved because He has allowed breath in my lungs for another day.  Beauty really does not come from outward adornment.....uh oh...and what is the next part of that verse!? "....rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." ....oh man....there is that quiet theme again ;-) God, have mercy on the extroverts.

I've seen some people go on "speech fasts" before, where they decide not to speak for a certain period of time so as to gain a spiritual insight they may not have gained if they were talking.  Now, I've mainly seen this result in much frustration from the surrounding people who are tired of feeling "ignored" by their speech fasting friend.  I'm sure that there is value in this practice sometimes though....maybe?  On second thought, it does make me laugh a little to think of one of the disciples asking Jesus a question, in which His response would be to hand them a piece of paper with the note, "I am on a speech fast." Just doesn't seem like something He would do. Oh my.....we are trying though, aren't we...we are trying to take on the nature of His character...and I do think that even our desire to do so must bring Him joy. 

The thing is, Jesus just knew when to speak and when to keep silent.  He had no problem standing up against injustice and idolatry, while also having the capacity to keep silent like a lamb being led to the slaughter. Oh to be fully God and fully exude both qualities of an extravert and an introvert.....seems so much "easier" to go through life being fully God.... but I know I could not drink the cup that Jesus drank....and this is why we bless His name.  because we don't know what we are doing. because we were in desperate need for someone to take our place....someone who could handle it.....someone who walks into the room and has that unspeakable presence.  Please make me more like you God....and yes, I know that means being quiet and gentle when it is my nature to yell against would be easier to accomplish if I could just learn it by wearing heels and pearls and practicing etiquette...but I desire transformation in the inmost parts.   Teach me your ways, oh God.

With Love,