He Is

Tears drip down my chin and into our lunch. Oh well, they’ll never know…

A child enters the kitchen, sees me,  and runs out. I hear her telling sister, “Momma’s crying again,” and they all come running.

“What’s wrong, momma?”

I draw them close and tell them, “It’s okay, sillies. Mom is just praying and a lot of times when she prays, she cries.”

It’s true. I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere along a few weeks back, something inside broke, a leaky water pump. Becoming aware of His presence and His nature in a deeper way, I am so easily undone when I tap into it throughout the day.

Mostly, I ponder the awesome character of our God. And I am grieved that I reflect so little of it. I am grieved that I know so little of it. I am grieved of all the time and resources I have wasted pursuing other “good” and “spiritual” things.

I weep broken-hearted tears.

And I pray His names, as I have been studying, digging ever deeper into His nature. Because I know the God who created trillions of stars expended no more energy doing it than it would have taken to make one.

And to this God, forgiving a rapist takes no more love and mercy than forgiving a child for slipping a quarter from her mother’s purse.

His attributes are 100% infinite and self existent. Therefore it doesn’t “cost” Him anymore to create trillions than one, to forgive heinous than “little, white” sins.

He is altogether unique, unlike any other.

So I know no matter how deep and tainted I am, He is bigger.

his grace is greater than my sin

his love is wider than my need

his faithfulness is higher than my shortcomings

his mercies are sufficient for each day

his cords of compassion can’t be broken

his spoken words never expire

This is the One who broke Himself open and poured Himself out and says to me, “Come, eat you all of it.”

So I go.


Faces to Son

The storms move in and camp out and all week long the kids and I press faces to the window, looking for rainbows.

“The conditions are right,” I tell them.

And when the rain pauses, we run outside and search the skies like we’re on a treasure hunt.

We are.

We see billowing dark and low moving gray and patterns in the clouds. Every now and then, we see the majesty of the sun, faithful and steady, peeking through the dark.

We never do see our rainbow.

But what we see is that when our side of the world faces the sun, it’s always day. Even when the skies are dark and there are no rainbows.

“I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness…” John 8:12

Today I’ll turn face to the Son. With Him, it’s always day.


Snow Grace

I wake up to a blanket of white outside my window, the first- and probably only- of the winter.

The timing is God.

Because yesterday there were angry words spoken, words that hurt and accused, words that leave marks for a long time.

They stir up things that enemy would keep stirred up, would keep alive. Even today, after words of repentance have been spoken, enemy is there stirring up old feelings of worthlessness. Condemnation. Exposure. Doubt.

But that white out my window…it reminds me of other words: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

My sins are as scarlet. I am worthy of angry words. I am worthy of far worse. I can never make all my wrongs right.

But there is hope for me yet.

For there is a God who spoke other words and His words are truth and didn’t He send the snow all night while I slept to make sure I remembered them?

I am terribly unworthy…but ring-from-the-rafters-news! His love isn’t based on worth!

So I will kneel again. I will embrace His love for me. I will stand, fully assured in His intentions towards me. And I will reach, doing my part to lay aside the old and press on to His upward call in my life.

Today.

Just today, for tomorrow is not guaranteed. This sinner will be saved by grace like snow.

“Behold I make all things new.”


When Your Eyes Can’t See What They Need To

“Look Mom!” he cried. “Heaven’s coming down!”

I looked in my rear-view mirror to see all four kids peering out the window at the sight, the excitement so great I wondered if Jesus Himself was coming through the clouds.

As carefully as I could,  I leaned over to look out the passenger side window.

Sure enough, heaven was coming down. Rays splintered through the clouds in streams, and in the middle… one big ball of yellow.

We slowed and breathed our compliments to Maker God and wondered how something so wondrous could ever be considered ordinary.

I wondered if any one else had the eyes to see what little ones saw. I wondered if the other travelers even noticed the display of glory or if they were rushing, pushing, consumed by the meaningless. I was startled by how many times I surely missed heaven coming down.

How many times I missed His expressions of love in a wind’s whisper? A bird’s flight? The night moon?

Have my eyes become so accustomed to the frills and fluff of economic prosperity- slick brochures, fancy wrappings, well-dressed presentations- that I’ve lost the eyesight for real beauty?

Have I lost the eyes to perceive His mercies that are new every day?

Have I lost the ability to SEE His glory that fills the whole earth and His loving-kindness towards me that stretches to the skies?

If Jesus had come on white steed as King, we would have had the eyes for Him. But as a babe? In a manger?

Who had eyes for that?

And today, if we’ve got fancy marketing techniques and web designs and skilled orators and classy presentations, we can garner the attention, gain their eyes. But what if He comes in the ordinary?…the babes…the birds… the seeds that break open to give forth life? The chance to love the least of these, to smile, to hope?

What if…ahem… What if He only whispers His invitation? What if day after day, heaven comes down?

And what if I live my life missing it?

The thought grabs me, shakes me, awakens me to train my eyesight. To see Him in the toothless grin of an old Asian man; to feel His love in the perfect poinsettia that sits atop my ledge; to sense His belief in me every time my babe runs to me for comfort.

The Christ Child shows me the way. Forget the malls and the fancy packaging and the slick sales pitches, even the Christian ones I have grown accustomed to, accept as norm. My eyes have been trained in their ways far, far too long.

The Babe trains different senses, spiritual eyes and ears if I will but listen, if I will gather around Him in stillness.

He teaches me that the most significant gifts come with skin on.

Expect treasure amidst the hay. {Who said significant had to look a certain way?}

Find the last place people go and linger there.

Look to the heavens. {Even now, night after night they pour forth speech, yes?}

And expect Him! Expect Him! Expect Him! Emmanuel has come!

It takes some practice, living this way. It means being desperate enough to take off the old, rip the dark eyes right out.  It means taking Grace at His word, no room for unbelief or pride. But the wondrous truth spurs on:

Heaven has come down, God is with us, and all I need do is behold.

***Join me in 2011 for an ongoing series in developing our spiritual senses? I’m writing a Bible study for our ladies at church and I’d like to record it here in my journal as we go…


Fully Assured

4:54am and His voice comes softly, awakening me. “Understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I lay under warm mountain for awhile, pondering these words, especially in light of yesterday’s word, “Keep yourself in the love of God.”

I think of how my traditional upbringing taught me to understand the will of God in terms of “Glorifying God” and “Obeying His commandments.”

Surely these are a part of His will.

But His words invite me to find articulation for what He has been revealing to me over a period of time. His will is not primarily the things I do.

For the next 3 days I pour over scriptures, getting Husband’s help using the Logos Bible study software pastors and missionaries use. Slowly, articulation comes.

“Will” is “thelema” in the Greek. It means desire, pleasure, intent. It is what One wishes or has determined shall be done. It is Christ slain before the foundation of the world. In short, it is the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ.

How skewed we are when we think of God’s will simply in terms of what He desires from us! I must discipline self to think first in terms of His intent towards me.

Ephesians 1 is a gold mine for discovering God’s desire, pleasure, and intentions towards me. His will is “kind intentions” and “lavish grace.”

It is His will to bless me with every spiritual blessing,

to choose me,

to consider me holy and blameless,

to adopt me,

to redeem me,

to forgive me all my transgressions,

to make me the recipient of His lavish grace,

to give me all wisdom and insight into His heart for me,

to give me an inheritance,

to grant me the fullness of His Spririt,

to rescue me from the domain of darkness and transfer me to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1),

to reconcile me to Himself,

to make me at peace with Him,

These things I “know,” but thinking of them in terms of His will for me adds dimension to the knowledge and empowers me in new ways.

After three days of searching, pondering, asking, it comes down to this phrase from Colossians 4:12, “Stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”

This can be breath, blood, and life. As kids wake up and need me and Husband does too and I feel too broken and weak to give them what they deserve, I stand perfect on these words, “Fully assured in all the will of God. ” HE IS FOR ME.

As I dress tired, whiny child, I can do this. I can love and bless and give and pour out, because I am fully assured in all the will of God for me.

As older child grumbles about changing shirt, I can do this. I can take aside and breathe life words into him, exhort him to live up to his identity in Christ as beloved child.

As time presses and stress rises and lunches need packing and dress pants need ironing and children scatter toys, I can do this. I can focus on what really matters and stand perfect, fully assured in all the will of God for me.

Today is going to be a great day.


When You Crave to See God

Until she entered my life, I had no concept of what seeing God looked like.

Worse, my desire to see God in this life was little more than a glowing ember, a prayer for big moves of God and outpourings of His Spirit.

She taught me there is more, seeing God beneath the frail skin of everyday life…in the night wakings of a sick child…in piles of laundry and dishes… in preparing meals and in training hearts… in the world around me. And my embers came to blazing flame… hungry, desperate for glimpses of Him.

Someone asked her the question so many want to know, “How do you see God?”

In her poetic way she gives an answer, beautiful but no formula. No clear footprint to follow.

For days I ask “How? How?” I want to find the eyesight she’s found. Is it a simple matter of waiting for Him to restor sight to these blind eyes?

Then, in the middle of shuffling food to the lunch table, the answer breathes through my spirit, “Blessed are the … for they shall see God.”

What is that? Blessed are the what? The peacemakers? The pure in heart? Which one is it? I can’t wait for duties to allow for my lunch…feasting on this word.

I find it: “Blessed are the pure in heart…” (Matthew 5:8) That’s what she must be, only she would never claim it or even see it in herself. The pure in heart never do.

How does one become pure in heart? It becomes a burning question, the pathway to Beauty.

A study leads to Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue the sanctification that allows one to see the Lord.” Could this be the purity of heart? And I bet verse 15 ties straight in, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God.”

Do not fail to lay hold of God’s grace.

 

Could it be that embracing each moment’s grace imparts this God-authored sanctification? That the pursuit is for grace belonging to this moment?

I think so. It is grace by which we stand (Rom. 5:2) and my mind sits back, processing the wondrous truth again. And again. And again.

I’ve fresh motivation to pursue grace and embrace it…especially when body’s tired and mind’s numb and children press and checkbook screams warning.

“I give grace for this moment.” His words have become a foundation under my feet and I am learning they’re solid.

It is by receiving moment’s grace that His sanctifying Spirit has access to my weak places and creates a pure heart, something I could never do. And my spiritual eyes see Him.

Grace upon grace. The way and style of Beauty.