Believe

When people talk on the phone near me, I listen to see if they’ll end their conversation with an “I love you.”

I wait to hear the smile in their voice as they say, “I love you too.”

And it makes me glad for them.

Having someone to say ‘I love you’ to is one of this life’s greatest gifts.

*

Occasionally, you’ll hear someone talk about something good that happened in their life and they’ll say, “That changed me forever.”

They’ll assert that what happened–the event or circumstance of their past–has made who they are in the present richer and more alive and entirely different.

Which makes me think- Okay, so it’s possible not just to have something bad change you, but to have something so miraculous or good happen to you that you are no longer the same person.

That gives me hope- knowing there is the potential to be so undone and transformed by something (or Someone) that it warrants the statement “that changed me forever.”

 

“Miracles can happen in a heartbeat.”

*

I was thinking this morning about home-

The chaos of a bunny and a cat chasing each other through the house.
Something spilled in the bottom of the oven setting off the smoke detector.
Christmas music playing on the TV.
Candles lit.
Blowing a fuse because I forgot to turn the heat off before running the microwave.
Another cat meowing to be fed.
Laundry to do.
Cookies to bake.
Flour spilled on the floor.

And I smiled.

Chaos feels like love.

When you have to open the windows because the house is too hot from movement and conversation and baking- that’s love.

When Madison and the kids come over and one wipes their hands on the carpet and another runs off with my cell phone, and Madison is talking and we are laughing and there’s a movie to watch and kids to put pajamas on…

and I have to open the windows…

That’s love.

And when it’s quiet,
and the kids are softly snoring,
and I say goodnight to Madison and go to bed,
and I curl up beneath my blankets and listen to the bunny scratching at her cage,
and the cats jump on the bed and lay at my feet,
and the soft glow of the twinkle lights are coming from the room Madison and her kids are sleeping in…

That’s love too.

*

Today at Starbucks the barista complimented my freckles.

It always takes me off guard when someone compliments my freckles because I forget I have them. I don’t see them when I look in the mirror. So when someone says, “I love your freckles!” my first thought is: “You can see them!?”

But I love that compliment. Not because it makes me feel beautiful, because I know freckles are not traditionally considered beautiful, but I love it because it reminds me that God put me together special. He placed each one of my freckles.

And when the barista said that today, I felt Him smile at me. I felt Him near- bending down to kiss my forehead. The same freckled forehead He created almost 29 years ago.

I wonder if maybe there’s a reason I look the way I do. Young. Innocent. Not intimidating.

Emily and Kim and I were talking about Batman and who would be cast as who. She said I could be Cat Woman. And I laughed and told her I have zero sex appeal. I said it would make more sense to cast me as a kindergarten teacher or Little Orphan Annie.

Would I like to be beautiful? Sure. But I’m not. I’m “cute”. And that wasn’t a mistake any more than my heart or personality were mistakes. God doesn’t make mistakes.

So maybe my feeling young on the inside isn’t a problem to be solved. Maybe God gave me a face to match my insides.

I’m done calling myself and how I feel “wrong”.

God built me. I am His project. And if there’s anything in me that He wants to change, I trust Him to do it. Otherwise I am going to trust that He looks at me with love and calls me “good”. His creation. His beloved daughter. No less good than the sunrise or stars or birds.

It’s not up to me to call things wrong.

It’s up to me to love-

Him,
others,
and myself.

*

This is beautiful.

So is this.

*

“Liminal space is a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the ‘tried and true’ but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are in between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.

It is no fun.

Think of Israel in the desert, Joseph in the pit, Jonah in the belly, the three Marys tending the tomb.

If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait—you will run—or more likely you will explain. Not necessarily a true explanation, but any explanation is better than scary liminal space. Anything to flee from this terrible cloud of unknowing.’

Maybe the way forward is not finding THE answer right now but learning to live without an answer, or rather, living towards one.

We need to find our way back to the true meanings of trust, wait and patience; a life of hope.”

*

I wonder if all this pain of feeling like I don’t belong anywhere… I wonder how God will use it.

I wonder if someday I’ll be in a position where I can mother those who feel the way I do.

I’d like that.

I’d like to have an open door, to welcome people in- whether or not I have children of my own. I want all to feel included. Wanted. I want them to come into my home and I want to greet them a warm embrace. Because I’m a hugger…

which, ironically, is something I got from neither parent.

Maybe I got it from my Father.

I close my eyes and smile and picture the Thanksgivings and Christmasses and Friday nights of my future. Sleeping people scattered all throughout house- beds, couch, living room floor on blanket beds. And not because they don’t have a home, but because my home is just as much their home as the one where they have their mail delivered.

What if.

What if I let this make me tender?

What if I let Him empty me out. All of me. My sorrows and grief and longings and hopes and joys and every single corner and facet and moment of my life- committed to Him. In His hands.

What if.

What would He do?

It would be good. I have that promise. And maybe it wouldn’t be what I’d expect- maybe I’ll never be a daughter to anyone. Or a sister. Or carry a baby within my belly. Or be the one someone chooses to spend their life with.

And that? The thought of not ever being anyone’s ever again? That breaks my heart. It’s almost intolerable.

Almost.

But He says not to fear. He says to trust Him. He says He IS Love. He says it’s safe to hope.

He says we won’t understand right now. His ways aren’t our ways.

So I have to tell my heart that. I’m not seeing the whole picture right now.

God doesn’t desire for me to live my entire life gripped with sorrow.

This isn’t where I’m meant to stay.

When I worry I’ll hurt forever, He extends His hand.

Because we’re on a journey.

And I can’t see what’s up ahead.

But He can.

And He says it’s good.

*

I was skimming Netflix the other day when I came across a movie that seemed vaguely familiar. It was old- made before I was even born, and yet I had the distinct impression that I had seen it before.

And so I hit play on the movie and watched and suddenly I remembered that yes- I HAD seen it! I remembered being in the living room. I remembered sitting on my mom’s lap. I remembered the scene where the kids are in the car.

And I remembered that was the day of The Penny.

When I was a child, I spent an abnormal amount of time praying. Although my prayer looked more like games of cards and reading library books aloud to God – who, looking back now, I have no doubt delighted in every second of listening to me read or watching me play with Him in mind.

And one Christmas I decided to leave Jesus a birthday present. And so I tucked a penny, a brown penny, between the brown carpet of the stairs and the brown wall. (Lots of brown. It was the early 90’s, folks.)

And I was watching that movie with Mom the next morning when I remembered the penny, so I jumped off her lap to see if Jesus had taken His present.

And it wasn’t there.

And I couldn’t believe it. I looked everywhere. I checked every step because maybe I had just forgotten where I had left it, even though I knew I hadn’t.

And it wasn’t there.

So I ran back upstairs to Mom and told her. And I don’t remember her reacting or seeming nearly as amazed as I did. But neither did she say she had found the penny or maybe vacuumed it up or anything. Rather, she seemed more focused on the movie.

And I crawled back up on her lap and kept watching the movie with her, but I held wonder and love within my chest.

And I remember that still.

When I was a child, God seemed SO near. So real. Alive. No less real or alive than my parents or siblings or next-door neighbor.

And sure, maybe someone found the penny, or maybe my parents vacuumed. But however it disappeared, it was God’s message to a child: “Thank you for thinking of Me. I’m here. And I love you.”

And I don’t know that I’m so far removed from being that child- the one who believes in crazy miracles.

I believe in a God who’d take a penny.

I believe in a God who will tuck me in to bed at night and sit with me until I fall asleep if I ask Him to.

I believe in a God who would sit with a child and listen to her read a Berenstain Bears book.

When I watch movies, movies that would seem impossible, where angels visits or hearts are transformed or someone gets the father or mother or child they’ve always wanted… I believe, in some small corner of my heart, that the movies aren’t just works of fiction and that it’s not naive for me to believe that because our God is our Abba Father and He loves us and NOTHING is impossible for Him.

Nothing we think up even comes close to how big our God is. We can’t dream or hope too big. We can’t out-imagine Him.

*

When I lie in bed at night and sob and tell Him that I need Him or want Him, sometimes it feels as pointless as telling my mom I need or want her. Which can leave me there, wracked with sorrow…

and with something else to grieve.

It HURTS to wanting and needing a God who you think won’t actually show up and be the living and present God He says He is.

And that’s why I am standing firm that there’s more for us.

I’m claiming that nothing is impossible.

I’m going to hope and believe, wildly and irrationally, like a child.

Because God made me.

And I’m done calling who I am wrong.

Maybe all those hours of cards and reading and conversation with God as a child weren’t one-sided. Maybe He used that time to breathe hope in me- the belief in the possibility of the impossible.

*

This year, I won’t be leaving God a penny. But I’ll be loving those who have no one to love them. I’ll donate money and time to people in need.

And I think about how maybe that’s the greatest gift we could give Jesus on His birthday- loving each other. Being together. What could bring Him more joy, after all? Whether we’re loving those we’ve known all our lives or a year or just met in line at the grocery store, we are fulfilling His deepest desire for us, aren’t we? We’re coming together.

He created us individually.

And placed us here lovingly.

And what could bring Him more joy than watching us come together and love each other?

Especially when we’re coming together because of Him.

Oh, happy, happy birthday, sweet Jesus.

*

Someday maybe Christmas will look like hot chocolate going cold on the coffee table and people curled up together on the couch, trying to keep their eyes open as the night comes to a close.

Or maybe it will look like being called someone’s sister. A miracle, undoubtedly, to be grafted into an already established family. But God can do anything.

Maybe I’ll have a husband.

Or a dog.

Maybe I’ll eat dinner alone or serve at a food bank or maybe I’ll be surrounded by people I love.

I don’t know. But I know He loves me.

And He loves them. You.

And He put us together on this big, scary, wonderful, lonely, beautiful planet.

And He whispers in my ear, “Hope wild, child. Nothing is impossible.”

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More Than Enough

It is incredible to me how, no matter what thought enters my mind, God’s word is the salve. Or the confirmation.

I don’t know how people do life apart from Him. It is way too hard when you go through life without the comfort of His word and the steady assurance that you are loved in a bigger way than you can even fathom, and you are never alone.

He is my best friend.

When I am going to sleep at night, I picture Him bending down to kiss my forehead and smooth back my hair. Because He is Abba. And I am His daughter.

When I see Mt. Rainier in the distance, glowing pink from the sunset, I know He is smiling at my enjoyment of His creation.

When I come home after work and greet my fur-babies, I feel Him delighting in the fact that I am embracing the nurturing nature He gave me.

When something funny happens, I can sense Him laughing with me. And sometimes maybe even laughing at me a tiny bit. 😉

When I don’t feel like I fit in or worry that I don’t measure up, He is there, whispering truth into my ear.

When a semi truck comes into my lane, oblivious to my presence there, but I see it soon enough to slam on my brakes, I feel gratitude. And I know that the only reason I stayed safe was because He was protecting me. And I marvel at how many times a day He protects me and how often I am completely unaware.

When I am crying, He comforts me.

When I’m scared, He is strong.

When I’m lonely, He is present.

When life seems overwhelmingly big, I can rest in the knowledge that my God is bigger.

I’ve known all this for a long time of course, but it’s like a Polaroid that is gradually darkening. I thought I really understood and saw Him clearly, but the more time that passes, the richer and more detailed my knowledge of Him (and love for Him!) gets. And I hope that never changes. I hope I never get so familiar with this religion of mine that it ceases to be a relationship.

Lord, thank You that every single day is an adventure when I go through it with my eyes wide open and my heart tuned in to You.


“God’s word is more certain, more secure, more immovable than any event on earth. Reality itself must conform to the perfect purpose and plan of God.”

I love that. I love that God is bigger than our understanding of reality.

That’s one of the main topics that has been on my mind lately, and I loved seeing it confirmed in writing: any time you make your understanding of reality bigger than God, you are putting Him in a box.

And God doesn’t fit in a box.

He is unchanging, yes, but He is also the creator of this “reality” we think we know so well. The rules of reality don’t apply to Him.

Hallelujah. 🙂


“The disciples are gathered in a room ‘for fear of the Jew’ (John 20:19). Imagine this situation. Feel the oppression of the fear of man in the air. Picture the bars across the doors and the captives inside who only a short time before had wielded power to cast out demons and heal the sick. Had they been stripped of their authority? Of their abilities? No, indeed. Powerless is always the message the enemy sends fear to bring.”

Such a good little liar the enemy is.

Lord, help me to never mistake Satan’s voice for Yours. Or my own. Help me know when I am being lied to, and help me be quick to remind Satan that I belong to You.

Thank You, Lord, for Your word. Thank You that You gave us the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Thank You that we are well-equipped to do this life, whatever may come.

And help us to remember, Lord, that we are never powerless. Help us remember that we never need to do life afraid.


“Don’t default into our past. Don’t jump the gun for our future. Just behold and know. Instructions will come when the time is right. In the meantime, being is so much harder than doing, isn’t it?”

Again, I find that incredibly comforting. Yes, waiting is hard, but the hardest thing about it is that you worry you aren’t doing enough, that you are somehow missing the boat or not keeping up with life.

However, your life isn’t going to rush on ahead without you.

Don’t forget that your life is more than what you hope to achieve or what you dream for, your life is today. It is this moment. And God is in control. And if you have no direction and you sense God telling you to wait, it is for a reason. Your life isn’t just just made up of action and activity, it is also the pauses, the moments of rest and reflection. Your life is continuing to take shape and unfold beautifully, even in the waiting. And so, you can eliminate the fear that you aren’t doing all that you “should” be.

No matter what you are waiting on, whatever God has for you in this moment is just as important.

Lord, I thank You that even in my discomfort and uncertainty, there is the opportunity for growth. Thank You that You are good always and that my needs (both actual and imagined) are familiar and important to You. Thank You that You are invested in my life.

Help me to stay present.

Help me to think of the future, not with anxiety, but with joy and excitement.

No matter what happens between today and the day I die, I know the ending already. I already know heaven awaits me. And so I don’t have to be afraid of what this life holds. I can do life with joy and comfort. I can do it fearlessly and boldly.

Thank You, so much, for every single breath. Help me not to waste this time I am given. Help me not to be overwhelmed by life. Help me remember that You are bigger and that my concept of reality is clouded. Help me to remember the world as I see it now is a hazy Polaroid. I cannot see the whole picture.

And help me, Lord, to rely on You for joy and comfort and boldness and not try to create those things within myself.

I am like a balloon, Lord. I am a balloon, and when I try to do life on my own, I am a balloon filled with CO2. I don’t float. I catch some air occasionally on a bounce, but gravity (reality) keeps me pinned pretty firmly to the earth.

However, when I go to You for life and love and comfort and joy, I am a balloon filled with helium. Nothing can get me down. The rules of reality and the confines of this world don’t call the shots- You do.

And life with You in control is a life that is destined to be beautiful.

So, we can wait with confidence.


“Do you belong to Jesus Christ? If so, the Holy Spirit dwells in you (Rom. 8:9), and He did not cheat you of a single ounce of His power. He came to show off in you. As He does, your whole life will become a living witness just like the disciples. Our assignments may differ, but you and I have exactly the same Holy Spirit that Christ promised to His first disciples. If we only knew what we had, our lives would be so different!”

Lord, help us become aware. Help us never to minimize Your power or presence or what it is You want to do with us today, in this very moment.

Help us not to forget that You are God.

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