Thursday, December 13, 2012

my health.

post-its on the wall, 2010

I laid on my floor for an extended period of time.  My body was pained and fatigued, and so was my hope.  I'm nearing the two year mark since the doctors gave my diagnosis and told me that I could resume my normal routine, "granted, you don't do anything.  But seeing that no one, not even you, can make you do nothing for two years, it may be much longer."  As I laid on my floor, I ruminated on the reality of the "much longer."  In the past two years, the problem areas have been improving (Allelu!) but at the expense of depending on stronger areas of my body - which are now beginning to cave in.  I felt the beginning signs of serious strains in my lower body.  My feet are caving in.  If it's not one thing, it's another - a never-ending cycle (well, I guess.. it's chronic..)

And in thinking about this "much longer," my fears began escalating.  Will I really be a cripple before I'm 30?  Will I never get to do the things I love?  What kind of job can I have with my condition?  How will I pay off all my loans?  Even to the far end - Can I really afford (in every sense) to have a family?

This mental tornado is not new.  It happens quite often, and it always ends in tears.  It's a built-in cavity in the human soul to search for purpose and yearn to fulfill it.  I am dissatisfied to think my life is THIS limited because of my physical inability.  It is wildly discouraging, especially because I remember what it is like to be capable.

A whisper of optimism nudges me: what if I am convinced that my purpose is something that is actually different than what God's purpose is?  What if my frustrations are borne out of disillusionment?  There is still hope for my future, then.

I went into the Word and read Hebrews 10. Verses 32 thru 39 moved me.  In paraphrase:
Remember the explosive feeling in your spirit when you first saw and felt the Light and its warmth?  Remember the joy of new revelations and understanding His Truths? Remember your passion?  Remember your eagerness?  Remember your ambition when you believed? -when you were full of faith?
You suffered freely, because you knew, as much as faith "knows," that there is goodness and eternity to be had.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
- Hebrews 10.35-39

I cannot tell you how difficult it's been to believe the promises in regards to my health.  But I must believe, I must be confident operate in the promises despite the pain.  I cannot let worry make a home in my imaginations.

I never like to mention my health because I'm constantly wary about talking so specifically about my personal life to an audience of many or no one.  When I think of social media as a whole (facebook, twitter, whatever media you choose), a large ratio of communication is shallow and impersonal (though thank the Lord, not all!  Genuine still exists).  But I began thinking that I need to forego my disdain for the pseudo relationships, be humble, and ask for prayer.  Or encouragement.  Something.

So if you think of me, please pray for me.
Pray as the Lord leads, but I feel that beyond praying for a miracle of healing, if you could pray for my heart.  I don't want to be full of fear, I want to abound in faith.  I don't want to accept my pain, I want to contend for my healing.  I don't want to be hopeless, I want to walk in the fulness of God's promises for my life.  I don't want to be anxious about anything, but take everything to God in prayer.  I want to sincerely love and praise God in every season of my soul, whether a miracle comes or He silently lets me wait.  I want patience and joy in the waiting, I want to think better of my future.  I want my soul to prosper before my health prospers.

I want to hope again.  I want to dream again.  Dream without limits, ignoring the setbacks, believing Truth.

As honestly as I can say this - thank you.  Little prayers go a long way.

currently listening: Jeremy Riddle

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

on contentment

Ascend the Hill - "Spend It All - Live"
I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty, or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

- Philippians 4:11-13

The infamous verse of "doing all things" is less about abilities and possibilities, and more about being wholly content with God Himself. It can be difficult for our practical minds to imagine what that would look like - to be fully content and satisfied with having God alone.
(What a concept, right?  To trust Him with everything?..)

Circumstances become the scale of character and trust.  Needs and wants arise, and the scales often tip to the side of anxiety, stress, and worry.  An influx of blessings and goodness appear, and the scales tip with a little less faith and a lot more self-sufficiency.  But the scales should never move.  In the chance of emptiness or overflow, the eyes that gaze only upon the Lord are steady, unfazed.
I recall the prayer of the Proverbs writer:

...Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, "Who is the Lord?"  Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
- Proverbs 30.8-9

Ah but that would be suspiciously simple, yes?  To have what we need when we need it, and it is just enough?  Too bad we are always unsatisfied, though.  God gave the Israelites manna and quail, and they grumbled.  It's hard to realize that God has and is giving us our daily bread, and instead of being grateful, we search for something more.  We are discontented.

And so we do things like taking Philippians 4.13 out of context.  We tell ourselves that we can strive for greater goods because we can do all things, right?  He'll give me strength, right?
That whole argument must sadden the heart of God- He becomes the means, not the reward, and fulfillment is an idol.

Paul had found satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment in knowing and loving God alone.
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him...
- Philippians 3.8-9

"I WANT TO KNOW CHRIST!" he says, like it is the beginning and end of his existence (and it is). He is driven by this mystery, and yet it completes him and strengthens him, enough to let his whole being be sure: nothing else matters - not life, death - none of these things can separate love from me, and it is this Love that strengthens me to endure the famine, persecution, the sword, or the plenty, the excess, the blessings.  I am content in all situations because I have God, and He has me.

That, my friends, is where I want my heart to be.

It's American Thanksgiving, and it's easy to list off things of gratitude in this season.  But I want it to be more than a list.  I want to recognize that my fulfillment and contentment is found in Christ alone, but because He is so rich in mercy and grace, He chooses to bless me because His delight is in me. I want to look at these blessings, from family and friendships, to provisions and a job, to all the seemingly trite things that prove His care for me - and still be content with God alone.  And when I think about the things I do not yet have, like healing or debt cancellation, I still want to be content with God alone.

I want it to be true, that I could do all things, or nothings, have many things, or have less - but it is the fulfillment I have in God that daily gives me strength.  This is what I am grateful for.


currently listening: Ascend the Hill
currently reading: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (I'm serious..)
currently watching: Gone with the Wind

Thursday, October 25, 2012

on strength

I've been in a funk lately, Most Days are harder than others.  Most Days, I end up crying on my floor questioning my existence and why history repeats itself and why the heck do I have no comfort foods or drinks or tissue at arms reach.  I'd punch Jesus if He were next to me- not because I hate Him, but because it feels safe to be angry in His presence than away from His presence.  He welcomes me regardless of the state that I am in.

There are very rare Other Days, when I am not so restless, when I actually feel tugs on my heart to read a little more of the Word and pray a little longer, I hear Him speak.  And I remember what it is like to be in communion with Him.  These Other Days are rare -very, very rare- so I cherish them.

On these very rare Other Days, there's one passage of Scripture that's remained in my spirit - I Samuel 30. In this passage, David and his army had returned to the Negev/Ziklag to find that their enemies, the Amalekites, had plundered and burned the city, and taken the women and children.

So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
I Samuel 30:3

Met with this devastation, I cannot imagine the pressure on David's shoulders to lead men of sorrow - they were bitter and talked of stoning him.  That kind of loss is an erosion, and it can strip off grief, anxiety, anger, leaving one near lifeless.  Yet it's David's reaction that resonates in my spirit:

"But David strengthened himself in the Lord."
I Samuel 30:6

To be raw, I don't have anyone who is constantly reliable, or dependable, holding me accountable, or even present.  And it can be discouraging to not have encouragement or motivation when I could use it.  It's discouraging to not have company, period.  David had it much worse, he didn't have the ones he loved (his wives were taken), and his company wanted to kill him.  So what did he do?  He strengthened himself in the Lord.  He found encouragement in the Lord.  There are more lessons to be found in David's ensuing victory and the full return of loss, and surely these things came from the hand of grace.  It came from the strength of the Lord.

My recent situations have left me borderline apathetic.  But with what emotion I have left, I weep.  With what ability I have left, I pray.  And there is no prayer too small, I believe God honors these small prayers.  I find my strength in Him.  I must find my strength in Him.  And maybe He's been quiet, but He's never been far, and sometimes I hang by the comforting thread that He's never abandoned me.

Dear friends, Strengthen yourself in the Lord.

God is our refuge and strength
an EVER-PRESENT help in trouble
Psalm 46.1

When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 93.19


currently reading: East of Eden, John Steinbeck
currently listening: "On My Knees," Seryn

Sunday, October 14, 2012


shadows on the ceiling

There are some days where the presence of God is not as tangible as others. 
Is He distant?  Am I distant?  Is this one of those "walk quietly" paths?
On these days, sometimes I wonder if I'm not pursuing God enough.
Maybe I'm not praying enough, or reading my Word enough, or worshipping enough.
And on these days, sometimes I wonder if the disciplines of prayer and study and worship have turned into "striving."
Maybe I am supposed to rest, or supposed to wait, or supposed to be still.

Yes, that is the conflict.
Am I not pursuing enough?  Or am I not resting enough?

There is only one thing I know in this regard:
That I cannot love Him without the grace to love Him.  I cannot pursue Him without the strength to pursue Him.  I cannot follow Him until He beckons me, I cannot worship Him until He allows me.
It seems like jolting, impossible words, but it's true.  We only love because He first loved us, we worship because He created us; in Him we live and move and have our being.  We are second, we are next, we are before Him.  All these motions of pursuit and servitude and sacrifice is (rather, must) be rooted in Love, and He IS love.  We do not have love unless we have God.

All of those intertwined words to say:
These past few weeks, I've been struggling in my relationship with God.  So much silence, so much waiting, so much restlessness.  I haven't forgotten Him, or dismissed Him, or rejected Him.  But in this quiet, I wonder if I'm doing something wrong, if I'm feeding my head and heart with uselessness, if vanity and idolatry found place in my soul, if I'm the one the put the distance there.  No- I want God.  I want to want Him! I want my heart to be somewhere higher, somewhere closer to Him.  I miss His voice, I miss His nearness.  I try to read my Word a little more, I try to say my prayers a little more.  But when it comes down to it, I cannot love Him without the grace to love Him.  And that has become my prayer.

Give me grace, give me strength, to love You rightly, God.
-Ashley Prior, "Grace to Love"

And Abba, if loving You rightly in this moment is to silently wait, then I will wait longer.  But dear Lord, as much as you would readily give me the grace to pursue You, that You would also give me the grace to wait patiently, in hope.

If you haven't yet heard this, it's a prayer/song that has encouraged me before, and found way back into my heart.
Allyson Prior, "Grace to Love."

Even though my love is weak, You will not deny it.
You will not turn away a broken and a contrite heart.
I'll keep coming back to You, even in my weakness.


currently listening: Jeremy Riddle
currently reading: East of Eden

Thursday, September 20, 2012

on hope

The reality of hope is that it exists only in depravity.  It lives when there is something unattainable, unreachable, absent, void.  Hope is present only in poverty, that is, the nothingness, the lack, the emptiness.  Hope is for the desires unfulfilled, for the aspirations not yet achieved, for the triumph yet to own.

All these things said, it is hope that I most struggle with.  Hope is the sibling I was born with - the friend I will always have, the thorn I will always have.  I love hope, I need hope, but I tire of it, I want distance from it; I argue hope, but I call her back to me, and we walk together, despite me.  Hope exists only in depravity.  I am often with hope.  I am often in depravity.  I struggle with hope.

I struggle with my tendency to set very high hopes.  It's always while I am climbing this high mountain that I am simultaneously praying, "God, please don't let my heart go there."  The memories of frequent abandonment, rejection, and failure repeat in my mind, and I remember the great collapse, the gruesome heartaches, the pain of hope deferred.  And yet, for some reason, I climb higher, afraid of vulnerability yet being blatantly vulnerable.  I hope.  Sometimes, the longing is fulfilled.  But it is more frequently deferred.

Still, as ruthless as it sounds, I would choose hope, regardless if it infers a life of depravity.  How hopeless is the perfect life!  The life in lack increases my need for grace, my need for forgiveness, my need for salvation, my need for a Savior.  And I can have full confidence, full assurance, that these specific hopes will be fulfilled.  The hope to be loved by God is the one and only desire of the human heart that will always be met with fulfillment.  It's infallible.  Every other desire in my life owns even the slightest chance of failure, a chance of disappointment.  This is not to say that the other desires and wants in my life are unimportant - not at all, God Himself can place these desires in our heart.

Thus, my very frequent prayer:
Let every desire be subject to the desire of You.
For a long time, I've pray this over my life, I pray this over others.

It's when we find Him, that we find all the other things we desired.  It's the discovery of Him, the discovery of Truth, that sheds light on what our heart really needs.  Sometimes the things we longed for are no longer appealing.  Sometimes the things we shunned become the things we now hope for.  But when the want for God is the foremost hope in our spirits, the result of every other hope is dull beside the brilliance of Him.  He promises His Love.  He is hope fulfilled.

We do not hope for what we have.  Therefore, to live in hope is to live in poverty, having nothing.  And yet, if we abandon ourselves to economy of Divine Providence, we have everything we hope for.  By faith we know God without seeing Him.  By hope we possess God without feeling His presence... The only thing faith and hope do not give us is the clear vision of Him Whom we possess.  We are united to Him in darkness, because we have to hope.
- Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island


There is one specific area in my life that is always deferred.  Though I vaguely refer to it (I'll tell you straight up- it is not about dating/marriage, as some assume), I don't know how to talk about it, because I don't understand it.  For ten years, an issue has repeated itself with different faces, but the same situation.  And I've fought God - fought God!  There's not many scenarios where I will yell at God because I am angry with Him, but this situation, I am always dumbfounded.
For ten years I'd wonder the same thing: Is it me?  Is something wrong with me?  Is this something that you do not will for my will and therefore do not grant it?  Is it something I need to endure?  But why?
Why would you put a hope in my heart, when it is always deferred?
I mean that.  Ten years.  Always, always deferred.

And yet, I climb the mountain again.  I climb with sorrow in one hand, and hope in the other.  
And as I ascend the summit, I pray that every desire is subject to the desire of God; I pray that God will make me a person of virtue and integrity, that at the base of my heart, I am motivated by the hope that at the top of this mountain, I will find God.  I want God to be my Hope, to be my salvation, to be the fulfillment, the longing fulfilled.

One day.


currently reading: Thomas Merton, No Man is An Island
currently listening: "Spend It All" Ascend the Hill, though this song is most fitting:

Thursday, September 6, 2012


For every piece of constructive criticism, be ready with five pieces of honest compliments.
Having a hard time thinking of honest compliments?  They're there, after all, if God made that person in His likeness, there has to be more than "just something" of value.

(things i'm learning in management)


Monday, August 27, 2012

storytime: thirsty

This is a tale that will explain everything, or nothing, as I attempt discretion in releasing details.  
Five years ago, I made some life choices that seemed right at the time, and only proved to destroy me.  To this day, I live with the repercussions of my actions.  And I feel the burn.
Dry conditions encourage brush fires.  But these fires can serve as a form of pruning to deep-rooted plants.  These plants-- they survive the drought, they survive the fire.  And come season of rain, they come back to life.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

- Matthew 5:6

Four years ago, I was exceptionally unsatisfied.  And you could tell.  There was a combination of  significant life-shattering events, and an exasperation with the mediocrity in the church, the droning of empty worship, the droning in my own soul.  I was a fresh void, a vacuum, yearning for Truth/  Honesty.   Restlessness gnawed on my skin to feel something real, to experience something real, to own something real.

Indeed, my heart had become an empty room, and I wanted to make it a home.  I wanted God to make a home in my heart.  But first, I had to know the flat Truth about this Son of Man.  My eyes were wandering, albeit blurry.  Maybe I see God? Maybe I see my frustrations.  Maybe I see truth?  Maybe my spirit is weak?  Maybe I am hungry.  I thirst.  Yes, I was thirsty for deep waters.  I don't survive very long on the surface.  There had to be more to tradition, and I wanted to grab every preaching deacon by the shoulders and shake the secrets from them.  "Tell me!" I would have yelled like the Beloved to the Watchmen of the Night: "Have you seen my Lord, the One my heart loves?"

Soon, I began hearing new thoughts, ideas, and perceptions of God and His Kingdom, and I listened.  I listened for about two years.  I listened, and I soaked it up.  You could say that, it appeared as though I had come back to life.  I drank, I ate, I devoured.  I indulged because it was in arms reach, and my confusion/immaturity/pain left no room for distinguishing Truth, distinguishing righteousness.  I partook because it looked spiritually wholesome.  It looked like the deep waters I thirsted for.  But it was only happiness.  It was not joy.  It was not peace.  It was not righteousness.  I was unsatisfied.

Some things have the form, but not the power.  That causes decay.
Some things have the power, but not the form.  That causes destruction.

In those two years, the desperation clouded my judgment.  No longer was I searching for God Himself, I was searching for an experience. That was my problem.  A spiritual bulimia of excessive intake and public regurgitation in the name of God.  Eating my emotions, eating out of boredom.  Gluttony is a deadly sin.  I had consumed a tilted perspective of God and it was in my bloodstream, in my lungs; zealotry was on my breath, and my steps were careless.  I lost my appetite for discipline and wisdom and solitude.  It was drying my insides.

I don't need wine, I need water.  I thirst.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night...
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God...

- Psalm 42

It's interesting, how easily humankind is deceived by the temporal happiness brought by experiences.  After the hype and the crash, we realize that happiness does not bring satisfaction.  Satisfaction brings happiness.  Scratch that- True Satisfaction, the one that comes from trusting God, brings joy.  The latter is what I hungered for, what I thirst for.  I didn't know how to attain it, and I had no one.  Two brush fires in two years.  A lot of bridges had been burned.

Metaphor aside.  I think about that timeframe, and my only response is, I'm sorry, God.  I've since felt His grace upon it, but what I can't shake is the remorse for the friendships I shattered along the way.  I risked some solid relationships for the sake of that spiritual voyage, and I regret it to this day, knowing I can't salvage anything on human strength.  As many apologies as I release, things are not the same.  I trust God to heal all brokenness- and that's just it- I'm trusting God.  Living with the consequences, and relishing in justice, mercy, grace.

I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against You, and You only, have I sinned.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

- Psalm 51

Two years ago, 2010, things mellowed out.  I was so internally exhausted, in need of yet another cleanser.  Nourishment.  So I made a commitment to God; I told Him I'd give Him two years of my life, dedicated to the pursuit of His heart.  I asked yet again: Where is my Lord, the One my heart longs for?  And this time, I would not settle until I found water.  Only water.  Only the real river of life, not some bottled and sold jar of "holy water."  The true spring of Life.  For the past two years, I went back to the basic human need of hunger and thirst - for righteousness.  This would be my sustenance. In the time, I cherished solace and shalom, I dove into the Scriptures, I sang out my stress, I cried, I prayed, I soaked.

Those two years finished this spring.  I had a lot of thinking to do in those two years.  Lots of forgiving, lots of healing.  And as I mentioned, God doesn't owe me anything because I've given Him that time.  Nevertheless, He gives.  Freely.  I don't know what is in store for this next season; I'll understand it in retrospect.  But I do know one thing: I thirst for His righteousness, and He always satisfies.

What I love about God is that He is always present in my journey.  Do I always choose the right path?  No... but still, He never lets me walk the wrong path alone.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God...
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at the break of day.

- Psalm 46 


currently reading: Persuasion, Jane Austen
currently listening: Performance Today, feat. Elizabeth Aoki (9 yrs old)
currently watching: Mirror, Mirror

Thursday, August 16, 2012

on magic tricks, distractions, control.

You know which magic trick I'm talking about.  That one where a slight of hand awes everyone into believing the calm, that one where a big flashy explosion draws their eyes from seeing you hide into a secret compartment, that one where you woo with words and motions and pretty things and shimmery lights.

That one about distractions.
That one about staying very and terribly busy in order to hide the recklessness of a discontent soul.
You know which magic trick I'm talking about.

But, as we all know, that it is just that - a trick - and there's no reality to it.  There's no truth behind it, there's a ploy behind the curtains, there's someone pulling the strings.

And I'm talking about it, because I'm raising my curtains.  I'm adding vulnerability to my honesty, and subtracting tangents from the plain truth.
I have been this one, this busybody dashing from project to agenda to persona.
And (since I'm being honest), I hadn't realized it.  I hadn't realized I've been using my most recent busyness as my slight of hand to distract myself from the mess that is my self.

Story time: those around me observe my knack for organization.  Especially at work.  Systems; order; cleanliness; consistency; lists upon lists; labels (oh don't get me started on our new label maker).  And there is something I've known and pointed out about myself, that, more than half the time, when things don't make sense inside me, making sense of things around me is my consolation.  At least some things are in order.

Call it my ultimate mental distraction.  Call it my struggle to let go of control.

That's the funny thing about magicians.  They put on a show, the audience is awed, and whether or not the audience knows how it was done, they know it's not real.  Everyone knows it's not real.  The magician knows it's not real.  But in that moment of being stunning, the magician has things under control.

Most of the time.

What happens when things slip up?  When the latch is not caught, when the ropes are untied, when the rabbit falls asleep?  What happens from there?  What happens when the distractions stop working and everyone can't help but stare at the unravelling secrets?

I ask myself that tonight.
A recent situation is most definitely out of my control, and I can do nothing but pray, and pray fervently.  It hurt my heart and revealed wounds I've either ignored or told myself it was healed.  It happened and it broke me and it shot me into fear, and I don't want to be scared, but I have no control.  I don't know what will happen next, but what is happening is frightful and sorrowful and messy--

Do you know what was my first reaction when it happened?  My first reaction was to clean out my purse and find my organizer.  I threw out receipts and junk and wrote my work schedule for this week.  I made up deadlines for unimportant projects and calculated my budget for the next two weeks.  And my hands shook as I wrote.  And then I dropped everything, dashed into a warm shower, scrubbed my skin and scalp vigorously... and then I cried.  I cried until I was gasping for air.

I am weak.
But He is strong.

There's no such thing as magic.  It's all make believe.  It's fake, it's a trick, it's a lie.  Maybe a white lie, but it's all a lie.  A cover up.  A big, huge, distraction.
All this mumbo jumbo of doing things and putting things into systems and having people think you've got it under control - they're all just covering up the fact that nothing is under control.

I don't need another magic trick.  I do need a miracle.
A miracle: impossible outside of human capabilities, requiring the divine intervention of a powerful God, who is most gracious enough to come beside my weakness and be perfectly strong for me.
A miracle: meaning there is nothing I do except believe with an unshakable faith that my God will come through for me, however He shall, whenever He shall.
A miracle: I control nothing.  I trust Him with everything.

And yes, everyone's eyes are still on me.  Everyone's eyes are on this crazy unravelling situation.  Can't help that people are people, and they watch and they observe, and they criticize to one degree or another.
Good.  Let them watch.
Let them see that I am incapable, that I have nothing to show, that there is nothing but my heart on my sleeves.
And let them see God come through for me.  They don't need a distraction, they just need to see Him, and see that He's got it under control.

I say- let me see it for myself!  Give me eyes of faith!  True faith, complete trust, unquestioned surrender.  I want to see God come through for me.  I want to see Him, I want to see that He has it all under control - because He does, and He is, and He is present, and He is forgiving.
No more magic tricks.  Just miracles.
Just a God of grace.
Just the full truth.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

- Psalm 73.21-26


ps.  cut me some slack.  you know i wasn't referring to dark magic.

currently listening: "Satisfied by God" (again and again). by Jason Upton

Monday, August 13, 2012

virtue, integrity.

I want to be a person of integrity.  
Whatever the outcome of this season is, whether joy or sorrow, I want to look back at these moments and know that I was a woman of virtue; that my words spoken were out of the heart of God, that my refrain was the wisdom of silence.
I want to know that I handled every situation rightfully, that there has never been a reason to be secretive, or with vice, or with bitterness.
I want to look back at these times and know that I held His character, and grew in maturity.

So help me God!
So help me to live!

Those are the things I desire, the things I long for in my life right now.  I face these testings, these trials, these situations. I face people who are like chisels to my cold, offended heart; I face people who are like spring water to my soul.  And I remind myself to be that woman of virtue, to hold my cool, to hold back my words, to exercise wisdom.  then my self argues and my weakness sets in...

See, for every high hope that I set, I have at least once felt hopeless,
Every period of waiting that I endured, I have at least twice lost patience.
Every sincere attempt to be fully trusting, I have at least thrice panicked in fear.
At least.
I don't particularly want to remember these things.

But I recall the words of the Apostle Paul:

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
I only know that in every city, the Holy Spirit warns me that prisons and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and compete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
 - Acts 20.22-24

More than knowing that I was one of virtue and integrity,
I want to be known as one to whom the great grace of God has been bestowed.
I want to be known as one who cannot, who is not, who could not,
apart from the divine hand of mercy and Love.

Ah, that I could claim virtue and integrity only because 
His heart is a furnace that burns and provokes me, and 
His presence is a weight that pushes and steadies me, and
His eyes see me and they know me and I am never out of His grasp, and He has loved me and pursued me and wrecked me and destroyed me and built me again.

Essentially, it has been His kindness that has led me to repentance, and in repentance and grace, I grow in character.
So help me, God.
So help me to live.
So help me to consider my life nothing,
to always testify to grace.


currently reading: Jane Austen, Persuasion
currently listening to: Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans, "Size Too Small" (For some reason, it's brought me to tears lately), 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

when memories vanish.

It surprises me that the last time I've posted was one month ago.  When did time sneak from my line of sight?  But, while it does feel like time moved too swiftly, the abundance of drastic transitions and life-altering changes within the past weeks makes it appear that time moved too slow.  

Unfortunately for me, I cannot recount these memories accurately, since my dailies blog,, got completely deleted.  That was nearly three YEARS of memories, thoughts, aspirations, honest attempts, and collections of inspirations.  And yet, with all the other things that had been happening around me (tragic endings, welcomed beginnings), this technological glitch became my opportunity for a fresh start too.  

I have a habit of looking back.  In many ways, doing so keeps me grateful, knowing that I am not the same person as I was before.  But sometimes, it makes me regretful, makes me cringe; sometimes it makes me even wish for former days.  Call it the perfectionist in me that needs to be thrown back onto the potter's wheel- I keep comparing myself to- myself.  And I can't keep looking back.

Thinking about the blog, it felt like a restless search for God's ultimate purpose in practically walking out my life.  Lots of trial, mostly error, and attempting to stay calm.  Sure, the trial and error will probably happen for the rest of my life - but what would need to change is my level of faith, seriously trusting that where He is leading me is good.

Last night, this was my meditation:

Find out what pleases the LORD.
Ephesians 5.

That blog of memories was a search of purpose, but was I really searching for what pleases Him?  Was I fully trusting Him? Perhaps that's why it was so restless, so diverted.  Maybe it wasn't a search for Him as much as it was a statement of myself.  That's a hard confession of pride, when you get to the skeleton of it all.  The memories I collected were plastered on a shaky frame.  It had to collapse eventually.

I'm going to kickstart it again soon enough, preserving memories, again; constantly reminding myself to find out what pleases the Lord.


currently listening to: Michael Kiwanuka
currently watching: re-runs of Monk

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

on love and money

And now, I will speak a little more practically.  I wrote this at a time that I was struggling financially, due to situations that are out of my control.  But it's those financial situations - the ones that are OUT of our control - that prove to your heart WHO is really in control.  In the moments of worry, I was reminded of God's faithfulness to my heart, faithfulness to my family.  How am I easily forgetful?  (I blame my humanity, but that is a sorry excuse.) I had to go back to the basics: I do what makes my heart fully in love.


Why is it that money is such an issue when it comes to doing the thing that you love?  I think because money is such a driving factor - it can easily rival against God for our hearts' allegiance, without us realizing it.  It's almost as though money is not just mere currency for materials, but currency for life, for sustenance.  That's pathetic when you think about it.  So.Pathetic.  But, it's also the reason why money is an issue when doing what you love.  Will money or love be the currency for existence?  Do you survive because you have things, or do you survive because you are in love?

I want to survive because I am in Love.

Everything in this life is temporary.  I can't make a claim to anything on this earth - not materials, not sustenance.. not even relationships.  No, not even the husband I marry or the children I bear, I cannot call them mine.  Their lives aren't mine, I don't decide the circumstances in their lives or their durations or their choices.  Nothing belongs to me, I am only to be a wise steward of the things I have.  I am to treat all things - especially people - with gratitude and kindness, for they are all blessings from the hand of Abba.

It's the unseen things that remain.  Money disappears.  Love always remains. I will not let money steward my love, I will let love steward my money.  Love brings forth better wisdom than money.  Money typically brings forth fear.  Fear in between money and love?  what a bad combination.

All those thoughts to say, money is still an issue for me.  I work a low paying job.  I make art.  But I find ways to be wise about controlling my money, from saving my tips, putting things into my savings account, and giving my tithes (because God is deserving).  I scrape by, but nonetheless, I get by.  And sometimes I forget that I am scraping by, because I am doing what I love.

I will keep telling this til my dying day:
Yes, I am doing my ideal job, but it's not the dream of my heart.  The dream of my heart is to love God fully and to live a life that glorifies Him.  THAT is my dream.  My occupation is simply my ministry.  So if I make close to nothing financially, my dream is not affected.  If I climb this business ladder and succeed by worldly standards, my dream is not affected.  At the end of my life, when I stand before God, I will have known that I lived the dream life.  And my heart was fully in love.

But Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6.6-7


originally posted here.  revised for this blog.
currently watching: the world barista championship.  i'm serious.
currently listening: bill evans
currently reading: 2 Timothy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

on the reality of small, great prayers

many things all at once.  transformation all at once.  prayers for a sustained transformation.


Faith is (truly) as small and great as a seed.  
Sometimes, whenever people pray prayers that invite the Spirit's full work (that is to say, requests such as transformation, freedom, Christ-likeness), there's a sneaky deception that taunts the day after, the week after, the month after - whether or not it was real.

"I prayed for freedom from _____."
"I prayed for more of (this virtue)."
"I asked God to transform (this area of my life)."
"Was it real?  I prayed a five-second prayer.  Is that enough?"
"I find myself still fighting temptations, I find myself still struggling with the same areas."

And then we fall into this belief that maybe we prayed these things out of emotional hype, or out of pressure from surrounding supporters.. or maybe we weren't sincere enough, repentant enough...
And there's that deception without a universal answer, that maybe God "doesn't" want us healed/ set free/ delivered.

It's hard to believe that a small prayer was enough.
There has to be more! We say in our minds.
But that, my friend, becomes work-based.  And it fuels the lie that His grace isn't enough, and that we've got to earn it:
Earn our healing, earn our freedom, earn our deliverance.

No- not at all.  The prayer that was fully honest, the prayer that was fully meaningful (repentant, desiring), those prayers are wholly present before the throne.  All prayers are present before the throne.  And His watchful eyes see everything, down to the measure of sincerity.

When you accepted Christ as Savior - was that prayer not enough?  Salvation is an act of receiving.  Salvation is an act of faith.  So small, so magnificent.  But until the end of our mortal life, we will constantly work out that salvation (Philippians 2.12).  Similarly, our prayers, however simple or grand, when said in complete faith, requires us to work out our transformation, work out our virtues.  Again, this is not a "work to earn," but rather a "work to pursue."

This freedom is so real!  But it now becomes your choice to actively pursue it.  Choose to embrace your identity in Christ.  Choose not to be affected by the words of others.  Choose not to let your thoughts dwell on the past or presuppositions.  Simple choices to say "no" to temptation, and "yes" to the glory of the Son.  These heart choices will steer your mindset, your words, your will.  And then you will see that transformation.

Will you see the results of simple prayers instantly?  Maybe.  Sometimes.  Instantaneousness is quite rare, but possible.  Nevertheless, accompanied by your choice and will to work out your salvation, you will see results eventually.

Consider a seed.  How silently it grows!  How quietly its roots make home in the soil, extending to great depths, soaking what water and nutrients it can.  Consider how quietly it sprouts by morning; how easily a blade comes forth from the ground.  How gently one leaf, two leaves, and soon its true leaves come forth.  And in time, a lovely, fragrant floret blooms in radiance, gracing the earth with a beauty only a Divine Creator could make.

Beloved, it is true with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.  You have asked Him to plant Himself in the dark places of your heart, and you must trust that He is working in and through you, no matter how gradual the process, no matter how silent His affirmations.  In time, you will find the fruit of the Spirit borne in your life.  You will see how winsome is this garden that has enclosed you with Him.  You will see how actual and how true was that childlike prayer you prayed that while ago, the prayer you wondered if it was real, if He heard you, if it was more than emotion.

It is your choice to pursue it, to work the ground in your heart, to care for this gift, to be a steward of your blessings.
But in the waiting to see tangible results, remind yourself that those prayers of transformation are real.  Very, absolutely real.


currently listening: a variety of John Coltrane
currently reading: excerpts by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, June 4, 2012

a heart at peace

I prayed for peace.

I did not ask for solutions, or strategies, or understanding, or good reasons.

I prayed for peace.

Because if my heart is not at peace, I will not listen.
God could tell me a gentle word, and I would shy away from His kindness.
God could tell me a rebuke, and I would cower in my unworthiness.
God could open a door, and I would reason why it is not mine to walk through.
God could close a door, and I would pry it open.

So I did not ask for a word, or an opportunity, or a confirmation.

I prayed for peace.

And with all the uncertainties in life, and the uncertainties of His plans and actions, 
there is one thing I have found certain:
that when I ask for peace, He gives it, 
and He gives it swiftly, He gives it willingly, He gives it lovingly.

He has given me peace.


But then, after He had given me peace,
some of the unthinkable situations happened.  
Encircling me were droves of situations that were out of my control,
situations that were results of my mistakes,
situations that could easily deceive my swollen heart.

He has given me peace.
I reminded myself of this truth.

This did not mean that I responded with shrugs, with a matter-of-factly grin, with insensitivity.  
No; for sorrow still visited me.  Joy still accompanied me.  Zealotry still devoured me.
Love had laid hold of me.

And He has given me peace.

When sorrow befell me, my peace was in trusting His intentions.
When joy overtook me, my peace was in sharing His pleasure.
When zealotry propelled me, my peace was in His victory.
When Love had laid hold of me, I laid hold of it, and my peace was in His unity.

Yet throughout, I had to remind myself:
Peace is possible.
He has given me peace.


And now, with a soul that is rested, a mind reposed, it suddenly came upon my spirit.  God told me: now is the time to ask.

Oh the repercussions of a heart at peace that asks of God, what will You have me do?
I suspect He will take advantage of this.
And I must ready myself for a great shift.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
- Exodus 14.14


currently listening: "Pledge" by Misty Edwards, Immersed
currently reading: The Sympathy of Christ, Octavius Winslow

Sunday, May 20, 2012

on being forgiven

I cringe when I look at some things in my past- but shouldn't we all? As painful as it can be to look back, it's also comforting, when you recognize that you've grown out of old mistakes and mentalities and changed for the better. It makes me hopeful of my life lately- knowing all things will be made beautiful in His time.
I wrote that a few weeks ago.  I'm rather fond of looking back, even though I probably do it more often than I should.  I read dreams, I read journal entries, I read letters.
Tonight, I looked back, and it didn't make me cringe... It made me cry.

I want so badly to throw myself at the feet at a number of people and mourn out my pitiful sorry.  I cannot believe how hurtful I can be.  I cannot believe how many friendships I ruined.  I cannot believe this was all in my capabilities, and I let it happen.  The ache is choking me.

I am full of shame.  It makes me fearful of trusting again, of building relationships again, of becoming vulnerable again.  Sometimes that statement comes from a fear of not getting hurt - other times, like tonight, it's the fear of hurting others.  Like a once-human beast who has locked herself in a tower, for fear of eating alive the last ones she's loved (in all her faulty definition and understanding of the delicate word). 

As I wallowed in regret, I had to ask myself: what would I do if I were forgiven?

I think there's a place in the human soul that shrinks like a naked mole rat at the first feel of light; that place in the coldest, quietest cranny of the heart that shrieks at the nearness of forgiveness.  It's the place where my flesh wishes to hide behind my spirit, and cannot understand the reality of Love,

that genuine, pure Love willingly forgoes the pain that I have inflicted- and It pursues me.  And It finds me.  And It forgives me.  And for some unknown reason to my rational mind, It desires me - despite the filth that shames me, besides the harm I am capable of.

I cringe when I look back at some things in my past, because my flesh is dying, and my spirit cries out to be Loved.  Really Loved.

And perfect Love casts out all fear.

Before I throw myself at the feet of those I have wounded, I throw myself at the foot of the Beautiful Cross.  His Blood, His Love covers a multitude of sins.

My Beloved Savior, that You would come with Your perfect Love and cast out all fear and shame in me, that You would teach me to accept forgiveness, and live out of forgiveness.  All these human interactions - I cannot do it without first being Loved by You...

Above all, love each other deeply.  For Love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4.8



currently listening: "Great and Marvelous" by Yvonne Reyes, Worthy of It All

Sunday, May 6, 2012

on assuming the best

I've spent a lifetime in disappointment.  Being a disappointment, being disappointed. 
Yearly, a certain situation would repeat itself with different faces, and with each hurtful word or hurtful silence, I've built a wall and stepped back.. built another wall and stepped back.  Eventually I found myself at the edge of the cliff of trust with no option but to fall (or fly? ...I had no hope for this miracle).  With night quickly filling the sky, I spent time staring at the eagerly rising moon. Praying, Pondering.

I thought of the walls behind me.  I thought of the cliff before me.  And I had many questions.  Do these things happen because I cause them?  Because all people are untrustworthy?  Because as is His mysterious nature, God willed this? 

Eventually I stopped all questions... except one request: to have peace.
And that one request was quickly met with all the Love of Abba.. "Yes, child, I am Your peace, and I have always been here."  And He sat beside me.. and He talked to me.


I'm learning that (specifically when relating to other believers) I need to assume the best out of people: assume that their intentions are good, assume that their thoughts towards me are for my best, assume they mean no harm.  I'm learning to trust God's work in others: trust that they hear from God; trust that when they say nothing, their silence is God-ordained; trust that when they speak, their words are what God asked them to say.  

I told this revelation to my sister.. she said so kindly with sadness in her voice: "Oh Kat," she sighed. "You're going to be so disappointed..." "I know," I said.  "I know full well."

True.  I know the pain of loving and forgiving and emptiness and sadness.  

Then what difficult lessons these must be!  The continuous expectation that people's thoughts towards me are good- this WILL disappoint my soul.  For are we not human?  Do we not err?  Am I not also subject to the poison of ill-nature and working out my salvation?  I, myself, am in desperate need of mercy for my own imperfections!

However, in assuming the best from people, I leave more than just a margin of grace to let God do as He wills in their lives.  I need to trust that they are on their own journey in discovering God, in discovering how to Love.  I need to forgive.  I need to remember that no one loves as perfectly as God.

So, in the life repetition of trusting, betrayal, and peace, I cannot let myself form relationships with a looming fear of mortality, a fear of failure.  And it reminds me that the fear must have stemmed from not letting my spirit be satisfied by His Love. His love always satisfies, His love always fills.  I must draw from the deep wells of the heart of God.  The verse "we love because He first Loved us" resonates in my soul.  To love anyone will always require Love from God; any other effort will leave one burnt out, dried out, exhausted.

never have we been promised:
"love and you will be loved"
"love and you shall receive"
"love and you will be happy"
"love and you shall be satisfied,"

it will be a while, but soon enough, we'll realize in the core of our souls, that love never promises anything except that we will feel. for as often as we love, so often we hurt. and as often as we give, so often we lose. but even amidst loss and sacrifice and pain, we love because we choose, we love because we are compelled. and as often as we are compelled, so often we know joy. and as often as we purpose, so often we have peace.

but most of all, as often as we encounter Love, so often we encounter God.
and as often as we encounter God, so often we feel loved.

 - Knowing, August 1, 2009



currently listening: "Never Gonna Leave Me Dry," Cory Asbury, OneThing 2011

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

psalm 130

The simple cry of my heart before the throne this tired evening.


What shall I do in the waiting?
Shall I sit or shall I rise?
I do not want to be idle,
I do not want to be lacking,
I do not want to be found sleeping.

And let not my heart be deceived by Your distance
Guard my heart from the lies that (You are not for me) or (I am forgotten).
Only let me love You more!

What shall I do in the waiting?
Remember You.
Remember the taste of honey upon my bitter lips
Remember the warmth of peace beside my weeping soul
Remember the sound of Life, words of Life;
Melodies of the sweetest kind.

In the waiting, I return to Your words, I return to Your promises..
Remove the anxiety within me,
Only let me love You more!

Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD;
O LORD, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O LORD, who could stand?
But with You, there is forgiveness, therefore You are feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His Word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the LORD,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

More than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with Him is full redemption.
He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

-Psalm 130.


Thursday, April 26, 2012


hope deferred makes the heart sick.
it's easy to remember that, because it's easily identifiable.
we all know what it feels like to have a heart in pain.

Jesus, there are so many longings of my heart, and I'm only asking for one of them to be fulfilled - I don't care which one - I just need a tree of life right now... I just need my heart restored.

currently listening: rachel culver, "so faithful, so kind."  this song has been on my heart in the same breath with "if you want me to."

chords and lyrics found here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

the struggle

I may not know the extent of anyone's struggle, but I do understand "the struggle."
And I am suddenly reminded of Jacob wrestling with God.
Wrestling in the cold, dark hours of the night,  
Wrestling against One, Who's face he could not see,
Wrestling tirelessly, only to have his hip dislocated, likely in severe pain,
And yet he wrestled on.  He wrestled til the dawn.  

Beloved, your struggle may be long, miserable, and sore; maybe it is already daybreak for you, and now the issue is the limp from a 'dislocated hip.'  Whatever the struggle, let your grief keep you in prayer. Mourn if you must, be emotional if you must, but let every overwhelming burst in your soul take you to the throne of grace.  There is nowhere lonelier than apart from His presence - if you must weep, weep at His feet.  If you must question, ask Him.  If you must wrestle, wrestle with God.  Jacob fought not only with physical strength, but he fought in his heart.  And at the end, still demanded of this Man: Bless me!  O, that throughout our struggle, we would still demand, "Show me Your face!  Teach me Your ways!  Save my tears!  Strengthen my heart!  Help my unbelief!"

Mourning always comes.  Morning always comes.  And blessed is the one who is faithful to the end!
At the end of the tiresome conflict, Jacob was newly identified; no longer would he be Jacob, "The Deceiver."
Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
- Genesis 32:28

Ah! The promise that Jesus Christ Himself gave!

In this world, you will have trouble.  But TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world!
- John 16:33

I remember the prayer of Jabez, who was named because he was borne in pain:
Jabez called upon the God of ISRAEL, saying, “Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
- I Chronicles 4:10
The struggle may be aching, it may be confusing, it may be lonely; the words and promises of man are brittle.  But CHRIST is constant; He is a rock, He is unchanging, His promises to "never leave" are as true today as they were yesterday.

He understands the struggle.  He knows the hurt.  Therefore, He knows how best to love us.
Compassion = "to suffer with."

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.
- Hebrews 5:7

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
- Isaiah 25:8-9

Endure the struggle, Beloved.
Stay in the presence of God.
Weep if you must.

And wait on the LORD.
Be strong, take heart,
And wait on the LORD. (ps 27.14)


many hearts for whom this was written.  but also, much love and prayers of peace and comfort for the family of DM - he rests in the arms of God..

Friday, April 20, 2012

small blog update

i decided to give the blog a facelift.  it was about time, and it definitely needed to look a lot brighter than it has.  i'm (obviously) still parked at, though the "title" changed from "His Love goes above and beyond" to "and Love never fails."  quite honestly, both titles were aesthetic choices that still summed nicely.  also, ever wonder where my url name came from?  Read about it here!

since you're already reading, here is a verse (and song) that was stuck in my head all morning:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- Lamentations 3:22-23


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

if you want me to

This is a classic favorite of mine, and through the past few difficult weeks, it has carried my heart into arms of hope.  Music in itself is powerful, but when coupled with honest lyrics has the capability of healing - this song has gripped me, wounded my flesh, and soothed my spirit.  I trust You, Jesus. You have never once left my heart alone.


If You Want Me To
by Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

No I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will walk through the darkness
If You want me to

Cause when I cross over Jordan, I'm gonna sing, gonna shout
Gonna look into your eyes and see you never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to You
And I will walk through the valley
If You want me to


Saturday, March 31, 2012

God doesn't owe me anything

Shortly after posting Next Steps, I sat in heavy thought.  For these past few years I told myself that "God doesn't owe me anything."  And here is why. 


Regardless of how much I do, or give, or pour out, or sacrifice, God doesn't owe me anything.  I can't stand before God and say, "I did (all these things), so.. You pretty much owe me one."  No one can finish a great fast or fulfill a great vow, in the name of God, and at the end, demand we get what we want.  That's called manipulation.  How foolish!  How foolish to think that it is possible to manipulate the Most High God!  Sure I can do all these things, but God doesn't owe me anything.

Plus- even if He did, I wouldn't get much in return.  Are we playing evens?  Okay.  Then what do I know about giving?  What do I know about giving Love?  Do I even understand Love?  LOVE?  In all its vastness and facets and depths and heights?  Do I understand the fullness of Love?  I don't.  At least, not in its entirety.  My giving, my loving, they are all flawed.  I could give to the best of me, but even the best is not perfect, and in this life, it never will be.  I give poorly.  So what would God owe me?   

It's mind-boggling.  (Am I expressing myself alright?)
It seriously blows my logic.
God doesn't owe me anything.

And yet- Beloved, YET-

Despite whoever I am and whatever I give and don't give, despite the fact that He is not tied to obey any demand I present before Him, despite my frail and sincere attempts to be and do and exist and operate-

He gives MORE and ABOVE and BEYOND all that we ask or imagine. 

This, Beloved, is GRACE.

God doesn't owe me anything, but OH how He gives so freely, because He loves without condition!  He does not love me on account of who I am -present, past, and/or future.  He does not love me based on the things I do, however pure, impure, tainted, sincere, intentional, subconscious.  He does not love me because of who I am, He loves me because of who HE IS.

God doesn't owe me anything, just because I've given Him time, energy, abilities, materials, or attention.  He gives to me because He is good.  He gives to me because He is a good Father -ABBA.  He gives to me as a Father because His delight is in me, He is pleased with me, He enjoys me!

And absolutely: He relishes in the moments when I, out of my free will, choose to give and Love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; when I choose not to let the realization of the faults of my flesh and self discourage my giving; when I recognize that I am weak but He is strong, and just because I am weak, does not make me un-accepted.  He loves the moments when I know I am accepted, desired, and loved.  Fault and all.  Good intention, or no intention.

God doesn't owe me anything.
In fact, perhaps I owe Him...

But oh! He delights when I am motivated by Love more than duty; and when I am called to duty, I obey because I Love Him.

He takes these parts of my life and remembers my faithfulness to Him, and He brings to my memory that I love because He loves first.  I give because He gave first.  I am faithful because He is faithful to me.  And when I am faithless, He remains faithful.  And when I am selfish and greedy, He still gives.  And when I turn my face away from Him, He still loves.  He is the First, the Last, the Author, the Finisher.

He is a grace I will never fully understand.
And He loves me.
But He doesn't owe me anything.


currently listening: "Running in Circles" by United Pursuit Band

Monday, March 26, 2012

next steps

(c) puresunday

oh.  what to do with myself.
Here's the backstory.

A few weeks ago, I finished what would be two years which I chose to consecrate to the LORD.  There were specific things I chose to abstain from in order to set myself apart, and to devote that heart space wholly and holy to the LORD (Side note: It wasn't until after I finished the two years that I realized it was practically a Nazarite vow, complete with the growing/not-cutting of my hair). After it finished, I was at this strange place of - I don't know what to do with myself.

It's not that God owes me anything.  That's something I've told myself this whole time.  No, God doesn't owe me anything just because I gave Him this time.  God doesn't owe me anything ever.  He's just so overwhelmingly gracious.  In fact, I was at a place of resolution- maybe He shouldn't give me anything.

The solitary lifestyle of prayer and worship had wound so tightly around me, that I both jokingly and honestly considered nunnery!  After all, their lives are devoted to prayer, worship, mercy, simplicity, modesty... all the things I love.  Then I can come out of my cave to tend to garden.  Perfect.
Everyone hates that idea.  Especially my parents.  Rightfully so.  My dad finds the most non-sensical opportunities to say "And it says in the Bible, 'Be fruitful and multiply!'" ~don't get me wrong! This is not about relationships.  What I'm saying is, my desire to live an outwardly consecrated life had overridden the desire for a variety of things, from a family of my own, to the "minor" things like careers and dreams.

Or so I told myself.

In fact, once the vow ended, in my mind I got technical and said, "Actually, because of [this or that event] the consecration actually ends in June.  or August."  Well.  That shouldn't be a factor, because if God were urged by time, my consecration (technically) has been going on for four years.  It's also very easy for me to volunteer to extend my vow of consecration.  Volunteer to make the consecration a little bit more intense.  Give up a little more.  A lot more. maybe.

But then the LORD told me....

"Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain."
- Exodus 20.27

My heart was exposed.  It IS exposed.

If I'm being honest with myself, my next step is not to continue a consecration of outer things to force my heart in line with Him.  I could do that, and there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not my real "desire," and the motives are not pure.  It's my excuse to not take a step forward.  It's fear of the unknown.  It's my lack of trust.

As I looked at next steps, I've been coming up with ideas of places that would hide me from trusting, hide me from the potential of getting hurt, hide me from people.  I often struggle with the purpose of community.  I hid behind my relationship with God... when all this time, I've been using it as my excuse to not reach out and even let myself be reached.

So what do I do with myself?

For one thing, regardless of whether or not I take part in these external things, I don't want my heart position to change.  This has always been my real desire - to keep myself consecrated to the LORD.  I still want to be as devoted to prayer and worship and Bible study.  I still want to be at a place of willingness to sacrifice.  I still want to live a life that is set apart as holy to the LORD.  If He brings situations and open doors my way, I will trust Him and walk through it in faith.

All these things are doable with or without the vow.  But initially, I did it as an outward declaration of abandonment to Jesus.

The point of this post is not to disregard Nazarite vows or fasting, because I am still a great advocate of it (When the LORD gives the OK, I will talk about what He taught me).  All I'm saying is that we can't do things, or declare to do things "in God's name" just to make something right when we know that we ordained it, and He didn't.  We can't tack on the words "God said," when God didn't really say.

However, we can be sure of at least one thing He did say: "Trust me."

Jesus, my heart is Yours.  Come feast or famine, plenty or want, I adore You, and there is none before You.  I trust You, Jesus, You always know what is best for me.


ps- that photo on the top was taken two years ago. fitting.

currently listening: Lisa Gottshall "All Is for Your Glory"
currently watching: The Prince of Egypt
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