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