Surprise!

I love surprises; I really do. I tell waitstaff sometimes to just bring me whatever- to surprise me…. sometimes they do, but most of the time they are reticent.
I guess I would be, too. It is odd, though, after I have assured them that either option is fine, and I won’t get mad, that they still refuse. It’s such a kill joy. I used to wonder if my “inability” to make certain decisions was seriously indecisiveness, or lack of will. The desire to be surprised is strong with this one.

I will find myself daydreaming that my friends are creating some sort of party or such, when they happen to asked pointedly about my plans for the next day, or the weekend. Mild paranoia marked some of my childhood all the way into the college years…I now see that I was on the lookout for something extraordinary, built upon secrets.

I visited my grandmother this weekend. It almost rained. It NEVER rains on her land (maybe once every ¬†2 years there’s a good rain. Mostly it’s just sprinkles.). As I wandered around in the cool air, praying for the clouds to join forces and blow in our direction, I wondered at my grandmother’s refusal to hope, her fear.
I thought about what in that has been passed down. I push against fear and doubt when I can see or feel it clearly, but it is still allowed at times- like when I have beat at the sky, demanding for God to reveal my path- show me what you want from me! Show me the next step, so I can start moving that direction!
As the tiny sprinkles polka-dotted the red dirt, God opened my mind- I love surprises! I can rest knowing God wants to surprise me! He wants to be the recipient of my complete joy, when I am taken back by his provision and planning ūüôā ….Even when the things that aren’t pleasant, or downright bad come along, I know I can rest because He has SEEN and SAID YES TO everything that comes my way, as his child.
I’ve still been praying for my future, but those prayers have a different color and shape as of late.
Fear shackles us from the joy and excitement of surprises.
The unexpected and unplanned for scares my grandmother, therefore she worries. About everything. When I left, she thanked me for coming, and mentioned that it helped get her mind off things she was worried about!
Fear shackles us from hope and rest.
When Harvey had not yet hit, and I knew all my immediate family were for sure staying put in Corpus, I had a thought that they could all die. And my spirit mulled that over with God for about a minute…”so I would be orphaned and alone…” [God] “not orphaned OR alone.” [me]”okay.” peace.
“Therefore, since we have been justified though faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, ¬†because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

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Where I’m at today; there’s no good title for this

James 1:17 : “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
God gave himself, and continues to give of himself- he is the perfect and good gift, and all he has to offer us from his hand is good and perfect. ¬†All authority and power to turn from evil and untruth, and walk the way he intended, are available to us (2 Corith.10:7-8,1 Peter 1:3- and following; all of 1 John). All the characteristics of Himself are ours to be ¬†(Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Corinth.1:4-9, 3:16, Gal. 5:22). He humbled himself to becoming like us, so we could be like him, and he continues to humble himself and dwell with us, getting close to all that is wrong in this world by Holy Spirit-ing with us. Long suffering is our perfect Father. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of looking at him as a Father, when there were all these other attributes *I thought* were getting missed.

The salvation that God offers, I’ve been able to understand most deeply as I’ve wandered and settled in the spot of actually looking at what good parenting is (at least what we know of good parenting- thanks Boundaries with Kids¬†by¬†Cloud and Townsend). As I’ve risked talking to God as I would have talked/ have wanted to talk to my mom and dad. I now know I can just be repetitive in what ¬†I bring to him, that he is long -suffering! Last night ¬†I just cried, wanting God to come. “Can’t you just bring all your children to you? Send everyone dreams! Give them clear appetite for you! We are doing such a poor job.” Can you imagine this Righteous Being, who demands that evil not be in his presence, longing for and calling for his people, as we continue in hating him and rebelling, and acting out in horrendous ways to each other? ¬†My brain doesn’t fathom it.
Our perfect parent knows when to step in and when to allow consequence. And we, as 4 yo, still slightly ego- centric ones, ¬†rail and can’t look past the next 2 steps, can’t hold the bigger picture. God is patient to speak just the next thing…to just remind us of his promises and truth about his character… “I will guide you. I will hold you. You can trust me.” Watching a 3 yo yesterday gave me this good picture, that He knows the end:

“Mom and Dad always come home.” This specific little one keeps this in mind through all of his play. I gave him the schedule countless times as I held up my fingers- we (1)play, (2) snack, (3) play more, (4) lunch, then (5) mom and dad come home. At one point he didn’t want to play and didn’t want lunch, thinking if he said no to these steps, the last step would come sooner.

We have to do all the steps. I can’t remember all the steps. I might not know all the steps. But I can lean into and learn about my God, I have the capacity to find him and hold onto the horns of the altar, pleading for our life (1 Kings 1:50), pleading the judge(Luke 18:1-8), ¬†waiting for whatever blessing he will give.

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Suffering

::Thoughts about singleness; my back pain::

As I was driving to Joni and Friends Camp, I took a wrong turn and I was worried I’d be late.
Heather driving by herself, mad at herself for taking a wrong turn on a route she’s taken before, and trying to get there on time, results in cycling through crying, praying, taking deep breaths, trying positive self talk, ¬†and not giving a s**** , while still intermittently giving it through the mouth. ¬†[public service announcement: cussing is NOT good and I am actively seeking a different word to say in frustrating moments]
“slow down”
That moment when you know God’s actually weighing in.

I agreed. YES. I need to slow down. No one is going to die if I don’t get to camp right away, to hear the intro for the first day of training ( which I’ve sat through before). There is grace, and if there is any place in the world where you can experience grace, it would be at one of these camps.
I pondered slowing down, and wondered if there was going to be another implication- because God usually does that.
Fast forward to basically the last day of camp–> I hurt my back.
My camper was amazingly understanding, my camper’s parents were amazingly understanding …and hooked me up with some of their drugs! A PT there helped me… everyone was so awesome to offer help and mean it when my car was completely dead (“jumped” to life right away). As ¬†I shuffled around and moved more slowly, His word resonated in me.
I was reminded of the devotional theme of just standing. Watching for the Lord:
Exodus 14:13-14 ¬†“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
2 Samuel 23:11-12 ¬†“When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from then But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.”
Joshua 1:9 ¬†“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified; dont be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

God’s healing, whatever it is and however he decides to bring it, is enough. His portion for us is enough, right and best.
I’m doing PT and not just sitting around waiting for God to just touch my back and make it different. That’s not what I mean when ¬†I say that. But he’s never just concerned about one thing. Everything’s usually connected, and as I’ve figuratively sat in different bouts of agony over being single while laying down in bouts of back pain that doesn’t want to go away even when I take medicine, I am pressed ¬†to seek where my spirituality is tied to needing to slow down.
That’s as far as I’ve come, for now.

 

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Believing I have Value in Someone’s Eyes

I have not been in the best places with God recently. I’ll spare you the details. The main gist of it is, I do not feel his love easily. I do not fully and readily soak in his pleasure about me. When people remind me that God is pleased with me, when we’re talking about my life and they tell me this, it’s ¬†such a welcome balm and tears come to my eyes.
All the same, this knowledge doesn’t stick easily.
SO after doing about a month and a half of not- quite- where- id- like- to – be- with-God, I came across John 16 (specifically vv26-27). Probably would have read it earlier if I had been reading more consistently. But then maybe it wouldn’t have been the best time. eh?

Jesus basically says, you can ask things in my name, and I don’t need to go ask God for you; that’s not the point. God the Father loves you BECAUSE you have believed in and loved me.

That was so freeing to me. Yes, I’m so thankful that before the foundation of the earth was laid, God had us in mind, and while we were sinners, Christ died for us, and that it’s nothing that we DO that warrants salvation. That love is overwhelming and so needed.

There is a basis of love that is present, and never changing. I know this without birthing a child. I do love all children equally.

But I live here, in this world. Let’s face it- there is the parent /child relationship that is more pleased with the child that is obedient, more free and kind and well-wishing and wanting to give good lavishly to the child that has a good connection. ¬†I like certain children more. Not to say I like all the good ones more. I think some of the super good, never getting in trouble kids are pretty boring. I gravitate to the others. So as much as we like to say that we love all our children equally, there is that disconnect. I wish we could fully grasp the depth of true love. Maybe some of us do get there [::ahem, motherteresa::]. Maybe all of you actual parents are shaking your heads at my naivete.
I just like, and can rest in, this reasoning. God’s not leaving it as- I love the world! –well, of course you do. You’re perfect. You cannot NOT love your creation.

I am able to rest in the hug of: you have heard my truth, and you accept it and love it as much as you are able, and. I. love. you. It is implied in these verses that God’s loving is his hearing, and acting. I needed that.

 

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There’s a wave of relief when I “stumble” across truth in God’s word that reminds me I can’t figure God out, but that I can trust the leading and kindness.

Luke 22 [vv 35-38]¬†has Jesus telling the disciples to take money, a bag, and if they have something (I don’t know, like your main piece of clothing that serves as blanket..) to sell and get a sword, to do it. So they actually do have some. He tells them it’s good enough (maybe there will be an insurrection? Maybe he will multiply the amount of swords we need? [luke 9:10-17] Maybe this is what he means, that he will be handed over and die… in battle?[luke 18:31-34]).

Then, after prayer, and deep sorrow, there is betrayal and Jesus doesn’t answer quickly enough to stop the cutting of someone’s ear. But then he chides them–” No more of this!” [vv 48-51]
I don’t know about you, but this confuses and comforts me. We can’t fully follow God’s train of thought. His ways are higher than ours…[isaiah 55:9]. ¬†There have been countless times when I feel I’ve beaten the air towards God, pleading for direction in my mind and he gives none. When I’ve wanted more of God, to just understand and know more, to become more closely in tune, to be able to worship more freely or just have that deeper connection- it’s work. And I’m left with the deeper knowledge only that I can’t connect all the parts, but there’s always that clarity of peace and trust. We never figure out God’s plans and will, I am thinking, but we find a deeper trust and attenuation to the Holy Spirit’s guiding, so that peace and constant trusting movement in God’s will can look like we know more about what he’s about. But it’s only when we come out the other side can we say we know more of his character because he taught us in this way, or that. It doesn’t promise that God will guide in that same way ever again.

I want to hold tightly to this thought, and have it shape my communication with others- that I don’t have answers, save what is found in the Bible, and these answers aren’t going to satisfy our physical, logical appetite in the way we want. We look to be satisfied, but only if it fits. I want to be gently grounded in the peace that it’s ok to have questions. Ok to be dissatisfied but open, seeking,and unbittered ūüėČ by all the things we receive from God and his word that don’t quite fit together YET.

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Thursday morning, I sat in my sunroom with my first cup of good coffee in what felt like a lifetime.

via Love Believes in Second Chances ‚ÄĒ Red Tent Living

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Healing

Sunday (last sunday), God spoke healing over me. It was unexpected, un-looked for, and (I thought) unneeded.

I’d been healed already in this place of my heart, where relationships are supposed to happen. Yet the connections between heart and mind with the interplay of reality and fantasy….very much not healed. Masquerading as health.
Ten years ago I tangled myself up in lies that ¬†I was unwanted, I should just take what ¬†I can get from the person that was using me and allow myself to be used. I’m guessing I could go back further, to the night in my driveway when I was 15? 16? and in anguish that I am embarrassed to admit, told God I would stay single if he wanted me to. I desperately hoped that it wouldn’t be the case. Fast forward through no dating life, and mid -college facing a sorrow of a friend lost somehow drove me to agree to the only love I thought I’d get.

Emotional whoring, while reaching and hoping for something normal, solidified for me the lie that I wasn’t worth ¬†someone’s true commitment and love. I was just meant to be expended and used for others’ needs and devices.
I was trapped and reaching for something else. I was trapped by one, and I was trapping myself. Hoping for a relationship, hoping for someone to fight hard enough to prove their love. Real love. Not something that was only for their gain.

The understanding of how relationships worked was built in this framework, and subsequently lived out over these last 10 years, although I didn’t recognize it. I went through counseling, journeys through my past, prayers and moments of healing that were huge at the time. Are huge. I don’t discount that. But I didn’t have enough …something… to search deeper. Or maybe I wasn’t supposed to. ¬†There was still the holding on to one, who took (because I now offered freely), and didn’t ¬†give. And still I looked about, hoping to be saved from myself, from the only way of relating that I understood.
I have blamed others,myself, God;  I have blindly continued in places that  I thought was healthy. Dear God, please undo any and all damage I have done to others in my ignorance.

But.
God doesnt leave us where we are. And at the right time, he has opened my mind to this time of change. It’s now, when I will be free. I have no idea what to expect, just that it is from a ¬† ¬† ¬†GOOD.
FATHER.
He freed me from masturbation. Something I had come to despair would never leave. Prayers and wishing and trying and scripture just hadn’t worked well. My own fighting had not worked. I asked – Change my mind.That’s all I could ever do. But I finally did it as a last resort. Speaking my desire that is rooted in his kingdom of freedom, but having no strength of my own. I needed Jehovah Sabaoth, my One True Resort.
Over 2 days my mind was opened to my lack and incorrect ways, and on the 3rd day he spoke over my land “married” and promised that I would be healed. I believe him. I am unable to do any of it! There is no thing in my arsenal that I can utilize to help this along. ¬†Further and further into truth ¬†I sink, knowing that I can’t think it up and can’t wield it well. I’m at God’s mercy, to lead and guide in each moment and make me into what he’s intended all along.

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Weeping in the Mountains

Jephthah was asked to lead the Israelites against some dudes that were trying to take back the area. These people were like, you just took our land! Jeph reminded them of the correct history, of the Israelites asking to pass through, the people then said no, also deciding to attack them as they went around their land.

Jeph had a correct handle on the history of God. And God gave him the Spirit, to guide him in the defense that ensued. I’m guessing he made the vow he did while still under the influence of the Spirit- we naturally want to worship when God is near ūüôā
For those that don’t know, this man vows that whatever comes out of his house to greet him when they come back, he will offer as a burnt offering ( an act worship) to God. Burnt offerings were only always animals. Nowhere in God’s law were there people.

Jeph got legalistically strict. His daughter came out first. God logic would have told him, hey, ¬†hug your daughter and thank her for celebrating you, and look for the first animal that comes out. But he gets strict and prideful with himself, putting restraints on that God never intended, that grieve God. In the passage, our Lord is silent. The daughter asks for time of grieving for her virginity. The dude STILL HAD TIME TO THINK ABOUT THIS! To search for God’s heart, ¬†to go ask the priest about God’s law and also be able to speak truth about God to others, as he would explain when his daughter came back, that he was wrong about how to worship God, about what God ¬†really wants from us.
So the daughter obeys, but asks for time of mourning. This time of mourning becomes a ritual for Israel, at least for a time. What a strange remembrance of blind prideful disobedience and blind thoughtful obedience.

It makes me think about the body of Christ today (mostly in America). How thin is our understanding of God? Could we be knowing him differently? Truely? More deeply? But we choose to look at our *own* decisions and what we think is best from our American Christian logic (that is permeated with success and how others view us). We /I don’t slow down to really search out and ask God what he thinks. We/ I think we have to make decisions in a certain time frame. We can’t take another week and just tell the waiting party, I don’t know. I’m still searching.
I’m scared that we/I operate with such a narrow view of God, because the expansiveness of his truth is overwhelming, sometimes outside of our logical reasonings (aka misunderstood), and scarey.
Slow Down.  Pray (which means Listen).

 

 

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Hi

…it’s been a while…
I just have not seemed to have anything to say. My reaction to my life trajectory now has been ok, but I think some of this reaction is toward God, and is a tiny bit upset that it’s all so messy.
Looking down the future, and seeing my waiting for what I’d (think I’d ) really love to do…well. 3 years is hard in my mind. I’m forgetting again that it’s the daily little things that matter. ::pause:: 3 yrs is how long I’ve figured to save to buy a house, so I can foster to adopt. ::unpause::
I’d rather not have all of everyday life matter, honestly. I’d ¬†love for ministry and discipleship to look like a job. Cut and dried times and hours. The free form flow of life seems harder now, and it’s such a weird thing to come from my mouth.

Prayer is crucial. Prayer for
-the close people around me
-this nation/ political issues
-ministries here and overseas that desperately need our prayer attention
-the not so close people around me
-my future, and making daily good decisions, and not just what I want.

So  much is held in those 5 little points; I know many of yall could  attest to that in your own lives.
Distraction and difficulty hearing God (uncertainty on life choices) are 2 themes I have, and that I ¬†hear others have. These past 6 mo have been me trying to slow down and listen. It’s been stupid hard, and I think I need to just not try and figure out why, but push on to listen, and obey.
That’s that:) We never figure out life, we just keep accepting the new moment??
I would like to share this thought- missionary friend Shannon Potter heard it from another in their org- “Adversity is easier to deal with than uncertainty.”

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Something out of Nothing

“Live in peace with each other.¬†And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.¬†Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.¬†Rejoice always,¬†pray continually,¬†give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God‚Äôs will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18

Thanks, ekharrismemoirs. I have been feeling as if my life is a void recently. Not all the time, but enough where it’s a moment at least in every other day or so. ¬†I know what I’m moving towards in life, but I have this deep sense of lack and blah that is scaring me. So I’ve been questioning it- have I missed something, is God disappointed in me because I’ve said no to a great thing he placed before me, and I just blindly walked past? Am I ¬†“settling” (that christian f-bomb)?

This verse my friend posted reminded me. THIS IS God’s purpose for us. Simple. Not easy, because “settling” has to happen in the sense of faithfulness, obedience, and diligence. Those words lived out can feel deadening to me most days. I’ve lived seeking sun-shock and moon fire (Sarah Masen, Fragrance of Pink. I’d post the actual song, but it’s proving laborious. Go find it if you want). That song has been reflecting my soul recently, among others of hers from the same cd. We want the amazing, the visible, the all- consuming passion of something, and we always want it to feel the same. But the ebb and flow of life is a showcase for us to slow down, to be, dare I say, a little common- place and boring at times. The tide goes in and out, the sun isn’t shocking and the moon has no fire of it’s own- it just reflects.
The desire for marriage cycled around hard again; to be known and wanted by one, to see played out (poorly) God’s truth toward me. That’s not a dis to human love, it’s just the truth. We can’t do any relationship perfectly, we don’t know how. My disappointment in what I feel should be mine (I should say “how ¬†I deal with it”) puts me at odds with the truth stated in that passage above. I still fight my self- gratifying focus, my desire to always make sure I feel good first. Thanks, A Lovely Something, for kicking me in the pants today. I needed it.

I am called to be first and foremost simple, unseen, and faithful to showcase God. After that, who knows. May never be grand. Life will always be hard work until I fully rest in my true self.

Can ¬†I take this moment to agree with Paul, that we are legit crazy? What we do, we don’t want to, and what- well, you know. The warring Spirit of Truth and our old self. I think christians end up using more of their brain, because for most of our christian walk, we’re living in this weird holy schizophrenia of sorts.

Thanks, if you stuck around this long, mucking through my brain with me:) Have the day God gave you!

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