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Purpose Amidst Imperfection 

Nestled amidst the sunrise of a fresh week and all the promise it holds is an ever faithful reminder of my inadequacy. I am presently, but peacefully aware that I got more wrong than right last week, and that will surely be my truth this week as well.

My keen sense of insufficiency poses a different purpose for me now, though. Growing in grace teaches me that it is no longer about striving for perfection only to be frustrated, but seeking purpose amidst my imperfection only to be furthered.

 It is an incongruent truth that on the other side of our failures is an intention designed for our prosperity. 

Understanding that falling down is not a shameful thing, but a sacred tool is the genesis of praise. Praise opens the door and welcomes gratitude right into our hearts.

When gratitude is our guest, we see through all the heavy right into the heart of the holy, and joy becomes a source of our strength. 

This week, friend, I pray you have eyes to see and ears to hear all the beauty that your brokenness beholds, and your heart will sing, it is good and it is well with my soul.
You are loved.❤️

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Send Me. Use Me.

 

…meanwhile, Puerto Rico is devastated and may not have electricity for 6 plus months.  They along with residents of the Virgin Islands, Texas, Louisiana and Florida have lost everything.  Recovery and rebuilding could take decades in some areas.

Every two minutes somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted.  Human trafficking is a thriving travesty.  Five to six children die each day as a result of abuse.  America’s numbers of homeless children and adults are in the millions.  Astounding!  Hundreds of school children in my city alone have no food on the weekends.  Every day scores of our people become widowed, terminally ill, addicted, lost, orphaned, homeless, unemployed, hungry and the list goes on.

Anxiety and depression is at an all time high even among our country’s children.  

Pornography is no longer a taboo topic, because it is a common place epidemic ravaging men, women and children.  Yes!  Children.

 Everywhere I turn I am tempted to grab a quick fix, whether it be food, fantasy or Facebook, to numb, deaden or make tolerable the pain all around me. We are a society of self-medicators, myself included.  

I have to look at myself and ask, where am I spending my energy, time and resources?  Am I busy complaining about the problems or contributing to the solutions?  

I reserve the right to protest peacefully, but I also acknowledge that I was ransomed the right to pray personally and that alone can accomplish more than any demonstration.  

I also regard the luxury (yes, it is a privilege afforded to me by many selfless men and women in uniform!) to respectfully disagree, but may I always remember that unless I am putting my concerns into productive action,  I am merely a purposeless reaction void of favorable fruit.

 Here I am Lord.  Send me.  Use me.

 

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Sanctification


Sanctification is my constant companion. She moves me to surrender. She both slays and satisfies me. At times sanctification guts me. She greets and meets with me like a passage in the Psalms, crying out in pain and concluding in praise. Nevertheless, because I know her, and Who she comes from, I am at peace saying to her, It is well with me.

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Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

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Peace

I have been on a mission lately to identify and minimize or eradicate the things in my life that compromise my peace.  When I started putting ink to this stuff, I was surprised just how exhaustive my list is, and I have not unearthed it all yet.  One thing that was at the top of my list is the bad habit  I have perfected of assigning thoughts and feelings to other people.  Not many things steal my peace like this destructive practice.  You know what I am talking about, right?  When a friend does not acknowledge a text or email promptly, I can easily allow my thoughts to sabotage me.  My internal dialogue goes something like this,
“She must be mad at me.” or
“Maybe she didn’t like what I said.”

I have found that the overwhelming majority of the time I. Am. Wrong.

There are hundreds of scenarios like this that vandalize my sanity.  It is plain ridiculous.  When I get honest, though, it is much more about an unwise behavior.  There is a deeper root to the problem.  I want people to be pleased with me.  I want people to like me.  I am a forever recovering people pleaser.  There should be a support group for this kind of thing!  I am no expert but perhaps going even deeper this is about the sinful pride that lurks in my heart that I need to pray for the grace to see and uprooted daily?

In his short, but stirring book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller says this;
“People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can’t be hurt! It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity.  Our feelings are fine. It is my ego that hurts.”  “Walking around does not hurt my toe unless there is already something wrong with it .” Well, a big ‘ole ouch and Amen to that!

When my identity, worth, value, and placidity are rooted in people, I am in trouble.  There will be no peace in my heart.  I continually have to put on the attire of Christ’s atonement that sealed all those things for me at a very high cost.  Otherwise, I am simply not living free in the abundance of my Father, but a prisoner to the perceptions and permission of people.

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When The Pledges Become The Peace

When we know the character of God and have experienced His faithfulness, it gives us the strength to continue standing in times of great fear and pain. 

But sometimes the reality of brokenness penetrates the resolve of belief, and we feel the weight of our residency in a fallen world. 

It is in these times that the word of God is more crucial than ever.  It is only when we place our pain into the context of the promises that we can persevere.  Saints never rejoice for one another’s suffering but we can rejoice amidst it when the pledges of the Savior become the peace of His soldiers.

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The World Says Run, Wisdom Says Rest

Being a whole person can feel like being an overwhelmed person.

Time is two sided. It can be sluggish, and it can be swift. On days when our to-do list, responsibilities, and commitments weigh heavy; time is more elusive than enjoyable.  Remembering and desiring to rest is not indigenous to our culture or our conscience.

Busyness is often our temporary escape, and so we run, and we run until we have nothing left to guide us.

The world does not call us to consider that which we are running from but The Father does.  Pausing long enough to respect the discomfort that dwells within our souls is not considered modern popularity.  It forces us to face the foes that threaten our comfort, but we have a God who offers promises that will turn those scary places into sacred spaces if we will just lean in.

The world says run but wisdom rest.  

May we relax our hustling hands and slow our hasty hearts so that amidst the chaos of our calendars we may find a stillness within ourselves that comes from the peace granted by the Author, not the pace gained from the activity.

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If…

img_0060If
We could all assume the best about each other.
If
We could all believe that people’s intentions are meant for good based on their scope of knowledge.
If
we could all respect and treat people the way we wish to be respected and treated.
If
we could focus more on our commonalities than our differences.
If
we could celebrate life for what it is instead of what it is not.
If
we could all focus on what needs improving in ourselves instead of others.
If…
maybe we could be beacons of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in a dark world.
If
I, if you, if we…
what an impact on this world we might see!

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The Secret Is Christ In Me

fullsizeoutput_57e7Good morning weary friend.  I know the road you are traveling feels lonely, exhausting and at times unbearable.  Sometimes you are so ready for peace and it feels like God is not answering your plea for help.  This week The Lord has been reminding me that often I am more disappointed and disillusioned by the failure of my arrangements than His answers. He is answering, but probably not within the parameters of the controlled, nice, tidy box I frame those answers in.  His plans are so much higher than we can imagine, and silence does not mean absence, but very often action. It is in the reticence of our trials that the resurrection is awakening.  Just remember, not to put that outcome in a box; God does not fit there.  Keep looking up.  Take the next right step and remain faithful.  I love this quote and hope it encourages you this morning:
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.
Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart
You are loved!