Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a Limp

My friend Jennifer and I have been a bit obsessed with Joseph and Jacob lately. They were dreamers. We are too. And yet, their path from dream to reality didn’t really go like either one of them had planned. Neither has ours.

Yesterday Jennifer texted me: I keep hearing this: You have been wrestling, but you’re not walking with a limp yet. Time to get alone like Jacob did…

It’s true. The last several months have been spent wrestling God. Wrestling with His word, with His dreams in my heart, with knowing Him more fully. But I’m still walking the same. Maybe not exactly the same, but the changes have been subtle. And frankly, I’m done with subtle.

I want more.

I’m desperate for more.

And in my longing for more of Jesus I keep hearing… wait. Get alone. Fast. Pray. Watch. Seek.

But it’s Christmas! Doesn’t God know that this is the busiest time of the year? There’s decorating and baking to be done. Presents to be purchased and wrapped. Family and friends to visit. I don’t have time for waiting, seeking, and certainly not fasting (seriously? Fasting during Christmas? That’s just crazy!).

And then I am reminded of what this season is supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be about waiting for a Savior. It’s supposed to be about preparing our hearts to receive the King. It’s supposed to be about a light shining in the darkness. It’s supposed to be about Advent.

Advent- an arrival or coming, esp. one which is awaited, a coming into place, view, or being; arrival:

In a dark lonely prison Joseph waited on God and a promotion. On a dark lonely night Jacob waited on God and a blessing. And in a dark lonely stable Mary waited on God and a baby.

What are you waiting for? Praying for? Wrestling God for? What is the Advent of your heart?

Are you limping yet?

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hop so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob” he answered. 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.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I say God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Gen. 32:24-31

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Broken Girl

How long, O God, will your daughters suffer in darkness? How long will their silent cries go unanswered? How long will they be trapped in their pain?

How long will they be abused? Mistreated by the ones who should protect them. Rejected by the ones who should love them. How long will they carry the shame of what’s been done to them. Of what they’ve done to themselves?

Human trafficking. Sex slaves. Assault. Molestation. Rape. Abandonment. Abuse.

Beauty defiled. Purity marred.

Do you hear their cries, God? Do you see them, in the dirty hovels, in the back alleys, in their father’s beds?

You must. How can you stand it God? When I can hardly contain the anger, the sorrow I feel. How can you stand it when your beloved child is robbed of her innocence?

And what are we to do?

What am I to say to the broken girl; in the mirror, across the table, on the other end of the phone, on the other side of the world?

How do I tell her about hope, when all she’s known is despair?

How do I tell her about love, when all she’s known is abuse?

How do I tell her about truth, when all she’s known is lies?

You love her, Jesus, don’t you? You love me, too. You love all of the broken girls. You don’t see us as marred, do you? You think we’re beautiful. Even with dirty hands and broken hearts.

The world says we are rejected.

You say we belong.

The world says we are marred.

You say we are whole.

The world says we are tainted.

You say we are pure.

The world says we are an object to be used.

You say we are of infinite value, and are to be treasured.

The world says we are damaged goods.

You say we are perfection.

Still it’s hard God. The lies are so loud. So deafening. It’s hard to hear the truth, harder still to believe it.

God, tonight, will you hold your girls? Will you tell us that you love us? Will you remind us one more time? We need to hear it again. Bring light into our darkness, Father. Breathe new life into our hard and jaded hearts. Break the chains that hold us. Give us strength to stand. To believe. To be free.


The broken girls

In case you haven’t noticed, my heart is very heavy today. Everywhere I look it seems as if I’m surrounded by broken girls, hiding in their pain, trying to cover up their shame. It makes me mad. And it makes me want to cry. I can only imagine how it makes my God feel. If you are a broken girl, can I remind you that you are loved? Can I remind you that you are beautiful? That nothing in your past or your present disqualifies you from being loved and accepted! He has loved you with an everlasting love. He doesn’t want you to stay broken. He wants to put you back together again. Will you let Him?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show Me

Yesterday I shared part of my journey over at incourage. This morning driving in to work I was listening to Audrey Assad and heard the song that started me thinking of what it means to learn to die. Today I thought I'd share Audrey's beautiful song with you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Time to Die

Years ago, I wrote that and meant it. Literally. The all encompassing black cloud of depression held tightly to me, and death seemed the only escape.

Thankfully, He rescued me from that cave of despair. Now, I want to live. And not just live, but live BIG.

Will you join me at incourage for the rest of the rest of the story?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Purpose or Beauty

The leaves are turning. An array of orange, bronze and red assaults me from the other side of my window. Gusts of wind send them dancing across yard. Breathtaking!

Leaves are temporal things. Born in the spring, flourishing in the summer and vibrant in the fall just hours before their death. A nuisance in winter, lying upon our manicured lawns, blown into piles against our houses. But what is the purpose of the leaf? Is it to grow and flourish and then die? Or is there a deeper meaning to its short life? In reality the purpose of the leaf is not for the leaf at all, its purpose is for the tree, actually for the roots of the tree.

The root system is what grounds the tree, what nourishes it, what sustains it. Without the roots, there would be no tree. It is the very essence of all we see. But the leaves, they live and die for the glory of the roots and they do so with majestic beauty. They supply the water and food to nourish the roots. They offer shade so the roots won’t scorch under the hot summer sun. In the fall, they prepare the roots for the cold winter ahead, and as they rest upon the ground they blanket the roots from the winter snows. Yes, the roots provide the life, but the leaves provide the abundance!

A root system with out leaves is like purpose without beauty. And a leaf without roots is simply beauty without purpose.

So the question is which do you choose? Joy and beauty? Or purpose and life? Perhaps the question shouldn’t be a choice but a challenge. A challenge to obtain both. For without both leaves and roots the tree will die. And I have a feeling same is true with you and I. Jesus said I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly(John 10:10). Abundant life can't be achieved with out both roots and leaves. Without beauty and purpose. The roots serve the leaves and the leaves serve the roots. Just as living in your purpose brings beauty and living in His beauty brings purpose. Can the two exist alone? Sure. But why would we want them to? Why have one without the other when Jesus freely offers both!

Our roots establish us. They are what give us the strength to survive the long cold winters of our lives. If our roots don’t go deep we won’t be able to stand when trials come our way. We must guard and protect our roots, above all else. If our roots are deep, and well watered, they will thrive every day for all of our days. Good, bad. Stormy or calm. Our roots hold true.

Leaves, on the other hand, are seasonal. They grow, they die. They change with the weather. Leaves are affected by circumstances. Just as we are. On bright sunny days they clap with joy! When the cold winter sets in they shrivel up and fall to the ground. But the thing about leaves, about beauty, is that it always returns. It always offers hope. Spring always returns.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

So dig deep in the Word of God. Pursue Him! Immerse yourself in Him! Let your roots go deep! For this is the sustaining essence of life in Christ. And let your beauty shine for all the world to see. Grow and drink and wave and shine!

Be rooted. Be beautiful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Allison & Alexa...

This picture was taken when the girls were 2.5 weeks old. It was their first milestone... a picture with no oxygen masks, heart monitors, umbilical lines, or IVs. It was a temporary respite from all their tubes and wires. We still had 2 more weeks of oxygen and 9 months of heart monitors in our future. But on this day they were free (except for the feeding tubes).

Today milestones are measured differently. Driving cars, late nights with the girls, college applications. Scary stuff. My baby girls are women now.

Tomorrow morning another milestone... Sweet 16! And sweet they are! I am so blessed by these sweet girls. They are a joy, my sunshine!

Today a song from my favorite scene from our favorite movie (that finally applies)... for my 16 year old girls, who wait on an empty stage... I can't wait to see the story of their lives unfold!

You wait little girl

On an empty stage

For fate to turn the light on

Your life little girl

is an empty page

that men will want to write on

to write on

You are 16 going on 17

Waiting for life to start

Somebody kind who touches your mind

Will suddenly touch your heart

When that happens, after it happens

Nothing is quite the same

Somehow I know I'll jump up and go

If ever he calls my name

Gone are your old ideas of life

The old ideas grow dim

Lo and behold you're someone's wife

And you belong to him

You may think this kind of adventure

Never may come to you

Darling 16 going on 17

Wait a year… or two

I'm no Julie Andrews... but my girls are as sweet and beautiful as Lisle.

I am so proud of you both!
Love you forever~