Thoughts on Trust from a Hot Mess

Wow. First off, how is it already October? And second, have I really not blogged since April? My secret inner social media guru just did the math on how long it’s been since my last post… And she’s embarrassed.

What happened?

Life happened. New job, new state, new church, new roommate, new friendships. Sunny South Florida has seemed to invade my calm, routine life, replacing it with a whirlwind of newness. It’s been an adventure. It’s been exciting. It’s been fruitful. It’s been really fun.

And truthfully at times, it’s been really difficult, painful and lonely.

Several weeks ago I went home to Washington State for the second time since my cross country move. Because my first visit back went off without a hitch, I wrongfully assumed this would be the same. In reality it wasn’t. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that I returned a bit of a hot mess.

But, do you know what? Amidst my mess was Jesus. He so tenderly loved me and spoke to me both through His Word, through circumstance and through others. It was if every conversation breathed the same central message, “Trust Me. I’ve got you.”

God has never promised me an easy life. He’s never said I’d have one without heartache, grief or confusion. And truthfully told, walking out life with Jesus is often a bit difficult.

But it’s always best. Jesus is most concerned with the condition of my heart rather than my state of comfort. He desires that I love Him well and in turn love others as He does. He longs for me to trust Him, not because He is power hungry, but because He knows me intimately; because He is not constrained by time, distance, resources or circumstance. Because regardless of my restrictions, He remains faithful.

Wherever I reside, whether that be in the Northwest or the Southeast, my desire truly is that God would be glorified in me, around me and because of me regardless of how I interpret my surroundings.

And lastly, if you have interacted with me within the last several weeks, thank you. More than likely God has used your words and actions to breathe new life into me. I truly feel like God has hand picked each person in my life. I am thankful for you each.

My prayer for you is the same as it is for myself. May we learn to trust Jesus regardless of what we feel like. May we learn to lean on His promises and walk them out as Abraham did–as truth before they even seem possible.

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humility

What does the world need?  Gifted men and women, outwardly powered or individuals who are broken, inwardly transformed?  -A Tale of Three Kings

Oceans

Listen, repeat (repeat).

Loving this song so much lately. Love the lyrics and it’s declaration of the sovereignty and faithfulness of our Savior. Who He is isn’t circumstantial.

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

 

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

 

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Trust

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.

Elisabeth Elliot

The Most Offensive Word in America?

Last night I read an article in Relevant Magazine titled “The Most Offensive Word in America.”The article suggests that the most offensive word for Americans is submission.

Interesting.

All day I have found myself thinking about this article. I’m not sure I entirely agree.  I don’t think my culture or my generation would admit to the word’s offensive nature. I think that if asked, they would choose from a selection of verbiage that, quite honestly, would make me blush to say aloud. Americans don’t find the word offensive, but I would argue we do find its meaning to be.

Our natural flesh craves to be its own god. We want to be in control, and apart of us really wants to be worshipped. We don’t like others telling us what we can and cannot do or accomplish.  We like our self dictated “freedom.” Not being in control of our own lives scares us. It boils down to fear.

We fear inadequacy. We fear we are unloveable. We fear the unknown.

But, to give yourself to something much bigger than yourself, to say yes to God and no to yourself is ultimately agreeing with making the impossible probable. It’s understanding that although we may not have all our ducks in a row (or maybe we can’t find any of our ducks at all…), we are still loved and wanted.  It’s us beginning to see that God’s way is ALWAYS perfect. It’s always right. It’s always good.

When we as individuals and a culture begin to understand submission in the light of Jesus and His grace,we begin to see it as a gift rather than an offensive concept.  In the light of True Love, submission becomes a really beautiful thing.

Dream Awake

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” -T.E Lawrence

Saying Yes, Even When it’s Difficult

During the Christmas season, I like to spend time reading and reflecting on the story of Jesus.

This December something stood out, a common thread in ordinary people, creating an extraordinary story. Obedience.

Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, the Shepherds, and the Wisemen all were told of the Christ-child.  All were asked to bring Him honor, and all obeyed.

Mary was first.  She believed what the angel had told her.  She said yes to God’s call on her life. I can imagine she was both excited and frightened.  I wonder how often she asked questions like, “Why me?” or  “Do I have what it takes?”   I know I would.  Reading her story, I find myself trying to put myself in her shoes.  How long did she wait before telling her parents?  Joseph?  How did the townspeople discover her pregnancy?  Did she try to explain, or just give up?  What did it feel like to finally have someone that believed her baby was truly from God?

Elizabeth was old.  The chances of her having a child of her own were slim to none. How embarrassing.  The wife of a priest who could bear him no offspring. Children were a sign of blessing.  I cannot imagine what she went through.  The heartache must have been excruciating.  But then, could this be really happening?  Was she really to be pregnant?  She believed. It was a miracle.

Upon the arrival of their baby, Zechariah declared that his son was to be named John.  There was no one with that name in their family, a sign of marital unfaithfulness. The town’s people tried to convince him otherwise, but Zechariah’s mind remained unchanged.  John, the name given to him by the angel, was to soften the hearts of parents to their children, and kindle devout understanding amount harden skeptics–to get people ready for God. Obedience, even when it didn’t make sense to those around.

Joseph.  By saying yes to God, I think this poor man sacrificed the most. In the eyes of the world, they had really screwed up.  Mary was pregnant and they were not married.  What was he to do? To save face and declare the child was not his would mean Mary would be stoned.  If he agreed to take Mary as his wife, he would be seen differently.  He, an honest innocent man, would be seen guilty for a crime he hadn’t commit.  The angel appeared, he chose to obey.  Chose to take Mary as his wife, chose to adopt the baby as his, chose to accept the ridicule of others as if he were guilty.

Oftentimes, I think of their stories in the light of the big picture.  In one paragraph, Mary is being told she will mother the Christ-child, in another Joseph is being told that he is to take Mary as his wife and father the baby, and within moments, I picturing Mary laying her brand new baby in a feeding trough filled with hay.  Real life went a bit slower than that.  What happened in the middle?  What about the wondering?  What was it like for Mary to live under the roof of parents who thought she was lying?  Did that ever believe her? How did Joseph’s business suffer?  Why couldn’t God have revealed His plan to more people?  That would have made life easier.

What if they would have chosen to not obey?

But they did.  Not only did they choose to obey, but the bible says (Joseph in particular) that the obedience came quickly.  I think oftentimes, God chooses those He trusts.  God doesn’t need people with fancy resumés, flashy smiles, or truck loads of money; He simply asks that we say yes to Him, even when it’s difficult.

Rarely, do we understand the big picture.  Oftentimes, we have no idea what God is up to.  But for certain, His plan is always perfect.  I forget this.  Instead of trusting and like Mary and Joseph, simply saying yes, I get lost in the paragraphs of “what ifs” in between.  I need to remember that if God is asking it, He will make it happen–no matter how crazy it seems. After all, it was never about Mary or Joseph, Zechariah or Elizabeth, the Wisemen or the Shepherds.  It was always about Jesus.  It’s his story.  All the others are just extras he trusted to help paint the beautiful story of grace and redemption.

All were normal people, living everyday lives.  All were asked to take part in something out of the ordinary.  All were a part of something bigger than themselves.  Something extraordinary.  It’s our job to say yes, quickly.  Let God worry about the rest.