Saturday, January 23, 2010


Lately I have been so distracted. I don't think I have ever felt this kind of distraction in my life. I don't mean that I have been procrastinating or just simply pushing things off, but rather I have had such intense thoughts running through my mind that I have struggled to keep them all on the right track. I'm sitting at my computer (immense amount of work ahead of me, lingering work still behind me to be caught up on) trying to do something productive today, and I catch myself gazing off into the distance thinking about the lyrics to a Phil Whickam song, or a hurting girl in the house I'm currently in that I need to pray for, or a multitude of other issues that have nothing to do with the report on my computer screen that has yet to be written. And, in the midst of trying to fill my day with the busyness of work in an effort to intentionally distract myself from anxiety, I have found myself wrestling back and forth with myself on why I can't just keep it straight. Okay, one thing at a time.

I'm going to try to explain myself in some kind of organized fashion, so that even though my mind is a jumbled mess, you may in the end come out understanding what it is I'm talking about. I'll share two things that keep surfacing among all the other thoughts and have weighed heavy on me recently.

God is huge. Yes, He's always been huge -- Creator of the Universe, all knowing, never changing, promise maker and keeper, could destroy me in an instant but mercifully chooses not to -- and yet for some reason His strength and power never really hit me. It's like bricks now and it's hit me hard. I can't stop thinking about How powerful God is, and better yet, my time in His word recently has been cut short because upon reading a few verses I am stuck in a thought processes that I only come out of when ten minutes later I suddenly realize I'm sitting in a hotel lobby. It's like His words have become so much more amazing to me that I can't even comprehend all of it, so I end up processing through a tiny portion of it for days.

I'm desperately restless. Currently, I have stopped twice already while writing this to process through a conversation I just had with a good friend and how God is moving in her life. Suddenly a new thought: God's grace extending to Haiti that He would allow a place of suffering to suffer more in order to bring attention to it, and in turn, God is glorified by people suddenly reaching out to serve a place that has always been in need. New thought: I have so many notes to type up and a meeting in 20 minutes. Next thought: I'm heartbroken... asking God to be my everything. Next thought: I wonder what time my flight is on Monday? This is seriously how my mind has been functioning for the past 2 weeks, see what I mean by jumbled mess? I think this goes back to my realization that God is bigger than a quiet time, a worship song, and definitely bigger than my emotions. "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). He is before us, knowing our steps before we take them because He's the one who placed them there, yet simultaneously, He is with us, in the thick of it with each of us, holding us together because we are too weak to carry it on our own. The Christian life is one of constant breaking and mending back together. Breaking and growing. Breaking and maturing. I am broken as I realize that physical death and the shedding of blood of a human man (who also happened to be fully God) paid the price for my sin. And yet I am perfectly stitched up because He did this out of love. Like I said, God is huge, and way beyond what my mind can comprehend.

"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." CS Lewis

How appropriate. I am constantly on the road, from hotel to hotel to chapter house and back to a hotel, living out of a suitcase and eating bad oatmeal for breakfast, all so that God can refresh me on the journey with something so pleasant as snow fall on the mountain. Snow like powdered sugar dusted on pine trees and campus buildings, my lungs breathing in cool and clean air. Those are the kind of moments that I live for on the road. The times when I can stop and thank the Lord that I am in Arizona and it is snowing, filling me with so much joy because in the midst of beauty also came altitude sickness and fire alarms at 2 am, at which point I know all I can do is laugh, because my life is good. But even among the adventures and the challenges I'm reminded by CS Lewis that God will not encourage me to hold this place too close, mistaking it's beauty for a place far better -- home.

Even though I long for home, I have to remember that in His infinite mercy, God chooses not to end it all now because there are still others who do not know Him. Others that will have their lives transformed by the redemptive truth of Jesus Christ. The fact that there are so many still who do not know Him reminds me what I have been called to, why I am in Arizona, why I am flying to Alabama on Monday, and why I was redeemed by Christ. "You received the Gospel because it was on it's way to someone else." I fail daily, but I hope I can bring the Gospel where ever I go for the rest of my life. That's about the only thought of clarity I've had all week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Laying my "yes" at His feet, His name glorified.

His glory, above all, should reign higher than any other desire. That sounds a lot easier than it is. Sometimes we are faced with making decisions that are not what our hearts desire, simply to be obedient to our God and King. Something God has recently taught me is that I need to allow Him into every area of my life, even the parts that mean things might get uncomfortable if I let Him into them. I've been wrestling with the Lord for some time now because I felt that He wanted something that I wasn't willing to give up. Sometimes I feel like God gently teaches me lessons, other times He slams them right in front of my face. The Spirit beckons me asking, gently, "give this part of your life over to me, this isn't what I intended this to be like for you." Of course, in my stubborn and sinful will I kept denying, justifying, comparing and the list goes on. But God got hold of me this week at a Campus Crusade for Christ Winter Conference. God used one of the speakers to powerfully share that God wants us to have an open hand to everything in our lives, and that it was time I start acknowledging the Holy Spirit's leading in my life. It was as if God Himself told me "I love you. Give this to me and you will be rewarded." I don't mean rewarded in a monetary or self-satisfying way. Scripture says that if we store up our treasures in Heaven, there we will find our hearts desires (Matthew 6:20-21). So my reward is something far greater than happiness or success, but rather something that will last, a sense of assurance in my identity in Christ as well as peace knowing that obedience to the will of God is far more satisfying than striving after earthly desires. So I have to start practicing what it is that I believe, plead with God to give me a heart that desires what He desires, and ask Him to tune me in to the leading of His Spirit. So I say to the Lord: "I don't want to miss this. I don't want to miss what you are leading me to do. Help me to pray for big things, help me to pray for what I think is impossible," because when all things go through the Father, nothing is impossible. I need to devote myself to prayer because I know full well that it is the only thing that will get me through the next 4 months.... and if I'm being honest, this whole year. More than that, prayer like this is the foundation on which everything else builds! I need this as I continue to grow in my prayer life as the Lord sanctifies me and bring me to maturity. And I have quite a lot to be praying for.

Let me start with praise to the One who is delighted by those who come to Him with all things. I am grateful that he gave me two people who encouraged me by saying that this blog/my facebook brought encouragement to them today! And I am grateful that He has given me a renewed sense of intimacy with Him, almost like He is assuring me that any present and future suffering (there will be more in the weeks to come as I go back out on the road, I'm sure) is no comparison to the joy He will reward me with in the time to come. That's the thing about grace, obedience, and finding my treasure in Him: there is freedom in knowing that the God of all Creation knew I would be struggling through this very heartache the moment the world was created. He knows things as detailed as the very hairs on my head, telling me I am worth more than I think I am (Luke 12:7).

"For all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory."
2 Cor.1:20

"...utter my Amen" keeps ringing in my mind over and over. I think God is trying to tell me that if I am willing to say "yes" to everything He has for me, regardless of the cost, seeking His glory above all, He will reward me richly. And no, it's not easy. I feel like I am literally fighting for my joy. So why do I find it so necessary to be obedient to the invisible God of the universe even when it hurts? Because I know that my joy can only come from again soaking in the free gift of grace Christ gave me the day He sacrificed His life for my own. With no hesitation, let me come to the foot of the Cross saying "anything for you Lord, even if it hurts, you can have it all." Amen.