Monday, April 14, 2014

being

jen hatmaker delivered this line at the IF gathering i attended back in february and it struck me. i didn't even know what to do with it right away but i couldn't get these words out of my head. my prayer for a long time has been to be used by Jesus in great and exciting ways for His kingdom. i know He hears those prayers and in so many ways that's exactly what He delights in His children asking. but i'm starting to see a false line of thinking there. or maybe just a big missing piece. i mean massive. 

He doesn't send anyone out for "great" and "exciting" works with out giving them everything they need. and everything we need? it's found in Him. in knowing Him. treasuring Him. trusting Him. pondering Him. meditating on Him. just being with Him. i've started to pray "teach me to just be with You" & "teach me to just love Your presence" and i know, i'm seeing it now, that out of the abundance and overflow of time with my Father, my Savior, my closest Friend, i can't help but do His work. it just flows out of me.  and 
also? "great" and "exciting" often look like small and mundane. but my joy is full. it is SO full. your joy will be full. it's about being faithful. go spend some time just being with Him today.


“if you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.” 

-john piper



Friday, November 08, 2013

glimpses of glory

on my way to work, and home from work, and all throughout the day i keep seeing glimpses. glimpses of beauty. these bright blue autumn skies. these leaves cascading from green to those beautiful deep bold shades. red, yellow, orange. something wells up inside me and i just have to stop and rejoice.

and then i have to remind myself that it's not just a chance to delight in the beauty itself, it's His call to worship. it's His beckoning me to come. it's a glimpse of glory that mirrors who He is. He's calling me to see Him and to rejoice in Him and to remember that this is what our eyes were made to see. it's a call to fix my eyes once again on eternity and persevere and live gladly and with much hope and joy now because i know the secret of what's to come. of Who is to come.



His beauty. His glory. His goodness. it's what we'll gaze upon for ten thousand years and then forever.

i'm so thankful for the ways He invites me to know Him more. when this dark, heavy, hurting world leaves me weary and struggling to hope i'm so thankful for His tangible reminders that all will be made new, restored, beautiful, glorious. just a little while longer and we'll be home with Jesus.

"Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow 
be greater for having once been broken." -Tim Keller

Saturday, January 26, 2013

on j lo, justice & jesus coming back


i remember seeing the movie 'enough' for the first time in 5th grade. i was at my friend cali's house and we were flipping through channels and somehow landed on this one. looking back i realize what a heavy and inappropriate movie it was for 11 year old me. but even so, something came alive in me watching that movie.

i don't think i even knew domestic violence existed.
i don't think i knew that it was possible that people could be so sick and twisted and make sport out of abusing and terrorizing people. making their life a living hell for "fun."

i remember a year later watching enough again. and "loving" it all over again. and then a few months later watched it again and after that kyrie bought me the dvd for christmas and i'd stick it in the dvd player every so often and my eyes were glued to the screen as i watched the story unravel of this precious women who stopped at nothing to fight for her life and the life of her child. 13 full views later i could quote it word for word and do all the same boxing moves in sync with j lo. it made me feel pretty cool. and it kind of became a running joke in my family that i was so obsessed with this movie. see, i've never been one for movies as a general statement. you've gotta really convince me it's gonna be good before  i'll commit to sitting down for 90 minutes to watch much of anything. but, something about 'enough' i couldn't get, well enough of. as it turns out, there was something going on in my heart a lot deeper than a mild obsession with jennifer lopez.

the past 6 months i have had the privilege of walking alongside a precious [new] friend. the Lord had ordained for her journey, beginning many states away, to land her here in birmingham for a few months as she sought healing and new life from a past of extreme abuse. abuse on every level imaginable. for safety and privacy reasons we'll call my beautiful friend "hope". since Jesus brought sweet hope into my life, i have experienced a level of darkness that i didn't know existed as i've sought to hold her hand and heart as she braves the scary waters of recovery from hell on earth that has been her life for the past 20 years.

this darkness has felt even darker than those dark days in uganda. the days where my eyes were exposed to the reality of orphaned, abandoned, completely neglected children, children roaming the streets begging for food. and for love. and exposure to maternity wards that wreaked of sickness and death instead of health and new life. it felt more "normal" in uganda, sadly enough. to have the crushing heartache and see the devestating effects of sin and evil in the middle-of-nowhere-east-africa? that made sense. it was unspeakably tragic. but at least expected. but here? in the states? utter darkness? in the "safe" land where there's always a way out and you have a thousand resources and 911 will come to the rescue? right?

wrong.


you see, it's here. it's happening all through this weary world from east africa to "safe" america. people are being victimized and abused and wounded viciously on every level. possibly at your next door neighbor's, maybe even on your block, certainly in your town, and undoubtedly nearer than it feels on most days when it's easier to choose to forget.

recently it hit me. 'enough' wasn't (merely) a j lo obsession mixed with a adrenaline rush from her fierce badass-ness. 'enough' was a story of justice. a story of fighting and losing and fighting and aching and fighting and despairing but then fighting harder and hoping and fighting harder and seeing evil repaid.
seeing good prevail.
seeing the broken mended.
seeing hope rising.

now, i don't think the answer to the world's hurt is (spoiler alert!) taking the life of your victimizer.
i know that Jesus is the answer to the world's hurt.

but there is something inside of us, when we see people insulted, when we are exposed to injustices around us (on both a small and large scale), when we view the invisible children documentaries, when we are told of the stories of men and women and children, especially very young girls, forced into slave labor and sex trafficking, when we see that woman angrily jerk her child's arm at walmart and speak hatefully, something inside us longs for justice to be served and for wrongs to be made right. for evil to be punished and for goodness and truth to prevail.

and i don't even know why i'm writing about this at all except to say that doing life alongside sweet hope has made me long for justice and new life like never before. it has made me long for the new heavens and the new earth. for Jesus to come back and to wipe away every tear, redeem all that was lost, restore everything broken, and resurrect all the dead places of our lives. 

and that longing? sometimes that's all i need to get me through another day. and while some days i feel like i'm just feeling weary and shedding more tears than i'm spending time hoping...that reality that our lives really are a vapor and He really is coming back on a white horse, and we really will only know perfect peace and nearness to our Maker for eternity? well, that longing and those realities help me to praise Him when it's really hard, they help me to lift my head, they cause a current of peace to flow through me like none other. they give me hope. deep rooted unshakeable hope.

i remember in 6th grade writing club we read excerpts from the hiding place and were assigned to write about what it means to be "eternally minded" like betsey and corrie ten boom. corrie ten boom has always been a hero of mine since my mom read us 'the hiding place' when my sisters and i were small. looking back she had really mastered the art of looking to glory to pass through the darkest of circumstances. i remember wanting to be like that...but now that i'm older i see that grabbing hold of that "art" means willingly going through the dark places. that's a jewel we obtain that is refined through fire. and i mean the white hot flames.

and while it aches and it's scary and messy and exhausting and the hopelessness threatens to consume...
He promises that if we seek Him out we will find Him.
and when we find Him, we find hope.
because Jesus is coming back.
and there is no greater hope than our Savior coming back to claim us for eternity.

it is worth it, friends, to go to those dark places just to gain a greater hope, a greater longing, and wait with more eager anticipation and to cry out with more of my heart "come Lord Jesus!".

sometimes i think first i'd like a husband and a few children..actually many children is what i think i'd like. and those are good gifts from a good God and they are ok to want and desire.
but exposure to the darkness and walking through these valleys has made my earthly longings become so very small and my eternal longings so very strong.

i am grateful that day by day i can begin to cry out with greater passion, a true heart cry, "come Lord Jesus".

come quickly.


"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

-Revelation 21:23-26


Friday, June 01, 2012

jane & her mama

i made this resolution a few weeks back to document 10 things i'm grateful for every week. and i'm behind. i've gotten tired, distracted, frustrated, spaced-out and every other excuse in the book. but this post won't be about griping over a "failed" resolution. this is a rejoicing post. a rejoicing post in the best kind of way because it has to do with one of my dearest treasures in the whole world, my janey girl.



for the past 4 weeks that i haven't posted (i'm over-due 40 things to be grateful for) i have one unspeakably huge blessing that fills all 40 of those spots, plus some.

jane has a mama.

you can read the whole story here.
mama sarah is one of the dearest ladies in the whole world.
jane will be her fourth child and i could not possibly hope for any more loving
able arms for her to be placed in than mama sara's. 



all glory to God who is so very faithful.

yes, there's a tiny little twinge of sorrow. there's a frustrating way in
which i grieve this...some nights when i'd put jane to sleep when i lived in
uganda or scoop her up in the morning or spend an hour with her in my lap just hanging,
it felt all to natural to want her as my own. but that wasn't His story for her or for me.
and i truly praise Him that He doesn't chart her path or mine by my whims and 
even what seem to be my deepest desires. because He has something greater.



this is greater.

jane living [staying] in the beautiful country of uganda. jane getting two big sisters and a big brother that adore her. God moving mama sara's heart to rise up and defend the fatherless in a country where that isn't particularly celebrated or hailed. where there are no cute blogs to feature pretty photos and no airport homecomings with dozens of family and friends with balloons and posters.
[those are wonderful beautiful realities here in america. it's just that it's not that way there.
 and that's worth noting. ugandan domestic adoptions are less glamorous but no less beautiful.]
 this is greater and i am so so thankful for this story He has given me that i can call to mind when i really really want my way. i can know that He is working things out in a way that is infinitely greater, in a way that He receives more glory due His name.

jane went home with mama sara last week.
i can't even believe i'm typing that sentence.


i can't wait to go see baby girl and my sweet friend sara in their home later this year [Lord willing!].
december, please come quickly!

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
-Ephesians 3:20-21



Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

the explicit gospel

an excellent read. go get yourself a copy:) and maybe one for a friend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

little me


last night my mama sent me a text message with this photo.
"look what i just found! that is you! you were just 8 weeks old"

little tiny me. at 8 weeks. woah.

and my heart was overwhelmed. 
overwhelmed with wonder and awe at the immensity and vastness of my God 
and yet how He knit together something so small in His image.

my heart was overwhelmed.
overwhelmed with gratitude for a mother who believed that it was 
God who had intentionally knit me together and even though i was so small,
only alive for 8 weeks, 
i was me.
and she chose life for me.

thank you, mama.
thank you, God.

"take my life and let it be ever only all for Thee"