Tuesday, March 15, 2016

For the lazy.

I don't know exactly what I want to write about this evening, but I know I want to write. I penciled in the date in my Little Prince planner: "start blogging again." I picked the date out, March 14th, so that it would line up with the last significant post I made in 2014 when I was reading through the Bible in a year and trying to write nearly every day. That was two years ago. Oops. Try, try again. This time, I think I'll try a little less and see what happens, here and there. 

On Sunday night, I was about seven days behind in my Bible reading plan and trying to catch up, but also trying to slow down in case God might show me something that I was really struggling to see in Numbers (I think I'm in Numbers, at least). I was agitated. The truth is that I've been reading the Old Testament at the beginning of almost every year for I don't even want to admit to how many years. The desperation for the New Testament should have been enough to get me to August or September, but no. My life is a blur: the kind of blur produced by a thrilling, yet frightening and sometimes sickening, roller coaster ride that you feel pressured to stand in line for but that you are kind of glad you did stand in line for when the adrenaline is running through you at the end. Is that dramatic? :)

Again, I was agitated. It's difficult to like God when all you read are the first few books of the Bible over and over each year. Genesis is like magic for me, but then so much of it feels really questionable from there besides a bit of poetry that I can cherry-pick along the way, excellent scenery, and the thought of Moses's face sparkling. I was thinking about this Old Testament stuff the other day, wondering if I'll read through the entire Bible again after I finally get through it once. The thought of it reminded me of deep cleaning and how I despise the idea that I will have to do the same task over and over for the rest of my life because it keeps getting undone. Stupid memory. 

I think I'm supposed to believe that the Bible is not like my kitchen floor, though. Unlike my kitchen floor, the Bible can be new each time I open it. Of course, someone somewhere might argue that their kitchen floor is new each time, too, and if that makes a person feel better, then so be it. 

The point is that the Bible has been new to me this year (even though I had completely forgotten until just now when I wrote that)... like when I was reading in Exodus about Pharaoh enslaving God's people and working them harder, expecting them to do more with less and then calling them lazy whenever they cried out that the work was too much to bear. I was reading this story and obsessing over the familiarity of it all: "do more with less!" In education, and I'm sure all throughout the workplaces of this nation, this phrase plays on like the broken record. I used to think it was something to be proud of, and I'd challenge myself to see if I could pull it off: this more with less trick. These days, I'm feeling more and more that I am one with the Israelites: exhausted and unable to meet my quota.

I didn't realize this is what I would be writing about, but sure!... because I do have something really important to share about this Exodus story. When I was able to see the pages differently, I realized that the word "lazy" had been tumbling around in my heart and mind for some time. I have a list at work that seems to grow longer each day no matter how much I give, and I bet you do too. I keep telling myself that I am going to come in one day and blow that list up, knock it out of the park, demolish it, completely obliterate it and take back my work day for the dreams I've always dreamed my job would be. The reality, however, is that the list always wins. At some point, I became overwhelmed by the list and started listening to the quiet whisper inside saying, lazy. I'm clearly too slow. Too distracted. Too average. A foolish waster of energy and time. Lazy. 

Pharaoh was wrong about the Israelites, though, and God had a different plan for them: a plan for them to work hard, building and refining his temple, but also for them to worship. God did not design His people to be slaves; He designed them to be free to work and worship, as if work and worship were one in the same. So, he delivered them from Egypt! Do you know what this means for us as children of this God of the Old Testament? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I'll admit that when I was putting all of this together in my mind, there was this sweet sense of intimacy that I experienced when I thought I could hear Him saying, I will deliver you from slavery. He actually wants to. 

I fully believe I am doing the work God has designed me to do, but I also believe that I am blindly working for Pharaoh at times: when I call myself lazy, when I allow perfectionism to destroy my self-confidence, when I am so focused on production and quotas that I refuse to worship with my work, and when I am too afraid or overwhelmed to take time off and rest. I think you know exactly what I mean. We don't need to get out of Egypt, necessarily; we need to start working for the One who makes our souls come alive, instead. 

I told Eric that reading the Old Testament made it difficult for me to like God. He told me that I should take a break from it for a bit, so I did. I wrote this, and then I saw this small thread of continuity between Father and Son, and my heart felt light again. 

Every blog needs a picture, so here's a picture of a lizard slave who lives at the college where I teach. He actually escaped shortly after this picture was taken :) only to be captured again. 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Where am I?

In April of this year, I fell behind on my New Year's resolution to read the Bible in a single year. I haven't caught up since, though I've hit the "catch me up" button on my iPhone a couple of times. You can't say I didn't warn you, though. Remember the "I will fail" post? And remember how I can be so prideful? It was inevitable, wasn't it? :)

So, I've been somewhat afraid to write. But then I got to thinking: where are you? I'm starting to sense that I'm probably not the only one who wanders down a trail, and then another one, and then another, and sits down to rest for a while, and forgets the way back, and feels overwhelmed by the effort it would take to get there anyway.

Work on the left, this blog on the right... I think I'll stay right where I am. 


But that's not the story, exactly.

Because I've been getting my work done. And, I've been trying my best to make time for the ones I love. It's just that I haven't been flipping through silky pages of wisdom, lately. In fact, I've been reading only fragments of scripture, quickly, out of context, and lightly understood. It's been nauseating. And, I feel as if I've lost all memory of what I was learning in January, February, and March.

Let me admit: there's something heart-wrenching that takes place when I move my eyes away from the Word of God and allow myself to function undisciplined in the rhythms of each day. Something numbing. So even though I'm often bothered by the idea of writing you at times (seriously, you dramatic blog, you), I'm grateful for the space that you provide. Your blank pages, encouraging me to engage with the Spirit of God once again, to pick up the book, to whisper a prayer, to listen, and to fumble through to some kind of sense.

So, where am I?

I'm with Eric and Harvard, at the beach, cuddling, sipping tea, watching children fall down in the wind, dogs prance on the sand, and waves crash in the distance. It's freezing here. It's peaceful, and it's renewing. And I can't help but smile and feel unworthy. Honestly. Because Jesus doesn't skip a beat with me. March is like yesterday, and I can feel His presence as quickly as I desire it. His mercy, as real and as powerful as the ocean before me.

I'm with Him, even when I'm lost. 





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where is Jesus?

I wonder what God expects me to feel as I read through the Old Testament. I'm postured with open palms and waiting for Him to take these things inside of me, these images that flash against my eyelids as they are closed in prayer, and to make sense of them. To help me out when I'm bothered by Moses, and I don't know if I can trust everything that he says, and I don't know if I believe that every time he says "The Lord says" it really captures what the Lord said, in that moment, in that place. Because isn't he just as flawed as any of us? And I wouldn't want anyone reading the words that I attribute to God in my own life as if they were truly His, without seeking Him for themselves. But I wouldn't want to overlook what "The Lord says" if He really said it either, and I mean no disrespect, and I desire to fear the Lord.

Moses would stone me to death for most of that, I'm sure. Moses, the man who seemed so grand at first, and then so violent, so degrading, so whiny, so mighty, so wicked, so wise, and so dominating. I really like Moses; I'm filled with respect for him, and I'm so thankful for the words he penned! It's just up. And, then it's down. With me.

Again, I wonder what God expects me to feel: wants me to feel when these words begin running through the mazes of my mind, meeting dead ends, colliding with gray matter, becoming exhausted as they find themselves carving out the same paths and never reaching the end.

Today, I'll say that I don't trust what the scriptures say all the time; I do, however, trust the Spirit to guide me through them, but that takes time. And in time, I trust that God will rest on my heart and my mind, and that I'll find something more true, a treasure more precious, than I could have ever found without being honest about what is between us. Without recognizing the tension in my heart and just telling Him it's there!

With palms open, I'm thinking... God, where is Jesus? 

Where is Jesus when the Israelites start cutting animal throats, draining out their blood, and presenting them as burnt sacrifices, with their pleasing aromas, to the Lord? Where is Jesus when the Israelites learn that there are many sins that require them to stone their people, men and women, to death: to purge the evil from among them? Where is Jesus when the Israelites head into battle, and their enemies are conquered, and they must return to ensure that all of the people--man, woman, and child--are completely annihilated?

God, I miss Jesus. Here in these ancient words. Where is He?

I miss the part of you who became the lamb and walked, willingly, brutally, to the cross where you suffered to die for us all. I miss Jesus who, when faced with a woman who was about to be stoned, challenged the crowd to examine their own hearts until every single one of them walked away, aware of their own sins. Jesus, you stood there alone. You could have cast the first stone. You could have purged the evil from among you. But you took no pleasure in the option of death, and you healed her instead, and you commanded her to live! 

Where is that part of you in the era of Moses? 

I know that I'm supposed to see Him there, and that others do. It's just up. And, then it's down. With me. And all I can say, today, is that I'm learning to be desperate for Jesus. To crave Him with all of my being. Because my mind desires His company when faced with these moral riddles, and my heart is easily disgusted with the bloodshed. I don't want to put God on trial; I want to know Him. I long for a deeper relationship with Him. I hope it's possible that these feelings in my gut are a sign of His mark upon my being, His humanity and forgiveness, and His grace within me.

I'm reading the Old Testament, crying out, where is Jesus? I am grateful, through it all, that He is within me.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Things that add up.

The sun came out today, and I needed it, and I soaked it up, and I smiled, and I made the most of it for as long as it lasted. Early in the day, as I was walking across campus, I ran into my dad. After I went back to my office, I realized how often I fail to cherish the little things, so I called him up and we were able to carve out 30 minutes for an on-campus lunch. I told him about my friends whose dads had died this week, somewhat unexpectedly; I told him that I was glad I could sit and eat with him, even if we had to cut it short.

My mom texted a bit later, and my family planned to meet for dinner, and I have a lot of work to do, but if I were to have declined the invite, I would have missed the chance to go on a walk with my precious niece, picking dandelions, hanging upside down, kicking a ball around the yard, pretending to be a horse, and climbing on fire hydrants. 


I would have missed out on Jade's pretty eyes: her heart-melting teeny smile.
And air-drumming with Jude.


The sun went down, and I'm home now. I'm sitting with Eric, ready for bed. We've finished talking about my most recent adventures through the Old Testament, and the truth is that I'm feeling a bit deflated, or confused (more on that later). But as I pasted these pictures into my blog, I was reminded that God is good. 

Not everything adds up, but enough things do. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let God be amazing.

I've been silent on the Internet for weeks, but that doesn't mean my mind has been quiet, or that I haven't been writing. In fact, I started drafting this blog post over a week ago, though it failed to come together until this past weekend.

(rewind)

I turned off my alarm and leaned forward, with a wordless mind. And there was a void there to be filled, just as there is every morning. How would I start this day? What would be the opener? Then, I heard this:

Let God be amazing.

It was clear, and it made sense. Instead of me. Because I had spent the weekend forcing myself to rest and to accept who I was and what my limits were, and this meant that I was “unprepared” for Monday: at least in my own perfectionist kind of way. To think that the pressure was off this morning was the motivation I needed to be filled with joy, to put one foot in front of the other, to move myself toward what He had in store for me—with hope. If I show up, and if I step aside, He will be amazing; I will be amazed.

A few steps later, I was standing in front of the mirror, multi-tasking eyeliner and the Bible on my iPhone, and I cringed in fear, and dread, and skepticism, as I read “Leviticus” on the screen. But I heard it again:  

Let God be amazing. Instead of me. In Leviticus.

In the burning bush. (Which is Exodus, I know, but stay with me). 



And these words meant so much to me, so immediately, because this story of God's had been bothering me. I had been wondering about how I might feel if the God of the universe were to reveal Himself to me as a gathering of flames illuminating a bush in the night. I had been imagining myself, unimpressed, underwhelmed, and unable to discern Him as the God of goodness. And yet, frightened. I know that most of that is the point, but I still think it’s an odd depiction of God that doesn’t quite line up with the Him I am coming to know. These are the kinds of little details that derail my mind—that choke and suffocate me, though I press on.

I confessed these things to Eric, and he remained as calm and composed as usual. He said that if I had been there, if I had seen the flames recede and the bush unharmed, that I would have been in awe of God and that it would make sense. I'm thinking about that now, realizing that God is so unknown to me. God is like a flame that does not turn a thing to ashes, yet fiercely burns and flickers and illuminates all the same.

Eric reminds me that there is a difference between revelation that brings me closer to God, and revelation that is arrogant. Because when I don't get it, I insist that I should. And I play the fool so often, limiting His wonder by believing that my capacity to perceive and proclaim it through a broken, skeptical lens (that has yet, if ever, to see the fullness of His wonder) will be what defines Him in this world. I am not responsible for making God seem amazing in the midst of these messy Old Testament texts. 

Let God be amazing.

I say it over and over, sighing sighs of relief and imagining myself shrinking in His ever increasing presence. 

But yesterday it felt as if He broke through me, and into me, and made His place in my heart and my soul anew, and I bet my skin could have sparkled as Moses’ did when the Lord passed before Him: "the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6). It was that moment when I determined to let God be amazing in me, as well. Because God never asked me to shrink, but rather to become translucent so that His light and His presence would be known. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
-Marianne Williamson


Monday, March 10, 2014

Disappearing

I've had a lot of students drop my classes over the last few weeks. Just disappear. I understand that life happens, and I never take this personally, but I often wonder and worry about what might be going on in their lives that would take them away, and I sincerely hope they are okay. To be completely honest, I feel for them and any shame they might feel about not being able to finish; I've been there, and I know the pressure of college and life, and I know what it feels like to walk away before the quarter ends.

Tonight, Eric and I were stocking up on fruits and vegetables when I saw one of the missing students sitting at a table. Before I could fully determine how to respond, my excitement took over and nudged me across the room to ask how she had been, and what had happened, to make sure she was okay, and to encourage her to start again when, or if, she feels it's the right time. "I've disappeared before, too," I told her. "I'm just glad to see that you are well." I wished her the best as we left, and I carried her burdens on my heart, thanking God for the people He brings into my life. People to pray for. People to care for. Each and every student and person that my job introduces me to, and all of the challenges I know they are facing. Right now. Even as I write this. 

As I left the grocery store, I decided that the blog I had been drafting all week--the one I planned to post tonight--would have to wait. Because I realized that so many students in my classes have been disappearing, and I have been disappearing, too. 



I've been buried underneath grading. 

I've been desperate for every moment with Eric. 

I've been making excuses, and puzzling over cosmic riddles, and organizing, and resting. 

And why is that I, that we, come to feel so guilty about all of this? As if God has a grade-book. As if he has been taking attendance, and counting up points, and evaluating me, and as if my financial aid is going to run out until I'm stuck funding this entire relationship on my own. 

When we disappear, when we fail to set aside the time to remain engaged, to attend, to do our work, to reach out to Him, I imagine that God misses us, above all things. Sincerely. I imagine He thinks of us, and He remains close, and He desires for us to not necessarily "return," but to turn and face Him where He has been all along. And when we do this, there is no time for apologizing. I say this because it seemed that when I started to apologize to God, today, for setting Him aside and getting wrapped up in the frenzy of my world, that He was quick to interrupt and proclaim: Come here. I love you! Turn off that music. 

I turned the dial down until it beeped, and I drove home from work listening to the hum of the Beetle. 

It only took about thirty minutes until I could feel His nearness again. In the clouds ahead, I could see His face--the face of a King--emerging and descending from heaven like sun beams and rain falling from a peach and pale blue sky. His eyes were fixed on mine, and the drumming of His rain drops awakened me from complacency. 

Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Absolutely meaningless without You

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rest

When you skip two "days of rest," what do you get in return? 

For me, it's a list of priorities that starts to read more like a web than a list, and a deafness in my ears that prevents me from hearing His voice: knowing what to do first, or just, in general, what to do. This morning, I kept hearing, Do what you think you shouldn't. 

Make juice.

Stretch.

Take a nap.

Boil an artichoke.

Watch a movie. 

Write a blog, slowly, peacefully, with your eyes looking past the computer screen at the leaves shaking under heavy rain, the washing that I've brought upon creation today, the weather I've made to keep you inside, soothed by the white noise of My power. 


I stayed in bed after waking, and I finished reading Exodus. The ending was hard for me, and I found myself detaching, skimming, wishing it was over, and skipping days. I was agitated by the instructions the Lord gave to Moses and His people because they felt too parallel to the work that I had to do this week: the on and ons of details and chores and busyness, busyness, busyness. 

Here I am, stuck to the web that is my commitments, desperate for God to turn it into a list of things that I can check off one by one, and I'm reading His voice on the page, His voice commanding every little detail of the work for the Tabernacle, and I'm jealous of His meticulous instruction given to this ancient people. I'm desperate for Him to tell me what to do, meticulously. All the while, I realize He told me chapters prior, to take a break, and I've been ignoring that. I've been starting each day with a naive sense of my own strength.

After a week of chewing on this, I can finally feel my heart ripping open, and I am ready to repent. For my obsession with success, and my concern with the opinion of others. My incessant pursuit for praise and my unwillingness to be still, for even a moment. I know I should concern myself with His approval alone, and this is something that I have never found to be easy. 

There I am again, stuck to the web of my commitments with my hands and feet unable to pull away. And I'm trapped and vulnerable, but I also feel light and suspended like laying in a hammock, swaying back and forth. 

So, I close my eyes. 

Rest a while. 

Trust in Him to fill me up and set me free, in time. To take away my shame. 

Because He told me once, as we were running along the beach and playing in the sand, that I could build the biggest, most fantastic sandcastle, but that He could not love me any more than He already does. There is less to work for in this world than I often times acknowledge, and there is so much more to enjoy. His presence. His beauty. Passing in front of me every second of the day. Too often, unnoticed. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

I will never breathe the same.

I'm falling behind on blogging, but I'm catching up on grading, and I'm still breathing :) You win some, you lose some, right?

On Friday, I ended my time at the first ever Washington State Sustainability Conference, and I was so relieved to check out of my hotel and attend the final day of workshops without anxiety looming over me: the fear of sleeping another night alone in the unfamiliar hotel room, on an unfamiliar street, in an unfamiliar city. My time at the conference was challenging for reasons I did not plan for, but most importantly, it was inspiring, and I learned a little bit about how to breathe. 

The lesson began on Thursday, when our opening speakers humbly approached the microphone with quiet voices, asking us to be thankful, to show gratitude to mother earth. Imagine, they prompted, all of the processes, systems, pieces, relationships she constitutes; breathe in slowly, and out slowly, and remember her for all she does to create oxygen for us to breathe. Give back, they urged, and they continued on to remind us that we all share the same air. The gift of air. The gift of now: a time to be alive, to breathe, and to do what is meant for us in this moment.

I spent the time with my eyes closed, thanking God for my fragile life. Thanking Him for speaking to me that morning, through anyone, at anytime, as He had been telling me He would do in weeks prior. As I was praying, I realized so clearly that my breath is not to be wasted: that it will come and go. Its repetition, its daily presence, its miraculous life-giving power should remind me that I can do more than merely breathe while I am here. That His plans for me extend beyond survival

Later in the day, in a workshop, we were asked to clear our laps, to remove our lenses, to silence our cell phones, and place our feet flat on the floor. To breathe in slowly, and out slowly. To focus only on the feeling of air passing through our nostrils, and to conquer all wandering thoughts and distractions as we narrow our focus, hone in on the sensation of air passing through. Sit up straight and breathe in slowly, and out slowly. Because it is calming, because it cultivates attentiveness, and because it opens up the mind for reflection and contemplation.

I'll admit: I twitched. My back hurt. My stomach groaned. But all the while, I breathed, and something about that impressed me: whether I could focus on it, or not. Whether I could calm myself to enjoy it, or not. Because I knew that, no matter my efforts and ability to be still, the God of Peace was as with me as the air that filled my lungs, and that made me smile as I failed.    

In another workshop, the speaker projected images of extinct species on the board at the front of the room. Close your eyes, she invited. Breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly. She said that the air we breathe is air that these animals used to breathe, but will never breathe again. She told us in a soft voice to accept that. To be thankful for them. And to be thankful for all of the animals that are still here, who breathe the same air, and who so desperately need us to defend them. To consider them. I quieted my heart and felt compelled to ask God for forgiveness.

By the end of the conference, I was oddly aware of all the breaths I had breathed and the theme that had unfolded, mostly in the background of the day's highlighted moments. I opened my journal to read a daily scripture, and the words on the page couldn't have been sweeter:
"Breathe Me in with each breath."
Breathe Me in: in times of gratitude, distraction, grief, anxiety, exhaustion, and fear. Be reliant upon Me. Be aware of me in all things, Amber. I couldn't escape it. I kept breathing, and I realized that I will never breathe the same. Because He generously provides every single breath, and He gives His Spirit as readily as the air I breathe. He is standing so close to me now that I can almost imagine we share the same air.

On my final night in the hotel, I was reading from the Bible, continuing on with the year's plan, and I read about Moses parting the waters and traveling through the Red Sea, and how God protected His people from their enemies, saying, "I will pursue, I will overtake them." Moses said of God in return, "But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them" (Exodus 15:9-10). There I was in the unfamiliar hotel room, on the unfamiliar street, in the unfamiliar city, and I could imagine the breath of God moving with force in all directions away from me, putting my enemies to rest, sending them away for good. That same fierce breath then passed lightly over me: over the embers of my faintly, faithful heart to enliven a small flame or fire within. I "need only be still," You say: to breathe in, and breathe out. 




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ugh. Life as a Girl.

I felt like a big girl, driving away in the company car, with the passenger seat empty, the company card in my pocket. I had my map app set to go, and a plan to pass through Seattle early enough to miss the traffic, and the parade, and every other bit of the crazed post-Superbowl frenzy.

It was probably two hours into the drive when my phone started to die and the gas dial began to dip. I stopped at a Starbucks, bummed that I wouldn't make it to Bellingham while the sun was still up. My phone charger barely made the connection to kick start my battery, and when I drove across the intersection to fill up the gas tank, I struggled with the key and the cap for a while. I struggled in the cold, and grew frustrated, wishing frantically that someone else was there with me. I was standing on a foreign street fixated on the sound of five lanes of strangers' cars whizzing past me. I felt inadequate, and helpless, and stupid, and alone.

Anxiety was on the rise...

As the sun set, I neared the exit. And by the time I pulled into the "check-in" lane, the sky was black. Two things, God; I just need two things. First, I hoped, discriminatingly, that there would be a young woman behind the counter to greet me. Instead, I was met by a man. He checked me in as expected, but I couldn't shut down the panic I felt over certain questions like, "One or two?" "One," I replied, regretting my honesty instantly: regretting my fear, as well.

He turned on the heat in my room, showed me the bus stop, pointed me to a parking spot, and offered to help me with my bags. I declined the offer, on the basis that I had only one bag; his daughter, 24, travelled with 3 over-sized suitcases, he said.

The room was warm, clean, empty. I shut the door, and there went the second thing. I was hoping for a chain: no chain. Not even a chair in the room tall enough to wedge between myself and the big bad world. Not even a gun in my suitcase, because I left it at home. And, not even courage. Not an ounce of it. Only a wild imagination plagued by a lifetime of fears, too much CNN, the realities for women across the globe, and the realization that this would be the first night of my life spent alone in a hotel room away from home.

Ugh.

Sometimes, I hate being a girl.

I don't want to dramatize this post. Nothing bad has happened to me, and it's likely I'll drive myself home on Friday night grateful for the opportunity I had to be here. Quickly forgetting the personal trials I faced, yet feeling guilty about how my fears demonized the strangers around me. But, I have to say it again: my fear, however childish, is still rooted in a reality for women everywhere, around the world. And if I can make anything worthy of this moment, I'd ask you to please pray for these women: stolen and abused. Pray for our world. A world in which daughters are not safe, and sons are often feared. Pray that daughters would be brave and smart, despite the world we live in, and pray that sons would grow up to respect women and treat them with sweetness because of the world we live in. That these young men might become generous protectors. Not the bodyguard kind, but the kind who commit themselves to compassion, and who desire freedom from fear for the ones they love.

The kind who are willing to spend most of the night with her, on Facetime, just to make her feel less alone. To help her sleep. To help encourage her to have hope for the morning, even though her fear is irrational. Even though it's time to grow up.


I asked Jesus to join me tonight. To take a seat, please. And I really believe He is with me, but in more ways than one. Because He gave me Eric, too. And while Eric is on the line, working on his computer while I work on mine too, I know that God is up to something. Two posts ago, I found myself repeating these lines from one of my favorite songs: "There was nothing to fear, nothing to doubt." I'm getting there. He's getting me there.

Father, forgive me for my fear. Forgive me that I do not see things Your way. Take fear away from me, and give me Your eyes of wisdom. Your heart. Your strength. Your courage. Your protection. Thank you, again and again, for Eric. 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shut Everything Down

I've had one of those days where your tasks drag you along. Seriously, every punch of a key is a test of my patience because I am over words. Especially the ones that have to be documented, revised, edited, published, uploaded, and dispersed. And especially the ones that have to be read, attentively: emails, essays, blogs. It seems I can't work fast enough, as the list in front of me continues to grow.

But this reminds me of something I've been trying to write down for a while now. A realization, a belief you could say, that has centered me before in times of despair and exhaustion:
It's the understanding that God does not want to be at the top of my priority list;
he wants to be in all of my priorities. 
It's hard to fully grasp the meaning of this. So often it seems as if I'm forced to shut the book, close down the app, walk away, and when I do, it feels like I leave Him behind. Like I put Him on hold, try to hurry through my chores, and feel frustrated when I find myself with little or no time to return. Most hours of my day require my mind to be filled with the words of others: to consider them, fully. How can I even speak a word of my own? How can I hear you in the midst of all of the noise and chaos of a busy life?

I know how healthy it can be to shut everything down and make time for silence.

But I refuse to believe that God requires this in order to speak, or in order for me to realize and feel the power of His presence. I think He is waiting for me to ask Him, instead, to join me in the most mundane, wild, routine, shocking moments of my life. I think He wants me to acknowledge Him as a necessary part of every moment; not an alternative to my moments. To see that any conversation, with anyone, is an opportunity to speak with Him, to hear from Him, to see Him, and to know Him.

I'm trying to learn all of this, and I meant what I said the other day about not being willing to trade my time, my relationships, for the ability to check things off "the list." But the truth is: the lesson is painful. How long until I hand it over? My chores? My weaknesses? My pride? 

How long will it take me to see the world, my life, as Yours: no seams between my time with You and my time awake or asleep?

Thank God, love is patient :)

And, love is kind.