Monday, October 29, 2012

Live Loved

My friends, do not grow weary.  And if you have grown weary, take rest in the thought, that all He wants from you is praise, not performance. If we come to Jesus with anything more than nothing, we come with too much.  All we need is need, because He's the one who does the work, and he's reworking all things into good for those who love Him. He's after a grateful people, not a perfect people. He's after a responsive people, not a self-helped one. LIVE LOVED.  That's our call.  That is our job.  Even when we're worn out, worn thin and feel like we've got nothing left to offer Him, all He demands is our nothing.  Like the old hymn says, "All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him."  Nothing is all we bring to Him because nothing is the place he can fill. - Mike Donehey

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'm in a season of life where I don't feel like I have words anymore.  Maybe they'll come back sometime, maybe not. But for now they are gone.  Poof.  As in disappeared.  For someone who loves words, that's sort of unfortunate. :)  But I'm learning to listen instead of talk.  I'm learning to be silent and be okay when I don't hear anything back.  I'm learning stillness even when everything in me wants to keep busy.  We get real in the stillness.  If we let ourselves, that is.  Quiet is scary.  Truth lives in the quiet and there's a lot of truth that's hard to face, isn't there? It's hard to bravely enter into that space... the one where there are no distractions, no things we are throwing ourselves into to avoid what we fear might be fighting its way to the surface.  That still place where we turn the mirror around and take a long, hard look inward to whatever is lurking there. 

So, while I spend the next little while stumbling through this wilderness, learning stillness and begging for truth, I'm just going to share things here on my blog that others have written and journeyed through.  It's mostly for me to come back to in those moments where I need a dose of reassurance or encouragement or courage, but maybe you'll find something in here too that feels like it's just for you.  One thing I do know... we all go through a wilderness of sorts. To believe we are the only ones is a lie.  I'm learning not to fight it but to let it happen, because in the wilderness we find ourselves.  There's a tiny verse of scripture in Jeremiah 31:2 that says "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness."  That is what I'm banking on.  Grace in this wilderness.  And lots of it.  There are times when this business of living brings with it a storm of questions and doubts.  And that's good.  Fyodor Dostoevsky once said “It’s not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ.  My hosanna is born out of a furnace of doubt.” I love that.  I'm praying it's so. 

In the meantime, here's what's been speaking to my soul today...

Maybe only the saints are strong enough to look into the abyss - but it leads something deep in me to call out in Job's words  "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!" Oh, that we, all of us, knew were we might find the One who beyond any world we can imagine, wipes every tear from our eyes and death from our hearts and creates all things new. Job and Paul both found Him before they were through.  I believe, that what Job was really after was not God's answer, but God's presence.  And of course that was what Job finally found because the way God entered the world without destroying it, was to enter Job's heart even as from the depths of his heart Job cried out to Him.  And that is the way He makes Himself present to all of us.  In the greatest aria that God sings in the entire Bible, he sets forth in gorgeous poetry all the mystery and grandeur of creation as a way of showing Job that the mystery is ultimately unfathomable, and it is then that Job finally says, "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you." And that was what Job needed above all else - not an explanation of suffering, but the revelation that even in the midst of suffering there is a God who is with us and for us and will never let us go. Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is gooder than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen and come, Lord Jesus.  - Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

His Story

I can remember just like it was yesterday walking into the decorated, empty room we had gotten ready for our soon to be adopted son.  I remember curling up on the bed, hugging the stuffed monkey we’d bought him and wishing that it was my son.  I remember wondering what he was doing at that very moment… wondering if he felt loved and safe.  I thought about all the moments he had lived already that I would never fully know about.  As a mama, to not know all the answers to the questions that I’m sure will be asked some day is heart wrenching.   I remember the ache of just longing for my precious little boy to be with me…wrapped up in my arms.

I remember that time seemed to stand still as we waited for phone calls, paperwork, travel dates.  It felt like all the years of the adoption process and the waiting would never end.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago.  I am sitting next to my son in his first grade class listening to him talk about how he used to live in Africa.  He says it’s so sad that so many people have to drink dirty water just like he did.  He tells about how his baby brother died from drinking dirty water.  I fix my eyes on the floor as they well up with tears.  All I can think is that it could have been him.  It would have been him.  My throat is thick as I say how blessed we are to live in a country where we likely don’t have to walk more than 20 feet in our houses to find clean, good drinking water.  I sit and watch my son speak about his past…about HIS story.  We take turns going back and forth talking and trying to help the kids understand what children just like them have to drink every day and what they must do to get it.  I can see him remembering the very things he is speaking of as the words tumble out of his mouth.  I think about how Tariku literally means “his story” and I smile.   Aren't all our lives stories?  Isn't all the pain, the good, the struggle, the hope just begging to be told?

I remember crying many tears in his empty room just over two years ago, longing for my son to be home with me.  And now the tears flow freely as I sit next to him and see how his story has shaped his heart so beautifully.  It really is true - our pain, our mistakes…they don’t define us.  They shape us.  Tariku’s difficult past isn't who he is.  It’s a part of his story.  Just like him being loved and treasured and valued is a part of his story.  He inspires me.  He shows me that we choose how we respond to the good, the bad and the ugly.  He is choosing to take a terrible life circumstance and use it to help others.  He is showing me what healthy vulnerability looks like even at age 7.  No hiding.  No fear.  No shame.  He is who he is.  And that, my friends, is simply beautiful.  

*Tariku is halfway to his goal of raising $5,000 for his clean water project through Charity:Water.  If you’d like to be involved, you can go HERE to donate.