I remember sovereign love in the pain

Yesterday my family all gathered together for the first time in two years. It was to be a weekend full of quiet reunion and just living together for a few rare days. Then came in one son and brother, with heaviness and pain showing in his face and his step; yes, it was a lingering health issue we all knew about- it was easy to forget his pain because it was so daily and familiar. Honestly, when I saw it was worse, I wished it away and got a little angry. This, of all days to be weighed down by sickness! when we were all in one place for once and just trying to have a party before reality set in again.

And then my Daddy came in and gathered us all together. “We need to pray,” he said, “because when one member hurts we all hurt.” With his Bible trembling in his rough hands, he read from psalm 91, wavering but always coming back with strength. And he prayed. The often absent brother prayed too, full of love and boldness and coming to the throne for his brother. And I wept… because here I found meaning in the pain that I had wished would go away. It wrapped us all closer together in the arms of God and in such a deep family love that I could feel it, and I remembered that He does all things well.

the eagle: on flying high

“On a day in the autumn, I saw a prairie eagle mortally wounded by a rifle shot. His eye still gleamed like a circle of light. Then he slowly turned his head, and gave one more searching and longing look at the sky. He had often swept those starry spaces with his wonderful wings. The beautiful sky was the home of his heart. It was the eagle’s domain. A thousand times he had exploited there his splendid strength. In those far away heights be had played with the lightnings, and raced with the winds, and now, so far away from home, the eagle lay dying, done to the death, because for once he forgot and flew too low. The soul is that eagle. This is not its home. It must not lose the skyward look. We must keep faith, we must keep hope, we must keep courage, we must keep Christ. We would better creep away from the battlefield at once if we are not going to be brave. There is no time for the soul to stampede. Keep the skyward look, my soul; keep the skyward look!”

-Streams in the Desert

in which i discover the dirty definition of ministry

I was so excited about today that I kept waking up, afraid I would miss my alarm. I get to be with horses on a ranch with cool people & cowboys and barns! And then we arrived at a perfect slum of a farm with broken down buildings, shaggy horses with their bones sticking out, and wet dogs everywhere. There was red mud all over and no cool people in sight… no picturesque barns, no sprawling ranch house. Just mud and animals. I stood in my expensive sneakers and clean jeans, wanting to prove myself – and I did, being the farm girl that I am. I carried hay and stacked wood with the best of them, and was not afraid of the dogs or the beetles or the ants; all the while thinking that I had expected to be ministered to, really, with a picnic lunch maybe, and pretty barns and groomed horses. Instead I find a place that really needs me and what I have to give. I find that ministry is all about giving, as Christ gave, coming down to do the dirty work that no one else wanted to do. Even though I keep telling myself I’m crazy, I will go back to the sweat and the dirt… if only because they won’t ask for my help, but they really need it. here, I can serve as He served.

for when my conviction gets shaky

Sometimes when I feel myself slipping back to the place of heaviness, of obligation and of earth, I need to go somewhere quiet and remember. I need to remember that I am not held by anyone else’s preferences, expectations, or convictions; I find my code of living in God’s Word alone. And also, I am not a permanent resident of earth… God and I have big plans for real life, after I die. I can live free and in the overwhelming love of God. I will not be held back by things that I can feel, taste, and touch! I need to find the truth again that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

breath = life = God

Watching the snow blowing and drifting today, I saw a lot of dead trees and solitude. Call me morbid, but that naturally led to thinking about death. I thought about how strange it is to look down at the empty body of someone you love, and knowing that they aren’t there any more. God just stopped giving them their next breath, and they left this world for the next. After all, the difference between a living body and a dead one is the breath of God; the same breath that He breathed into Adam’s nostrils. That breath, for God, was a tiny act- but it contained the entire human race. God is life, and life is God. The very Hebrew word for God, Yahweh, is said to sound like someone taking a breath when it is pronounced in Hebrew. With every breath that I take, I am acknowledging my Creator who is constantly giving me the breath of life.

thoughts from above the clouds

When the wait for Christmas break ended and the plane lifted off the ground, I cried. I’m headed home… and He said, haven’t I been faithful? I love seeing the patterns of blue and orange city lights in the darkness, so far below- they always show me how tiny my own world is. And still, he chooses to be involved in my life & make an intricate plan just for me. And then we broke through the clouds and the world was gone, and there were only clouds- up there, where only He can walk. It’s His domain, and He made every detail of it. After the crowds and stress of the semester, it is peaceful to be here, just praying and praising Him for the beauty of who He is.

steadfast love in the morning

If you’ve ever been so tired that you run into closed doors and react about ten seconds after something happens, you know what college life is like. In the morning, I usually wake up having forgotten about God’s love for me… all I want is more sleep, and I feel that I were better dead than up early and at college about a million miles from home. I dread waking up just because of the depression that hits me. So this morning, my first conscious thoughts went something like this: “I hate alarm clocks. dear God, help me. I don’t want to be depressed today. I hate my life. why am I even alive? dear God, is it wrong to want heaven so much? I am sorry I am so discontented… I want to go home, dear Father, just take me home.  I can’t take any more of this. The Lord is my light and my salvation…” Never mind taking one day at a time, I take one second at a time. Thank God for His love in the morning and His faithfulness at night (Psalm 92:2).

valley of vision

Who can fathom immeasurable love?

As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses,

so does the spirit exceed the rational in its knowledge of thee.

Thou has given me understanding to compass the earth,

measure the sun, moon, stars, universe,

but above all to know thee, the only true God.

I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,

here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;

Now I shall know but a small portion of what I shall know,

here in part, there in perfection,

here a glimpse, there a glory.

To enjoy thee is life eternal, and to enjoy is to know.

Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually.

  -Valley of Vision