Monday, July 25, 2011

when you feel like you’ve been beaten up

How in the world do we survive this battle?

I do feel like I’ve been beaten up.  The gut punches of this transition are the leaving of those we love and a home we loved and a life we pictured fitting beautifully and fully into for some time.  An ocean soon to separate us from our families who we also love and miss terribly when we are away from them.

The gut punches have followed to our new home in Colorado this summer first as a tremendous gift of community.  While hurting we opened ourselves up to these beautiful ones even knowing that soon we’d know pain in these relationships as the leaving would come again.  Many in so very similar situations that our closeness is unspoken; bound in the simple knowing we are experiencing the same things.  We belong together in our uprooted~ness and also in what it is to answer a call overseas—the lack of understanding, surrender, sacrifice and what and Who sustains us through that.  And in these days one by one we leave and are literally going to the four corners of the world and yes, we have Heaven, but oh how the hurt right now is real.

And then came our name change.  Announced the first night of the bi-annual U.S. Staff crulogoConference.  We, the staff, have been brought along in the process.  The leadership has been Christ-like, gracious, understanding and most of all have sought our Great God for His direction throughout the process.

The second day of media is when we all felt gut-punched.  Well respected sources and well-followed others assuming the worst.  The previous name, Campus Crusade for Christ, changed to simply Cru and thus thinking we got rid of Christ because we are ashamed of Him.  Inciting conservatives, ministry partners and putting a huge strain on many within our organization.

In the midst, we have all had a sense that this is a part of a whole.  With our family and our organizational family, these gut punches have stripped us bear and leave us with one question alone: “Whose, in the end, are we?”  If the opinions of men and women, well-meaning in their criticism, take us down or divide us, then, we are not truly living like we are His.

If the surrender of leaving and moving overseas creates a victim mentality that embitters us, then, nothing else will matter in the end.

I love how Steve Sellers, the U.S. Ministry National Director put it: 

"If Cru gets hammered in the media but Jesus gets discussed all over, I can live with that."

And in some way that makes no earthly sense that is what is deeper than the beating up.  If Jesus is proclaimed through my life, through our lives, though I am hurting and our organization is hurting, then that is right and good and I embrace it.

If we are completely misunderstood and the worst is thought, then, we cling anew to a Jesus who sees our thoughts and knows our hearts and loves us still and full and whole and new and His opinion is all that matters.

SoloDeoGloriaSisterhoodUse it on Monday

Thank You Precious Lord Jesus:

#1477-1487

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Full

Joining with Lisa-Jo in what has become a weekly, MUST-DO, post {for me, you too?}

Fastbreak2

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the Valley of Baca
   they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength;
   each one appears before God in Zion.”

~Psalm 84:5-7

Go

I didn’t know it would take a great and complete emptying to learn what it is to be Full.  I didn’t know what heart agony and numbness would have to come so that I could peel back the layers of apathy and self and all that makes this wild heart beat that is not Him.

I didn’t know but that didn’t change the fullness of time and the fullness of His plan.

When heart hurt and I couldn’t see a way through He met me through His beautiful word, the encouragement of others, and the FULL knowledge that I do nothing good, nothing true, apart from Him.

And in the midst of the emptying when all hope seemed lost, that’s when He showed me what hope truly is!

And out of the ashes He brought one who lays it all out for Him to bring a winnowing fork and work in the midst of thousands called to this same ministry in an historic week heralding a New Day.

And when I thought that the heart could not hurt any more, He brought true feeling and longing from a deadness and tears, loads and loads of tears.  He brought a heart of flesh to revive the deep and an unyielding vision to leave the days of lackluster faith behind forever and to WAKE UP! to the truth that He is Alive and Here and At Work.

The time is short and I do not want a heart that pines for anything but His coming Kingdom and so I come to the end of myself only to find a fullness that stirs me in desperate wild hope that truly, THE BEST IS YET TO COME…I have only begun to live.  Only begun to experience His fullness and may my life and everyone who knows me see an ever increasing Glory that can speak to none other than the Name of Jesus.

He is my fullness who in the fullness of time came to those who would seek Him that they might be found and full and I rejoice with you reader that His fullness is our penning in the Lamb’s Book of Life and that there is a fullness in these days that propels us out to a world that cannot go another day without Him…

{7:20…a little extraWinking smile}

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Monday, July 18, 2011

In the fight

byShellyAu_1626-2

I am learning a whole new level of battle these days.  The thick of a fight that is causing me to gasp for air to breathe out lies and breathe in Him.  His truth.  His hope to shed light upon the miry clay pit I’ve fallen into.

I was greatly heartened this morning to find out that I am in good company:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?   Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

~Psalm 42

Can’t you just hear the battle?

The dark words are the battle with the doubts and lies and the red bolded are how the psalmist is fighting with truth and desire for God.  I found myself resonating so deeply with this same battle.

I was also encouraged to read this:

“Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you.  Though the light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth.  While you focus on me in trust, you rise ever so slowly…Finally, you can reach up and grasp my hand.  I will pull you into the Light again.  I will gently cleanse you, washing off the clinging mire.  I will cover you with my righteousness and walk with you down the path of Life.”

~Jesus Calling (Sarah Young, July 16)

And then to read this Francois Fenelon quote here:

“[A]ll our falls are useful if they strip us of a disastrous confidence in ourselves . . . God never makes us sensible of our weakness except to give us of His strength.”

In the midst of the fight of my life, I am so encouraged that it is truly working for my good.  I am in great company and soon I will be on higher ground.  Perhaps the pit is what I fell into on the latest ascent upon that spiritual mountain I’ve been climbing.  Though it is a pit and there is mud and muck, it is at a higher place than I’ve been before and a more pure light than I’ve ever seen is what revives my soul. 

It’s the reminders of sure victory like this, that stir the deep to not lose heart and keep fighting.

What about you?  Are you in a spiritual fight?  What has our Great God been teaching you about the journey and most of all, His love?

SoloDeoGloriaSisterhoodUse it on Monday

Praise You God Who is My Only Hope:

  • Your love WILL SEE ME THROUGH.
  • Nothing can separate me from Your love.
  • No one can pluck me from Your hand.
  • You are ‘not picking on me, but perfecting me’ {a quote from the National Director of Student Venture as he shared from his heart on Saturday}
  • A forebearing husband…reflecting Your heart in the midst of the fray and the ‘friendly fire’ that has wounded him.
  • Opportunities to be encouraged in how the Student Venture ministry is expanding in the U.S. AND around the globe!
  • Sweet friends to re-connect.
  • This wonderful woman, Cherry, who You’ve knit my heart to through blogging—face-to-face meeting and picking up right where our blogs left offSmile
  • My kids:
    • That they love me even when I’m a struggling Mommy
    • That they love lap cuddles and hair smoothing still
    • That JJ feels lost and expresses his emotions about it
    • That Susie is not feeling the same things
    • The ways that they call me daily to depend on you
    • For son loving to ride daughter’s pink and purple tricycle
    • For daughter’s wild-eyed zest for life!
  • For all that you are doing for the days ahead—making me ready to thrive in a foreign land
  • That You don’t call us to see everything, just what’s before us—this moment!
  • The Best, Yes, Lord, the Best YET TO COME!!!  My soul hopes in and waits for YOU!!!

#1458-1476

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

when loss flavors everything…

{This week Lisa-Jo spent a little more than 5 minutes on loss and I heartily accepted her invitation to do the same…}

byShellyAu_1284

There was a time when it didn’t seem as though I could bear disappointment.  At least that’s what my teachers in elementary school thought when they gave me the lowest score in this category.

Had they thrown down a gauntlet that this whole winding life I have sought to fight?

I do not know if the determination to overcome came as a result of the seasons of loss that came early and painfully into my life, or if the crashing disappointment challenged every last will to live and therefore I had to find a way to survive.  Either way I heard myself described as ‘resilient’ this week and it brought a great courage to my soul.

Yet, I have never overcome that crashing disappointment in the face of loss.

The tears for me have often come at inappropriate times or times when they are seen as manipulative.  I don’t know why.  This complex mix called ‘me’ who wears that heart on her sleeve still struggles with the pain that is deepest, leaving it to furrow through normal moments where disappointment is small and yet that deep full river of inner grief is tapped and overflows.

When we lost the farm I cried on the field hockey field.  When my mother was chronically ill and home was a rather dark place I cried at the ‘B’ I received.  When my heart was broken by someone I loved, I cried at a movie I watched.  When my mother died I cried over the meal I burnt or the beef that went bad. 

And a deep sense of loss flavors all of my inner world in these days.  I grapple with a profound sense of a losing that seems it will markedly touch each step of this journey.  The losses string together in the span of my thirty seven years and I cannot look at anything but for the reality of losing it.

It is a necessary melancholy of sorts.  An embrace of all that makes this world not my Home.  It stirs a restless soul searching for a place of safety and security when each object of focus becomes a place of keen loss.

I know the answers.

I know that He is the fullness that touches from a changeless eternity and binds up in promises of all things new.  Forever.  I know that rest happens no where else.

But there is a place.  A profound place.   Where soul identifies with loss and grief and they have irreversibly defined me.  And as my awareness is deep of this inner place, I rest somehow in what cannot be achieved if the losses were not there.  If all remained and was fulfilled and there were no dying, then, when or how would I ever long for another world.  How would I find the strength to live altogether His if loss were written out of the story?

Loss is Gain.  Losing is Finding.  And there is a Great Company and a Great King and High Priest who allows that to be the defining element of His story.  Into Him I press with the frailty of these days and the surety of future loss. 

And as into Him I press I find a strange and other worldly depth, and peace, that lack of loss would not have achieved. Perhaps that is how He defines resilience?

byShellyAu_1429


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Climbing Mountains and All that is the Journey

When we started our trek, THIS is what we saw…

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A little less than four hours later, THIS is what we saw…and our JOY was palpable.

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I was invited by a friend just the night before to hike Grays Peak with her brother.  He said we would drive up fairly high and it was only a 1-1.5 mile hike.  I debated.  My husband encouraged me to go and the next thing I know it’s 4:45 am and dark and I am headed to a ‘fourteener’ in the Rockies.

Had I known all that would be required (it was actually 3.5 miles and 4000ft. up we climbed!), I probably wouldn’t have jumped in.  But I’m so glad I didn’t know and I did go!  I WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT ON SO MUCH! 

My friend’s brother, experienced in hikes like these (actually ones far tougher) gave us a quick lesson on the forced breathing as the oxygen saturation would be 30% of sea level air till we got to the top.  He also encouraged us that it was a ‘marathon NOT a sprint!’  This was so helpful for our perspective both mentally and physically.  And also as we paced ourselves.

I’m imagining the spiritual analogies jumping out at you as they are at me.  Frequent stops to secure enough oxygen to continue the journey.  Pace for the season and shape of your life.  A wise guide to encourage and lead you.  And the incredible HOPE of reaching the summit.  The heights and the GORGEOUS view attained after a taxing, strenuous hike to the top.  So often, wanting to quit, because there is ‘just enough’ beauty to satisfy—yet you are compelled to KEEP GOING…your deepest self yearning for a glory yet unseen.

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I’ve been climbing a spiritual mountain all of my life. As a wise new friend shared of herself, though I am tired of circling back to the same issues (lacking the strength to breathe well and bound up effortlessly) and wanting to get off of the mountain, the top is Heaven and so I’m staying on!

Our intensive overseas training is nearly done.  And I have been gasping for air.  I didn’t expect my lungs to burn and struggle for air so much at this point in the journey.  I didn’t expect to be faced with so many deep struggles that keep me from my heart’s desire.  Him.

Yet, there is an incredible HOPE that the struggle and reality of the mess I am is my struggling to breathe and develop lungs ready for the new heights in the journey.  Beauty.  His Beauty.  Is vaster, grander, more mind, soul, heart-blowing than I could have ever imagined.

And so I embrace the mess.  My incredible frailty with unwavering hope.  A hope that does not disappoint.

“And we know that the WHOLE CREATION has been groaning in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but WE who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we WAIT EAGERLY for our adoption as sons, the REDEMPTION of our bodies.  For in THIS HOPE we were saved.  Now, HOPE that is seen is NO HOPE, for who hopes for what he sees?  But, IF WE HOPE FOR WHAT WE DO NOT SEE, we wait for it with patience.”

~Romans 8:22-25

Thank You My Faithful Keeper:

  • YOU KNOW ALL THAT’S IN MY HEART!
  • YOU LOVE ME STILL!
  • YOU WILL NEVER LOSE PATIENCE WITH ME!
  • YOU ARE LOVE AND IT WILL NOT LET ME GO!
  • YOU ARE UPROOTING ALL!
  • YOU ARE STRIPPING ME BARE!
  • YOU ARE WOUNDING TO HEAL!
  • YOU ARE CRIPPLING TO RUN!
  • YOU ARE LAYING LOW TO RAISE UP!
  • YOU ARE CHANGING ME—FROM ONE DEGREE OF GLORY TO ANOTHER!
  • BECAUSE OF YOU…THE BEST, ALWAYS AND EVER, IS YET TO COME!
    • 14 MILLION FEET MOUNTAINS IN HEAVEN
    • THAT WE’LL RUN UP AND DOWN OR FLY OVER THEM WITH WINGS!
    • THAT YOUR SONG WILL DROWN OUT ALL OTHERS!
    • THAT WE WILL HAVE ETERNITY TO TAKE IN YOUR BEAUTY!
    • YOU, THE SPLENDOR OF YOUR MAJESTY, FILLING ALL THAT IS…AHHH, YES…EVEN SO, LORD COME!

#1443-1457

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Grateful…

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Rocky Mt. National Park 014

Grateful…

for love and life and all that’s getting in the way of loving and living right now.  For the mess I am and the mess I make of it all and how He shows me that I might lay all things I do down as filthy rags and cling GRATEFUL to a Savior. A Redeemer.  My only hope.

thankful for the sickness that reminds us of health.  for all it’s broken down in me this past week and how the desperation leads me to the desperate cries of an orphan longing to be adopted, loved and trusting in a strength and Home she always has.

Grateful for all that I love that I grieve in these days.  For all of the missing and tearing away that I don’t think I can survive, but I will…because He has made me an overcomer.  I am grateful for this because I have loved so and had so many gardens of life in this journey and they all seem to have taken a piece of me to leave and so yes, the living has happened and so I wax grateful.

Grateful for all that He is—the vision of heart, soul, life and the ways that I know I survive no other way than Him in these days and yet, was there ever another hope? Grateful that His patience never ends, His love is unfailing, His mercies new every morning, His grace unceasing and that in the midst of the hard days and seasons and doubts and fears, He remains the Unchanging One…so I am Grateful for the stripping bare and laying down of all the pretense, because somehow, some way I know it is the only way to Life.

And I want to live.


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Monday, July 4, 2011

in the uprooting…

America_-_oak_tree_in_new_england_sunrise

In the uprooting

I surrender my life

my plans

my purposes.

In the uprooting

I let go

of what passes away.

In the uprooting

I give Him back

the life I owe.

In the uprooting

Good gifts return

to the Giver.

In the uprooting

False securities

are stripped away.

In the uprooting

I find Who and

Whose I am.

In the uprooting

I learn what it is

to be sustained by Him.

In the uprooting

I become a wanderer

an exile

a traveler longing for Home.

so that, in the uprooting

the lost and

hopeless may find

the way to Love.

AWA 7/3/11

Thank You, Precious Lord of my life:

  • that YOU. ARE. WORTHY. of all of us.
  • that I can’t out~give You!
  • that You give strength to the weary
  • that You increase the power of the weak
  • that You make a way
  • for fresh eyes to trust You
  • for melancholy
  • for grief
  • for hope
  • for Heaven come down
  • for Heaven infinite to know FULLY one day
  • for the chance to be a part of Your Story
  • for how I can trust You to write my story
  • that redemption is past, present and future reality
  • for infinite depths yet to learn and know
  • for eternity to learn and grow
  • for rootless~ness in this world
  • for roots in YOU
  • for roots in family—a precious one
  • for the little lovely things:
    • for time spent as a family…a Sabbath
    • for baby girl growing (a hard eucharisteo)
    • for her stopping to suck her thumb (believe it or not, hard too)
    • for new words and ways always—LIFE!
    • for a son who loves to cuddle
    • for growth and three-year-old-ness yet
    • for childcare workers who cleaned my kids’ messes
    • for big girl swings already (happy and hard)
    • for splash pad puddles
    • for sand pit ‘diggers’
    • for spinning wheels
    • for slides and healthy climbers
    • for pink and purple tricycles they BOTH likeWinking smile
    • for new friends for each…
  • for chances to be with him:
    • for marriage matters time
    • for missing each other making together sweeter
    • for 8 YEARS tomorrow! of wedded blissSmile
    • for a date and hike with volunteer childcare and money to spend!!!
    • for a special date tomorrow
    • for friends offering to watch the kids
    • for THE BEST YET TO COME…TOGETHER!!!

#1398-1442

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