Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Uprooting :: Golden Threads for the Journey {Part 7}

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 001

It is true to say that I’m learning about the things that I would never choose for myself.

Oh how my heart, my identity, my sense of self-assurance craves comfort.  I want {right now} a life that exudes confidence.  I want a life with friends already made right here.  I want a life where what is convenient is readily available. I want. I want. Oh, how I want…

But this is only one side of the story.  Long ago and in the re-commitment needed to walk ahead I continue to choose to lay down what I want on the surface of things and what the fleshy front of my heart craves insatiably.

It is true.  I staked my claim long ago to invest in eternal things at the sacrifice of comfort, convenience or an easy life.  But the reality is that that is never intended to be a once-in-time event.

No, the way of the Master who guides this journey, my journey, reaches far deeper and extends far more intricately into the stuff, the marrow, the life-giving blood pumping breath needed to sustain me.

And I am learning that there is only one place that will take me further.  It is a place of humility and surrender.  It is a place of continually realizing all I cannot do in my own strength.  It is an embracing and never-letting-go of this next thread ::

It is only in a journey that brings me face-to-face with my weakness that I can truly become strong.

On Sunday, our pastor opened up a dear and true passage with a dear and true truth.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me...

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

He spoke of this being the pinnacle of this entire letter to the Corinthians.  And I would say, too, that it is the pinnacle of this journey in moving overseas, in learning a whole new life, in rendering as my own the calling of stranger and alien in this world.

I cannot hope to serve Him in this life if I am unwilling to face my utter weakness. 

Some things are circumstantial...like having a baby a mere six months after moving overseas.

Some things are personality…like never having been the daring kind, the one to ‘just do it’ but having that oh-so-often, oh-so-timid heart.

Some things are are part and parcel of the missionary call…like being the odd ball, the newcomer, the stranger in a foreign land.

But no matter the origin, all of this means that I can not take very many steps ahead without slamming into that wall of my own weakness.  There is not the comfort of success in new endeavors, at least not yet.  All that seems to loom most days is the overwhelming reality of all yet to be learned, tackled, surmounted.

I have ranted and raved and questioned only to land squarely back on the truth that I have been called.  It does not matter that I am fairly certain there are MANY others who could do this life better.  It doesn’t matter that on the standards of this world, the failures have likely been many in a few months time.  And it doesn’t matter that most of the time I think I am quite useless.  It doesn’t matter in the sense that I should doubt my, our, calling.  Rather it is an affirmation of the hand of an All-Wise Loving Heavenly Father guiding each step of my life.

He knows the thoughts that would defeat and meets me in them if I but keep a heart open to Him.  He knows I am weary and it is hard.  He lavishes compassion and assurance even as He reminds that this is the only way to become strong.  This is the only way to exude the power of Christ.

He has never been the One who calls the strong…the most obvious choice.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Ruth, David, Mary, Peter and so many more remind me of His ways.  The Bible bears the story of the broken who were called to a life far outside of comfort where their weakness was that ever pressing mountain to climb.  The broken, the weary, yet the faithful who in their myriad failures turned to the Only One who could truly meet them.  truly heal.  truly make their lives something beautiful.

He knows, friends, He knows.  He sees.  He cares.  And all that makes you weak bears a surpassing greatness that far outweighs your weakness.  Don’t lose heart.  Don’t give up.  And know, with me, the glorious company that you keep.  It spans time and this valley of tears with Heaven and our heart’s desire as that indestructible Forever Prize.





Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Look

Go ::

it’s a great big city that has become my home.

and I’m about ready to have a baby, so, I haven’t been venturing out into that great big city too much…

but, on days like today when I do go around downtown, I am struck again

with the sheer reality of so many lives in such close proximity to mine.

And I wonder, what are their stories?  where is the silent pain that eats them as

they go through the motions of life, afraid to really be present and live.

and in the impersonal avoidance of looks on the subway or tram or bus,

I wonder at the radical act that a smile is.

I am reminded again of the barriers and walls that our little ones

break down simply when they smile at a stranger and the smile they receive back

is well, priceless.

And it’s overwhelming to think of being called to a place with so many lives and so much need and me, I’m so frail and trying to keep what’s mine and nest because that’s what full-term pregnant women do.

But deep inside and bubbling in fountains of full and true emotion there are prayers of utter brokenness, prayers cried out in humility and overwhelming sense of need for the opportunities, the heart, the life that

can somehow have an impact in this vast sea...




Friday, October 12, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Race


Go ::

And it’s a new day and the mercies that grace glide right off of a heart and mind that races and a 36 week pregnant body that knows that there is no physical race she can run right now.

And the race is real and the race has a vortex that pulls and calls for perfection.  And the voice is real and yet the circumstances render perfection impossible.

And the kids they want to just play at home but it’s time for school and there’s enough squatting and tying shoes and trying to breath {literally} and everything that can go wrong does…son has a poopy accident AFTER we’re in the car and daughter is just wanting the space to live and laugh and not be rushed and mommy bends down and fails to breathe in any way as she changes the poo in the apartment garage.

And then we race to school and the kids they remind me in the traffic to laugh and live in joy and that I have every chance to make their day with my own smile and joy and I know that it is against the human race to choose joy…

But joy I must, joy I am made for…Joy or rather ‘Source of Joy’ is my name given not as a mistake but as a promise of the life I’m meant to live.

And all of my might wants the race…the race that is long and hard and yet the one that sees the little things and loves in the grind and triumphs when the odds are against and looks to Heaven and the author and finisher of the only Race that matters who sets aside everything that would hold him back and for joy, eternal joy and Heaven’s prize takes the crown and reigns in love and redemption and leads me, leads us, all of the fighters for and towards what will matter forever and this is the race that digs deep and reminds what we’re made of and must find what we’re made of and wouldn’t change the course for all of the perfection in the world.




Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Welcome

17 (9 of 10)


Welcome is home and heart and hands.

Welcome is messy and marvelous.

Welcome never lets go or give up but is always seeking like the One she follows who came to ‘seek and save the lost’.

Welcome is unconditional yet intentional.

Welcome is full-hearted and holds nothing back.

Welcome removes self-interest and agenda.

Welcome transforms.

Welcome is the empathy with the stranger, the alien, the tired, bruised and broken.

Welcome challenges me to the core…I write about it and I am humbled at each thought.

I know that there is no half way to the Welcome that glorifies Him because there has been no half-way or part way but the infinite and complete way of laying down all that it is to be God to Welcome us.

Welcome touches Heaven and speaks of things to come…the glorious Feast of the Lamb…the great Forever Wedding where all the weary and worn and torn and taken and desperate and dear of His heart will dance.

Welcome is always an invitation first to the welcom~er to be enfolded in the loving arms that will never let go who loves intimately and intricately and initiated before time began.

Welcome brings us Home as much as it draws the fellow weary and wounded along the way.




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Uprooting :: Golden Threads for the Journey {Part 6}

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As much as this is a golden thread, it is, I pray, as woven with all of the other golden threads, a golden perspective.

Though it is a lonely and a longing peace, I can say I do have this peace in these days as I cling to this truth, this sixth golden thread ::

It ALL takes time AND DON’T FORGET the Time that really matters.

Practically, this means, everything takes longer when moving overseas. This is because I am adjusting to a new culture, a new paradigm and way of life. And I am definitely navigating that in an open-ended way, unsure when each piece of my life will assume a ‘new normal’. 

There are specific things that take longer here, in this part of the world, my new home

Like cooking'…just about everything.  For example, when making chocolate chip cookies I have to allow that extra time to chop up the chocolate because I can’t get chocolate chips here.  Sometimes I might have some stashed in the freezer that have come over in a care package {hint, hint;}, but still, I use those sparingly.

Then, there’s something like laundry.  First, washing machines just take longer to work.  I can run a fairly good cycle in about one hour, which is better than most European machines.  But, the best cycle is about 1.5 hours.  Then, when the wash is done, as much as is possible, it is usually hung out to dry on drying racks.  This is something I actually am thankful I can do and am glad that much of the year it is my best option.  Clothes last longer and for me, I think of my Mama whenever I’m hanging clothes out, because as much as she could, this is what she did.  BUT, all of this means more time to wash and dry and usually some kind of laundry needs to be done daily to keep up with it.  And, I haven’t even added a newborn with his loads of laundry, yetWinking smile

But even as I write this, there is some perspective that I want to make clear.  I live in a major metropolitan city and have access to far more ingredients for cooking just about anything I want, even if it’s from scratch.  I suffer from little lacks like Pillsbury crescent rolls for those oh-so-many quick & good recipes.  BUT, I am STILL able to access many times more than MANY parts of the world can and MUCH MORE than so many missionaries could here 20 or 30 years ago.

However, the area that is the hardest is relationships.  I could lament for hours, if I let myself, over the countless ‘goodbyes’ and leaving of dear friendships that have been built over my life.  Each is a gift and forever will be, but, I am separated from all of these by thousands of miles.  And, more, I am called to live HERE.  This means new relationships in a new culture amidst juggling all of the regular stuff that takes more time.  Oh, and then there is the baby.

This sweet son who will make his entrance into the world in a month or so, grew in my heart before he grew in me.  I am so thankful and blessed to be walking through my third healthy pregnancy and shame on me if I take that for granted ONE. SECOND.  It is pure gift.

On the other hand, if I can even call it that, the timing of having him now is delaying a lot of adjusting for me and a lot of relationship building.  So, what do I do with that?

I cry.  Not really, but sort of, deep inside and I lay it all before the One who knows and who is the Blessed Controller of my life.  His timing is perfect and He is working from the only Time that matters…Eternity.

I can always find joy in Him, in nurturing my marriage and the two children outside of me and the one inside a little longer.   And I can learn patience as one of the deepest and hardest fought lessons is all the more woven into my life through this overseas adjustment.

And so there is struggle but more, there is peace as I watch Him do His work in gently weaving and creating that beautiful tapestry in His impeccable timing.  He knows the end from the beginning and I can trust Him for all I do not yet see or must wait to see.

Where, oh where, would I be without that??





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