Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Than I Can Handle

Isn’t everything you have 
and everything you are 
sheer gifts from God? 
You already have all you need. 
You already have more access 
to God than you can handle. 
~1 Corinthians 4:7,8
Some truths seep out from my pores
more quickly than others.
Some truths, through years of practice
and by God's sheer mercy and grace,
are large enough, for the most part,
to stay put.
But there are those times
when I get overwhelmed with
life and expectations.
And I forget the truth that 
I have everything I need.

I so want my first response to be:
Lord, I trust You going into this.
I am anxious, in a good way, to see
how we are going to pull this one off.
Help me handle just a little more
access to Your throne of grace!
This truth has had seasonal application.
I have only needed it during those times
when I am overwhelmed.
But God has been talking to me
about leading a life of rest.
I cannot allow this truth to seep out.

Each day is a gift with more access
to His enabling grace than I can
dare ask or imagine.
Whether I am faced with pressures
and I know not how to breathe
or I am faced with nothing
more than sitting and pondering...
it is all about the truth of His grace.
I want to expect as much access
as He wants me to have.
This is a truth I have to grow
that it stops seeping out.
He paid too great a price
for me to expect too little.
I already have all I need.
Whatever that might be.
And, with His grace and mercy,
I stand in a posture of rest
ready to receive every last bit.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Umbrella of Grace

The dream of my life is to lie down
by a slow river and stare at the light in the trees--
to learn something of being nothing a little while
by the rich lens of attention.
~Mary Oliver

The rich lens of attention.
I was reading this snippet from a poem
and got stuck on that phrase.
Attention means a stretching toward something
from its Latin roots ad + tenere.
Many days I run too fast to stretch 
toward any one thing.
Other days everything rushes past me
and I don't notice one anything.

Yesterday I had the luxurious privilege  
of just sitting on the beach.
I had a chance to pay attention.
I looked up at the umbrella.
I was grateful for vibrant color and blue sky.
And for clouds. And for contrast.
I looked out at the ocean.
The water would change color each time
the sun slipped behind a cloud.
And the waves rolled in, not perfectly patterned, 
but randomly playful.
I wanted to stay there forever.

That day was a gift to me.
The Lord had been speaking to me
about rest and identity.
In return and rest you will be saved;
quietness and trust will be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15
My temptation was in wanting to take that gift
and hoard it, praying for another like it,
believing rest has to look just like it.
But He assured me that every day is a gift. 
Striving is what happens when we decide it 
has to look a certain way and spend ourselves
orchestrating that look--
kind of like self-gifting--
assuming we'll never get it any other way.

He spoke a word of release and rest over me.
I am going to help you look 
through My lens of attention so that
you are able to stretch toward the thing 
that I am wanting to show you.
You will hear Me more clearly 
and so your response to life will become
more and more a response to My voice.
As I gave My life away 
by hearing My Father's voice,
so you will give away yours by hearing Mine.
Every day a gift of rest.
Every day a strengthening through trust.
You will stretch toward Me,
and we will stretch toward others.
Your quiet trust in Me allows a
 "beach chair" of rest for you every day.
When you are at rest,
you look a little bit more like Me.
My umbrella of grace 
is ever over you to rest in Me.
Oh, and one of these days, 
we just may go back to the beach.

I'm pretty sure I heard Him say that last line.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

He Finds Me

OK, I'm a little dazzled with technology.
When I am driving amidst thousands of other cars,
and the map lady finds me, I'm a little in awe of that.
How does she know that I'm not in the car ahead of me?
And when I make the teeniest turn in the wrong direction,
she announces that she is rerouting me.
Thank you map lady.
I have been traveling for the past weeks
and sometimes I have wondered if 
the Lord knows where I am.
I am not in my usual spot.
And then I read the psalms.

O Lord, You know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You go before me and follow me.
Such knowledge is too great to understand!
I can never escape from Your Spirit!
I can never get away from Your presence!
Psalm 139
The map app is a constant reminder
of the Lord's faithfulness to us...
that He not only always knows where we are
but He knows everything about us.
If I am sensitive, I can hear HIm
continually giving me directions
and occasionally rerouting me.
He finds me even when
I'm not in my usual spot.
Technology may dazzle me,
but the faithfulness of the Lord
overwhelms and humbles me.
Thank You, Lord, for always finding me 
and loving me right where I am.
And thank You for sharing Your secrets
with the people that created those map apps.
I do love the practical applications
of Your great truths.

Such knowledge is too great to understand.
Lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Forest and the Tree

It is not the "either or" that messes with us;
it is the "and and both."
I set before you life or death. Choose life.
Okay, that was easy.
But what constitutes life?
Is it big dreams, lofty goals, 
living with passion?
Or is it quietness and rest, 
appreciating the little things?
And, obviously, the answer is yes.
Choosing life isn't much of a choice.
But then there are the daily decisions
for which there is no clear direction.
Is it pouring out the alabaster jar
of my costly time?
Or is it being led beside still waters
and waiting in quietness and rest?
Both options are perfectly legitimate.
We read a book about leaving nothing on the table.
We read a book about the regret of busy lives.
Aggghhhhh...which is it???
We are tempted to imbibe in discouragement, 
maybe even a touch of confusion.

And then we realize that this is on purpose.
His written word gives us our general guidelines
which can not be moved.
But His spoken word gives us our specifics
that may look different from one day to the next.
One day we can be pouring out,
the next day being poured over.
The temptation, especially in transition seasons,
is to evaluate our yesterdays by today's word.
But unless it is a specific word of adjustment,
His word for today is a word for today.
It doesn't negate yesterday.
When we follow Him step by step,
every step becomes a yesterday.
And every yesterday can become sacred.

I wanted them to trust Me and obey My voice. 
In those early days, I told them, 
“I will be your God, and you will be My people. 
Follow Me every step of the way 
into a life that is good.”
~Jeremiah 7:23
Living a life without regret means
knowing His written word so well
that we can hear Him beckoning us 
to follow Him every step of the way
into a life that is good.
Some days wild and passionate.
Some days quiet and restful.
Some days "and and both."
The forest and the tree.

Image: 123rf.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dream On

Because of His power 
that is at work within us, 
He is able to carry out His purpose 
and do far over and above all 
that we dare ask or think--
infinitely beyond our highest prayers, 
desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams...
Ephesians 3:20

If your dreams don't scare you,
then they're not big enough.
I had just read this inspirational quote and
 stopped to wonder whether my dreams were
big enough. Or high enough. Or important enough.
Especially in this transition season of life.
As the old song goes,
Dream on. Dream on.
Dream until your dreams come true.
Then I read Ephesians 3:20.
It took some of the pressure off.
Because His power is always at work in us 
to carry out HIS purposes and do 
far over and above all that we dare ask
and infinitely beyond our dreams.
Seeing that He does "infinitely beyond"
anything that we can dream,
our dreams will always be too small.

Inspirational quotes awaken something in us
and reveal an element of truth.
But Truth rocks our world.
 Today, it has caused me to 
breathe deeply and rest  
in His infinite goodness and power 
to both dream and do through me.
He dreams on and on.
Our dreams need to be about
 His dreams coming true.

A life where love gets priority
over every desire to act otherly
puts Him at the center of all we do.
The only way our dreams should scare us
is if they are about us.

Image: 5starsdreams.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Curve Balls

No God but You acts for the good
of those who wait on You.
Isaiah 64:4

I am back east right now visiting my dad.
In this house we have spent many days
rooting for the Mets and 
cheering against the Yanks.
Last night had been one of those nights
where our teams won and lost respectively.
Baseball is priority in this house.

This morning I was out for a run, 
pondering a couple of situations
that were on my mind.
A mind is a curious thing.
It can take one scenario all the way
down about a hundred roads and
consider every possible outcome.
Well, not every possible outcome.
Usually only the ones that bring fear or doubt.

The Lord began talking baseball to me.
If you'll not swing at the curve balls 
that come flying your way,
I'll make sure you get the walk.
Really Lord? Baseball?
We talked back and forth for a while.
He explained to me that the curve balls 
were designed to get me swinging.
They are thrown with the intention of
getting me to strike out.
He said that if I would stand and 
not flinch at the balls, 
He would call the game.
He would call the pitch for what it was.
Curve balls drop suddenly at the plate
and don't always hit the strike zone.
Trust Me to umpire the game
and act on your behalf.
I will see that you get on base with a walk.
It is so much easier that way.

I just had a situation which I would
describe as a curve ball.
Don't swing, Kathy.
Just stand and let it go.

Ball one.

Image: http://www.streetcredart.com/sports.htm

Monday, July 8, 2013

It is Not Always What it Appears

...for water will flow in the desert,
streams in the wilderness.
The dry soil will become a pool of water,
the parched ground springs of water.
~Isaiah 35:6-7
Are you in a desert?
That arid land is not what it appears.
Are you in a wilderness?
That barren terrain is not the end of the story.
For God isn't bound by our landscape.
He can pop a pool of water 
wherever He desires.
He can breathe a breath of life 
wherever He sees need.
His abundant life is everywhere.
He just doesn't always 
make everything obvious.
There are times that He leads us, 
but we don't know if or when 
we will actually see the signs of life.
We go along, hoping we will find it 
"just around the bend."
It doesn't mean He has left us, 
for He will never forsake us, no never.
But He is taking us to a new place.
And we have no words, 
no revelation to speak of.
Just a heart that is growing 
in trust and peace.
I am learning to find His eternal springs
amidst the dry desert soil.
I am learning to find His abundant life
in the barren wilderness.
Because He turns parched grounds
into pools of water.
The desert is the perfect landscape
for calling forth a pool out of springs.
Although He created all we see,
He is not a God of the natural realm.
He is trying to get me to lift my eyes up 
on this journey to deeper rest.
For His pools don't come from down under;
they spring forth from above,
from His eternal realm of rest.
In places my natural eyes can not see.
I am extremely grateful not be be bound
by the natural landscape.
The places that spring from UP
are so much better.