Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on His Best

A follow-up song to yesterday's post about holding hopes with open hands.

FFH, "What if Your Best"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Holding Hopes with Open Hands

Do you ever find your heart at war with itself?

{image source}

You have a hope, a dream, a desire. You're sure it must be God-given, but you know you need to pray over it.

Somehow, hours...days...weeks...and sometimes beyond... you find that prayer still unspoken. The words won't form, the relinquishment of that dream to our Lord withheld because...

What if the answer is “no”?

I found myself in that place recently. It was a good dream, a sweet hope, nothing monumental... just an idea. And I still don't know the answer. No matter. That's not what I'm here to share about today.

I want to hold myself transparent before you. I battled to pray over it; fear tugged me back, curling my fingers ever-tighter around a dream that could very well be from Him. And if it is, how silly of me to clench my grip and refuse to hold it open before Him, to be guided, directed, embraced in it!

And yet, even though He already knew what was in my heart, it was difficult to speak it. Difficult to ask-- “is this your will?” --and actually open my ears and heart to receive His answer.

Sometimes, I'm like a child, coming to her father to ask permission for something and immediately plugging my ears and shutting my eyes so that I cannot hear the answer.

Sometimes, I'm like a bargain-hunter, bringing that lovely, tag-less find to the cash register, inquiring about the price, and staring blinkingly with a frozen smile on my face when the cashier utters a price I'm unwilling to acknowledge. I'll just stand here and wait until she says what I want to hear...

But sometimes, with much patience and grace from my Heavenly Father, he coaxes that white-knuckled grip open until I really am holding my hopes open, placing them in His hands, being gently led into a place of sincere listening. A place of obedience, even if the answer is “no.”

...and you know what? I've been there before, when the answer was "no," and the amazing thing is... he always gives reason to rejoice. To rejoice that His plan is better than anything I could contrive. To rejoice that He can soften my stubborn heart to hear and acknowledge his answer. To rejoice at the chance to trust Him in it, and look forward to seeing what he does with or instead of that hope.

“To obey is better than sacrifice,” the Bible says. And when he calls us somewhere, even when it's a change of direction for us, it's a beautiful thing.

Have you ever found yourself reluctant to surrender a hope? What helped you lay it before Him?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Light Bulbs and Lifelines

I had a lightbulb moment.

I mean literally... there were lightbulbs involved.

Three of them.

It all started as I was mixing something in the kitchen with  my trusty wooden spoon. Some high-pitched buzzing shrieked into the silence, and I began hunting for the source of the cacaphonous hum.

It's perfectly normal to circle the kitchen alternately putting your ear up to the fridge and the outlets, right?

The source of the buzz eluded me, until finally, I turned my gaze upward. A lightbulb was the culprit, shining bright and "singing" just as brightly. We turned the lights off, switched them back on, and saw that the bulb in question was a gonner, sitting dark in its recessed cavity in the ceiling.

And it wasn't the only one! I realized that two others had already been out, and so I set to replacing the scattered dead bulbs.

Those other two must have been out for weeks (at least), but I hadn't even noticed. When I flipped the lights back on, though, the room gleamed in a luminosity I'm sure I haven't seen in months. How could I not have noticed the increasing dimness?

I'll tell you how. One bulb at a time. It was a slow fade, and I'd grown accustomed to the dim light without even realizing something was amiss, until that rogue bulb spoke up.

Are we not like this in our walks with the Lord? I know I am. Little by little, I drift... whether from meaningful devotion time, habitual and heart-vested prayer, or investing in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ, these lights blink out one by one in subtle obscurity until one day, He opens my eyes to the dimness I've allowed to become normal, throws me a lifeline and pulls me from a sea of comfortable complacency.

It's true, it's a "slow fade when you give yourself away... when black and white have turned to grey..."
{quoted from this song:}

Have you experienced this at all? What was your "lightbulb" moment?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I love it. I mean really, really love it.

{how I spent a rainy day a few summers ago}

The smell, the way the grey sky makes everything look greener, the way a coming storm ushers me into a cozy chair with a cup of tea and a candle nearby, sends me flying to the windows to let that rain-laced air in... I love it.

A few weeks ago, we helped out with a retreat. Into a winter storm we drove, winding our way through slush and clouds and mountains.

My cabin was perfectly quirky and complete with its narrow spiral staircase, lofts and crannies tucked every which way, and an attic bedroom three stories up. That's where I slept.

Way up in the atticsphere, I relished the rainfall that plodded and pattered into the wee small hours, when it eventually turned to snow. I felt a little sorry for the dwellers of the lower floors, who perhaps couldn't hear the lullaby upon the roof in all its accoustic glory.

But I, tucked under the wonky sloping ceiling, relished it.

Grace is like rain, you know. Falling on the righteous and the wrong, renewing and refreshing.

“He will be like rain falling on a mown field,” Psalm 72:6 says, “like showers watering the earth.”

I wonder. When I'm close to him, ascending in prayer and noticing the things He is doing around me, giving thanks for gifts He's given, my heart begins to soften, to be cultivated, to take note. To run to him more readily, surrender to him more willingly, to be engulfed in the shower of His grace.

And then there are other times, when I've distanced myself from Him, or have fallen into a dry routine and failed to commune with Him deeply. It's like I've taken up residence in one of the lower levels of that mountain cabin: aware of Him, thankful for Him, but not tucked up, curled beneath the gentle falling of His grace, atuned to every drop falling, relishing.



(the captions on this video are a little silly, but the sound.... divine.)


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