Monthly Archives: May 2012

We Belong to the Day

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New life is born in struggle, on your knees, tearing at your soul. Agony in the depths breeds the deepest joys and ultimate thankfulness.

In Timothy it says, “We belong to the day.” We belong to the light. We are children of light. But we die a death to live and live to have that death again. The dark refines and sheds away the dead things. In a gut-wrenching pull toward the light we burst from the soil. We rush ourselves to open the bud and tear the delicate process and God doesn’t always mend but calls it good and clean and whole. A ripped mess of God’s holy glory refined for new life. In a barren field we cling to the promises of God to restore and to fill our harvest with what He’s promised. The hope that His promises are not forgotten and are coming soon brings humility and release.

In the overflow of God’s bleeding heart are our own bloody hearts whole and yet torn and bleeding. Refined but broken. The overflow of His heart drowns us and we gasp for new life amidst the outpouring. We think we may die, and we really won’t live until that death occurs.

Amidst the drowning we are being rescued. The rescue isn’t in our comfortable living without pain but it is in the sharp inhale of bloody drowning overflow where God cleans us out of ourselves and fills us with holy breath and heaven shaking life. We are then alive in divinely holy and clean disturbed beauty. In the dark, the death sheds off and new life explodes in a painful and lovely surrender to the day that draws us out of ourselves so that we can fully live.

And we can only fully surrender to the joys of life by embracing the depth of God’s rescue amidst the deep unfulfilled longing and wounded healing soul. In trusting that life comes from death comes from life. Dark sheds death and life is new again.

Passion that laughs at the terrors of hell will overflow you with a beautiful death so that you can live the fullest life of resurrection and freedom. Praise God!

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The Paradox Series: 3: Hosanna is the Battle Cry

Hosanna – “Save us!

 

If you are listening and train your ear, you will hear God whispering. Others will call out life in you and you will write it down and look back time and time again. Sometimes God will say something crazy sounding that is meant for later. Sometimes that will eventually or right now change your entire life.

 

Once, years ago, on a porch in Africa, God did that to me. In fact, He said a lot of things then that didn’t make sense until now. Now it means more than my thankful heart can hold without bursting. One of those things was that I would be a mother and a wife. I would raise up a warrior family. At the time it seemed pretty obvious, my plans had been to do that all along. So, duh God, is what I was thinking in the most eloquent tone of course. It’s been on my heart lately though because I’ve recently been reminded of the promise. No, Nana, I’m still not married, but I am holding my hands open to receive it… you know, whenever.

 

Now my literal family, the one that is tangible now, is precious. I laugh recently at the string of serious texts from my mom (non-texter) that ended in “true that”. It’s been a somewhat unconventional upbringing filled with Italian hand gestures and unnecessarily loud family gatherings. We’ve got some prayer warriors and some good examples of fight. But I want more, I want new life.

 

So, warrior kids, eh? Warrior family? Warriors who are fighting now for the promise later. What in the world?

 

It sits in my mind, sometimes stirring to dance around or get the thoughts processed.

 

How do I fight for things while relinquishing control to God? How do I hold to promises while keeping hands open to receive and not grasp?

 

The word Hosannah means “Save us!” It’s a cry of surrender. It’s a pain-laden cry of desperation for new life. Save us. We sang a song about it on Monday a few weeks ago. Then it hit me. The words rolled through me like a waterfall, “Hosannah is your battle cry.”

 

Surrender is my battle cry? “Save us” can really only get me so far, right? So far, I’m working on proclaiming truth over my husband and family, proclaiming love and truth, and getting close to God so I can be that warrior with God leading.

But “save us” is hardly the cry of a warrior, right?

 

But, the truth actually is that the core of the heart of a warrior is a heart of full surrender and vulnerability to the transformation He has for those who love. So hosanna is the act of letting go, opening the hands, receiving and not grasping.

 

In this place of warrior hearts, surrender brings forth victory. Sweet (holy family of God) victory.

 

By the way, my husband is intensely awesome, and my kids are perfect and wild adventurers of heart and heavenly earth. I can see it even now. True that.

The Paradox Series: 2: The Least of These

We’ve done it, haven’t we. We’ve sat in church, a silent bloody wreck inside. We’ve preached deliverance as something we would actually have the guts to reach for. We’ve claimed God provides but we’ve clutched our wallets and pinched every cent. We’ve spoken about good news but live as if it’s a fairy tale.

We’ve also gone out (if we can step past the church walls far enough) to serve “the least of these”.

 

The least. Who exactly are the “least”? We’ve seen it portrayed as many things, right? Are they the women in Africa wildly singing and dancing their hearts out with growling bellies and swollen feet? Are they the women fighting for their lives in brothels? Are they the single dad crying himself to sleep at night because of the fear and anxiety and pressure? Are they the pastor of a church who claims to love Jesus but can’t stop preaching damnation long enough to accept the depth of God’s love and grace? Is it me? Is it you?

Yea, I think so. Maybe.

 

 

A year ago, I was in a college group with over 50 women and we had a married couple come speak. After awhile we all split up guys and girls and the woman said, “Ask me literally anything you want.” Knowing the boy-crazy girls that I love so dearly I was waiting for a slew of relationship questions. To my biggest surprise, the question that was repeated in various forms over and over from the lips of at least a dozen girls was about loneliness. Almost everyone there, in a room of over 50 girls, felt desperately lonely. How ironic. How wild. We all sat in a room of multiple women feeling singularly lonely. Were we the least then?

 

Maybe when God says “love your neighbor” it doesn’t mean falling all over yourself to fulfill duties and laws. Maybe it doesn’t look like a check list of duties.

Feed the hungry, check.

Donate a coat, check.

Lead worship in a church, check.

 

Maybe it looks like hugging someone. Holding a baby. Changing the way you speak about a people group. Changing the negative habits that hinder you from giving and receiving love. Bringing water to the tent community in town and sitting down for a chat, weekly. Going to a strip club with the sole purpose of showing the women that they are loved no matter what choices they make and we will never call them the names they’ve been called in the past.* Maybe it’s about getting to know people more deeply and living life on the same level.

 

Maybe all of us are “the least” and maybe because we all are the least, maybe none of us are. Maybe because we are all the least, we are actually all the greatest. What a beautiful paradox.

 

In love, God pursues us all to full renewal and life. He is reckless and relentless in His pursuit and no one is safe from His wild rushing wind and heartbeat.

 

Romans 8:37-39 “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

 

*If you ever want to go into a club with the idea that you are serving the least of these, DO NOT GO. But feel free to talk to me before you do decide to go and we can have a heartfelt discussion about how much God LOVES over coffee. **

** Coffee means hanging out or Skyping.