Tuesday, February 26, 2013

selah

I don't cry that much. I think my norm is to think i'm tougher than I am. So the other day, I kept coming across the word 'selah' in the Bible as I was reading, and I realized, this word makes me cry.

It's as if God shows me time and time again through the Psalms how to step down from where I am and to reflect on Him. To find rest in Him.

I've 'lived' in a reactive and intervening job for so long; it has been difficult at times to sidestep a mindset that aligns with need. need, need, need. Must be in tune to where is there need?

This is not always a bad thing, this lifestyle. Sometimes I question it, but it helps to understand people's realities better and that we all have it: this need.

But, like a math problem gone wrong, living out of this place in my relationship with Jesus can be problematic.

I know I can go to Him with my need, and certainly bring my requests and needs to Him, but there are times when I can do well to remember that God is not an emergency God. He is one who delivers but so much more than that. 

There are ebenezers to raise up, where?

Where has He already provided, where is He laying a foundation?

It's in the pause that I can see this, to be thankful.

There will always be need. I am aware of this - the need in me, the need in others. God has given me grace upon grace for this. But, ah, to reflect and remember. To pause... selah.

*How is God helping you to pause, friends? Why does it matter?
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Changes and Story

If you ask me what my favorite parts of stories are, I always want to answer character development. It's the one that makes the most sense. It's what someone like me would like best after all - the changes in a character, what happens to them throughout their journey, perhaps the backstory of why they do what they do.

A secret is that the plot, the actual experiences in the story are most interesting to me, because then I can look back and understand through the conflicts and struggles, the exhilterating parts and the terrifying ones, how that helped shape that character they became. Without the rest of the story, character development in a story is incomplete.

Our experiences don't speak the truth about who we are, but they can say a lot for what God is doing in our lives. They matter because he is in control and he is shaping us through them - for his purposes. I like to see what happens to the people in the stories as they encounter what they didn't know they would face. Then, they change. You can't live your life letting your experiences and happenings dicate, but you can have faith that God can see something in them you can't always see at the moment. There is always something bigger happening.

I don't know where you are today, but thoughts about Romans 8:28 are on my mind to share this morning. For many years this verse and the ones surrounding it spoke life into my heart (and still do).

When life looks bleak or you just can't comprehend how your story is going to turn out, know that God fashions and works out all the parts of your life and he knows what he is doing. I pray Christ would increase your faith as you trust him for what he is doing in your life.

-a good read on this topic: 'What Does Being Called by God Mean'

Saturday, February 16, 2013

'View From Saturday'

What is your view from Saturday? I'm not talking about the amazing book by E.L. Konigsburg although it is one of my favorites. Have you read it though? It's a good one.  

It's not everyday in North Carolina you see this view from Saturday:




Things I like recently in blogworld for a Saturday:

What If the World was Missing You:  By Don Miller's pup
So,  we know it's not supposed to be about you, but sometimes, you just need a dog's perspective on the whole thing. You know, about "the squirrels and the trees and the waters."

Keep Dreaming: By Jenny Price on Seth Goins' blog
Do people think your dreams are ridiculous? Still keep on dreaming...

31 Days of Love Letters: Searching Scripture for How God Loves: This season got you down? Be reminded of God's love by searching Scripture with this ebook from Christine at Grace Covers Me. 

Deep and Wide: Girls, God and the Good Life is a sweet blog for teen girls and this post is a reminder for teens (and anyone) about how God is with us each step of the way.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beloved

"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Mathew 10:30-32

The idea that I was one of God's beloved was something that took me a long time to get. Like in my heart of hearts get. The kind that changes the way I tick. I think that's one of the reasons it matters to me to tell others and especially girls about what God says about them - that we have this new identity in Christ.

It never stops being a sad (but still hopeful) time on the many days I hear from youth that they don't think they matter. That they don't think think their life counts for anything. Not made for a purpose. Nothing can ever change. That the way they feel about themselves - or the way others feel or have said about them is truth.

Being one of God's beloved is so different than that. It's so different it almost seems hard to grab ahold of - but there's hope - when I see kids and teens face challenges that plant words into their hearts like 'rejected,' 'hurt,' 'ignored, 'misused,' instead of loved, cherished, beloved, I must remember that His truth is what frees from the lies of the world and God writes stories of beauty from chaos.

 
Today I'm linking up with a community of fellow word lovers and joy catchers when we write for five (sometimes more - opps) minutes of writing bliss.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

for your valentine's day

for your valentine's day, may this day not just be about getting a sugar rush or heart necklaces and pink patterned socks (okay, I did a kindergarten valentine's day today so I'm kind of talking about that, but I may or may not be wearing bright pink striped socks today).

may your day be a reminder of Who loved us first, God who shows us what love really means and somehow an off-shoot of how wild and crazy loving He is for us, we get to do silly things for others like give valentines in boxes when you're five and tell people who matter to you - that they matter to you. may you remember He who is out to cover you with His grace and may you be reminded of this even if you have days that are not pink or purple or red.

may your valentine's day be sweet, people. you're loved.

 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why Hope is Better than Happiness

My favorite things to write about are the sunny sides of life. I admit it. I’m a sucker for happy endings in movies, and seeing that person who stopped in the cold of Ohio December to give the police officer directing traffic some coffee to warm his hands. I’m a sucker for people who make me laugh and books that inspire me.

That doesn’t mean I see all of life as the sunny side. In my own life, for years it was difficult to see past my circumstances and life was very much black and white in my eyes.
I couldn’t see colors. The color of where I was and what I could rest in. I didn't see any space in between the sunny and bleak, the right and wrong, black and white, going well or not.

There's not much joy in this place. Yet joy, real joy, did not come with a fiery burst all of a sudden. It came with acknowledging that there is a hope that is better than happiness and better than what is going on in life right now. Hope in Christ changed everything for me.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about dark and light. At church we’ve been talking about it, too. God is light and in Him is no darkness (1 John).
Walking in darkness is easy. Living in the light is often painful. Following a God who is light and continuing to seek the light comes with a change that cannot come from ourselves. It can't come from trying. It can't come from trying to cover up or make ourselves clean from sin. 

God keeps showing me over and over He has called me from death to life and that changes everything. He's called me from darkness to light. My standing in God does not depend on what I do but completely on what He has done and finished.

What kind of deaths, spiritual and otherwise, has God redeemed through Hope? Why does this matter for our lives? How can hope trumph happiness?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter


Start
Fridays to me are like summer. Fridays and ice cream cones and people who take time to listen. There are times you get all three.

Yes, I know, my job is to listen to people. Also, I’m supposed to be the adult in the situation, yet today I was the one getting the ice cream cone. And Fridays? Somehow the work doesn’t end, but at least you can call it a week.

Fridays to me are like summer. Summer and bare feet on green grass and swimming, and getting through the oh-so-cold days and the shivering and then the sun finally stays out long enough to renew my pale skin.

Every time we get a little 60 degree weather day part of me likes to pretend I live somewhere tropical, even just for a minute, because it reminds me of summer and summer always made sense to me.

Still, the Fridays and ice cream cones and listeners followed me into winter…which may not be so bad after all.
End
 
Linking up with others who love words on a Friday for the prompt, Bare.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

For Kids & Teens

I'll be up-front with y'all. I don't know who reads this blog and who doesn't. I know that kids as young (and probably younger!) as third grade are now writing blogs, even in school, as this world of technology keeps getting bigger than this old fashioned writer can keep up with. As much as my beloved spiral notebooks and handwritten writing utensils are becoming more and more obsolete with the youth I work with, I'm thankful that the internet and technology can help us connect and learn from each other in powerful and helpful ways.

A snapshot from my everyday work life would capture conflict and tension for youth. As much as my desire is to see physical and emotional needs met, I know God works in holistic ways and my hope is still to see lives changed in very whole ways.

Disclaimer: I don't have kids right now. I do have background with them and counseling them through difficulties and painful times they may be going through. Still, I understand that I'm not the biggest expert on parenting. God's given me a heart for kids and for the tough issues that come with growing up and finding out who you are, and even more, who he is, in the process.

It is a bit frightening sometimes to consider everything that goes on for youth these days and what many see. I don't have to make a list for you to know. To experience that without also knowing the grace of God burdens me.

I like to share as I come across some different resources in this process of learning more about fascinating and wonderful young people.

Girls of Grace: ministry and conferences for teens to help them learn about identity and security in Christ.

Wonderfully Made : dedicated to helping young people (girls) discover their true value and worth and strengthen who they are in Christ.

11 Tips for Counseling Your Children in Conflict: useful article from Mars Hill Church for families.

kNOw More Orphans : Conference bringing awareness to the needs of orphans and what to do about it. <This is only one..are there any in your local area?>

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen..And Listen So Kids Will Talk: haven't read this book yet, but plan to soon! I've heard good things.


I get asked all the time if I have kids. It usually goes something like this: "How many kids do you want?, as there are kids to the left and right and everywhere beside me.
Me: "A few." (as not to scare them that a few really could mean more than 3).
Them: "A few is 3 or more you know."

I smile.

For this moment though, the kids I share in are all the many running around me.


*** for your Thursday***

“The text says that when the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, _he_ loved her. God was saying, 'I am the real bridegroom. I am the husband of the husbandless. I am the father of the fatherless.' This is the God who saves by grace. The gods of moralistic religions favor the successful and the overachievers. They are the ones who climb the moral ladder up to heaven. But the God of the Bible is the one who comes down into this world to accomplish a salvation and give us a grace we could never attain ourselves.” -Tim Keller

"Remain awake to the beauty in people even when they have forgotten it themselves."
-Marianne Williamson


"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." -e.e. cummings

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
-Isaiah 40


Friday, February 1, 2013

Un-Afraid

Start

Sometimes I want the world to see the polished me. Most of the time I just want the world to just see the unscripted me. I write and talk and ramble on about living in the here and now, the right where God has you, the it-is-enough because He is enough, all of it I believe, but many of the times I've still chosen to see scared. To live the afraid and the What Is Next instead of the This Moment Is Grace.

Most All of the time I want to break apart the lies I hear out there, the lies that little girls (and boys) have to try to be good enough, have to fear measuring up, have to look certain way, except when I was that girl and I didn't know it wasn't the truth.

Thank you, God, that you tell us perfect love casts out fear. That you remind us that we can breathe peace and freedom in You. Thank you that you have lit the way out of the afraid and our polished, try to be perfect selves that underneath tell a whole different story anyway. Thank you that you allow us to know you and this is peace. 

End

Linking up for Five Minute Friday on the topic of Afraid