Friday, April 22, 2011

life abundant

   sitting deep in a puddle of grief, i bow my head in whispered prayer, and i hear it, "life abundant" whispered back to me. i ignore it. "life abundant" i keep praying because i don't understand it. "life abundant" and it wouldn't make sense to me if i asked, right? "life abundant" and there it is again, "life abundant" and so i am quiet. sitting still. "life abundant"
   "okay Lord, what does that mean?" i ask Him in a tone that is clearly punishable.
   silence. i ask, "a full life? ...full of what? grief?" still i am short tempered and He is so gracious.
   "abundant grief."
   and i know that blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted ( matthew 5:4 ) and a women asked me, "where's the blessing in this?" her son taken in a car wreck. i had no proper words to speak back to her. floundering i tried, "the blessing in the grief we feel is the deep comfort that comes only from He who is Comfort." and i know it's not what she wants to hear and that this and all it's painful blisters upon our hearts is part of life abundant? a life full of Grace? 
   death was not part of His plan but we've been tasting it since the fall. for if, by the trespass of the one man [adam], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man, Jesus Christ. ( romans 5:17) still, He has mercy and extends His comfort so deeply for those who mourn that we are blessed. to taste death and to feel it's bitterness melting into my tongue and its tight grief-grip around my heart, and if i let Him get close enough He'll comfort me to the point of a blessing. and i will emerge lighter and closer to Him for it.
   life abundant. full life. that kind of "drinking from my saucer" kind of full and my lap is wet with an abundant tidal wave of tears. and compassion. and love. and i except the good with the bad from a God who is good all the time and more faithful then i could ever be at my best.
   later this day i reach for my bible in a strange almost-drop-it kind of reach because i don't want to get up out of my warm bed. it's quite a reach. bible opens funny on my lap to jeremiah 33. i look down and my eyes rest on it; and i know this was a Divine strange almost-drop-it kind of reach because it speaks to me affirmations of how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that i may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (ephesians 3:18) and my eyes cloud over as i read the words and i have to squeeze out the love tears so that i can read the verse to the end: jeremiah 33:6 nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. knowing full well this is no way to study my bible, i just can't help but think, this is part of that life abundant i was hearing earlier today. a healing to His people. peace! and security! in abundance! and that His plans are declared to prosper me and not to harm me but to give me hope and a future (jeremiah 29:11) and doesn't all this tangle in abundance? fullness?
   life abundant. even in my abundant grief. and i am blessed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

nesting on the Rock

   yesterday it rained. it drizzled. it poured. it drizzled and poored some more. it was mucky and dreary and mostly dark. out the back window, i saw often, a busy red breasted feathered flyer. busy. flittering this way and fluttering that way. twigs long and short. thick and flimsy. mostly scrappy. one at a time, several times in minutes. she, busy building, nesting somewhere very near my kitchen window. i would hear her chipper song through pounding droplets beating the roof over my head and i wondered if she knew how joyful she sounded. i wondered if she was praising the God that i was grumbling at? i wondered if she too went silent, would i hear a chorus of praise echo from the rocks i'd dug from the garden?
   today too started dreary. i stepped onto the deck and immediately looked to the window from where i saw the robin flying and there it was. a nest. all put together in less then one short 24 hour day. how in the world? this bird with tiny brain and hollow bones, has put together a master piece of wood and grass and jigsawed them into a cradle of shelter strong and safe enough to train up another legacy, another generation. snuggled in behind a light and before the house, one of the most uniquely beautiful reminders of all that is stored up for a treasure that she will one soon day birth and train up.    treasure stored up.

   my eyes rest on the deck below and catch sight of another nest. she has made two. perhaps a decoy? one that appears to be her home so as to lure the sparrow and blue jay away from her young? her home insurance? her health insurance for her babies? she has made two nest. stored up treasures of wood and grass and build for her family and safe haven.  

   stored up treasure.
   what am i storing up? where do i lay my twigs and grass and for whom do i weave security as strong as hers? my own young running through my own nest and i am wondering how often do they hear me whistle praise as i go about my day?  how often to do i remember they are not my young but His. given me to point to Him on high. do i store up for myself and provide purses that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. for where my treasure is, there my heart will be also. (luke 12:33b-34)
   knowing i try and trying is not enough, i am reminded that i will never be enough and grace is deep and i am drowning. what am i storing and for whom? for what do i toil? for whom do i toil for? do i sing throughout my day praising He who is to be praised as i go about my work given me, by He who ask for my all? a work set to the soundtrack of praise. work given me by He who says that i must die so that i may live. a daily dying. a moment by moment death of oneself and i am strong and my will full flesh is more then i should ever let it be. it's almost enough to be discouraged but i remember that early i must rise so that early i must fall into the grave to be covered by Grace and blood that washes the dirtiest clean.  
   not once did i see the robin stop to sigh. she didn't stop to chat with a feathered sister, another whose belly is growing with offspring, to talk about all the building she had to do today before the sun went down. she went about her work of building. singing all the way, and through the rain! 
   i wonder... why is my heart not light as her small frail body that flies between pounding droplets thrown from a heavy sky and she is not tired? she is not weary? she, who sleeps standing up? 
    it's as if she has no inner struggle. no earthly flesh. no desire of her own to drag her in another direction. is she not part of this fallen world? is it not true that to this day the lion cannot lay by the lamb?  though i want to do good, evil is right there with me. for in my inner being i delight in God's law; but i see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. what a wretch i am! who will rescue me from the body of death? thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! (romans 7:23-25) 
   swimming in Grace like the busy robin flying through a down poor, i remember that i am led by the Spirit of God and i am a daughter of God. for i did not receive a spirit that makes me a slave again to fear, but i received the Spirit of daughtership. and by Him i cry, Abba! Father! the Spirit himself testifies with my spirit that i am God's child, now if i am a child, then an  heir-heir of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed i share in his sufferings in order that i may also share in his glory. (roman 8: 13-17)
   for once i see this nest as not the reminder of all that i fail in. not a reminder of storing up treasure and where and what do i store and for whom? no longer do i hear her joyful singing and feel bad that it wasn't me too, singing in the rain. i see her nest and it looks like a crown of victory over my failures and my struggles and unworthiness. a rough a messy crown, much like my rough and messy life, but round and strong nonetheless. royal and poised, built behind the light and it is He that goes before me, to prepare a place for me. she built that nest because the Creator has spoken in into the her ear and she simply obeyed without worry she'd fail. she simply obeyed and went about her business. her business for the King. 
    i stand tall on my feet now, for i am daughter of the King who will reign victorious over all that i fail at, over all that i triumph over through Him. her nest on the back deck, a royal reminder that one day i will have crowns to throw at His feet and that this day, while very imperfect and full of pain will one day melt into an eternity of days full of His Glorious reign over all that is imperfect and painful and all my tears are wiped away. then all my tears are wiped away. and i hear chirping from the back deck, a song of praise that i too sing. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

fear, trust and the laundry room

    i stand in the laundry room. i separate. i pour liquids. i fold. i hang. i cry out to the Creator of heaven and earth and Knower of all that is in me. i am pouring. raw. exposed. freshly ripped open. i tell Him of a  hurt that He knew of before it occurred. i ask of Him, why? i ask for my lesson in this to be learned quickly. knowing my tears are humble and He is faithful to examine them and wipe them away. hanging up shirts i refuse to sit on the concrete floor, although i am no less dirty then the laundry piled high on it's cold surface. He meets me where i stand. in all of my frustration of question after question after question. 
   weariness. loneliness. self doubt. searing fright. ....fright...fear...and He places a gentle hand under my chin, lifts it high and at once i am shown that this ugliness of fear has been created by my lack of trust, and my willingness to believe lies from a belly crawler. that this fear is the root of all my weariness, loneliness and self doubt. He drops His hand from under my chin and my face, my body, the shirt and the hanger fall to the cold concrete floor.
   fear. "do you fear what i have in store for you?" a gentle, warm question that needs no response. "do you not remember that I desire life abundant for you? a life to prosper you and not to harm you?"
   He hears the quickening of my heart. 'their is so much harm in this world to fear.' i need not say it aloud to Him.
   "can I not heal all wounds? is not our relationship made stronger when you walk with me by faith, not by sight? when I carry you through struggle? does it not hurt to be refined by a blazing fire but feel relieving to shine once refined? to be comforted through the fire?"
   and my heart is aching by the hurt i have caused my Heavenly Father by holding hands with fear. by not remembering that it is He who brings the rain and the sun and the swelling of the ocean tides.  that it is He who can bring me through anything and it is He who will only hand to me what i can handle through His Son. it is He that i belong to and it is He who i can trust, and not the face of fear. that fearing anything in this whole wide world is fearing what He has in store for me and my family. that by holding hands with the demon of fear is not trusting His perfect plans for myself and my family. 
    now looking boldly into the face of fear and seeing it  for what it is; a lack of trust of what God is going to hand me, i am reminded of the chorus that sings 'where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!' and i fling wide my arms and throw my fear freely into an abyss of no return and except the spirit of freedom from the One who is quick to give it to all who wish to receive it. 
   the rest of the laundry is finished as he gently shows me all the areas of my life that i need to now step out in faith with His spirit of discernment and not be held captive to fright. He reminds me that 365 times in the Bible are the words fear not and/or, do not be afraid. a fear not and/or, do not be afraid for every single day of the year, for every single year of my life, and the life given to my family. and at one point i choose to seek them out and hold them all close to my heart. i make a mental note of continuing that search as i cling the feelings of freedom and love and renewal and a walk of communion all filling in the holes that weariness, loneliness and self doubt had previously dug deep.  
   in stand in the laundry room. i separate. i poor liquids. i fold. i hang. i am made new. i have been washed free of the grime that this world tried to stain into the fabric of me. i look forward, from this day on, to doing laundry, to checking myself for worldly stains that can be cleaned by the purest, brightest cleanser of All.

Friday, April 1, 2011

the crocus doesn't mind, why should i?

   this morning i awoke to my clock, turned it off and pressed brew on my one cup coffee pot at my bedside table. the coffee pot perked and puffed and the smell of coffee lured me to open my eyes again. i sat up and noticed that it seemed brighter outside. i squinted and peered through the sheers hanging above the windows. reaching for my glasses, "nooo" i whisper to a coffee fragrant steam. placing my glasses on top of my nose i see it. snow. my stomach instantly clenched. my breathing become shallow and i got up from my bed and moved aside the curtain to see the soft white blanket of fluff. suddenly i remember their was a chance for some snow and i am relieved it is but an inch.
   "okay Lord?" i whisper in a questioning tone. a selfish tone. selfish because i'm craving warm breezes, sunshine and tuffs of green grass. selfish because i have plans of my own. plans of riding bike with my kids. using sidewalk chalk and running through sprinklers. digging in the dirt and harvesting fresh fruits and veggies. my own plans. my own selfish desires. i am quickly repenting to Him who told the snow to fall fresh as i enter my prayer closet.
   He reminds me of the crocus. a sign that winter is coming to an end. tiny yet mighty. the blooms still tightly closed but standing tall in the freshly fallen tiny ice crystals. they don't complain. they don't even shiver. they stand tall in their small yet majestic way. reaching for the heavens as if in perpetual praise and thanksgiving to their great Creator.
   after our quiet time together i step outside and pay them a visit. one is bent low. its tightly wrapped bloom down in the snow. i pick it up and let it flop back down and remember it was this way yesterday, even before the snow. the rest of the blooms stand strong. purple. royal. a gift. a reminder. i. daughter of the King. having just finished sweet communion with the maker of heaven and earth, all that is seen and unseen, He who gives my body breath without my even asking it of Him, and again, with heartfelt repentance, i thank Him for this snow that i did not want. that i did not first receive with joy and gladness. for this is the day that the Lord hath made. i will rejoice and be glad in it. whatever it holds. be it sun or be it snow.