Tag: moving

psalm 24: faith, fight, or flight

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.

For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

They will receive the LORD’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty;
the LORD, invincible in battle.

Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies—
he is the King of glory.
(Psalm 24:1-10 NLT)

For the past 2 months, we’ve been living in a state of waiting, hoping, fighting discouragement…an emotional rollar coaster between fight or flight, between faith and failure.

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For the past three years, after we’d made the decision to Become Full Time Ministers, whatever we thought that meant, we’ve been on that ride, quite honestly. It’s not a huge leap to look at opening doors, walk through, and follow where God is leading you. We are supposed to obey Him. It doesn’t really make us brave or wonderful when we do the things required by Him. It just makes us obedient.

The leap, I guess, comes when we walk through an open door and find ourselves standing in front of a brick wall.

We have trusted, we have obeyed, we have risked, we have prayed, we have given of ourselves, and yet… There is no clear answer. There is no clear path. And we are left standing at the seeming end of a journey with nothing tangible to show for it, and a bag full of answered questions as to what we should do next.

So then what? When there is no apparent command in front of you, what exactly do you obey? When there is no clear answer in sight, do you ask a different question? When the promise you’ve been given has been confirmed over and over again and still, you do not see it coming to life, do you doubt that it was ever true?

When you are a battle-weary warrior and the fight seems to have ended with a whimper and not a victory cry, do you lay down your weapons or look for another war?

Rod and I have been wrestling hard with these questions. I don’t mean to be veiled in secrecy about these circumstances; the fact is probably clear to regular readers that ‘things’ have not unfolded as planned since we moved to Myrtle Beach to run the theater. The summary is that the theater has been delayed various times for unforeseen reasons beyond our control, and while we are still very much planning to open ASAP, we are waiting for some things to be put into place first. This has caused us stress, worry, second guessing, face-saving, and in our lowest moments, questioning our place and our purpose in a grand scheme that we are sure is authored by God, even though it hasn’t gone how we envisioned it.

There are a lot of lessons I am learning in this time of balance, of figuring out a balance between faith, fight, and flight. But this week, as our church leaders gathered in the still-under-construction theater to pray with us, I was reminded of some very important truths that seem to, have to outweigh them all:

Everything belongs to God. He doesn’t need us to offer it to Him, although in obedience, we should. He made it. He created the Earth, the people in it, and every open door that is set before us.

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We will only succeed if we put Him first. The Word teaches us that the holy will reach the top of the mountain. We’ve put such a poor connotation on the word holy. But it doesn’t mean ‘holier-than-thou.’ In fact, it means forsaking our comparisons to others for a focus on God’s holiness, on Jesus’ pure example. I am far, far, far from meeting that mark, but I can attest that for the past nine years, it has become the priority in my life. Make me more like Jesus. Help me cast aside things that hold me back, that distract me, that keep me from being everything I was created to be. Holiness is there at the top of the mountain. Strive for holiness, and victory is ours.

The battle is the Lord’s. It does not make me weak or a failure to admit that *I* have no power in a situation. In fact, I am never powerless, because I can always call upon HIM. God will be victorious in my circumstance. The hard part is accepting that it is not in my control…and that sometimes, He is calling me not to the front lines of battle, wielding my sword and shouting like a banchee. He is calling me to my knees, to surrender to Him.

Even after all the Lord has done for us: His blessing on our marriage, His restoration of our ministries, His healing of my infertility, sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I settle for the scraps and forget that I am called to feast as a joint heir with the Son of God.

I am not called to run.

I am not always called to fight.

But I am eternally called and equipped to put my faith in the King of Glory.

And so I know, though surrounded by evidence to the contrary, the answer is on the way. It will be immediate, it will be more than enough, and it will point to HIM. Amen.

What mountain are you climbing right now? Share here, and you will be in my family’s prayers.

I spent a day after writing this one pondering its purpose, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is time for me to be a bit more intentional with this self-published space. Please consider this the first of weekly devotionals. I will theme it or something later, but for now, I just want to be held accountable to write them, on a regular basis, as the good muse I call God inspires me.

four months already? / only four months?

I am teetering on the edge this week. The edge of what? Well, it could be any number of things...success, failure, victory, insanity. It all depends. I’m still waiting to find out.

Meanwhile, I remain grateful for the things that add joy, clarity, and perspective to our crazy days…

like our proximity to the beach

and how well Kaity and Miranda have adjusted to so many changes since May.

Essentially, they have gone from being with Rod, me, and Paige most of the time to spending 9 hours a day in school. (ouch. 9 hours hurts me right now).

But they love their teachers, they’ve made new friends, they’re in touch with their old friends, they are satisfied with our having juice and crackers for them at pick up time and (usually) quality time to spend every evening.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, Paige comes home to visit and celebrate her 18th birthday.

We’ve taken to impromptu dinners with new friends. It helps.

And we love fall here. It’s warm, y’all.

(even though Miranda found it cold when the temp dipped to 75 for a quick minute last week).

This week, I organized my files and the counter around the kitchen sink and the coffee table (baskets. candles. aaaaaah…) I am embracing my crock pot. Next week, Rod has to travel, and I plan to start getting space ready for our new roommates, who will be here in 3ish weeks(!!)

I am on the edge. I live there a lot. It’s not as exciting as other edges, and thankfully not as dangerous. It’s not the calm life I sometimes long for but secretly think I might find boring. But where it is, we’re together, occasionally eating Hostess snack cakes before dinner.

And that’s gonna do for now.

when angsty love songs apply to other stuff

In spite of my own tendency to make fun of emo/basket-weaving songs, I do love a good ditty full of romantic angst.

However, being that I’m in a happy marriage, they don’t really apply…
…except when they capture my soul in their applicableness (uh-huh) to other aspects of life:

–my kids growing up and away
–navigating newness in career, relationships, my own abilities and lack thereof
–the hope of success and sometimes, the seeming-promise of failure
–my incessant need to be liked
–my old life’s world moving on without me
–my new life’s world moving craziliy about without consulting me

Anyway. I am accepting that my eyes need to be looking forward, and upward, and not necessarily where they lazily, comfortingly fall (on shortcomings, short-term, short…stuff).

But I still take superficial comfort in the angsty love songs.

Scratch, Kendall Payne
It’s a big girl world now
Full of big guy things
And every day I wish I was small
I’ve been counting on nothing
But he keeps giving me his word
And I am tired of hearing myself speak

Do you ever get weary?
Do you ever get weak?
How do you dream
When you can’t fall asleep?

I’ve been wondering what you’re thinking
And if you like my dress tonight?
Would you still say you love me
Under this ordinary moonlight?
I’m so afraid of what you’ll say.

I’d like to know if you’d be open
To starting over from scratch
I’d like to know if you’d be open
To giving me a second chance

I used to think I was special
And only I have proved me wrong
I thought I could change
The world with a song
But I have ended up in India
With no lamp to guide me home.
The strangest place I think
I have ever been
And all this time
I thought that we were friends
My stubborn will is learning to bend.

I’d like to know if you’d be open
To starting over from scratch
I’d like to know if you’d be open
To giving me a second chance

keep me where you are

Lyrics | Mindy Smith lyricsOne Moment More lyrics

During my drive from Chicago home to South Carolina home, this was the song that broke me. After a month-long tour of amazing goodbyes, most of which did not make me cry, this one did me in.

I’m still homesick. And lonely. And feeling stupid because of how vain I feel in my inner-whininess that no one knows me here. It’s a bit ridiculous and sort of like 4th grade or freshman year all over again. (4th grade SUCKED for me, yo). I’m still a little afraid to be myself.

Meanwhile…it is selfish of me to want life to be altered for those I left behind, and sometimes I can barely stand to know about the fun/togetherness they’re having without me. I’m not quite experiencing either yet. Weekends are lonely and weekdays are weird. But who ever said building a new life would be quick and easy?

Keep g(r)o(w)ing

‘…But wherever it is that I am meant to be, I’m learning, bit by bit, day by day, how to open my heart up to it and accept the imminent and inevitable change.’ Relevant Magazine

I have a confession to make that seems scandalous to me.

Ten week into my new life…

I love my job.

Also, I am so happy for my kids, who are so excited about starting school. At a school.

I am thrilled for Paige as she prepares to leave for college at her dream school.

I’m exhilarated by the thought of Rod and I ‘taking on the world,’ just the 2 of us.

And, I feel at home at the beach.

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It doesn’t mean I don’t still believe my kids are in the best care available to them when they are with me, because no one ever could love them more. But also, no one knows them better…and I know this experience is something that fits and is best for their lives today, (and I know that everything could change tomorrow).

~

We tend to live our lives in bursts of grand passion. Sometimes the objects of our passions stick, and sometimes they fade. Sometimes, the process of sifting through it all is exhausting, bewildering, seemingly fruitless. But I would rather keep riding the wave of a life that brings the unexpected than settle for whatever today holds in case it’s the best it will ever get.

{ photos by becky }