Connectivity and Living Fully

(August 31, 2014)

Today my friend and I lay on the grass and watched the clouds float by. She’s only three, but that’s OK. Cloud watching is a skill to learn young.

There was a happy face and a heart in the clouds. I guess Mickey Mouse was there too, or so she said. I didn’t find him.  And there were butterflies in the trees. At least she said that if she squinted she could see them.

I mentioned how the sky goes forever. How when we climb each hill to our horizon a whole new expanse lies ahead. She smiled happy, looked into my eyes with her own sparkling bright and whispered soft: “goes forever.”

I thought then of how lovely a picture would be, of how to capture the light  in her eyes. But my phone was safely in the car, and a life can be lost in capturing on camera each moment.

We watched more clouds. We played the tumble game (gently fall off something). We smiled and these moments were moments to treasure.

I think sometimes it’s better this way. To set the electronics aside, to step back and forget that you are a perfectionist, and totally find it hard to relax–and to just treasure life.

Because what if today were my last day to live: Would I want to spend it immersed in an online world or hidden behind a camera lens? Or would I rather spend those moments fully present, wherever I am?

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As I contemplate the past few days I realize how nice it actually was to have limited (or no) cell connectivity for 9 days of camping and just to be able to treasure each moment and live life fully there, to take the time to gaze deep into a pool of blue water that seemed to go forever and think of how His love is like that….

Much is lost when an electronic connection is where I spend my life, and much is lost when my goal is to capture on camera every moment of life. Sometimes it’s better to be captured by the glory than to capture the glory itself.

(There’s a reason His love is greater and deeper than my understanding can ever fathom.)

As the future stretches before me I am certain of one thing: I want to live fully here and to treasure each moment as the gift it really is.

So, join me? Step back sometime, leave your electronics untouched, and watch the clouds (metaphorically speaking) for a while. The grass may be wet, the to-do list undone, but choose to treasure the simple and you’ll see a hundred little things you would never have noticed. Minuscule flowers, buzzing bees, or just maybe His love shining in a smile.

Undeserved Mercy [to know the Holy]

He is holy. And He is God. And He is forever.
The place where He dwells is rightfully high and holy.

But He’s not alone.

“I dwell…with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15)

Umm… This is a sinner. Sin doesn’t belong in high and holy places.

Well, yes. But this is not just a sinner. This is one who realizes his true condition. This is a man who knows how far he has fallen, how grievous his sin is, and how unworthy of grace he is. This is one who is broken and crushed, who knows himself to be the lowest of the low.

He’s used his last strength to crawl to the foot of the cross and cast himself on the mercy of God.

This is his only hope and God does not hesitate. He brings him to His dwelling place, not to destroy, but to restore…. To make him new again.

This is undeserved mercy, pure and simple: to know the Holy and not be consumed.

But this is also who God is for God is love.

And Love never casts away a penitent, repentant child, no matter how long or far he has fallen.

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Because He is Love….

O Lord, if You should mark iniquity, how would I stand? My sins are more in number than the stars.
And You know them all.

But there is forgiveness with Thee.
Your faithfulness reaches unto the clouds, Your mercy unto the heavens.

And You blot out my iniquities, never to be remembered.
You wash me whiter than snow.

Under Your wings I may rest.
You are my refuge, my rock, the one who fights for me.

I rejoice in Your salvation.
I wait for You.
I give You praise.

For You are worthy. You are God. You are Love.
Now and forevermore.

( Psalm 130:3, 4; 36:5; Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 51:7; 57:1, 18:1, 2, 16, 17; 13:5; 130:6; 59:16; Revelation 4:11; Exodus 3:14; 1 John 4:16)

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Live to love. Heart of life.

His life my light. Fullness of grace.
Meant to shine on me.

Because He did.
Christ laid down His life, loved it not until death, so He could live a life of love.

He came. He lived love. He gave His all.

He is still the light. He is still love. But His love now shines in His yielded ones. His light now shines through them.
Yielded ones who have joyfully chosen to surrender their love of life so they can live a life of love.

Living a life of love rather than loving to live is no small difference. But it is the heart of truly living, and neither is there any small difference in what He gave so He could redeem me and the life He lived here on Earth.

In fact, there is no comparison.

He gave His life so His light could light my darkness, so I could know the heart of Love.

So I, too, can live His love.

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*thoughts from: John 1; Streams in the Desert, April 26.

Ripples

These moments? They are pebbles.
When dropped into time they create ripples.

Ripples travel far.

These ripples come back to me. But they also go to others. No stone makes ripples only on one side.

What I spend my time on determines who I am. Who I am, whether or not I want it to, influences those around me.

And so, I may only be a ripple-causing pebble, but I want my ripples to be His love.

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Of Brokenness and Healing

Sin is a ravaging disease. It batters us, it turns us into bruised and bleeding souls.
But God stands ready to heal. God wants to heal.
And He does. He’s healing me. But I am still broken. And this process of healing isn’t easy.

It hurts to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. It hurts to be purified by fire. The broken shards of my life poke, scrape, and scratch at each other and at me, and they hurt too.

I grow weary of waiting. I question; wonder why this takes so long.
I’ve been here before.

I want to glorify Him. I want to give this world a true picture of my Redeemer.
And this is why the process is long. In the process I can glorify Him.

Of course God could utter one word and I could be whole. But if He did that then I would miss the lessons He seeks to teach me. I would miss the journey that He’s taking me on.

Still I cry. Still this hurts. But tears cleanse, and fire purifies, and God gently goes deeper still.
His purification is complete. His healing is too. He does nothing halfway.

And so I learn in this journey that He is good. That I am loved. That He is faithful. That He is enough. Little by little I trust enough to let go of yet another lie, another insecurity, another shattered piece. When I do, He transforms it. And I can learn to give Him more.

There is no crown before the cross.

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