::Zach&Betsy::

I don’t know that this day could have been much more fun.  This bride and groom were clearly surrounded by people they loved and those people in return loved them back just as fiercely.  It was a day full of fun memories, from the flower girl ‘being in charge’, to the dj’s computer dyeing momentarily leaving the brides sister to sing an impromptu version of the Beaches hit ‘Wind beneath My Wings’ for the first dance (though she may have changed the lyrics to ‘did you ever know that I’m your hero’ because older sisters are prone to such silliness), to the best man letting us all know that Batman and Betsy really are the best.

So Zach and Betsy, congrats, may the years only season your love and your friendships only become sweeter.

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::Chris&Elizabeth::

The Friday before this wedding it was like the Scottish moors outside, that cold grey dreary rain that makes you question the existence of the sun and the blue sky.  However by noon Saturday, the clouds had broken up, the rain dried up and the sun shone through only to be backlit by bits of blue.  I could ramble on about how gorgeous the bride was, or how choked up the groom got, but it would only detract from the beauty of the best day ever.C&E (5 of 68)  C&E (18 of 68)C&E (7 of 68) C&E (20 of 68) C&E (27 of 68) C&E (32 of 68) C&E (64 of 68) C&E (84 of 44) C&E (99 of 44) C&E (102 of 44) C&E (108 of 44) C&E (169 of 75) C&E (202 of 52) C&E (250 of 55) C&E (253 of 55) C&E (258 of 55) C&E (269 of 55) C&E (279 of 55) C&E (282 of 55) C&E (290 of 55) C&E (301 of 60) C&E (313 of 60) C&E (339 of 60) C&E (381 of 54) C&E (392 of 54)

C&E (245 of 55)

Father God, help my unbelief.

 

 

Ted Drews

I live in StL, I was born here, moved away while my parents did mission work overseas and have moved back ‘home’ and last night broke me.

I am not condoning the violence by any stretch of the imagination but this kind of out cry does not come from a place of feeling like a person is being heard. I can’t help but partially feel as though this is almost Jesus flipping tables in the temple begging his beautiful bride to pay attention to the brokenness I choose to walk by daily.

God is sovereign, He is not surprised by any of this. We have all been fostering this culture of fear, for crying out loud I am super guilty of it. I would rather put stamps in my passport to ‘dangerous’ countries that go to ‘that’ part of town. The fear permeates us all, it is our flesh, which means this ‘race’ issue belongs to us all, but there is hope, there is always hope.

Jesus called us all to something before He was lifted into the clouds, the ministry of reconciliation. First with our own hearts and then the world that surrounds. It is so easy to respond to anger with anger, so easy, but family how does that make us any different.

For me my frustration comes from a place of feeling helpless. For wanting to tangibly make a difference, but the heart of the matter is the broken heart and I cannot fix that. However I can boldly pray for the soil of hearts to be tilled and softened starting with my own.

Just like any mission field I must be obedient and faithful and hit the deck flat on my face and pray, plead and cry out with the broken for mercy and grace from the great healer, because He is steadfast and ever loving.

And my heart is broken, realizing there are parts of my own city I haven’t been willing to go to because I am afraid and in turn a whole mission field 10 miles north of where I lay my head at night to sleep has been ignored by me (if I am truthful I ignore the one on the other side of my driveway as well).

So for me this is where it begins and I beg those reading this to join with me because this is not just about the city that was once known as the gateway to the west. Please pray for your ‘part’ of town that you won’t go to because its not safe, then put your passport back in the sock drawer and go into your Ferguson. Our Fathers heart is broken, it is shredded for the broken and ours should be too. The command was always simple, Love (john15:9-17)

Father God, please forgive my unbelief.  Father God, help my unbelief.

 

Through the Trees

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My gramma sighed and stared out the window through the cottonwood branches and said to me, ‘Somedays I have to choose to love that man.’  I had been sitting next to the bed for about an hour, semi-oblivious to any tension and it caught me off guard.  They had been married for 40+ years, seen good years, lean years, family filled years, years of watching their own child fade in front of them.  I had never known them to be anything but a cohesive unit, yet here she lay her own body beginning to deny her continuation of an earthly existence and she tells me love is a choice.

This conversation replayed in my mind while listening to my friends discuss what it looks like to glorify God in everything not just those two hours at church.  When I’m driving, mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, in everything what does that even look like. 

Glorifying God, it’s a complicated thought with a terribly beautiful answer and it returns me to that one word I  as a human have struggled with from the first moment I realized I had a free will, obediance.  My obediance to his commands glorifies my God, its the christian four letter word with 9 letters.

But what command, the first 10?  I am left thinking that those are all encompassed in the new command Christ gave us before, dieing for us

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Seems simple enough, until you look at what he is really saying, the Creator washing creations feet.  Stepping into that gap where the loving of the unlovable is as honest of a response as breathing, yet the problem lies in the fact that I am inheritantly selfish.

Looking back at that moment and at that conversation with my gramma, I am finally realizing what she was saying.  She was apologizing for her own selfish love in that moment stepping out of herself and understanding there was a greater love here, because Christ came for us all.  And though I believe and though she believed, the truth is I make idols of my own love and Christ will break me of myself until the new commandment can be breathed out fully of me because it is soley of him.

Love one another, just as I have loved you.

It is the kind of love that is a visible result of an unseen power.

I have grown up most of my life watching the effects of the wind on the northern plains.  You can never see her, but you are always aware of the change she brings.  I have watched knee high wheat be laid flat, an eagle soar never beating his wings, the snow drift and be carved into temporary white dunes, the clouds move and dance to the a melody I will never hear.

Yes I am very aware of the wind and can scientfically explain it, but I can never see it, just the effect that it has on the world around me.

It is how Jesus explained the Holy Spirit to Nicademous, when reborn in the Holy Spirit change will happen, irreversable change, change that I will never be able to explain but will be there none the less, change that glorifies the creator.

The wheat of my heart will be laid flat, the clouds of my soul will dance, and change I am completely incapable of on my own will take fruit because of the Holy Spirit residing in my being.  A part of the tri-une God living and working and changing me.  The Kingdom is here, the Glory is His, the time has always been now.

He left me with a command to cover it all, love one another, just as I have loved you.

Tension of the Strings

February Blizzard Days 001

 

I have been staring at my guitar for a while now and am realizing how much I take for granted the tension of this instrument.  When the strings are in tune and someone with talent places their hands to the strings and frets, melodies that will make a person’s heart soar and cry can come forth from metal and wood.  What I like to forget is that a piece of metal that runs the length of the neck of the guitar, unseen, is keeping the wood straight which with time and humidity can warp, causing the guitar to become impossible to play and horribly out of tune and the harmonic echoes nearly non-existent.  I want beauty from this instrument but it requires a beautiful and very necessary tension, which includes the strings that must be drawn tight, which is exactly how my soul feels right now.

Drawn tight, it is a strange thing to say because a string loose over the sound hole of a guitar will not produce any sound worthy of being noted, it will be flat, it will not hold its own amongst the cacophony of noise…. it must be drawn tight.  If music is the purpose of the guitar and the string, it must be pulled taut and sometimes it will be broken but the master luthier knows how to fix such things.

I came to a conclusion this November and it really wasn’t a pretty one, it came back to identity.  I have always struggled with negative titles of myself and God has been good to rid me of them, however the negative titles of myself that I have idolized are not the only thing I have been bowing to.  Even the positive titles detract from who I really am, identifying myself as anything less than the daughter of the King says the Cross is not enough.

Acknowledgement of my past and shelving it isn’t enough because it still owns a piece of my heart and my God loves me enough to cut away anything and everything that will keep me fully from Him.  Which includes positive titles of myself and seasons of grief that I have allowed to rule and breathe fear into my very being.

Historically November has been a month of trials and loss and at some point my fear of what might happen began to rule to the point of me feeling as though I couldn’t breathe and I might possibly snap.  Having walked a season of healing and letting go (mostly) it was as though God was asking me to not forget those I have lost in November but actually give them to him.  If I truly believe that they are in heaven, then why do I idolize each November as though they must die again?

Romans 14:7-9

For none of us live to himself, and none of us die to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So then whether we live or whether we die we are the Lords.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.

He died once and rose, so that they in him could die once and rise again in him.

The grief of losing parts of me and their presence in my life will come at random times, I don’t know that you ever forget these things, but I also cannot place them on the mantle of my idol making heart.  That place belongs alone to God and he is asking me to trust him with November.  Meaning I am to trust, in him they are safe at home, I am to trust that my pressing into him means I am safe, something I am quick to forget.

God brought these people and circumstances, good and bad, into my life so that I might understand him in a capacity that I may not have been able to do without them.  They were not placed in my life to become a focal point of my existence.

I have noticed that when we lose people or things of value in our lives we are handed a book with stages of grief and I think that some get stuck in the grief because the pain becomes familiar and safe.  I know that, that was my truth.  However rarely have I heard someone say it’s okay to miss them and move on.  If I am to be constantly pressing in for comfort from God, than me standing in my grief does not really leave a whole lot of room for Him.

So the master Luthier does what he does best, he gets my attention.  He lets a string snap and then replaces it, pulling it tight across the sound hole of the guitar, so that what is played next is a sweet, sweet sound in his ears.

It is the sound of what is sometimes uncomfortable but always necessary, the tension of the strings.