Little kids are a bit dodgy sometimes and sometimes its a bit of a guessing game as to what they will do and when they will do it. However this afternoon with little M and his parents was blast; there was the random dog that showed up, and the couple with the amazing walking sticks and then the see-saw and between all those things we got some real grins out of the little dude. It also helps when you have awesome good looking parents to work with as well. Thanks again for letting me document part of the day for you guys, enjoy.
October was a fun month for me and this wedding was one of the reasons for it. The weather was almost unseasonably warm but rather perfect to be truthful. That being said this bridal party was clearly a group of friends who love being around one another and laughing, because they did plenty of that all day long. It was a beautiful day to begin a lifetime of amazing memories, thanks again Jeremy and Maureen for letting me be a part of the day in a small way.
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.
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?
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.
John 19:10-11 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
If I truly believe I am his child, trusting in His good and perfect plans for me, then anything and everything I face, even when perceived as painful or unreasonable, is for my refinement and his glory; how quickly I forget that nothing I face has not gone through God.
I didn’t want to come on this trip to Nicaragua this year, or more clearly put I didn’t give a rip about what would happen on this trip this time. I was mad at a friend and frustrated by what I viewed as a failure of leadership. I didn’t know why I was even bothering. I felt empty, used up, tired, spent, and exhausted not physically but rather, spiritually and emotionally.
But less than 24 hours into the trip, while stepping under a trickle of cold water trying to attempt to rinse the shampoo from my hair without swallowing any random amebae, God reminded me and had me sit down. He told me, “Is there room for improvement, yes.” But it is up to him ALONE to decide when and what that will look like. He asked me to sit with my friend when they were hurting and semi-destroyed and while I did obey that, I had allowed my expectations of other humans to become something only God could be.
If I believe all things that happen in my life because I am his child, only come through him, then I have to trust that even if I don’t like how it looks, that it is indeed good, even when it looks painful and especially when it is painful.
However, the feelings of being empty, being at a place of feeling completely drained were allowed because God knows me well. If I felt in any capacity that I could back some of this on my own I wouldn’t come to him crawling on my knees begging for his grace, presence, and love to flow through me. I would think that I didn’t need him.
Needless to say, I was off the mark and I am glad I was. My truth, my heart truth is this, I do not take my God at His word because I see how I fail myself and how the world fails me and I think the same of Him.
Thankfully the Creator is steadfast in His love, a keeper of all His covenants and a lover of my soul, and He loves me too much to allow me to get away with a disobedient heart.
Which lead me into yet another lesson, praying not just what I think or want for my life or those around me but to truly believe that my God’s will is right and perfect and holy. If I believe that my God is the Creator of the universe known and unknown then I need to trust, in His faith, that all is right and good in Him.
This means prayer, even for others in my life needs to begin with my face to the ground, acknowledging His will is perfect and best but boldly asking for His power to move mightily and with healing and for miracles to become blatant and apparent in all of His people. I don’t get to decide when and how I am used by Him but I need to be more purposeful in seeking His face and knowing His truth imprinted on my heart.
This means I need to be purposeful about being in community where tough questions can be asked like, “Why do I still hold people away from my heart? “, if my Father brings people into my life and my life belongs to Him and my heart knows His truth. Then, when He asks me to step into life with them, it should be in such a way that His life blood is fully reflected into theirs and I can do that without fear because He is what I need and it is enough.
Life is not guaranteed to be free of pain and hurt; in fact, my body dies a little more every day. But in some way, I sense my soul becomes a little more aware of His life, love, beauty, and salvation because my truth lies in this
The Heart That Beats
the visceral cut
where the bleeding begins
my truth ends
beneath the shadows of the
Almighty’s eagle wings
i sense the understanding
of the refugees’ heart in
their new foreign land
where the roads intersect
and I sit in the dust
where my tears mix with dirt
and I find my Maker’s mud
where my bones were breathed
where my heart heard His song
and found daylight’s beat with the rising sun
where my soul stilled and was filled with the sound
of His steadfast love
Be & know my beloved child
Be & know
Is not your name
Is not your title
Is not your cloak to wear
Be & know
I AM the almighty
Creation and un-creation know my name
I AM the covenant keeper
I AM the unexplainable peace
I AM the mercy balm your heart craves when the light
But beloved child
I know your true name
Daughter of the King
Remember who you are & know