Holy Discontent

Lately, there’s been much swirling going on in my head and my heart. Ending one season, and embarking on another often does that to a person.

It leaves us in a beautiful place, but a place, nonetheless whirling with familiar questions and all too familiar discontent.

Ah yes, dear one… we’ve been here before.

What really is the purpose of my one life?

What does it really mean to fully and abundantly live unto the glory of God, for such a time as this?

And how do the deepest desires of my soul touch the gifts from the Spirit within and reach out, intersecting this world with the grace of the Gospel? 

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Questions, all valid and tremendously worth asking and wrestling out. Not questions that doubt my ultimate purpose in glorifying God; learning to truly love Him and others more deeply (Matthew 22:37-39). Not questions that discount my role as a wife, and a (hopefully, someday) mother. No…even though heaven knows I spit ingratitude on those and other gifts daily.

But more like— questions of holy discontent. Questions that get to the bottom of things, like what does this really look like with skin-my skin-on?

The beauty is these questions don’t just stop there. They have the power to draw us to the heart of our Savior, and the beginning of what a life fully surrendered to Him can entail.

Because these questions, they can burst forth into dreams of the wildest imagined. The kinds of things no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor mind even begun to conceive. (1 Corinthians 2:9) The kinds of things that Christ did, and even more (John 14:12).

And that’s where I’m finding myself.

Dreams, timid dreams, held closest to the chest. Barely acknowledged to self, let alone whispered to another. Dreams bringing their own set of questions, unknowns, and if I’m honest? Mainly enough fear to keep me rooted right where I am.

“There is no way you could ever do that.”

“There is no way God would ever use you in those ways.”

“You don’t have the gifts/knowledge/life-experience, who do you think you are?”

Fear that creeps in and strangles, crushing every hint of dream. They are lies, every last one of them. Lies spoken out of deep seeded fears. Fears I choose to live out of instead of believing in the all-powerful Spirit within. (1 John 4:4)

Stacking them up against God and somehow letting them trump Him and His limitless grace.

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But I’m learning…that there’s a better story I can live. I can believe and live out of the truth of who I am and Truth of who God is.

I can believe that the Spirit of God Himself dwells within me (1 Corinthians 3:16), that nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1:37), and that nothing can ever come close to trumping His grace in my life (2 Corinthians 12:9). I can believe that it is God working in me to will and act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13) and that what He has begun in me, He will faithfully bring to completion (Philippians 1:6).

And the ramifications of believing these promises?

Beautiful, and unending ripple effects in my life and heart.

 

And the funny thing?

When the fears subside, and the Truth is given room to breathe and grow in us—the dreams and the questions are still there, but they seem to shift a bit into their rightful place. Not crowding the lens through which I view life, a haunting of discontent. More like, in the background, peacefully surrendered.

Because the questions and dreams, they bring me to the feet of my Savior. And sometimes He has ready answers, and sometimes He whispers, wait.

So I wait.

And the clenched fists, they open up a bit more.

And the heart, it settles into a more steady rhythm. A rhythm bathed in humility and deepest trust. A cadence of belief that God alone knows all my days, and my every hair. That His plans for me are always good, whether they fit in with my dreams or not. 

That every moment of action, every moment of stillness and waiting…every reaching out, and every season of simply receiving from His hand. That all of it matters. All of it matters.

That’s what I’m learning. The dreams and the questions, they are still there. And He more than cares about them.

But before Him, at His feet, I’m drawn to quiet humility. A blessed laying down of rights and agendas. Of passionate plans and lofty visions.

He knows, more than I could ever comprehend.

He cares, more than I could ever conjure up.

And in Him, it will all be more than okay. In Him, and His perfect timing, there will be abundance of life; a freeing and beautiful dance in His rest.

And in Him, I can taste and live the sweetest contentment I’ve ever known.

Settling In

Drip, drop, drip…last bits of water slip from the balcony above and splash onto our rain-soaked patio.

The wind stills.

The sea fog rolls in dense and palpable, thick as pea soup.

It’s like living in a cloud.

The boughs of pine outside my window sway ever so gently, to and fro.

All is quiet, all is at rest.

Am I?

Are you?

When the voices hush, and the stillness emerges, do we welcome it? Do we settle in it and tune our ears to hear what beckons?

Or do we fill the void with something other, something to ease the eeriness, something to distract ourselves just a little bit longer.

I am more than a little guilty.

We run from the quiet, from the serene. We run, at the same time knowing it’s exactly what we long for, exactly what we need.

Why?

Instead, let’s settle in.

Let’s pull up a chair and sit awhile in the quiet.

We just might find there, answers to questions we didn’t even know we were asking. We just might find there, a beckoning to richer and fuller life than we even thought possible. And we just might find there, a knowing that makes our very souls come alive.

 

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

 

The Weaving Carries On

We often hear the phrase, ‘out of the mouths of babes…’
But sometimes, it’s more like ‘out of your own mouth…’
These are words I wrote, and believed, over a year ago. Words of startling clarity, unexpectedly steady faith.
They are words I still believe, but often find myself struggling to. They are words meant to be repeated; I need to hear and receive them again, and again, and again…

The Threaded Loom

Have you ever wondered how it all winds together?

How the pieces from this day, and from that fit into one?

How the days string into weeks stringed to months and even years.

The moments. 

The ones of crystal clarity and the ones dark and cloudy. The joyous and the jaded. The purposeful and the plain.

The times of living and even of dying.

Have you wondered how they all fit, stepping back to get a closer look?

Have the gifts of distance and of time given you the eyes to finally see?

When we see, but especially when we don’t…the weaving still continues. The weaving carries on.

The knitting together, it began in the mother’s womb but it hasn’t stopped and won’t quit because the weaver Himself hasn’t quit.

All of it matters. All of it matters.

This beautiful tapestry being woven in my life and in yours…

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Blessed Uncertainty

I lie awake.

It’s late, and I find myself restless. Tossing and turning, fighting sleep, and things deeper than simple shut-eye. 

Fears, and doubts, and unknowns, rising up, clamoring to be heard. Thoughts that twist down dark, yet familiar roads. Anxieties with viselike grips, unannounced and uninvited.

Deeply grooved paths I’ve frequently traveled on.

Yes, we’ve been here before.

But the fork in the road, that’s familiar now too. The ever-present choice to turn instead and think other thoughts, believe other Truths, dwell instead in the light breaking forth through the darkness.

There will always be the questions. There will always be the unknowns.

But instead of living in the swirl of haunting fears, I am learning to live in the hope of the things that I do know.

That He has intricately made me, knows every hair and day. (Psalm 139)

That He has beautiful and life-giving plans for every moment of my one, fleeting life. (Romans 8)

That what He has birthed in me, He will undoubtably bring to completion. (Philippians 1)

Things I know, and remember. Things I meditate on and fasten my mind to.

New paths to wear deeper groves down.

Yes, we’ve been here before too.

If I’m really honest, knowing it all and seeing unto the end of my days in all it’s infinite detail would render me incapacitated. Even though the fear seems to do that now, I know the revealing would be far too much to bear. The good yes, but especially all the hard to come.

And that, dear soul, is the beauty and magnitude of God’s grace. There is a freedom in the not knowing. A rest that comes from trusting in the One who holds all things together. (Colossians 1) A cultivating of desperate dependency that God knows we need.

This blessed uncertainty that awakens in us deep faith and far richer trust.

Even these can bring me humbly to the end of myself, even these can become catalysts to cemented certainties in my life.

And so I can rest, and in all ways.

Rest from the fears. Rest in the unknowns.

And rest in the very palm of my Savior’s hand.

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62: 5-8

A Hymn to Share

Several weeks ago, I sat in Church and was introduced to a hymn I had never heard before. When you grow up on hymns, it’s not often that you hear new ones on any given Sunday, so when it does happen it’s rather wonderful.

It’s called “I asked the Lord” and my friend, Emily, beautifully lead us through the words that I very much needed to hear that day.

It’s been a song stuck in my head ever since. And wouldn’t you know, it just so happened that it was a song I needed to hear again today.

You can listen to it here, if it’s new to you.

But mainly, take a quiet moment and dwell on these lyrics…

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in Me.”

Oh how I long for that answer of subdued sin and blessed rest.

But oh, how I long even more to learn that lesson of deepest faith and grace,

To learn to seek my all in Thee.

 

Fleeting

It’s the perfect kind of dreary Spring morning.

Perfect for things like coffee and scones and chewing on the very Words of Life.

Words that strip away all pretense, Words that divide joints and marrow, Words that reveal the thoughts and intentions of every heart.

 

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“O LORD, make me know my end

and what is the measure of my days;

let me know how fleeting I am!

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,

and my lifetime is as nothing before you.

Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!

Surely a man goes about as a shadow!

Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears!

For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.

Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”

Psalm 39: 4-7, 12-13

Because our days, they are fleeting wisps of moments. Breaths and shadows and mere blips of a lifetime.

And sometimes, we need that reminder.

Sometimes, we need to chew on the reality of our frailty. Eyes extracted from the fixation of self, free instead to turn in rest to the God worth waiting on,

The God in whom is all our hope.

A Psalm to Share (Psalm 38)

Most of the time, sin in our lives has a way of rearing it’s ugly head in quite an obvious fashion. I see it, you see it.

Muck smeared all around.

But sometimes, it’s sin of the more hidden variety, subtly slithering beneath the surface. Maybe you don’t see it. But I see it, and most importantly, God always does.

Coming out of a year of very public ministry, there were many sin-slathered moments of which you and I were very much aware. But there were also many things that you did not see. And if I’m honest, part of me wants to make sure you know that I didn’t do it very well a lot of the time, and that there was much more ugliness in it than you could have ever imagined.

My heart grieves over these hidden sins, the foulness of their taste in my mouth. Their tendency to mark all as a waste, instead of the grace upon grace of my God through it all. There were so many beautiful and pure moments, but I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t address the ugly with Him as well. There was so much accelerated growth that transpired, but it would be a travesty to ignore the places uncovered in need of more chiseling. 

And this is not a plea for words meant to tickle the ears, but the raw and very honest truth.

So then I stumble across this Psalm. Words written thousands of years prior to this moment, but Words that remain just as true as ever. And once again, I’m struck with the way the Word precisely captures my heart condition, precisely articulates my yearnings.

Friends, only God’s Word can do that…

So for you today, a little piece of my heart and David’s and maybe a piece of yours as well…

“O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes–it also has gone from me….” (Psalm 38: 1-10)

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer….For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sinDo not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” (vs 15, 17-18, 21-22)

In my flesh, in my bones, there is no soundness our health, just stinking, rotting self.

But in Him, there is hope worth waiting on. God, who is my salvation, never forsaking and always near.

And the beauty?

He knows our deep longings to walk in purity. To live abundantly, keeping in step with His Spirit. And He hears our sighing in the sorriness of our sins.

Through it all, He is right there, ever near. Lavishing on us unending forgiveness and extravagant grace.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:7-10)

For Those who were Wondering

I must say,

it’s been such an encouraging and beautiful leap into the unknown.

Thank you ALL for your sweet words of encouragement, your support, and your votes!

I didn’t make it to the ‘final round’ of voting, which is more than okay. This isn’t and never was about me. If anything, this process of applying and spreading the word has been a platform to raise even more awareness and share even more stories.

And for that, I’m truly grateful.

There are three ladies, however, who still have a chance to be a part of this incredible team journeying to Rwanda. You can read their stories, and vote for them here!

Because sometimes, we are learning what it means to really hear and follow God’s leadings.

And sometimes, that process isn’t so much about the end goal as it is about the journey there with Him.

But always, His plans for us are for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28-29)

So each day, we just, arise.

We learn to live a better story of palms upturned, faith unwavering, and heart poised in joyful expectation. And sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it just, wait.

So that’s what we learn how to do. We wait. And we trust. We dig into the meaning behind that waiting.

And mainly, we do not lose hope.

 

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19