Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014 {picture style}

The first pic sums it up this year.  Asher was in a constant state of motion! We enjoyed some quiet time at home, then headed over to see Eric's parents and family. We have loved getting to hold sweet baby Annika.  {Thank you, God, for dropping your Son into our chaos.}

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hungry {2014}

It's been a few years now, God laying a word on my heart to carry me through the upcoming year.  It becomes my theme or anthem that brings me another year closer to seeing His face.  This year, the word was hungry.  As I always do, I researched all the passages where the word appears.  But, like always, I try and skim over the ones that aren't as "happy" or as promising. 

At the beginning of the year, I skimmed over Proverbs 27:7 quickly, hoping that it wouldn't be my central verse for the year.

God had other plans.

"One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry, everything bitter is sweet."

When we are hungry for Jesus, we will accept whatever comes with Him.  If He is Sovereign, then it has filtered through Him first and He has allowed it for some reason that can only mean His glory.

This book was one of my favorites this year.  It is more story than theology, but isn't it story that makes the best theology?

One of my favorite quotes:
"Fear loses oxygen when every moment suspends itself under the purpose of bringing Him glory, of knowing His name and His nature.  Sometimes, instead of leading us up and out of those very fears, big and small, He lets us live them.
He gives us over to them.
Because it's in this giving over to our fears that we find the perfect love that frees us from them.  Forever."

It seems one taste of Jesus is like a strong drug...a single moment of intimacy with the Savior leaves me only temporarily satisfied and always longing to taste His goodness again.  It seems in a sense, we will always be hungry for Jesus while down here on earth.  I can't wait until the day when we are completely satisfied; tummies bloated on the bread of life. 

"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied."  Luke 6:21

Unless God intervenes with a miraculous healing, there is a good chance we will lose a man that we love very much.  He has been such a spiritual rock for so many.  We question God's plan but we surrender.  We taste the bitter guile on our tongues but we wash it down with the sweet presence of Jesus.  We don't know what lies ahead, but we hold onto the promise that beauty comes from ashes. Divine Love put us here, in this moment.  We will walk forward in faith and praise Him no matter the outcome.

Family is here and we are going to savor these days.  They are a gift.

The Fellas

Love these fellas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The 2014 Wrap-Up

Every December, I force myself to look back over my blog posts of the year for one purpose:  to remember who God was to me during the year.  This year was a hard one.  In May, we found ourselves driving to Texas for my Uncle Jay's funeral.  He died of stage 4 lung cancer.  On the way down there, Eric received a call from his parents saying they found a spot on his lung.  At that point, we were praying it was simply a piece of food that had been aspirated.  June 2nd proved otherwise; Eric's beloved Dad had stage 4 lung cancer as well.  The year has been a battle to say the least.  We are bloody and beaten down from this war called cancer but we aren't forsaken.  Our God walks with us in the heartache.  This much we know.

These posts are the ones that have weight and keep bouncing around in my heart. I simply repost them to remember who God is and who he has created me to be.  Maybe you will be blessed as well...

1.  Hungry (My word for the year...)

2.  The Book Without a Name, Any Name (If you have ever wondered just where God is...)

3.  Assaulting the Image of God (God's mission for people begins in the womb!)

4.  What do We do When All We Have Left is Rubble?  (How do we proceed when our hearts are fragmented?)

5.  Finding the Light (How to go forward with bad news.)

6.  37.  The Saddest Birthday Ever.  (The details of the cancer and our decision to praise God anyway.)

7.  Watching (How to surrender your dreams and desires and watch to see what God does with them.)

8.  Mud (He knows our frame.)

9.  Crashing Waves (We are going into the sea but He holds us.)

10.  The Persecution of Jesus Himself (To persecute Christians is to persecute Christ Himself.)

11.  When Sovereignty is all that Remains (Is God being God enough for us?)

12.  The Tribulum (Being ripped up, bit by bit.)

13.  See God (This link takes you to 31 days of "Seeing God.")

14.  Even the Bitter Becomes Sweet (On being hungry and how to behold Him.)

15.  When the Enemy Tries to Change Your Name (God has a name for you that only He knows.)

16.  The Kingdom of Heaven, Hand in Hand (Prayer is important enough to sacrifice for.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Even Jesus Asked for Help

Last night, a sweet friend and her three girls stormed my house with arms full of wrapping paper and gift bags. They helped me wrap my gifts, Barbara's gifts, and Eric's Grandmother's gifts.  What would have taken me three (kicking and screaming) days, took us one single hour. 

It was amazing, the feeling of blessing when I actually said "yes" to someone's offer of help.

We are in a season of being worn out.  We are emotionally drained and it doesn't help that all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is piled onto our to-do lists.

I have been praying for a season of rest. My motor is making all kinds of sputtering noises.

For whatever reason, it is hard for me to accept help or (gasp!) go and ask for it.  I don't think it is pride...I've known for years I don't have it all together, ha!  I think it is that I know that others are swamped with their own ache and to-do lists and I hate to infringe upon them.  When people ask what they can do, it isn't like I am going to say, ummm, can you come clean my shower or better yet, can you come feed my army of men for one evening.  I just don't have it in me, so I politely say we are doing fine.

Hence, the exhaustion.

God showed me something today.

Jesus got tired and weary. 

Jesus asked for help.

In John chapter 4, He had been traveling from Judea and was on his way to Galilee.  Weary from all the walking, he sat down.  He allowed himself to take a break. He was fully human and he simply couldn't take another step.  A woman approached the well he was sitting by and he said, "Give me a drink."

If Jesus is the living water and it is ok for him to ask for a drink of water, then maybe it is alright for me to ask for help as well.

If you are burned out or emotionally drained and don't have it in you to complete your to-do list, then consider asking for help.  I am learning that I am keeping others from the joy of giving when I politely turn them down.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shekinah Glory Wrapped in Flesh

Every December season brings with it a request from my weary soul to the One. Let me see you fresh this Christmas.  Let me think of you in a new way this year, King Jesus, who came as mere human babe.
My son, Eli, is what you would call "comfortable in his own skin."  He isn't afraid to start a new hairstyle, wear hot pink socks, or hunt down a bathroom in a new place.  He is pure joy and seems totally comfortable with who God created him to be. 
I am so glad God made him this way because I am the complete opposite.  I am always afraid of doing the wrong thing, asking for help, or heaven forbid, starting a new fashion statement. I am just not always that confident...I guess I am not comfortable in my own skin.
The Holy Spirit seemed to flutter big at those words and I paused to see what He might say.
What was it like for the Son of the Most High God, the King of Kings, the Sinless and Shameless One, the embodiment of Glory and Holiness...what was it like for this totally other being to put himself in human skin?
Was it comfortable?  Was it smothering?  Was it precious to put on skin, the same human skin that He wraps His image-bearing beings in?  Was it agonizing to be confined by something so weak? When the Word became flesh, was it a hindrance or was it a joy?
Lord, don't let us miss the significance of Pure Spirit wrapping Himself in flesh.
Could it be that when God made garments of skin (from animal hides) to clothe Adam and Eve it would point to the day He would send His Son in a garment of skin to clothe us in righteousness?
The Shekinah Glory that left the temple in the Old Testament was all the sudden born in a manure filled and animal inhabited stable.  The babe in a wooden bed would later bleed on a wooden cross and no more animals would need to be sacrificed again. Is it irony that the True Sacrifice was born among the temporary ones?
We should pause and adore Him...

This skin that Jesus put on, it must be precious because He chose to wear it after His resurrection. If I understand the Bible correctly, He even chooses to wear it in Heaven now.  This skin that we wear that seems to be such a hindrance, perhaps it is not the skin that hinders, but only the sin that mars the skin. Our skin-wrapped bodies are good.  They are a gift, only to be made better one day in a sin-void land.
I see my father in law's frail skin, wrinkled from the weight loss and white as a blanket of snow. I think about how his skin-wrapped body seems to be failing him and I am encouraged with the new body he (we!) will all receive.
It will be God's ultimate gift to each one of His children:  a body where we can be free from the entanglements of sin and totally comfortable in our own skin.
All because the Shekinah Glory wrapped Himself in flesh. 

"Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die." Augustine of Hippo, 4th century, from Sermons 191.1