Thursday, November 15, 2012

Musings of Motherhood

Usually I don't post something from my journal unless it's been a while...but today is different. This is from this morning:


So many things, Jesus; please let them all come forth in light of Your love and let me know freedom in Your truth.

Galatians 2:20
Christ…loved, and
gave Himself up

Ephesians 5:2
Christ…loved, and
gave Himself up

Ephesians 5:25
Christ…loved, and
gave Himself up

Echoing now in my mind are the words of many mothers…

Cindy, Jess's sweet mom, saying to me in her kitchen,
"Not many people love sacrificially without having to."

And also, my thoughts along Hill Road in Mumbai (fitting),
when the young boy yelled for me,
and, knowing what he wanted,
I kept on walking,
not even turning my head in his direction,
entrenched in the bitter thought of,
"you all have taken enough from me already."

But Your thoughts were so much higher. Much higher, and much sweeter:

"No one takes My life, for I give it up on My own accord."
John 10:18

Hours ago, my dear friend's words in the night at an hour she couldn't sleep,
but only cry with sorrow for the sadness of her mother's heart
that knew her daughter would be leaving soon:

"Mothers give so much without getting hardly any of it back."

And Jess Paulraj
on a blog about her own mother,
emphasizing how she didn't try
to makeshift a life preferable
to her desires on earth,
but rather

stored up treasures in heaven

by imparting Christ to her daughter,
who, in following His lead,
left her nest
and went far to the
of the world.
And now she is a mother
to two sons.
One, to whom she gave birth.
The other, grafted in
from the corner of a small rural hospital
in northern India.


f you haven't read about their journey, please do.
Over $100,000 was donated
by friends, strangers
within a week
to give Adam
life-saving surgeries.
This coming spring his little body
will undergo more surgeries.
And they will need more help.
Please, if nothing else, read
and be blessed by the love they are living,
and the story He is telling of His redemption
with their very lives.))

I consider all these things and think --
I have much more to know of love,
much more to know of You.

Voluntarily sacrificial…
all these thoughts emerged when Suzei asked to borrow my car again,
and to ask if I "could go on one more adventure."

Flashbacks of sitting idle in parking lots while their mother ran inside, knowing that three seats plus four boys led to my breath being spent on words they did not heed, and how often I was not slow to anger…how often I didn't have or ask for the energy to do something playful with them in the moment so we could do more than just get by…though never wanting to use manipulation or bribery as incentive for them to obey me, but only love…thinking of the Good Shepherd who leads from the front and entrusts the choice of obedience into His followers…because He wants to be chosen…and my body reminds me how much earlier I sleep on the days I spend giving myself to them…and I look now at the mound of dishes in the sink that need to be washed again, so they can eat again, so they can play and learn and run again, so they can be tired again, so they can sleep again, so they can wake again and we can all do it all over again.

From glory to glory.

OH how I need eyes for You!

The many layers and folds of love are appearing before me
like the treasure room beneath Parkington Lane
in the movie "National Treasure."

I think of my friend Darcy, a world traveler turned stay-at-home mom.
I think of myself, and wonder.

Love is a choice.

And it can be over all, through all, in all.

I think of thoughts writ earlier in these pages,
originating at the home of Emily's mother --

"…A living sacrifice of love…

You are currently shifting my mind, refining it with love,
with Your very heart.

Joy. You designed love to be a joyful thing.

Let me know joy through the veil of sacrificial love.

And more than anything, let me know Your heart."

What else? Let me know such exuberant joy in loving sacrificially. And yet…is asking that sort of backwards? You made Yourself NOTHING and humbled Yourself to the point of death on a cross…

for the joy set before You.

Okay. So I will refine my request. ;)
(But You will do what You want.
But I know You love hearing from me
and giving me the desires of my heart.
You told me to ask anything!)

So…while I want to know joy, I don't want to know it
more than I want to know You.
(Yet…it comes from and has its source in You!)
I ask for times of unexplainable, nonsensical joy
when the world would lament.
I ask that I would know Your heart
when mine knows sorrow
as a result of how I have loved.

I ask that You would protect me
NOT from searing pain,
but from choosing against love,
from not knowing You.
Let all that happens cause me to love more,
never less;
to trust You more,
not less.
Protect that part of me that wants to love,
let it always be further cultivated,
never shriveled.

I ask that I would always believe that it's worth it.
Even if I cannot see how.

Because the end-all of love being worth it
is not my own reward.
It is You being known.
And even if You are only known to me
in those acts of love,
it is still worth it.
Because You died for me too.

I will need help in my belief and in my unbelief alike.

Let Your love be the governor in all of my decisions;
give me grace, tenderness and utmost compassion
to believe You when it's hard,
to keep me walking forward in Your love.

Thank You for loving me so care-fully. Always.

Thank You for the way Glen loves Julia.
For how it shows me Your love for me.
How You are so tender…so patient
and so much more concerned with
the condition of my heart in a matter
than the matter itself.

Relationship. Marriage. Oneness…Us.

You are letting me muse and wonder
and You are letting me hear Your thoughts.
Motherhood or no motherhood for me,
You are making it about the journey WE have
and the relationship that is deepened
as You disclose Yourself to me.

I digress; I rest.
Nothing is sweeter.

Thy will be done.

Thank You <3>

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I see you.

This is on my heart for several of my friends today...straight from The heart:

I want you to know that before you even woke up this morning, you already had His attention. You didn't earn it; it's just there. Faithfully. And it isn't going away. You couldn't even make it go away if you tried.

Songs are sung over you. The real you that you are, which is more than the highest thoughts you have of yourself or anything you have tried to make of yourself. Yet even that is looked on with compassion.

I know you're wounded. I know that is why you have been doing what you have been doing -- the times you act out in fear and pride and doubt. I know. And I love you.

Because He.

Did you know that I don't blame you or hold anything against you? I know who you are. And I know that what you've been doing is unbecoming. It's not you.

And the more you behave the way you do, the more compassion I have on you. You must be parched for newness! Even when you hurt me, I only want to lavish you you more kindness and grace -- not less. Because I know the grace I need from you for this new nature, this very Spirit of God to be wooed out of me. I need severe tenderness and patience when I am caught up in the flesh.

I want to love you and sit with you in whatever mess you're in, even if all we know at the time is bitterness and fear and inability to see past the brokenness.

Because He...oh He. I have seen His faithfulness. Day after day He empowers me with His love, making it spring up and make things new even when all I saw and all I felt was darkness and defeat.

I need help to believe that love. And when I believe it, impossible doesn't mean anything anymore.

And that grace...sweet grace. Can I ramble about it for a bit? About how it is constantly disarming, relieving, humbling, awakening


I know the battle over grace. I know that the thought of receiving more seems too daunting and humbling. I know how much sense it can make to put more trust in your track record than in the Spirit of the Living God. I know what it's like to be fearful of the thing you long terrifying it seems before it is trusted. But once received, there is just delight. I don't know why there seem to be so many walls up against receiving. I don't know how something so small can hold back so much. But I know He tore the veil so we could know Him and His grace.

On this side of grace-received, dependence is my new favorite. I can't tell a difference between dependence and confidence. When I feel weak, I feel wooed. The very things that used to discourage me are now incisions where hope abounds. Because He. Now that I know who I am and how He sees me, criticism is not a threat anymore. Validation means something different since He showed me who I am. And vulnerability is not a cause for fear anymore. Whether I am opening myself up for rejection or acceptance, I am not disappointed because every.single.time He unfolds more of His love to me. He lets me receive grace from Him even when it is not given from others. No matter what, I can know the heart of the Lover.

I have confidence and hope not because of what I can see and feel right now but Because He. All my eggs are in His basket.

Dear heart, do you see that? Receiving His grace is the WAY to know Him because He is the Father who gives good gifts to His children and He has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom!

How great is this God, this love, this consuming fire who wields grace for us as a weapon of holy war so we can realize and receive the great love He has for us. How great is this Spirit of Jesus who brought a new commandment for a new covenant -- to love one another as He has loved us.

And you know what? He does all the loving. From Him and to Him and through Him are all things. He is love and He is in us. It's already in you. Rest in Him and let Him live, expressing the realness of who He is through you. And remember His words -- after telling His dear ones how no brach can bear fruit by itself --

Remain in My love.

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God's love abides in us, and is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"I do not condemn you."

Call out to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Who is He that condemns? Jesus Christ who died, more than that, who was raised.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Isaiah 40:2, John 8:10-11, John 3:17, Romans 8:34, Romans 8:1, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more.

By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live by faith."

And the Law did not require faith.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.

[Put] no confidence in the flesh -- though I myself have reasons for such confidence. In regard to. . . legalistic righteousness: faultless.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ...

Romans 5:20, Romans 3:20, Galatians 3:11-12, Romans 3:21, Philippians 3:3~10

Knowing HIM!

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life...we know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

And this is my prayer: That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight...

...that you may know the love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Ephesians 1:17-18, 1 John 5:13 & 19-20, 2 Peter 3:17-18, John 17:3, Philippians 1:9, Ephesians 3:19, John 17:26

Victory: Knowing the Name

Through You we push back our enemies; through Your name we trample our foes.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

O Lord our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

I am the Lord, that is My name, I will not give My glory to another; nor My praise to graven images.

Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name or his son's name? Surely you know!

[The next day] he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The righteous and holy one...which God raised from the dead...on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man which you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him perfect health in the presence of you all.

O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Psalm 44:5, Exodus 14:14, Psalm 9:10, Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 8:9, Isaiah 42:8, Proverbs 30:4, John 1:27, Acts 4:12, Philippians 2:10-11, Acts 3:14-16, John 17:25-26



...words from the mouth of the wise man are gracious...

...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble...

...the humility that comes from wisdom...

Ecclesiastes 10:12, James 4:6, James 3:13

Friday, November 2, 2012


Whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we loved the children of God, when we love God.

Whatever you do for the least of these brothers of Mine, you do for Me.

He who loves his wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the Church, because we are members of His body.

The Father and I are one.

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

The glory which You have given to Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved me before the foundation of the world. . . I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

1 John 5:1-2, Matthew 25:40, Ephesians 5:28-30, John 10:30, Ephesians 4:4-6, John 17:22~26

Harvest of Love

That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished.

One plants, another waters, but God makes it grow.

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while were were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olives should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should not be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and He makes me to walk upon my high places.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. . . Abide in My love.

1 Corinthians 13:36-38, 1 Corinthians 3:7, Romans 7:4-6, Galatians 5:22, Habakkuk 3:17-19, John 15:4-5, 9 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

He is

He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and that life was the light of man.

...even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
(Or -- "calls the things which do not exist as existing.")

He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him and let him go."

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

And this is eternal life, they they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17,  John 1:3-4, Romans 4:17, John 11:43-44, Romans 6:4, John 17:3

Thus says the Lord, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this: That he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness upon the earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:22-23

Monday, April 16, 2012

A String of Pearls

Oh, how He loves me.

The only way I could express what I want to say tonight is by letting it be scattered. There are so many stories I could tell -- and WANT to tell. But tonight I simply want to describe the treasures I have found recently, examining each pearl one by one that hangs on a seamless thread of gold.

How is it that I am in a life where people beg for me to let them love me? How is it that among those are ones who say, "You don't have to do anything," when I say, "I don't even know what to do with all of this love"?

How is it that loving vulnerably with my whole heart is no longer a place of fear, but of rest and unspeakable joy? How is it that when Love pours Himself out of me that I am fulfilled, lacking nothing, and don't care if I receive anything in return? How is it that I am no longer concerned with keeping tabs on human terms, but with basking in the heavenly joy that I receive when I give? How is it that He satisfies me so much that even the slightest acknowledgement from the ones I love is received as lavishing grace because I was already overflowing?

How is it that I think of "dying every day" and resting in His love as one in the same? What brought me to the point of believing that when He leads me to "sacrifice," it is no sacrifice at all? What is it that makes me so convinced of future delight that I am dancing now over a goodness I haven't seen, but can taste anytime by trust?

Though I have not seen Him, I love Him, and even though I do not see Him now I trust Him and am filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, obtaining as the outcome of my trust... 1 Peter 1:8-9

How is it that I approach the throne of Grace boldly with joyful, open hands? How is it that I don't think anything would be too much to ask? What makes me think that YHWH is glorified and pleased to give me the desires of my heart?

How am I not surprised anymore when He gives good gifts to His Brittany?

Who convinced me that I can live and love as if I have no good thing to lose or ill thing to gain? What makes me think I am so free?

Why in the world am I walking boldly along a line of blatant, visible uncertainty with goblets of bravery and every ounce of love I have ever known? Why do I feel so secure? What thrusts me into a place that is beyond unafraid, but playfully hopeful? How can One Man's promises corner me into such excitement?

What makes me think I know and feel the heartbeat of the Lover of my soul? What caused me to believe that I find more in a moment of faith than others learn in decades of "knowledge"? Who am I to say that I know His heart? Do I think I'm His darling wife, His treasured inheritance to whom He longs to reveal Himself?

Yes. I do.

How is it that a situation that could have easily been complicated and painful was instead freeing, graceful, simple and restful? Do I think His yoke is that easy?

How is it that I can sit on the floor and say nothing and another in the room can feel immensely loved by my presence? Why do I keep finding that the more I rest in His love and enjoy His presence, the more love others experience through me?

Why do I think Jesus is so eager not only to love me, but to love FOR me? Why would I think He wants to do anything on my behalf?

Scars. It's His scars, people.

How could I have a terribly heavy heart one day and then freely, joyfully let the ocean's waves crash over me the next? What is that thing in me that loves to play without a goal and laugh because I can? What kept me doing cartwheels on the beach until I was too dizzy to stand upright...and not care? How is it that I played tag with the shore and lost every time but felt like I had won a prize anyway?

How is it that I don't try to process beauty anymore -- visible or not -- but only want to behold it?

How is it that the only measure I use anymore is not time or space or quantity, but love?

What made me say to my dear friend, "Knowing Him in all things seemed irrelevant until it consumed me...and then everything else seemed irrelevant"?

How is it that the only thing to ever make me stubborn is love?

How is it that sometimes I can't get past the embrace of His love to even notice if I am cold or tired or hungry?

What makes me think that the more vulnerable I am, the more love I will receive? Why do I think I am only opening myself up to grace? Why don't I think it's a gamble? Why am I not afraid of being disappointed?

What finally broke my belief in the lie that when I choose to love one person, I am not loving another?

Why am I no longer afraid to put together something so raw and unedited? Such is my heart. Why don't I taste any shame when I let things be what they already are, out in the open instead of festering within?

Why am I beginning to love my weaknesses and not think so highly of my strengths?

What has made me so bold -- or is it weak? -- that I err on the side of grace?

Why do I think of myself as royalty?

Why do I think He loves me so much?

Why do I think that being in a desert with Jesus sounds more like a honeymoon getaway than a season of drought?

What is it that makes me believe my heart and my feelings aren't right or wrong anymore, but just ARE? Why have I stopped telling myself what I should be or do, but instead tell myself to just BE whatever and however I am in Him? Only in Him.

Why? How? And what?

I think the questions pronounce more than any answers I could muster up. I'll leave them as they are, for now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Freely Scattered

Warning: This post will be all over the place. I'll add pictures to make the length more bearable. ;)

Shall I mention how much the enemy hates this grace? Two posts ago I wrote a letter to him -- not something I want to do regularly or flippantly, but something that happened to spew from a pounding heart and racing fingertips.

How he hates me. Or Him, mainly. Jesus, Who I'd rather write to and about. These words sum up my past few weeks:

But still I get hard-pressed on every side
Between the rock and the compromise
Like truth in a pack of lies fighting for my soul
I got no place left to go
Cause I got changed by what I been shown
It's more glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin' on
Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I'm free to love once and for all
And even if I fall I'll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levees and my bluffs
Let the flood wash me

-Josh Garrels, "Farther Along"

He is irresistible to me. The more I taste, the more I crave, yet I never lack any good thing. Life with Him is abundant and no less. The more I discover of how abundant this life can be, the more I want to share it just to say to His people that there is MORE that we can know of Him here. And whatever "more" there is, I want it. More than anything. It is the only desire I have that can stand alone. Because He is good enough to stand alone. To know Him trust Him rest receive and disperse more of His love.

And I have to has been interesting lately. Years ago I prayed that He would lead me through unchartered waters of trust. Recently, presently that looks like Him showing me His desire to love, showing me it's my desire too since He is in me, and telling me that I am free. In the past, He would be so specific with me. "Move to Mom's from Dad's. Winter 2006." "Mexico. Winter 2007." "North Africa. Summer 2010." "Middle East. Summer 2011." "Go to Meijer. Pick up the Asian lady on the side of the road." "Knock on the door of that house you've never been to."

I was so confused when He first started showing me this free-to-Love thing. I would heed His voice and hear no direction other than, "It is for freedom that I set you free." That didn't seem specific enough based on my history with His voice. However, the ways I wanted to love were very specific. Specific, though, in ways that left me trembling with my heart wide open. But I wouldn't trade that lot for anything. This is what it seemed to come down to:

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6

"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently from the heart." 1 Peter 1:22

"...know the love that surpasses knowledge..." Ephesians 3:19

"We have come to know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." 1 John 4:16

The thing in me that is begging to be expressed is Jesus. He is love, and that leads me to believe that if I know what the love in me wants to do, then I know what He wants to do. The love of Christ compels me, and I have His mind.

He makes it so there is a vital role of trust involved. He changed the game for me when I stopped worrying about which steps would be wrong or right or bad or good. Trusting Him is right. Loving Him and His people is good. And I just don't think it has to be any more complicated than that. Freedom...IN Christ. With Christ. Because of Christ. There is freedom no where else.

A few rhyming words:

Carrying His heart in mine
My steps became the dotted line I searched for
Wondering all the while
Of wrong or right while in denial
Of grace that mends the wrong to right
Because anything goes as long as love is in flight

And...and...I would like to mention that He is giving me the ability to have rest in a mystery and bravery without certainty. I didn't know He could do that! I'm not surprised that He can, I'm just amazed that He does. He amazes me ALL the time. Matchlessly.

Jesus, let me abound in the hope that is You. (Romans 15:13)
Let me abound in the hope that does not disappoint. (Romans 5:5)
Give me grace to trust You, the God who does not disappoint. (Psalm 22:5)
You do not disappoint because You love, and it dissolves every fear, so I can live freely in Your love. (Romans 5:5. 1 John 4:18, Ephesians 5:1-2)

Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not even [now] see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 AMP

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Haven

Earlier this week I had the privilege of taking care of three of my siblings. (It was far from singlehanded with the aid of public schools and gracious neighbors who took them in while I was at work.) It thrilled and filled my heart to get to live a half-past-sister-yet-not-quite-mom role. They are some remarkable kids and high on my list of people I want everyone to meet.

One of the nights I was alone with them, something caught my eye that I hope to always see. I was putting away laundry and singing harmony (loudly) to the song playing in my brother's room. One of my sisters came running in to show me a video that she has shown me many times that still has yet to lose its funny luster in her eyes.

For a few moments my thoughts were, "Hey! Don't you see that this space is already audibly occupied? Could you wait until my song is over?"

But Something Loving hushed me before I could open my mouth to say anything. And for a split second I saw something beautiful that I have mulled over every day since.

I saw a haven...a protected realm otherwise known as a relationship where I sacrificed whatever I had to so that she would know she is always welcome and always wanted; where she can freely be herself and always delighted in in response, without ever asking for permission or once apologizing for who she is. THAT'S the kingdom, people.

It's grace! I saw grace. She approached me the way the throne of grace was designed to be approached. For too long I treated it like a throne of begging instead -- because I didn't know how He longed to be gracious to me. I didn't know that it was for His glory and good pleasure for Him to give to me and for me to receive what He gives -- which is also for my good and joy. Isn't that beautiful?! I cannot depict this accurately so I hope those who read this get to experience what I'm talking about. Thank You, Jesus!

May Your throne of grace be the crown of all my relationships, and may truth be the scepter that dispenses freedom and abundant life. Grace also to heal all wounds; truth also to dispel lies and fear.

Jesus...full of grace and truth.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Letter to Doubt from the Pen of Grace

Dear Doubt,

I understand why you persist. Your intentions are apparent and your effects are ugly. Dark. Stale. A kill-joy. Like a silenced song before it was through. Like an elated new mother giving birth to a stillborn. You make an illusion of loose ends and unresolved issues to cause a chasing of the wind and further illusions of deficiency. You allure your subjects to paths without peace and clouds without rain. You are vicious.

Lately I have been particularly aware of your attraction to those who have been captured by a certain grace. You bombard their minds with humanly reasonable thoughts, far-from-living waters of the worst intent: To snuff out the hearts ablaze with grace's flames.

You will do anything in your power to keep as many as possible from realizing the tender, zealous, earth-shattering, all-encompassing grace of God in Christ Jesus. You can't do anything about His triumph over you, so you try to keep the earth-dwellers from experiencing the mystery of God. But oh how it must remind you of your defeat when a soul exhales into rest in the Spirit of the Living God and freely enjoys His ceaseless embrace!

You play dirty. And if I were you, I would too. Because I am sure you have seen the effects of this grace. I bet you writhe when I dance and choke when I sing. Surely, you must know what you are up against. But in case you have forgotten, let me remind you. Not with my words, but with His power.

You are in an arena with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. You have come against those who are eternally more than conquerors. I am sure you remember your dealings with Him. You have come against warriors whom you are trying to blind to their weapons, but their desperation leads them to realizing the power they have in the love of Jesus Christ. You have been disarmed and all you have to fight with are lies and schemes that are beautiful stories in the making.

And did you know that your attempts actually serve to aid in a person's realization of the truth that sets them free? Do you realize that even your dirtiest scheme is picked up and used for your Enemy's purposes? You are shooting arrows that are morphed into precious lilies. You are opening your mouth to bite and devour, but your attempt dissolves into a gentle kiss. You can't win.

Who is sabotaging every one of your schemes? Who resurrects when you kill, restores when you steal, and rebuilds when you destroy? Who is sovereign? Who is Mighty to Save? Who makes all things new?

Who else but Jesus Christ the righteous? Who else but the Savior of the ones you can't have?

You know Him, but not like I know Him. You hear His voice, but not the way I do. You too shudder in His presence, but not with delight. You have a future with Him, but mine is brighter. Bright, actually, with the glory of the Lamb that you thought you destroyed. You thought His blood meant His defeat...but it actually brought about yours. Sucker.

Grace is the name of the covenant that will never pass away. May the ones under this grace revel in it daily, walk in it freely, and intimately behold the One who brought it into existence.

In Jesus' name.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love's Flow of Thought

A very wise and very animated woman said to me a few years ago, "The Bible teaches itself." My mind was blown. The words below are put in purposeful order. Every word of God is flawless; Hallelujah.

Matthew 22:36-40 - "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

1 Peter 1:22 - Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 John 4:15-16 - Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

John 15:4-5 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Galatians 5:22 - The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

1 Corinthians 13:4-9 - Love is patient, love is kind and it not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

John 15:4-5 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 - If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Galatians 5:6 - The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

1 Corinthians 16:14 - Do everything in love.

1 John 4:9 - God is love.

John 15:9 - Abide in My love.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Shepherd's Longing

More of this story will be recorded here at a later time. But for now, this:

Mumbai. Night. Spirit in me was jumping and urging me to go out. I didn't know where He would take me; I just knew I was going somewhere. He filled me with joy.

"By faith Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going..." Hebrews 11.

I had a small bag with me. I stepped out. The elevator took me down six levels.

"Take nothing with you..." Matthew 9.

I took a walk back upstairs. Giddy. Empty hands now. Full heart of Abba's love that was begging to be expressed.

"Having nothing yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6.

A walk down six flights of stairs. A step out into the night. One foot in front of the other. Confidence; thoughts of mighty protection invisible to me becoming visible to those who would harm me. A quiet smile. Papa's got me. He's leading me. I'm excited.

A road. A rickshaw. A bhaiya.

"Carter Road?"

He didn't understand what I said.

"I'm sorry ma'am..."

Sovereignty. Guess I'm not going there tonight. I laughed to myself and thought of the next place I knew.

"Linking Road?"

I said it before I thought it through. Sovereignty.

"Yes ma'am."

Ahh...yes. That was where I met those kids and adults who live and sleep outside of McDonald's and KFC.

Here we go.

Twenty minutes. Maybe thirty. Bathed in rest as I rode through the ridiculously overcrowded streets between Santacruz and Bandra. Wind in my face; a view from the highway of the Arabian Sea. Breathtaking every time. I wondered, "Is this really my life right now?"

"Bas," I said to the bhaiya, letting him know that he had taken me far enough. Forty-five Rupees. He was kind.

Stepping out again, I went looking for them, and sought them before they could seek me. Perhaps the first time that has happened to them. Christ in me? SO excited to be around them. He loves.

They begged. I smiled. I told them to follow me. Other onlookers thought something was wrong and were harsh with them. They asked me if there was a problem. I wanted to say, "They live on the street and are treated like the dirt that cakes their skin. Don't you think that is a problem?" But instead I smiled and told them that I came to have dinner with my friends. I wanted them to follow me. It threw the onlookers off-guard to see me enjoying them so much.

I gathered a few kids. For a few hours I was the mother of six young, energetic, feisty, and beautiful kids. We crossed the street. Human Frogger. I held them back when something with wheels comes racing our way, even though I knew they have done this for far longer than I have. I loved them. I loved that night. I loved Him. I was Beaming.

We walked. Words were lost in translation. I wanted them to choose their favorite place to eat. I asked those who walk by to translate words to and from them. Most were eager to help, but thought I was foolish. "They are just taking advantage of you, you know. Don't buy them anything."

But grace makes no distinction.

No one took His life; He gave it up on His own accord.

Big. Astronomical. Difference.

We walked some more. I looked back to make sure all six were with me. Something happened that I knew would affect me for the rest of my life. I saw one of my boys turn to beg someone else.

I heard the heart of the Shepherd in that moment...I wanted to say, "Child! If you just follow me, you won't have to beg anyone else. You don't even have to beg me because I am giving to you freely. Follow Me; right now I am leading you to food for your body and love for your soul. Come!"

I said, "Ey! Chullo! Aja!"

In English: "Hey! Let's go! Come!"

He looked at me, snapped out of his begging mode, smiled, and did something that resembled an Irish jig. Then he followed me.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but a matter of righteousness, faith and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I have eaten with the poor who could not repay me. It has never been about food. It is always about dispersing grace; the lifeblood of the kingdom. And dispersing it and receiving it are usually done in the same motion. There is one Giver. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Warriors of Grace

Grace. Grace upon this. Grace for that and that and that. The real thing -- not just truth about grace, which is no substitute.

There is a movement and a revival stirring and reaching higher momentum now...indeed it is already here. It is about grace.

But be careful, Church.

Do not despise those who would put you under a yoke of slavery.

Instead be a warrior of grace to them.

Look to the rock from which you were hewn.

Do not forget that you, too, were rescued from the slavery that you see them in.

If you are disgusted with false religion, good. You're on the right road.

But it gets narrower yet.

There will be those who tell you that you are completely wrong.

They will tell you that you are lazy.

They will tell you that you are taking the easy way out.

They will tell you that you are a part of a feel-good cult.

They will tell you many things.

Yet not even Christ answered the fool according to his folly.

And believe me, they do not know His heart. They need to be rescued by this grace that you celebrate!

He stirred the waters AS A RESULT OF heeding the will of His Father.

He stirred the waters, but He did not argue.

Zeal for His Father's house consumed Him, but He HUMBLED Himself.

Seek the ones who are caught in religion.

There is an easy yoke with their name on it.

Do not be afraid to be criticized. Fear of man will prove to be a snare. The spotless Lamb was accused by those who were dead in their own sin. To think of it -- the blameless one pronounced guilty by those born of the seed of Adam! And yet there was justice.

Let yourself be vulnerable, speak the truth in love, and expect to be wounded.

He showed us how, didn't He?

Grace goes there.

It goes anywhere.

If you clog the flow of grace, withholding it from those who withhold it from you because "they just don't deserve it," you have forgotten the reason it came. And yes, that can hurt. But there is grace for your pain. To withhold it from others is ultimately to withhold yourself from experiencing its riches.

Do not be afraid of those who don't understand you.

Your Father who is in heaven sees you, and He is your judge.

The verdict on your soul is righteous and blameless in Christ.

Let His verdict be enough for you, though an army besiege you and accuse this grace.

Isn't that interesting -- grace under accusation?

Walk by faith and not by the sound of accusations that point to your behavior, which has been atoned for. And keep in mind that some of these accusations will be solely based on man's unfulfilled expectation. To dust it shall return, but the Word of the Lord will stand forever.

There is rest and joy to be had even in the midst of accusation.

And OH how I long for us to take hold of it!

The one who accuses has been disarmed.

The One Who shares His joy with us is for us, and who could be against us?

Let there be no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Let those who condemn others, and therefore themselves, in the pride of their own religiosity -- let them know this:

They don't have to fear.

Everything is paid for.


We're free. Really.


Spread the word.