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.