I wish

I could communicate just how dear, how precious, my friend Jesus is. .
Words could share the sweetness of sitting with Him.
I would remember mystery of His kindness everyday.

But as I feel the frailty of words and the limitations of explanations,
It seems the best thing to do is just
be.

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One of those days

…that start poorly
…then get worse
…when you fight to have a good attitude
…when it’s a battle to send a text to say, “please pray”
…when you read your Bible to put your head on straight
…when you must worship to work because the news won’t cut it this morning

Today is one of those days when I fear polluting the whole day with discouragement

and instead, grace flows and He fights the battle in my place.

So I look back with a grateful heart and see mercy here, there, and everywhere. I am not alone in any sense of the word; I am surrounded by love, even when the battle rages.

Hope

Life is a hope; change is a promise.

I will plant a bulb and hope that come spring days in a few months, green life will poke through the cold ground.  The bulb may also rot.

I will nurture a child and hope that come hard times, the deeply-planted love and care will encourage perseverance.  It may appear to be for naught.

I will do my best to trust the One Who does all things well, Who sees beyond my view, and Who promises an eternal hope.  On days when hope (for me or the ones I love) is hard to see, I will trust His promise.

mismatch

Something says,

“It’s time to move on.”

Prepare the pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, and boots.

But life doesn’t always match the calendar.

School has started,

but the weather is just perfect   

for summer.

I’ll take a few more iced drinks and flip-flip days,

even if I do have to get up for work,

thank-you-very-much!

Overwhelmed

I need discipline, especially in my Bible reading. Some people may be able to read here, there, and everywhere willy nilly and stay focused. I cannot.

So I came to Titus 3 last week and got stuck, in the best way possible. That sense of “this seems brand new even though I know I’ve read it many times before” hit me clearly, and I keep going back to re-read it and meditate on it, finding it richer every time I return.

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”
(Titus 3:1-2).

I stopped, overwhelmed by the last phrase. It’s a great idea- every consideration for everyone- and a seemingly impossible one. I have a tendency, wrong though it is, to read things like this and think, “time to take a vow of poverty” (which may be God’s plan for some but which He has not revealed for me yet), and “kill myself trying to serve other people” (also not revealed to me).

But…neither my story nor the chapter was over. So I kept reading.

“For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.”
(Titus 3:3).

Seven words in, I was done. As if I was a child, sitting on the neighbor’s grass at Five-Day Club hearing the gospel again in its simplicity, the truth of my sinful start was clear. The sword of the Spirit cut cleanly, and my own inability to be anything less than lost was deeply apparent. The compassion in “we also” put me in my place- the place of needing consideration!

And now I was propelled into the next verse, already knowing the truth of grace but needing to read it alive again.

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
(Titus 3:4-7).

Ahh! But when…kindness and love through the Father and Son and Spirit…I could breathe again, filling my heart and lungs with the breath of life. The weight of self-imposed expectations and overwhelming pressure had to flee, because the Spirit has been poured out richly in Christ, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. This story’s not about me, and it never has been. What sweet relief!

Jesus mercifully regenerated me when I prayed for salvation as a seven-year-old, but He continues to renew me, even on a random summer morning on a disciplined Bible reading plan. The truth of the good news should never be stale, but sometimes, I take the miracle for granted.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me again of how I desperately need You and how present you are.

Life, fortune, sacred honor

Thomas Nelson Jr. did.

In the battle at Yorktown this American general directed his men to aim their cannon at his home, then under control of occupying British forces led by General Cornwallis. When they would not out of respect for him, he aimed the cannon himself.

Nelson did not attack foolishly, though. His home was the second largest in Yorktown, and after the British had their first headquarters destroyed, it was logical to assume that they would move to the next best building. As it happened, the British simply housed soldiers in Nelson’s home. When the attack began, the forces moved out.

To this day, a cannonball from the Revolutionary War remains in the wall of Nelson’s home. Whether it is one he shot himself or not is unknown.

What is known is this: Nelson pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor when he signed the Declaration of Independence. He kept his word despite the cost for a cause he believed in.

As I rode away from his house on a Segway, enjoying a vacation with my family and sacrificing nothing greater than my preferences, my mind wandered. What would I sacrifice for Christ, the “cause” and delight of my life? When the time comes to aim the cannon, will my own comfort be so readily injured? Will my security be so rooted in allegiance to Christ that all may suffer but my commitment to Him?

What small steps today and tomorrow will prepare me? Sometimes the cost cannot be counted in advance. However, the declaration can be signed. My life, my fortune, and my sacred honor are due to the One Who gave His for me.

Help in the form of legal counsel

No, we didn’t get sued, nor did we sue anyone else, though we did enjoy a visit to the Supreme Court.

Instead, we got sick. By “we” I mean the two youngest “kids”- Sher and Zachary- have been sick this afternoon. We were in the Library of Congress with both cars parked a good distance away and the heat index somewhere around 110 degrees when our legal counsel arrived.

A official-looking and official-acting man stuck unusually close after Zachary got sick, then stepped in to ask if we were ok. The building was closing, and we were headed into the heat and humidity with two sick ones.

In the end, the legislative counsel for the House of Representatives took us on a long but air-conditioned walk through a series of underground tunnels under the House office buildings. He set us up in a cafeteria, drove the dads to the cars in his car, found them parking, then came in to walk us back to the cars.

I don’t know when I’ve experienced a Good Samaritan like this before, but he was heaven-sent. Yes, we would have made it without George’s help, but he made a rough time a lot smoother.

Friday afternoon at 5:00pm is not the easiest time to spend a couple hours helping 10 strangers, but he did. May I be so quick to offer help even to strangers and even despite inconvenience…even if I’m not legal counsel.

Love is patient

…when I make one wrong turn after another and accidentally slip into Virginia

…during a U-turn at a sketchy motel parking lot

…when I haven’t had enough sleep

…after a day full of tours and heat

…with low blood sugar

…without condition

…even, especially, when I find it hard to be patient with myself

This evening, my sisters loved me well. As I lay here reflecting on a lovely day, my mind wanders back to K Street and traffic and my Bean and Bear, who poured on grace when I needed it. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count the most.

Nothing major happened today; no trauma occurred. Instead, one more brick was laid as God builds a new, peaceful habit of thought in me. Thanks to my sweet sisters for being instruments in His hands!