Just Love Your God

Just Love Your God

“Don’t lie to yourself, O my soul.

Love your God.”

~ Audrey Assad, “O My Soul”

Listen here.

 

Lying to myself….

Deeply buried is the belief that I can affect (control?) the wellness of my kids. Actually, not so deeply buried.

Even saying that opens the floodgates of thoughts, feelings, plans to help them.

 

Not my job.

 

Breaks my heart, but it also gives freedom.

 

My job is to love You, my God.

Oh, I love You.

 

In that yearning, longing aching way. Full of joy and pain.

 

My friend Lois describes C.S. Lewis’ experience with that longing: “Sehnsucht (a German word that embodies a huge theme in all of Lewis’s writings: Sehnsucht is the sense of deep, inconsolable longing, yearning, the feeling of intensely missing something when we don’t even know what it is. It is also related to his experiences of joy).”

 

“My soul thirsts for God,

for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?”

~ Psalm 42:2

 

I love You here enough to ache for eternity- Perfect Love! Where there is no more yearning. Only the realness of Emmanuel, God with us.

 

So, my job is not to make life good for my kids.

My job is to love my God.

Billy Graham, when he was 92, said “If I had it to do over again, I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him and [am] looking forward the time we’re going to spend together for eternity.”

 

Sitting in Your presence.

Meditating on Your living Word.

Not rushing away.

Listening….

Open to obedience.

 

What shall I do, Lord?

You name it.

Because of the power that raised Jesus from the dead in me, I will obey You.

Name it. I will obey You.

I Love You.

 

So, my job is to love You.

To linger long in Your presence.

That Living Water may soak to the very deepest roots of my soul.

Abiding in You.

 

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5

 

And I want to do nothing apart from You!!

I rest in You.

I love You, my God.

 

Photo credit

 

 

A Sparrow’s Home

A Sparrow’s Home

May I be a sparrow, finding joy in the wide sky.

The unending blue is exhilarating!

But instinct calls me “home.” A place to nestle my smallness and vulnerability. A spot where I feel safe and free to be me.

“Even the sparrow finds a home…
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.”
Psalm 84:3

My heart exults in your nearness, Lord!

My home is Your home.

In You I find my refuge, my launching pad, my joy, my peace.

I settle my flock at Your altar. May they imbibe life from You!

I will not cage them in my worried care. No matter my love and good intentions. Their souls would shrivel.

You made them like me- gasping for freedom and meaning and purpose.

So I lay them freely at Your altar. The deepest sacrifice of my heart.

They may choose to fly away in wild disregard of unperceived love and freedom.

But You have planted the melody of truth in their hearts. A homing device.

May they return home, thriving in your truth and freedom. Exhilarating, unending blue.

Photo credit

Deep Calls to Deep

Deep Calls to Deep

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls

All your breakers and Your waves have gone over me.

Psalm 42:7

When I was a girl, my family embarked on the “Maid of the Mist,” a tourist boat that sails very near the powerful Niagara Falls. Of course, the journey didn’t take us directly under the roaring waterfall. We traveled close enough to experience the mist only.

I don’t actually want to be covered by a waterfall.

So, I paddle and exert my smallness to avoid the catastrophe.

The sovereign God, boundlessly bigger than every waterfall, also sees my frantic, insignificant flailing. This time He allows the current to pull me closer to the cascade.

Deep calls to deep.

There is something for me in the thunderous roar that I cannot have in the peaceful river. And He waits for me there.

Deep calls to deep.

My soul was made for this crisis, this terrible flood. For the deep is where I experience the depth of God.

“For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas and the flood surrounded me. All your waves and your billows passed over me…. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you….” Jonah 2:3,7

Sovereign Jesus, You have allowed Your breakers and Your waves to overwhelm me. There is nothing but You here. I have nothing else to see, smell, hear, taste or feel.

Deep calls to deep.

This tumult is a sacred place. Just You and I. You hold me here in tender, strong protection.

In a flash I realize the futility of my efforts, my plans, my solutions.

I am overwhelmed by Your power. And I treasure that You are for me. Unfathomable power working all things for good.

So that everyone can easily see that it is not my strength or wisdom or even faith that gives breath and life.

It is all You, my close God.

Deep calls to deep.

And I commune with You in the deluge. Not with words or even thoughts.

Your heart- pulsing, vibrant Source of Life- directly communes with my heart.

The waterfall, although terrible, becomes a place of beauty and surprising peace.

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge.” Psalm 73:20

 

Photo credit: Niagara Falls

Choosing to Dance the Conga

Choosing to Dance the Conga

Impossible to resist the beat of the music. I am made to join in the dance. To respond to the song of the Creator.

The conga line is miles long, and I choose to be pulled in.

As the line snakes slowly around the room, weaving in and out, more people join in.

Jesus, the Ultimate conga leader! He sets the pace. He leads us in and out. Often the path is winding and unclear. Occasionally it’s a straight shot.

I am fully engaged in this dance. Tuning in to the music of the Master.

Except. I notice there are those on the outside. I remember being there. Considering my choice. Maybe all they need is to be invited.

“Come! Please join us! You were not made to stand and watch. You were made to dance!”

I try to grab hands and arms as I pass them by. I wish I could make them come. Convince them that they will not regret joining the dance.

But, they may choose. And I respect the no as much as I rejoice in the yes.

There are not words to explain the beauty and joy and eternal significance of joining the conga.

So, I pray. Only Jesus can draw them the way He drew me.

Lord of the Dance.

The song is almost over. Sometimes the dance feels like slow motion; I can feel the beat and savor the words. Sometimes it feels like a blur… it’s passing quickly.

And I instinctively plead for those who are hesitating. Oh, please don’t take too long. The song is almost over.

Photo credit: https://stocksnap.io/photo/SKI2T9YF2P

The Eyes of Jesus

The Eyes of Jesus

Jesus walks on water.

He defies the laws of nature. The laws He created.

He transcends what He creates.

He transcends everything.

He transcends me.

And I see Him on the dark, swirling waters.

And I’m thankful that He walks above it all.

The circumstances that threaten to drown me are a royal carpet for Him.

It doesn’t actually matter if those waves are a willing platform, joyfully supporting Him where humans have never before been supported.

Or if those waves are defiant and seething.

Either way. He is Lord and Creator of the waves. Submit they must.

And now His eyes fix on mine.

Oh how He loves me!

And I trust Him in these roiling waters.

He beckons.

“Come.”

Of course, it doesn’t make sense. Human being cannot walk on water.

Human beings cannot give what they don’t have.

But His love!

It’s like solid ground. I won’t deny it.

So, in faith, -oh how this pleases Him- I walk.

He is my launch pad.

He is my firm path.

He is my safe landing.

And my heart nestles securely in Him.

Photo credit: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=2766&picture=breaking-wave

Water That Cuts Through Stone

Water That Cuts Through Stone

Maybe the world isn’t as dependent on my super powers as I think.

Maybe the best thing for everyone is that I fall short. That I crumble in a heap of regret and frustration. And as I land in a pile, I accidentally activate the hidden switch that opens the secret passage of power.

If I had been successfully hitting my goals I never would have found this place.

My best skill and greatest success don’t even compare to the power I find here.

So I enter this private room, this secret world.

And I get down on my 50-year-old knees and access divine power.

Ann Voskamp says, “It’s not what you do every now and then that changes anything, but what you do *every day* that changes everything.”

The incessant drip of water cuts through stone. Drop by drop.

I’m thankful for the experience and encouragement of wise people to help me persist in prayer. Paul Miller offers practical encouragement in “A Praying Life.”

His prayer card system helps me activate the secret power of incessant, persistent prayer – that changes everything.

I’ve taken 3×5 index cards and put the name of a person at the top. As I pray for them individually, I ask God to give me the main topics that He wants to address in each life. They range from character traits to specific Scripture to getting braces. I write down about five or six on each card.

And my little tools are ready.

I pick up my stack of cards each day, take off the rubber band, and lift these beloved ones to the Father for a minute or two on each card.

Drip, drip, drip.

How thankful I am to join God in the mystery of prayer! Somehow He makes His power partly dependent on my prayers.

It reminds me of when the angel spoke to Daniel. “Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Daniel 10:12

So the power of prayer- and the tool of index cards- fills me with hope.

Hope that little by little, in a way that I don’t understand- my loved ones will experience the love of Jesus, find joy in their work, and maybe get braces.

An incidental by-product of these private times of intercession- my heart becomes more closely knit to my Father’s heart.

And I’m filled up with the wonder that this is what I’m made for. I’m made to deeply connect with God.

Maybe that’s part of why He created prayer in the first place. That he may connect with me on the deepest, unseen, spiritual level. The place too deep for words. Where the Spirit translates our tears and sighs into intercession.

“May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

Photo credit: https://static.pexels.com/photos/40784/drops-of-water-water-nature-liquid-40784.jpeg

Love Is Slow

Love Is Slow

“Hurry sickness” is a thing.

Trust me, I know.

I rush to make green lights.

I snag aisle seats so I can get out fast.

I scrutinize grocery store lines, placing bets on the fastest one.

Evelyn Underhill said, “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.

Ah. It’s the opposite of my instinct. Counter-intuitive. If I want to mature my soul, I must resist the urge to hurry.

Do my kids notice if I’m listening to their stories with half a heart because I’m so efficiently multi-tasking?

Do I put off a date with my husband because the calendar is brimming, and my to-do list is dizzying?

Do I feel a pang when my son wonders, “Mom, do you have time for me to tell you about the book I’m reading?”

Love is slow.

I can’t dive into conversation with humans or God and hit those deep, sacred moments if I’m nervously monitoring the clock.

It’s hard to pull out of habitual hurry. It’s so engraved in my soul I hardly notice it.

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2

John Ortberg challenges you and me to earnestly combat life-sucking hurry.

His suggestion: choose the long line at the store and the stop light.

Maybe I should plant myself in the center of the row and snake out of the building like an ordinary person .

Sounds. Like. Torture.

Not to mention a reckless waste of time.

It seems like the Kingdom of God is best measured intangibly. I’m not able to chart the effects of time spent worshiping God.

Impossible to count what happens when I meditate on His Word. Or when I join His heart in prayer for the humans that He loves.

When I spend precious minutes playing games with my kids or hanging on the couch with my husband.

It feels like faith to practice the discipline of slowing.

I long to pass the slow lane and get to work three minutes faster. Resisting that urge is a little way of proclaiming that I’m not the most important thing. The world can thrive without me.

May my soul be as a weaned child within me. May I cease the clamor and striving. Lord, help me to grow up.

May I trust You enough to go slow.

Photo credit: http://haammss.com/daut/as/f/a/autumn-leaves-falling-wallpaper-down_autumn-fall_home-decor_home-decor-ideas-country-decoration-websites-decorators-catalog-pinterest-cheap-stores-blog-catalogs