Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Shifting Shore Lines

They say ‘opposites attract’. I’m no longer certain of that as a blanket statement, but I do know that others can have the same heartbeats and passion as each other while at the same time being completely opposite in approach or personality.

My “bestie” Meg, shares a lot of the same passions and heart for Jesus and people as I do, but she is SO different from me. So different. She is as introverted as I am extroverted, short as I am tall, fair skinned as I am brown, and smirks inwardly as much as I do outwardly.

When the Lord is changing her, He works in her slowly and steadily. It will be months sometimes before she can put a concept into words as she grows. But she grows oh so beautifully. If she was an ocean shoreline, the Lord is the lapping waves. Come back in 10 years and you will have noticed how the shoreline has changed shape dramatically.

When the Lord is working in me, it’s more like bursts and spurts, and loud explosions of ‘ah ha’ moments. I can almost immediately articulate what the Lord is showing me. If I was an ocean shoreline, then the Lord would be the breakers that crash against the shore. In 10 years, my shoreline all have changed just as much as Meg’s as the waters shape our hearts.

In DeepSometimes waves lap, and other times they break, but what matters is that shorelines change. It’s been easy for me over the years to either get frustrated with Meg’s process, or envy it. And hers with mine. There have  also been times since when the Lord has worked in my life like a lapping wave, and Meg’s example has helped me to not fear the Lord’s quiet working. He isn’t a God to be put in a box, and in different seasons He speaks and works differently in us and in others. The key is not expecting others journeys to look like our own. As believers, Jesus is the journey we all say ‘yes’ to. The evidence of His work is what we should be looking for in each other – not our similarities or differences.

We have each been woven together by the Lord – He knows us deeply. And He knows how we can best hear Him. He puts friends in our lives that are different from us so that we can learn about and meet a different side of how the Lord works and loves. Differences are not for comparison or frustration, but for appreciation and stretching. If the world were filled with people who all related to life just like you, how boring would that be?

Unity doesn’t come from uniformity, but diversity. You don’t get unity by combining two of the same things. You create unity by connecting diversity with a common thread. For Meg and I, that unifying thread has been Jesus. I need her diversity and she needs mine.

You need diversity, and the world needs yours.

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Shifting Shore Lines is Day #20 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series

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It Feels Like Hope

To do list and to remember lists, room diagrams, run sheets, menu’s and staff team lists cluttered my phone, clipboard and brain. The only way I was going to take on the day and thrive in it was to sit and be quiet, to set it all aside for a few minutes. I snuck away to my favorite coffee shop. I thought about blogging for tonight but instead poured over Jeremiah 31 and 32.

One thought chased another as I looked out the coffee shop window at the early fall snow. Something about those verses and looking out the window got me thinking about hope as Sara Grove’s song lyrics reverberated through my heart and mind.

You do your work the best that you can
You put one foot in front of the other
Life comes in waves and makes it’s demands
You hold on as well as your able

You’ve been here for a long long time

Hope has a way of turning it’s face to you
Just when you least expect it
You walk in a room
You look out a window
And something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
It’s been a while since I felt this
But it feels like it might be hope

HopeSo instead of a blog today, you’re getting an excerpt from my journal as I pondered fall leaves, dead branches, hope. And how that hope connects with the way the Lord both scatters and gathers things in our lives as He did in Jeremiah with the people of Israel.

Before Hope can live, before it can be birthed, it must be conceived. Hope begins when things still look bare and barren, it’s starts in the grey before the light of dawn. Before any tangible reality comes into sight – hope breathes quietly first.

When it’s still dead and seemingly barren, when the snow is starting to fall, and spring is far off, hope. Look out the window and let the broken sticks leave you breathless, for the God who scatters also gathers. The Father who allows death also beckons life. Hope beckons life  instead of despair as it calls out:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord, (Jeremiah 31:16)

The Lord who scatters, still values what was scattered or lost, and will once again gather. And this feels like it might be hope. (Jeremiah 31:10) 

“It feels like hope” is Day #19 of “In Deep” a 31 Days series


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Delight as a Child

The Soul is Healed by Being with Children.

Jesus tells us to come to Him as children, and I’m beginning to see that coming as a child also means coming with delight. Enjoying the simple pleasures of life. He gave us all things to enjoy.

Some of my favorite pictures from this week were of a little boy I nanny. We got down and dirty, and very messy, and had a blast.

When we come to the mess of life as a child we can find great delight and color in it’s nuances. 

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Courage

Courage

This quote from the Money Saving Mom, inspired me this week. So much of life is just showing up and being present. And it takes courage to face the things we don’t want to, and the areas we need healing in. At times it’s easier to not come to the Lord for healing or help because we don’t see how He could heal or help. We are limited by our own sight.

The Lord only asks two things of us though:

1. That we invite Him into the process, into our wounds, and the areas we would rather not deal with.

2. That we show up to the game.

Healing doesn’t rest on us. Yes, we need to choose it and show up for it, but the Lord is our Healer, our Cleanser, and our Provider. Not us. Hallelujah! It’s the Holy Spirit’s work that sets us free.

Is there something weighing on you today?

Have courage and take a moment to listen.

May you have a peaceful weekend, as you leave your healing and burdens before the One who came to set you free. Wait on Him. Healing will come.


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When I Offend You

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19

Sometimes the incredible weight and influence that leaders carry in the lives of those who look up to them scares me. I’m not scared just as one who has been hurt by leadership, but it now scares me as one in leadership. The more I understand my own fallibility and weaknesses, the more grace I have for the past and present leadership in my life. But with that understanding also comes the knowledge that I may in turn hurt those who look up to me. I want to emphatically echo Paul ‘May it never be!’ 

In my prayers and hopes that I would never be the cause of others wounds and offenses, I cannot deny the fact that even innocently or unintentionally there still may be a time when I do offend someone I love or lead. 

Then He (Jesus) said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! Luke 17:1

 In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus even tells his disciples that offense and causing pain to others will happen.  

Lord, may they never come through me!  

But what if they do come through me? 

Then what?

This month I’ve been teaching on offense and being offended at the Discipleship House, and how to navigate the walls offense brings (Proverbs 18:19). Leaders are supposed to be the ones that help lead the people they influence to the Throne of Grace. Every Christian leader and pastor’s goal should be to point their people to Jesus.

But stuff happens. Leaders sin, and through their sin wound others. Or leaders are innocent of intentionally wronging, but are misunderstood. Any of these can lead to hurt, pain, and offense.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. With offense, pain, and disappointment, comes an unexpected treasure – the pain that drives us to Jesus alone. When others fail us, it leaves Jesus.

My prayer is to always point people to Jesus. But should I fail and hurt them – then by God’s grace let the offense become the thing that brings them to Jesus. What matters is that they get to the Throne. Jesus is healing, He is life, and I am not.

Oh friend, if a Failure 1

leader,

parent,

pastor,

friend,

or teacher,

has failed you, and not been worthy of your trust – I am so sorry. But please, if their life or influence was supposed to lead you towards Jesus and be His example to you, and it wasn’t – then let their mistake lead you to Him. You can never loose before the Throne. Just get there. Please.

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“When I Offend You” is Day # 16 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series


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My Greatest Adventure (or What is Better Part #2)

greatest adventureI was starting to secretly hate walking through the sign section of Hobby Lobby reading all of the “all love stories are good, but ours is my favorite” and “You are my greatest Adventure” signs and frames. Ugg. I wanted that, to share a story with someone. Every time I’m faced with a big life change or something happens that really impacts who I am as a person I struggle with longing for someone to see it. To know me. I long to be known in the before and after, in the writing of the story. To share the heartache and the adventure with.

This summer as I walked another big life change alone, I began to contemplate this adventure thing again. I had always wished my husband someday would know me in the  season of life I just left because it was such a big part of the formation of my story. As the previous moves and seasons had been. With each move, each job change, new friendships and ministry, came with them unique adventures, and stories to tell and live. And here I was moving on again. It wasn’t that I didn’t have supportive family and friends, the longing was more for the intimacy of  sharing all of one story with one person. Being more fully known in all my parts and pieces.

As I began to think back through all my parts and pieces, the Holy Spirit showed me something about my story. He knew every bit of it. Oh course I “knew” that in theory, but for the first time my heart saw it all. He was the one who was there for every change, every move, every tear, every wall painted and every quiet moment when my heart sang. He held that deep intimacy for me. I was fully known. And He is my Greatest Adventure.

In DeepSomeday maybe a guy will join me in the adventure, and if that is the case, marriage will be an other adventure that the Lord and I will embark on together. This is the key – each relationship role we live out, each move, each chapter in our story, is the chance to walk through a different adventure with the Lord. He’s the foundation. This blog is part two of What’s Better?‘ where I answered one of the questions posed by the girls in the Discipleship House. Can we know the Lord better if we are single or if we are married? The answer to the question is yes. Yes we can always know Him more if you are single AND if you are married. His love for you and His invitation to know every bit of your story stands the same in every adventure, challenge and blessing you walk through. He is not just my greatest adventure, He can be yours too.

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“My Greatest Adventure” is Day #15 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series

 


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Our Whole Existence

Identity in Christ

Every Tuesday night at the Discipleship House we have an area pastor or community leader come and teach or speak to both the students and visitors. Tonight’s speaker was Dr. Matthew Pickering, a Wesleyan District Superintend. He spoke on our identity in Christ, and this is one of the concepts that resonated with me.

“Our Identity in Christ is not about some characteristics that we possess, it’s about our whole existence.”

Yesterday I promised a part 2 to the blog “What’s Better?“, and it’s still coming. But the Lord gives His beloved sleep, and this beloved needs sleep!

Audios till later!