Not Unredeemed

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


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Cast Your Bread

The tears formed as I plopped down in the middle of the road. I refused to go backward: I KNEW He was good, and good to me. It was a truth that fires had buried so deep in my soul I couldn’t turn around and retrace my steps. Yet the basket of question marks I held in my hands refused to let me walk forward. I was stuck. With a holy stubbornness refusing to go back, and a  prideful stubbornness refusing to walk on, I sat. In all the refusing wrestling within me the most control I could muster over my heart was refuse to cave to either side – and so I sat.  Tears flowed into the questions. They represented so many things: people, circumstances, relationships, emotions and even God Himself.

I’m not very good at casting my bread. The sowing-of-the-seed-in-investment kind or the food-hurling kind. When I invest in something I like to go all the way in and know what the end will produce. That there will be a tangible return that was worth whatever the investment cost was.

Solomon has a different perspective.

Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.

Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,

In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.

In life, and primarily in the Lord, we don’t know what the turn of our investments will bring. I observe the wind and so I do not sow. I look at the clouds and say ‘but it will rain’. But what if the rain is what waters the seeds I sow?  

‘I will give rain to your seed which you sow’ (Isaiah 30:23)

Do I understand how the Lord knits bones together in the womb? Or why some pregnancy ends in the miscarriage of a child, while others end in a long term investment of a child? But BOTH children live? And both are known by the Father?

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

So I don’t understand the works of the God who made everything. And knows me, and knows the road I sit on.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3

I don’t need to understand when I sow and when He tells me to sow because He understands.

In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.

I don’t know what will prosper or whether both alike will be good. But I do know that He will always be good, and I will always be known.

tomorrowMy Pastor  recently talked about how we all want to know the end, and to know what the will of God is for our lives. To some extent we do or can know what His will is. But to become fixated on what the will of God and the calling/plan of God for your life long term can cause you to miss out on what God has for you right now.

I’ve been guilty of missing out as I wrestle with trusting Him in the questions. God doesn’t always let me know what the investments (casting my bread upon the waters) will  yield in my life or others.  The Father isn’t withholding His love from me when He doesn’t answer my questions about the things I’ve sown. His silence about tomorrow is an invitation to know Him today.

If or when I need to know about tomorrow, and the answers to my questions, He will show me.

So I stand up slowly and seed the questions into the wind. I am known today. And so are you.

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Cast Your Bread is Day 26 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series

 

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Memes

In the Discipleship House this week, Memes have become a new and creative way to have an entire conversation.

A conversation that follows me on the road. I’m traveling and speaking at a Woman’s conference and finding  out that I’m miss the students already. Fitting I guess when I’m speaking on Spiritual Motherhood!

Thanks to group chats, my phone continues to go off as the meme conversations roll in. I wish I could give you a picture of the hilarity, sarcasm, creativity and wit these young adults have! While I can’t share their stories, I can share some of the memes they’ve made of me. The humility to laugh at One’s self is so freeing!

Join me? I mean look – it’s like I’m the many faces of Chuck Norris or something! 😅

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While I may have intentionally set my phone away from the podium while preaching, there isn’t anything I would trade to not have the “mime’s” (as I may have referred to them at first, ahem) roll in.

I am blessed Yawl!


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Tombs to Wombs 

With the power of the Gospel, the only thing that should be empty is the grave. How often do we say to Jesus, I’m gonna go out put some grave clothes on and go hang out back in the tomb ok? And pick up a few burdens and chains while I’m at it? K? Cause that’s easier than trusting you today. “- Ellie Holcomb

Ouch! I’m afraid I’m guilty of returning to the tomb somedays. Life and freedom can feel naked and vunerable after the confines of the cave tomb.

Much a like a baby gets comfortable in the womb – we too find safety in the tomb. One of God’s graces in the wilderness times is to turn our tombs into wombs. The places of death and surrender also become the place where He begins to grow new life.

Once a baby is born if the ambilical cord isn’t removed, what once fed comforted, and grew the baby, now becomes a chain. And keeps the baby connected to the dead placenta.

New seasons of growth may be scary and it’s not that we want to return to the tomb, but we want to cling to the grace we found there. Cling to the familiar.

In DeepBut there is new mercy every morning. In learning to trust in freedom and new seasons, there will be the process of learning what grace looks like in growth as much as we learned it in surrender and in the wilderness.

His grace is consistent. Embrace that today – in any season. Your tomb will become a womb, and Again you will find grace.

“Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.” -‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭31:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬


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Invited In

We were swinging on the swing enjoying the fall breeze when he kept pointing to the tree branches above. The little monkey – he was always so curious. 

During our afternoon walks we would often explore the different tree leaves. Today was different. He wanted to do more than just finger and feel the crunchy leaves or bark, he wanted to climb the tree. For not being able talk much yet, he could communicate quite clearly what he wanted. 

Why not? Climbing trees was one of my favorite past times as a child. Sure, he was young, but here was an opportunity for me to invite him into one of my past joys. (Ok maybe I STILL love to climb trees). 

 
Tomorrow I’m scheduled to speak at a conference on what discipleship and mentoring as a lifestyle looks like. One of the things I’ll be sharing is that the best way we can learn to love people is by loving them the way Christ loves us. 

And He invites us in. Much like I invited this little guy to experience what I enjoy so much, Jesus invites me into His joy as well. 

Into His death and pain yes, but also into His resurrection and life and joy. Sharing life together is being invited in to others joys and sorrows. 

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” Romans‬ ‭6:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


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Small Things 

  
I often notice the small things. And it annoys me at times. Life is so big, and so meaningful. I love connections between things – and struggle when I don’t see if something has a purpose. 

Today at work as I weighed out the coffee beans to make a large pot of coffee, I was struck by how beautiful the dark oval beans looked in the crisp white filter. The fluted edging of the coffee filter made the beans appear to look like the center of a flower. So simple and so beautiful.

The moments pause to notice the small thing of coffee beans in a filter stuck with me all day. Why? Why was I so drawn to a simple picture? I delighted in the beauty of those coffee beans. They were meaningless and about to be ground into powder with boiling water shot through them until they were a goopy mess. And yet, here I was excited about the way coffee beans looked in a filter. 

To me purposeless, but maybe not to Him.

What if I’m drawn to the small things because He is? I’ve been praying to understand not just in my head, but in my heart, a Father who delights in me because I’m His, and not just in what I can do for Him.  Perhaps I notice the small things and delight in them because He’s showing me the way He delights not just in my big wins, but in my small quiet moments too. 


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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