Not Unredeemed

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


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Only a Few Books at a Time

She looked at me liked I was crazy. But what she didn’t know yet was that I really was. Crazy for her to know how much she was loved and how much grace the Lord had for her questions. He wasn’t overwhelmed by them even if she was. And He would give her the permission and peace to rest even if she didn’t fully understand or have all the answers to the questions her heart was asking just yet.

With many ‘are you sure?‘ glances she finally did as I asked and pulled all the books off the shelves till they were piled around her on the floor. I mercilessly began to toss them at her, asking her to read that chapter, or this sentence from a dozen different books, faster than she could keep up with them.

The books flying at her mimicked what the questions assaulting her heart and mind were creating: Overload.  That night I was able to share with her a very important, tangible, lesson I’d learned on my own journey.

Will you join me by reading what that lesson was for me? Click here.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love what I do here at the Discipleship House? Listening to the students stories and having the honor of walking a short bit of their lives with them? I am blessed indeed.

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“Only a Few Books at a Time” is Day # 30 of “In Deep, a 31 Days Series”.

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A Birkenstock Princess

I’ve never been able to pass up a chance to dress up or wear a costume, and today was no different. A bit surprised and very thankful, the Cinderella dress I made as a teenager still fit – Disney Day at the Coffee Shop here we come.

The glass heels however were not to be. The very thought of standing on concrete in them for five hours made me shudder.
12186673_10153412642679807_3970349743889068141_oAs I cleaned tables and made Lattes in the princess dress, I had to chuckle at the gentle ironic humor in it. I was dressed up just as the Lord has been calling me to be of late: a princess in birkenstocks. A girl who knows and walks in her authority and confidence as daughter of the King. Completely feminine, romantic and a dreamer, and yet reachable and down to earth – unafraid of the dustiness and dirt of real world living. A princess who can kick butt.

Made for both the ballroom and the kitchen. I find myself at time falling into the subconscious patterns of believing that I need to be all of one thing or another: a princess or a tomboy, a speaker or a barista, in the ballroom or in the kitchen.  When in reality the Lord just calls me to be me. To enjoy the things He’s put in me to enjoy, and all the gifts and opportunities that come my way. Today I was a princess, tomorrow I’m going to be a cowgirl. And both – ARE SO MUCH FUN! We are the ones who limit ourselves – the Father invites us to adventures.

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It seems these days I now think in memes! (thank you D House students!) My hair may or may not forgive me for this one. We shall see. 🙂

 


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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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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