Monday, May 30, 2011

The Victory is won

"It's justice and mercy the old dichotomies,
All along the front lines of my heart in both doubt and belief
The sinner and saint, the old arch enemies,
All at war, in me"

 To me, this song epitomizes the eternal struggle of man upon this earth. "Born depraved, yet created for the Divine", we struggle between the desires of our flesh and those of our Creator.

I am acutely aware of my tendency to choose the former. I would rather trust my own wisdom than listen to my Father. I would rather choose the "instant gratification" of what I want rather than wait for what my Creator has for me. I would rather reason away, justify and make excuses rather than going with that "still, small voice" that tells me the truth. My Father paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring me into the truth of his Love, yet I would rather live in darkness, self-pity and hopelessness.

I believe that somehow, since life is so hard for me, I have the right to act just as selfishly as I want. I am a hypocrite at best--I speak great words, act holy and then in the hard, raw moments do whatever I want to do.

faith is not faith until there is a reason to trust.

Lately, that song, "Manifesto, has been running around inside my head.

"We believe in the one true God, We believe in Father Spirit Son,We believe that good has won
We are free He died and lives again,We will be a people free from sin,We will be free a kingdom with no end"

When life gets tough, we need to get back to basics. God is God. We are not. He loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and eternally. He will work everything to His glory and our good. He will never forsake us. We have a hope that transcends physical circumstances. He is making all things new. We will one day be forever free of the battle within us and be restored to perfect fellowship with the Lover of our souls, as we were always meant to exist.

Because He has experienced our every pain and loss and separation we will find comfort in Him. Until we are with Him, He will hold our aching hearts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The beach is a great place to reflect. I love to watch the waves lap against the shoreline, breathe in the salty air and ponder the great mysteries of life. On this particular vacation I have a bit more to ponder, it seems. However, this time my mind isn't working quite like I expected.I find myself napping in the sun (I hate naps), staring blankly out at the waves and doing very little of much importance. hmmm...I think I just described the average individuals vacation....Suffice it to say I have never been very average (not a great thing, honestly), and tend toward the "nervous idiot" side of things; rarely sitting still, needing activity and purpose of some sort and "planning my fun". This time I find myself in a perpetual "mellow" state, and surprisingly, I'm OK with it. I am enjoying myself...
  wait...should I do that? really?
There is much to be said for relaxation. Granted, it is easier to rest and be still when you are surrounded with little responsibility and beautiful sunshine. It is a lot harder to be at peace when you're caring for and running after little kids, working a stressful job, dealing with painful circumstances, and simply trying to survive one day at a time.
I know from observing the lives of others(and from personal reflection) that some of us, though we have even  a small window of opportunity at times to be still, have fun and enjoy ourselves,prefer the constant chaotic activity of which we complain. There is peace and comfort in the familiar mayhem. We are afraid of the answers if we take the time to reflect. We hate the illogical guilt if we let ourselves have fun.
  I've heard it said that sometimes the most "spiritual" thing we can do is have fun...not sure if that is entirely theologically correct....however, I don't think God wants us to keep ourselves in a constant state of stress, guilt and hyperactivity....i don't think it brings us closer to Him, and many times works the exact opposite. If we are never calm and semi-at-peace with ourselves, resting and secure in who we are in Him, we can't reflect on Him, and, as an extension, we can't discover what He wants for our lives (Excuse the run-on sentence)
     I think that will be the struggle of my life. I am my own worst enemy in so many ways. My conscience screams my guilt on a daily basis.That is not as holy as it sounds,by the way, because the focus is still on my own works. In Christ, I no longer have to worry about my works affecting my spiritual status. In Christ, it doesn't matter what I do, because He will always love me. In the words of Paul, does that mean I should "continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Absolutely not. Christ will love me no matter what, absolutely, but why would I want to remain enslaved to the behaviors and thoughts which characterized me before I knew His love? There is much freedom to be found in being a "prisoner of Christ". I am free to live the life for which He designed for me, knowing that when I fail He will still love me. He will never forsake me. His plans for us, though painful at times, are for our eternal good and His glory. And He is forever deserving of all glory. Though at times I am not sure if I care about glorifying him if it means such pain for me and those i love, who else would I want to glorify? I will worship something--it is ingrained in the human soul--and I certainly am not worthy. The God who made the oceans with a single word, entered our world, cursed by our own choice, lived a perfect human life and paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring our hearts back to Him through His extravagant love. Why would I not trust His heart? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He always loves, protects and pursues.
  That makes for peace of mind, regardless of the circumstance.

"I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught." John 14:27 (the Message)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

It has been a quite eventful past couple of weeks, to put it midly. Honestly, I feel as if I've been existing in an alternate reality. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer. He had a malignant brain tumor (which was removed exactly one week ago) and cancer in his lungs. He faces three weeks of radiation therapy for his brain and, after that, Chemotherapy for his lungs. Needless to say, this is a scary time for him. I would do anything to ease his pain and take this disease from him. Yet my strong Daddy is handling this in his predictable "one day at a time",easygoing manner, despite the worries that plague him. If it were me, I would be angry, defiant and depressed. Yet God has and continues to give him grace for each moment. The outpouring of love and support for him has been overwhelming to see.
      The above lyrics pretty much say it all for me. These days trite words simply don't "cut" it.  I feel like a little kid...this hurts and I don't like it, so get ready for my fit. It is unfair of God to let this happen to my Daddy and our family. Yes, I know He has a plan and will work it for good, etc....but sometimes I simply don't care. It comes down to the choice which Adam and Eve had to make. Do I trust God?
   Do I believe His plan is best? Do I believe that He loves Daddy more than I ever could? Do I believe He is good and loving regardless of the answer He gives?
   I don't know. Some days I do, some days I don't. Sometimes I feel his love like a warm hug. Sometimes I know it so strongly that there is not room for doubt in my mind. The next minute I wonder if He even cares.
I know my doubt breaks His heart. I know He loves us. I know His plan is beyond this world, and our lives lived here. I know in the end, He wins. He has final victory. I know, but I don't feel.
    "Lord I believe; help my unbelief".