• Faith,  Orthodoxy

    Fill it up…

    This was the sky above the church…

    There are some days you reach out and you swear you could just touch Glory. It’s right there, palpable. The veil is so close.

    And so often, we peek at glory through the haze of pain. I think of Amber and her sweet boy, Titus. I think of all the things that make us cry out in wonder- the how long oh Lord wonder- my heart is so desolate within me wonder- the I’m just going to trust and hold on wonder at the God that is so much bigger than we can imagine, when we just feel so small.

    All you can do is cry Glory.

    The Trisagion prayers begin this way:

    Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee.

    O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come, and abide in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

    Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us.

    Have mercy on us.

    This is what I’ve come to know. Fill me up with You.

    A new season is beginning. A new season that I wasn’t expecting- a new season that is already not going ‘according to plan’- a new season of letting go and trusting God’s will. And this is the thing. In the past, I’ve gotten mad. Bitter. I’ve tried to control the outcomes, plan for every eventuality, and not let the Holy Spirit have one inch to move around in. That’s no way to live.

    I’m crying out Glory. The only way to live is full open to the filling up of Him, who is everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of good things and the Giver of life.

    He gives me life abundant. It is all I’ll ever need.

  • Faith

    When to say no…






    I can’t help but think of margin these days. And ministry. Work. Good work. Not so good work. Being a Christ-follower and an employee. It’s sort of unavoidable. Mostly because I understand that I profoundly did not mind the balance between those things.

    And perhaps because the season of life we’re in, I can’t help but think about dreams, too. What does it mean- to dream? to really, truly listen to that arterial song that echoes in your soul?

    When it all crashed down, my beloved and I- we had dreams. Fresh out of college, and we dreamed. Four kids at the time. We were contemplating missions work. We were hearing a heart beat half way across the world.  Dreams for life. For work. For ministry. Then, the shackles of financial slavery slapped hard against the skin, chafing. Pinning us against a wall. That’s perhaps the worst part of financial misjudgement- we trade what we think will give us instantaneous pleasure (and it doesn’t) for a future of shackled slavery to a past that didn’t satisfy.

    After the dark of nearly four years, we’re finding the light again. And the links in the chains of financial bondage are falling off, one by one, faster now. There’s space to breathe again. In a few short months (hallelujah!), it’ll be over. There’s space for dreaming once again. Space for ministry. Missions. Owning a home, eventually…it’s a tangible hope.

    And yet.

    That precarious balance.

    I’ve been studying those whom I either know personally or admire. Watching how they walk the tightrope. How they mind their dreams, the balance, their family, their responsibilities. What good work looks like. What ministry looks like. I’m realizing that it’s an art of subtraction, not one of addition. Seems counterintuitive, that. But true. When they are focused on their dreams- for themselves, for their families- it’s a constant saying no in one area so that they can say yes in the area of their dreams. Even in the financial sense- saying no to small luxuries, so that extravagant God-sized things can happen later. Whatever it is. The sacrifice of the temporary now for a God-given dream in the future-tense. Not spending a lot of extra time at social things so that she can scribble in the margins at night, fill up her shelves with words. Subtract, subtract, subtract. The mama who wipes the nose, and reads the book- again- for the dream of a child full and well grown, in wisdom and in stature. Subtract.

    And it comes to me again- we must mind the balance sheet. If it’s overloaded, stuffed to the gills, we can’t move in the Spirit. We can’t! There’s no where to wiggle. Worse- there’s no quiet place to hear.

    Dream with me, friends. What is calling your heart? What will it mean for the balance sheet? what will have to be subtracted? What will you have to say no to so that you can say yes?

  • Faith

    A prayer for Grace…

    …to him who led his people through the wilderness;
    His love endures forever. (Psalm 136: 16)

    We read the Psalm last night- a slow history, a repetition of a True Thing: the world goes crazy, death and birth, but (and perhaps, always)- His love endures forever.

    Like a heartbeat, it pulses softly- His love endures forever. Older editions read mercy: his mercy endures forever. Hebrew: Checed. Strong’s translates it as “goodness, kindness, faithfullness”.

    He is here. Isn’t that it, distilled? He was here. He will be here. He is here. He is -Emmanuel- God with us. Here. Now.

    I’ve thought about that a lot. Traced the days quietly. I confessed my rush last week. I’ve near drowned in the rushing river of busy to get- where? exactly? The question faces me, shards of hard truth. I’m not sure of the answer. Crawling out on the bank, away from the rushing water- it’s a bit like waking in an alien world. In some ways, I wonder how I ever functioned. It’s taken me nigh on two weeks to finally get rested- to wake without a crushing, sickening exhaustion burning behind my eyes. And even at that, I find I must curl up and sleep much sooner than I think; that my energy fails me before I am ready to end the day. It makes me wonder.

    I suddenly realize how much stress my children have felt; how interconnected their behavior is to the choices I make. I am humbled. I find myself throwing myself on His mercy, every morning, sometimes every moment. And I wonder, why isn’t this posture my normal posture? Why isn’t trusting and praying in His grace my standard operating procedure, my daily to-do? I have friends that breathe this truth, live this grace. It’s palpable. You can near touch this place between you and they, where you know glory rests, where peace is true- even when they are frustrated, sad, distraught, they speak in Grace. It’s a balm to be around any of them. And me? I feel like I speak and glass-shards go ricocheting. That I tear down, not build up. I ponder that here, in the quiet. I realize it’s a heart condition. You can believe in Christ, believe in Grace, and yet, that never translates down to arterial song. You have to drink deep the Truth, and it sets the rhythm: His love endures forever. Because~ “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

    I’ve been offered a second chance with this; rare is the time that I can stop and reconsider, evaluate. I’ve always rushed headlong into the next thing. I am doing my best to just stay- quiet- listening. Healing. Trying not to name the things, put them in boxes, label. Just living. And listening. Listening carefully to the pulse- His love endures forever. May I never let things get so loud again that I can’t hear that. I know I will, most likely, because I am a broken sinner- but I am trying to re-order my life so that this is the first sound I hear when I wake up, and the last when my eyes close. May my arterial song be Grace…

  • Faith

    One thing remains…

    If there is anything the last few years have taught me, only One remains. When it all falls down, only Christ. When the storm rages, only the Rock. All else will come and go, but the Word does not fail.

    As my father-in-law struggles with grave illness, knowing that he is not long for this world, this arrangement from Josh Garrels has been much on my mind. Death has no sting. In Communion, we remember this; that He has conquered death, and that Peace is with us.

  • Faith


    I keep coming back to this, what Amber said: “I want to see you crack. I want to speak blessing over you. I want to watch you paint. Be art and mirror Artist.”

    I want to speak blessing over you.

    I want to speak blessing over you.

    I want to speak blessing over you.

    I want to speak blessing over you, sweet husband, remember Eden. We’ve been through such raging storms. I want to offer you grace in the journey.

    I want to speak blessing over you, boy gangly and grown long and lean, tall intellect, mercy on your journey: the kingly path of servant-leadership, the quandary, the counter-culture way of the best Son of the Father.

    I want to speak blessing over you, sweet baby girl, heart of my heart, curled comma and question mark across my breast, of the wondrous and unfathomable love that He loves you with, the love that mama-love can only reflect.

    I want to speak blessing over you, tired daughter of the King, weary of your journey, aching for Home, that you crack open and let the Artist flood with color untold, friend, kindred of my heart.

    I want to speak blessing over you…

    I know she was talking about blogging, but I think it speaks of transfusion-life so well.

    As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6,7)