Monday, April 25, 2011

sitting in the rain...

I claim no rights to this photo...found it on the web

OK well I am not actually sitting in the rain. But I am watching the puddles form outside the windows while Ashby takes a nap (2 hours early...I guess she is tired from her weekend in LA with her cousins). I just poured myself my second cup of coffee (I guess I am tired too)

Jesus is so big. I cannot believe that He died for me. At the Easter service yesterday at MEFC the gospel group sang a Kirk Franklin song called "Don't Cry". You can hear it here. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, through for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. BUT, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us." Romans 5: 6-8

This is what God is teaching me.
While we were still powerless, Christ died for us. Its not a division of sin or doing bad things that separates me from God alone. It is also that there are not enough good things alone that I can do. We are powerless to do what only God can do.

The beauty of Easter to me that God is revealing is not only that He died in my place because I am human, broken and constantly turning to a way that leads to destruction. Not only did He die, He also rose from the dead in His power. I am actually thinking about what it means that death could not hold Him. Nothing could keep Him from returning.

Nothing scares me more than death. Nothing is more powerful. Nothing is more final. Yet God just shook it off. He didn't stay dead. How much more powerful is that than just stepping in for me for the punishment that I deserve.

I know that it isn't the pretty part of God to talk about atonement; about the fact that God is perfect and Holy. It scares people away. I know I have held my tongue because it is scary to think that the pathway is narrow and few will ever get to walk on it. I have discovered as God gently leads me away from shouldering the responsibility of my life's purpose toward trusting in Him fully, that I am afraid of this narrow pathway because of the cross. I have tried to save myself for so long. If only I could just be better. If only I could make everyone in my life happy. If only I could rid myself of my selfish tendencies, my inability, my fear, my doubt...fill in the blank.

Imagine that the man driving the nails into Jesus' hands was not a Roman soldier, but truly you and I. Imagine Him watching you do that, and His response to you is simple, deep, profound, wild love and compassion. All the while He is thinking, "If you didn't nail me to this cross, I could never come back to give you hope, to give you life, to give you all that you ache and long for when you lay alone in your room in the dark and all of the distractions are gone."

He isn't dead anymore. He is holding his hands out, nail scars reaching out to hold me even though I caused it. Could anything be more amazing. And crazy. And totally insanely hard to believe.

On the plane home last night, as Dave and Ashby slept, I cried. I don't know the exact moment that Jesus whispered into my ear that He died and rose again because of his love for me. I didn't do anything special. In fact, as I sat there tears streaming down my eyes I remember thinking how this comfort and feeling of complete peace was not my doing. And there was no guilt, no shame, no need to do something to earn it.

As the mascara ran down my face and I watched the sun setting over the horizon, Jesus was there with me. He always has been. I never had to create a place worthy of His presence. He was just there.

Washing over me as the rain comes to the earth now and puddles in the dirt. Making all things new. Making all things grow.

So I sit here in the downpour of God's love for me.

I believe with all of my heart that He wants that for you too...Nothing you must do. Nothing you must hide. Everything to gain.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The worst 5 years

Happy Anniversary to me! I know the title doesn't sound like what an anniversary blog post should be about.

Lets get real for a minute. I know I struggle with that right....

Dave and I went out last night to celebrate by ourselves before we head over the mountains today to go wine tasting and visit friends in Yakima. He said such an amazing thing. The first 5 years we were settling in. We were letting down the walls. We were getting comfortable with having to be real people while we were really in love.

The next 5 will be even better. And the 5 after that. Its actually really exciting to think that some of our hardest work might be behind us. Obviously we will always have work to do, and obviously the closer we get the deeper the "stuff" we get to work through together.

5 years ago today I woke up realizing that was the last day I would ever have to wake up by myself.

I love you with all of my scarred, dramatic and sensitive heart baybuh.

You are my forever.

ps. as an anniversary gift to us Ashby has slept through the night 2 nights in a row!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Face time

How many times do I look for God's hand in my life instead of God in my life.

It is not God that dissapoints me, it is not God that alienates me. It is my expectations of how I think God is supposed to work or how I think my life is supposed to go.

I was reading today that when we first meet Jesus we live from blessing to blessing. We are convinced of God's work by His hand moving in our life. Ashby knows I am there when she can feel me. When I give her food, or when I play with her on the floor, or when I nurse her. She cries out in the night because she can't see or feel me.

But when she grows up, and understands object permanence a little better, she will know that I exist and am a part of her life regardless if I am there or not. She will not always understand why I do the things that I do, but my motivation will be to help her grow, to protect her, and to give her what she needs to have the best most rewarding experience she can while I am around to help.

How many times do we chalk up what is happening in our lives to "God's will" but secretly we are resentful and bitter because we really want our own will. I do it all the time. How many times have we been angry at God because of the road He asks us to walk, because we have no vision for why. I am like a child, only able to think of my own feelings, my own frustrations, my own needs, and really more than anything the way that I, myself, want it to be.

When I find myself struggling with my life, which I told God a long time ago He could be in charge of, its because I have gotten out my little road map and said "Yeah, ok God just like this..."

And to be honest, I am so glad that I have a relationship with a God that is so much bigger than me. That I do not understand. That has an agenda that I cannot understand always. That does not need me to figure it out. That stood in for me when I was at my worst, sent His precious flesh and blood, and said "For [insert you name] sake, because I love her more than anything, I will sacrifice everything, to make this right."

That is not an action. That is WHO God is.

I do not always understand what He is doing in the swirling chaos of life, the mess and entanglement of my relationships, and the inner processing that goes on in my head. His hands are all over that. Looking at His hands only gives me a small picture.

When you love someone you look into their eyes to know they love you. Maybe you've never been brave enough to look deeply into the eyes of your creator. Maybe you feel the burden of your shame, your fear, your doubt, your anger, your resentment. Whatever it is, it WILL NEVER be bigger than God.

And you will NEVER understand who you are and what you were made to do without looking into those eyes and feeling the complete PEACE and FREEDOM of the most PERFECT LOVE you will ever know.

If this isn't the God you know, maybe take a minute to \ask him to show you who he really is. People in churches and churches themselves are broken. Church is a place for community but it is not the end all be all of who God is, though we might catch a glimpse there. Ask God to show up and wait expectantly. It may take a while and He may not speak the way that you expect.

But He WILL speak to you exactly how you need Him to. And when He does you will know without a shadow of a doubt how deep, how high, how wide and how strong His love is for you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celebration Sunday

There are a lot of cool things happening everyday in my life. I feel like God is talking to me in a way that I haven't been able to hear in a very long time. Or maybe ever.

It is intense to know that God loves me so much that he wants to speak to me exactly in the way that I can hear Him. In a way that is just for me.

Our Celebration Sunday was good. Dessert was awesome. COLD STONE!! Dave has been asking for that for at least a week straight. YUM.

What are you celebrating today?