Tough Stuff

I woke up this morning and my first thought was, 'Today is going to be a hard day.' Perhaps not the most encouraging way to start the day, but as it draws to a close I'm reminded that hard or difficult does not equal bad - as much as my comfort-seeking self would like to assume so.

It got me thinking about Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane - he knew he was about to face some really really hard things. My hard day doesn't even begin to compare. His impulse was to turn to the Father and ask for strength to move forward. He recognized that this hard thing was for the ultimate good of those entrusted to him; he moved forward out of love and compassion for us.

I'm humbled to have a sweet little flock entrusted to my care. I love them, and I'm blessed to endure some hard things for their sake. I'm learning a reliance upon the Father that I've not yet had to experience, and for that I am grateful.

I'm also learning that I'm made of some tougher stuff than I usually realize; that alone is a work of God's grace in my life and nothing of my own. Despite my harmony-loving, adept conflict-avoiding tendencies, I'm learning to hold a hard line on the truth. I trust that no matter hard or offensive the truth may be, God is for truth. I've been meditating a lot lately on II Cor. 13:8, "For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth." I'm not sure I fully understand the depth of what that means, but I'm learning that the truth is powerful.

I'm ending today feeling really thankful - thankful to know and be known by the only true God; thankful for the ministry that has been entrusted to my care; and thankful for the exhaustion that accompanies a day committed to others.

Here's to more difficult, challenging, blessings of days!



I've been kicking around the idea of getting a tattoo for a while now - some of y'all are probably sick of hearing me talk about it. At first it was the thought of an olive tree on my side...such a lovely tree (I have a special place in my heart for trees) and biblically significant, ha ha.

At any rate, my current thought is to get 'maranatha' somewhere. I was hoping for the palm of my hand, but it turns out tattoos on the palm of your hand go away quickly... weird, right?

So why 'maranatha'? The word itself is found in I Cor. 16:22 and Rev. 22:20 and means - 'O Lord, come!' It is an expression of hope in the certain return of Christ - a time when what is broken will be restored; what has been veiled will be fully revealed; all longing will be satisfied; joy will be complete. Maranatha, then, is an expression of longing for that day - the day when faith becomes sight and Christ's kingdom is fully inaugurated.

It's a reminder to live in light of Christ's return - to hope for it; to long for it; to be found ready. I need that reminder more often than I'd care to admit. It's so easy to get absorbed in the minutia of life and to loose that wider perspective that the kingdom is coming. Another piece of the reminder, then, is to be about the work of the kingdom now - to be planting those tiny mustard seeds that will soon grow into a plant that overtakes the garden (Matt. 13:31-32). The seeds of compassion, justice, mercy, peace, love, joy, etc. In faith to not become tangled up by the concerns of life, but to trust that above all these concerns is the inevitable move toward full redemption.

Praise God, Maranatha!



I've recently found a Christian worship cd that I can't get enough of - apologies to my friends who are shaking their heads at my CCM leanings :)

The group is called Sojourn, the cd Before the Throne - it's legit. The sweetest thing is that the band is comprised of people from a church in Kentucky that have a passion for writing music that is theologically rich yet contextualized. Perhaps the fact that this appeals so greatly to me only exposes my nerdy love for Systematic Theology. At any rate, their songs vary from folky (yay!) to blues and rock - each song is a bit different because its a gathering of different musicians within the church.

One of my favorites on the cd is 'Lead us Back' - it's a song of deep lament and repentance on behalf of the Christian community. It's painfully beautiful. I'd like to think more through what it means to engage in communal repentance; I don't think I have a paradigm for that, and yet its quite biblical.

I've posted the lyrics below:

Falling down upon our knees
Sharing now in common shame
We have sought security
Not the cross that bears Your name
Fences guard our hearts and homes
Comfort sings a siren tune
We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You

Lord we fall upon our knees
We have shunned the weak and poor
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords
Prayed for those we’d like to know
Favor sings a siren tune
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You

You have caused the blind to see
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds
Eager, ready to condemn
Now we plead before Your throne
Power sings a siren tune
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

**ps. I promise this blog will be more than me posting lyrics to songs I like, haha.



All through college and grad school I bemoaned how much I hate writing. I see now that it's not true.

I don't hate writing...I hate being forced to write.

I've been feeling a particular 'stirring' to write poetry or songs, but have struggled to know where to start. As a means of seeking inspiration, I started a new journal dedicated to recording Scripture, hymns, poetry, etc. that have helped me understand what it means to be in Christ. I'm hoping that hearing the voices of others will help me find my own voice in bringing praise to our Father.

Here's a sampling - probably my favorite hymn...

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest who's name is love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart,
I know that while in heaven He stands,
No tongue and bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the just is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the Risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God.

The Beginnings

I've kicked around the idea of starting my own blog for a while now - I dismissed it for a long time, judging blogs to be a somewhat narcissistic means of seeking to be known (perhaps that only points toward my own sinful heart), and never really being sure of what I'd write about.

So why start one now? This past year has been so harried and hectic learning about my role with IV, working part-time at Buca, taking on a leadership role at Park, and trying to be a faithful friend/sister/daughter, that I stop and realize that I'm just plowing through life without slowing down to have an eye for God at work in and around me. As our good friend Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living," So this is one attempt to force myself to slow down a bit and not just let life happen to me. Call me an introvert, but I need lots of time, space, and coffee to process life. I've found that in the stillness of slowing down, God speaks so plainly. Yesterday was one of those days - which is probably what has led to feeling like I actually have something to write about.

So, while it may border on narcissism, I'm hopeful that this could be a means to share with y'all about the things I'm learning, the ways I see God at work in the ordinary things of life, and hopefully to get some feedback.

It's sweet to share the journey.