Posts filed under abide

learning to stay.

my heart pounded as the paper rested against my skin. i could feel a pulling back and i glanced back, half-smiling and half-hesitating. “are you ready?”

i nodded and heard the buzzing of ink, a familiar sound. i wondered if i had it in me to last the session. i thought about the artwork - the anatomical heart, the crown, the birds - and something shifted inside. i swallowed my tears and sat resolute, knowing what lesson i’d be learning.

a few months earlier, a word fell into my heart and made itself at home. i knew it would be my word for the coming year, and began praying about what it would mean for me to take it seriously. you see, i like to run away. and this word? this word would force me to stay.

stay in healing. stay in His arms. stay in pain. in 2012, i’d be learning the significance of what it meant to {abide}.

and now, a day before the new year, i found myself sitting in a tattoo parlor, etching into my skin so much of this past year. two and a half hours of scratching away the old and revealing the new. two and a half hours of me fighting the fear and breathing deep and accepting the change.

toward the end, i realized i couldn’t do it alone.

i called for my husband, on the other side of the counter reading, “hold my hand,” i said.

and he walked over, grabbed my hand, and caressed my knee with the fingers not latched in between my own. the tears were threatening then - please get me through this i prayed and realized how silly it sounded but just how important it was for me to abide in that moment.

so i closed my eyes and remembered.

30i remembered the first time my heart of stone cracked from the heat of His presence. i remembered the way the flesh underneath felt raw and vulnerable. i thought about how many times i heard people mention the promise of Him making our heart of stone into a heart of flesh and how i never really knew what it meant. i knew now it meant pain. it meant sacrifice and change and brokenness. the stone may crack at first, but eventually it needs to shatter.

i thought about how i’m still experiencing the shards falling off in pieces.

i remembered His promise to take these ashes of my past and to give me a crown of beauty. i remembered all of the promises of freedom and renewal and restoration He’d given me over the years - how i never put any of them together until i truly allowed Him to take over - and now i was beginning to see the beauty of those ashes. they were forming something all-together different than i ever imagined and it made me feel alive and worthy and loved.

and then i remembered His goodness. i thought about how before i even utter a sound He knows my needs. i remembered over the past year - the moments i wondered if i could take another step - He came and rescued me. and when i felt forgotten, He reminded me that even the birds are named, and i’d feel at peace.

i sat there and remembered this and tears of gratitude filled my eyes. you got this, my tattoo artist said and i laughed because i knew the Truth. i didn’t have anything. it was Him who held everything in His hands. including me. it was then i understood.... i couldn’t run away if i tried. when Beauty pursues you, the only thing left to do is {abide}

 

to read more, check out my eBook on kindle :: when Beauty pursues you

Posted on April 25, 2012 and filed under abide.

{abiding} in the wait

i'm sitting here on my day off, breathing in the scent of lime and peppermint and eucalyptus. there's laundry in the wash, clean clothes on my floor, and about a million things bouncing around my head for me to complete. but i'm not worried about those thoughts right now.

right now, i'm focusing on just being...{abiding} in who He made me and the words He gave me.

it's harder than i thought.

check out the rest of my thoughts over here

 

Posted on April 17, 2012 and filed under abide.

the differing levels of {abiding}

i'm beginning to learn the different levels of my word for this year. there is the immediate level :: the one where i learn to stop and rest. 

there is the spiritual level ::  the one where i learn to {abide} in His presence and let Him love me.

and then there's the relational level :: the one where i'm learning to not run away from intimacy.

this past week, i received a letter in the mail. filled with glittery stars and scraps of paper waiting to be pasted together for #secretmessages, the note encouraged me to be brave and reminded me others were praying.

and then thursday morning, on the brink of an emotional free-fall, i received an e-mail that was so life-giving i sat in my car with tears running down my cheeks and read it over and over and over - soaking in the words until i believed them myself.

this is just the beginning. on friday, we found out we are officially home-study approved. our caseworker comes today for us to sign some papers. we never anticipated this part of the process to move so quickly, and we've been overwhelmed by the response of others praying for us - encouraging us in the next step.

part of me wants to say, "no! no...don't worry about it. honest. we'll be okay."

but i'm learning this year the layers of {abiding} are thick and trust is a beautiful thing.

counting the gifts...

0081 :: the sparkling of stars falling out of an envelope from a mentor 0082 :: a short work week when exhaustion was inevitable 0083 :: seeing my brother grow into a man before my eyes 0084 :: the phone call letting us know our biggest hurdle with the adoption is over 0085 :: feeling the prayers of friends over us 0086 :: His provision when we weren't anticipating it 0087 :: being reminded of His resolution -  His pursuit of me when i don't pursue Him 0088 :: evenings spent with friends 0089 ::  a much needed coffee date 0090 :: finding spare moments of rest in the midst of craziness

what are you thankful for today? 

Posted on April 15, 2012 and filed under abide.

dwelling with the divine Madman

Fire of love, crazy over what You have made. Oh, divine Madman. (Prayer of Catherine Siena) - from Brennan Manning's Furious Longing of God

the first time i read zephaniah 3:17, something within me centered: Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. 

some versions even say He dances wildly...wildly...when he thinks of me.

and this isn't just a lone verse in the middle of another story - zephaniah continues saying our exile will soon be over. you've carried these burdens long enough, God says.

it doesn't stop here. in joel He promises the years the locusts have eaten will be restored.

in exodus He tells us to be still - He will fight for us.

in isaiah we're reminded thistles will become giant sequoias and thornbushes will turn into stately pines.

in matthew, he says walk with Me and work with Me - watch how I do it. learn the unforced rhythms of grace. i won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

throughout His word, we're told of the promise of His restoration. and yet, and yet...

we question His love.

in henri nouwen's in the name of Jesus, he encourages the mystics: those deeply rooted in the first love of God. those who will be most effective leaders will let go of the need for approval and relevance and cling to vulnerability - only in vulnerability will be understand the wounds of others {not to mention our own wounds}.

lauren posted yesterday that she doesn't know God at all. i'm learning this is true for me as well. the God i'm beginning to know is a Madman. the God i'm falling in love with continually reveals to me it's not what i do that captures His heart - it's who i am. there's nothing i need to strive for or achieve. it's not what i wear on sundays or how many devotions i accumulate over my life time. the fire of God is big enough and bright enough and furious enough for any hardened heart - even one scared of love.

Posted on April 10, 2012 and filed under abide.

grace in the hard

there are moments where my words seem few not because i don't have them, but because the will to wade through the messy is just too small. this is where i find myself today.

it feels stormy inside my soul. last night i fought for a way to explain the way my heart is bending but instead paced around our bedroom, hid under the covers for a few hours, took to de-cluttering and eventually landed in the laundry.

basically, i tried to keep my mind on anything but naming the anxiety and worry plaguing me.

i could feel the pull to sit and rest - to {abide} - but i just couldn't force myself to rest in the mess.

resting in the mess meant seeing it for what it was - resting in the mess meant allowing Him to pick up the pieces. 

perhaps my hesitancy to {abide} shows more a hesitancy to trust?

 

...counting the gifts anyway

0032 :: days to recuperate from the flu 0033 :: saying no 0034 :: the invigorating rush of cold air on bare skin 0035 :: conversations with new friends 0036 :: the countdown until summer 0037 :: new weeks, new beginnings 0038 :: sunday afternoon naps with my love 0039 :: a reminder of His pursuit of me 0040 :: phone calls with friends who speak my language

Posted on February 27, 2012 and filed under abide.