Reposting this one from a while back… Mostly because I need the reminder. Maybe you, too? Cling close, listen, breathe…

Breathe in, breathe out,
lie down, relax.
Sometimes, but not all the time.
Oh, Lord, I need wisdom–
to know when to retreat,
and when to resume.
Inhale, exhale,
get up, and act.

And there is no rhythm,
no rinse and repeat,
no automated cycle
that requires no thinking–
no searching–
no seeking.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Not really.

Safe,
comfortable,
familiar,
expected,
in control,

but not really.

The wisdom granted is not the blueprint,
but the fluid motion of waves,
of not knowing
when the next one comes,
and clinging to the Lifeline,
being prepared for
when the next one comes.

Cling to the Controller
and remember:
I’m safe not just in clinging,
but because He holds onto me.
He never loses His grip.

Cling close enough to hear Him whisper,
“Relax. Retreat.”
or,
“Resume. Take action.”
Always cling close to know
which one, or even,
if it’s both at the same time.

Glory just in breathing?
Service in letting go?
and in loving, pure loving,
people,
not position?

Absolutely.

The wisdom granted is trusting that.

Breathe in, exhale,
inhale, breathe out,
lie down, get up,
relax, and act,
retreat, resume.
Ride the waves and hold on tight–
not to control,
but to the One who’s in control.

Hear Him whisper.

—————————————-
written 6/11/12

Home Again

Written 5/23/13

________________________________________________________

I don’t remember the words.

I just remember sitting there, a vision of Christ’s arms cradling me, and thinking, “I will look back on this as the moment I fell back in love with Jesus.”

I knew things were still messy, and still might be for some time. But I was reminded that I didn’t have to clean up the mess myself. That He was here all along, waiting for me to give Him my hand, place it in His, let Him guide me through it, navigate through these choppy waters. Like a husband and wife who go to bed knowing there is still so much to work through, but go to bed committed, not angry, to the one they promised themselves to. Relief washed over me. I remembered we’re in this together. I’m not alone. And I cannot get myself up and out of the thrashing waves, but He can.

Last Sunday, at little and loved Peaks Island Baptist Church, Fay Christy stood and sang, strummed her guitar and spoke of grieving for her husband. I don’t remember the exact words, but I know she sang of waves and Jesus’ presence being our rescue, Him carrying us to shore. As tears escaped my eyes, I rested in that truth: that I am not left to tread water alone; He is here, He will carry me. How often I need to be reminded of that. But He is ever faithful to bring that truth to mind, over and over again, even when I willingly choose to close my eyes and turn away, shake my head like a little kid and say, “Unh-unh. Nope. Not true,” even when I don’t realize that’s what I’m doing.

And that truth, the truth of which He reminded me and used to make me fall in love with Him all over again, He used to get me writing again. It had been so long. And I let the mess keep me away, let it whisper lies that I couldn’t write, speak, do anything of value until I got it all together, cleaned up the mess. I believed the lies, once again. I stayed away. And then He spoke louder. Over the waves and the rain and the lies and He spoke the truth, and finally, I heard. Finally, I let my fingers clack the keys again. And it feels like home. The fingers clacking keys and the resting against His arms, head against His chest and hearing His heartbeat and staying so close to hear His voice and know His will and walk hand in hand with Him, Him leading, guiding, teaching, loving, always loving—I’m home again.

The Father’s Heart on 9/11–And Everyday

I don’t know where you were when you first heard, saw. I don’t know if someone you loved, or at least someone you knew, was in one of those buildings or planes. I do know that we Americans, to varying degrees, were affected. We were affected by hate driving planes into buildings, by forces set against freedom—the very thing that Christ died to give us.

And today, twelve years later, my heart hurts for children without fathers and husbands without wives and all those who lost loved ones. Time is grace and maybe the pain isn’t as fresh, but it still stings. Nine-eleven now rings in our American ears as the date that hate changed our world. Nine-one-one. Emergency.

Emergency.

Someone, somewhere, is always in a state of emergency. Halfway across the globe, daily, millions mourn and the date rings in the ears as hate.

We cry, twelve years later.

And today, children are raped and starved and handed rebel weapons.

But suffering is suffering. Everywhere. And blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). To mourn for what we’ve lost isn’t to take away from the injustice happening around the world. And to let the weight of all the world’s suffering sink heavy into our chests isn’t to lessen the pain of the wound inflicted by the losses incurred in America on 9/11. This morning, I mourn for it all. My heart is heavy and I don’t know what to do with it, so I pray. And it’s then I remember I’m not meant to carry it, so I take it to the One who can carry it all, and calls me to cast it on Him.

When you’re heavy with the weight of the world—today, and every other day—hand it to Him?

When you’re weighed by the weariness of evil’s toll on earth, lay it at His feet?

The Father is not blind to the suffering of this world He created. And His Father’s heart mourns when we, His children, mourn. We, those who have accepted the sacrifice of His Son, have the heart of a Father who knows loss. Who saw His Son suffer at the hands of injustice. And had the power to stop it all, but did not spare His own Son so that He could give us—freely—all things (Romans 8:32). And offers this heart of a Father to any who will call on the name of the Son He didn’t spare, for all of us orphans and rebels who didn’t deserve, but desperately needed, His grace. Where sin abounds, grace all the more (Romans 5:20). The evil that pervades, and promotes suffering? God’s grace reaches and touches and heals—deeper. More abundant. Let it? Let Him? He’ll take your sin and forgive it, take your shame and erase it, take your pain and carry it. And one day He will take this world He created and make it all new. Eradicate the evil that kills, and steals loved ones and dignity, and remove it, once and for all.

Emergency days will be no more.

Until then, He promises to be our Lifeline, to rescue us when we call, to carry the weight of the pain that threatens to crush us. Cast it on Him. Let Him take it. All of it. He can handle it. He’s big enough to handle all of your emergencies—and loves You enough to want to. Let the days you remember where you were standing, and when the world changed, be the days You remember He carried You through.

John 18-21

They come at Him with weapons. Did they think He would resist them? They don’t know Him at all. He first addresses them. He knows what’s ahead, and He’s unafraid. He identifies Himself as the one for whom they search, and they fall back in the presence of the God-Man. Do they know it? They fall anyway. He turns Himself over to them and scolds His disciples for coming to His defense. He is God. He needs no defense. He knows what’s coming. And He speaks: “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

The Father gives it to Him. He doesn’t merely allow it to happen, doesn’t sit back and watch helplessly. And Jesus doesn’t wrangle in the arms of His captors, try to break free helplessly. It isn’t powerlessness that binds Him. It is love that He binds Himself to. Power Himself laid down His power. Doesn’t flex His muscles and strike dead the debtors in front of Him to show them who’s boss. He walks instead, straight into wrath. Under the waterfall of all the weight of God’s wrath against all the sin in the world across space and time. Let it pour.

“Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.” Caiaphas…. He doesn’t know the truth he speaks. It is good that One should die for the people. For all of the people. For all the people who cry out in the crowds, “Crucify Him!” For all the people who mock and cast lots for the King’s clothes. For all the people who drive the iron between the bones in His wrists, His ankles, laugh and spit and push down the caricature of a crown. For all the people who say there is no God, that say that there is a God, but Jesus isn’t it. For all the people who call Jesus God and yet, still, turn their backs on Him and choose to worship measly “me” instead of Mighty Creator. To give all us people the chance, the choice, to be set free—for eternity. It is good that One man died for the people. But you don’t make Him, Caiaphas. He chooses it. He chooses it even for you. He chose it even for me.

Even for the one who claimed he’d die for the God-Man, and denies Him hours later. For all the cowards, and liars, and best-intentioned friends and followers who failed Him still, whose hearts are wrenched with regret when the cock crows, and it’s too late to take it back.

Even for the righteous and religious who won’t dare break the Law in the midst of killing someone in order to cling to their traditions. Do they know that what would come to pass would be the reality of what their precious Passover meal really represented? The First-Born, blood-smeared and not spared, so that they could be passed over, spared the wrath. Receive the gift of true life. But they pass on that. Cling to tradition instead of their King. Reject the One who rescues. Call Him a criminal and pass Him off to Pilate for a cruel crucifixion. The Governor finds no basis for execution, suggests the Innocent be released. The “righteous” roar, “No!” They demand the rebel Barabbas.

The Governor sends the God-Man to be beaten. And, in his eyes, for no reason. He sends him anyway. When he pleads for the release of this King to His people, the people who call Him a criminal for claiming to be God, they claim Caesar as their king. He claims to be God, so they call out for His killing, all while they deny God. And they do so to get what they want: get rid of the God-Man, who calls them out on their hypocrisy. And He submits willingly, to die for them. To die for you. To die for me. Submits to the suffering, and submits His Spirit to the Father. Lies in the grave. Rises again. And in His risen form, calls us by name like He did Mary, who weeps when His body is gone. He appears to us who believe, instills in us hope. Hope of reuniting with Him someday, in the presence of the Father, in the Heavenly Home He has gone to prepare for us, His children. He appears to the doubters of us and the deniers of us and we count our blessings, all 153 fish, and go have breakfast on the shore with the One who takes us back, and died to do so. And we know that the One who has laid Himself down, submitted Himself to suffering and wrath and death, He has fought for us. This Mighty Warrior who didn’t lift a finger against His accusers has won. He was won the greatest battle of all, against the Enemy of our souls. So we, His children, His followers, His friends, and His transformed by the Blood He bled, go out with His power as He sends us, the same power that raised Him from the dead. Go out to fulfill the purpose this power gives us, and tell the world the glorious Gospel of Grace. That One Man—the God-Man—died for all the people.