thankfulness

like all days, we need to be reminded of God’s presence: his power, his love and his sacrifice for our hearts. this morning “in christ alone” brought that message to me. bringing comfort in the knowledge that i have a cornerstone, a comforter and a victorious father.

“In Christ Alone”

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

things have been challenging lately. in a myriad of decisions, i have felt that we should stick with foster care for a while longer–see it out instead of seeking other options to grow our family (i just don’t have the emotional capacity to start anything new right now). it seems that we have finally ironed out some larger details like the difference between foster-to-adopt vs. foster care with our agency and are finally (fingers crossed) making progress in the right direction. i am not sure if we would have gotten this far, if it hadn’t been modeled for us in nebraska by so many families who God led to choose this path, because quite frankly 17 months of paperwork and waiting have been difficult, maddening, etc. (and they say the fostering is the hard part….). to be fair we have received a couple emails about kids–we just didn’t feel we were the right family for them (that is a whole other post).

with that being said, God has been doing great things lately–i just need to take a look around. God brought me a friend lately who would like to start praying together once a week and reading the bible together. i realized this was exactly what my heart needed to be doing: seeking and repenting–giving all of this ache and worry over. it would be nice to see what the end result of all this is going to be, but that is not how God works. he told Abraham his children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, but not the how.

so for now. i am going to try to focus on thankfulness. let’s start now.  hope y’all had a great holiday weekend.

home

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back in nebraska.

plans to stay a while.

working at the shop

again with my dad.

the grain solid beneath my fingertips

the muscles regaining consciousness

as the tools find their way back into my hands.

a loose joint is tightened

furniture finds solace with a fresh coat of stain.

 

home is where the heart is….

but with so many places

the division’s tangible–

sifting through a wide sieve.

this thing we have–

you and me.

will take more

than this distance

to stop the beat of my heart.

the hollowness

still remains

as a reminder.

anxiety and our kingdom

lately, i have been super anxious. i have been anxious about our summer plans and the programs in massachusetts and israel that matt is applying for (when will we know? when is the deadline? should i re-new my passport? look at plane tickets? what will happen to our apartment?….). i have worried about my timeline for our family and why we are neither pregnant or have received our foster care license yet (what is wrong with right now? our backgrounds are clean–why is it taking so long?). worried about my sister’s wedding and their constantly changing lives/plans.

however, the theme keeps ringing: all has been provided for and completed by God. i can’t see the whole story, but am stuck in a minute fraction of life and my near-sighted vision is causing me: distress, sleeplessness, depression, etc. and even when i have tried to give all these things in prayer to God, it seems that they come right back to me. that probably shouldn’t happen, but it does. i realized last week during a women’s study at church, it might be tied to my lack of faith: i don’t want to give it up because i trust in my capabilities/planning strategies more than God’s plans. i like to make lists, be in control, try to maintain all around me. this time i can’t and i don’t want to trust someone else to handle this: there must be something i can do that can neatly stack my life/future order.

slowly my heart has been learning to release its grip. just realize, i have no control. this doesn’t mean i lay back and let life have a go with me, but my stress and anxiety is not worth it. not worth my time and energy and mental capacity. God will bring the answers in his own time. meanwhile i read this today from the lental devotions journey to the cross:

“Our consumerism is rooted in a lack of faith. We are worried about what others think because we are not convinced that God delights in us (Psalm 149:4). We are anxious because we do not believe God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:32). We vie for attention because we do not think God rewards what is done in secret (Matthew 6:6). We compare ourselves to others because we forget that Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). A consumer is self-seeking because he is preoccupied with building his own kingdom in order to meet his own needs. During Lent, Jesus especially calls us to re-right our lives, to “Seek fist the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

may this passage help to challenge your heart and ponder what you are not giving up, whether it is worry, anxiety, comparison, attention, etc. a friend encouraged me to look at where God has provided in the past and i think that will be a good place to start.

the journey into the wilderness

matt at the high museum

matt at the high museum

a few years ago, i read an amazing article on lent entitled “consider lent.” i looked for it again this year as i realized ash wednesday was approaching.

there were a few quotes that really struck me from the post:

Lent is about remembering our Lord’s sacrifice for us, confessing how little we appreciate and value it, thanking Him for it, and focusing on it, to prepare ourselves for the highest day of celebration in the church calendar–Resurrection Day, or Easter.

It isn’t meant to be legalistic. The giving up of something during the forty days of Lent (not including Sundays, which are “feast days”–a Sabbath from your fast, if you will) has to do more with reminding us of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Each time that I forgo that cookie (or tv show, or checking Facebook, or whatever), I am reminded that my life does not consist of these things, but is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I’m dying to my flesh, just a little bit, in order to live to the Spirit.

It’s also a reminder of who my savior is. What do I go to, when I am lonely/depressed/anxious/angry/worn out/impatient? Do I go to my pseudo-savior (food, internet, exercise, work, sex, activity)? Or do I go to the One who truly saves, who understands, who can meet my needs fully, and in whom I can trust and rest?

the post also included an amazing devotional called “journey to the cross” by kendal haug and will walker that i know i should work through.

a few things that i have taken away from the devotional so far: “Lent is not about your faithfulness, but rather about the faithfulness of Jesus on your behalf…” –so many times i think about the things “i do” for jesus. but it is not about me, it is about looking upward and not inward. as this quote says, “don’t pretend that the absence of ______ [] will sufficiently help you draw near to God.” for me, this is an easy trap to fall prey to: well i gave up netflix or facebook, so i am doing my part. my heart wants to make the list and walk away–not explore how much farther i could try to experience/rely on God, “lent is not about what we do for Christ. It is about plumbing the depths of what he has done for us.”  how does this look in everyday life?

Jesus’ fasting for 40 days was not a “religious ritual” or “display of restraint,” ” it was a time of trial and temptation which he endured by entrusting himself to God and being nourished on the Word of God. The point of the wilderness, for Jesus, was to experience the real presence of God with him, and power of God at work in him.”

so in essence: “Lent is for, to reflect on our lives as they are and as they could be.” the point is “to reorient life God-ward.” our “giving up” should not remind us of “missing things,” “but rather to be awakened to how much we miss God and long for his life giving spirit.”

not even a week into lent,  how would it would look to be more sufficient in God, whether that is adding or subtracting from your daily routine?