Saturday, January 28, 2012

Learning to Live What I Believe

Here's what I'm doing this weekend...
1. Dwelling on my theme of "rest" this year.
2. Considering how life in Jesus is, in Ed Welch's words, "restless rest, with the accent on rest."
3. Learning to shed the "try hard" life one day at a time.

Listen in to more of what Welch has to say. Better yet, read his whole post here. And join me in actively pursuing rest.

He writes,

"I must try harder."

While so many other functional beliefs immediately sound heterodox, this one sounds biblical. Who among us isn’t trying harder to love our neighbor, love God, eat better, go greener, and exercise more? And aren’t we supposed to work out our salvation and live like athletes who want to win a race?

Yet, “I must try harder,” as I have heard it used, is always doomed to fail, as it should. It can mean: “I have tried harder and it didn’t help, and maybe I should keep trying harder, but why bother?” It can mean: “I have tried harder, and it didn’t help, but I will keep trying harder because I don’t know what else to do.” Or it can mean: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I messed up. I’ll try harder. Okay? (Now stop bothering me.)”

“I must try harder” comes from the set of beliefs in which Jesus, at most, is our [distant] coach, giving direction, encouragement, and a good tongue lashing from the side-lines while we try to compete, without much assistance, against someone clearly more skilled than ourselves. Victory is never really possible. We just hope to avoid an embarrassingly lopsided loss.

Life in Jesus, however, is restless rest, with the accent on rest. Faith, which is the primary human response to God, means that we trust him and not ourselves. More specifically, faith means, “Jesus, help!” And this is very different from a foundational belief, “I must try harder.”

I want to try harder too, but in the right way. We need to be activists in our rest. We actively ask God to show us the way, to do what he is calling us to do, in the Spirit’s power. But the belief I hear most often is the resigned, self-reliant version of “I must try harder.”

Now is always a good time to assign ourselves a new task, such as to rest in, abide in, believe in, trust in, know and enjoy the rescuer of our souls."

-Ed Welch, excerpt from post titled, "What Christians Believe: 'I Must Try Harder' "

And once again, I can say what I believe, but if I don't live what I believe, than it really doesn't matter at all that much now, does it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Poem

Remembering, "It is finished,"
Every day, every hour, every moment,
Surrendering to His better story, quiet

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Year of Rest

She said it best who quietly commented, "I can't even begin to prepare for 2012...I'm still processing 2011."

And my head nods, and my heart knows, and I wonder, too, how I will ever prepare.

Here January bids goodbye, and I'm still pondering.

Deep down, I know, though. If I've learned anything this past year, I'm slowly accepting the truth that I can really only do one thing well. Or shall I say, attempt to do one thing well. I'm learning about the power of one. One task. One pursuit. One goal.

One word? Others have done it. I'm learning from them, too

She had a word. First she choose "Eucharisteo." {and she wrote a book}. Then she lived "Communion." The following year, "Yes." Next, "Here." This is her Year of Koinonia.

I'll sit and listen, too. What's my word?

Strangely enough, the New Year calmly commenced with a day of rest. Can we begin all new endeavors with a day of Sabbath rest? And isn't that really what we all really need? Or isn't that what I, at least, need most? To rest from trying, rest from laboring, rest from wondering and worrying and wishing and working? To rest in the here, the now, the good, the right, the moment, and the mystery? To remember that, "It is finished."

Rest. Yes, rest.

That's my word.

That's how I'll live 2012.

2012. The Year of Rest.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Returning to Eucharisteo

I walk by it every Monday.

Rushing, readying, racing, racing, racing.

Remembering, oh, yes. I do need to rest and relax and recline with Him, too.

Return to living out eucharisteo.

How desperately I, too, hunger for the meal that reminds me that all is from God, all is good, and all is for His glory.

I need this giving of thanks.

Especially on Mondays.

#214. a homeschool community for my two kiddos
#215. my boy's smile of success
#216. a patient piano teacher
#217. a phone call from a friend
#218. a smile in my husband's voice
#219. reading books at bedtime
#220. the surprising blessing of a martial arts class
#221. dogs...maybe I do like them?!?
#222. learning Latin to catchy tunes
#223. Dairy Queen for supper
#224. watching God work
#225. learning to be the body of Christ
#226. listening to His voice
#227. new friends
#228. embracing life
#229. making it through a mad Monday

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Poem

“Give me the Love that leads the way

The Faith that nothing can dismay

The Hope no disappointments tire

The Passion that’ll burn like fire

Let me not sink to be a clod

Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God”

— Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When A Picture Is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

When I'm old, I want to be like Grandma Moses.

She didn't give up. She didn't slow down. While lives around her were ending, hers was just beginning. She painted. And she didn't start until she was nearly 80 years old. 8-0 years old.

She remembered the seasons of life, lingering over the details. Yet, Grandma Moses loved simplicity. She loved farms, the holidays, people, and snow.

Maple Bush

She valued home, community and family.

Quilting Bee

She lived the truth that “It is never too late to become what you might have been.” (George Eliot)

There's a lot I don't know about Grandma Moses. But this I do know: being an image bearer of God, she reflected her Creator. And reflecting her Creator, she created. Beautiful masterpieces.

Grandma Moses is a picture of what it looks like to age well. She made this world a little more beautiful for 101 years. And her pictures are worth more than a thousand words and a thousand lessons for living life to the fullest. What a lady!

Beautiful World

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Truth of Joy

Christmas is over, but I'm still singing the carols of the season. I've got one particular song stuck in my head and heart for good. Oh, I've sung it a million times before, but something about this Christmas made it different.

You see, God is good all the time, I just don't always notice it. And the pessimist in me fails to open my eyes to the amazing wonders of all that He has done. Sadly, I notice what's missing. What's gone. What's lacking. What's wrong. Living like this sooner or later catches up with you, and this fall, it got the best of me.

I found myself lost and in a bit of a spiritual crisis. "Where is my joy?" I wondered. I can read about it and sing about it, but I realized that I wasn't preaching the truth of joy to my heart and certainly wasn't living it.

Until one Advent Sunday this past Christmas. Singing the old familiar carol {how many times have I sung it, really?!}, I heard the words for the first time.

"No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground,
He comes to make his blessing flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found."

Suddenly, an image flashed through my mind of ice-covered Narnia thawing out as majestic Aslan arrives to usher in the life and hope of springtime. How had I missed this? This is the blessing conquering the curse. This is the picture of redemption and restoration. Where there once was curse, now there is blessing. Where there once was brokenness, there is now healing. And where there once was darkness, there is now light. Aslan is on the move, and he is reversing the curse everywhere. In focusing on the deadness of the winter of my life, I had almost missed the glorious renewal of springtime blessing and joy! The truth of joy is that when we finally notice His infinite blessings all around us, He sprouts new seeds of joy in our hearts.

It's a picture of my Savior swallowing up sorrow and sin, and yes, all those nasty, prickly thorns of the brokenness of life this side of eternity, and making all things new now.

And once again I am captured by the wonders of His love and can finally sing again this New Year, "Joy to the World, the Lord has come!"

Remind me of this truth of joy each day, Jesus!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

"And he who was seated on the throne said,
'Behold, I am making all things new.'
Also he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

I love the beginning of a new school year and the beginning of a new calendar year. Something about setting the "reset" button that gives me new hope and gladness.

And since it's been a bit of a crazy fall, I especially appreciate the chance to start again this New Year. To push the "reset" button of my life and get some priorities back on track.

So what am I looking forward to in 2012?

This year I want to...
laugh more....
build better relationships....
trust deeply....
dream new dreams....
and rest evermore in my changeless God who gives good gifts to His children.

What about you? What are you looking forward to God making new in 2012?