celebrating 30 years today

To my life-long Love,
Thirty years just doesn’t seem long enough. You still amaze me. My heart still dances when you enter a room. You can make or break my day with a single look. As long as we’re passing through this world on the same train, I think today might be a good day to renew the license, maybe with a few of the terms changed from the original contract, but mostly the same. The road’s will be a little more bumpy and we will need a good sense of humor, no doubt, but somehow it’s more doable knowing you’re beside me. You’re such a comfortable place for me. Thanks for the best 30 years of my life.

inviting the rain

“He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.” Psalm 72:5-7

Today, thanks to Hurricane Bonnie, (and Alex last week), we welcome more rain. I’ve always enjoyed rain, but not the cold kind. I love the smell of summer rain espeially, when it mixes with the dry, dusty air and smells of earth. The smell of the asphault and dirt absorbing the moisture sings a story of relief and refreshment. Renewed fresh again. A cleansing.

I also love the feel of rain. One summer years ago, we spent a week in the rain camping. We dodged it the best we could, wore visors to keep the rain from pelting our eyes, and desperately tried to stay out of the rain. But we had a list of things that had to get done, so we finally gave up and knew we were just going to have to get wet. And a sweetness settled in. We surrendered. The rain had more power than we did. And somewhere in the course of that week, we learned to appreciate it. We realized how much cooler we were with the rain than without it. We had to restructure our expectation or we would have missed it–the blessing of looking at a situation differently and appreciating it instead of complaining. The blessing of the cool when the alternative would have been scorching heat. The blessing of smiling together and having fun and laughing about looking like drowned rats. When the week was over, I don’t think any of us would have done one thing differently. We didn’t miss the blessing. He is so like the rain that showers us with blessing. May we not miss a single one.

oh, the depth

Everything used to be so black and white. Right was right. Wrong was wrong. No shades of gray or overlap of good and bad. No uncertainty. . .no struggle. I’m not sure when  it happened but somewhere along the way, amazing Technicolor™ entered the picture. Technicolor Truth didn’t look like my old version. It had multi-faceted layers that I had never seen before. And the fires of self-righteousness heated up within me. The black and white arrogance struggled. An all-out war ensued inside me that hasn’t completely settled yet. The kind of battles where something has to die. Little by little, I feel the old self slipping away, and a new type of vulnerability settles in its place, and with it comes a peace—a place where I don’t have to understand everything. Someone greater and purer than I knows and will sort it all out.

Yesterday, I had one of those day when nothing made sense. I found out another friend, a young woman with four small children, has breast cancer. I am astounded at her words of faith: “I am excited that I have the privilege of walking this road with so many. He will do great things.” Somehow, God has a good plan for her. For her life. For her family. And yet, I shed tears for the path ahead for her. It won’t be easy. But for the Grace of God, how could anybody stand when facing such uncertainty?

The only thing I know for certain this morning is that I don’t know. My mother used to say, “The more I know, the more I know I don’t know.” It’s a defenseless place to be, especially for a control freak like me. Can I say honestly that I don’t understand ‘good’ and ‘light’ and ‘no darkness at all? And yet my soul resonates in Truth that He is. Addison Road’s song question comes to mind: “What do I know of holy?” I’m not sure I walk away with any answers at all, but I receive a comforting hug from my Father, “I’m taking care of things. Just take My hand, and keep walking toward Me.”  I rise from my knees, reminded,  Lord, You know.

Now before you start thinking I’m having an attack of wavering faith, please know that it’s a sweet place. A place where a little more of me dies to self to live unto Him. I do not doubt that there is Absolute Goodness and Truth, but it’s not black and white anymore. It’s filled with all the colors of His Righteousness. It’s a techni-colored brilliance with dimensions that I cannot begin to comprehend, but can trust is completely good.

Please pray with me for Lisa through her season of illness that she will be nothing less than carried by Our Savior in healing and will continue to bring Him all the glory.

Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

pray for Shirley Dobson

Shirley Dobson, wife of Dr. James Dobson, and founder of the National Day of Prayer, is giving a deposition today, November 10, from 8:30 to 4:30, defending her position to ask our nation’s President and legislature to pray for our country. She is being sued.

I ask you to join me today in earnest prayer for her and for our nation. Our liberty is at stake.

UPDATE: (My source was Kay Arthur’s Facebook status yesterday, Nov. 9, 2009:

Kay Arthur Dear precious faces – Shirley Dobson will be giving a deposition tomorrow from 8:30-4:30 PM. Because (as leader of National Day of Prayer) she asked the President and other political leaders to pray for our nation – an organization is now suing her. I prayed with her tonight and told her I would ask you to pray too. She is a valiant warrior…thanks.)

oh me of little faith

 Every once in a while, when going to church becomes a half-hearted act of obedience and doubt floods our thoughts, we get a big God hug that shakes us to the core. This was the case last Sunday, as I recorded the 21st of 24 scriptures to commit to memory for the year. I had approached the whole endeavor as I do most commitments. I tell myself “Anything is better than nothing.”  It’s no great wonder that I can’t find one Scripture to back up this philosophy.

I woke up Sunday, knowing my memory verse would be Isaiah 47:10.  Before the wedding, I had actually dreaded the day, worrying about so many things. Being “on” for a big crowd isn’t my favorite thing to do, and letting people see my anxiety is especially not fun for me. Because of this, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my daughter’s wedding. However, after God saw me through with such Peace as only He can give, I knew my approach to the wedding (and most of life) was  filled with unbelief and fear. Afterward, when I came across this verse in my reading, I knew it was for me to claim.

As Sunday approached, I also became convicted that either I believed what Scripture said and let it change me, or my faith was just a hobby to fill my time. More and more, I realized that one of the biggest obstacles for me to rest in Christ is that I carry a negative, worrisome attitude. Sunday was the day to either let Isaiah 47:10 form the sturdy core of a belief system that would make me stronger in Christ or simply be a mental exercise in futility.

On the way to church and as I walked into the sanctuary and sat down, a wave of fear consumed me. As the music started, tight-clenching anxiety started its familiar progression. I felt the awkward catch in my throat, the inability to swallow, the subsequent shallow breaths and pounding heart. Every muscle tightened and my thoughts became  filled with doubt, I hardly can admit how low I sank. Satan had me by the neck, and I wasn’t doing a thing about it. Finally, a small, weak voice inside me started to sing, “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord…wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord…”

It was right in that moment that I looked up on the screen for the next words to the song, and right before my eyes were the words to Isaiah 47:10

“So do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right Hand.”

Now, you need to know that our church has never done that before that I know of, or since. One verse, right in the middle of a song, of all verses–my verse! Only seconds before, I had wondered if I was praying into thin air, if God, if He was God, cared. The next moment, I was swept into a flood of compassion–His compassion–for me.

Tears streamed as I sang, “You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need…You lift us up on wings like eagles.”  My heart broke as I remembered my doubt, my fragile belief, and His most tender and personal mercies for me, a sinner, saved over and over, and again this day, by His everlasting Grace.