Sunday, September 20, 2009

How He loves us...

There is nothing more profound than the knowledge that God loves me.

He sees every moment I choose to turn the television on before opening His word. He feels each instance when my heart slights one of His children for my own selfish gain. And He loves me. He hears the ugliest thoughts within my soul, the ones I fear to reveal to any other human being. And He loves me. He sees my doubts, my fears, my insecurities, my stumblings. And He loves me.

Celebrate his death and rising,
Lift your eyes, proclaim his coming.
Celebrate his death and rising,
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes…

I’d forgotten how to wake up every morning with the pressing realization and gratitude for what God has done. I’d forgotten how much He loves me. I’d forgotten how vast His grace is over my heart. I’d forgotten how surrounded I am by all of His goodness, by His very presence.

And yet, when I go to offer up this realization to God with what I think should be shame, all I can sense in response is His immense love and overwhelming pleasure over my heart, a father who smiles on the fumbling steps of His child. This is goodness. This stirs the ineffable within my heart. There is nothing more profound.

I love you, Abba Father—so imperfectly… but I do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Living by Prayer

From The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers.


Teach me to live by prayer
as well as by providence,
for myself, soul, body, children, family, church;
Give me a heart frameable to thy will;
so might I live in prayer,
and honor thee,
being kept from evil, known and unknown.
Help me to see the sin that accompanies all I do,
and the good I can distil from everything.
Let me know that the work of prayer is to bring my will to thine,
and that without this it is folly to pray;
When I try to bring thy will to mine it is to command Christ,
to be above him, and wiser than he:
this is my sin and pride.
I can only succeed when I pray
according to thy precept and promise,
and to be done with as it pleases thee,
according to thy sovereign will.
When thou commandest me to pray
for pardon, peace, brokenness,
it is because thou wilt give me the thing promised,
for thy glory,
as well as for my good.
Help me not only to desire small things
but with holy boldness to desire great things
for thy people, for myself,
that they and I might live to show thy glory.
Teach me
that it is wisdom for me to pray for all I have,
out of love, willingly, not of necessity;
that I may come to thee at any time,
to lay open my needs acceptably to thee;
that my great sin lies in my not keeping
the savour of thy ways;
that the remembrance of this truth is one way
to the sense of thy presence;
that there is no wrath like the wrath of being
governed by my own lusts for my own ends.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What next?

God shifted my thinking this summer, about the future and about me. Who am I? Only God knows the complete answer to that question, but whatever the answer is, it is who I am now, not who I will be when I reach a certain goal. I’m graduating in May; I used to think that would make me feel more satisfied with my life. Then I thought maybe finishing my masters or starting my own family would accomplish that goal. But I’m learning again that God is the only one who can satisfy the deepest places of my heart, and my life doesn’t start somewhere in the future. I’m living it here and now, and I like it. So there is no rush—no rush to get another degree, no rush to start a relationship, no rush to do anything but enjoy the season of today.

I’ve made a decision not to apply for graduate school until next year. I’m throwing out the “if onlys” and am going to take a year off. Because I’m not in a rush. I want to take the time to rest and get the most out of my master’s when I do decide to go back. In the meantime, I’m anticipating adventure, ways and time to invest in relationship, and stories to write. I want to taste and touch and see and smell the world. And I want to find words to express the ineffable.

Today I dipped my toe into an ocean of an idea. I’ve been standing at the edge staring for a while now, but today I got just the teeniest part of my wet. I sent out an inquiry about spending some time in India next year. And I’m excited. Not just about India, but about life. Because whether I go to India or not, in eight months my future melts back into the unknown, and I love it. I have months of wide-open opportunity ahead of me for God to show up and shift my perspective of the world yet again, for Him to teach me about Himself in ways I can’t yet fathom. So I’m excited… whether or not it makes sense to anyone else.