trust.

“every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.”

“The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we possess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Why is it so hard to trust, sometimes? Why is it so easy to doubt, and to let those doubts fill your soul and take over until you feel like you’re staggering blindly through life, everything good only a series of coincidences, and everything bad also a series of coincidences? God has proved himself to me over, and over, and over, and still I stumble, and still he is faithful.

I’m thankful for so much today…brimful, overwhelming with gratitude. I’m thankful for those circumstances that have brought me where I am today. I’m thankful for the people who have loved me, hurt me, encouraged me, left me. I’m thankful for emotions, for being able to feel the love, the hurt, the anguish, the darkness, the joy. Things haven’t always worked out the way I thought they should. My life hasn’t gone the way I’ve informed God it should go, and bless it, please? But throughout everything…he has and is growing me into his creation. Because of it all I’ve experienced God in ways that I never would have if I’d gone the way I thought I should go. He has shown me so much mercy, grace, and love. And it’s overwhelming.

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It feels like Aslan is on the move inside my heart. Things are changing…growing…stretching. Reaching up toward the sun.

For the last two years I have hated winter. Hated it with a passion that even I didn’t understand, a deep loathing that started in my very bones. Winter felt like punishment. Cold, dark, miserable – only the magic of the very first snow was different, and even that was fleeting at best.

This year is going to be different. Because this time, it’s not winter in my heart. Sometimes you don’t appreciate the sun until you’ve been in darkness, and sometimes you don’t know the weight until you feel the freedom.

tonight…

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tonight is hard. I don’t know why. I know that God is good and has a plan for my life, and I trust in that. The hope for the future is there, but that doesn’t change the fact that right now and in this moment, I’m finding things a bit difficult. I miss people that no longer want me, and I miss the way things were. I used to feel like if I were sad, there was something wrong with me. Now I recognize that if I can’t be sad, there’s something wrong with me.

tonight I’m sad. Not in a throw-my-own-pity-party way, but in that bittersweet stillness where my heart just kind of aches.

“ I kick and I …

“ I kick and I scream and I thrash hard against the Father’s love. I shift my focus and become a prisoner to the panic instead of the promise, and still He says, “mine.” He looks at me, broken, and calls me daughter and ever so lovingly pulls me right back in. I want to live as a prisoner to the “Yes.” Remembering all we have seen, we set our hope fully on what we have not yet seen. We place all of our hope and all of our trust and all of our focus on the grace given us through Christ, and we beg to live captured by His promises. ”

Katie Davis

Happy November!

October (the prettiest autumn month!) has come and gone, leaving nothing behind but a golden shadow of incomplete dreams…oof. There’s some purple prose for you.

I feel trapped. Like I’m stuck in my own head and I can’t quite claw my way free of the heaviness. I can be bright and chipper and engaging while I’m at work, but at the end of the day, when I’m left alone with my thoughts, the fog descends.

My life becomes an exercise in noticing, in remembering.

I lay back in the pile of leaves in the backyard and stare up at the blue, blue sky, the unmistakable scent of autumn surrounding me. Leaves rustle and crunch loudly beneath my head and I think to myself, I am alive and I am present in this moment, and it is good.

I am sitting in the comfy living room armchair holding baby Ella. She’s sound asleep, curled up in the fetal position on my chest, snuggling into me, her cheek resting against my heart, legs tucked up beneath her, one tiny hand clutching tightly to the neckline of my sweater. So new, so devastatingly precious. She fills up my heart until I feel I hardly dare breathe for the wonder of her.

I am sitting in front of my computer, aimless. Check my email – and there, waiting for me, words from a dear friend. Eagerly I devour them, all self-control thrown to the wind. Somehow a massive grin has spread itself across my face. I never thought words were a love language for me, but I think perhaps they are, after all – that reaching out and connecting; that sharing of heart and mind and soul is uniquely precious to me and I treasure it.

These are the moments I remember, and cling to, when the darkness comes back. When I feel pointless; like my life has lost all relevance. I remember that God doesn’t make mistakes, and if he chose to put me on this earth, it’s not for no reason.

November is the month of deliberate, intentional thankfulness, and I choose to participate.

monday.

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when my Grace-girl asked me what I was going to write about in this blog, I told her it would be something along the lines of expanded Facebook status updates. You know what this means, right? Redundancy, over-sharing of minute details of my life, lots of quotes, and random other things that take my fancy.

Extended.

Mm-hm, yeah. *nods*

I was thinking last night and this morning about how I am far, far too apt to put God in a bottle. I’ve realized that so shamefully often I revert to thinking of him as some sort of magic genie, who will occasionally grant wishes – answer prayers – but oftentimes at a great cost, with some kind of perverse twist. We’ve all read the stories and seen the movies where the genie is a sly trickster, and if you aren’t incredibly clever in phrasing your request, your wish ends up backfiring on you.

Last night I found myself very carefully phrasing a prayer. You know, better be careful to stick some caveats and specifications in there! Can’t let God trick you! It was all very unconscious at first, and then I realized what I was doing. Trying to outsmart God. Trying to be just a little more clever than him.

Um…what? Really, Self?

And I remembered these verses from Matthew 7:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

God is not a trickster.

And then I was thinking (trying to justify myself here, you see!), well, what if God’s idea of what is good is something that’s actually horrible and hard and all the bitterness of medicine but it’s okay because it’s for my good? Can’t I just skip all that and just go right to what we both agree is good?

Yes, I’m quite sure that sometimes what I think is good doesn’t exactly line up with what God says is good. And there are valuable lessons in realizing that, and in going through the hard times. There’s value in hearing God say this is not my will for you, and beauty in learning to bend to accede and whisper Yes, Abba. Thy will be done. But like the fathers in the passage above, God doesn’t give the snake instead of the fish and say, until you have learned to be grateful and appreciate the snake, you are not deserving of anything better. 

Sometimes, to my shame (but if I write, I promised myself to write without varnish) I have a hard time believing in the goodness of God. But it’s a poor father who gives their child exactly what they want, all the time. God is good. I know this. But sometimes I need to stop and realize it anew; let it wash over me like golden June sunlight. God didn’t have to make flowers. He didn’t have to make clouds of fog that hang low over the water and take my breath away when I drive to work, or autumns that blaze with incandescent color. He didn’t have to make beauty, or laughter, or emotions, or the senses. But he did. And it is good. 

what we need is here

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Geese appear high over us, 
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, 
as in love or sleep, holds 
them to their way, clear 
in the ancient faith: what we need 
is here. And we pray, not 
for new earth or heaven, but to be 
quiet in heart, and in eye, 
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry