Monday, February 29, 2016

a rushing mighty wind

It probably won't come as a surprise to you that NO, the Holy Spirit actually did not answer all of my questions about the present and future this morning. In fact, He really didn't do much guiding at all. But He did encourage, and at 4:30 this morning after getting up with a sick boy and submitting last-minute substitute plans, that felt rushing and mighty.

I am tired. I have been tired for as long as I can remember. It's not a busy-tired. I don't feel overworked or that there aren't enough hours in the day. It's more just a mental-tired. Tired of thinking. Tired of planning. And in my exhaustion somehow, to my shame, it has seemed overwhelming to interact with just one more person... my Savior.

Which means that, in the stress and decisions of life, I'm crippling myself by cutting off the source of all the strength I need and more. The fall is so subtle, just like the fall into any sin, but the results are the same. Spiritual isolation, and physical exhaustion.

I confessed this to Grant last night and this morning opened to Acts 2.

I felt God's assurance that He would speak clearly: "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" (vs. 8)

And then,
 "I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad: moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance." (vs. 25-28)

A while ago my brother-in-law was talking about the necessity of always being face-to-face with Jesus - not removing our focus from Him for an instant. He explained it a lot more eloquently but it's a mental image that I've gone back to many times as I've thought about what it looks like to follow Christ. As these verses from Acts 2 emphasize, the mental and consequently physical exhaustion that I feel sometimes would be alleviated completely if my mind was always on Him and my worries and cares cast away. It even says that "also my flesh shall rest in hope" - when the Lord is always before my face.

Hope is only possible when our vision is eternal, not temporal. God, I pray for that vision.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I had been waiting for a good time to clean out the office closet. Is there ever a good time for such a task? Then yesterday afternoon I suddenly found myself doing it, almost by accident, and I decided that's kind of how those types of projects go. It was a thoughtless step of obedience, if you will… obedience to the duties of homemaking.

As I began sorting through some little clothes that were in that closet, it amazed me how holding up 0-3 month onesies and sleepers, 6-9 month dresses and tees, shoes in sizes 4 and 5… took me back to where we were when Ivory and Titus wore them. Ivory’s little shirts were ones I washed and hung out many times in Ixtlán, and are mostly destroyed from hours of crawling on concrete floors. Titus’s clothes were newborn sweatpants that I remember wearing on him when we lived in the U.S. during the summer of 2014. As I unfolded and re-folded clothes, I was right there, in those places… thinking back to other times when we took more important steps of blind obedience, wondering where they would lead.

Some led us through things I’m thankful for, but would never choose to do again. Some led us places I wish I could have stayed forever. Sometimes, those things and places were one and the same. But we believed, and still do believe, that they were places of obedience.

We regularly find ourselves at intersections in life where we stop and wonder… should we go? should we wait? should we act? should we move? Or should we stay? Sometimes, it’s the staying that’s the hardest part. Sometimes, I believe that not doing anything is actually even harder than doing something! And so we find ourselves at that point again… and again… and again.

And sometimes, that is the answer… to just keep doing what we are doing. This all came together for me last night in church, when we read in I Thessalonians 4:

“but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” (I Thessalonians 4:10-12)

We are to just keep walking every step with him, and there will be lack of nothing. Whatever it is that you’re waiting for, worship Him while you wait – don’t turn to the right or to the left. Just keep walking… toward Him.

“I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it's not easy no, but faithfully I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience…”

- John Waller, 'While I'm Waiting'