Tag Archives: christianity

What is waiting?

Wait on the Lord.  Something that appears over, and over, and over in the Bible.  Wait on Him.

Is that the same thing as patience?  I say a little bit yes, but mostly no.  Patience doesn’t mean to wait.  The dictionary definition defines patiences this way: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.  The Bible defines it this way: endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance…

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told not to ever ask God for patience.  “Don’t ask for patience,” they’d say in a joking tone, “because God will give it to you.”

I heard that from the time I was a little girl, and it made me terrified to ask God for things…are my requests double edged?  Is there always something to fear in the gifts God gives us?  Is it because God will make me wait forever to give me the desires of my heart?  I wondered about His character…this loving God who gave His son for me, did He have a dark side?

This past year I’ve finally developed my own understanding of patience.  We took our family to Oregon, only to feel our dreams fall out of the bottom of the boat when Jon’s illness seemingly took control of our lives.  There we were, 1900 miles away from home, at a crisis point.  One of those things in your life you don’t see coming, one of those places that can derail your faith and send you spinning off into a totally unknown place.

I knew in my heart without a doubt that God had taken us to Oregon.  However, I felt the need to almost defend that to my friends and family, and sometimes even to myself.  I had to remind myself of His goodness and the things He had done to get us there.  In my mind it didn’t make sense that we were going home.  It didn’t make sense that God made it clear that there was work to be done in Brookings, Oregon only to take us out of it before much was accomplished.  Still, I trusted Him.  I sought Him in the midst of our hurricane.

What I can see now is that He was also starting a work in our lives, and it was something that could have taken us a lifetime to learn.  Instead, because of the wholehearted leap of faith we took when we let our Jesus carry our weight across deserts and mountains and to the coast and then back again, we gave Him an opportunity to do something mighty in a short amount of time.

At home we rested.  The foundation that had been completed in Oregon was now being built upon.  We were learning what it means to seek out the Kingdom of God, to seek out heaven on earth.  Lessons I’m sure we will continue to learn all of our lives, but they all started connecting and weaving into a beautiful entanglement of God’s plan, of God’s love.  Then came the healing.

Jon’s horrible affliction was gone in a moment.  Scars and wounds supernaturally healed, God the Father taking them and feeling them for me, instantly healing my heart.  Sweetly and intimately showing me who He is and how much He wants more of me.  Why?  Because my deepest and most passionate desire is to know His heart, to know Him more.  To be set ablaze.

This journey has taught me what patience really is.  The Lord calls me to wait on Him, He wants me to wait because I’m antsy and as a human being I’m restless.  My mind continually is thinking of the things I need to do, the kids next meal, the messes that are being made, work and relationships and so much more.  I flit from one thing to another and could easily be described as ADHD but I refuse to wear that label, to own that name, because I know that the Lord is calling me, calling me to wait on Him.  In that waiting place, He speaks.  In that waiting place, He fills.

How can I have a conversation with my very alive and powerful and full of grace God if all I do is talk to Him and then leave His presence to go about my day?  How can I truly live a Spirit-filled life if I only enter His presence to do my morning devotion and then go back to living in the flesh when I’m actually living?  Waiting on the Lord is conversation.  Waiting on Him means I want a relationship, not religion…I’m not going through the motions to avoid feeling guilty.  No.  I am waiting for Him to move and trusting that He will.  He never disapoints.

Patience can happen during the waiting.  You can endure and persevere while waiting.  But you can also endure and persevere while walking.  There are so many crisis points…so many moments we don’t see coming that can throw our spiritual lives into a blender.  Patience happens when you trust the Lord completely, when your faith is strong even when you feel like everything is coming apart.  No matter where He’s taking you, you know you want to be with Him.  Patience is getting through that crisis point and pressing in, letting Him take you deeper when it hurts.  Letting Him in when your instincts tell you to close everything and everyone off and protect yourself at all costs.  Patience is clinging to Him with all you have, your fingers white with the effort of holding on.

Patience is what I learned about when I went to Oregon and back.  Patience is trusting God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and leaping into a different kind of living.  My advice from this journey is this: never, ever be afraid to ask for patience.  Always desire more of Him, more of the fruits of the Spirit, more of God’s presence.  Always ask for more.

patience

 

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Spiritual Triage

Our churches meet once a week on Sunday.  Perhaps they have small groups throughout the week, maybe an event here and there.

What are we doing?  Who’s idea was it for churches to have one big meeting?  One day a week?  Large churches have Saturday services, sometimes they hold three or four during the week.  The same sermon preached four times, different people in each service.  How many people go to the same meal twice?  Where is the true community, the family, the unity of one body?

Churches aren’t just for feeding.  They are for equipping.  Leading.  Sending.  Utilizing.

Sending soldiers into battle.  There is a war on, and even though the battle is won, the battle is still going on.  For us, trapped by flesh and time, we are on the front lines.  But so many of us are sitting crouched in our bunkers, making ourselves comfortable, not even wearing our gear, our armor.

The church should look like a M.A.S.H. unit.  It takes in the hurting, the battered and bruised.  The leaders and pastors are there to assess, to perform triage.

Who needs help the most?  Who needs healing?  Who is ready for it?  Assess those wounds!  The battle rages around the church, the front line of the war is so near, but so is the Kingdom.

We have access to the Doctor, the great Healer, Jesus Christ.  And yet we walk by the wounded as though they are fine.  We see them, bleeding, curled into balls in the streets and we walk right by them.  We even share a smile.

Where is our sense of emergency?

Thought the battle is won, and we have a Victor, the souls still hang in the balance.  We are here to fight for those souls and save the lost.  We are here to love, to share Christ, and to be vigilant.

 

Christianity

Unschool // Houseschool // Homeschool

Huh?  Yeah.  Apparently, there are a million ways to homeschool your children.  And it’s confusing, because each one is like a different community with different beliefs on how to do it the “right” way.

Jon and I have decided to homeschool our kids.  It wasn’t an easy decision.  It’s something that I always thought I’d be good at, and that I would love my kids to get to have that.  There is a big homeschool group here, and they are active.  They have get togethers.  I think there are over 60 people in it, each with kids.  So pretty big.  But.  The challenge of it seemed overwhelming.  I’ve been saying for awhile that I am not made to be a stay at home mom.  I have tried so many things, wanted so badly to work from home.  After moving here, I have tried to rebuild my photography business, to no avail.  There’s just a very small market on the coast and over saturation everywhere else in Oregon.  Not that it is impossible.  It’s just a competition that I’m not that interested in.  I’ve never been a business-minded person.  I’d much rather use my creative skills to further God’s Kingdom.  To increase awareness for missionaries and causes that have that same aim.

While that stews in me, Charlie is ready for pre-school.  And she is really smart.  In fact, Emry is probably ready for a little pre-preschool as well.

Planning is easy.  I really enjoy the organizing and planning stages.  Love it.  And God is changing me.  I am enjoying my days with my kids a lot more, even though I have less actual work to do.  I have a job, I am the worship pastor.  I do have duties to do throughout the week for it, and it is very fulfilling.  For now, it is a part-time commitment.  Unlike Jon, who is working two full-time jobs (our positions at the church are missional at this time).  Eventually, I’d love to see a more formal group be developed.  A homeschool cooperative that keeps it Christ-centered, but doesn’t take away from the home teaching.

It’s amazing how fast children change.  It seems like they stay the same for awhile, and then, when you’re not looking, they quickly morph.  They become butterflies, and you missed the cocoon.  They flutter around in a new kind of beauty, and it’s fascinating.

Starting in September, Charlie will begin school.

Now we just have to get the teacher grandparents out here to help!  Granny for math and science and Nana for English and Grampa Craig for nature walks and theology and more science and Poppy for playing and learning about who God is, faith, and joy.  Consider this your official job offer!  Ha!

Prayer Requests:

  • Funds for school supplies
  • Fall clothes for the kids, especially long-sleeve shirts for both and jeans for E (he’s finally growing like a weed!)
  • Additional income through lessons and photography
  • Emry now has RLS symptoms and his reactions to soy and dairy have been a lot more severe
  • Phyiscally, Jon’s been worn down and sick and stressed, but in good spirits
  • Our church would continue to grow and we need a building

 

And some praises too!  We are so blessed here!  Our church family is wonderful and supportive.  We are all pretty healthy, especially in comparison to the past couple of years.  We know without a doubt we are where God wants us, and are lives are filled with a deep peace because of that.  Even when storms rage, the peace is inside.  Spiritually, we are being fed and growing as well.  We love our pastors.  And God is so good.  So very good.

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How it all looks to me.

I’ve been trying to get a better picture of who God is, and how He interacts within the Trinity.  It’s a concept that is difficult to fathom, and even more difficult to explain.  Today, I found a new way of thinking about it while I was praying.

Imagine God in the only way we can, the way we know.  We know that God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).

God the Father is the brain, the Creator of all things great and small.  From the smallest atoms floating in space, to the supergalaxies and supernovas, black holes.  Mountains, with their vein-like lava flowing deep beneath their weighty stone, trees, with their vein-like water feeding each leaf, and us.  With our own brains and flesh warring against our spirits.  He is the power, the brawn, the muscle and the might.

Jesus, the Son of God, is the heart.  The man who loved and taught and healed and vindicated.  He was beaten, torn, broken, bruised, stabbed, stripped, and forsaken.  All for the sake of LOVE.

The Holy Spirit is the soul.  The Spirit moves and breathes life into dry bones, brings comfort like refreshing water, and empowers us to move as well.

We, the humble believers on earth, are the body.  We physically go and do what the brain tells us to do.  We have the blood of the Son pumping through our veins, our skin, our hearts.  We speak with His voice, we hear with His ears, we touch with His hands and go with His feet.

How amazing that we are His body, that we are part of His great image.  How humbling.

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For such a time as this.

God has been pressing these thoughts on my heart and really giving me a love for a group of girls that I don’t know.  That I have never met.  They are part of Delight, an organization that exists to encourage, educate, and edify teenage girls that are involved in the creative arts.  I love this ministry!  So I have been contributing a little to their blog when God gives me another thing to write about.  The latest post I wanted to share on here, because it is such a good thing to hear and just know it.  To take the words and put them away in our hearts.

God created you. He formed you, knew you, and had designs for you before you were even born. Don’t you know what that means? Your personality, the things you love about yourself, God made you just that way. But it gets better, because our God is so much more than we can even imagine. He didn’t just create you and leave it there. He created you in a very specific way for a very specific purpose and at this very point in time because God has a plan for you, because He cares about you. When we die to ourselves, it means we are seeking God above ourselves. When we seek Him, we will find Him. It’s a promise God makes in His word. “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13.

Putting God first will transform your life. When we die to our self, it means that we are dying to our sinful selves, not our personalities. We are nailing that sin to the cross. Christ already died for your sins, and if you believe that, then you have to own it and act like you believe it. You are no longer sinful, but a child of the King. You are royalty! You have the power of Christ within you, you have access to the Holy Spirit. You are blessed and empowered. You are a soldier and must polish that armor and put it on daily (Ephesians 6), but guess what? The battle is already won! And you are on the winning side.

And the best thing of all: you are loved beyond human comprehension by a God who never changes and is always good.

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Three of three

I grew up thinking that the Holy Spirit was our great enabler. The part of the trinity that was most mysterious to me. I thought of the Spirit as a tool used by God or Jesus to help me reach others.  And that’s it.

The Spirit is so much more. Think of it this way. God created the universe, and established relationship with His people. Jesus took on all of the world’s condemnation, died for everyone,ever, and then rose again. He performed miracles and gave people wisdom.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit form the Trinity. They are all personas of our living God, both separate and in complete unity at the same time. My view growing up belittled and diminished the Holy Spirit. Because of that, I was not able to grow much, and I wasn’t able to do much. Without that power residing in me and filling me to overflowing, I was an empty vessel. Despite my willingness and my desire to serve my God, I didn’t have the ability to do anything beyond my own power.

The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we would do greater works than Jesus, so that we would have the mind of Christ, and have the ability to be Christ-like and live out our lives the way we are commanded. On top of that, the Spirit makes the relationship with our Creator more accessible and personal. It’s the only way to truly know God.

We are our spirits, trapped in our fleshly bodies, but only for a time. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to work in the spiritual, to access the spiritual, and to enjoy the spiritual. I don’t think I would have understood the magnitude of the power and importance of the Holy Spirit before experiencing this. Still, I feel compelled to write about it, so I am.

The only way to combat the darkness that is spreading through our world is thought the power of the Holy Spirit and the message of Christ. Now is not the time to live our lives in apathy, and I think that in the western world, apathy is the evil one’s greatest asset. Especially amongst Christians. Now is the time to live in extreme faith, on the edge of what you know. Now is the time to be filled with the Holy Spirit, like the apostles, and to spread the gospel message like never before.

Honestly, I think it is much harder to live this out while still in the bonds of the world.  When Christians try to do both, to have what the flesh wants, but still serve God, they fail miserably, but not always obviously.  It’s easier for me to live my life this way because it is why I am here, and it is my mission.  Since serving Jesus has become the focus of our family and our lives, it’s easier to live in that identity.  What makes it hard is the flesh we are trapped in.  But the more you live in the Spirit, the more your priorities shift.  The more you live in the Spirit, the more you are transformed into who you were created to be.  There is nothing more personally fulfilling than that.

onthefly|photography

It’s like Simon says, only so much better…

Something so super simple and yet so profound has been hitting me for a little while now. Stick with me here….because it seems so obvious at first, but it is seriously so awesome.

Jesus lived a pure and blameless life. He did a lot of astounding things, and a lot of regular things too. He prayed so fervently he bled, performed miracles, captivated thousands as He spoke words of truth, lived the first 30 years of his life as a carpenter, and took the sins of the entire world for all of time upon his shoulders, was tortured almost beyond recognition, died a horrible death, and was redeemed, and there is so much more that we don’t even know.

In all of the things that I read in the Bible about Jesus, I’ve always had this thought in the back of my head, “well this is basically God speaking or doing these things.” Which is true. But that led me to think that those things were outside of my capabilities. It led me to think that Jesus was so unlike me, and there was a wide gap, a vast separation in my relationship with him because of it.

The thing that I never really understood was the whole idea that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. I’ve heard it a million times, but what does that even mean? Well, this is what I am starting to understand now. Everything he did was both 100% God and 100% man. Jesus was a man, and lived a life in a flesh body. He had a brain like us and struggled with everything we do, and so much more. And yet, everything He did was what God wanted. He lived in complete communion with God. Everything He did, He did with the approval of God the Father and the power of the Spirit, and it is so amazing. This is how we are supposed to live! If we are called to be Christ-like, as a Christian, we should aspire to this. This is the completed work…that everything we do, say, pray is all in surrender. That we can achieve this, or that God can achieve this through us, is amazing. That we can die to the flesh, and live our lives in the Spirit is so freeing. We aren’t condemned anymore. And the best thing about it all? God cares about every single one of us. Not one human being is insignificant in all of history to Him. God is good, and He loves. Wow. So this song I heard yesterday really impacted me because of this thought process I’ve been going through.

“Where You Go I Go” (Kim Walker)

Where you go I go
What you say I say
What you pray I pray
(repeat 2x)

Jesus only did, What he saw you do
He would only say, What he heard you speak
He would only move, When he felt you lead
Following your heart, Following your spirit

How could I expect to walk without you
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I would not begin to live without you
For you alone are worthy you are always good

You are always good
You are always good
Always good
Always good

(Bridge)
Though the world seems to soon forget
We will not forget
Who you are and what you’ve done for us

You are my God

To add to it all, I find myself fearing the move to Oregon. And then I come across this song, and I’m just like, how could I fear what I know is from God? Because I know it will be good, that God will bless us for obeying Him, and taking a risk like this is exactly what my soul has been craving all of my life. I want the adventure, I was made for it. I want a life led totally on fire, I want my heart on fire, and I want everyone to know it. I will not forget who my God is, or what an impact I can have on the world if I just let Him move in me, and leave my heart open to Him. He wants me. And I want Him. My life the past year, and the reason we are where we are right now has been completely, without a doubt, about the wholehearted move from being a humble servant to an intimate friend. God is so good. Always.