Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dancing to celebrate the resurrection...

Some of you probably already saw this on my facebook page...but I still have to share this here, so my blog is joining in the thousands who are dancing this morning.

This is last year's celebration in Budapest, Hungary, with 1,300 people participating.

And this morning, a new song is being sung and a new dance of celebration is happening around the world.

Let all the earth sing and praise because Jesus is alive!

"That day will be remembered as the greatest day in history. The fate of the world changed in one glorious moment, when life triumphed on Resurrection Sunday..."

"A light dawned that Sunday Morning
It broke through the boundaries of time
Hearts start shining, calling to all mankind
Let's celebrate...let's celebrate...
Let's celebrate eternal life!!!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

If I was in control...

I read another thought-provoking post this morning from Katie-in-Uganda's blog.

I think sometimes her blog posts seem so poignant because 1) she's human just like me, so we go through the same thoughts and feelings, but 2) her situation of extremes sometimes makes it easier to see the truths that all-too-easily get smothered under the hectic American "way of life."

She writes today:
“I don’t want to do this,” I half scream at her, half plead to God. “I don’t want to walk this path, I don’t want to be this person, I don’t want to raise this daughter who doesn’t know who she belongs to and sometimes hugs me tight but sometimes pushes me far. I don’t want to let this birth mom live with us, knowing she can leave whenever she pleases and rip these wounds wide open again. I don’t know if I can do this.”

“I don’t want to do this,” she sobs into my shoulder. “I don’t want to tell another parent that her child is dead. I don’t want to hold another baby while he struggles to hold on to life, ultimately failing. I don’t want to feel responsible when children in my care die. I can’t do it.”

We sit in the lantern light late into the night and the tears stream. We sit broken and I choke out the ugly words, words that have been there but I have been too appalled to voice, “I think sometimes, I am afraid to trust the will of God.” Ugly sin. All these shortcomings, all these iniquities, I let them flow. “I mean. I do trust Him. But sometimes I am still afraid of what He might bring next.”
I am not there, where that Katie is, watching a little girl who had been her daughter for years get torn in half.

I am not there, where Katie's friend is...with a full house of mothers and dying babies.

But I've been in that emotional place. We all have, haven't we? In fact, millions of us are probably there today...afraid of what God might allow next.
We sit long and spill the ugly, inadequate tears and we let His light fill up the holes.

I murmur, thinking out loud. “God did not give me a spirit of fear… perfect love drives out fear… do not be afraid I am with you…” I know these words well; they are etched in my heart.

Do I believe them? “Am I dumb enough to think that things would be better if I was in control? That things like this would not happen if I was in control?”

It hits me. “If I was in control, I would not send my only child to die for this crazy world.”
Katie goes on to talk a bit about celebrating Passover and then she echoes more familiar human thoughts, and she ends in the same place I end. (Though I don't know that I live it like she does.)
Daily I turn my gaze in distrust. Daily I remember the Jesus who already washed clean this mess, and I fall to my knees, sorrowful and repentant. How can I not trust? And He reminds me that I must die with Him – not just that once but every single day – choosing to throw off the distrust and walk with Him in the newness of life. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes seemingly every five minutes.

Today I gaze at my Savior and I know: courage is not the absence of fear.

Courage is to say, “I am afraid,” but walk it anyway. Courage is to stand broken and limping and look into these faces around us, His faces, and say, “Not my will but Yours, Father.”
My nothing like this Katie's, really. Yet it is uncanny how the same enemy attacks with the same darts of fear and weakness and doubt...and even more amazing how the same God works His marvelous way, teaching both of us the same things, that each of us may do His will where He has planted us.

Seriously...would things be any better...any easier...if I was in control? Or is it true that this ugly, messy world is somehow part of something beautiful, planned by the God who is in control?

When it comes right down to it...I think trust is only ever about one thing: the character of God.

Who do we really believe God is? Either He is love, or He isn't. Either He is perfect, or He isn't. Either He is in control, or He isn't.

What we believe doesn't change the reality, of course...but it determines whether or not we can trust Him. And sometimes I think that whether or not I will trust Him is the only thing I really do control, and everything else in my life flows from that....

Psalm 111:2-3, 7-8
Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.

The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gifts amidst the struggles...

How is it that a month can be both wonderful and difficult? These past four weeks seem like that, to me. On one hand, they've been rough. I haven't received much revelation, and to me, that alone makes life feel rough. Yet there have been so many wonderful moments, and so many blessings, and so much happiness as well.

This morning, I simply want to do another Gratitude Monday post. Because praise is simply what I need and want to do right now.

659. This word from the Lord on a friend's blog, which is encouragement perfect for me.
"What is yours is reserved for you. I won't allow anyone to have what is reserved for you. It is yours. Sow to My Spirit and witness My moves, and developments.
660. Signs of spring, after a very long winter

661. Fun times with friends and family this week, and grace when the times were less than fun

662. My husband, who is definitely not perfect, yet still God's perfect plan for me, because even in the middle of an argument, he can still look me in the eye and say that I am the love of his life and the perfect woman for him

663. Grace in the struggles

664. Beauty in the midst of uncertainty

665. Peace like a river that tends my soul

666. God's whispers that sneak into my heart in surprising moments, like those carried on the gentle music in a restaurant yesterday

667. ThatI can rely on God to provide time, just as surely as He has always provided finances
Colossians 2:10 - "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Even me. I am held together in Him.

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