Off ‘Til the 23rd

Starting a blog in the summer probably wasn’t the best idea, considering how much travel inhibits me from keeping up with posts. But alas, it was how the Spirit led.

We’re taking off today for two and a half weeks of roadtripping glee through about half of our beautiful United States. Cody and I are driving to Colorado, via Texas and New Mexico, for our bi-annual Staff Conference. It’s a vital time in the life our ministry, and we’re looking forward to how the Lord is going to move.

After helping host a conference for some of the dearest partners in Cru’s ministry, we will head back to Florida via Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia. 

Thanks for keeping up with my Crazy, Beautiful Life. I look forward to being back with you soon!

Everyday Life

Flipping through Pinterest this week, I could feel my anxiety growing.

I love looking at all the cool ideas–all the possibilities and creativity–why the sudden gnawing in my stomach?

I realized that this is what currently surrounded me:

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Reality was pressing in tightly. My “normal” life was ever present. My home is not pleasantly Pinterest all the time.

C and I have been talking a lot about fantasy versus reality recently. It seems like our entire culture is obsessed with living in a fantasy. And when reality hits, we don’t know how to cope. This is a problem.

As my daughter learned last week at camp: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Ah, comparison. . . isn’t that what it all comes down to? I’m comparing this:

to this:

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A year ago, after I spent days painting that striped wall, I could not have been more proud. I loved every thing about it. Today, that pride is ebbing.

I do not want comparison to steal my joy. But I have to fight for it.

When comparison is threatening to get the best of me, I am trying desperately to embrace my everyday life. I am asking Jesus to allow me to love our unfinishedness, our not-quite-rightness, our chaos.

It’s in my unfinishedness that I long for the work of the Father.

It’s in my not-quite-rightness that I long for Jesus’ healing hand.

It’s in chaos that I long for Peace.

So I clicked off Pinterest. In fact, I closed my computer.

I got up and walked around and said thank you for the kids whose clothes I still need to put away.

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And I said thank you for the guest room, with bare, uncreative walls and bed full of loved American Girl clothes waiting to be stored for the next generation.

photo (18)Thank you for yellow placemats, adrift on my table, that remind me of the color of the sun.

Thank you for red Italian pottery, sitting on the counter, waiting to find its home.

Thank you for my everyday. Thank you, Father, for blessing my socks off and ripping my eyes of what could be to see what very much is.

I am so grateful.

Bringing Bones to Life

Music is one of God’s greatest venues to speak to me. It opens my soul.

When depression bore its weight the heaviest, I would get lost in the beauty that danced through my headphones. Music took me somewhere else, and I longed for the escape.

In January, I picked up Chris Tomlin’s newest album (Burning Lights), and I found myself listening to one section of the song “Awake, My Soul” over and over and over again. I didn’t even like the song that much, but the artist Lacrae speaks a portion of Ezekiel 37, and the words burned into me.

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

Ezekiel 37:1-9

I was the dry bones.

I was scattered and pulled apart. I needed God to breathe into me so I could come back to life.

I could picture my dry, withered soul lying with the stillness of the desert taking more and more of me. I was grasping for anything that would offer a respite.

And then I could picture the wind beginning to stir. God’s breath was coming. From the east, from the west, from the north and the south. It would fill me, and my body would be lifted. Color returned and my eyes could open.

Yesterday, I was listening to a David Crowder song (Oh God, Give Us Rest), and music, again, stirred these images.

I am not the dry bones anymore, but I still need the breath of God. I still desperately need it to fill me and give me life. I need it continue to shine.

Would you open up Heaven’s glory light
Shine on in and give these dead bones life
Oh shine on in and give these dead bones life

Let it shine, let it shine
On and on, on and on, come to life