Tuesday, January 27, 2015

galatians and gilmore girls

It's Tuesday!  As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and reminds me of what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

Somehow in the midst of my college career and early working years I completely missed the show Gilmore Girls.  It came at the perfect time, right at the beginning of freshman year and stopped right after I became a mama.  But still I missed it.  One might consider it a tragedy, or at least an entertainment blunder.  Maybe I was just too excited to finally be watching everything I wasn't allowed to at home (a.k.a Dawson's Creek and Friends) to research anything new.  Plus, there was that brief obsession with 7th Heaven during my sophomore year when I was convinced that Barry Watson, and his counterpart Matt Camden, was the most perfect boy ever.

Whatever the reason, I am making amends now after being chastised by not just one friend but MANY who were shocked, and I am not kidding SHOCKED, by the fact that I had never seen it.  It is the perfect show for you, they said.  If there is one person who I would think would be a huge GG fan it's you they said.  Four seasons in and they were pretty much on target.  Isn't it nice when your friends just know you!  I mean what is not to love.  Small town, beautiful New England setting, Edward Hermann, a fun mom and daughter, whitty sarcasm, and I could go on.   

I love almost everything about it but there is just one thing, besides the fact that Lorelei and Rory are known for how much they eat yet have only physically taken about 5 bites of actual food so far, that always gets me.  I'm almost afraid to say it because it will arch the backs of feminists everywhere, but the one thing that gets to me is the fierce independence of Lorelei.  Don't read this the wrong way, independence is a fantastic quality, but like anything it can become twisted and lead you down a path that looks just enough like the right one that you don't know your going to get lost in a place that looks a little more like selfishness or at least self righteousness.

I know I'm supposed to watch it in awe of this girl who found herself pregnant and broke out of her strict and Stepford type upbringing to make it on her own and be her own person so she could raise her daughter in a home of unconditional love, and yes that was a very brave and beautiful thing to do.  But sometimes I look at the scenarios and I listen to the arguments and it starts me thinking of how hard is to keep trying to do it all on your own.  When you are so hell bent on doing it yourself exactly how you want it to be done, you can't help but hinder your own growth and hurt others in the process.  Even if those others are crazy moms like Emily Gilmore.  

Watching it now as opposed to at age 18-25 has me looking at it from this different perspective because I don't think that young thing sitting in a trailer in Auburn would have noticed then.  Then again maybe I would have noticed it and learned a valuable lesson much sooner than my current 33 year old self has just learned when I read... 

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

When rereading this very familiar identity verses for a Galatians study, God smacked me in the face with the oh so frustrating news that I am indeed a Lorelei Gilmore.  While Zach has said and then said again when I mentioned it to him that my independence (read not being indecisive, clingy, and in need of someone to tell me everything) was one of the qualities that attracted him to me.  It can am become an independence that looks like a stubborn person who insists on trying to do things herself.  Who has ideas and plans swimming around in her head that she thinks are the way to go, the only way to go and quite honestly gets hurt if you don't think I am capable of handling it.  All I could envision when reading the words that I no longer live but that it's Christ that lives in me is the number of times that I shove him out of the way to live first.  I ignore His Spirit and His ability to get it done and try to get it done first to prove something to myself, to God, to everyone.  

The truth is I have nothing to prove because the only thing I would accomplish proving is how much in need of Him I am.  The old me is gone, praise God, and I have Christ who lives in me and for me before God, and the only thing I have to do is so simple - have faith in the Son.  Faith in not some random person, but in the One who LOVES me and SACRIFICED himself for me.  It's such a simple concept that I so often try to complicate with my own thoughts and agenda.  Oh to live truly and completely by faith in the One who can accomplish all things.  In the meantime I continue to pray that He will strip me of myself so I will truly see I belong to Him.

Any more Loreleis out there?
                                                                Image result for gilmore girls images

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday song

Moving Forward - Colony House
I found life and I found laughter
In forgiveness I found rest
On the shoulders of redemption
I found hope when hope was dead
I could lose it in a moment
So I dare not close my eyes
Or watch fear fall with the sunset
And see hope rise with the tide
And when the pain is true
Sometimes these troubles prove that I’m alive
My eyes are open, my heart is beating
My lungs are full and my body’s breathing
I’m moving forward, I’ve found my freedom
I’ve found the life that gave me reason to live
As this dusty road now settles
And I see what lay before
Every tear that held a broken dream
Is now shattered on the floor
And now bursting forth in splendor
Are the blossoms of second tries
Because dreams that bear the mark of love
Are dreams that never die
Life can feel so unkind
But sorrow won’t define me
So just reminds my soul
My soul
My eyes are open, my heart is beating
My lungs are full and my body’s breathing
I’m moving forward, I’ve found my freedom
I know the sorrow, I know the heartache
I know with fear comes a tragic heartbreak
But I’m moving forward, I’ve found my freedom
I’ve found the life that gave a reason to love

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2 timothy 1:7

Good evening, late evening, but good nonetheless.  It's such a blessing to be able to say that.  I know when you look deeply good can be found in all things because God is in all things and works all the things into good for me, His daughter, but actually being able to feel that goodness without looking too deeply is almost too much goodness for my heart to handle.  When His goodness feels so near the surface that bubbling out is eminent, who am I deserve such a feeling.  Did I say the word goodness to many times!?  Sorry I just couldn't help myself.

  I know the other side all to well.  The side where you have to search and search to find Him, not because He's gone anywhere but because I have or because I'm in unfamiliar territory that I've never let Him into and am stumbling around in the darkness searching for the light. But tonight I feel that goodness and mercy that follows me all of my life and I want to savor.

   As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

Because I am struggling to love and because I constantly struggle with fear it is good to know that 

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control

God has given us every spiritual blessing through Christ and of those blessings, FEAR is not included.  It's not of God.  He didn't give fear to me.  I was tempted with it and fell to it and then took it on my own to coddle and let seep into my heart and throughout my life.  It's a guest that has been around so long I don't even bat an eye when it runs next to me and holds my hand on my day to day adventures subtly and not so subtly veering me down other roads.  But God didn't give me that and not only didn't He give it to me but He gave me other things instead. things that when held make fear disappear.

He gave me power, and He gave me love and He gave me self control.  The spirit within me, gifted by my heavenly father through Jesus Christ alone, gives me power over fear, love to fill up the space and the control to never pick it up again.  

It's right there for me to have while I abide in Him and it moves me onward, ever onward, to the next steps of being deeper in His presence and farther along on the journey.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Song

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till life's storm is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Wilt Thou not regard my call?
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—
Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
Source of all true righteousness;
Thou art evermore the same,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.

Friday, January 16, 2015

No strings attached

When you learn something it can either be immediate like a light bulb coming on at the first touch of a switch,  it can take a few tries just to clear the confusion,  or it can feel like you're beating your head against a wall because, as much as you may want to, you just don't get it.

This new journey,  this learning to love thing,  has already caused some scratches and a big ol' knot as I beat my head against the proverbial brick wall yelling "I just don't get it!" but then in the early morning the light started to grow within my heart as the comforting words of "of course you don't" appeared. 

I realized, while tending to the bruises, that I have desperately been trying to make sense of the completely nonsensical.  Grace and gospel love make absolutely no sense.   Zero.  In fact in the world they make less than zero sense,  in the world's eyes grace and love are downright stupid. (Pardon my use of the s word, as my boys would say)

Grace and love that comes from Christ are freely given, no strings attached, make no sense, impossible to earn, because not one of us deserves it, gifts of the gospel.  Even the smartest of us all can not truly comprehend how it is possible to give and be given and that is what makes it so unearthly beautiful.  We can't analyze, understand, pass a test and shove the grace card in our wallets. 

I have been attaching strings to my love and cutting them one by one when something hurtful or confusing or inconsiderate happens or something I deem not the right and obvious choice of behavior and now there is not so much as a thread left to pretend to hang on to.  While the world would call it a natural and maybe even justified reaction, it is in reality a sin that needs to be addressed because as a child of God I am not of this world.

Showing and giving Grace like I've been shown and given is the call on my heart but in no way am I even a little bit capable of doing it alone.  I have to be rid of myself and fall on the feet of the only one who can.

I have to seek and ask until I am able to give.   Even then I will fail, and repent again and again as its not a one size fits all situations kind of thing.   It's a new road every time, a new challenge to go up against,  and a new chance to let Jesus into yet another piece of my heart that I  realize I have never opened up.

"Lead Me To The Cross"

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemption's hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen

Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost


To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In Christ I am and a little about love

Way back in the days of 31 I wrote about identity and how vital it is in your Christian walk to know not only know you are God's but what it says about you.  It is impossible to truly love yourself if you don't understand how insanely much you are loved by God.

Recently I am learning how much your identity can also effect how much you can love others.  How strongly I believe God's love for me determines how much love I can hold for another person.  His love is what gives me love and therefore overflows me with love to give away. 

 This all seems quite simple and obvious until there is a difficult person in your life to love.  I don't mean on days when your husband forgets to make the bed or your kids disobey all day and whine as if they'll never get another chance to do so or some crazy person takes forever in the grocery store line in front of you.  Those are all moments we are given to show great love but they are short lived and don't cost us too much in the way of heart sacrifice. 

 I am talking about people who have hurt you or your family, people who you hear about who have done the unthinkable, people who when you think about them you can feel your blood pressure rise, you can feel your heart drop and you can feel the desire to throw all your beliefs out the window just to hang on to the hard feelings or feel yourself retreat so you can pretend that they're not really there.
So many people have a person like that where the ache hurts but the cost of loving feels like it could hurt more.  I have that person.  I wish I didn't.  I wish I could say that I love like Christ loves me.  I want to love like He loved me first but it's hard.  On some days it feels impossible.  God is taking me on a journey, an extension of the one he started over a year ago, to help me learn about gospel love.  How to love like Christ in all circumstances and to all people.  It's easy to love the easy ones but we most often aren't called to the easy things.

I am at the very beginning of this trip.  So much so that I can still see the starting point if I turned around to glance.  So much so that it wouldn't take long to run back to the house, unpack my suitcase and pretend that I was never going any where.  My prayer is that I keep walking.  No matter what comes up, I pray that I keep walking.

I will be sharing with you what I'm learning and what I'm struggling with and when I want to quit and when God has helped me walk miles instead of yards.  Today I am kicking off a weekly reminder of who I am in Christ to help me on my journey and to encourage you on whatever path God is sending you down.  From now on, on Tuesdays I am planning to share with you a different verse I have found for my identity list.  A verse that tells me whose I am and what I am because of it.  

Today I am sharing the first one I ever wrote down.

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

In these few words I know that 

He chose me
He set me apart to be special
He loves me, dearly
and because of that I can be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient.  

I can bear His Fruit
because He loved me first

I'll pack that verse along with me and take it on the road.