In January, my career sort of went off script. Right away, I scrambled to find the original copy. But it's been useless, it's gone. The script has changed. Lately, my most authentic and desperate prayers have sounded something like, "Jesus, can you just show me a little bit of how this is all going to play out? What should my next step be? Jesus, in your mercy, a little bit of light here on the path could really help!" But, apparently that's just not how He rolls. Jesus... wants it all, He wants all my trust.
"Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:5-6
I can relate to Thomas the Apostle. Not having the script is hard.
When we ask for maps and He says "follow me".
When we ask for practical instructions for our mission, He says "love your neighbor."
When we want to know the most important part of being a disciple, He simply says "abide in me."
As frustratingly dim as the path sometimes is, I'm slowly learning to unclench my fists, and trust the true author of the script. If we want to make a difference in the world, we are going to have to be different in the world. Sometimes the enemy uses the world to script our lives out, to show us the step by step plan of a false fulfillment. But it's not the real thing. Jesus offers us the real thing. Those who follow Him, must trust, not only in the long term big stuff, but also in the smaller things of daily bread. They trust and love in the everyday and in the ordinary, even when it's not part of their original plan.
Going off script is hard. But in order to live a life of joy, we must learn to be interruptible and flexible. A neighbor in need, an unexpected guest, an unforeseen blessing will always interrupt the script. You and I must be willing to be present to it, abiding in Him, and trusting in His ultimate plan, not our own.
I used to complain about all the interruptions to my work until I realized that these interruptions were my work. - Henri Nouwen
God wants my heart more than anything else. When I trust Him with the script, He gets all the Glory.
If you have doubts about your mission, discerning a new mission, or just want to chat about God's plan for your life, we can relate and we want to support you! You can always leave us a message here and tell us all about it. Be encouraged today! God's got this!
peace and good!
This morning God used a refrigerator to speak to my heart.
I’ve been really struggling lately with a severe sense of hopelessness in regards to a couple of special relationships in my life that have been broken, seemingly beyond repair. Though I am certain I am not without fault in these situations, the feelings of hurt, confusion, and betrayal I’ve been experiencing have been very real, and pure grief. I am mourning the loss of some very beloved people in my life, and have felt helpless to know even where to begin to attempt any sort of reconciliation, especially since each of my attempts thus far have come to naught.
As we entered into Holy Week, I found this feeling of hopelessness bleeding into nearly every aspect of my life -- it was beginning to feel like even the most commonplace tasks were just another way for my weaknesses and shortcomings to showcase themselves. Everything from prayer to dishes to laundry to Easter preparations was irritating or sad at best, or just a plain failure at worst. I found myself thinking all kinds of negative things like “why bother fulfilling my Lenten promises, when nothing ever changes anyway”?
All while this is going on in my brain, our refrigerator was acting stupid too. It was still keeping things cool, but the light inside, the ice-maker and the door dispenser were suddenly not working at all. Total “first world problem” of course, but certainly, did nothing to lift my mood. The first repairman declared it an $850 repair, which prompted a second opinion visit, because - yikes! And then it happened. This morning, long before the second repairman was to arrive, as quickly as it had stopped working, it suddenly started working again! My daughter came to tell me the good news, and I admittedly did not believe it at first. (St. Thomas the Apostle, pray for me) But when I saw with my own eyes, my honest thought was, “it’s a Holy Week miracle - thank you Jesus!”
What followed was immediate rebuke and at the same time intense consolation from Our Lord. In a very real way I heard Him speak to my heart, “so you’re that quick to believe that I can heal a freaking refrigerator, but not your own dear heart which I treasure beyond all compare?!” (I know, I know -- Jesus probably doesn’t say ‘freaking’ -- my heart must’ve loosely translated Him)
It was then that I realized I’ve been seeking a human solution to my painful situation. After all it’s very much a human problem. I realized that though I’d brought this situation to prayer countless times, it was most often with the question of “what should I do?” But that question isn’t really one of surrender, is it? It keeps me in the driver seat, when He should be driving.
I won’t pretend that all of my feelings surrounding the loss of relationship or even my own weaknesses have immediately disappeared, but my spirit is now much less disturbed by all the feelings. Ultimately my hope lies in the one whom even the “wind and waves [and refrigerators, apparently] obey” Mark 4:41
God's got this. I have committed my dear friends into the hands of the Lord, and am now much more disposed to wait on the Lord’s refrigerator healing touch.
Our dear friend Audrey Assad has a song on her 2012 Heart album called 'Slow'. It's one of my favorite ballads (I think that's how you would describe it). Hidden at the end of the album, the second to last song is pure poetic goodness detailing the slow steady love of God that moves in the life of a disciple.
The bridge is the best:
"I heard that faith moves mountains
I know it moves my feet
To follow you
And maybe I'm a mountain
Because it's moving me
To follow you"
Listening to that bridge the other day, it struck me that for a long time I was looking for "my mountains" to move instantly. When I had faith the size of a mustard seed, I saw my big issues, and my imperfections being solved real quick, like "into the sea with you mountain. BAM!". Now I'm starting to realize that my mountains move really slow, because God's love and His grace moves really slow. That dream I had when I was younger, that desire to quickly become a saint overnight by doing all the saintly things, I now know is a scam. It’s a lie that distracts me from receiving His love and letting Him do the work in me. I am never going to get holy quick. Because grace is slow.
If you are beating yourself up today (like I often do) for what you haven’t become yet, let me remind you; You are the beloved... of the Creator. Cooperate with His slow grace, smile with the knowledge that you are right where you need to be and choose “slow and steady” as your mantra. He’s making us all better over time.
Brennan Manning once said that "Faith arises from a personal experience of Jesus as Lord. And Hope is reliance on the promise of Jesus, accompanied by the expectation of fulfillment." In other words, He is who He says He is and He'll do what He says He'll do. Looking back on my life now (39 years, 11 mos and 18 days), I can see that God has been moving mountains in me, inch by inch, ever so slowly. He's accomplishing something in me, I'm sure of it. And I am grateful. Fear tells us that the path to holiness is impossible. Grace shows us that it's just one step after another.
Peace and Good!
"That faith is not a fire
As much as it's a glow
A steady humble lamplight
In the window
And it's not too much
It's just enough to give me hope
'Cause love moves slow
Love moves slow"
- Audrey Assad, Slow
Life is precious. Even mine.
Today, on my fortieth birthday, I’ve found myself reflecting on what it's all been about up until this point — and to be honest, I am in awe. Most days, I waffle between feeling like I should really hurry up and get my life together, so that I can have SOMETHING to show for myself before it’s too late, and a deep, humble gratitude for the truly countless and incredible gifts God has given to me in this life.
That first feeling of inadequacy comes from the very natural desire to be and do and produce something that's worth something, to give something of value to the world — but I'm finding that it’s fulfillment is ironically found in letting it all go, and quitting the comparison game. By opening my hands and heart and receiving the life I already have, I'm finding how truly valuable it is. Today, I'm aware. My eyes are open and my goodness, how precious life is!
I’ve been able to carry in my very own body nine unrepeatable souls and to participate in the miracle of giving birth seven whole times!!! Even though I don't always like my mom bod, it bears the marks of these incredible miracles that God has given me. I'm grateful for the fulfilling, joyful marriage He’s lavished on me. (Ennie and I have now known each other for half our lives!), for parents who introduced me to Jesus, and have never stopped pointing to Him, and for my many deep and lasting friendships, the gift of work and travel and study. Reflecting on all this has me feeling like a storybook daughter of a great King, which I am. I have everything a girl could have ever dreamed of.
Still, I don’t want to give the impression that these forty years have been nothing but roses and sunshine and tequila. I’ve honestly, been struggling this week through the grief of of remembering dear loved ones I’ve lost over the years around and on my birthday — and the sorrow is very real. But in this strange economy of God, even the sorrow has revealed His love to me, and the roses and sunshine remain present there as well. His mercy never ends and tequila is good.
Truthfully, I'm still a mess. And now I'm a forty year old mess. But this life is precious because He gave it to me. I am precious, because I am His, and not because of what I've done. I'm loved and nothing will change that. Today, I'm reminded, as Pope St. John Paul II said, "We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”
I hope you all are feeling this hope in your toes today!
I love you, and am praying for you.