Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rise Up

Hello there. Hi!

May my words be brief today and to the point!

My heart is stirring with simple encouragement as I write. Encouragement that I take directly for myself and encouragement that is too broad to not be somewhat applicable to anyone else, too.

Isaiah 52:2

"Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion."
(English Standard Version)

On this Friday, can we take that as encouragement straight from Him to our hearts? There is grace today no matter how weak, how tired, how confused, how disheveled, how strong, how proud, how self-sufficient, how okay we feel, how anything etc etc etc we may feel, to RISE up and shake off the dust. There is grace to shake it off. That's what He does. He cleans. He redeems. He makes new. He starts us over. He gives NEW mercy every single day. He lifts the burden.

The thought of rising up to shake ourselves off may be more than you can tolerate because it's more will than you feel you can muster. Or the picture of rising up to shake ourselves off may be the exact picture you need to breathe life into your soul.

Truth says that no matter what this week has held, no matter what the last five minutes have held, no matter if you feel full of life or if you feel you are going through the motions, there IS grace to stop. To stand up, shake off the dust, and arise.

I find it so interesting that this scripture refers to us loosing the bonds from our own necks. Those are Bible words for stopping, deciding you're done with the heaviness that pursues your thoughts, your soul, or your heart and making a choice to step out of it.

Mercy, we all know that there are times it's not that simple.

But, let that not dissuade us from the truth that sometimes it is that simple.

We cannot step out of the heaviness because we are strong/perfect/all-sufficient. The only reason we can truly have faith that it is possible to shake ourselves from the dust is because THAT is His business. THAT is His deal. THAT is who He is. Maybe our minds forget that. Maybe our hearts forget that.

So, it's Friday. Let's cease and desist any forgetfulness right now. Let's remember. HE has not forsaken. He has not forgotten. He is real and He is here. And He's in the business of making all things new....even a weary heart.

Perhaps a little heavy for a Friday but maybe it will be the moment that welcomes a lightness into our Fridays!

Happy weekending y'all and much love,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Woman Thing: Part Two

Oh man oh man oh man am I happy to be sitting here typing to you! Life has been a little unexpected over the past few weeks. A little more exhausting than anticipated. So when those Fridays would roll around and it was time to blog, I was on the depleted side of things and decided to let myself off the hook instead of forcing a post. But this week - I'm feeling it again! I'm feeling the stirring of writing before Friday and THAT's something that puts a little smile in my fingers.

If you missed the first post I did on The Woman Thing, and want to give it a read, click here.

Can I just tell you....can I JUST TELL YOU that this little bit of a topic has been wrestling around inside of me since writing two or three weeks ago. Sometimes in a fruitful way, sometimes in a 'gross make it go away' kind of way. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, right??!!

I still don't think I have all (or even many) answers for myself in terms of the woman thing. You know the thing. The one that quietly whispers or sometimes loudly blares "Lord, just don't let me miss it. Don't let me lose myself in this season. And yet, YES! DO let me lose myself in this season and be totally surrendered to it. Just please oh please help me stay in touch with where You are. Who You are. And what You want from me - today and in a forward moving way too." And the rumblings go on and on. At least for me, they do!

You know, I've only come to a few conclusions as I've wrestled. The biggest conclusion is that I really and truly believe that I'm supposed to be totally in love with this season and totally engaged with the ways that He wants to push my boundaries in other areas too. It's both. It's all of it. All at once. Which of course is never a perfect balance.

But what's in my heart for this post is to actually type out some of the things that I think He may want to encourage us in, specifically as women. Would you like to go with me on this little uncharted and not-guaranteed-to-be-accurate exercise? A little love letter from Him to me/you. Hey, what do we have to lose?

You, Daughter, you. You spend so much of your attention, energy and effort in approaching me. But I want you to hear me say that I AM THE PURSUER. Don't be afraid. Don't be hesitant to stop working so hard to pursue Me because I AM pursuing you. I am drawn to you. I want to be around you. I want to be laced into your being.

You are female. You are on purpose. All of my children are created in my image. ALL of you are made in my image. That means YES! Your femininity is initiated in Me. It was my idea. It is complex, intricate, beautiful, powerful, lovely, fierce, intelligent and designed. And it always has been. I love you in your femininity. And believe me, femininity is not a light word to me. It's not a pretty word. It's not a weak word. It's one half of what I make my children. There was a need for you and there is a need that only you were designed to meet.

You are not alone in your wrestle. I am right there, in it and through it with you. On the days you feel you can soar out of joy in the sweet moments and on the days when your soul stirs so deeply pricking you with fear that you somehow have or will 'miss it,' I am there. I am right there. I'm not bothered by the wrestle. I am even in the wrestle from time to time. I LOVE THE PROCESS with you! I love the now and I love what is coming. I am in it all. I am in your yesterday. I am in your today. I am in your tomorrow. I am present in all three. It's true. So when you lose yourself in today and the highs and lows, I am right there with you. And when you feel your heart stirring to take both small and daringly huge steps towards what else I am doing in your life, I am there too.

The truth is that I am always grounding you in the now AND I am pushing you forward at the same time. I am capable of that. When you try to do that on your own, with formulas, or follow another's path it will never bear fruit. It will only keep you spinning around in circles - neither content with your now nor taking real steps towards tomorrow. And when that happens, your today and your tomorrow are robbed from. I have fullness for you in your today. What is on your plate right now IS your calling. It's fully and totally and wholly where I am with you right now. And you can trust me to push you at the right time to break out of the boundaries when the time is right. But it won't work until the time is right. You don't want to miss it, right? Well you are in me and I am in you. And therefore, YOU WILL NOT MISS IT. I am the Vine. You are the branch. I am the potter. You are the clay. I am the Creator. You are the created. I am the Father. You are the child. Lean in and trust me. Trust me. Trust me.

Sometimes trusting me means following me on an uncharted path. Sometimes it means finding joy in the mundane. Sometimes it means going a path alone that no one else is going. Sometimes it means following the herd. There is no one path that is more righteous than another. The only righteousness is found in finding me. Follow me daughter!

You are my girl. Your path was never meant to be totally straight forward. I'm not typically found in straight lines but in winding/twisting/meandering paths. The only answer is to trust me. Trust me if I have something different for you than you have ever imagined. Trust me if there seems to be very little surprise in your day to day. Trust me.

I love you. I made you. I breathed life into you. I knew you before you were born. I am in your femininity. I am in your story. I take joy in your story. I take joy in the process we are walking out together. Great is my faithfulness. GREAT IS MY FAITHFULNESS!

Always. Before the beginning of time. Now in your every breath. Here I am and here I will always be.

Hmmmmm I'm breathing more deeply. He's in the complexity.

Sleep well my friend, my reader. And meet my writing partners tonight:

If you need a live worship feed, IHOP KC is great. This is Laura's set from Sunday, August 17. GOOD.

I needed it.


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Beginnings of a Thought: The Woman Thing

Good morning!!!

I sit here in a bit of a haze having rolled out of bed about thirty minutes ago :). I pondered writing later but life with a growing baby boy on the inside, a full of life nearly three year old boy on the outside, a big boy room to pull together and that ever lovin' mysteriously disappearing thing called energy mean that if this moment presents itself to write - I had best write! So if this one doesn't strike you well, blame it on my haziness :).

First, may I just tell you that I sit here a woman feeling mighty victorious this morning. Today is August 1 and therefore July is no more. Guess who's husband was gone for the entire month except two weekends in July? This girl's man was. Ohhhhhhhhh yeah. Cue 'I'm a Survivor!' More on that month later but let me just say - we made it through and are in one piece (mostly) but I am SO GLAD today is August 1. SO GLAD.

Second, I'd like to ask for as much grace as you can offer me as you read these thoughts today. They are the beginning of something in my heart but certainly not fully processed through. It's a touchy topic that has been rolling around inside of me so if your's are the toes that get stepped on, please know that my heart isn't to offend anyone. Ahhhhhhh let's just dive in, no more beating around the bush.

The woman thing.

There are probably a lot of woman things that come to your mind with those words. Mine too. But in this case, there is one big fatty fat fat one that won't leave me alone.

What is the role of a woman?


I don't have anything near a succinct answer to that but I have some thoughts that I'd like to begin to process with you, if you're willing.

I will say - I am a really bad writer and communicator when I am trying to filter too much - SO I am just going to put some honest and hopefully unfiltered thoughts out there. They're on the raw side :)

You know that scene in 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' where Matthew and Kate are finally in their groove towards the end at his family's house? And they're playing that card game BS? I shall refrain from typing the words here but that is the exact thing (or phrase) that rises up in me when I think about women who say, "I don't know....all I have ever wanted is to be a wife and a mom. That's it. That's my calling.'

Insert the phrase which shall remain nameless.

See, there is a part of me that GETS THAT! I really get that. In fact, it's near ironic because I am one of those girls who got married, worked for eight years, had a precious baby boy and worked part time for another year, and then took the plunge when the opportunity presented itself for me to stop working outside of the home so I really focus on being mom. I mean, that's me.

I have been given the opportunity to observe many women who have walked this path beautifully and many who have ached their way through the journey and met a major crisis when the intensity of momhood eases as that child turns 18. Eases in the sense that, they likely move out and go to school, and what mom spent her days doing is now simply not there for her to do any more.

But, I've had the honor of seeing women do it fairly well, too. I've seen my mom do it. She gave her all to raising us - truly. And yet, there was still a part of her engaged in things that were totally about who she was called to be aside from mom and wife. The older we became the more she was able to host those parts of herself. I'm watching Carrie do it. I'm watching Kim do it. I'm not sure any of them would say that they're doing 'it' but they are.

So here's the deal: I think the thing that the Holy Spirit has been prodding me the most about is this - are we kidding ourselves if we invest in the belief that wife and mom are our callings in life?

I'd like to propose that they ARE most definitely A calling. Wiving and mothering are holy callings and utterly beautiful to the Lord. Frankly, if we view them as anything less than a calling, it's near impossible to do them at times.

But, I'd also like to propose that I was not born to become a wife and mom.

I do not exist on earth or have breath in my lungs for the sole purpose of marrying and supporting a great person (which HE IS!) and birthing and raising baby boys.

While both of these roles consume much of my heart, time and life and are roles that I DO feel called to, they are not my all encompassing calling in life. If that were true - my calling would be expiring with each day that Liam got closer to 18 and college/adulthood. If that were true - I'd be left without half of my purpose in life should any change ever come in my marriage. (Note: I don't say that second part lightly. I cannot imagine my marriage falling apart. But sometimes you have let the worst case scenario be a part of the picture to let truth come to the top).

Not every woman who is working outside of the home has tapped into her purpose or calling in life. Not every woman who has devoted herself to being wife and mom has either. Some in each camp have. Some have not.

Now listen, I sincerely do not judge any woman who struggles through this. Because I struggle through this! This is, for the most part, a silent battle every single woman faces. We don't talk about it. Some may assume that working women have tapped into their callings and stay at home moms have not. Or that stay at home moms have embraced the true and highest calling in life while working women have not.

There is a silence and quietness to this scenario that is the thing that really bothers me. It's like there's a silent invitation to me to slip into the proverbial back seat. There's a lot of serving in being both wife and mom that is beautiful and right. And if we try to do either of those roles without a humble willingness to serve, it gets ugly fast.

But there is something in that role of servant that has the potential to silently invite us to step back from the plate and stop swinging the bat. Ahhhh I feel very vulnerable right now! I PRAY you know a bit of what I am talking about because these words are like peanut butter coming out of my fingers. Sticky and thick and jambled.

Is it possible to step back from swinging the bat in life, in destiny, in the Kingdom, with the Lord, all the while being a wonderful wife and mom? Or stepping back from the bat all the while having an impressive and stimulating career outside of the home? This is NOT about whether a woman works in a paying job or not.

There are so many more things that can be said. I'm going to delve into this again next week. Heck, I may cancel out half of what I've said this week - next week! I feel as though some of us will read these words and have a lot of disturbance after. Press into the Lord, girl. Ask Him to help you get rid of any of my words that were off and only grab onto what He wants you to. If it's a scary and daunting question to ask yourself (as it is for me) - quietly allow Him to help you ask it anyways. Am I in touch with who I am called to be? Who am I aside from the roles I am filling?

THANK YOU for grace as you have read. Thank you for reading! This was a post I felt like I just needed to put out there - half baked - in order to get the ball rolling. Hopefully next week's words will bring more refined and processed thoughts. If you feel something in your heart that you'd like to add in to the mix as I continue to pray and process this, please get it to me!

This one feels unfinished and unedited at best. May the Lord do with it what He wants. Yikes.