September 15, 2013

Courage, Weakness and Approval

This is an account of my own searching, seeking and a glimpse into the thoughts and processes of thought I went through recently as I tried to glean some sense of understanding about what was happening within. This is shared with an attitude of humility and discovery.  If we are honest, we are all just trying to make sense of things as we go.  Welcome to a few moments of my ride.

Father sent me a friend a few years ago. The timing was no accident. I was stepping up to step off the boat into the water where my Lord was calling me. I'd been in the water before. I was afraid, felt weak and was uncertain. The Father used many people during this time. In fact, one of the ways I knew which side of the boat to step off, was others pointing my way. There is a special role that one person filled. Because my life is made up of stories and characters that are real and leave marks, I had need and couldn't admit it or understand it. The Father knows how to love us through others and enable our mission in spite of our humanness and that of those around us. It is in looking back now, that realizations and understanding flourish.

He was...

Sent to give Courage.

Sent to share Weakness.
Sent to affirm Father's Approval.
And,a myriad of other things I haven't understood yet.

In the time since learning of his death, I have processed a lot. I have experienced a deeper seriousness about trust and the fleeting moments we have with people. It's not just in death that this is true, it's also in the moving on of life. What is beautiful is nothing has or will remove the powerful things he delivered into my life. When I cry alone, feel afraid, need to believe I can do it... the Spirit reminds me of how this friend Loved me with insight, discernment and wisdom. He came alongside me and pastored me like no one else would or could and the only time we stood in a church together was at a funeral in support of a mutual friend. He saw me with the Father's eyes and I will cherish the result of his obedience forever.

Last night, I found out there will be a memorial service soon. This morning as I began to work, I got captured in a flood of thoughts and suck and it was as if I was spinning, just confused and then ready to fight and then slumped over and then determined all at once and not at all.

There is another way I feel sometimes. Weak. When someone comes along that gets your need and has experienced need and stands on the other side of it nearby and looks at you with the Father's eyes it instills a power and hope and strength that is unrivaled. They made it through a tough thing, they know you did too and the connection that comes from shared understanding and wisdom bonds and creates a synergy that wakes the dead.

It can be hard to stay alive sometimes.

Walking among the dead.

I need that kind of alive that meets my particular weakness embodied near me... warm... aware... ready...

Ones who can See and who will be brave enough to let it be known.

Truth is... I find they are few and far between. and that Makes me feel Fear.

I KNOW the Fear is based on illusionary truths, but I need real alive people to help me remember I am NOT Alone. That I can Carry On. That I won't walk dead again, or die overcome by those shared weaknesses. To feel the warmth of living, breathing new life.

More than any of that. The thought of those around me coming alive. The eyes I see that see me back with an acute awareness that heightens the senses somehow. The subtle aroma of life or the slight brightness of vision or the words said with unique understanding. I can't describe their beauty or the affection I instantly have for them. This unity and oneness brings hope to the dream becoming real. That soon we will all walk again in ways I can't even imagine.

But, what if their Weakness once conquered retakes them?
What if their flesh grows cold and their eyes dim once again?


I cry alone, again, but I have to go do work! How will I do the work? Father, I need you.

It should not end here, but it does too many times. We can't allow life to distract us from seeing one another. We can't trust the influences of fear with our lives. We have to be courageous, we must persevere, we must stand tall and walk forward united and unwavering. Jesus made this true and possible and individually we are only a piece of him. We need the bonding of souls that makes us walk this earth in such a way that makes Him and His Kingdom real when we feel the horror of the shade.

by William Ernest Henley 

Out of the night that covers me, 
black as the pit from pole to pole; 
I thank whatever Gods may be, 
for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud;
under the bludgeonings of chance,
my hand is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade;
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
how charge with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.. 

My friend helped me sense the reality of the whole story. We are in battle, no question! But, WE are indeed in battle. WE equals Jesus still battling on through us together, in us together, for us together... bonded come what may, no matter whatever! The echoes of the voices of the saints call out with authority and resolve in one voice, miraculously His voice, a King. The King Who shares my weakness and whose voice is also mine with you... Where are you? One fate, One soul, with me. Never to die again.

So, no matter what forces may rage and how many fall at our feet, WE must belong to one another come what may. No matter what has been. And I will keep going, til I find you and we will find them.
I will not be afraid to hope for the longings He's placed in my soul.

November 27, 2012

With Me In The Dark.

I suppose I am more acutely aware of the darkness within my own soul
and no longer consoled by the illusion of my own goodness.

Maybe His grace for us is exposed in the incomprehensible intimacy
experienced as He escorts us carefully into the darkest recesses of our own being,
His perfection gently exposing the terrors hidden there.

Recoiling, in one desperate panic stricken moment after another
as the realizations inflict near fatal impact,
disorientation reigns and a new kind of sighted blindness ensues.

Forever awakened, suddenly aware of the evil the self so faithfully nurtures.

Flail, lash, gnarl, and scream as the anguish of the truth overtakes
and when what fuels it is depleted and one rests defeated,
go ahead, attempt to Live or just live.

No longer burdened by the illusion of one's own goodness,
now fully hopeless, helpless, defeated
it is apparent that He is still here.

Lying bare now in desperate humility,
there is a new sensibility of His Grace.
It's become the only fuel capable of animating a life that's died.

And now, a new creation, a witness again and again
to human frailty's inevitable messy collide with completion,
my own and of those I walk alongside, is what remains.

Newly sighted now, but still blinded,
fragments of a glimpse of searing reality remain.

And still, He is here, now whispering...

Finally, lost with Peace, looking into the Face of Perfection
those dreams He's had for me sound real again
and I know I'm more alive than I've ever been!

Still there, now wrapped in His grip, a new bit of darkness reflected,
a noticeable strengthening wedge exposed from within me,
brokenness fashioned for precision separation.

As the heart quickens
this next terror is now consoled by my, now known, TRUE Need and
the excruciating gentle pressure of His restorative transforming touch.

I suppose I am more acutely aware of the darkness within my own soul
and now more consoled by the reality of His Goodness.

He's With Me In The Dark.

November 20, 2012

I Am Not Good.

"My Cajun grandma says that Godly women are wise and worth listening to; you are definitely one such person. Thanks for living out what God puts on your heart." -University Student
Encouragements are intensely important! They help us discover, understand, test and remember our value.
"You're awesome! You're super inviting to everyone and you're so real. You're open and not afraid to share your thoughts with anyone. I've learned a lot from ya over the past year. Love ya!" -University Student
There are times over the course of a year or a season of life that it's very easy to become discouraged, emotionally worn or suffer from various other forms of discontent. It doesn't take much to find these feelings creeping in. Sometimes, it's very sudden. I've found, my natural response is to become a bit sullen... or a lot. I tend to display a change outwardly, but don't take the risk involved in sharing my inner state with anyone directly. It's important for us, the Body of Christ, to take the narrower road in this area and begin opening up the vulnerable parts of who we are with others, with wisdom and abiding in truth. It's important to be unselfish with our own need, as it has power when surrendered into the hands of His Body and His Hand and we truly seek His answers and His fulfillment in return. Our weakness, after all, is an opportunity to display His strength.
"Out of everyone I've met in the past few years on campus, you are one of the people I am most thankful for. I am constantly thankful for your love, advice, conversation. I've never had someone willing to fill that role in my life before and you have taught me so much about life, faith and myself. You are a beautiful example of what it means to love people." -University Student
Here's a piece of truth. Not everyone is to be trusted. Not everyone cares for us deeply. Not everyone has the capacity within to receive us or listen or begin to understand... even when they really, really, really want to. Even when we really, really, really, want them to. I've learned that in hard ways, as I'm sure you have too.

It's okay to LET people be imperfect. You have permission to love them anyway. By that, I mean, you have permission to give them love. By that, I mean, you have permission to respond to them with mercy, grace and to seek understanding with regard to their behavior, attitudes, choices and beliefs. It's okay to listen, in fact, it's imperative that we become zealous about really listening to people... hearing them... learning to know them... seeking wisdom with regard to them. It's Love.

I have hurt people. I can't think of a time it's been intentional, but I have hurt people. Not listened. Not cared.
"You are amazing at listening to people and being able to let God speak through you. You're really chill and calm and amazing" -University Student
It's okay that we are not perfect. In fact, it's important that we are not perfect. It's the need to be made right that enables us to crave wisdom. It's the broken bits of us requiring us to need, that open our ears to our true sustenance. It's in these spots that we've found our well. It's this well that holds an endless supply of life. It's in the ravenous desperate dipping into this well that we find hope enough for ourselves and then it overflows into the lives of others.

It's not because I am good. It's because He is Good and He makes Good things and fixes things and makes them Good again.

I am a very broken vessel. Partly fixed. Still broken.
"You're great. Just great. I love seeing you when I'm walking around campus. I wish I could stop and talk more often. That first time was awesome and I'd love to connect like that again." -University Student
Selfish, Needy and Desperate at my core. Afraid. Vulnerable.
"You are such an awesome friend, encourager, supporter & challenger! I praise God for you, for your wisdom, your passion and love!" -Friend
It is my cracks that allow His glory and truth to be felt. It's Him radiating through my admitted and surrendered brokenness that people praise. Do you see... It's always been Him. It will always be Him.

Encouragements are intensely important! They help us discover, understand, test and remember our value. We are at our most precious when we are surrendered and vulnerable. Bold and Real. Inviting Life to flow through us.

If you are emotionally tired, discouraged or generally discontented, please...
 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:8–10 

February 03, 2012

Let's MOVE Together!

There's something powerful happening on our campus.  Maybe it's happening on yours too?  

There is a call echoing through the spaces of our campus.  There is a message reverberating within the hearts of the called.  It’s turning into a crying out and it is compelling us to action!  It didn’t just start this semester or this year, it’s been welling up in these spaces, the intensity increasing steadily for years.  As we all draw into the heart of Christ we can’t help but sense His call for unity.  We can’t help but acknowledge his passion knowing, as he left this earth, that his body would remain and it would do more than he ever did!  There have been and are those that this message has captured with an intensity that will not allow them to hold it in.  Like voices calling in the wilderness they have spoken and labored and woken up early and lost sleep at night and sought those that know the same voice they are hearing.  And they call out and some find others and they call out together.  What if it’s time?  What if it’s time for ALL the individuals, ALL the small groups to come together as ONE VOICE, CRYING OUT TOGETHER A VOICE OF ONE BODY?  Not just to attend one gathering, but to unite in seeking God’s plan for it, to unite in planning it with Him and then to unite in carrying it out!

What if ALL of us who are called by his name humble ourselves and seek his face and move together somehow through the spaces of our campus no more an echo, but flesh and bone.  Feet bearing good news, hands picking others up, hearts funneling hope for the hopeless, eyes all around the weary swallowing the burdens around these spaces with compassion and hope.  Maybe even a high five or true warm smile exchanged among those who are human strangers, but spiritual siblings!  Let’s move Together.

Dreamers.  Are there greater things than what we’ve asked or imagined?  What have you imagined of His Kingdom or the work of His hand?  What have you already seen?  Is it big?  Is it big enough?  Could there be more than our minds can fathom?  Eph 3:20.  I know it is difficult to imagine and that it is counter intuitive to accept that whatever it is He is saying to you and yours, however He is leading your team or your friends it is one part of the whole.  When The Father speaks and the echoes reverberate He is speaking to all of Us.  There are strangers around you with the same passion, hearing the same call, feeling the same burden.  The burden is dispensed across His entire Body!  You have brothers and sisters pouring their lives out for the same cause as you!  If you look carefully with discerning eyes upon others who call on His name, you will see Him reflecting in an amazing prismatic display, unique and perfect.  Yet, probably unfamiliar and yes possibly shocking, they may even bother you.  His ways are, indeed, too big for us to explain or comprehend.  Let’s move Together anyway!

The Father desires ALL the souls of our campus to draw into Him.  As we all live and breathe in our spaces that is the call reverberating upon His entire Body in all its uniqueness a splendid reflection and unending fluid display of His indescribable glory.  And, we praise him for what he has done and we rest in the knowledge of his inexplicable grandeur.  Let’s move Together before the Father because of and with Jesus surrendering ourselves as one, laying down our dreams and visions to take up His in a fresh righteousness for His Kingdom sake.  For the sake of those we’ve been called together to Love with His Love.  Do not listen to me!  Test these words, Ask Him!  He wrestled me through great obstacles to rest within these words.  Do you hear this too?  Are you my brother?  Are you my sister?  Let’s move Together, proclaiming His greatness by surrendering our pride and plans, knowledge and human allegiance worshiping as one in word and deed.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 11:33–12:3, NIV)

Here's what we are doing about it  4.4.12 The Vision  Share your story!  What have you been a part of doing?

August 11, 2011

Listen: He will tell you.

God will tell you who you are.  Ask Him.  Tell Him your insecurities and don't be afraid to be vulnerable.  This is an open look into an interaction I recently had with Our Father.

Here is Me inviting you to We.

I am not a lot of things. 

What's important isn't who I am Not, its who I Am...

I am a strong woman and it's okay.  I'm a lioness... a protector and a provider of His life, I am a messenger of what's real and true and I am a leader.  Strong and dignified, while joyous and nurturing.  I will tell you who you are and more importantly pray you see it.  I will show you where to walk, but follow you wherever you go, keeping watch.  I am sent and given authority to love.  And I do Love. 

Deeply, I love.  Inexplicably and assuredly I Love.

There are many things I am not, and its okay. Because what I am is not an accident it is purposed and ordained.  I am set apart and continually affirmed by Our Father.  I will be the me I was and am intended to be from the day I departed perfect Love and I will persevere until the day these glimpses of Love come to full fruition and I get to create together with Jesus on thrones...


Being Worship for Father. 

And I will have the name He has and is always whispering to me.  I hear it... I believe Him and I can't wait for the day I look in His face and see Him call me by it.

Come with me.  Let's Be... and let's Be We.

August 09, 2011

New Pillar

Bombarded with choices.  Perceiving and sensing endless input... continuous interpretations of what is real and what is not.  Trusting impulses or Pursuing dreams or Clenching for ...?  If you don't Stand for something... you'll Fall for anything!
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. --1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
Familiar?  KEEP READING!  There will be a twist.

I think Jr. High was my first encounter with this truth. Instantly, a very specific set of issues comes to mind. In short, it's the go to text and, for years, has really formulated the bottom line for why we should always choose to be careful with our bodies.  It's the reason we don't have sex, do drugs or do any number of other things that can or will result in harming our bodies!  In turn, it's a good motivator to take care of our bodies, exercise and eat right.  While taking nothing away from the value of this wisdom, recently my mind shot to a new, but not new place.

It's an old story about God's presence and leading in a time when His people were lost and in need.  They'd been liberated from Egypt and slavery and were following God around the desert. It was a time of complete reliance on God. He feed them where there was not food, He dwelt among them and He guided them literally by day and by night as a visible cloud and as a pillar of fire. (Exodus 13)

How great that must have been!  I imagine what it would have been to experience that level of tangible, visible, concrete and obvious presence of God.  To be without the question of where to go or when to go, but to wake up each morning or exist each day knowing as long as the cloud is still there or the pillar of fire is not moving you were in the right place.  Oh, my heart gets caught up in these ideas... imagining what it's like... this beautiful time of intimacy between God and His people, a holding of hands... a definite walking with and among... maybe a mirror of Eden even or a teaser of an ultimate perfect renewal! My mind lost, my imagination tickled with an excited hope at this glimpse into the character and desires of God.  This provision and intimacy.  This nurturing presence and comforting strength.  These people consuming Him and walking next to Him and even carrying Him along with them while literally following Him.  Seemingly, No guessing, No Seeking... Just Seeing and Doing!  Right?! Being and moving.  Simple.  Together.

How great would that be!?   Deep Sigh... Dreamy gaze...

STOP!  Realization...   WE ARE the NEW PILLARS!

Do you see it?

If we are starving and thirsty wanderers, it's because we have never realized that the Kingdom has come!  That there is a new reality and the desert is a mirage!

We are NOT wanderers, we are the NEW PILLARS of fire!  Our bodies are temples of The Holy Spirit of GOD!  A light of unparalleled hope and blinding Love bursts through us into WHATEVER place we are WHENEVER and ALL the time!  New Pillars!!  For such a time as this or that!  WE ARE NOT OUR OWN!  We've been bought at a price, given a new citizenship, reality and clear purpose.  The old way... gone and the new way... NOW.  The One who once burned in the desert a brilliant burning pillar now brightens and penetrates the entire earth as countless spots of light bursting forth from the body of every one of His... Everywhere!  US!

Do you not know?

You walk His light into every crevice of your existence.  It illuminates lives everywhere you are and shines on every person you are near.  We are NEW PILLARS of burning fire that consumes the very essence of darkness and need.  It brings the dead to life and honors God!

Yet we wander?  Why oh why do we pillage and scrape along side those who do not know?!

No light... No life.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. --1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

August 05, 2011

Not Destroyed.

Have you experienced that moment? The one that instantly redefines priority?

When there’s nothing left to give; no remnant of love at your disposal.  When the day turns to night and the light in your eye fades.  When hope seems to be a distant reality or maybe you’re beginning to believe it’s just a lie.  When the reservoir of power from within you fails or is depleted.  Or the tsunami hits. Or the knock on the door brings the realization of your worst nightmare.  Or the levee breaks. Or they leave. Or you meet the moment you’ve dreaded and the truth is out. Or you’ve just heard the truth and by all conventional wisdom you have every right to quit… to leave.  When every fear seems instantly confirmed, you truly are alone.  It is actually real you feel, no one breathing loves you… or they just can’t, the need, the pain, the loss, the confusion, the questions, the sorrow… it’s just too overwhelming.  This thing is too much.

What is that moment?

When it happens does life slow down?  Does it speed up?  Do questions flood your entire being or does anguish?  Can you even feel?  Do you fall empty and numb or does the intensity of reality create a tension whose origin is your deepest spot then like a lightning strike shocking every muscle in your body into the sharpest physical pain a human could ever know?

Is the moment slow…
                Is  time still…
Is this moment in real time but now constant, a never ending torture…
                Is time speeding by in a confusing blur?

What is this moment?  Can LIFE resume?  Or did I ever even really live?

There’s this place that is our default residence with false confidence and fake peace.  Our own little reality crafted and confined by the maximum amount of knowledge we possess, which at any given moment defines possibility and truth.  We are the masters of this reality that cannot be infringed upon as we stand guard over the deepest recesses of self, guarded by this protective illusion.  Like a child hiding under the impenetrable power of a cotton sheet when the fear of an imagined intruders knife is our new master.  Our reality askew, we trust and hope in the lies that are now our true god, and now in our own messiness and delusion a sick comfort in filth is found… as long as we are the god of it.  Tragically, humans can presume to wield God as though He’s their own possession within a desire to be more than we are on our own.  Deception and illusion of control our actual motivation for everything we pursue.  No peace, just chains.  No sight, just darkness, confusion and blindness.  No hope, just despair and disbelief.  No trust, only anxiety and desperation.  No rescue just condemnation.

And then there’s a moment.  A pause in time… or a quickening, surreal and ending, yet somehow an intensity of life never known before, the senses heightened creating a different place that looks unreal, new colors, new smells new sensations, new understanding. What is that moment? When it seems the world is over, our lives have shattered and there’s nothing more, then within the fragments of our own kingdom a glimpse of a reflection of magnificence never known before.  It catches the gaze of the hardest of hearts.  It entrances the soul and a beckoning ensues.  One more breath is taken and it’s true!  The air has new power and the body compelled to inhale it again.  It’s borrowed life, an accepted apprehensive rescuing, at least for that moment.  Breathe… Breathe again, and now it’s an experience of a new reality unbounded by human comprehension, a power unbridled and counter to everything ever known to be real a revolutionary new experience.

Is it possible there really is more than our maximum amount of knowledge?  In the times our maximum is proven inadequate, it has been seen.  Those moments reveal truths almost impossible to explain.  From the depths of pain comes the purity of Love, superhuman.  Within the pains of anguish, inadequacy and helplessness comes the answer of hope.  The voice, like a whisper on a gentle breeze, is only felt or heard in the stillness of that moment or in the sharp pain that jolts our guts into attention.

What about that question that looms… Maybe there is more?  Maybe the miracles we’re looking for come in our frailty.  Maybe for those who give Him permission when life locks us into His gaze, somehow willing to allow our lungs to be stretched when we are too tired and without strength; overwhelmed with burden and finally broken, finally willing to accept His resuscitation.

It’s the only way we finally, really know He… is not... the enemy.

"But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed."  — Amy Carmichael

Not Destroyed.   

And then, an awakening, new eyes, new breath, new freedom, ridiculous love unbounded by self. New permissions and a willing embrace of new ways that stretch infinitely beyond our maximum and suddenly fuel dreams we didn’t know we had.  No more do lies withstand it.  His voice is now known and it speaks of truths not commonly understood.  It beckons us to actions in scenarios of hopelessness and strife, now filled with confidence having experienced the miraculous and having seen His face.  It explains things not known and stills the souls of those able to listen, while sustaining the trust in a God who is truly good, whose love truly has the power to erase any chasm between you and Him… between them and Him… between you and me… so we can be one, again.

What is that moment?

How big would God need to be to exist within our maximum amount of knowledge?
That’s not big enough to reach through my pain and it’s not big enough to answer my need and it’s not big enough to reach into the places of desperation I see behind your eyes.  It’s not big enough to fulfill these dreams or restore life or bring new hope.  It’s not big enough to love someone undeserving or surrender my rights. It’s not big enough to forgive.  It’s not big enough to be more than who I can already be.

But, in this moment, it’s plain to see that whatever I can be is not nearly enough.

So, how big would God need to be to handle your anger or your doubt?  How big does He need to be to absorb your worst punishment, your most intense question?  How big to handle all that you have to muster all you can dish out?  How big?

Are you tired?  Have you been depleted? Or do you love someone who is done? Is it your best friend, your spouse, your parent?  How big does He need to be?  Can I bring myself to let go of my own kingdom long enough to Believe He is who He says He is?

What is that moment that you realize your maximum is not enough?

Is it now?  Will you listen for the whisper on the faintest of breezes?  Will you breathe Him in… and again… and again? 
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Not Destroyed.  Let Love Live.