Today’s prompt came inadvertently. But my hands pulsate my blood pressure in the certainty that I needed to think on this today…I needed to become aware again. While truth is freeing, speaking it can sometimes be enormously unnerving.
Think of something you love. Your favorite act - a passion in your life. Have you ever let it fall away? What have you done to get it back?
I seem to let loose that which ties me to life, so often. I rob myself of joy, delight, growth…
I need to return to my soul’s home…the birthplace of my hope. As such, I need to apply discipline where a free-flowing ease once reigned. If creativity has ceased to drip diligently from this fountain, then I will learn how to bring it back. I will do what I must to brink back the wellspring of joy.
For now, it will be writing every day. For at least 5 minutes…more if the mood strikes. My journey back to joie de vivre will be available for the sharing and viewing here. Soon, I hope to work with a good friend of mine to update the look of my website. But for now, I should focus on the organics of it all: the words.
So I watched the movie Country Strong tonight. It’s been a while since I connected that much with my Texas spirit. I don’t have experiences like the movie had, obviously. It wasn’t about relating to the experiences. It was about the emotion of being from that fabric. I remembered what it is to come from where I do, and how that plays a part into who I am and how I grew.
Endorphins can come through completing a writing or editing assignment? Yep, I was wired that way apparently. Even if I’m hemming my way entirely through it, when even a draft is completed, I get this surge of joy that is like nothing else…hmm.
This morning, through the (re:) series devotional, I was given my food for today. These words from Paul to the faithful members of the church at Thessalonica, will be my constant nourishment today. May they strengthen you as they are me.
"We urge you, brethern, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-18)
Be thankful in everything. EVERYTHING. Not merely in provision. Or times of safety. Or in times where everything makes sense to you as to why it occurs.
Give thanks at work when you make a mistake, or you get blamed for something you didn’t do.
Give thanks on your commute when a careless driver cuts you off.
Give thanks when your body shuts down, forcing rest on you at the worst possible time.
Give thanks when bills seem to multiply and funds continue to shrink.
These are not trite, nor easy things. I do not say these to give mockery to pain or lightness to suffering. I say these because I have not complied with the Word of God myself, in so many of these circumstances plus more. Yet each of these times, we can give thanks for they are moments where we can pray. Moments when we can stop and rely on our only source of lasting strength and sustainment. Moments when we can stand tall on Rock, when no matter how hard the wind blows, knowing we will never be hurled headlong, for HE is the ONE who holds our hands! (See Psalm 37:23-25; some of my favorite verses)
When one experiences what it is to be in the dark, it makes one all the more thankful for the saving grace of Light.
We will grow closer to our King in these moments. THAT is why we should be give thanks! That is why we praise. For we have a Savior that will never leave us nor forsake us. Rejoice ALWAYS, for that promise can never be broken. You will never be left. You will never be abandoned. You will never be quitted completely. There is One. And He is EVERYTHING you have ever needed and will ever need. There are no gaps to fill when His Spirit dwells within you. No holes to patch with other things, experiences or people. He is the Lasting. And all the more, He gives us that inheritance as well - everlasting communion and life.
Our contribution to fight global poverty and disease
Did you know that the International Affairs budget (which is just 1.4 percent of the total federal budget) provides critical, life-saving assistance to combat extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality and diseases like AIDS and malaria?
A robust budget for these programs demonstrates who we are as Americans (as well as how those of us, who believe in Christ and strive to follow Him, should be at our very core) — people of hope, compassion and generosity. There are few places in the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.
Join me in asking Congress to support the president’s FY 2011 budget request for international affairs.
World Vision provided a template to help get you started in writing your own letter. There is a direct form on their website, which will automatically send to your congressman or congresswoman. Go here to gain access to that form.
Below, is the letter I sent just moments ago. I tweaked the template and added my own voice. I encourage you to do the same, though you are not required to make any changes. I believe this is of the utmost importance! I hope voice can be heard. _________________________________________________________________
I am writing on a sincere and deep concern over the International Affairs Budget passed by the House of Representatives. I am aware the Senate is preparing to vote on Fiscal Year 2011 funding, yet I plead with you to oppose the disproportionate cuts which are proposed and outlined in the Affairs Budget.
This part of the federal budget is comparatively small (just 1.4 percent), yet was subject to some of the largest reductions despite providing critical, life-saving assistance to combat extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality and diseases like AIDS and malaria. Such action will have minor impact on the deficit, but will result in devastating consequences for countless poor families around the world.
A robust budget for these programs demonstrates the best of American values — hope, compassion and generosity. There are few places in the federal budget where such great success has been achieved, support has stretched across political parties and dollars have translated so directly into lives saved.
As a supporter of World Vision’s work, I believe that fighting extreme poverty, global hunger and disease is in America’s national interest. It’s also the right thing to do. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Africa and around the world are alive because of America’s historic commitment to fight AIDS. Similar cost-effective programs are generating real results. With your support, our impact can continue.
Help America take this opportunity to save more lives and not undermine our investment in people. I believe this is what our country is richly founded in. The consideration of freedom, protection from preventable harm, and a generosity to aide our fellow men, women and children. I urge you to stop and intensely consider how continuing with these drastic cuts to an already embarrassingly small percentage, will affect the very character America stands for.
Thank you for your consideration. Thank you for taking the time to listen. Thank you for what you do, daily, to uphold our voice. I look forward to your response.
“Dreadful will be the day when the world becomes contented, when one great universal satisfaction spreads itself over the world. Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.”—Phillips Brooks
Why is it that no one seems to warn you how painful it can be to let others in?
I’m not speaking of the pain that can happen through loss or betrayal or conflict…
…No there is also a pain I’ve found in letting others help; letting them in to the room where all the broken pieces lie, where disarray reigns and nothing is in its place. Outsiders see these “behind the wall” places and a mix of reactions can follow. I’ve experienced almost every reaction to my disheveled spaces. What still surprises me aren’t the instances where witnesses run in the other direction, nor when some stand and spotlight my revelations in mockery or judgement. Rather, I am most off-guard when those select souls behold the madness and jumbled webs and yet they remain…not scared off nor throwing in their 2 cents (x1000), they quietly begin to pick up the pieces and slivers with me. Sometimes they start FOR me, until I pick my jaw up off the floor and join in the restoration, allowing them to walk beside me through it. ALLOW it. Accept it. Receive…
One of the hardest verbs in the entire world for me to practice.
So that is the pain no one warned me about. The sweet, stinging pain of receiving Love and service in times of weakened need. It’s like the pain of a broken bone, healing. It has to form a connection to itself once again. To rebuild the fracture. And when rehabilitation mixes with restoration — the recovered limb is often much stronger than before the break. How does that make sense? I am just amazed. In the midst of necessary hurt…and of learning. And to say that I am thankful, is laughably inadequate. Opening the door to the hidden rooms is terrifying. But I see and am beginning to feel what it means to “come to Me when your are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. That rest is company to carry. It is the sheer giving of Himself through the presence of others - the very members of His body.
Someone warned Elyse and I about doing ministry work our first year of marriage. Not that doing ministry together would tear us apart, but that we’d become so busy that our newly formed marriage would become bland.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re both incredibly happy with our marriage. We love…
I quit my job. It’s quite a bold move but I feel it’s what I had to do. I have been writing since I was a child, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I wanted to devote the rest of my life to writing. This realization is in part owed to the reaction of my Tumblr family toward the…
"Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in JEsus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love."
Um….Listen up everyone!! Only $163 more! And 8 whole days. This CAN be done. Be a part of something amazing. See how God can use the gifts He gives His children, and how He can increase the faith in us through seeing His provision and care.
Take a look. Don’t be shy. You’ll see how much of a lasting reward it is to be a part of something bigger than a person. It’s as boundless as the King Himself.
Writing from an amazing gift that arrived today from a generous soul who literally wouldn’t take no for an answer. Nathan, I still feel guilty and undeserving, but I am abundantly grateful. (Sent from an iPod touch that somehow is mine.)
One of the first thoughts I had, and thus achingly prayed was : “God get me through today!”
I believe, in order to survive, I need to pour this out in a resounding cry - each and every day.
Legitimately. In - order - to - survive.
"This life with move you with every step outside. It’s alright, it’s alright my arms are open wide for you. This life will move you as graceful as a tide. It’s alright, it’s alright loosen the fears that bind you. Loosen the fears that bind you.”
JESUS, you have to be with me. Please stay close. Can we get through each day together? Can we start with today?
Walking across a parking lot with my mom holding my hand. We were going into a McDonald’s for my 3 year birthday party. I don’t remember anything else of that day, I don’t think. But for some reason, I’ve got that memory.
I heard Tom Ashbrook speak on the radio yesterday as I drove home from work. I respect him as a journalist and what he has done on his daily radio show on WBUR where he introduces a topic and moderates a discussion on an issue where both sides are fairly represented. It’s what a political…
If you haven’t been made aware of a movement called “Live, Love, Give”…now’s the time. Use the link. Read up on it. Get on the bandwagon of choosing to live a life of purpose. Choices matter. They exist in countless opportunities each day.
The things we can’t control…the pain in others’ lives…it can be the heaviest weight to bear. But the awe lies in seeing the darkest, most wretched pain fall to the foot of the One who ASKS for it all. I constantly try to hoard the jagged bits of brokenness, hoping to somehow control the “fix”. And all I get instead are slices are shuffled pieces still. Give it all away. I am horribly weak and cannot carry. I was not made to carry, but to surrender instead.
“I know Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is also the perfect Gardener. He plants me where He knows I will grow best. He waters and feeds me as I specifically need. He plants me where I am able to bear fruit in every season. And like some of the plants in my garden, though I may look smaller than others, Christ’s strength endures me through the fiercest storms. Whether hail, snow, ice, or heat from the scorching sun come upon me, God’s grace is sufficient to make me rise — every time. And unlike me, the Gardener of my heart is never lazy or self-motivated. So I have no need to worry; for the Splendor of my heart will never fade.”—Sunny Shell @ (in)courage
Something seemingly small. A delicate illumination. A portion which in reality, is a mere decimal of the whole. That which seems to be easily understood, has prodigious detail beneath the surface.
When I think I grasp realities, truths, semblances of how things are - how they churn, I discover that there is an abundance left to learn. Like this iceberg, like we learned in grade school, we may only see a sliver above the exterior, yet there will be miles increasing below.
I honestly hope I never reach the day where I stop learning. There is so much I do not know. So much that fascinates me, illudes me, rocks the boat. It excites me, humbles me, stirs me, motivates me.
It is an ever-increasing reason to ponder. As I do even now…
the joys and ‘treasures’, over the insignificance and disappointments…
to allow a daily dedication to living a Philippians 4 lifestyle (particularly v.4-8)…
these are all steps. Small. Intentional. Pertinent steps to GROWTH.
…growing in the faith, hope, and love that never ceases.
It flows not from flesh - which is imperfect, perishable & often hurtful…
instead it washes over you from the Source of everlasting sustainment.
It is birthed from a perfect Nurturer, upheld by a tenacious Warrior,
and preserved through a gracious Redeemer.
It is the essence of Worth. It is the declaration of Value. It is how I am seen; how I am cherished; how I am so completely loved - that even these words are pointless to describe its truth and depth, and my worldly mind is incapable of perceiving to the fullest.
And it does not stop at me. It defines who YOU are. Seriously. Completely. Adamantly.
We are the same. Broken Wanderers. Unaware that there is so much more than the earthly interpretations, labels and indicators.
If you want to know the meaning of actual value, read this. And never put it down. It will change everything. Just ask me, because it knocks me on my back every single day.