May 18, 2014

Good Things

The Lord has been highlighting his goodness... underlining and emboldening it. 

Everyone goes through hard seasons and seasons of fullness. In those hard times it can be so hard to see the goodness of The Lord hidden among all the thorns and rocks. It is present, but we can't feel it. In those full seasons of relative ease, it is so common to forget that the goodness around us exists and is from The Lord. It is present, but we take it for-granted and don't value it. 
I have been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. (I know. I was pretty late to jump on that band wagon.) If you haven't read the book Ann talks about being given the challenge to list one thousand things she is thankful for. Through the process of this challenge she discovered how thankfulness can infuse our lives with fresh breath and vibrence. She stumbled on the fact that we are made to be close to God and as we acknowledge his presence through gratefulness for the goodness that he has already placed in our lives the simple goodness refracted and magnified to glorious abundance. It is our duty (not obligation) and our joy to live in thankfulness. 

Here is a quote that really struck me:
"I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives."
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

I want to see the wounds of the world and the wounds in my heart be healed. Thankfulness is a key to that. I have seen and felt healing in my own heart as I have begun to follow Ann down this path of gratefulness. Thankfulness is like the rock that God told Moses to strike in the dessert. Though it might not seem logical in our human understanding, thanksgiving is where the living waters of joy and healing come flowing from. 
It has been my irrational fear that somehow I will reach the end of God, or at least use up my allotted portion of him. I fear that I will run out of things to discover about him, that I will reach the end of his love, the end of his patience, the end of his grace. I have caught myself worrying about if I will be able to find a thousand things to thank him for. 

In the same journal that acts as my log of gratitude, the other day I penned this question the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear "Where does my goodness end? When will it run dry? Where am I not? Which place lacks my presence, my sacredness?" I was blown to pieces and held tightly to Jesus' chest. I cannot escape God and his goodness even if I tried. 

If you are running from God, you cannot out run him. If you are needing his grace, you cannot use it up. If you are surviving only because of his love, it is everlasting and unending. He is good. If we see it, he is good. If we can only see tragedy, he is good. If we can't see anything, he is good. He is good, and that is never going to change. 

Join me in a pattern of thanksgiving and discover the vast beauty he weaves into our lives. Glory in his goodness. Revel in him revealed. Whack that boulder in the dessert and watch as his living waters flow freely. 

Pour Life

Hanging out with kids can make you laugh like crazy and can expose you to kid cooties.

This Friday I came home with a nasty cold/sinus infection/plague... oh what fun! Because of this I have been cooped up in my room in my pajamas, with tea and my computer for almost 48 hrs. I am going a little stir crazy and started a dance party with the cats. They didn't appreciate my efforts so I thought I would focus my energy into something more creative and restful like writing (also when you have a sinus infection it throws off your equilibrium and dancing can become dangerous to everyone involved even cats). 

Ruminating on what one wants from life is always a good exercise. When you think about what you want out of life it gets you to invest more in life, because life is truly what you make of it. In my ruminations and writings I noticed that I kept using the phrase "pour life," in ways such as "I want to be in a community that pours life into me" and "I want to pour life into children/women/families who desperately need it." This phrase kept coming up so much that I wanted to distill what I meant by it, so I pulled out my handy-dandy iPhone ESV bible app and searched for "life."

Psalm 16:11 
"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forever more." 

Ecclesiastes 7:20
"For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart."

Mathew 7:14 
"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." 

Mark 8:35
"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."

Philippians 2:16-18
"holding fast to the word of life so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me." 

Colossians 3:3
"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." 

2 Peter 1:3-6
"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness."

Revelations 21:6
"To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment."

Basically what "pour life" means is to live a life of sacrificial love like Jesus'. As this pouring out happens a pouring in happens as well. Like a stream that flows, the waters keep coming and keep going. Refreshing and resting at the very same time. And again the precious grace and goodness of The Father leads me back to his love and lap, to build a deeper dependence on his arm to sustain me. 

I love the verse from Ecclesiastes. I want to be so occupied with the joy of the Lord that I lose track of my days in how lavishly I am living them. As the world is awakening to the warmth of Spring, I feel my heart awakening and sprouting joy. Soon Summer will be here with fruit, and Autumn with harvest, and Winter again for the deepening of roots. But as these seasons come over and over again, I want to find myself "hidden with Christ in God," tucked away in his identity, covered and fulfilled.