Sunday, December 25, 2011

When God [Re]writes My Christmas Story

I believe in the God-scripted life. A script writer myself, I know that he who writes the script authors the outcome, and I believe in God-authored outcomes.

So let the story take unexpected turns!

 For the shepherd on the dark hillsides outside of Bethlehem, the appearance of not one, but countless angels from Heaven's very choir was certainly just that: unexpected.

 And for us, sitting in the car all night in a familiar town was that likewise. And being separated by miles and feet of snow when we most wanted to be together-- this season, and father's 60th birthday-- certainly not in the plans.

 But I have learned that through the unexpected God hones our expectancy towards Himself... And what is this season to remind us of, if not expectant waiting for the King? And even as space and time make loving hearts grow fonder, separation makes reunion more sweet.

So we glory in the gift of Jesus today, together. And thank Him that we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and lives to live His script.

Wishing you all a most blessed and joyful Christmas! You are (each!) gifts to me this year...

Together! (seriously icy road...)

finally off the mountain

catching up (we get behind within minutes of separating)

Friday, December 23, 2011

So near, yet so far...

I never thought I would be stranded just a stone's throw from home...
But here we are.

I awaken with a start in the post office parking lot where we have taken refuge from the storm. We were on our way to Texas, now we'd just be glad for a place to lay flat. A mere hour and a half from home, and now we can't go forward, and we can't go back. Mother and Chantée who left earlier and were to meet us are likewise stranded in Albuquerque, both interstates closed. We roll our window down to talk to the policeman who is quickly becoming our friend...

"You guys ok?"

Oh boy. We're fine... But are you going to get that car out of this parking lot?
Joshua and I end up white from head to foot after pushing the unit out of the drift created by our very van. We decide to get out ourselves before we're drifted in...

And in the biting wind of the worst blizzard I have ever lived through, I think:
Boy, so near, yet so far! If only we could get home...

I mean, I just drove through the worst conditions of my life to get here, but I'd still give anything to be able to head back towards my room right now.

Snow stings. I squint as I make my way back to the car.
My heart strains at receding red and blue lights. The kind policeman promised he'd see us again.

But just before I yank the frozen-closed driver door open, (to go back to "sleep") this little thought thunders me--

He could have gone home. But He didn't.
He stayed stranded in a cold world, on a cold night... By far the worst "blizzard" He'd experienced. Like me, part of Him probably wondered at the circumstances he found Himself in. But the stronger part embraced them.
And he didn't run home, though He could have.

He came here, He stayed here, by choice...

Merry Christmas.
usually, there's a road there.

p.s. this really is real time blogging. Posted from back in the selfsame Post Office parking lot. No idea when we'll get out of here... Did I tell you this GYC wasn't going to be average?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When I Forget...

I simply cannot tolerate disconnect anymore... Not now that I know what it feels like to be full and free. I don't care what I'm in the middle of doing. When I need to drop everything, I do.
I just do.

My thumb swipes left then right across glass, taps "Reminders."
Check, check. Check. I scroll for the next thing.

These are days unbelievably full in this house. Unbelievably full. With not one, but four young minds straining over plans for the honor of God in Houston next week, (hours a day) there is never a dull moment.
Or a relaxed one.
But we're honored to serve... Honored to go to war with darkness, as indeed such it will be.

But I glance around my room, across my desktop, through my inbox(es) for the next most pressing emergency. And I suddenly become aware of an emergency of a different character altogether.

It's this little heart of mine. Something's not quite right...

I don't brush past a call anymore. I can't tolerate being disconnected from heaven any more... It's the worst torture. I glance at my watch. Almost noon.

I pocket my iPhone, tell my mother I'm going out for a while, take my little sister by the shoulders and ask her if she's prayed today...
And I go out.

And what I learn on the snow-covered hillside I expect to take with me all through life.

-  -  -  -  -

Whether my days are full or empty, my greatest danger is the same...

To forget my calling.

To forget, to neglect, to lose under a pile of other stuff... same thing.

Because the moment I forget my calling, I lose track of God's claim on my life.
And make no mistake, God's claim is the purpose for living. Lose sight of it, and direction is gone, and meaning is gone. I'm at the mercy of my passions and whims--
At the mercy of my merciless enemies. 

But when the claim of God is understood, and the calling of God embraced, then I am alive. And I can fold my arms and stare massive losses in the face with perfect calm. 
Because my side wins either way...

All at once, I'm ready to work again. 
I've been up the mountain, through the valley, across the creek... on my way to Zion.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Know

I awake early. I've slept for only a few hours, but I am charged...
I blink at a dark room, pause to pray. To consider. To remember--


I have no idea what time it is. I don't check.
Instead, I count God's mercies, and beg that He will keep us His... always.
That nothing will ever induce us to chose another life. That no success, no opportunity, no open door, no pain or loss, or suffering will distract us from His claims on this little family of mine.

Hours pass. I don't know how many. The light of dawn finally glows in the east. I reach into the leather bag I set down by my bed at 11:00 last night, pull out a book, open to December 18.

"And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God."

"And we know...!" Not we think, or we hope. Not even we have faith that...
No, we know.
I know. I'd love to tell you just how, sometime...

I keep reading. But I've been fed already.

My mind wanders back over hours of prayers in the dark. There is only one condition in this verse before my eyes. "Love God." For those who love God, one day (quite possibly much sooner than you think) all the darkness will be understood to be exactly what it really is-- a gift.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? 
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, 
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?. . . 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors 
through Him that loved us."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Just a Pebble...

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today. For now, let's just say it was one of the best days of my entire life...

I step out, zipped and buttoned. Black wool and cashmere reach earthward almost to my knees. The very air is alive with vigor, somewhat like my insides... I go to meet my God in a beautiful field, on a beautiful farm, this beautiful morning of mornings.

I sit on sandstone at the spot where two friends of mine became one months ago, and read...
And my journal, this spiral bound book with my handwriting in it, this book that records the secrets of my broken-hearted moments, this book my Nana gave me, it opens my eyes to the goodness of my God.

Every moment I have lived, every mercy I have tasted, every tear I have shed, every battle I have fought, every dream turned to ashes, was for today.


Without them, the new dreams springing up would have nothing to root in; to feed on. Because of them, I love my God more than I love anything else in this great wide world. And I love all that is (are!) His...

Hours pass and I wander around the pond; ponder why my heart is here today anyway...

It was just a pebble.

Just a friend who doesn't even know it happened. But just because they love Jesus, because they love what is high and holy and pure, and just because I was blessed to catch a glimpse of it when I was momentarily unsure of what to do with my sword, just because of that; them.....

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today.

Mean time, I will never again underestimate the power of influence...
Even if it does seem like just a pebble...

"Throw a pebble into a lake, and a wave is formed, and another...
until they reach the very shore. So with our influence. 
Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others 
in blessing or in cursing...
If by our example, we aid others in the development of 
good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn 
they exert the same influence upon others, 
and they upon still others. 
Thus by our unconscious influence many may be blessed."
Signs of the Times, Oct 21, 1903

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy

I can think of others... Like the day Lusitania sank, or the Britannic.

But one principle pervades. Don't ignore it for its over-simplicity.

When ships go down, they take men with them.

Men who would float, but can't.
Can't, because they're surrounded ("entangled?") by steel that won't.

I've been reading II Timothy. (yes, still.)

And I've been chewing this one verse for days:

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life..." II Timothy 2:4

Because "this life," this vessel of pleasure, is already mine-struck.

Need I repeat myself? You're a soldier.
Make absolutely certain you are on an unsinkable ship...

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