sleeping while the water rises

I’m sitting there in the boat being tossed from one end to the other.  The crushing waves threaten my life and splash up over the sides.  Rain stings my face and my panic filled wide eyes blink against the onslaught.  Disaster surrounds me.  I’m supposed to be safe. I thought I would be safe.  I’m with Jesus. I’m right where He wants me.

But He’s….sleeping.

Trudging through the water filled boat, I go to wake Him up.  Staring into His eyes I say, “Do You not care?”

He rises up. Speaks out against the wind and the sea: “Hush now! Be still!”

The wind swirls to a stop.  A great calm, a perfect peacefulness stretches across the sea into my heart.

He cares.

And then He says, “Where is your faith, your trust, your confidence in Me and My integrity?”

My eyes open up to the wonder that He wants me to believe, trust, rely on, and be confident in Him even when my boat is filling up and everything around me looks like I will perish.

So, as I find the storm shaking my world once again, I put up my hood and let the water splash over my rain boots as I walk down to where Jesus is sleeping.

My water’s rising, everything is changing, but I make my bed next to His.

And we’re both sleeping…

 

~~I’m linking up this post here with Ann as a submission for the SheSpeaks scholarship and as a heart-jumping, tentative step toward sharing more of my heart and the words that flow out of it from Him. I wrote this last November when my world was turned upside down as I struggled to find God in the midst of closing doors toward heading home to Africa.  I still resonate deeply with this post as I am on a journey of asking God to teach me how to trust Him and how to play in the puddles along the way.   I’m learning to let both the puddles from my tears and life’s stormy rain wash healing down into the innermost parts of my heart in order for my roots to be dug deeper into Him.  He’s speaking into my story so that I can speak it out.

SheSpeaks cultivates an environment to equip and empower women who feel a strong calling to take the messages that God has placed in their hearts to other women to help them connect intimately with Him.  He speaks and from the outflow of His words she speaks.

Do you value yourself?

I ask a lot of questions. A lot. Honestly, people walking with me along this path only get a third or a fourth of my questions (and let’s be honest…I struggle enough even bringing up the questions with others–cue fear of rejection, being ignored, too much, not enough…but at the end of the day  it usually wins out that I so want to dig deeper and not just have surface-level relationships that I ask some and am so thankful for those who hear me out and hear my heart–besides more often than not i’m not looking for a red bow though it’d be nice…i just want to get closer to His heart).  So, I wrestle with these questions. Ponder them in my heart. Bring them to God. Go on extra long drives just watching the sunset and listening to Him after I’ve asked so many questions.  Run for miles talking and listening to Him.  Ask godly people.  Some questions sort themselves out, some need fresh perspective, some love mystery, and some just need time.

Here are a few that have {still} been rolling around in my head…

Do you value yourself?

Have you told God how you really feel about that?

God likes to create little themes and connections for me…or He just made me so that I see them ever so nicely 🙂 Either way, it’s oh so lovely that during this time of breaking, He’s exposing how I like to and typically ignore me.  Yep…looking into that one with some pondering and wrestling…hello more questions!

So….what are some questions that you have (lighthearted or serious…i love both!)? Or feel free to answer those above if you can! I’m still working on answering…

my boys

I’m not a mom yet…but I have boys. Specifically a boy in Africa that stole my heart away and he’s always on my mind as I’m whispering prayers to God and trusting God to take care of him while I’m three thousands miles away for now.  Not to mention all the other babies in Africa that hold my prayers.  I have boys I’m coming alongside and helping train up as I lead the Children’s Ministry and these boys steal my heart and breath as they are that beautiful mixture of loyal, fierce, and sensitive warriors.  And I have other boys that are hurting yet bold that I see every day as I work in the schools. These are the boys that I pray for now.  Yet, I must say He’s definitely given me a tender spot in my heart for these little warriors and who knows maybe He’ll even bless me with a grown one to walk beside me and little ones from there.

–Sometimes an off the cuff quickly written response to a blog post about praying for boys shows me that somewhere lodged in my heart there is still hope and trust and mostly that even now God’s filled my life with these little warriors I love. Not to mention that this came after I had just gone out to buy presents to send to my little man in Africa. love him. love them. whispering prayers to Him.

(yeah that’s a foam sword in hand…we had a sweet sword fight that day and played soccer and sang Hakuna Matata and he painted my face and lots of hugs and ke a o rata whispers…what a beautiful good-bye/see you in His timing)

lingering in the breaking

you’re breaking me apart

tearing me down the middle

jagged and uneven

my heart

stripped

all because i made you

too small

shoved you in my box

so i wouldn’t have to face

the walls that tell the stories

of pain

that i would rather leave

untouched

ignored

but you’re drawing me closer

you won’t let me ignore

me

so the tears fall

ripping my seams

breath held

crushing me

yet there you are

in the midst of the breaking

inviting me

to linger

as you paint the sky

for me to remember

there is a purpose in the breaking

sometimes to be whole

you have to break

5 minutes…waking up to hope

The prompt: Waking Up…

 

Go: 12:02

I feel like I’m waking up to parts of me and to this struggle to accept them…to accept me….to be okay with the push-back I get from people and the tension between enough and not enough.  I’ve had a few words spoken over me that I’m not quite sure I’m ready to wake-up to yet.  But I know God’s working on me and slowly letting me see how they are already there…already true…already part of who He has fashioned me to be…how He fashioned my heart.

Oh my heart…such a lovely thing it is.  Full of dreams and passions…even hopes.  Hopes that scare me and make me want to push them out.  I find that oftentimes I don’t even want hope…  I don’t want to deal with even the potential for disappointment that I’d rather forego the hope, but then I find my heart going there.  Dreaming of Africa. Smiling as I fight the wind and rain just remembering what it’s like to be in Africa. Rolling the words Ke a o rata off my tongue across the phone on Skype.  Longing to hold my African baby.  To have and hold my own babies.  Then before long I find my heart and head thinking of him…that mythical man that everyone else around me seems to be convinced that he’s coming and he exists.  I’m skeptical.  A man that I don’t walk over–that I’m not too much or not enough for…let alone a man who loves God and Africa? Yeah, I’m still skeptical even though God keeps that little bit of hope lodged in my heart.  My heart is waking up to these dreams and saying oh I just don’t know yet.  I don’t know if I can go through heartache and brokenness one more time.  Yet here I am clinging just a little bit…

Stop

My Heart Waits With Bated Breath

Psalm 84

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,

Whose heart is set on pilgrimage

For the Lord is a sun and shield

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.

The Lord will give grace and glory

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly

O Lord of hosts,

Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

———————————————–

My heart is set on You.  I’m on a journey, a pilgrimage to go deeper with You.  I want to dig and grow deep roots in You alone.  You are the home my heart longs for and desires.  My heart waits with bated breath for You.  Trusting in Your goodness.  My exhale comes in knowing You.  So intimately close with You that any separation causes an “ouch.”  Learning to trust You and see that You are not withholding any good thing.  Trusting Your plans and timing even when while I wrestle.  Bringing it all to You.

Am I there? Have I suddenly learned to trust? Am I now an amazingly patient person who loves to wait?  Has the wrestle and struggle with hope stopped? No, but I’m pressing in and asking Him more and more to teach me.  Seeing that trust, hope, and wait all go together.  So, I read. I meditate. I soak up time with Him.  All to get to know His heart, His character, His nature, Him even better.  I’m exhaling in the bits that I do know and letting go to let Him work.  Getting out of the way so that time and God can do the work.

Meditation of My Heart

Psalm 37

Trust in the Lord and do good

Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness

Delight yourself also in the Lord

and He shall give you the desires of your heart

Commit your way to the Lord

Trust also in Him

and He shall bring it to pass

He shall bring forth your righteousness as light

and your justice as the noonday

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him

————————————————————

I used to scoff at this verse calling it cliche and the verse that everyone wants to run to because they can manipulate it by making God a magic genie to get whatever they “desire.”  I steered clear of it for a long while.  So, when God brought it up as the verse to meditate on, you can imagine my “Uh, no thank you…”  Though, remember how I told you that God’s pretty good at showing me that my ways aren’t His? Yeah, same thing with this verse.  Three weeks later and I’m still rolling it around in my head.

I love how so much of my heart wrestling is packed into a short section.

He shows me how trust is active and not idle.  Trust means doing the good that I know to do.  While calling me home to dwell with Him.  For in His presence is fullness of joy.  With Him, I am full.  I need to eat!  To literally feast off of the ways He has been faithful and praise Him already for the ways He will be faithful yet again.

While being with Him, life is fun. Not a big list. Not a dead God.  A living, active, dynamic God that wants to meet me there.  To let go and enjoy life.  Recognizing that He’s placed desires, hopes, dreams, and passions in my heart to be fulfilled!  He wants me to share those with Him and chase hard after them with Him so that He can get the glory when He brings them to pass.

He reminds me to forgive.  Shows me that a necessary part of letting Him be God is not taking “justice” into my own hands.  Remembering that we are all broken and working out our salvation.  Seeing how He is patient and long-suffering while also disciplining and correcting for our own good when He sees fit.

Finally, showing me that I can rest in Him and wait patiently for Him to act on those desires.  He will bring it to pass, He will be faithful, He will be God and nothing can get in His way.  Not to mention that He gives sweet, amazing, awesome, abundantly beyond all I can ask or imagine gifts.

Now that is the exhale to my bated breath.

 

He Fashioned My Heart

Psalm 33

And all His work is done in truth.

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord

He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.

The counsel of the Lord stands forever.

He fashions their hearts individually

He considers all their works.

Our soul waits for the Lord.

For our heart shall rejoice in Him

because we have trusted in His holy name

———————————————————-

I’ve laid claim to the verse in Isaiah 55:8 reminding me that my ways are not God’s ways.  The NLT likes to add in that His ways are “far beyond anything you could imagine.”  Sound familiar to oh say the verse in Ephesians 3:20? Yes, that’s right.  He’s the God who “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Yep. Now I have seen time and again that my plans, my ways are not God’s. I planned to be back in Africa. I’m not yet. I thought I’d be married. I’m not yet. I thought I’d be a lawyer. I’m not and thankful I’m not. I thought I’d settle in and the ache for Africa would fade.  Nope, I’m settled and love where I belong this season, but the ache is stronger, the tears come fiercer.

Now, here’s the thing that gets me.  I may think that I know myself pretty well (even though favorites stress me out).  God knows me better. He fashioned my heart. He fills it with good, godly desires.  He wants me to taste and see His goodness.  Goodness that fills the entire earth and still overflows.  He is trustworthy.  And so I cling to this quote and the truth behind it about the God I love:

“If the One who can does not then that is better still…you’ve gotta trust God with what He says yes to and what He says no (or not yet) to but that doesn’t stop you from asking.”

So, I ask and ask and ask and ask.

and mostly wait to see what He will do

knowing that He will do what He wants in His timing

and the kicker is that

He fashioned my heart

He knows my heart’s desires

and what He wants

is best for me.

 

I am not in control

and that is OK.

Psalms of My Heart

Normally, I don’t do series and just write from the all-over randomness of my heart, but this week I’m going “all in” on Psalms.  So get ready for four days of Psalms and then of course 5 minute Friday.

Why Psalms? Because I’m drawn to the raw emotion displayed and the lack of red bows intertwined with messages of hope, deliverance, and life.  I’m letting them sift in my heart to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Learning how to own my emotions without compromising my trust and faith in an abundantly, super-exceedingly, more than able God.  And so here goes…

Psalm 42 excerpts

As the deer pants for the water brooks,

So pants my soul for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

My tears have been my food day and night

I pour out my soul within me

And in the night His song shall be with me

A prayer to the God of my life

Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God

For I shall yet praise Him

—————————————-

While I hold my breath just bursting to exhale that’s when God meets me with a song in the night.  A gentle nudge to remember the things He has done.  He expands my lungs so that I can hold on just a little bit longer.  Expecting, anticipating the tree of life that will blossom with even more praise as a longing is fulfilled.  Until then, I utter praise, whisper prayers, feel the tears pour down my face, and learn how to pour out my heart completely (even the ugly emotions) to Him, the living God and Redeemer of my life.

Sunday Night Love

Have I mentioned that I really love Bethel Church? I do…and I love their free sermons and worship online.  Fills me up especially since my Sundays look a little different now =) I happened to open up Sunday Morning’s worship thinking oh let’s listen to some music…and what I got was an awesome message right to my heart (and right in line with the rest of this week’s posts…come back tomorrow to find out!)

Go here and listen!…otherwise here’s a little summary of what hit my heart from what Bill Johnson opened the service with before I even got to the songs:

Psalms 5:11 Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You. Let them ever shout for joy because You defend them. For You O Lord will bless the righteous with favor and surround them as with a shield.

You know what’s going to be fun in heaven? You’re going to see all the times you were this close to a car wreck or something and the angels just stood in between.  All the times you almost did something stupid…and then God came in.

Do you expect the favor of the Lord to increase in your life? Did you come expecting God’s favor to increase?

God protects what He blesses. The favor of God surrounds us like a shield.  The bible talks about Him encamping around those.  One person camps all around you.

The Bible describes the favor of the Lord as the face of God.  The face of the Lord is all around you.  All around smiling at you, delighting at you.  His smile is so strong that it sets up a barrier around you that keeps you safe.  His favor, His pleasure is in you.  Lamentations says that He gets so excited about you that he leaps in the air with twisting and turning.

When it says to repent, it means to change the way you think.  We know that…so then what should you think about? How about thinking about that.  That God is so thrilled with you right now that He is smiling at you from all sides, He leaps over you with twisting and turning. He’s extremely happy and He’s gotta show somebody so He’s going to show you and He’s going to surprise you.  He’s going to sneak up behind you.

Proverbs says that a person with a gift wherever he turns he prospers.  Let’s say I have a gift.  Let’s say I have a diamond in my pocket that’s worth a million dollars. If I live aware that someone has had favor on me it causes me to prosper everywhere I go.  If I live conscious of the favor that is on my life, it causes me to increase in effectiveness.

I believe the Lord wants you to increase your awareness of favor.  Instead of things just happening…I want you to see the hand of the Lord. The favor of the Lord.  He chose you by name and the favor of the Lord is all around your life. He’s smiling all around you.  No matter where you turn you can’t get away from the smile of the Lord.