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Archive for the tag “hope”

the story that must be told

I’m standing in the dark yelling out a line of hope. You will not win, I shout to the thing that has no shape, the thing I grapple to find a name for. I did not ask for this darkness to come. I never imagined I would have to fight so hard for my two feet to stand solid on this ground. Heart fly out from me and find Him. Your two wings come from me, you will remember your way back too. Let your beat turn into a beacon that calls for help. He will come quick and sure and we will be saved, my skin, my heart, my soul.

I hesitate to write so candidly. Hush those dark lines spilling out of you, says a voice from the ghost of past. But I am a truth-teller, an old, dubious tradition, and my words know no other way. I want to twist the dark lines into a glossy version but the harder I fight them, the fewer words come and the more uncomfortable I become. I wonder, will the lines tarnish my skin, or is that just another lie meant to silence me. Follow the lines, I want to say, follow them and find the fulsome hope that follows. A hope stronger than death. A hope that is the key to unlock every single unanswered need no matter how cavernous.

So I continue writing the story of how I expectantly send out my winged heart, bearing honest lines and naked prayers. He sent back the miraculous, as always, but never as I expected it would come. And in each miracle, the darkness is beaten back further and further.

“Our life of faith is uncertain, but we can be expectant of good. Because we belong to God, we can rest in knowing his promises to us are true and he is faithful. It’s not a question of if God is going to show up but how and when…There are no ifs with God. The only ifs relate to us. If we trust him. If we believe him. If we ask him. If we continue to ask him…Because, really, what’s too difficult for God? A virgin giving birth? God himself becoming a man and living among us? Flooding the whole earth, maybe? Or coming for you? Coming to you in your thirst and in your uncertainty? The angel Gabriel said, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37 WBT). The miraculous is not a strange thing to God. The miraculous is his normal.”     [Becoming Myself, by Stasi Eldredge]

I write the dark lines without shame because they press unrelentingly towards a light that will never be extinguished. And the lines become, every single time, the story of redemption.

They are the stones in the desert, piled high in memorial to a God who met me here.  Each is a stark truth. I imagine, hope, pray, they will be something for another soul to hold onto in moments—long and lean or short and stabbing—when darkness pulls light just out of reach of grasping fingertips.

Is there a part of your story that you’re afraid to share? If so, why?

marking the moment of God

Altars are a memorial to the place where God meets us.” [His House Fellowship]pile-of-stones

What can I shape with my hands that will stand a memorial of the place where you met me? My creations turn to dust in this oxygen bound atmosphere. So instead I pick up immortal words and shape them into a hallelujah.

Let the sound of the words reverberate through the hollows. Let them be a sliver of light on darkest night. Let them draw together the hallelujahs from a hundred souls, rolling them together until the sound is an unfettered roar with a steady thrum running through it’s core. There is hope, life, unmeasured grace for the most undeserving soul. Together our hallelujahs breath collective, Messiah.

In your gratefulness for what God has done when he met you in a moment of impossible need, what have you done to mark the moment? And in your everyday what is a thing you or a place you go that acts as an altar, a place where you open intentional relationship with God?

And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan [river] while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot. When the whole nation was finally across, God spoke to Joshua: “Select twelve men from the people, a man from each tribe, and tell them, ‘From right here, the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests are standing firm, take twelve stones. Carry them across with you and set them down in the place where you camp tonight.’”…a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, so you’ll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, ‘What are these stones to you?’ you’ll say, ‘The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan—stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.’” [Joshua 3:17 – 4:7]

Finding the Worship in Laundry and Deadlines

I search through New Year quotes looking for my toe-hold of meaning, something I can use to dig into this first month of the year. But instead I see, running rampant through pages of ‘inspiration’, tired reruns, hopeless striving.

So I ask God, where do you want me, and then I try to shift my focus.

So thankful for God-With-Us. So thankful for new beginnings… this year, this month, this week, this day, this hour, this minute, this second… because my life is lived moment to moment and if I am honest, I truly need HIM in each moment.

As I work out what it means to do the dailies of life—laundry, manuscripts, lawn care, deadlines, supper on the table—with Him, I see this isn’t a list of To Do’s but actions of worship and faith.

In caring for myself and others I honor Him. And in being faithful with the ‘little’ and ‘much’ I have been given, from the jar of flour on my counter to job I hold, the work is not in vain. He placed all these things in my path and I am thankful.

I acknowledge my broken humanity. I see what needs to be done in my soul and in my life, but I lay down my To Do’s. I ask Him to come into my moments. This New Year I draw a line between acts of faithfulness and acts of striving.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.

Lamentations 3:22-23

What’s been hovering in your mind as you step into the New Year?

LOVE doesn’t disappear

Love is a vast topic. It’s as epic as the Great One himself. My dad asked me if I would be writing another post on love, and I told him I wasn’t sure I had any more to write. But, God wasn’t done…

I woke up tired. It was a mental/emotional tiredness that started last night. I thought I needed to hide out for twenty-four hours (or more) to get myself back on my feet. But I had a list of things that needed doing. I knew I should spend time with God to reorient my compass. But it’s the last thing I wanted to do. In fact, I had an inkling, scratching at the base of my brain, that God was disgusted with me.

I managed to wrestle myself into a chair with a devotional book. I picked a book I knew would tell me how much God loved me. It was the safest bet. If God didn’t want anything to do with me, at least I could make myself feel as if He still wanted me. I started reading…

“Even if you’ve fallen, even if you’ve failed, even if everyone else has rejected you, Christ will not turn away from you. He came first and foremost to those who have no hope. He goes to those no one else would go to and says, “I’ll give you eternity.””

I’m human. I woke up tired. But intrinsically I felt worthless as the fatigue set in. I hated myself for it and believed God was upset with me too. I play this game, if only I had—scheduled better, worked harder, eaten healthier, exercised—then I wouldn’t be here, feeling overwhelmed and in need. But the devotional by Max Lucado went on, “Only you can surrender your concerns to the Father. No one else can take those away and give them to God. Only you can cast all your anxieties on the one who cares for you.”

Suddenly I knew I had to reach out. My fears and anxieties seem so small and human I thought God would want nothing to do with them. But they had broken me down fully. What if I broke the silence I’d cemented myself into? I’m disgusted with me, I told God. I’ve worked so hard and I’m not done, but I’m too tired to go on. I wanted to do something for You, but here I am, tired and needing Your help. I feel lost without You, but I’ve done nothing to deserve You.

Love doesn’t disappear on the bad days, He said.

Maybe that’s true, but I don’t love other people or myself like that. I don’t tolerate bad days. So I certainly don’t deserve this love.

How will you learn to love if I don’t love you well? I don’t subtract love for each of your faults. 

His words sliced straight through me, cutting deep into the knotted roots of my lies. Those lies have kept so much of my heart deadened for years, but His words are bringing me back to life. Today I’m another step closer to becoming who He created me to be. There’s so much glorious freedom in coming alive. The more He heals me the more I want to be in the business of taking His Love to a dying world.

What’s something God has said or done for you that’s changed how you think or act?

 

“rebellious refusal to please”

 

heather“[Literary/commercial fiction] is personal, impassioned, and even downright quirky, yet through its rebellious refusal to please, it paradoxically achieves universal appeal. It panders to no one. It speaks to everyone.”

Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling

Donald Maas

 

No more pleasing the people because I’m afraid of [        ].  No more writing for ratings.

I will write TO God, FOR God.

I will write with excellence.

I will write with dignity.

I will use God-given talent.

I will follow God-given instincts.

I will write what I know.

I will write because there is HOPE.

“That’s the kind of fiction I dream of writing. And you?”     [Patti Hill, Novel Matters]

Hopefully this will be a bit of a New year inspiration to you.  If you aren’t specifically a writer, insert whatever your calling is.  I’d love to hear what you’d like to add to this list!  Post it on a comment below…

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