Tuesday, January 31, 2012

robbing today to fatten tomorrow


If you don't love your life now, you never will.

It was a God-thought. Do you know the kind? A phrase or notion drops into your mind, unexpected. You haven't been thinking along those lines, but there it is. And you know it's from God.

I was walking home from work yesterday. It's been an un-winter in Missouri, and the weather has been hitting the fifties nearly every day. Good for walking. Bad for dreaming of snowdrifts and cozy fires. I don't remember the exact train of thought I was riding, but I think it was chugging along somewhere through Colorado and maybe our trip to Europe and perhaps a wistful desire to have a quiet night with a movie and a blanket.

If you don't love your life now, you never will.

The rest of the way, I couldn't out-walk that truth. Really, it's just a rephrasing of what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-12. Love my life now? Love my sister being hundreds of miles away? Love a lifestyle that makes an introvert shudder? Love a part-time job that pays minimum wage? Love having no close heart friends in the same town?

Yes.

Absolutely.

It's a theme in my life lately, this ideal of contentment and the flail I put up against it. I write a lot about it in various forms. But I cannot escape it. And I am so glad.

I'm convinced I've only skimmed the first couple inches of this deep, deep lake. I'm desperate to go deeper. It's okay that it's a process. Paul called it a secret. You gotta search for a secret.

Can I love my life here and now? Can I? In this particular time and space point, in the exact physical circumstance that I wake to, can I learn to love?

I cannot live a life in which the real point in always yet to come.

I want to be here, ready to love.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the time is this


This is our life.

Our crazy, loud, goofy, beautiful life.

The one where we host barbecues in the dead of winter because it's fun and it's different and teenagers like both of those things.

I'm pulling out of the mid-winter ministry funk. I can feel it.


What I'm realizing is that this time is precious and short. We won't always be doing this. We won't always have barbecues in January or dress up every month or flip pancakes at the high school before the first bell rings. It's a sobering and motivating truth. We are invited into the lives of these precious young people for only a season. So what are we doing with it?

Tonight, I sit in a quiet room that was anything but quiet two hours ago, and I'm thankful. I know that several more times before this adventure ends, I'll be overwhelmed and burnt-out and discouraged and even angry. It happens. This is why I record the joy and remember the good. Here I raise an Ebenezer. I've marked the way.

Can I confide in you, as a side note, that I have a genetic disorder? I got this one from my mom, and it's called, "NotabletothrowSolocupsaway."


We'll use these babies again, mark my words.

Anyone wanna come to a February swim party?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

a daily life primer

I believe in...

drinking coffee out of beautiful mugs, though I will drink the first cup of day out of anything....scratch that...probably not out of the toilet


keeping as many green plants around as possible


a lit candle in a dim room


journaling


warm cozy blankets to wrap up in during morning's quiet


pancakes ala Jack Johnson on a day off


being goofy



What's your daily life primer? What are the things you do regularly that make your life a joyful thing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

peace

Wouldn't it be great if this was reality all the time?

Peace is frustratingly elusive. Am I the only one that feels that way? From what I read on other's blogs and hear from friends' hearts, it's seems I'm not. Our lives are hectic. Whatever it is you carry, I know it is heavy. Whatever is it that keeps you racing, I know it is non-stop.

My hamster wheel? An ambitious New Year schedule to stay on top of house-cleaning, grocery-shopping, and cooking, waitressing 25 hours a week, meeting with college and high school girls 3-4 times a week, people in our house for dinner or games 4-5 times a week, K-life events, trying to maintain relationship with people I love that live far away, and serving my husband and letting him know that he's important to me.

Phew. Sometimes it feels better just to type it out.

A lot of the time I feel exhausted. Often, I feel misunderstood and under-appreciated. Frequently, I feel daunted that we are committed to ministry for another year and a half. And I continually struggle to keep peace in my heart.

But the God I love is the Prince of Peace, and the life He promises is one of victory, and He speaks an offer of rest and hands out a light yoke. Why, then, does all of that seem like a fairy tale some days?

Tuesday, I stood in front of the washer, pulling heavy, wet clothes out. The thought came, "Nothing is so urgent that it should steal your peace." I whispered it out loud, and my eyes wet. Yes. Yes. YES.

I'm fighting back against the tyranny of the urgent.

It's time to kick some roommates out so Peace can move in.

What does that look like practically?

- I'm limiting time on the Internet. Mindless blog-hopping has become a real habit for me. I want to take my life back from the Internet! I find that the amount of time I spend browsing around online directly relates to the amount of insecurity, discontent, greed, and unrest I battle.

- I'm asking the Lord what His expectations are and releasing my own. So much of my anxiety comes from failing to exceed stupid goals I set for myself. My home does not look like a Pottery Barn catalog, my meals are sometimes a little insipid, and sometimes I say things that are really awkward or thoughtless. It's okay. It. really. is. okay. Jesus wants me to be conformed to His image, not the image of Martha Stewart or the Pioneer Woman or Mother Teresa. I need to let go of standards that only serve to increase my pride and self-sufficiency.

That's all I have so far. Two things is a start, y'all. Oh, and this. A quote from Amy Carmichael that I have written on my kitchen window with black dry-erase marker. Yes, I am that classy.

(Forgive me if I've already blogged this quote. I can't remember.)

His thoughts said, "If only things continued in a regular order I would find it much easier to maintain a restful spirit, but as it is, there is no continuance in anything, ever."

His Father said, "Think it not strange if it be so. Thou hast here no continuing city; thou art seeking one to come. These changes are merely the landscape of thy life as thou travelest to the City which hath foundations. But thy journey may be restful; if thou art inwardly at rest nothing outward can disturb thee. Peace always under all conditions--that is my word for thee. Do not let it slip. So not drift away from it. Hold it fast; for it is not a vain thing for thee, because it is thy life."

Oh Jesus. Would that You would show us today the things that make for peace.