September 27, 2009

all i need to know

as i come to the end of a day filled with a roller coaster of emotions, complete with waves of overwhelming exhaustion, i am so thankful to be grounded in the truth of the god i serve and his unchanging character. it is my belief that when we experience gut-wrenching, knock-you-off-your-feet tragedy in our lives, most humans do one of two things. we either doubt the god we thought we knew and run in the opposite direction, or we embrace him. well, maybe it's more accurate to say we cling to him out of the desperation of knowing that there is nothing and nobody else that can get us through this. knowing that he is our only means of survival.

does this mean that the people who do the latter never doubt him for a second? do they never wonder why a loving god would allow such searingly painful circumstances to befall his followers? do they never question how being faithful to this god landed them in relationships where other people could be so unfaithful to their promises?

i can't answer for anyone else, but to the question of whether i have ever felt this way, the answer is a resounding, "OH YEAH." though i love to imagine the idea of being a person who possess super powers, trusting god every second of every day with never a doubt or a question would certainly not be my power. and in all honesty, giving the world the answers to all these questions wouldn't be my power either.

all i can tell you is what i know; and i know that my god is real and he is good. i see the evidence when i take the time to stare at the stars as they twinkle, see the artistry ingrained in every sunset, and look at the toothy grins of the beautiful children he gave me. i hear him speak to my heart through time spent reading scripture- for the first time or the hundredth, and through other christians who love me as they come to my side to encourage and pray over me. i have watched eagerly as time after time he has answered my prayers in the most creative and obvious ways.

and he knows i still have questions, and he knows i still have moments of doubt. yet he continues to love me lavishly, pursue me passionately, and fight for me faithfully. in the face of this truth, my pain and my anguish seem all but washed away by the wake of his glory. so for now i put away the questions, the requests, and the anxiety; and i rest in knowing that the answers don't really matter. if the god who created me and the jesus who died a wretched death to save my soul mean anything to me, how can they not mean everything?

the train of his robe fills the temple, and he is bigger than this current crisis. he's big enough to handle whatever we throw at him, so throw whatever you've got. please-- i beg you-- don't let the cloudiness of your reality get in the way of the clarity of his divinity. he's waiting. he loves you. he's got eternal life and abundant life, and he's offering both. "abundance" isn't the part where the roller coaster gets to the top of the tallest hill. it's where you have the freedom to ride through all it's ups and downs with your hands held high in the air, knowing you are safe and secure in the arms of your savior.

September 9, 2009

isn't she lovely?

30 reasons jill is the coolest chick ever

1. she loves jesus fiercely

2. she could live on pop tarts and cereal if anyone would let her

3. since high school, i have never seen the girl in public with a single hair out of place

4. she was an amazing teacher who was adored by students, parents and administrators alike

5. scott bryant, careful planner that he is, couldn't resist her pouting any longer and proposed marriage earlier than he had scheduled (and he's still glad he did)

6. she prays on her knees for her family and friends on a daily basis

7. jill's bedtime ritual could put most OCD sufferers to shame with it's complexity

8. she is strikingly beautiful, yet not the least bit conceited

9. she's been putting up with me in her life since the 7th grade

10. her faith has stood firm through many trials, and she uses her experience to minister to others

11. she might panic over a hair on the bathroom floor, but when faced with a true crisis, she's really handy to have around

12. did i mention her hair already?

13. she is the most dedicated, patient, understanding mother i know

14. she can spend an hour trying to choose a restaurant, then get there and still not like anything on the menu :)

15. she is so giving that her friends are able to experience christ's love through her attitude

16. our senior year of high school, she was able to easily wear a cheer leading uniform that belonged to our friend tiffany- who happens to be a good 6 inches shorter- and jill rocked it

17. she stands up for those she loves and makes them feel good about themselves

18. she always eats with me whatever crazy thing i'm baking at the time, and never puts on a lb.

19. she has been married for 7 years, and she is still constantly striving to better herself in her role as a wife

20. for all the high maintenance jokes we make, she is great at laughing at herself

21. if you ask her what time it is, she's likely to say, "it's 5 to the 30," or some similar statement

22. god has blessed her with a beautiful voice, and she uses it to glorify his name

23. her precious daughter hasn't slept well since birth- but instead of complaining about it, jill will say things like, "at least none of us has a terminal illness"

24. i once told her i had the urge to push her off the balcony of a hotel- just to see her fall- and she's still my bff

25. she's encourages by writing sweet cards, praying scripture over people, and giving gifts when people are down

26. once the girl gets a tan, it lasts for like a year

27. she can scrapbook like no body's business-- and she's even frugal about it

28. she dove head first into my icy river with me, and she's content to ride it out until it gets better

29. every boy who ever knew her fell in love with her, but it still broke her heart when she had to let them down

30. she asks really poignant questions like, "how will we know when the bus comes?"


September 3, 2009

oh, how he loves us

it has been a long time since i've posted on my blog. i've been busy. busy drowning in an ice cold river. this river is filled with doubt, anger, fear, and self-pity to name a few. the cold is not the least bit refreshing, but rather paralyzing. it leaves me disoriented, numb, and struggling to catch my breath.

i'm not sure when i fell in, or how i'll pull myself out. i'm battered and bruised from slamming into one rock after another, each one causing enough pain to break through the numbness and remind of the reality of the situation.

fortunately, i have some life preservers. they come in the form of my friends and family. i have many encouragers standing on the bank of my river, cheering me on and praying for my safety. there are also some who are as close to the rapids as possible, allowing themselves to be cut and bruised, while reaching into the icy cold to try and pull me out. i am sometimes able to grab on to them and get a break from the beating, but the current is too strong for me to remain.

still, there are a select few who do all they can to save me from this, and who would willingly trade places with me if they could. of course, i would never let them, but they will never know how much it has meant to me to have such overwhelming help and hope and love to remind me to keep breathing and fight for the future.

when i awoke this morning at 2:00 am, engulfed in the raging chill of the river and feeling the weight of the water on my chest, i was afraid this would not be a good day. certainly- some days are better than others, but i had a feeling this day would bring no relief. i thought about my life preservers, but even the most dedicated would be sleeping at this hour, and i know that none of them has the ability to actually pull me out of this place.

so i began to pray to the one person who is big enough to calm the water, dry it up, or pluck me out, if he so desires. and something miraculous happened. i began to smell salt in the air, and feel a warm breeze pushing through the oppressive clouds. ever since i was a child, the smell of the salty ocean has been as instantly calming as a valium for my soul.

as i drew nearer to my savior, the raging rapids became the slow, lulling waves of an enormous new body of water. i felt myself begin to relax as the water temperature increased and warmed me from the outside in, and there was no more need to struggle. i was peacefully surrounded by the real, living ocean of god's love. my breath came effortlessly as he held me in his hand, and i was able to glimpse the beauty and glory of the dawn breaking way off in the distance. i could sense that sunrise would be majestic, and i know now that it is coming for me.

i know the "new day" may be a long way off, but for now i will wait here and try to be patient. will there be moments where i once again experience the fear of the icy abyss? without a doubt. but i pray that in the pain of those times, i can remember the calm of my ocean, and the faithfulness of my god. my prayer for you is that even if your day begins in with you drowning in a raging river, it will end with you sinking in the ocean of jesus's unconditional, lavish love.

maybe this song will help us all grasp that.