Posted in Living this Life

King of the road

I remember that old Land Rover so vividly. And when I remember that Land Rover, I can almost feel the red dirt in my hair, coating even the inside of my mouth.

Those were the days it took us anywhere from 18 hours to 2 days to drive a mere 300 miles.

This is why.

I have another memory that flooded my mind today. We were on one of these epic journeys from Liberia to neighboring Cote D’Ivoire to visit my siblings in boarding school. Traveling with other families, we decided to mix it up and switch up who was in the various vehicles. I have a very distinct emotional response that comes up in me when I remember that part of the trip – because I didn’t feel safe.

You see, my daddy was the king of these roads. That’s him in the picture -with the cool sunglasses on. The mud was intense, the bridges were scary and you never knew what to expect when you’d round a corner. But I knew if my daddy was behind the wheel he would master it. I felt safe.

On this particular occasion, though, I didn’t know if the man driving the vehicle I was in could master the roads like my daddy could. And so I was nervous. On guard. Not secure – not until I was back in that old Land Rover with my dad behind the wheel.

I’ve been thinking alot about the faith of a child these days. I think we need to return to some of these places. Today it’s about the safety we feel in the arms of a Father we can trust.

Some of us didn’t have that in our earthly father. Which is why it is even more important to rest in the promises of our Heavenly Father. Some have had to live their lives on guard, feeling that our only safety comes when we are in control. “Master of our destiny” and all that. But the day always comes – for some sooner rather than later – when we discover the chilling truth that we are not enough in our own strength. We can’t control all the forces of the universe – or even try to anymore.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” He says gently (Matthew 19:14) Let us return to that childlike faith who knows our Daddy is the King of the road. And whatever is coming around that bend, He knows.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge…

One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love” (Psalm 62)

Power married to love. Is there any safer place to be? The God of the Universe who holds all authority in a single breath – LOVES YOU! What safer refuge can we find in this careening world?

Come – rest with me. ““Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
    for He shields him all day long,
    and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” (Dt. 33:12)

Posted in Living this Life

Let the little children come…

He’s the only one left in my home that I can still “wrasstle” and pin for a full count of 3. My daughter is smaller than me, but can quickly overpower me with her TaeKwonDo magic, and my other son can immobilize me just by sitting on me. This one though, my 10 year old gift from God, makes for a fairly balanced wrestling match.

As I was recovering my breath after a particularly raucous bout yesterday, I told him I needed to go “be a grownup” now. He sat on my stomach, sternly shook his finger at me, and said, “mom, quit it!”

I can’t get it off my mind. How many times I think being a grown up means doing the mundane and “necessary”. What makes us lose our wonder and ability to pause our “productivity” for a quick wrestling match mid morning? To literally stop. And smell the roses – and maybe spend a few extra minutes watching the daisies stretch their heads for the sky? Roll down the window and let your hair fly! Lift your face to the gentle raindrops rather than tucking and running… lay in the grass and watch the stars swirl overhead. When we let their praises draw our hearts away from the responsibilities of this earth and worship the Creator of all, we find strength to keep on going.

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Posted in Living this Life

Through the wardrobe

I just wanted to pretend that it hadn’t happened. It was just one of those days you want to forget. You know – wake up to a brand new day and forget all the yesterday that had gone before?

It’s not that anything significantly bad happened. I just couldn’t keep it at bay anymore. All the emotions that had been piling up – all the cumulative news of loss on top of the personal pains we all carry. It just got to be more than I could tamp down anymore. The frustration, the confusion – all the unnamed emotions that you manage to ignore most of the time came bubbling unbidden to the surface. We’ve all had these days that just feel engulfed in sadness – and if you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for the day to end so you can shake it off and start over tomorrow. Yeah – it was one of those days.

The next morning came – the birds were singing and the sun was shining and I was glad. I sat down with my coffee, my Bible, and my journal – thankful to start a new day.

Free of all that gloom. Until I felt that nudge on my heart – that gentle voice of His Spirit telling me He wasn’t done with yesterday. I had more to do.

It was like He was asking me to take another look. Don’t just shove it down again and try to distract yourself with the newest brightest thing to come your way. Don’t pretend those feelings aren’t there and will just go away if you ignore them. Stop. Look. Take it in for a minute.

So I sat there in the quiet of the morning. That precious silence that doesn’t last long. Me, my coffee, and Jesus. I looked back and let it back in – all those dark things I wanted to shake off. And then this happened – and it has made all the difference.

I felt Him directing me to shift my eyes over – and I caught my breath. He called me to behold HIM. To hold the darkness up in the light of HIS glory, His wonder, His majesty. And right there, in the dawn of the new day, I knew He was there with me. And the more I saw of Him, the more that big wall of pain shrunk as His beauty engulfed it. The more I tasted of His realness, the more I wanted of it. ““Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” Psalm 34:8

So as the hours turn into days, I continue down this familiar road that I often find myself drifting from. I allow myself to look along the light of His beauty all around me – not just seeing the beauty, but seeing HIM in the beauty. But what does that even look like?

“What, then, is the God I worship?.. You, my God,, are supreme, utmost in goodness, mightiest and all-powerful, most merciful and most just. You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you. You are the unseen power that brings decline upon the proud. You are ever active, yet always at rest. You gather all things to yourself, though you suffer no need. You support, you fill, and you protect all things. You create them, nourish them, and bring them to perfection. You seek to make them your own, though you lack for nothing. You love your creatures, but with a gentle love. You treasure them, but without apprehension… You can be angry and yet serene. Your works are varied, but your purpose is one and the same. You welcome all who come to you, though you never lost them. You are never in need yet are glad to gain, never covetous yet you exact a return for your gifts… You release us from our debts, but you lose nothing thereby. You are my God, my Life, my Holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? – St. Augustine

This chasing after His glory… it never gets boring and never ends. Like the back wall of that wardrobe leading to Narnia – we can live in the mundane of the world we have come to expect – or we can reach through that wardrobe wall to the wonder of the God who made it all!

I hear the embattled Apostle Paul whisper in my ear, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17

and David declaring, “Both  high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light Ps 35:7-10

Come along with me through the wardrobe – I’m going to be putting my discoveries right here for the next month – why not join on in? Let His glory engulf your sorrows, your confusion, your raw emotions and just breathe in His goodness that is all around.

“In such holy wonders, baptize our imaginations, that we might ever be a people shaped by awe at your eternal power, and a people moved to worship by revelations of your divine nature. Awaken our hearts now to beat in rhythm to the dance of your creation. Tune our ears to hear the songs of stars in their trillion-fold choruses, bearing witness to your glory, your power.” Douglas McKelvey