Posted in Living this Life

Rest for the soul

I haven’t written in a while.

Thing is – I’ve been chewing on something for a long time. This is, in fact, my New Year’s post – delivered to you about 3 months late. Because on January 1, 2019, I sat in the quiet of my room, taking stock of my 2018 and peering into a new year.

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I was worn and bruised. And I needed more Jesus. But His answer wasn’t really what I was expecting.

And here I sit, 3 months later, still trying to digest it and work it into my system. To believe something is one thing – to make it a part of you, something different altogether. So I have been a bit silent.

There’s no way to sugar coat it – I ended last year a bit out of tune. A summer adventuring across this country, seeing God’s glory in a thousand places and watching Him work miracles. Meanwhile, I felt like this mama’s heart couldn’t really absorb it. My boy was in a world of pain – with migraines that we couldn’t seem to stop and all number of challenges stemming from that.

I came home longing for peace. Longing to be restored. And life picked me up and swirled away with me into a sort of busy-ness that withers my soul and leaves me shallow of spirit.

I sought Jesus in brief quiet moments. I found Him in breathtaking beauty – and wonder would beckon. I would ask Him to fill all my moments with His peace. With His glory. But too often I would rush around trying to “fix” it all by myself.

That’s where I found myself as I sat in the quiet of my room that New Year’s Day, I asked Jesus once again to fill my life with peace. To flood my home with wonder. To fix this crazy I had inhabited.

And in the quiet of that place, I felt Him speak to my soul – “what if I don’t?”

What kind of question is that? You are the King of Peace, for crying out loud!

That’s when it hit me. I had been asking for more of Jesus all these months, but looking right past Him at what He offered. I wanted His peace. I wanted Him to “fix” my crazy. But would I be content in all this crazy with just Him?

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Is Jesus, just Jesus, truly enough for me?

I know Jesus promises great things to those who trust Him. And I know it is a good thing to rejoice in the healing He brings and the blessings He pours out on us. But what about when life is a mess? And you don’t feel that peace. The loneliness invades your soul until you feel like you can’t breathe. And there don’t seem to be any answers to the hurt you see all around you?

I opened up my Bible last week to these words: “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). Oh how my soul needed that reminder! Because how quickly I forget and fall back into old habits.  Looking for the effects of His peace rather than for Jesus alone to be my peace.

I can identify with Moses, sometimes – Moses, the man who had a tendency to argue with God. Especially on the day that Moses found that instead of an argument on his tongue, all he was left with was a desperate plea. He reminded God of His promises, he asked to understand the ways of His God – and then he simply said “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” And God’s gentle answer?  “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:15-17)

And I have no more words. Isn’t this what it all boils down to? Knowing God and being known by Him?

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longroad sitting

Is this the secret that kept Joseph true when he was trapped in a hole in the ground – and later in prison for a crime he didn’t commit?

The promise that kept Abraham faithful when God asked the impossible?

The reality that kept Esther grounded when facing the annihilation of her people?

The key to Noah’s obedience when it seemed ridiculous?

The truth that made the disciples bold and unflinching in the face of death?

Maybe God sees peace differently than we do. When it is embodied in the face of Jesus and not in our circumstances, it takes a very different hold of us. And empowers us in ways we cannot quite comprehend.

come to me drawing

I don’t think Jesus means the kind of rest that comes from our circumstances, but the kind of rest that invades your spirit with His presence.

“He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.”            ― C.S. Lewis

I was going to end here – but then this truth! The blazing honesty of Spurgeon plunged into my soul. So here – some meat to chew on, for those who want to dive deeper. Let this truth change you and help bring rest to your soul!

“Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee” – Charles Spurgeon

Posted in Walking it out

Awesome Ninja

Hello my name is

I’ve been thinking a lot about names lately. We’re all given a name when we are born – some cultures hold ceremonies and have great traditions surrounding the naming of a baby, others just put a name on a certificate. Some parents choose their baby’s name as they race to the hospital (someone needs to ask my father in law about that!), and some parents agonize over every nuance of their child’s name.

God had a habit of changing people’s names in the Bible. Abram became Abraham – Sarai was changed to Sarah. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, and later Saul became Paul. All very significant in the life of the name-bearer.

My dear sweet amazing “mother in love” got to meet Jesus face to face last week. Her name was Karen. But she had another name – a name hundreds of beautiful brown skinned young people called her – “Mama Hutch”. She’s carried that name for years – it embodies her so well. A Mama to hundreds who don’t have mothers to go to. I asked my husband, Brad, where she got that name. He can’t remember. It just seems like it’s always been. It’s who she was.Sam 2

I have a nephew named Sam. He is 4 – and he likes to choose his own name. Sam is cool – the names he chooses always start with “Awesome”. A few months ago he was “Awesome Ninja”. A couple weeks ago it was “Awesome Iron Man”. We never know what his name will be – but we know it will start with “Awesome”.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. What if we introduced ourselves to everyone we met as “Awesome ______”?! “Hello – my name is Awesome Sara!” My name means ‘Princess’ – so I guess I could go with “Awesome Princess”! I giggle a little thinking about it – but I wonder – what would the impact be? Would we begin to feel differently about ourselves? Would others think about us differently – even treat us differently?

What if we really did it? Had the audacity to claim our true names – the ones Jesus gave us? He made us, you know – wouldn’t He have the best names picked out for us?

Try some of these on for size. Some of them take great boldness to believe that it could be true. Some make me feel like a little girl trying on my mama’s high heels and wobbling around the kitchen.

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But don’t take it off just because it feels strange – grow into it! This is your name – wear it with all you’ve got!

  • Treasured Possession – Dt. 7:6
  • God’s chosen one, holy and beloved – Col 3:12
  • Friend – John 15:15
  • The Apple of His eye – Ps 17:8
  • His son! His daughter! – 2 Co 6:18
  • Chosen – Eph 1:4
  • Masterpiece – Eph 2:10
  • Crown of Splendor – Is 62:3
  • Repairer – Restorer – Is 58:12
  • Beloved – Song of Songs 2:16
  • Saint – 1 Co 1:2
  • Temple of the Holy Spirit – 1 Co 6:19
  • Righteousness – 2 Co 5:21
  • Set Free!!! – Gal 5:1
  • Forgiven – Eph 1:7
  • Citizen of heaven – Phil 3:20
  • Overcomer – Rom 8:37
  • Accepted – Rom 15:7

So live today bravely – boldly – fervently claiming the name your Creator calls you! And while you’re at it, introduce yourself to a few people as “Awesome Ninja” !

woman potter