Monday, January 14, 2013

Choosing.


God has drawn me close, restoring my soul, loving who I am, despite my flaws.
He’s drawn me close to His heart, and wrapped me up tight in His arms. He’s whispered tender things in my ear.

He’s pursuing me, and loving me in ways I’ve never experienced. He’s showing me how He speaks to me in the language of my heart, and He offers Himself to me. He let’s me come to Him any time—all the time—and just hold onto Him, or sit quietly with Him, or thank Him, or cry, or spew words everywhere and be an ungrateful brat.

Why do we ever doubt Him? All He wants is for us to see Him and to trust Him—to be close to Him—to love Him.

I am so overwhelmed by what He is doing and what He seems not to be doing, and what I’m feeling and thinking and learning and having taken away and being given...and I just don’t know how to process or share it all.

So tidbit by tidbit I’m going to try to work through it.

There are beautiful things everywhere. There are simple things day to day that are meant for us. They are there to delight us and to be received by us.


God has put gifts all over for us to pick up as we walk through our days, and as we stumble over obstacles and time and people and life. He puts them there to surprise and delight us. He puts them there for us to take notice and see His love in them. Sometimes those gifts are words. Sometimes it’s a sunset. Sometimes it’s the time you get to spend with Him. Sometimes it’s the laughter of a friend, or the cup of coffee you get to buy with a gift card. Sometimes it’s the warm sun on your face. Sometimes it’s simply knowing that you can walk or take deep breaths.


I’ve told a few people the story of how I forgot that it was fall. Let me preface this story by saying: I AM ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH FALL. IT IS MY FAVORITE. IT IS THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL AND MOST HAPPY AND YOU CAN’T TALK ME OUT OF IT.

But seriously. The fact that I forgot that it was fall is really just a picture revealing an even deeper struggle I have with receiving God’s gifts.  

About one third of this last fall fell victim to oh me of little faith. I was so busy planning an event, so worried about the election, so thrown together, so frantically running from one thing to the next, wondering if I’d be able to pay my bills—pouring my heart out to Jesus in the morning, and then being sucked dry by the time lunch came around.


I couldn’t figure out why though. And then one day a friend instagrammed a picture of her with her cousin-in-law’s little boy (is that a second cousin?) And the caption was simple: gorgeous fall day!

That’s it. Gorgeous fall day.

Wait, it’s fall? Oh my gosh, it is fall! It’s my favorite season! What happened? Where have I been? How could I have forgotten? How could I have neglected to notice?  

You know how we start new things with the best of intentions? Kind of like new years? Well that’s how I began the fall: celebrating it and marveling at the falling leaves, and amazing colors, and fun sweaters and boots, and the stunning sunsets, and the giddiness I felt in my spirit to be surrounded by a Midwest fall again...
And then it was gone, because I forgot. I forgot to see—to receive—to play—to delight—to be thankful...because I was too busy worrying—too busy putting the pressure on.

God was giving faithfully, like He always does. But I was forgetting to soak it up...to let God, and His good things, permeate my heart. I was being offered them, but choosing not to receive them. Because I was consumed with life. Because I was filling myself with worry and stress and attempted perfection instead of Him—His face, His beauty, His Love, His Truth, His Grace.  We can do the routine Jesus stuff—the checklist—but if we don’t choose to really embrace Him—to seek His face—to know Him—then we’re going to be like a quickly consumed bottle of water instead of a constantly filled and flowing hose.


I had forgotten that He was the One upon whom all rests. He is the One who made it all—made us all. He is not a slave to time. He is not a slave to a government. He answers to no one. He is I Am. He is constant. He is steadfast. He does not change or shake or stumble. He is sovereign and omniscient and omnipotent and some more omni-words that I cannot remember.

He is.

It’s that simple, yet we make it so hard. I make it so hard. Where is my faith? Where is my belief? What happened to the girl who moved halfway across the country without a job or a place to live, knowing only half a handful of people? Where did she go?

I struggle with that question a lot these days. I wonder sometimes, if in the midst of my return, the courage God gave me, leaked out across the miles and miles between Colorado and here.

But God keeps showing me how His faithfulness is what gives me courage, not me. Not anything I do. Just Him.


So, that girl is still here.  She just needs to be reminded of who God is. Who He says He is. Who He says she is.

She’s changed. She’s seen Him provide and rise high above the chaos and calamity of the world. She’s watched Him send rain down onto a raging fire. She’s seen Him heal emotional wounds so deep they seemed likely never to mend. But He did it. She’s seen Him provide a house for close friends. She’s seen Him provide financially for every need. She’s seen Him whisper needs in the ears of His children and ask them to give gifts to His other children. She’s seen Him heal kidneys. She’s seen Him redeem relationships and restore brokenhearted friends. She’s seen Him heal her own heart. She’s seen Him teach her to forgive and love and give of herself. She’s seen Him put words in the mouth of someone to speak specifically for encouragement. She’s seen Him free her from the bondage of disordered eating. She’s seen Him provide the best friends and community she could have ever imagined. She’s seen Him supernaturally protect a house. She’s watched Him redeem her view on living with others and community and fellowship and believers and the church...

She’s seen Him ask her to take blind steps forward, holding onto His hand, then pull her nearer to Him with each step. She’s seen Him love her more deeply and fully than she’s ever known love.


Every day we can remember the ways He’s been faithful—and the ways He’s even gone beyond just to bless us because He loves to do it. Every day He puts visible and invisible things before us. We can choose to receive them, or we can choose to ignore them and walk away from them.  Every day—every hour and every minute—He let’s us choose: truth or lies, love or despair, grace or condemnation, being full or being empty...We can keep seeking His face, choosing to hold His hand, walking beside Him, waiting on Him, trusting in Him, believing Him...or we can choose to stumble around and trip and experience life without God, without His hand in ours, without His eyes reflecting who we are back at us, without His heart beating in us...


The steps are frequently blind. But He’s got His arms stretched out to me. He’s not going to let me fall. He will in fact carry me when I can’t go. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. That certainly doesn’t mean I won’t experience suffering or bad things, because I will—this world is full of them and I (and you) live in it. We will face adversity and hard stuff and junk. But we face it knowing that Jesus is with us—that He will never leave us or forsake us—that He is our refuge, our shelter—that He has victory—that nothing in the world will last; our true home—our eternal life—is with Him, and it is good and perfect and FOREVER. We are here for such a short time. And sometimes it seems so big and like too much, but it isn’t. We will be with Jesus in the blink of His eye—but while we’re here He wants us to trust Him—to obey Him—to love Him—to give up everything for Him—everything. We must lose our lives, die to our selves, in order to follow Him.

He’s got you. He’s got me. We just need to choose Him. 


2 comments:

  1. Starting my day with your sweet post my friend! Why do we choose to look over so many gifts every single day? Time to slow down! Oh and you need to read 1000 Gifts...it's ALL about this! Love you! Praying for you!

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  2. ellie i LOVE this... and yes, read 1000 gifts (not that you already have a list of 787433 books you want to read), it is all about this! i am learning the same lesson. love you sweet friend, you have the most beautiful spirit.

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