Remember

It’s late and I am far too tired to be blogging.

Tired enough that I’ll probably sleep on my couch instead of getting up to walk into my room & go to bed. Tired enough to drink the nasty tea that’s brewing because it’s good for me & I’m not awake enough to refuse. Tired enough to be emotional about the fact that my sister is  in Spain on her honey moon & I’m sleeping on my couch & drinking gross tea…. but I digress.

Jeremiah 2 has long been one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I find such humanity, something so familiar & trustworthy about the emotion revealed in the gentle lamentation “I remember you”. My heart is suddenly strengthened to hold on to the dreams & promises that I’ve long kept, the things that break me in secret knowing that He too remembers them.

“The love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness” He remembers the days of young, zealous devotion. Dramatic prayers whispered in corners from hearts longing for something to offer. He holds them near, nearer than we do.

I’ve been reminded lately, of the days of the devotion of my youth & of the love of my betrothal.

Last week I sat  in the Dean & Deluca parking lot with Annie, tears streaming down both our cheeks as we whispered about the Nations. (Whispering not out of reverence but because my voice was gone.) Encouraging one another in the practicality of daily faithfulness, but confessing the pain of longing that sneak upon us late at night.

Today I spent some hours with a visiting Bound4LIFE Chapter Leader. Roughly my age, in full-time ministry, stepping into an adventure she’s been dreaming about but made nervous by the unknowns, she drilled me with probing questions about ministry, life & Godliness & I somehow continued to answer while each question served as a reminder.

Later while walking her through Capitol Hill she spoke of the need for a ‘rhema’ word rather than a ‘go’ word, so that in the times of trouble & doubt she would have a promise to cling to. And I remembered some promises, and right there on 1st street my heart was strengthened.

I’m glad for the account that Jesus keeps because I know the tendency of my weak heart to become so wrapped in the moment & quickly forget the important. And I’m glad that I can share with Him the deep things that my heart clings to so desperately knowing that He doesn’t need a reminder.

“Do you ever feel lonely?”

And I heard my voice respond.. “Yes. But I’m writing a book…”

You remember my book.

Last night in my dream a man who’s details were blurry handed me a sheet of paper with hand-stitched words on it that read “I am a Bridegroom”. And this morning I woke remembering Your love for me.

You don’t send us to fight battles that You intend to lose. And every trip that we think so off track is leading us straight into the perfect plan that You have for us. Today I’ll remember that, and today I choose to tell You that all that You do with me is good God. And I ask you to remember the dreams of tomorrow.

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The gladness of his heart

That’s what Josh tweeted this morning.

This is the day of the gladness of the gladness of my heart

It was crazy, it was crazy.

And it was beautiful. Having a hand to play in the creation of the decorations I was dang proud.

She was beautiful. Having a hand to play in the choosing of the wedding dress I was glad and satisfied.

The bridesmaids were beautiful, the groomsmen looked great, and I was so thankful for the love shown by so many who slaved and helped to make this day so magical.

Today my sister was a beautiful princess. She held my hand, frantically txted me over hair & makeup & missing car keys, I did my best to alleviate her stress & solve the numerous emergencies which would have been an impossibility without the Bohlenders, Annie, Joanna Eitel, my dad & aunt.

Today I gave my princess away, to a man who was stunned by her beauty and upon kissing her for the first time at the end of the ceremony declared ‘I think I’m going to faint.’

The day of the gladness of his heart.

I go to bed, as always, too late. Grateful, satisfied, joyful for them. Tomorrow I take my princess to the airport & send her & her new husband off for two weeks in Spain. Considering the last few vaca’s Kat & I have had together she’ll probably spend the whole first week sleeping.

Somehow we’d developed quite the reputation. The Styles girls. And I go to bed, mourning. Grieving the separation that comes with cleaving. Grieving my life forever changed along with her name.

But this morning I woke early enough to grab coffee with Bob Falkner before the madness began. He stared deep into my eyes and told me like he has hundreds of times, to work hard, accomplish much, cry freely and do hard things.

Getting in the car on Saturday morning to head back to VA will be a hard thing. The last two crazy weeks have been wonderful none the less due the presence of my tribe. Annie, The B’s, Jacob & Kyle, Kat. My constants, my faithful ones. But by the grace of God I go back to the un-known, unsettled, unfamiliar and press on for the grace of knowing Christ and loving Him as He loves.  All unto a day, the gladness of His heart.

There’s gonna be a wedding. It’s the sole reason why we live, to love like Him, to love Him like He loves. Fill us up Jesus, with the gladness of your heart.

the magic of words

Something happens to me after midnight. The hands on the clock line up & in that single magical moment, emotions & minutes just as suddenly become clear & words flood through my mind. My fingers itch for a  pen or more often these days, a key board.

Today was the March for Life, probably the 20th march I’ve been a participant in, but my first in the Capital. But I’ll not write about that now.

Right now I want to write about my planner. Yes yes, we live in the information/electronic age but I’ve not yet caught up to it, frankly I hope not to. Each year I purchase a paper planner within the first seven days of the new year. A few years back I settled into a rhythm of loving the Moleskin planner, (thank you Matt Lockett for the White People Love link, it’s true) but this year I couldn’t find one. Surprisingly in my search for a second best I struck gold.

Ok maybe you won’t care but I found the 2011 Songbird’s planner. Each week contains a picture of a different songbird. It’s beautiful, its prophetic, it’s animals….. I’m happy 🙂 Tucked away inside the front cover is about 15 pages of mostly useless, random information though, most of which has found itself torn out & happily residing in my recycling bin BUT…. some of it is strangely helpful such as the “Useful Foreign Phrases” page.

So to all of my Japanese readers “Watashi wa rikai shi te i nai” and to my french subscribers “Bonjour!”

Ok that was really just for Annie.

What’s really on my mind tonight is the idea that little changes are the hardest to reconcile & to move past. For example; tonight my sister was reading The Singer. I know because she kept tweeting quotes & I have most of the book written on my heart. This only bothered me because…. we read this book together. Correction, I read this book out loud to her, usually when she has a migraine or during our many Emergency Room Adventures.

The fact that she was reading the book is good, because it is a sure-fire way to stir up the heart of a Styles. But her reading it without me there? Well that hurts. And it stirs up a plethora of memories, because we don’t just read The Singer out loud, I read everything fantastic out loud to her. This list ranges from Miller’s books, the Chronicles of Narnia to excerpts from The Man who was Thursday. I read & get my dramatic out & she listens & gets the books in. So in a minute I was stepping though memories of hundreds of nights, different situations of us reading together.

It’s just what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. But this little life change, the moving half way across the country? Well it changes everything, instantly. I’m not there to read good books out loud to Kat at night & I’m not going to be. And even though everything changed the moment I stepped on the plane, it’s going to take a long time to fully adjust to those changes. I can even feel confident in saying that I won’t hardly have begun to adjust by the time she get’s married & we’ll start the process all over again.

While reading a tear-stained txt from her about missing me while reading that book today, my eyes flooded with tears & my soul whispered “remember”. And I gave that moment back to the Lord.

Everytime it costs to follow You, count it as my worship.

I will continue to set my heart to give every single costly minute, every single costly emotion back to the Lord & ask for Him to write it in His book as done out of a heart of love.

Someday that process might be easier, but maybe not. Since someday hasn’t come yet I really don’t know. But I’m determined to offer my body as a living sacrifice. It is my spiritual act of worship. It is my practical act of worship. The practical side now is calling my mind & heart to remember, & to do it for the glory of God. The spiritual side now is that He actually counts it when I don’t yet believe.

All my little sisters

I’m the youngest of four. When I was very young I would plead with my mom to have more children and somewhere around the age of 8 she explained to me “Daddy and I…..can’t….have more babies.” That was the day I began to try and convince my parents to adopt.

I’ve been adopting for as long as I can remember. Sometimes because a younger boy or girl would work their way into my heart so intimately I would call them my own, sometimes because I knew the lost always need a home.  At 10 I told my mother that all of the orphans of Europe would be mine and I still believe it.

The Lord has blessed me with some  GREAT younger brothers but today I’m thinking about my sisters.

I met Natalie 4 years ago, she was 15 and drop dead gorgeous. I remember God telling me that she knew how to love well before I knew almost anything about her.  Nat is #4 of 13 kids and the oldest girl. She lays her life down day after day after day serving her parents and siblings. Ive watched her sit at a piano and usher the presence of the Lord into that massive house with her worship. Now she’s 19, still beautiful and one of my dearest friends. I’m thankful for the joy that explodes from her being and the way she teaches me to serve.

The first time I saw Annie she walked into TheCall house to attend our staff meeting and I knew 2 things: 1)She was very nervous and 2)I liked her. She worked her butt off volunteering for TheCall DC and TheCall CA, and I’m pretty sure we could have gotten in trouble with child labor laws, except she did it all out of love. That and she bakes a mean coconut cake! Annie spent the last year as my “late night friend”, joining in on nearly every one of my midnight urges to get icecream, or be ridiculous. I love the way I can startle her into laughter and how her hands move when she’s nervous. She is one of the classiest college freshman’s I’ve ever seen and her deep desire to dwell in the heart of Jesus inspires me daily.

But today, today I’m really thinking about Emily. Looong, brown hair, big dark brown eyes, I met Em 2 days after her family moved back from AL where she’d spent a year at The Ramp, and she just drank up the presence of God. She was 9, I had just done my internship at IHOP and she watched me like she could see into the depths of my soul. I learned healthy fear that summer, it drove me to spend very intentional, long times with Jesus from the fear that I wouldn’t know Him more than her. I came before the children of the church with real fear that I didn’t know Him enough to offer them anything.

Emily would watch me worship and dance beside me. Most often she could be found sitting at the altar of church with her eyes closed, just listening for the voice of the God who she loves. Sunday mornings I would come to church before the early morning prayer meeting and she would greet me at the door, wrap her arms around my waist and stay that way for an hour – wherever I went she’d just walk with me, arms around me listening to whatever I had to say or just sitting next to me.

One of the last conversations we had before I moved back to Kansas city went something like this,

Ms.Chris, when you record a cd can I have the first copy and will you sign it?

I don’t think I’m ever going to make a cd Em.

(insert pause as she considers this.)

Well, when you record a cd can I have the first copy and will you sign it?

I’d never met anyone who believed in me with such admiration and affection. She did ATC this summer and I literally couldn’t believe she was 13, so grown up, so beautiful and she still had that look that put the fear of God into me. All week she has been in KC and tonight sat by me during the renewal service, eyes closed just listening, and I followed her example. She leaned over at one point, laid her head on my shoulder and stayed there for about an hour as i quietly prayed over her, for the love of God to dwell in her heart.

My heart burns for young people to encounter God. I love children, I love teenagers and I will lay down my life for them to know the Lord of all Creation and be His friend. If living my life boldly before the eyes of God, doing everything out of the love for Him and giving everything inside of me to see revival come and the holiness of the Lord branded on the hearts of a generation will help to give them entrance into His heart than I will do it! I want to always live in a way that encourages them to love Him with everything. I want to burn with holy fire so that they can burn with holy fire. Amen!

Big Cheif Indian Tablets

so apparently Randy made a reference to the above mentioned notepads in TheCall staff meeting in kansas city today, being lost in the dark I googled it to find out just where his jab was coming from. For Annie’s sake:

The Big Chief tablet was for many years the most popular brand of paper writing tablet among school children and hopeful novelists in the United States and exemplified the lined writing tablet as a communications medium. The tablet featured a native American with full headdress on the cover. The Big Chief Writing Tablet copyright was originally held by William Albrecht at the Western Tablet Company in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was later sold to the Mead Corporation, which also manufactured a Son of Big Chief tablet.

Thanks http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid183_gci512952,00.html ! Randy are you telling us to communicate better and take notes?