Flashes of Light

The first one came in November of last year. I wasn’t expecting it and the sudden raw pain left me breathless.

It was nearing the end of yet another long work day. I was driving to the prayer room through rush hour traffic on Rt.1 alternately muttering at the lousy Virginia drivers and marveling at the glory of the Fredericksburg sunset. I was stopped at a red light, craning my neck to peer as far up and out of the windshield as I could, so so tired and desperately trying to drink in the wild beauty when the first memory came.

It had taken place about a week before she passed away. The morning had been painful, I’d pleaded through the tasks involved in getting her ready as the minutes swept passed and each detail seemed to take an eternity longer than normal. The family had arranged for a medical pickup to transport her to the dialysis clinic that morning due to her increasing weakness, and as the departure time approached I was weary from the battles that had already taken place.

But there was the knock on the door, I drew her wheelchair to meet him, let him maneuver her over the step and towards the vehicle as I ran back inside to get her bag. Coming around the side of the van I saw him finish securing the chair. I handed him the bag with one last instruction about the appointment and with a deep sigh turned to go when her voice stopped me.

‘Christina’.

It was tired and rough from having not been used much since waking. I turned to find her tired eyes locked on my face, searching my heart, freezing my breath in my lungs. She hadn’t looked at me once since I’d woken her, and as she was somewhat hard of hearing that had made it much harder to communicate with her throughout the difficult morning. Now she peered deep and long.

‘Thank you.’

I whispered a ‘You’re welcome Ms.Margaret’, tripped up the driveway, shut the door and sank against it to weep.

All this in the time it took for the light to turn from red to green. The car behind me was honking because I had not turned, the traffic pounded past, the world flying by as my mind and my heart began to take timid steps toward remembering and unwinding my time with her.

I’d been so blinded by the painful fall of 2011 that I couldn’t have begun to foresee the journey the Lord had prepared for the beginning of 2012; learning how to love in the light of death. “Everywhere, everywhere Eucharisteo. The invitation. Give thanks, take the bread, swallow down the death, receive the very miracle; life in my bones” I’d written in my journal. Life with the Southern Lady, it was everywhere, everyday – Eucharisteo. The Invitation to give thanks and to surrender.

It happened again tonight. Feeling the edges of sick I’d avoided the large gatherings, aka, the Superbowl parties. Settling in to read I picked up Kisses from Katie when –

She was sitting in her red chair, reading the back of the book I’d just received in the mail as I waited excitedly to hear what she would think. She read the cover aloud, finishing with a dramatic, southern “WOW!” and gazed wondrously at me. “Why Christina, this sounds like something you would do, this girls sounds a lot like you!”

My heart had burned at her words, marveled that she thought so highly of me and I replied tearfully that I hoped someday to live as boldly as Katie Davis.

I sat in the silent kitchen, vision just as blurred, heart just as burned.

You can’t stop the heart from remembering. Can’t stop the flashes; they come like lighting with little warning and the moments, the memories sear themselves into my vision with such brilliance that it takes some time, lots of blinking and gulping for air before I can see again. I can’t change them. I can’t change a single moment, I just have to live with the flash as it was, and breath through the aftermath. Feel now what hurt too much to think or feel about at the end of last April. Cry when it requires tears, laugh at the joy, rejoice at the victories that we celebrated together, mourn for what I wish that I had done better.

And I’m realizing that life is those searing memories that I can’t seem to escape. It flashes with brilliance and is gone in a moment. I have to let myself feel the things that are bringing healing from living with Ms.Margaret’s dying. To hold onto the memory as it comes, learn from it, then let go. It stirs a wonder inside of me. What is it all unto? Those painful lessons, what were they preparing me for?

The Lord waits quietly to unveil the answers, which will flash with brilliance and be gone, searing memories into the vision that one day He will take time to explain. Life is pounding past us, urging, driving us to be swept away in it’s urgency while the Lord waits for us to stop and listen. To breathe with Him, to learn with Him. I’m becoming more aware that nothing is happenstance, nothing without meaning. All of the pieces that make up our days our weeks our years, fitting together and becoming a picture, leading us deeper into his plan that is far bigger than the puzzle we were staring at, thinking that the portrait of our individual lives was the goal.

Lord that I would see this moment, this evening, tomorrow morning with the eyes of the Spirit. To wonder and gaze and love Him with the moments, to take nothing for granted. That I would be drawn closer to the image of Your Son, Jesus. That I would be drawn deeper into Your story.

December Breezes

The month of December has become Synonymous for ‘Utter and Complete Change’ in my life and though we’re only eight days in, thus far 2012 has not proved to disappoint.

The Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace is in the middle of a SOZO conference right now, hosting John & Carol Arnott of the Toronto Airport Church, Don Potter, and Corey Russel as the main speakers, and it has been really, really good. Yesterday I lay on the floor under a presence as thick and heavy as a down blanket, and rose feeling as though I’d had a deep, long nap. Today I was torn up one side and down the other…but in a good way? Sentences like that leave me feeling as though Christians have the hardest time explaining themselves….and it’s true! This afternoon Don Potter candidly spoke of his life’s story. I sat in the front row, alternating between tears & laughter as the message seemed so directly for me in this season of my life, that I couldn’t help but respond with wonder.

Part of the tenderness in my heart may have had to do with the conversation I had directly before Don’s message. This December’s upcoming changes have brought about a considerable amount of reminiscing and contemplating of the last four years of my life. Specifically the last four, because 2008 (the year that I worked for TheCall) so dramatically set the stage for the following three, leading up to today. I had heard that a young lady who is a part of FPF had given her life to the Lord at the 2008 CallDC prayer gathering. Today I was able to tell her that I had worked behind the scene’s for that event, and grab a few minutes with her to hear the story.

She told me of the hard situations of that time of life which had cultivated such a desperation to escape that she leaped when her sister invited her to attend the PreCall conference & TheCall event. What got me was her moment of conversion, which came about during the LIFE siege  She said that she put the tape on her mouth and in the silence she began to think a whirlwind of thoughts – of how pained she was to have never known of the horror’s of abortion, how angry she was that no one had ever told her, and how she felt as though she’d wasted so much of her life on worthless things. By this time of the story tears were streaming down both of our faces and she choked out with a sob, “I just fell to my knees on the grass and I knew that I never wanted to waste another day, I wanted to give my life to Jesus and to the things that really matter.”

Over three years later she is an integral part of the the daily operations of the ministry that I serve with, the Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace. We cried on each other’s shoulders, both feeling such immense gratitude to the Lord for His hand on her life, and outwardly I marveled that He knew who she would be, what He would use her for in the future, how much she would be needed by FPF now, even on that day that He called her name and saved her. She pulled back, looked me in the face nodding, and said “and wisdom is justified by her children” motioning to me, and then to herself, finishing with a tearful “Thank You.”

The Lord is so kind to give us glimpses of the big picture, and I wonder if that’s a tiny taste of the joy of Heaven, when we finally see with clarity ALL that He was doing around and in and through us. I think we’ll find it to be so much more than we could ever ask for, or ever imagine.

Following that emotional interaction came Don’s message of absolute surrender to the will of the Lord. It’s no wonder my ears could hear it after such an introduction. Once brought back into the recording studio he struggled to play simple songs, walked out and heard an incredible recording that He amazingly admitted could not have been himself playing. At that admission the Lord responded “Don, your life as a musician is mediocre at best, but with Me, you are exceptional”.

With Him, YOU are exceptional. Doesn’t that give you the incentive to grab hold of the King and not let go?

And I through tear brimmed eyes I marveled. My life? Mediocre. Mediocre, at best! Oh but He makes the story exceptional. He does more than I see, more than I think, more than I DREAM. So much more than I know. And as cold winds blow transition right back into my life, I receive it with hands wide open to His will. Oh Lord, You do exceptional things with handfuls of dust.

Unscripted.

I have a tendency to day dream. Meaning that I think about things to much, plan out events, conversations, flesh out goals, shade in relationships, internally organize, and attempt to administrate the details of my life into tangible moments that I can order and control. And after all of that internal effort those carefully constructed day dreams have a devastating way of crumbling around me without a single piece of the debris falling into the place that I intended.

So I eat a lot of icecream. When the dust settles and there is just not a thing you can do about it, my best response is icecream. This week has been completely outside of my control, ending with a day that I can’t even begin to describe, and at the end, leaving 3 hours after I’d planned due to a situation that I never could have forseen I decided that the only appropriate response was to stop by McDonalds for a dipped icecream cone. Sitting in silence in a borrowed car in the drive-thru and trying not to think about the day, I pulled up to the sign to order only to hear that the ice cream machine was broken.

It’s amazing, just how unscripted this life is.

Joshua has been checking in on me quite a bit during the hurricane of the last few weeks. Yesterday evening I receive a message from him asking why I’ve not been blogging. I thought for a moment before telling him that things have been too personal to write about, to which he replied “I think those may be the best kind of things to write about.”

This Tuesday it will have been 4 months since the Southern Lady passed away.

In an incredible act of love her family offered for me to stay in the house until it is sold.  An estate sale was held at the beginning of July while I was home visiting my family and as expected, I returned to a house with out furniture, decorations, or any evidence of being lived in save for my bedroom. The week of my birthday I acquired two amazing vintage rockers from Craigslist, followed by a small table as a present from my brothers family, the three of which barely scratch the surface of filling the empty space.

The emptiness of the house serves as a very practical means of magnifying the turmoil in my heart;

I am a very communal individual, loving life with MANY housemates, and for four months my little dog and I have lived alone in the empty house.

I have yet to find a replacement  “job” to supplement my missionary income.

Two weeks ago my dearly beloved rust-bucket car actually died. This happened the week of the anniversary of Miah’s death, and the week that we were hosting a regional teen conference, in which I had a large role to play.

Some days later the hard-drive on my iphone crashed leaving it in a state of being completely incapable of connecting to the wireless signal aka, rendering the phone useless. I’ve never even HEARD of that before.

The last four week I’ve been under a constant barrage of irrational, in-explainable personal/ financial/ spiritual/ relational and ministerial events that I can only describe as the craziest spiritual attack I’ve ever experienced….which culminated in the drive-thru lane at McDonalds tonight as I heard that the ice cream machine was broken.

Completely and utterly…..not what I had planned.

Depressing as this story sounds….there has been incredible breakthrough over the last seven days. My physical and spiritual family both in the mid-west and on the east coast have banded around me in prayer and support and the fruit is being manifest in my heart and life daily. And there is light ahead 🙂

A friend has indefinitely given me use of her vehicle. Someone gave me an old at&t phone to use. And just so that you can believe that God does in fact give to us ‘everything that we need for life and godliness…..’  there was half a tub of Strawberry Haagen Das icecream in my freezer when I got in tonight.

When Miah died  Bob Falkner told me to buy Ann Voskamps book ‘One Thousand Gifts’. I had no idea how the next year of my life would be ordered around the Lord’s deep commitment to teaching me about the receiving of His grace.

Tonight I shared with a friend the emotional story of the last twenty four hours.  After some long moments of quiet reflection she said ” I love you Christina, you’re just so…….raw. Do you know what I mean by that? You’re just …..raw.”

Unscripted.

Sara Groves would call it “Wide open, like a lake”

Derek Loux called it “Green and Tender”

It’s learning how to force the fist to unclench, relinquishing the death grip on what I couldn’t control anyway, opening the fingers, smoothing down the palm. You open Your hands and You satisfy (Ps. 145.16), I open my hands and receive. It’s ghastly simple, and the most un-natural position for an anxiety ridden heart like mine; to take whatever You give, to call it grace, and offer it back to You in thanks.

I cry and I pray and I stumble. I think to hard, circle round the options, fight to come up with a plan, stay up too late strumming those same guitar chords trying to soothe the same old ache in my eternal soul. I accuse God, accuse His bride, break, repent, and while aching for answers fight to keep my hands off the details, stop trying to organize, lift up my eyes to the hills and lean into His strength. I am still keeping lists, because Bob say’s that if we’re not operating in Thanksgiving than we’re operating in atheism.

And I choose to live, raw. Vulnerable. To stop fighting tooth & nail to hide the frailty of my human heart, to give God the room to come in and bring healing to the broken, weak places. I bawl in the prayer room, in the weekly meetings when suddenly the room surrounds me in prayer and cry out for break through in my life, at stop lights, and alone in the quiet house that the Lord provided for me when there were no answers to an un-solvable situation.

And as my foundations are exposed and greatly shaken, I choose to cling to the Rock that is higher than I.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter)

In the Whirlwind, He still wants everything.

Last year was a whirlwind, start to finish. Each month seemed to bring it’s own fresh version of crazy, & December was no different. In fact, by the 1st of December I was suddenly facing two weeks to find new housing & either a new job or another cross-country move.  I’ll spare you the details & just say that in the beginning I threw up my hands in the air making a declaration in my heart to let the Lord lead my steps. And He did. He’s faithful like that.

The not so slow but dramatic demise of my beloved 97 Geo Metro, increased monthly bills & seriously needing of dental work forced my sudden need to stop working for Bound4Life International, a ministry that I have been honored to serve since my move to Virginia in January of 2010.  This decision was forced by unexpected changes & came with a flurry of job applications, long late-night conversations with my brother Jeremy about direction, & deep painful conversations with the Lord. Ultimately, it was good. Ultimately, it forged clarity in my soul. Ultimately, I am thankful. Oh but it was a rough, bumpy and painful transition.

One of those rough bumpy painful days found me sitting with a Pastor from Florida who had recently moved with his family to DC to help fuel JHOP-DC & serve with B4L.  His father has been battling against cancer  & he told me that his sister had made a large sacrifice to help lift the burden of the medical bills.

After this great act of love she was left with a small sum that she intended to put into savings. However, during a morning devotional time she heard the Lord say simply “Give it to me”. She responded with surprise, since she had freely given so much & replied “But……Lord, that is mine” to which He simply responded, “I know, & I want it.”

He told me, “Christina it doesn’t make sense, but sometimes God asks us for that tiny little bit that we’re holding onto for ourselves, just to see if we’re willing to give it to Him”. Oh how I cried when I heard those words. He’s right, it doesn’t make sense……. but do we trust Him? Do we love Him enough to give Him that last little bit that we’re reserving? That thing we think we HAVE to hold onto in order to make it?

And I felt that pull all through December, the Lord asking for my control, my self-preservation & the question lingered “Do you trust Me?” Even in the whirlwind, He still wants everything.

In a swirl out of my control, completely apart from anything I could have possibly tried to manage to pull together, He provided for me. Housing & a job. I would be moving into the home of an elderly Southern Lady in order to drive her to doctor’s appointments & serve part-time as her companion. Housing, & a job that enabled me to stay in the House of Prayer. This literally landed the day before I flew out of Virginia to spend 3 weeks with my family.

It was a glorious, restorative, joyful, healing three weeks. And getting on the plane to head back to the East coast was hard. It always is. Standing in line & swallowing the lump in my throat, refusing to look behind me at my mother watching until she can no longer see me with tears streaming down her face, tightly clinging to my little dog as if that will keep me there. It literally never gets easier. But I knew, I KNEW that He was worth it, that He had a plan & that I was walking in it.

I flew back to Virginia on January 8th. Exactly one year to the very date that I flew to Virginia in my original move. Tell me that’s not God! Only He would do that, just to catch my attention because He likes to talk to me in dates. I flew back to Virginia on January 8th, & as my plane hit the ground, the Southern Lady was being loaded up into an ambulance. I moved into her home on the very day that everything changed in her life, the day she began a rapid decline in health.

Two weeks in it was apparent to the family & myself that she was not going to pull up, & today, less than a month after my move-in, she began receiving Hospice services in her home.

I knew that the Lord was sending me back to Virginia to learn about Intercession. I thought that it had to do with America & the Presidential race, and somewhere along the line it probably does. I’m learning it’s much deeper than that though. Moses, Daniel, Jeremiah, John the Baptists, even Jesus. They made intercession on others behalf. They were in understanding, a level of compassion that moved them to feel the way that other’s felt in order for them to stand alongside & speak on behalf of. And I’ve realized, I’ve a thing or two learn of compassion.

It’s been almost a year since my dear grandfather Carroll stepped into wholeness & glory & the nearness of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wasn’t a part of his last days since I’d just moved to VA but here I am one year later, daily, intimately walking out this woman’s last days. I’m not a nurse or doctor, & even if I were there would be nothing to fix the problems. But I do other things. Rub her shoulders, wash her feet, clip her toenails, rearrange cushions, read the Psalms, sing Hymns. And sometimes I’m tired, & sometimes I’m frustrated, & sometimes I just don’t want to rub lotion on her itchy skin. But I’m learning to bend the knee, learning to cry out for grace & find it pouring on the inside of me. Learning to hold her hand & sometimes, like today, just cry with her because I can’t help her breathe, & I can’t make the itching stop, & I can’t make her kidney’s work. In the back of my mind all throughout the long days I am thinking of how I will stand before my Saviour & He will ask “Did you learn to love?” and my heart cries “Teach me!”

I’m learning that it’s easy to have compassion for the orphan baby. But what does the Lord feel for the elderly woman who kept me up late with her needs & woke me up early with her needs. Does my Lord bend the knee, receive the grace to do so, & gladly serve her? Can I enter into that kind of intercession? There are nights I step into my room & hit the floor in prayer, crying out for the sake of peace in her heart, opening the Psalms & with tears speaking loudly words of truth & life & comfort into the atmosphere of the home.

It carries over to my service in the House of Prayer. My tired tender heart is moved to feel, moved to enter in, moved to pray, moved to worship because there’s no other relief for the turmoil on the inside. Not when I’ve been convinced every step of the way that it was His will for me to walk through it with Him.

Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.

We’ve been talking a lot of Grace & Glory, & I tell her that wherever we have to lean in & reach out hard to receive His grace He will make that very spot a place to reveal His glory. If we cry out for Grace, we’ll receive it & He will glorify it. We ask God to give her peace, & I’m learning to live out of un-moveable heart peace. We ask God to give her a vision of eternity so that she will have the grace to let go when the time comes, & I’m learning to reach for it in my own heart. We thank the Lord when the night is over, thanking Him for the mercies to live out the new day. And as I pray with her my heart receives, probably more than I will ever know on this side.

And in the whirlwind, He still wants everything. Each whirlwind, He’ll never stop asking if we trust Him but that’s not an angry question. It’s gentle, said with a smile. It’s promising. And it’s safe, because He gave & He gives, everything.

My story will never stop being just stupid crazy. And that’s part of how I know I can trust, because He’s never stopped being FAITHFUL in every step of every crazy whirlwind. And every-time I think He’s asked me to do something I’m fully not capable of doing, He places the ability inside of me through His spirit. The more I lean, cry out for help, the more I find the help inside. The more His word becomes meat & bread & water & wine.

I listen to “Measure of a Man” on repeat. And Johnny Cash’s album “My mother’s Hymnbook”. I listen to Leonard Ravenhill speak with zeal & tears of the worth of Christ. I rise early to jog & pray. And I’m eating a lot of chocolate these days 🙂 I’ve filled up her room with primroses & when all attempts to relieve & comfort & bring joy fail, I just sing until peace comes to her. It reminds me of mid-morning nap time at the Bohlender’s. Singing a nursery of little girls to sleep & the crazy thing is that Amazing Grace never fails to bring the presence of God, to those little girls, to this dying woman, to my own weary soul.

Bob Falkner text me the other morning saying “You were made for hard things. You can do this.” And I’ll say to you friends, God made you to do hard things, & He will enable you to do them. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. One bright morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away. And tis so sweet to Trust in Jesus.

 

Night by William Blake

The sun descending in the West,

The evening star does shine;

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

 

The moon, like a flower

In heaven’s high bower,

With silent delight

Sits & smiles on the night.

 

Farewell, green fields & happy grove,

Where flocks have ta’en delight;

Where lambs have nibbled, silent move

The feet of angels bright:

Unseen, they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud & blossom,

On each sleeping bosom.

 

They look in every thoughtless nest,

Where birds are covered warm;

They visit caves of every beast,

To keep them all from harm.

If they see any weeping

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head,

And sit down by their bed.

 

When wolves & tigers howl for prey

They pitying stand & weep,

Seeking to drive their thirst away,

And keep them from the sheep.

But, if they rush dreadful,

The angels, most heedful,

Receive each mild spirit

New words to inherit.

 

And there the Lion’s ruddy eyes

Shall flow with tears of gold:

And pitying the tender cries,

And walking round the fold,

Saying: “Wrath by His meekness,

And by His health, sickness,

Are driven away

From our immortal day.

 

“And now beside thee, bleating lamb,

I can lie down & sleep.

Or think on Him who bore thy name,

Gaze after thee, & weep.

For, washed in life’s river,

My bright mane *for ever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o’er the fold.”

 

*Forever. It’s my favorite word. Wrath by Your meekness sweet Jesus, & by Your health sickness is driven away.

Even so Lord, come.

With me, where I am.

I value personal time.  And by value, I am NOT saying “in theory I like the general idea of having time to myself”. I am saying that in order to function it is nearly necissary to have that time, particularly first thing in the morning & then again at the end of the day. The best mornings begin with fluttering eyelids, weak attempts to grasp the wispy memory of dreams, then staring at the ceiling & having my first thought be “Good morning Jesus”. It’s even better when I am able to not actually speak, but just think to Him for the first hour of my day. Silence & Conversation as I go through the motions of preparation for the madness that too often follows.

The best days end nearly the same; the roommates one by one go to bed & I am left alone to straighten the house, put away dishes, feed the cat, pick up my guitar, maybe sing a little but mostly think thoughts directed at my friend, all in silence. If I can actually do this, give real time to being alone, silent & intentionally directing my thoughts & inner dialogue to the Lord first & then last in the day, I find my heart at peace in between.

But that is the only time I am typically & intentionally alone.  Before doing anything, it is natural to send a message  to see who is free & wants to ride along. I don’t mean sending out txt’s like buckshot, but thinking of who I’ve been wanting to catch a few minutes of conversation with, or what teen has been asking to spend time with me, or which good friend I’ve been wanting to tell something to without having the time or context. I’ve fought to learn intentionality in my relationships even in the midst of such a blasted busy community & my own blasted busy schedule & mostly that has expressed itself in simple multitasking, aka, bringing people into whatever I’m doing.

It’s that easy. Intentionality – it’s a big value in my life, something I fight for in random interactions & in my close friendships, & though I fail often I try to do it well. And the truth is that I’ve come to a place where I don’t know quite how not to.

It’s not that I am afraid of being alone, I love & need time to write, to think, to walk, to breathe, to sit in my backyard on my tree swing and stare at the leaves or the stars or the sunrise. It’s more that I love to have the people who are in my heart involved in the things that make my day’s move forward, with me & doing those things alongside me.

Kat & I go to Walmart late at night. Alyssa sits at my table late at night playing cards & discussing the prophetic, Further Seems Forever, & the dynamic of male/female interactions in our community. Danika & I burn sparklers on the porch and dance in the rain. Theresa runs errands with me so we can talk on the way & helps talking me into attending social functions & staying longer than 5 minutes. Jacob let’s me sit in the jeep when he goes on security rounds, or comes over late at night to sit on my porch & talk me through whatever is keeping me from sleeping. Seth txt’s me to ride with him to Backwoods when he needs socks. Trisha sits in Higher Grounds & listens to me rant about the latest thing burning in my mind. Annie stays up late to get $1 ice cream cups at Hyvee & cry in the car as we talk about dreams & Jesus.

There’s the list of friends who come over for breakfast, the Saturday morning pancake crew, the evening Nerts group, the “run to target and back” list, the “run to QT and back list”, different people for different activities, but all personal & intentional times of interaction & connecting. It’s a skill I’ve worked really hard at learning well while maintaining communion with the Lord and fighting for my time with Him. And here I am, 3 days away from moving & leaving all of those dear, beloved ones behind.

Last night, found me standing in my kitchen talking through my fears & insecurities about the future & the question marks before me with the friend who normally literally yells at me until I laugh & come to a right frame of mind. Right at the point of conversation when I anticipated him to jump in with a loud response I realized he was staring at me… expressionless. I continued until convinced he wasn’t even paying attention, then realized tears were pooling in his eyes. Insert me, erupting in sobs as he simply say’s “I’m going to miss you”.

Needless to say I had a hard time sleeping last night. Part of that may be because I’d sent everything to Virginia yesterday with my brother…. including all of my bedding…. & didn’t realize it until everyone in the house was asleep & all I could find was 1 random blanket… & it was cold. But I lay in that room flooded with memories, knowing this next season is good & this move is good, but knowing it’s taken 5 years to develop these relationships I am leaving behind, & then suddenly there He was. You know the feeling, when out of no where the presence of the Lord overwhelms your heart & mind. And I heard Him whisper, “Yeah I feel the same way, I want my friends with me too”.

It’s John 17 – Jesus longing for His friends to be WITH Him, right where He is, feeling His heartbeat & hearing the words on His lips. He longs for us. Wants us just with Him, doing whatever He is doing. The invitation is before us all throughout the day to enter into His heart & do that with Him, & I understood that a little more last night. Understood the invitation to walk into that communion with him, & the invitation to walk into that longing with Him. I want to be His friend, even in the places where it hurts, I mean you know you have a good friend when they can sit with you & hurt with you.

Jesus I want to sit with You, even to hurt with You. And I want to be with You where You are.

 

Love me

Some years ago a young man whom I hardly knew looked at me with sincerity in his eyes and declared that no one would ever love me the way that he loved me. And even in that moment I knew that sincere as he may be, he was wrong.

Tonight I remember that night, and couldn’t help but think on the truth that there’s no one who can love me like Jesus.

Today was one of those tender days; when I found myself speaking too much of the things that I carry inside that are waiting for a time yet to come while longing to be right now. When the burden from yesterday is going to be fulfilled tomorrow the load is heavy today. Sometimes to speak of that burden reminds our hearts of the weight in the waiting and relief can only be found in washing in floods of tears.

Bawling at my kitchen table, pouring out the situations that rubbed like salt into an old would today via text message to my absent roommate I was swallowed up in the overwhelming fact that Jesus makes all things beautiful if I choose to love Him through them. Knowing that there is a Man who knows all of my needs and is fully able to satisfy them is pretty dang comforting.

He is a friend who understands, fully, every time, who always has my back, who is incapable of failing me. He is a provider who meets my every need, right when I need Him to. He always gives me exactly what I need for each situation, each conversation and each pain, even when it’s not what I THINK that I need. He is a Father who champions me even in my weakness.

He is a lover who never changes His mind, and let me tell you that THAT is a deep revelation every human is in need of; there is a love that will never run dry, never fail, and never change His mind. There is a love that will pursue unto death no matter your response to Him.

He is a Brother who let’s me explode or break down and gives to me nothing but strength in those moment, calling me back to the greatness of what He can see in me. He is a creator, the one who dreamed of each detail of my personality, emotional makeup, and my frame. And He is ecstatic about those details. He is so intentional in His love for me.

And if I can believe these things, if I can trust Him enough to set aside my shield and sword and allow my emotions to be laid bare before Him no matter where they might be, then I can trust Him enough to let Him love me like none other is even capable of loving. And if I can chose to receive His love and give love to Him back through my misunderstandings, questions, wounding and desires, then He will take each of those things and make them beautiful. In time I will look back and marvel at the perfect timing in his intricate love for me if I can choose to love through pain.

Tonight I sat on a friends living room floor, the girl in the rocker next to me was roaring with laughter, overwhelmed by the Joy of the Lord and declaring the truths of who He is and His love for her, commanding the friend across the room holding a guitar to sing about it and he sang from the heart of God,

I think about you all the time,

You’re always on My mind.

over and over and over again.

When in love it is nearly incapable to do the simplest of task without wishing your beloved where somehow involved. That’s how Yahweh feels about me.

And if that’s the case than in every situation both today and tomorrow, all that I want my heart to say is ‘Come, and love me Jesus, like no other man can love me.’

He’s going to work the rest out. And it’s going to be beautiful.