Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who Am I?

The Psalms have always fascinated me. This biblical book is chalked full of every sort of emotion you can think of. As a habitual writer, I'm often drawn to the simplicity of inspiration found within the biblical text. Here is something I penned years ago that I think illustrates the wrestle each of us face on a daily basis...the quest for the answer to and root of our identity crisis. I hope you enjoy and I hope it sparks some life, encouragement and conversation in each of your lives!!

Who Am I?

I crave definition.
Thirsting for meaning and hope
I plunge headfirst into this world of darkness…
My hands are trembling,
The blood is surging through my veins as I stand back and watch him receive what I long for.

Why do You choose him over me?
What have I done to endure Your shadow?
I’m removed from the light of Your face.

This anger burns within me,
This rage consumes me;
I’m blinded by my ambition to be seen.

Meet me where I am!
Shower Your love and blessing upon me.
I long to be where You are.

Marred by my disgrace, how can I ever return to You?
The very thing that I crave is completely removed from my grasp.
I cannot reach You, and yet I still thirst for You.
You…my true identity…my unfolding story…where will I find You?

Rest my soul, rest…find peace in the warmth of the unknown.
Heart be stirred by grace;
Seek hope;
Find life;
Embrace meaning and thirst for true love.

I am found in You; waiting and longing for more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Mission of God

As is usually the case in terms of subject matter for my posts, my kids have taught me yet another key truth about who God is. Earlier this evening, Saydie & Cannon were outside helping Daddy cut and trim the grass. We have an old-school mower (people powered, no gas or electricity) and Saydie really enjoys helping me push it, while Cannon just loves running away from us.

I start cutting the grass by doing the first cut along the edge of our yard. All the while, Saydie keeps asking me if she can help to which I reply, "after I finish the first cut." After my daughter's creative persistence, it dawned on me...sure I could do this on my own, but what greater gift to give my daughter (and myself) then creating a fun memory and experience with her? As I contemplated this thought, I enthusiastically invited Saydie to join me in cutting the grass. Sure it took longer, but it was worth it!

After putting the kids to bed tonight, I reflected upon this moment. I wonder if God wrestles with similar thoughts as I did this evening. Sure, He could do it all by himself, but often times He wants to partner with us in order to create memories and experiences with us, His children. Think about this for a minute. Instead of simply asking us to be bystanders in this journey we affectionately refer to as life, God chooses to partner with us in His mission for the world...restoration. This notion is simple, yet profound. It makes you think that if God really does choose to partner with us in His mission, does it come to fruition if we refrain from accepting His invitation for partnership? Someone once told me that God has created each of us to do specific things (Ephesians 2:10 affirms this). So, if we choose to reject God's invitation, we not only miss out on creating memories and experiences with our Heavenly Father, we also miss out on being a part of God's mission here on earth.

I believe each of us are affected by what we see happening in our world. Some of us may be drawn to the marginalized, or the broken, or the forgotten people. Others of us may see the need for stewardship and generosity and be deeply moved by our observations. I think these things that we see and experience that move us on a heart level are invitations God gives to each of us to partner with Him in what He is doing and wants to do in our world. The amazing thing is that God WANTS to use us; He doesn't have a plan B. God's mission here on earth will be as effective as our response to His invitations. The next time you are moved at a heart level, how will you respond to God's invitation?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Need a Hug??

Putting our children to bed always lends itself to some great memories. Tonight, as Bonny & I were tucking Saydie in to sleep our daughter wanted to make sure she said one last thing to her Daddy. "Daddy, you be careful walking down the stairs...I can't hug you if you're broken!" Her simple gesture melted my heart (which means I AM in trouble as she gets older!!), and it also caused me to think about Jesus.

Jesus was a master at a lot of things, but none more prevalent than His ability to make the "unnoticed" or "untouchable" or "unlovable" people feel exactly the be seen, cared for and loved!

Imagine for a moment if no one ever took time for you. How would that make you feel? I know I would feel insignificant and unloved...that's for sure! But when people do pause to notice, give you encouragement or some other form of acknowledgement, it makes you feel like you matter, doesn't it?

There are so many biblical stories about Jesus, but the ones swirling around in my head right now are those containing moments where Jesus would physically touch people, not in a sexual or perverted way, but in a way that simply stated they had value. Jesus would help people get up off the ground, He used his hands (and spit) to heal a blind man's sight, and He coddled children on His lap. In each of these instances, Jesus use physical touch to demonstrate love and care for others.

My daughter made the statement that she couldn't hug me if I was broken, but isn't it often the broken who need a hug? A hug is more than words; it communicates what language sometimes cannot. A hug states that you matter, you exist and you are seen. Our Canadian culture doesn't embrace hugging like some other cultures do, but I think that we may see drastic change in our society if we consciously took more time for others...and one way we can begin doing this may be through a hug or high five.

Here is the challenge I'm laying down for myself and for others...become a hugging/high-five-ing bandit!! Yep, that's right...leave all the social norms behind and follow Jesus' lead. Take time to demonstrate to those whom you care about that you appreciate them with a hug or a high five. Instead of walking past the broken in your life, stop and give them a hug or a high five just to let them know that you see them and that they have value. I'm excited to see what may change in my life as a result of me consciously choosing to demonstrate my desire to care for others by becoming a hugging/high-five-ing bandit! Will you join me?

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Little Perspective

This week I'm going to try something a little different in this post. Instead of writing about my opinion on a particular subject, or sharing some lessons about what is happening in my personal walk with Jesus, I thought I  would post about a Christian meditation exercise that often times helps me gain a Christ-like perspective of my circumstances. Now some of you may be put off my the "m" word, but there is a key spiritual difference between Christian meditation and other forms of this spiritual practice. The goal of Christian meditation is to fill one's mind with more thoughts of Christ through repeated reading and focus on portion of scripture, or attributes of God's character, or other thoughts that lead to a greater awareness of God's presence. Other forms of meditation focus on the emptying of one's mind. If you are nervous about attempting Christian meditation by yourself, talk with a friend or family member and pray through this experience together. Peer accountability may help you to understand and experience what Christian meditation really is. I hope you find this helpful!

Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

1. Think about this first statement – God knit you together
  •  Take a look at your hands, the lines and the fingerprints.  Think about the love and care that went into creating you, not about what your parents would have felt, but the care and love God put into creating you…into knitting you together.  Thank Him for what He brings to your mind.

 2. Think about this second statement – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
  •  Do you believe that you are wonderfully made?  We all have parts of ourselves (physical attributes, personality, characteristics, etc.) that we don’t like, or might even hate or wish we could change…but God does NOT make junk.  He created you fearfully and wonderfully…think about what this means and how this impacts how we should view ourselves and view others.  Spend some time meditating on this and talking to God about what comes to mind.
  • Name those parts of you that you don’t like and ask God to help you to see how they are part of your entire being created both fearfully and wonderfully

 3. Think about this final statement – you works are wonderful, I know that full well.
  • Can you see God at work around you, in your life and in the lives of others?  Call these memories and instances to mind.  Thank God for where you have seen Him at work and ask Him to open your eyes to more of His presence…ask Him for a greater awareness of His Spirit at work in our world.
  • Place your hands over you eyes during this time of meditation as a symbol of your desire to celebrate being able to see God at work and a reminder to ask God to increase your awareness of Him at work.

Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.