Friday, September 26, 2014

Taking A Break

 I want to let you know that I will be blogging quite infrequently, if at all, over the next couple of weeks. I am taking a bit of a break so that I can get refreshed and spend some time with family and friends. I will still be checking my email while "on leave," so you are welcome to email me at the address given in the "Contact Me" page here on the blog. 
Thank you all so very much for your prayers and kind support. Your encouragement is a blessing, and I appreciate each of you! God bless you, and may you find yourself more and more open to Grace!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

What I Want

 What do I want? It is a question I must constantly ask myself. What do I want? Do I want to live a life governed by constant busyness about trifling things? Do I want a pleasurable existence, a life of comfort and ease? Do I want a pain-free journey in which tragedy and sorrow have no part? 
  At times, the baser part of me yells out an emphatic "yes," and I find that I am racing toward an end that I wish I didn't chase so fervently...an end that, ultimately, leads me away from Grace, away from God, and I lose myself in the midst. I lose the joy of living altogether. In my desire to be a productive, successful "somebody," I really become a nobody because I lose what is essential. I forget what matters. I cease to follow God and instead run toward everything else.


 What do I want? Deep within, I think I know: I want to slow down and savor; I want to appreciate the blessing of being able to live, to even breathe at all. I want to know the refining goodness of lessons learned in hard times, of gaining insight along the pain-stricken path. I want to thank. I want to absorb the Grace-filled moments that come each day - to not be so busy that I fail to see...that I miss Him. I want to be open.
  With this in mind, I plead with God to help me, to allow me to see life as He sees it. To be so captivated with all He offers that I will chase after what matters the most. This is what I want and, if I have this, I have all I need.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seeing In Part

 I drive along the highway, and the fog hangs low. Like a fluffy, white veil, clouds hide the majestic mountains in front of me. Against the colorless sky, the golden trees of Fall stand out brilliantly. As I gaze at the landscape, I realize that, so often, I see dimly. Much of life, like these mountains, is shrouded in mystery. We see only in part. There is so much that remains hidden; there are questions that remain unanswered, conflicts that never get resolved, tragedies that seem to occur without warning. From the myopic view we have, we try to make sense of it all. We try to trust when we cannot see. We attempt to believe when everything around us tells us otherwise. Just as I had to believe that those mountains existed behind the fog - even though I could see nothing of them.


 The pale shroud begins to lift, and I can see more. It becomes clear to me now: Faith must intervene. I must be given Grace to accept what I know to be true, what I believe to exist, even if I see dimly. Because, after all, God doesn't reveal to us everything that life holds. And thank goodness He doesn't! We probably would never learn to accept if we knew all that was in store! But I think He withholds from us complete view so that we will discover what trust is all about. 
   The mountain peaks are now fully seen. So too, I learn to see, with the eyes of faith, what is hidden. What can only be viewed through the soul. Grace disguised will one day become Grace revealed. The veil will lift, and all will become clear. 



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

 " No matter how dark the circumstances of our lives become, no matter how distant God might seem, he always has our best interests at heart...Faith is trusting God even when you cannot trace God. It is believing that no matter what you're going through, God is for you."
        - Tullian Tchividjian in Do I Know God?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blooming Anywhere

 Last year at this time, the yard was torn up. A new septic tank had to go in, causing our front area to be turned into a rocky pile of dirt. Soil that had long been undisturbed now lay strewn across the driveway. It was disruption in full. The unforgiving claw of the backhoe scraped across it and lay waste to its peaceful existence. The soft earth was ripped wide open.
 A year later, I find a strange phenomenon has developed: little Violas and Johnny-jump-ups have appeared everywhere, causing me to wonder how these little flowers got there. We have often spotted them here before, but never this many. Never out so far...
   


 I think of the old phrase, "Bloom where you're planted," and I gaze at these signs of new life. The soil is rocky - not known for growing things well. The yard is still muddy and uneven after being torn apart last Fall. But these tiny flowers speak of what life is all about: learning to adapt and be joyful...right where you are. The environment may not be the greatest place, but that doesn't mean that you must stop living. It doesn't mean that Grace is absent. That He cannot resurrect and make whole. There have been many times when my heart has been ripped in two. Times when the pain drove deep, and I asked, "Can one live again after such hurt?" But the joy-flowers, the blooms of Grace, have returned to me, renewing with them the promise that God will complete. God will make well. He will heal the gaps that are slit right open and will restore to the broken a song of life. Because of this, I can thrive. I can bloom and bring joy...no matter where I'm planted.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thoughts from A Bench

  On September 21, 2010, one of the dearest people I will ever know slipped into heaven. She was my grandmother, a gift and a blessing to me from God for twenty-two years. In the days prior to her passing, I made a regular pilgrimage to this memorial bench, located a short walk away from where she lay dying. It was my place of solitude. My peaceful retreat. Here, I asked myself many questions and contemplated the meaning of what her death would be like. All of the emotions, all of the feelings poured out. It was an escape. A painful escape.


 Two years later, I went back. I came once more to this bench which signified so much to me. This time, I was not mourning her impending death but the farewell to her home and everything in it. Loss. 
Walking up the hill to my quiet space of prayer, I couldn't help but think how much I had changed in two years' time. Sitting there, I looked out at the hills, green with the promise of Spring. Before, the fading colors of fall blended into the coolness of winter. All the time, all I could see was the ending. The stopping of one season with no way of seeing the next. Empty beginning. Useless. Dead. Time would roll on, but how? Why should it?
  Now, I could begin to believe in the start. The hope of renewal. The blessing of redemption. Change was bringing life. As I gazed on the sun-kissed grass of the golf course below, as I watched the golfers zip around in their golf carts, tee off, drive on to the next hole, I thought of how we cannot freeze time. We cannot capture and hold the present moment forever. Present turns to past too quickly. Something is always ceasing so that another can start. Today becomes yesterday in the blink of an eye. How do we get used to this cycle? How do we reconcile ourselves to the fact that this coming and going will always be with us? Always. I took in the scene below. Remember. 
   Arising from the bench, I walked down toward the tennis courts. These were the sight of so many of my grandma's matches. A playful soul to the very end, this had been an important part of her life. They were silent today, a cruel reminder of what was. Not what is today. Strolling over to the massive Buckeye trees beside them, I gave in to the urge to climb into their huge branches. Just like by-gone days. Child-like days. Fingering a Buckeye seed in my hands, I realized that I needed to let go. To stop holding on to the faint hope of what could've been and accept that which is now. Remember.
  After spending some reflective moments, I pulled out my phone and began to take some pictures. The tennis courts. The trees. Even the little bench on the hill above. Remember.
   Trudging back, I once more walked up to see it: place of healing, place of Grace, of a beginning found in an end. Hope. Eternal hope. I took more pictures. I savored the moment. Wind blowing gently on my face, I knew God was there. He had taught me gain through loss, life through death. Remember.
  Turning away, I stopped to bend down and look at the daffodils. They were new and alive. Fresh. After lying dormant in the dark earth, now they were a burst of color and a sign of hope. The start of another season. So is my soul. Surviving the darkness of its own pain, it is now arising to meet the One which called it into its Spring. A new season. A new chapter. Change. Good-bye to the old, welcome to the new. We are forever in such a state. The cycle is part of life and will be always. 
 One more picture. This is the journey of my heart. Move on, but remember. Bench, trees, flowers. This forever-perpetuation cycle is filled with pain yet seasoned with Grace. The sun still shines on all that is both old and new. I walk away. I go back to enter the uncertainty. But I am resolved to savor the now. Because that is all I have. Remember. Worship. And let go.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quote of the Day



" I should be satisfied that joy and sorrow share a part in my life.
If sorrow shares the greediest part, I know joy's day will dawn,
and do more than recompense all my sad hours."

- Samuel Rutherford in Voices From the Past

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quote of the Day



"Grace withers without adversity. You can't sneak into Heaven
without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away
the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do any-
thing to perfect your image in us and make us fit for glory. We need
winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the
file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that
makes such deep furrows in my soul?"
- Samuel Rutherford in Voices From the Past 

Quote of the Day



"I love singing about my ignorance. It's the only thing 
I'm confident in anymore."
- Jason Gray,
Christian singer/songwriter

Jason, I love your beautiful thoughts! May God continue to speak through you...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remind Me

Some days I lose sight of my purpose, of who I am and what I was made for...of Who I am made for. I forget that I am created for God's pleasure and that He loves me more than I'll ever know. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, even more, to get caught up in myself, and fail to remember that I belong to God. How assuring to know that when I lose sight of Him, He never loses sight of me! "When I lose my way, and I forget my name, remind me who I am."


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Battling Change

 Change happens. I look around and see the colors of Fall deepening by the day. A few, short weeks ago, my backyard was green and bursting with flowers and new life. Now, everything looks so different: the leaves have turned into shades of red and gold, the nights are getting colder and leaving condensation sitting thick on the bedroom windows. An almost-dying is taking place, a transition into the season of dormancy. The months where life lies hidden underneath frozen ground and a white blanket of snow. 


As I ponder the new color scheme of the land around me, a thought occurs: as the seasons change so, too, do our lives. I've felt that also of late - new friendships, hard good-byes, losses mingled with gains. How we handle life's transitions, how we handle change, determines much of who we become. Humanly-speaking, all of us, to a certain extent, want to resist it, to fight that change or even to pretend that it doesn't exist. But to do so is to shut ourselves up to the fact that change isn't our enemy. That even in the seasons of life where change is constant, beauty and hidden grace are still realities. It's really all in how we choose to view it. Accepting that change happens could prove to be a turning point in our lives - a door to freedom. The freedom to see through to God, to learn more about ourselves, to thank and to live...fully. Like the dormant bulbs in the cold earth, Grace never stops flowing. It may be hidden for a time, but it is always there. Because He is always there! And that thought alone is enough to carry anyone through the shifting seasons of life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quote of the Day





"Nothing teaches us more about the preciousness of the Creator
as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else."
- Charles H. Spurgeon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Everlasting Praise

  Yesterday, I shared with you the story behind our National Anthem and the young man who wrote it - Francis Scott Key. Many would be surprised to know that he also possessed a very strong Christian faith and used his poetry-writing talents to reflect his belief in God. Today, as a follow-up to the previous post, I share with you another of his lesser-known poems and offer it as a prayer of thankfulness to the God I love:


Lord, with Glowing Heard I'd Praise Thee


Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love's devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-bourne fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Savior God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom's ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant's prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul's chief treasure,
Love's pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.

- Francis Scott Key

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Big 200!

 September 14th marks a special day in the history of the United States. On this day, two-hundred years ago, a poem was written that would later become our National Anthem. Our nation was in the throws of the War of 1812 against the British, and a young lawyer, Francis Scott Key, was aboard one of the ships outside Baltimore, Maryland. He was trying to negotiate the release of an American prisoner. He ended up spending the night on that ship due to the Battle of Baltimore, in which Fort McHenry was continuously bombarded by the British. Driving rain pelted the soldiers on both sides, and spectators like Francis Scott Key, and it became harder to see the giant flag above the fort, as smoke melded with fog and rain clouds. For hours, Key wondered who had won the battle...was our flag still flying there? He couldn't tell. 
  But then, as the morning dawned, and the smoke cleared, the flag once more appeared over the Fort! The Americans had held! Inspired by the scene that unfolded in front of him, Francis Scott Key penned four moving verses and called the poem, "The Battle of Baltimore." Sometime after, it was published in a local newspaper. Over a century later, in 1916, those words were adopted as our official National Anthem and became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner." 


 I find it interesting that we celebrate the anniversary of this poem's inception just days after 9/11, one of the worst tragedies ever to occur in our nation's history. Just as our flag flew high on the morning following the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, so, too did our flag still wave in the days that followed the terrorist attacks. The American spirit of triumph and faith has remained strong in the face of so many dark days. 
  Even though a lot of us can sing the words with great pride, many have never heard the full poem or have any knowledge that there are more verses than just the first. So, in honor of the two-hundreth anniversary of these immortal words being written, I now share with you "The Star-Spangled Banner" in its entirety. Thank you, Francis Scott Key, for continuing to inspire us with your beautiful words!


The Star-Spangled Banner


O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

- Francis Scott Key
          September 14, 1814

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quote of the Day




" Bowed at the edge of the world, Jesus asks me soft what He asked of 
the man born blind: 'What do you want Me to do for you?' 
Jesus, I am struggling and I get turned around, but I think I know, at 
least in part, what I want. If I had never run, if I had never fallen here,
I am not sure I would have known with blazing clarity. I may not know
all that it means, but this is what I want.
I whisper with the blind beggar, 'Lord, I want to see' (Luke 18:41)."
- Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts Devotional

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Point of Grace

 Sometime ago, I remember hearing this beautiful song called, "The Point of Grace." At the time, I was going through a very dark season of life, and I felt like God had abandoned me in my suffering. I was questioning almost everything I believed, and I doubted His goodness in great measure. Upon hearing these words, I realized that God will often speak to us in the worst moments of our lives. That the place of brokenness can still be the place of redeeming. That the light can still shine in the darkness. That beauty can still come from tears. I also realized that God still loved me in the midst of my pain and that I was never alone, as I once thought I was. Whatever it is that you're going through right now, be assured that God will bring you through it and that, through Him, your place of brokenness can become your point of Grace.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why We Must Remember

 Today marks a very sobering day in our nation's history. Thirteen years ago this morning, a handful of malicious and evil-intentioned men hijacked four airplanes and took the lives of over two-thousand people, thus changing our country's story forever.
  I was thirteen at the time, and I so clearly remember the aftermath of that tragic day and what it meant for my life and that of so many others. National Guard soldiers keeping vigilant watch in our airport, a large flag draped over the Pentagon, a cross emerging from the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center - these images are forever imprinted on my mind.
  I think of how much things have changed since then. We live in a very different world as a result of the events of 9/11. We are more aware of threats to our national security, our military service members have been heavily taxed in mind, body, and spirit due to the extended conflicts in the Middle East, many families have given the ultimate sacrifice  as their loved one died defending our precious freedoms.
   But I also think that what happened on this date has become less and less defining for us. Political solidarity that caused a divided nation to rally together has turned into partisan bickering and dis-unity. High support for our military has dropped to a point where some are even suggesting we're repeating the despicable treatment we gave returning troops in Vietnam. In a way, we've gone back to the way we were before 9/11.
   In thirteen short years, have we already forgotten? Do the heroic stories of bravery and patriotism no longer move us the way they once did?
I, for one, know that I am personally guilty of this, even though 9/11 changed my life in many ways: were it not for this horrible day in American history, I never would have ended up dedicating almost ten years to helping military service members and their families; I never would have learned the powerful lessons I did following the death of my friend Michael, who died while serving with the Marines in Iraq. I would not have given several years of my young life to standing up for the political causes I believe in, would never have had certain experiences or met some unique and special people along the journey. In many ways, 9/11 shaped my growing up years. It was the Pearl Harbor moment for my generation.


  As the years have gone on, I find myself more and more wishing, hoping, that we  would remember. Our world is moving on so quickly these days. It's easy to forget the lessons 9/11 taught us: to cherish your family, to believe in God, to be thankful for the country you live in, to stand up for what you know is right. Thirteen years isn't all that long, really. And many alive today are too young to remember how 9/11 changed history...how it changed us. Don't they deserve to learn these lessons also? Shouldn't they hear our stories, too?
   It shouldn't take an event of this magnitude to bring us together and teach us what self-less living is all about. Today, if you are old enough to recall 9/11, to remind yourself of what it means to be an American and to sacrifice for worthy ideals, do so, and encourage others to do the same. And even if you're too young to remember that day, talk to someone who does. Because remembering is what keeps apathy at bay. Remembering allows the lessons learned to stay fresh in the human mind and heart.
   On this sobering occasion, remember to thank God, most of all, that this tragedy hasn't been repeated and to ask for His continued mercy on our nation.
   In thirteen years, a lot can change...but a lot can remain the same if we're not watchful. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." By our remembering, may we prove this to be true, and may the acts of heroism, the deeds of kindness, the spirit of patriotism which we felt in the days that followed 9/11 remain with us forever and spur us on to nobler things. Today, I will remember. Will you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

" When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks...Something always comes to fill the empty places. And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I 'magnify him with thanksgiving' (Psalm 69:30), and God enters the world. What will a life magnify? The world's stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God? Never is God's omnipotence or omniscience diminutive. God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse. It's our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world turns right."
                            - Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Same Hands




I get out of the car to take a picture...because it is too beautiful a day not to stop and admire. These mountains: (R to L) McKinley, Hunter, Foraker, aren't usually seen this clearly. I stand there, and I thank - a moment of worship and tranquility beside a busy road. They drive on past, missing this scene of beauty. The world rushes on, but I determine not to miss these Grace moments. I realize that the same Hands that crafted these amazing mountains are the same Hands that created me. The same Hands the hold the world in place are the same Hands that hold mine and assure me that I do not walk through life alone. How could I not acknowledge Him? How could I not be grateful?
Because without those Hands guiding me, loving me, caring for me, I would be lost in this world with no One to thank. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Opposite Love

 I hear of yet another example of failing love - yet another relationship gone cold, of marital happiness now dead. It seems as though I've heard this storyline a lot recently. This dying love, this secret-keeping, this withholding appears to be everywhere, and I find myself asking questions: whatever happened to love being for the long haul? Does a truly loving life exist anymore? In a world of broken relationships, can real love endure? One sometimes doubts it...
 Somehow we've lost what it means to truly love. In searching out the highest example of it, God Himself, we realize that our expectations for love are so false. We expect love to be in sync with our feelings, but it isn't always so. Sometimes, love is loving against our feelings and knowing that, in time, our emotions will catch up to our commitment. We expect love to be equal - a 50-50 share in the relationship. But love is often unequal. There are times when the love we demonstrate is minimally returned, if at all. Especially when someone is hurting, it becomes even harder for them to return that love. God's love isn't equal to ours. He demonstrates limitless love to us, and we return it in such small measure. Are we surprised, then, when we receive the same? True love endures. no. matter. what. So often we give each other an out. With God and with one another, we think that when the going gets rough, when the love grows cold, that's the time to quit. 
  But what if we realized that these moments of suffering are really the crucible for love! What if we knew that love would grow stronger, would run deeper, because we chose to endure! Paul E. Miller writes in A Loving Life:
   
    " You can't flee the crucible. Love will not grow if you check out and give in to the 
     seductive call of bitterness and cynicism - or seek comfort elsewhere. We have to 
     hang in there with the story that God has permitted in our lives. As we endure, as 
     we keep showing up for life when it makes no sense, we learn to love, and God
     shows up too."

  Could this be true? Could this be the thing that so many people miss? How fleeting is human love! It can be so self-centered, so harmful. It takes an act of the Divine-love to be able to love differently, to endure the aforementioned "crucible." God must teach us how to love. To learn opposite love. Love that originates with the One who created it in the first place. God never quits on us or stops loving us. He keep showing up, even when we fail to love Him back. Opposite love, unequal love, is true love. Once we get ourselves out of the center, once we kill these false expectations about each other and God, perhaps we will get somewhere. Perhaps, were we willing to understand and to learn, we might discover that a loving life does exist. In a world of broken relationships, real love can, and will, endure.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Assurance

We all need assurance from time to time. We all need to be reminded that we're loved, that we're accepted no matter what. This song speaks of how God loves us, is with us, and cares for us wherever we go, that "as sure as the sun will rise...His mercy will not end." Whatever valley you may be walking through today, be comforted that God knows your name and will never fail you, no matter how hard life gets.


Friday, September 5, 2014

These Inward Trials


"I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request,
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

'Lord, why is this?' I trembling cried,
'Wilt thou pursue Thy worm to death?'
' 'Tis in this way,' the Lord replied,
'I answer prayer for grace and faith.

'These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'st seek thy all in me.'"

- John Newton

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quote of the Day

 " There's no doubt, the Why questions of suffering are utterly perplexing...We look for ways to manage pain. We medicate; we minimize; we moralize. We rage, and we run. We develop theories to explain what is happening to us. While they may temporarily help us to categorize and compartmentalize our thoughts and feelings, when true suffering comes, all our speculations fall flat. The Whys of suffering keep us shrouded in a seemingly bottomless void of abstraction where God is reduced to a finite ethical agent, a limited psychological personality, whose purposes measure on the same scale as ours. But since no one alive can see the beginning from the end, from the divine vantage point, we're left stranded in a prison of inscrutability. And sadly, we often prefer our confinement to the disorienting possibility that our suffering is actually ordained, that God is involved in it."
                          - Tullian Tchividjian in Glorious Ruin 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Always Morning...





"Think, every morning when the sun peeps through
The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
How jubilant the happy birds renew
Their old, melodious songs of love!
And when you think of this, remember too
'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
The awakening continents; from shore to shore,
Somewhere the birds are singing evermore."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quote of the Day




" I awaken to the strange truth that all new life comes out of the dark places...
Out of darkness, God spoke forth the teeming life...Out of the darkness of the
cross, the world transfigures into new life. And there is no other way. It is
 suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace.
And grace that chooses to bear the cross of suffering overcomes that suffering.
...I try to think straight, truest straight. My pain, my dark - all the world's pain,
all the world's dark - it might actually taste sweet to the tongue, be the genesis
 of new life? Yes. And emptiness itself can birth the fullness of grace because in
the emptiness we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace,
and there find all the fullness of joy."
- Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

"...I don't really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done - yesterday...In the beep and blink of the twenty-first century, with its 'live in the moment' buzz phrase that none of the whirl-weary seem to know how to do, who actually knows how to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync? To have the time to grab the jacket off the hook and time to go out to all air and sky and green and time to wonder at all of them in all this light, this time refracting prism. I just want time to do my one life well."
                 - Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts