Monday, September 26, 2011

I pity tha fool!

Today, the movie theater in my mind is stuck on all the goofy things I've done that make me feel foolish. A veritable montage of my mistakes, complete with sound effects. Cue a Simpson DOH! here. (For the record, I’ve never watched the show, nor do I endorse it, just saw a t-shirt re: the signature cry of dismay.)

I always say I have my vices, and they have lead me wayward in spectacularly entertaining ways---if it wasn’t my life, if emotions weren’t involved, and if embarrassment was actually fun.

But here’s the thing: “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Proverbs 26:12

How funny---how GOD---is that?! As awful as it is to feel sheepishly foolish over something I’ve done, if not for that I’d cruise along so blindly self-assured that I’d leave a horrific mess in my wake, totally oblivious to the damage done. I’d much rather go to God with my head tucked every once in a while---or daily as it is at times---and let Him work on me, then to live out my life so ridiculously. And so wasted.

So truly, I “pity the fool” who has no idea how awful/important it is so be keenly aware of human frailty.

This thought interrupted the reel in my head today just as it was about to start over: To let the mistakes of the past or the fear of new ones cripple or immobilize us is to make the work of the enemy far too easy. That's too good to be from my own head.

I am foolish at times, but a brilliant, lovely God shines through my broken places into the darkness of my surroundings. AND I WOULDN’T TRADE THAT FOR THE WORLD!!!!

Hope somebody finds some solace in this when his or her montage is on repeat.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

the disruptive nature of thoughts......

Music. Writing. Laughter. Connecting. Reflecting.

I am most myself when engaged in these things.

Music, particularly, is more than an interest or a hobby or something I do during worship service. I eat, sleep, and breathe it, cliche and all. There is a soundtrack for every mood, moment and occasion.

I have a friend who doesn't really listen to music. That baffles me. Better yet, I know of a woman whose husband hates music.

Hates music?!?!?!?

Now, there are some genres I'm not too crazy about, but to just pour it all into one bucket: the lilting, quirky beauty of folk music, the twang and heart of country, the pulsating invigoration of rock....and just throw it all out?


Lately, however, I've had a very subtle, unsettling thought, the kind that quietly causes me unrest, disrupting the flow of my life. These are generally the ones whose source is God because they are so stubbornly, often unpleasantly true.

..............Is it possible that I am too passionate about music?.....................Do I prize it over the Lord?..........

Music soothes me when I'm angry, celebrates and elevates my happiness, underscores and darkens my anguish. None of this is bad, per se.

But where is the Lord in the mix of all that? Do I reach for His arms when I'm stressed out, or do I turn on a song that I know will strike that proverbial chord in my spirit? Am I exchanging what is best for what is only permissible? He is a jealous God, after all. Maybe it bugs Him when I do that. After all, what He is, in all His splendor, is so much greater......all the facets and nuances of my beloved music are dwarfed by His majesty. I'm cheating myself in amounts ridiculous, really.

.....potent difference in singing about Him and singing to Him.....

just something to think about........cause I can't help but....

till we meet again......(I love the pauses created by superflous punctuation.) :o)

Friday, March 18, 2011

.........just a hot mess...........

Frustration grates the nerves, swells the emotions and diminishes patience. It rages silently about the ears and makes it hard to hear anything said, for the roar of all that you CAN NOT say is drowning it out.

Songs soothe me. Songwriting is something of which I am almost in awe, I guess because I adore words. I do.

So, since I can't hardly process this moment in time, I'll let a song tell my heart's tale:

Verse 1:

You say, strength is found weakness,
Peace in incompleteness, so why do I hold on?

Pre Chorus:

You look for a heart thats open,
For beauty in the broken,
So why am I withdrawn?
My soul's screaming out, <-------
To be found in You.


Spirit, draw me to my knees.
Captivate all of me, all of me.
Here before You, honestly,
Captivate all of me, all of me.

Verse 2:
I'm so messy and distracted,
Undisciplined and tactless here on the inside
I thought age would tell the secrets,
But the secrets are still secret.
And the years are passing by.

Pre Chorus

Teach me to wait in the moments of my need,
Teach me to hear the melodies of peace.


The highlighted lines are some of my favorite lyrics ever, because they are so me. I am a mess, a hot mess. I grapple constantly with the fact that God uses me. It often makes me incredulous.

The second half of the same verse: I thought age would tell the secrets, but the secrets are still secret, and years are passing by. Roughly 50 days into my 26th year, I thought I'd know a few more things than I do. There are some things I'm steady asking about, and I can almost feel God just standing there, refraining from speaking. I trust Him. He's soveriegn. He gets to choose, gets to say. Just wish He'd say.....something.

And the chorus---captivate all of me. Anyone else have this absurd mindset about fitting more of Jesus in?? Into my thinking, my actions, my day, my my my. I must lose myself in Him, SELF being the operative word. ALL of me.  Three short letters. Monstrous to put into action.

Teach me to wait in the moments of my need,
Teach me to hear the melodies of peace.

Here's where I share my favorite scripture: "Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness." Psa. 143:10

I am so glad He's a teacher. Because I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing some days. And today, especially, I need to hear the melodies of peace, that beautifully intangible, silent help.

Sorry, guys. This one's all over the's just one of those days.....


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enduring the Ache...

It is an almost tangible thing; this quietly roaring longing to do....something....for God. To find that place, that task, for which God has designated and designed my particular assembly of abilities. Bro. Anthony teaches that we are all ministers, that we are all called to reach and to do something for God. I believe that with all of my heart.

And I do that. I'm involved in a few wonderful ministries. I love my church. No matter where I go, POA will always be where my journey with the Lord began, and I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the men and women of God who have spoken into my life on that campus. But this is something else.....more than choir practice on Tuesday nights, POA Kids on Wednesdays. More than an awesome creative worship routine. More than anything I've ever found to put my hands forth and do........

When I see the pictures of all those beautiful faces of the children in the Philippines, when I hear about AIM work in Greece, something stirs in me. Something strong. It is a desire to be used, to go and do, WHATEVER He wants me to do. Truly, whatever. Something jumps up within me. And restraining it is getting more and more difficult, but I think that's part of this process I keep talking about....

Now, I've always been concerned about the will of God in and for my life. Missteps seem so disastrous, and I shudder at the thought of anything but what He has for me. And I know something's coming. But what? Preachers are called. That's what I've been taught. Well, I'm no preacher, but something resonates within me from time to time. I suppose it is the deep in me responding to the deep in Him. And lately, each time that chamber echoes out a silent pulse of energy, it's all I can do to sit still. It's getting stronger, shaking loose any fear or hesitation. Because I'm human. And the immensity of a God-calling is, well, immense. I have fears. Uncertainties. But the thought of arriving in Heaven having done less than what He's called me to do is just so tragic. Not because I'm so great and God has hand-selected me to be better than any other spirit-filled Christian. False. I have no such dillusions of grandeur. I am just so convinced that He knows me and loves me so well, that what He has designed for me will be the most beautiful, fulfilling, incredible journey, far exceeding anything I could dream up for myself.

And this ache, this beautiful and horrible stirring, is a part of that. For I am grateful to know what it is to long in this way. The alternative is to be asleep in Zion, oblivious that there is anything more to have. And there is so much more. Every time I feel that ache, every time the stirring gets stronger, I rejoice even as I grimace. As crazy as it may sound, that ache is preparing me, growing me, stretching me, driving me. For the day will come---I know this---that the call will go forth, fully awakening whatever this is within me, and the only response will be to go, to do. Fear and hesitation will not be ropes, chains or fences, merely cobwebs to brush off and then step forth. This place is exciting, frustrating, challenging and wonderful, all at the same time.

So, if this makes no sense at all, sorry, I'll try to do better next time. But, if you're struggling to read this through tears and feeling a similar ache pound in your chest, please know that you are not alone. And great things are coming. But first, you and I must endure the ache.......

Monday, February 21, 2011

pseudo-romantical musings

I may not even post this...

Relationships are hard. We bring who we are into them, and not just the adorable parts. The hurt parts. The broken parts. The unattractive, downright ugly parts. And letting another flawed individual into those parts, letting them see it all, is risky. There's trust involved. So much trust.

This blog is called the progress and process of love, right? Process is most assuredly the word.

I am happy to say that I have accepted the love of God down deeper inside of myself than I ever dreamed possible. I know as certainly as I'm breathing that He loves me, even those ugly parts. I still have times when I don't want to show Him certain parts of me. They seem so ugly in the presence of One so beautiful. But He handles me with such care. His touch is so gentle when passing over our broken parts.

A year or so ago, I struggled with letting Him love me. That looks absurd even as I type it. Nothing I have ever done or will do could change how much He loves me. But I held Him at bay. Said things like, Lord, You don't want me. I know me. Really, why do you love me? Why? Why?

That three letter word ripped me apart at times. Taunting me. Raising up old hurts and mistakes, for why would a God so good, love someone so bad? Wrestling with this was the most intimate, quiet struggle to date in my life. But I am so glad to have done just that, wrestled with why God loves me, mainly because I love the answer:

He just does.

Yep. It's that small, that simple, and the most profoundly revolutionary faith moment in my (now) 26 years. He, God Almighty, loves me, passionately, jealously, fervently, and for absolutely no good reason at all. The acceptance of this one fact has quieted so many feverish worries and anxieties...but I've talked about that before.

Still, accepting the perfect love of God that casts out all fear, took some time, was a process, and is one that is not complete for me.

So, humanity gets thrown into this scenario with that big, powerful (often over-used) word, LOVE. Those who don't have it, wonder. Those who have found it, seem to strive to maintain it. Because if accepting the love of God is hard.....

yeah, like I said, relationships are hard. and people who don't pray about them are crazy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the cutest little fear

Insomnia, if nothing else, provides time to think............about the lessons I've learned in  life, the ones I'm trying to grasp.....and the blog I randomly started the other day.

So, once again, here goes: (I promise to improve the informality of this loose writing. Forgive me, I'm rusty)

Another big part of my journey (I love that word, and it just occured to me that I'm interrupting myself. Oops.)

The cutest little fear: that moment when your stomach drops to your feet, your heart races, and you wish with all your soul that the earth would swallow you up, just so you'd have a place to hide. Yeah, that's the one. The one I lived with for years. The one everybody coddles, coos at and moreorless accepts.

I'm talking about shyness. It may seem like an endearing quality. It's NOT!!

I'm about to get very transparent, here. Prepare yourself. I was terrified of social situations for years. Any situation that required me speaking for myself, I avoided. Ordering for myself at a restaurant made me extremely nervous. At the root of all this shyness was such intense self-consciousness (just made up a word, moving on) that it pretty much crippled me. I only talked to people I knew well, made eye contact rarely, and decided someone did not like me on the basis of minute so-called indications.

What I'm describing is a  mobile prison, closely monitoring every move I made in public. I mean, I moved to Alexandria in junior high; I didn't attend my first youth service at POA until I was 16.

So many fears are prayed about, dealt with and faced with a strong desire for deliverance. Shyness is an all-seeing master for someone afflicted, yet it's often seen as cute or sweet. There's nothing cute about being petrified of situations that most deal with easily.

Shyness could have held me back from so much. When I talk about things I've been able to do, it's my testimony. I've never done drugs or alcohol. But I have been delivered of shyness, slowly but surely. Shy girls don't try out for choir or go on trips with that choir. Shy girls don't try out for solos and get them. Shy girls don't act goofy for the kids church service in front of the whole blooming church, flying by the seat of her skirt. (Pentecostal humor.) I'm not trying to prop myself up; these are my trophies of grace.

I have been blessed to do soooo many things, only because I don't let my shyness stop me.

That's right. MYshyness. Because it is still mine. I have my moments: when I'm surrounded by people I don't know well, when I know I'm about to get in front of a group to speak, when someone makes a face about something I've said. I still feel the need to retreat, but it's nowhere near as strong as it once was. Instead of a crippling sensation, it's more like an occasional twinge.

Shyness is a fear. One that can be faced and conquered.

For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chapitre Un

Wow. I'm a newbie to this blogging thing, and don't feel particularly brilliant right now, but here goes. (oops, run-on, shame on me.)

I suppose I could start by explaining the title. The biggest part of my journey with God deals with His love, which makes sense because God = Love, remember? Well, if you're anything like this born-and-raised 5th generation Pentecostal, that's something you've heard over and over, but never heard in that quiet space between your heart and your mind. This last year has been the greatest and the worst with finally letting the fact that God is love echo and reverberate in that chamber, again and again, until the certainty of that fact liberates, comforts and compells me. Some days I have to do it continually in order to combat all the junk within and without me.

See, I fell in love with God's love to a deeper degree about 6 months ago. A light came on. And an accompanying one turned on within, and its warmth is something I cannot live without. I won't. And a deeper, fuller, more impacting certainty of the fact that God loves me, and thus He will never leave me, has served to liberate me to a degree I'm still grappling to understand. Seriously, the ramifications of God's love are innumerable.

He died for our sins....because He loves us. He longs to hear about everything we go through (prayer).....because He loves us. He doesn't want us to give up and walk away from Him when we screw up.....because He loves us. And obviously, these statements don't even scratch the surface.

But all those are beautiful, religious platitudes. The love of God has gotten into my every day. I can get up in front of a group of 150 plus in kids church and teach a lesson because no matter how it goes, He will be there and He loves me. If I try to witness to someone and make an idiot of myself, so what? He still loves me. If I get up to do a monologue in front of the whole church, shaking like a leaf, He is right there at my elbow, supporting me all the way. There is liberty and freedom to try all kinds of new things, for "all things are possible with God," especially one who loves me. (really? me?)

And the biggest lesson in the stupendous, amazing, rich, powerful love of an almighty God is this: when your grandfather passes away totally unexpectedly on November 19th, 2010, a man woven into the very fabric of every single childhood memory, when that man is suddenly just gone, the love of my God is one that wraps you up when the sobs are such that breath is nearly impossible.

The love of God isn't just nice. It's not a Hallmark card, or a cheesy speech from a chick flick. It is a necessary support system undergirding my next step and protectively carrying me when my feet simply won't move. I need His love. But accepting and internalizing that love into that quiet space I talked about is a process. And that's the biggest part of my journey.....probably one that will end only on that great day I get to see His wonderful face....and finally tell my PawPaw just how much I loved him.