Friday, November 30, 2012

Are you sure you're super woman?

This week I have struggled with anxiety big time. There's always a temptation for me to be anxious about things (can I get an amen here?) - it's just a part of being in a sinful world. The questions come one after the other...

Do I trust him? Or her?
Will I ever feel safe?
Will my money run out?
Will this circumstance ever change?
Does he love me?
Why is my neighbor crazy?
Why can't I control my body?
Why can't they understand?
Will the pain ever end?

And then another question comes...

Can I trust you, Lord? 

And then I have to give my heart a talking-to, and remind it gently that I can entrust myself to God's good, unfailing, and kind care. 

A friend posted the chart below, and it captures some helpful thoughts when all those questions come. Granted, some apply more now than others do, but I found it a really helpful tool to help me refocus. I want to be a woman who abides in God and continually throws myself on his grace and mercy. I don't want to be super woman (and, ironically, I can't be!). Amazing, amazing grace.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Speaking of thankful...

A few weeks ago, the sweet man in my life showed up to my front door with a bouquet of these in his hands and a big smile on his face.

This Thanksgiving I'm especially grateful for him.






Thursday, November 15, 2012

An invitation to partake freely

"As the earth drinks in the rain, as the sea receives the streams, as night accepts light from the stars, so we, giving nothing, partake freely of the grace of God. The saints are not, by nature, wells, or streams, they are but cisterns into which the living water flows; they are empty vessels into which God pours his salvation." Spurgeon

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the riches of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live." Isaiah 55

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Empty vessels filled

"As the earth drinks in the rain, 
as the sea receives the streams, 
as night accepts light from the stars, 
so we, giving nothing, partake 
freely 
of the grace of God. 

The saints are not, by nature, wells, or streams, 
they are but 
cisterns 
into which
the living water flows
they are 
empty vessels
into which
God 
pours his salvation."
 
Charles Spurgeon, Morning selection for November 8

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A firm heart

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

Thomas Paine

This kind of father

"God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home. In all three parables [in Luke 15] which Jesus tells in response to the question of why he eats with sinners, he puts the emphasis on God's initiative. God is the shepherd who goes looking for his lost sheep. God is the woman who lights a lamp, sweeps out the house, and searches everywhere for her lost coin until she has found it. God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, begs and urges them to come home.

[...]

God is not the patriarch who stays home, doesn't move, and expects his children to come to him, apologize for their aberrant behavior, beg for forgiveness, and promise to do better. To the contrary, he leaves the house, ignoring his dignity by running toward them, pays no heed to apologies and promises of change, and brings them to the table richly prepared for them."

Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son, p. 106

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

He first chose me

A selection from Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son:

"There is no doubt - in the parable or the painting - about the father's heart. His heart goes out to both of his sons; he loves them both; he hopes to see them together as brothers around the same table; he wants them to experience that, different as they are, they belong to the same household and are children of the same father.

As I let all of this sink in, I see how the story of the father and his lost sons powerfully affirms that it was not I who chose God, but God who first chose me. This is the great mystery of our faith. We do not choose God God chooses us. From all eternity we are hidden "in the shadow of God's hand" and "engraved on his palm." Before any human being touches us, God "forms us in secret" and "textures us" in the depth of the earth, and before any human being decides about us, God "knits us together in our mother's womb." God loves us before any human person can show love to us. He loves us with a "first" love, an unlimited, unconditional love, wants us to be his beloved children, and tells us to become as loving as himself."

P. 105-106

A deep comfort and huge challenge for me. Grateful that he is the father who, while we were still a long way off, runs to and embraces (Luke 15). Amazing love.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Life Verse(s)

It's always hard for me to choose just one thing, so here are my top three fifteen :)

"No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame." Psalm 25:3

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 145

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." John 10:27-28

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalm 84

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16

"This is love for God - to obey his commands, and his commands are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal." Isaiah 26:3-4

"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows..." Isaiah 53

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lose and you will Find


"With what misgivings we turn over our lives to God,
imagining somehow that we are about to lose everything that matters.

Our hesitancy is like that of a tiny shell on the seashore,
afraid to give up the teaspoonful of water it holds
lest there not be enough in the ocean to fill it again.

Lose your life, said Jesus,
and you will find it.

Give up,
and I will give you all .

Can the shell imagine the depth and plenitude of the ocean?

Can you and I fathom the riches, the fullness, of God's love?"

Elisabeth Elliot in The Path of Loneliness