Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Big & Small

"If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things. It is we, of course, to whom things look "little" or "big." Amy Carmichael wrote:

There is no great with Thee, there is no small, 
For Thou art all, and fillest all in all."

Let Me Be A Woman
Elisabeth Elliott

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Enough for one day at a time

"The truth is that none of us knows the will of God for his life. I say for his life - for the promise is "as thou goest step by step I will open up the way before thee." He gives us enough light for today, enough strength for one day at a time, enough manna, our "daily" bread [...]

Single life may be only a stage of a life's journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day.  The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived - not always looked forward to as though the "real" living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow."

Let Me Be A Woman
Elisabeth Elliott

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gifts: Given not Chosen

"...we do not choose gifts, remember? We are given them by a divine Giver who knows the end from the beginning, and wants above all else to give us the gift of Himself. It is within the sphere of the circumstances He chooses for us - single, married, widowed - that we receive Him. It is there and nowhere else that He makes Himself known to us. It is there we are allowed to serve Him."

Let Me Be A Woman
Elisabeth Elliott

Monday, February 25, 2013

George


So, I ran to CVS to get a couple things for the office the other day and ran into my sweet homeless Veteran friend, George. He always sits right outside of CVS, cupping his plastic cup in one hand and shaking it for more change. My heart always goes out to him. I bought him a sandwich on my way out and stopped to give it to him. I said George, “I wish I could give you a hot meal from my house, but since I can’t here’s this sandwich. Can I pray for you?” He said yes and I put my hand on his shoulder and just prayed for him and asked the Lord to help him know that this was a sign of God’s love for him, just as Jesus was. And then I told him, “You know God loves you, right?” and he said, “Yes. He brought me home, didn’t he?” And I said, “And George if you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus to forgive you, God will bring you home to heaven one day. That’s really home.” And he just shook his head. Was a sweet moment. 

Please join me in praying for George.

Cooperation for our good


"My providences shall cooperate for your good. The cross winds shall blow sooner and more swiftly to your harbor. You shall be preferred when you seem most debased, and be the greatest gainers when you seem to be the deepest losers. I will most effectually promote your good when you seem most to deny it. Things to come are yours: the perfecting of your souls, the redemption of your bodies, and the consummation of your bliss."

The Precious Promises of the Gospel, p. 31

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perspective in trials

"There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter?"

Spurgeon on 2/18

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Come and ruin me with your love


Friend for life who took my pain
The cleansing flood You remain
Wash over me till I can't be seen

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Friend for life I'll carry on
Through the power of this blood
Let it spill over, over till I can't be seen

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
And Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
And come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Deep is the stain inside of me
Deeper the River washes me clean
I've been the one who cries in the night
You've been the Friend of my life

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Friday, February 22, 2013

Work: A gift, privilege, and offering


“This job has been given to me to do. 

Therefore, it is a gift. 

Therefore, it is a privilege. 

Therefore, it is an offering I may make 
to God. 

Therefore, it is to be done gladly,
if it is done for Him. 

Here, 
not somewhere else, 

I may learn

God’s way.

 In this job,
not in some other, 

God looks for faithfulness.”

― Elisabeth Elliot

Thursday, February 21, 2013

See ya later, caffeine

Reasons why a caffeine-free life has blessed me:

-It helps me to sleep better
-It helps my mind wind down at night
-It helps me to get up in the morning
-It eases my anxiety
-I can't "taste" the difference between caffeinated and decaf, so I'm not missing out #baha
-It helps me feel more regulated
-It reduces the afternoon crash
-It helps me notice if my thyroid meds are working properly
-I don't get a headache from withdrawal #yeyas
-It has helped me to feel more steady in my moods/attitude

Just a few little insights. It has been a great switch for me!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LASIK: Not for the faint-hearted

Listen, I'm the first person to admit I'm a total sissy when it comes to pain. My tolerance is low and if an epidural was an option for lasik eye surgery, I would've signed up for it. #ridiculous

Anyway, so this year I decided to continue my new tradition (#not) and have surgery again. This time it was my choice, and I was thrilled at the possibilities of LASIK doing magical things to correct my vision. I went in for testing, found out I was a candidate, and was giddy anticipating the future end result.

What I forgot was that it was still a surgery... which involves pain. And nausea. And nervousness.

So, the Saturday morning comes and I arrive at the office and I am on the edge of losing it. I'm nervous and I haven't slept. There were some other factors involved that made my mind spin a bit, and needless to say, I was a hot mess.

So, I waited in the surgery room for a little while. It was cold; I was nervous. Half of the people in the room were in these blue blocker / 90's sunglasses (which I had a feeling I would be wearing sooner rather than later). And a mother and daughter came out together. They both began to talk about how their "eyes almost popped out of their body" and the various smells and sounds. I had no other choice but to speak up and tell them that if they continued to talk about the details, I was probably going to throw up. Bless their hearts; they apologized and looked down (with their blue blockers on) and just sat in silence. Of course that made me laugh, so I was thankful they couldn't actually see me...

So, a little while later, my number gets called and I'm up. The doctor looks at me and says, "Because of your age and large prescription, it's likely you'll have to have this done again sometime in the future."

Um... hold please. That's the first I've heard of that...

So, she goes on to explain the risks and I tell her to proceed. I asked her for something to help me calm down, as I was really nervous. And she said she couldn't give me anything. Next thing I know, I'm under this MRI master blaster machine, holding two teddy bears, as my eye lid is being taped back to my forehead (exaggeration) and there I am, face to face with the machine that will cut my cornea and shoot a laser into my little eye. Oh my stars.

Pause. This is the gross part.

So, they make the flap and then zap me with the laser for a couple minutes. I start feeling nauseated because I smell something burning... which was my eye tissue (#woof). Then amazingly, I begin to see the laser... clearer, and clearer until it was finally clear! So amazing.

Then they flipped me and did the other eye (my left). And this part was a disaster. They cut the eye flap too small and were unable to perform the corrective surgery on my left eye. Such a bummer. I knew something was wrong. They had me wait in a dark room by myself for 30 minutes as they deliberated on whether to operate further or let it heal and try again in six weeks.

So, there I was in a dark room by myself, not able to see... bawling my eyes out like a little tyke... the doctor walks in and says, "wow, you are a hot mess." #notokay

We discuss options and they decide not to proceed. Ruined all my big plans of quick healing, one stop shop surgery, etc. I was so bummed...

BUT in moments like these, God is kind to make us stop and think. And I really saw this as an insight into my heart.

Sometimes having one eye that sees and one eye that is blind is a metaphor for our hearts. We understand objectively why things happen the way they do, or maybe we understand some objective reasons behind God's providence (ie - the seeing eye). And then the other side of our heart can't see, and is broken, and hurting, and things aren't clear at all (ie - the blind eye). As I think about it more and more, my physical situation was a metaphor for my heart.

In six weeks, we'll attempt the surgery again. By that time, tulips will be out, the sun will shine more, cherry blossoms will be in full bloom, and summer will be just weeks away. I will be healed in my right eye, I will be working on projects at work, I will have visited with many friends who are coming into town, and I will probably chop my hair off because I am impatient. And you know what, my heart will be healed more, too. It would be a waste to go through this situation, or any disappointment, and turn up on the other side just the same as you were before. God designs these trials for our good and for his glory, and his design might be to hurt us (for our good), but never to harm us.

Trusting him in this. He will prove faithful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I need you


I can walk through the storm 
I can walk by faith when my sight is gone 
Just as long as You are here with me 
And I can gain everything 
But what do I have if I don't have the King? 
Oh I need to know You're here with me 

Here I am, I'm calling out, "Father, 
Can You hear me, can You hear me? 
I don't wanna to go without You 
Here I am, can You talk a little louder 
So I can hear You? I want to hear You 
I don't wanna to move without You." 

Even though I believe 
You've taken up a home inside of me 
And You'll never leave 
I still need to know You're here with me 

Here I am, I'm calling out, "Father, 
Can You hear me, can You hear me? 
I don't wanna to go without You 
Here I am, can You talk a little louder 
So I can hear You? I want to hear You 
I don't wanna to move without You." 

If Your presence goes, I don't wanna stay 
If Your presence stays, I don't wanna go 
If Your presence goes, I don't wanna stay 
If Your presence stays, I don't wanna go 
I need You 

Here I am, I'm calling out, "Father, 
Can You hear me, can You hear me? 
I don't wanna to go without You 
Here I am, can You talk a little louder 
So I can hear You? I want to hear You 
I don't wanna to move without You." 

Here I am, I'm calling out, "Father, 
Can You hear me, can You hear me? 
I don't wanna to go without You 
Here I am, can You talk a little louder 
So I can hear You? I want to hear You 
I don't wanna to move without You." 

Hast thou not seen?


"Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?"


Today I'm praising the God who ordains our trials and our triumphs.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.

I choose to trust Him.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Being transformed

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory."

2 Corinthians 3:18

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A thought about the wounded

"All people need to be treated gently and respectfully, especially those who have been wounded.  They will be unusually sensitive to rough handling.  Nevertheless, all people must be challenged to see that their self-centeredness hasn't been caused by people who hurt them; it's only been aggravated by the abuse.  And they must do something about it, or they're going to be miserable forever...." 

Tim Keller

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I once was blind, literally

Today I'm getting LASIK surgery! Since 1993, I have been blind as a jolly bat and today I will have a procedure that will give me better sight than I can receive with corrective lenses - amazing! Here are a few things I'm anticipating:

-Nervousness that my eyes are going to be chopped and lasered #happythoughts
-Waking up in the morning and being able to see - oh my stars!
-Going to sleep and as I fade off to sleep, being able to see - ahh!
-Not ever having to wear contact lenses again - hip hip, hurrah!
-Not ever having to get on all fours and search for my glasses (that mysteriously fell behind my bed in the middle of the night).
-Being able to open my eyes under water while swimming! (and not risking running face-first into the pool wall and chipping more of my front teeth #awesome)
-Random sleepovers without worry of bringing contact solution or cases.
-NAPS
-Traveling internationally with less hassle.
-Having blue eyes instead of green (just kidding, silly).
-General happiness :)

SEE you next time :) #hehe

Friday, February 15, 2013

January

January was a pretty difficult month. At church last weekend, our pastor encouraged us to pray and thank God for trials and praise him in the midst of them. So, I want to thank God for January by listing out some of the wonderful things that happened during that wintry month.

-Rested in California and spent mornings on the beach, listening to the waves, journaling and going on long walks.

-Threw a surprise birthday party without ruining the surprise with my giddiness.

-Had wonderful conversations with my bosses at work.

-Luke and I shared the Gospel with a stranger on an airplane and we are still in contact with him. It's been an answer to both of our prayers, and God seems to be really drawing this young man to himself.

-I got to clean my house a lot, which I love, and which gives me a lot of joy #BAHA

-I went mini golfing... indoors... hilarious.

-It snowed several times and I drove in it without getting in a wreck.

-I went home to Texas and enjoyed a glorious weekend with my parents, including a shopping trip to Sam Moons, Stein Mart, and a wonderful pedicure. Even though I got sick while I was there, I was thankful for competent doctors and their willingness to give me whatever I asked them for #steroidshot #ohhelpme

-Sweet, sweet friends who shoulder my burdens and tell me things like, "Lose the ice queen act" and "you need to loosen up and have fun."

-DOWNTON ABBEY #ohmystars #whatsgoingtohappen??!

-My roommate, Mary, and our Monday night pajama dates.

-BSF, Genesis, and the life of Abraham - an imperfect man who was the object of God's mercy. And my brother from another mother.

-Decaffeinated tea and coffee. Without which I could not happily live :)

-IPHONE - how did I ever live, find my way, remember what groceries to buy, or check the temperature without you? (let alone communicate with my family and see pictures of my nephews all. the. time.)

-A weekend retreat to Vienna to clear my mind, nap, journal, rest, laugh and each Chinese food with a dear friend.

-The book of John and Mark Dever's preaching. Oh, and 90-minute sermons. #ilovechbc

-Progress in counseling and a heart filled with hope for the good things to come. #psalm103

-Forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption.

I have definitely been treated better than I deserve, and my blessings outweigh my burdens.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - the one year mark

One year ago, I was sitting in my surgeon's office with two dear friends by my side as I received the news that I needed thyroid surgery... Just two weeks prior, I was having a routine check up when my doctor reached over to touch my neck and felt a large growth on my neck. Days later, an appointment with a specialist and an order for a biopsy. Hours after that, abnormal results came in and it was time to see the surgeon... And there I was, sitting in a small little office at Georgetown University Hospital, with my ten pages of questions and two friends by my side, not knowing what the future would hold.

And two weeks after that, I was being rolled into surgery, big crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks, and one of the sweetest memories of God's nearness - I am really blind as a bat (which will soon be a thing of the past - LASIK here I come!), but I do remember the anesthesiologist cupping my face and gently wiping the tears from my eyes as she softly reassured me that everything would be okay. And I lifted my head and saw the entire surgery team looking at me. They all were standing calmly and each of them put a hand on my arms and legs and waited for me to drift off. It was one of several sweet memories I had that day.

So, here I am on Valentine's Day this year. I have a red scar on my neck reminding me of the many things that have changed this past year. It reminds me that something has been removed and replaced. It reminds me of deeper truths that God heals our hearts just as he heals our bodies. And, in his grace, he removes our sin ever so precisely, just as a surgeon cuts away a tumor.

So, I look at my scar and touch it and praise God for this strange gift. It is a reminder to me each day that he cares for me and knows my body, but also my inmost being (Psalm 139). And this Valentine's Day (and all the other ones to come), I will always be reminded to thank God for his provision.

"You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life verse

One of a million, but currently a resounding theme in my life:

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

True today and true forever

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

Monday, February 11, 2013

The most glorious interplay of justice and mercy

"It is nearly impossible to wrap words around the wonder of this event [ie: Jesus dying on the cross for sinners]. Death on a cross was considered to be an ignoble, shameful death, reserved for the most despicable criminals. The Cross appeared to be the Evil One's most successful, glorious moment. He'd destroyed God; he'd disrupted the one relationship - the Trinity - that seemed to be independent of his control. The satisfaction in the heart of the Devil as he shamed glory must have been beyond measure.

But the Cross, like a brilliant conundrum, was, in fact, the height of glory. What appeared to be the death of God, the shaming of the prized only begotten Son of the Most High, and the dissolution of the Trinity was actually the most glorious interplay of justice and mercy, worked out in perfect harmony by all members of the Godhead. It was the powerless disarming the strong, and the shameful shaming the proud.

This is the heart of the gospel, and it is based on a tremendous irony. God won the greatest war of all - the war against the Devil himself - not by killing, but by dying. When Jesus died on the cross, He incisively defeated Satan and all of his evil hordes."

Dan Allender
Bold Love, p. 121

AMEN! So encouraged by this chapter on Our Divine Warrior. I was reminded that this life is a battle - in fact, a war. And there is an enemy who encroaches on what is not his (John 10 says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy). And there is God, who contends with those who contend with his own (Psalm 35). And he is guaranteed to win the battle. Wow. What an amazing God.

I was really, really encouraged by the Shane and Shane song called Embracing Accusation this week. I hope you listen to it and I hope that the truth echos in your hearts, minds, souls throughout the week like it has been in mine. Jesus saves. Why me? Praise God for his grace - not anything I deserve, but just a free gift because He chooses who he loves. And those he calls he chooses and keeps until the day he takes us home.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

God really is for us

"God is for us far more, at times, than we would prefer. He is committed to removing all vestiges of sin from our soul when we wish He'd be satisfied with a clean new outfit. His interest in us far exceeds our concerns. Our perspective is usually limited to achieving a better life, and His desire for us is radical conformity to his Son's perfect character. No wonder He seems like an enemy when His discipline begins to grind off our arrogance in order to perfect His beauty.

God wars against us like a surgeon who uses a knife to cut out a malignant tumor. The knife cuts through flesh and muscle. It draws blood and causes terrible pain. But the purpose is redemptive. He is destroying disease and ugliness that, left unattended, would eventually destroy the whole organism. God's sometimes ruthless discipline is directed toward those He loves, not toward those who are outside the claim of His blood."

Dan Allender
Bold Love, p. 118