honestmiracle

I want to see the miraculous.

>>hmph. or what I believe to be miraculous.

In all honesty, Abba, I want you to send blessings from Heaven

in the form of a man or a woman

who, for some reason, feels compelled to pay for

all of my  current student loans. All of my future schooling.

And then I want that peace of mind that would likely follow that miracle.

…..

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Forget Me Not

Faith and trust are often overlooked.

We assume that because we believe in a supreme being, we’ve covered all of our bases. God, faith, hope, trust…all of it, nailed. But we’ve missed the point.

He wants a relationship. He wants intimacy. And He wants the moments when you don’t trust Him.

He wants you to call out and say, “I don’t believe you, but I want to. Help me. Have mercy on me.” (Mark 9:24).

He wants you to acknowledge the icky parts of your life that would threaten to disarm, discourage you, dismantle you. The things you’re thinking about right now… The ones that keep your lips sealed shut in the presence of friends and your heart mindlessly numbed in your loneliness. He wants all of that.

For me, those moments took the form of overarching statements – things I proclaimed to be true, simply because investigating the foundations of my claims would be too painful.

  1. “God has left me in a season of wanting for too long. I suppose this is the life He has chosen for me. I think He wants me to remain in a place where I do not receive my deepest desires.”
  2. “Okay, I know He is good. He can rescue me from X and Y, but I really don’t see how He can do Z. I’m not in any circumstance where that could be possible right now.”

Readers, understand that these are lies and that they do not reflect the character of my God. Here was His answer:

Last night, I caught up on long-overdue readings by starting in my favorite book: Psalms. I flipped to the center and began with Psalm 77. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I was not alone in my frail trust!

When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted… You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days…when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

Wow. I can’t count the amount of times I have prayed almost the exact words expressed in this Psalm. All of the hurt and waiting and longing leads to one very human conclusion: this is my life now. Sadness and dejection are what God is pleased to see me live.

No. No, friends, if you have ever said these words – as I have – I beg you to continue reading this passage.

BUT THEN I recall all you have done, O Lord. I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works…

And the writer goes on to describe God’s extraordinary intervention. My favorite is verse 19: “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there!”

Hmph. Isn’t that an answer to my unbelief which stemmed from not being able to see how He would do something? I don’t need to see the details; I just need to know and trust that they are there. The plan is there. More importantly, He is there.

And in response to only trusting “half” of God’s power (which isn’t possible, by the way. He’s an all-or-nothing kind of God), Psalm 78 described Israel’s relationship with Him as they were led through the desert.

They stubbornly tested God in their hearts… “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”

And that grieved Him. It must grieve Him when I do it, too. I’ll acknowledge some of His greatness and wonder, but undermine the grand implications of such an undeserved gift by saying, “but He didn’t do this for me, so He probably can’t.”

Ouch.

God did give Israel the things they needed, by the way. He even gave them the things they wanted, causing birds to fall from the sky and into their camps so they could have the meat they so desired. But they forgot Him again, and He corrected them.

Forgive me, Abba. Forgive me for all the times I have forgotten you, or have been too lazy to learn who You are.

And for you, friends, I deeply hope that you will learn His character today. He is not one to abandon you or throw you into misery. Follow Him and take His hand, dear friends. He knows the way.

Could You Love Without Words?

Do you know what it is to love without words?

To speak absolutely nothing and show, act, demonstrate. 

To brush the cheeks of the sick or offer to fetch a glass of water or sit and listen with intent ears.

Do you know how to be sensitive to the beating of a heart? To feel the rhythm and to know when som  ething is jus t  off  bea   t?

Can you understand what a face means? Know a person enough to distinguish between happy and sad, and – what’s more –

can you risk yourself for the sake of intimacy? Can you invest your heart wholly and completely, expecting nothing in return yet expecting to lose everything for the sake of another’s cause? Can you expect to love the little quirks about someone and allow their life to become a part of yours?

Can you appreciate the time you enjoy in the present and be willing to embrace the road’s continuation or detour in the future?

*   *   *

I have no words to describe this thing I’m putting into words. I have no explanation of the beauty, the messiness, the persistence, the prayers, the sacrifice, the discomfort, the fun, the warmth, the joy, the peace, the rawness

that goes into love.

A word is nothing if is not connected to an action.

I know this:

if our actions of love ever become diminished, we are in trouble. If we ever lose sight of the immensity and depth, the non-romantic passion, and the devoted desperation of a blind faith (one where we see everything and choose the good), we will be sorry.

We will deeply regret it.

We will say, “I love you.” And they will respond, in their hearts, “You do not.” But we will both smile, souls dead, and accept that this is reality now, and love has ambiguous meaning.

And we will run through the town despairingly, hands held out in anguish, eyes begging for a truth.

We will ask every living creature the questions that were already answered: “Why am I empty?” “Why do I still feel alone?” “Who am I?” “What is love?”

We will curse love and the notion of its existence; spit on the ground in front of any soul with glistening eyes and peaceful chest who claims to know what it is. We will become the scholars who look at an object and say, “I cannot understand the object’s existence; therefore, it does not.” And forbid anyone disagree with our doublespeak.

But He will remind us of the moment when He bowed his head, relinquished His life-healing hands to the control of chains, and walked a silent road to a hill – one initially created to reflect His face  – so that He could love us without words. He will whisper about how He took everything that threatened to confuse our perception of His character… the loneliness, fear, hatred, anger, doubt, vanity, self-loathing… and bore it on His back, in His hands, in His feet, in His side. He will point us to the  moment when He publicly declared and defined His love for all eternity.

How dare we ask if we could love without words? He has freely given us the ability to do so.

We’ve only been too foolish to accept it.

 

 

Joy Comes in the Morning…

I’m writing to you right now because I can, and that’s a blessing in and of itself.

I’m writing to you because Abba is a healer and the restorer of all things.

This morning I woke with pain, confusion, anger, sadness,

feelings of lack, feelings of incompetence, feelings of hopelessness.

I sat up, (breathe), contemplated the day ahead:

“You have to go to class. You have to go to class.”

“No, you don’t. Lie down here. Rest.”

Five times the battle, then I did as I was told. I “rested…”

Except this was no rest; this was talking, dissuading, feeling all things wrong…

There was no joy this morning.

(Freeze). I froze. 

and then I knew I needed help.

But Abba already knew…

To sleep He put me. Then rest I did, and dream I did, and I woke with a motivation to move –

one I did not prompt of my own accord.

>> That voice threatened to claim my accord. It would’ve had me  lie there forever, curtains closed, stomach growling, mind dreaming of things it claimed I’d never be able to have. The voice would’ve liked me to waste away, aiming to spite those who’d hurt me. This, then, was the battle for my accord.

But Abba has all might.

He intervened, and today He brought me friends. He taught me to dial their numbers, to reach out for help, to give up my pride, and to let Him guide me.

So thank you to Alexis, who flew by my side and sat with me once Abba had told me to rise. Thank you to Martha, whose sweet words were as near to my heart as our friendship has become. Thank you to Anna, who spoke truth and life into me with consistency, power, and tenderness. Thank you to my friends for obeying my Father’s voice.

Now through my veins courses the Spirit of redemption; the Spirit of the Helper, who snatches me from the pits without my consent…who grabs my hand like a parent does a child’s, and leads me from the strangers who promise fulfillment and a smile.

It is as if He is the cure, and His immediate exposure – though I never specifically asked – caused a joy and peace (neither being my own) to become part of my existence and part of today’s events. I walked, I smiled, I ate, I felt the things good; and I have no explanation other than the presence and all-pervading power of Jesus Christ.

I’ll take my moments one day at a time. As of right now I am happy, because He has never left me nor forsaken me. He is with me here, still, hearing me and creating me. He has a plan and a purpose, and regardless of my occasional discomfort with His timing, I know beyond all doubt that “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). And I seek to follow Him; therefore, I assume that my posture is one that mirrors His.

So I cling to my verse – the one that is the anthem through my darkness – and recite it over and over again (in my head and spirit, where the battle is fought) when I cannot think of words of my own to speak to Him:

I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you…

-Psalm 139:11-12

Complacency, the Beast

Complacency is not my friend.

She’s quite unassuming. She appears with a nonthreatening demeanor; her face is blank and her eyes piercing. Curious thing. She wants no harm: no good, no evil. She just wants to impact your life, like any person would. She wants a grip on your soul. I’ve learned that Complacency is not my friend.

But here she is, once again, knocking meekly on my door like a stranger standing out on the cold. “Let me in,” she says. “Keep me warm. I won’t harm you.” Bah. I really shouldn’t. But it’s so easy… So easy to embrace defeat and begin the slow sinking into the murkiness of compassion-less living. Forgiveless living. Actionless living. No leaning to the right; no edging to the left. Carelessness.

Man, how did it get to this?

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The Person I’ll Spend the Rest of My Life With: A Man’s Perspective

 Here is another personal insight to add to the collection of words from young men after God’s heart. Mitchell Capps, whom you may read about in a post from my “Meet My Friends” series, has the strongest command of human language of anyone I’ve known. I asked him to answer a prompt and, of course, was blown away by his response. I really think everyone – male and female – should read this.

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     The prompt, as I understand it, is to write about the person that I would like to spend the rest of my life with. In the realm of written word, this is probably the most difficult thing I can imagine writing. This strain is made confusing by the fact that the subject is something I have given a great deal of thought. My mind is so ill-arrived upon an answer. We are taught that if we seek after something hard enough, we will eventually find it. In my search and subsequent failure I am still able to hold on to this truth.

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What Does Worship Look Like?

I’ve not written in a while; I apologize for that 🙂

I’ve been living, breathing, enjoying, seeing… Autumn is my favorite season of the year, so I’ve tried to indulge in all of its colorful whims as often as possible. I must say, I am not disappointed. Since my college campus is nestled into the rolling hills and lush foliage of northern Georgia, it is especially beautiful during the chilling months. I have plenty of stories to tell, and yet not nearly as ample of a vocabulary as is necessary to describe them. Very well, I’ll move on.

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Meet My Friends: Matt Reeves

I mentioned in the first post of this series, “Meet My Friends,” that I wanted to give you a glimpse into the lives of the men and women who have impacted my life over the past year or so.  Today, I want you to meet Matt Reeves. 

And if you’re wondering about the Sweet Tea in the featured photo, it serves no symbolic purpose. He just really likes sweet tea 🙂

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Matt Reeves is one of the most shockingly uncomplicated people on this earth.

Why? Because he makes it that way.

But for some reason, I’ve spent my life learning new ways to make the present time a blended smoothie of the past, the future, and the highly improbable. It has been exceedingly difficult for me to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the moment at hand without planning what my next step will be.

However, on the second day of classes in January, I met Matt for the first time and didn’t realize that my point of view was about to change.

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