Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You understand it all

"By realizing the reality of our Prince within us, we are never bothered again by the fact that we do not understand ourselves, or that other people do not understand us. The only One who truly understands me is the One who made me and who redeems me.... It is a tremendous freedom to get rid of every kind of self-consideration and learn to care about only one thing - the relationship between our Prince and ourselves."

- Oswald Chambers

Friday, August 28, 2009

elliot on the essence of femininity

(Thanks to CBMW for originally posting the following excerpt)

"Femininity receives. It says, 'May it be to me as you have said.' It takes what God gives - a special place, a special honor, a special function and glory, different from that of masculinity, meant to be a help. In other words, it is for us women to receive the given as Mary did, not to insist on the not-given, as Eve did.

"Perhaps the exceptional women in history have been given a special gift - a charisma - because they made themselves nothing. I think of Amy Carmichael, for example, another Mary, because she had no ambition for anything but the will of God. Therefore her obedience, her 'May it be to me,' has had an incalculably deep impact in the twentieth century. She was given power, as was her Master, because she made herself nothing.

"I would be the last to deny that women are given gifts that they are meant to exercise. But we must not be greedy in insisting on having all of them, in usurping the place of men. We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is. No arguments would ever be needed if we all shared the spirit of the 'most blessed among women.'

"The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. 'If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,' Jesus said, 'he will find his true self.' A Christian woman's true freedom lies on the other side of a very small gate-humble obedience-but that gate leads out into a largeness of life undreamed of by the liberators of the world, to a place where the God-given differentiation between the sexes is not obfuscated but celebrated, where our inequalities are seen as essential to the image of God, for it is in male and female, in male as male and female as female, not as two identical and interchangeable halves, that the image is manifested.

"To gloss over these profundities is to deprive women of the central answer to the cry of their hearts, 'Who am I?' No one but the Author of the Story can answer that cry."

(Access the rest of this chapter in full here.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"There was a man born among these Jews who claimed to be, or to be the son of, or to be 'one with', the Something which is at once the awful haunter of nature and the giver of the moral law. The claim is so shocking - a paradox, and even a horror, which we may easily be lulled into taking too lightly - that only two views of this man are possible. Either he was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else He was, and is, precisely what He said. There is no middle way. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. And if you do that, all else that is claimed by Christians becomes credible - that this Man, having been killed, was yet alive, and that His death, in some manner incomprehensible to human thought, has effected a real change in our relations to the 'awful' and 'righteous' Lord, and a change in our favour."

- C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

trust Me

"'Trust Me, My Child,' He says. 'Trust Me with a fuller abandon than you ever have before. Trust Me, as minute succeeds minute, every day of your life, for as long as you live. And if you become conscious of anything hindering our relationship, do not hurt Me by turning away from Me. Draw all the closer to Me, come, run to Me. Allow Me to hide you, to protect you, even from yourself. Tell Me your deepest cares, your every trouble. Trust Me to keep My hand upon you. I will never leave you. I will shape you, mold you, and perfect you. Do not fear, O child of My love, do not fear. I love you.'"

- Amy Carmichael, If

Monday, August 24, 2009

and i'll... follow You into the world

I’ve been stuck on The Message lately. The words jump off the page and slap me every time I read from the translation. And I love it. Spiritual bruising CAN be good, y’all.

This morning, the verses below clicked. I’ve claimed them as my back-to-school Scripps because they managed to be altogether convicting and inspiring and relevant (like, you know, most Scripture), and I really wanted you guys to see them, too.

I should probably let the Word speak for itself without any more of my babbling commentary, but do lock-in on this: “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” Now, here we go:

"It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

“This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

“But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

“Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”

- Galatians 5:19-26

So you’ve seen the words. Read them in the original language. Heard them eleven billion times. Spoke them. Got them down.

A Franciscan saying goes like this, "Preach the Gospel. And when necessary, use words."

Time to live them?

I'm praying this for all of us. It's not easy AT ALL, but it's SO worth it. I love you guys!

"So let YOUR NAME be lifted higher, be lifted higher, be lifted higher...."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

is this the end?

Technically, I've been working on school all summer (due to health issues not overachievement; just saying), so technically, Monday is like any other day.

However, my baby brothers leave the nest for their first day of high school on Monday, and it feels like the world should, consequentially, burst into chaos.

...or dance.

Are you ready?

Friday, August 21, 2009


"Sometimes I feel as though I were born in a circus, come out of my mother's womb like a man from a cannon, pitched toward the ceiling of the tent, all the doctors and nurses clapping in delight from the grandstands, the band going great guns in trombones and drums. I unfold and find flight hundreds of feet above the center ring, the smell of popcorn in the air, the clowns gather below, amazed at my grace, and all the people chanting my name as my arms come out like wings and I move swan-like toward the apex, where I draw my arms in, collapse my torse to my legs, roll over in perfection, then slowly give in to gravity. My body falls back toward earth, the ground coming up quick, the center ring growing enormous beneath my falling weight.

"And this is precisely when it occurs to me that there is no net. And I wonder, What is the use of a circus? and Why should a man bother to be shot out of a cannon? and Why is the crowd's applause so fleeting? and . . . Who is going to rescue me?"

- Don Miller, Searching for God Knows What

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I love how The Message words what Paul wrote, especially his plea in the verses at the bottom:

"Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,

I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.

"Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

"Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!"

- 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Monday, August 17, 2009

children of God

"You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one's holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. 'Father' is the Christian name for God."

- J.I. Packer, Knowing God

"But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb. 10:19-22)

Saturday, August 15, 2009


This blog tells the incredible story of a twenty year old woman caring for 400 children in Africa. She's awesome. The music that plays when you click on the link is from one of my all-time favorite artists with some of the most powerful lyrics out there:

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible: faith without deeds is dead. Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go 'til you are..."

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (Romans 10:14-15)

Friday, August 14, 2009

what is the harm of it?

"We often ask the question, 'what is the harm of it?' - about reading certain books, following certain pursuits, taking our recreation in certain ways. Perhaps we have been (working hard) and need a change of thought and rest of brain. What is the harm of the latest novel, even if it happens to be rather unprofitable? And we (who have not the time to read one out of a thousand of the real books that have been written) spend a precious hour by deliberate choice over something not worthwhile. We long to live life to the uttermost, to touch souls to eternal issues. Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him is required. Is there no other path to reach our goal? There is not. Ours should not be the love that asks, 'how little?' but 'how much?'; the love that pours out its all and revels in the joy of having anything to pour on the feet of its Beloved. The question 'what is the harm?' falls from us and is forgotten when we see Calvary, the Crucified, the risen-again Rabboni of our souls!"

- Amy Carmichael, God's Missionary

Thursday, August 13, 2009

courage, critters, and clusters

I was asked to write about courage: what it is, what it means to have it; how brave I am.

I’m not brave. The huge, six-legged critter on the wall this morning nearly gave me a heart attack. And huge is relative: in this case, to an ant (or an amoeba). However, it took me ten minutes to grab the Windex and spray that sucker until he swirled in a drowning dance of death. It took another five minutes to stop screaming that the demonic mini-monster was water-resistant and to find another means to remove him. He wasn’t actually water-resistant, but it turns out “non-toxic” cleaners don’t kill unwanted pests no matter how many times you squirt and yell “Die!” He did eventually sizzle out (thank you, eye make-up remover), but back to my point, I’m not brave.

Last night, I paced the linoleum floors of a local hospital, sobbing and shaking and scared to death. I’m not brave.

I have cluster headaches. They’re rare. Less than 1% of the population suffers from the stubborn things. And the majority of that 1% is composed of middle aged men. I’m an eighteen year old girl, and I most likely inherited the headaches from three great uncles. What do I have in common with them physically? Hopefully not much. (I’m not saying…. I’m just saying….)

A cluster headache (migrainous neuralgia) is the most intense of any headache with its extremely rapid, severe onset. I may be walking along with no pain whatsoever, and in five minutes, be experiencing the most excruciating agony of my life. It’s how they operate. On its own, an attack can last anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours. The pain for the remainder of an episode pierces as though an ice-pick were constantly being stabbed through one eye. Others have compared the pain to an amputation without anesthesia, natural childbirth, or my favorite: "Keebler Elves making cookies in your head, becoming claustrophobic, & trying to drill their way out through your eye." Ouch.

I’ve been battling the attacks for ten months now. On average, I have episodes every one to three hours from five in the afternoon until noon the next day. This generally lasts every day for forty days, and then I have a few weeks without them. I can remember the day when I became chronic. I can picture the way the doctor’s hands flipped casually through the chart, smell the antiseptic spray, and feel the paper when I realized I’d subconsciously ripped it.

I can remember the day because I was terrified. I dreaded the cluster attacks because of how they made me feel, but the word “chronic” indicated that this would become my future. For so long, being sick had been my identity, and I hated it. It was a part of me, but I didn’t want it to represent all that I am. The label “chronic” represented the fact that I had no control over what was to come, what I was to be. It wasn’t a death sentence, but it meant giving up dreams, surrendering what I thought was supposed to happen. I didn’t feel brave that day.

Last night, a cluster headache episode came on, and I couldn’t stop it. Normally, ten minutes inhaling pure oxygen shuts it off. It didn’t. I wasn’t afraid until I saw the look on my mom’s face when I told her it wasn’t going away. It wasn’t until my brother gave me a hug and started crying that I realized I wasn'the only one who was afraid.

When we arrived at the emergency room, I walked and walked, a restlessness fed by the consistent pain. I think I kept moving because, on some level, I was worried that if I stopped, the hurt would somehow overtake me.

In that moment, random verses started running through my mind:
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:8-10)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Pet. 4:12-13)

And I begin to understand a different side of courage. It’s not about having the ability to fight off your struggles. Christ’s power works best is weakness. And as I’m discovering, He’s working in the trembling, hurting, and confused.

The Savior we seek didn’t promise that life on earth would be easy. I mean, really? Jesus was murdered and homeless. But unlike any religion, believing in our Christ guarantees a secure afterlife. This life hurts in a billion different ways, but “…I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18) This is as close to Hell as I’m ever going to get. Heaven awaits! After nights like last night, there’s absolutely an ache for it to come soon. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) In my Bible, I’ve jotted in “cluster headaches.” THIS is why we celebrate and rejoice even when it seems unbearable. It’s not about being brave. I’ve spent so much time in doctors’ offices hearing others’ stories: horrific stories. But I’ve seen these people, and I truly think they’ve figured out true courage. True courage is when you trust God even when the darkness is so thick around you, you don't know where you're standing.

You see, a lot is out of my control, but God remains my “constant source of stability.” (Isaiah 33:6) Not because of anything I do, but because of who He is. Pain would be worthless if we served an unstable God who had no way of controlling what happens. However, He remains sovereign even in the worst of conditions; He's still there in the chronic headaches and the E.R. visits and the bug attacks. I may not be brave, but I'm learning to trust an immutable Savior. “…I will hope in Him…” (Job 13:15) “…and hope does not disappoint us.” (Rom. 5:5)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

psalm 56:8

"You've kept track of my every toss and turn throughout the sleepless nights, each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book."

- Psalm 56:8

Friday, August 7, 2009

when you seem to have no answer...

"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name;
ask and you will receive,
so that your joy may be made full." - John 16:24

"When you seem to have no answer, there is always a reason - God uses these times to give you deep, personal instruction, and it is not for anyone else but you."

- Oswald Chambers

Thursday, August 6, 2009

i said, "Heartache Healer... be my best friend." and You said, "I Am"

"Even when the tears are falling,
when I find I fear the calling:
You remind me.
Words you've spoken over my life, promises I've yet to see:

You comfort me.

God, I'm crying out tonight
'cause I've given You my life,
but I'm tired
and I'm missing what's behind....
So once more, here's my life." (Barlowgirl)

"My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!"
- Psalm 62:5-7

"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation."
- Psalm 91:14-16

"O my Strength, I will watch and give heed to You and sing praises; for God is my Defense (my Protector and High Tower). My God in His mercy and steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look [triumphantly] on my enemies (those who lie in wait for me)."
- Psalm 59:9-10

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

sorry it's so late... I knew You'd be awake

"He who keeps you will not slumber....
Behold, He... will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:3-4)

He is still awake when only the hum of the air conditioner reverberates through the house, when the stairs creak as though they come alive in the darkness, when the silence is so small your thoughts begin to scream and take over the space. He is still awake as your family sleeps behind closed doors, as your footprints stay indented in the carpet as you pace back and forth and hesitate before their rooms, as you wait and listen to hear if you’re entirely alone. He is still awake while you wish for the unpreventable to go away, while you sweat over the nightmares that come with closed eyes, while you wonder if the pain will kill you. He is still awake in the unexpected trips to the E.R., in the panic when you can’t remember, in the moments when exhaustion holds you down. He is still awake when you don’t get it but need to, when you ache for someone else to understand, when you realize He does. He is still awake when you discover "steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the Lord," when you feel that "underneath are the Everlasting Arms," when you see "His tender mercies are over all His works." He is still awake as you sleep enfolded by the Almighty, as you rest peacefully in His sight, as you hear His Spirit whisper: it will be okay.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Psalm 57:2

“I cry out to God Most High, to God,
who fulfills His purpose for me.”

- Psalm 57:2