Monday, December 31, 2018

My New Year's "Word"

It seems the hip thing to do these days instead of making New Year's resolutions is to have a word.

I'm good with that. After all, you can't break a word, right?  Even if I fall short on January 2, I can keep aspiring and refocusing.  A word is a mantra, not a rule. So I'm giving it a go.

And my 2019 word came to mind instantly:  Reconnect

To be honest, 2018 was a crazy roller coaster of awesomeness and awfulness.  Like most people, I posted the awesome and stuffed the awful.  

The result?  Disconnection.

I'm not a drama mama. I'm not a loud social media poster. I just get quiet. And I disconnect. Maybe that's the way of all introverts.  A few months ago, when my counselor told me to write out in detail about a specific, decades-old issue I was working through, my response was to stop journaling all together. To disconnect, even with myself.  

The worst of my disconnection was spiritual. I didn't stop reading. I didn't doubt. I didn't stray. I just sat on my Father's lap. Secure, but rarely making eye contact. Rarely accepting the gifts He was offering. And almost never writing, which - for me - is basically like not breathing.

When I finally got up the courage (aka fear of an "incomplete") to do the journaling assignment, it was brutally painful. But in reconnecting with the past, I found myself able to reconnect {surprise!} with the present.  (I should know this; I do, after all, have a master's degree in clinical social work. But there's a big difference between counseling others and practicing it on your own wounded self).

This reconnection in one area of my life woke me up. I'm realizing that I'm tired of being disconnected.  I'm especially tired of simply sitting on my Father's lap yet not delighting in the breathtaking gift of His Presence.

So I'm reconnecting.  

Reconnecting with who I am, who I was created to be and what I was created to do.  Reconnecting with my people. Helping those I love to reconnect.  Taking Aaron Burr's advice to smile more. Jumping off my Father's lap and grabbing His hand to skip, walk, run, or limp through whatever 2019 has in store, from the major milestones to the minor chords of life. Connecting wholeheartedly to the fullness of my Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, whose goodness outshines the darkest night and eclipses the brightest day. 

I don't know what your word is for 2019, but whatever it is, I pray it brings you face-to-face with the One who knows you better than you know yourself, the One who offers you fullness of joy in the midst of any and all things.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Inside the Empty Tomb

I took this photograph this morning 
after walking out of the tomb.
“He is not here. He is risen.”  I know this.  And yet, inside the edicule, I sank across the stone and sobbed.  Sobbed. He took all my yuck into that grave.  Now, will I leave it buried there and walk out of the tomb with new life?  Or will I resurrect the yuck and sorrow instead?

Littered with Treasure


It is littered with ancient pottery and Herod’s marble columns. 

Things that people literally slaved over are now washed up, piled in a heap, used as grout filler or simply ignored. 

It is a stark reminder: the work of our hands will not last, but the work of our hearts - in the hearts of others - will last an eternity. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Queen Esther: The Lone Ranger-ess?

We often think of Queen Esther as a female Lone Ranger. 
from Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media

Born for “such a time as this.” A time to save her people from wicked Haman’s attempt to wipe out God’s people. 
“And who knows but that you have come into your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NIV
We envision Esther pulling herself up by her bejeweled bootstraps, throwing back her shoulders, and striding into the King’s Presence on a solo mission. The weight of the Jewish world on her shoulders. 

But the reality is, Esther brought an army with her into that royal throne room. 

Because the very first thing Queen Esther did, when given the charge to intercede on behalf of God’s people, was to ask her friends and attendants within the palace to fast and pray with her. And she directed the entire community of faith to do the same. 

Esther brought a multitude into the king’s presence with her. Some she knew well and others she didn’t know at all. But each person joined to her and to each other in an army of prayer, looking to the One who could save. 

Our heroine reminds us that being courageous doesn’t mean going it alone, whether it’s entering the presence of a king, an oncologist or a colicky baby.  

So when you and I find ourselves at the end of ourselves, let us be like Queen Esther. Not withdrawing into isolation, but petitioning the Lord of Hosts, and asking the people around us to come alongside.   
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV
Let us enter the throne room together, bearing one another’s burdens, for every single “such a time as this.”