fear

First Rain Since Harvey Left

It is the first rain since Harvey departed. In his wake, he left ruins that still remain unbuilt. As disastrous as the Houston landscape has been it was merely been a physical representation of the human heart. I have been gutted. Noahic flooding that seems like judgment, but actually is healing. Personally, I still don’t know what to make of a hurricane that felt like that of a Grecian epic. I don’t think it is mine to decipher. I am not the one who controls it.

God is the Author. He is quite the Author, but such an interesting Reader and Listener to the story as well. He placed Himself in it momentarily, but it has always been about Him. He is a mysterious Author. The best books are the one that leaves me wondering what the author was trying to tell me. He has left a Commentary who teaches, but even then, mystery. Divine and material mystery.

I have gone through the gamut of human emotions since Harvey.

Sorrow. Anger. Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Anger. Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Displacement. Fear.

Fear.

Those have been my most persistent friends in this season. They are terrible friends; they leech themselves onto me. As I turn to them, they turn on me. I don’t think they have all departed. I still think they linger, but in this moment, I have felt something I have not felt since the flood waters rose.

Hope.

It was by way of a woman I have always admired. How kind is God in the midst of ruins to sift through the rubble.

Good Father,

I am devastated, in both definitions of the word. I have looked inward for so long, that I have lost sight. Your truth is so simple. Your call is so clear. My cross is so much. Teach me to trust. Teach me to bear burdens better. Remind me that you are both the Builder and the Cornerstone. When I burrow into the complexities of the human ego, remind me of the simplicity of the Gospel.

The Good News is the hope for those who have fear.

The Good News is a refuge for those who are displaced.

The Good News is reclamation for those who feel abandoned.

The Good News is gratitude in a heart that envies what is not hers.

The Good News is penitence in the place of shame.

The Good News is the hope of companionship for those who are burdened with loneliness.

The Good News is understanding rather than anger.

The Good News is joy in the middle of sorrow.

I am not fully “telos-ed” by the Gospel today. I will not know if I will be tomorrow, but Mrs. Ellen, thank you for the reminder. I don’t know if you will ever read these words but bless you.

In Christ. By Way of the Spirit. Directed to the Father.

Amen

Hope.

Hope. Refuge.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship. Understanding.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship. Understanding. Joy

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Imperfect Love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I have reflected on this verse often over the course of the past six months. I hear its refrain as I ponder on those whom I love and those who love me. I know imperfect love. It looms. I know it’s imperfect. It is fear-inducing and creates unnecessary risk. Fear-inducing love is not loving at all. Imperfect love is an oxymoron as it does not exist; love can only exist in complete perfection.

I got a glimpse of perfect love today. I saw it over breakfast and a coffee two hours afternoon. It was not a fear-inducing love, but one that feels freeing. One that assists in letting go. I pray for more of that love.

I pray I find it in the Lord.

I pray I find it in friends.

I pray it is found in me.

Do You Trust Me?

Much of human relationships hinges on trust. We disclose tiny bits of information to test the waters and see if we can trust other people. Sometimes, we are thrown head first into situations that require that we quickly trust in someone else’s abilities. It is scary, because we don’t know if it will pan out in our best interest or screw us over deeply.

Last year was so spiritually noisy, silence with Him was unbearable. He is faithful. As another storm begins to roll in, my faith in strengthened as I turn to Him.

I hear Him meekly ask me, “Do you trust me?” 

“Yes, but…”

“No. Do you trust me?”

In this moment, the realities of God’s incommunicable attributes are displayed. I can trust Him. I keep treating God like people as if, I have to test His trustworthiness. He is faithful. He has kept all promises, He has made. He is worthy to be trusted.

We welcomed sunny days with the occasional cloud

With sprinkles of rain, not making much sound

The Captain and helpmate have set sail. 

Post monsoon, we have prevailed. 

In the hurricane, as the Captain steered

My courage fled me, introducing fear.

The Captain has saved me from wretched woes

Ounce for ounce, He took my blows.

I have reason to trust Him as the storm looms ahead

For He is not just my Captain, but Compass and Friend

So, as we traverse mountains, air, and sea. 

I will answer, “Yes”. When he asks, “Do you trust me?”

The God-Shaped Vacuum

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Blaise Pascal

Void, I sometimes end my days wishing tomorrow did not have to begin. The past couple months that has been my feelings towards life in general. In no way am I suicidal. I just was losing myself in the monotony of what I do, which is simply act as a parent with tons of paperwork. However, I do not think it was the monotony of housework or childcare. I do not think it is a question of whether or not I seek adventure or stability. The emptiness I assumed due to boredom was simply a reminder of my God shaped vacuum.

I believe since the fall of mankind we all are completely broken. We are the containers for a puzzle with only 3% of the pieces. You know a puzzle with only 3 pieces does not make a portrait. It makes a mess. Throughout life, we all get a piece or two of our puzzles, but we never have enough to put the puzzle together. Me, I run to other people to help me figure out all my pieces. Sometimes, I ask them to help put me together. Other instances, I simply want another part to make myself more clear. The most obvious issue that idea: incomplete people cannot complete people. So even if this person has 99 parts to their 100 part puzzle, they are still incomplete. Most obvious in all puzzles, there is a void. A common lack creating a bond among all puzzles.

I have been lacking a lot. I have placed people and accomplishments and entertainment and food in my God shaped vacuum in a desperate hope that something would bottom out in there. The result: depravity, sadness, shame, hopelessness, anger, restlessness, and (worst of all) confusion.

Our vacuum (because we all have one) is endless in its depth. Our vacuum widens as life goes. My vacuum is filled with the sin that comes from being born and has expanded with my personal sins. My void holds my pride and humiliations, my false hopes and real fears, my life is in that vacuum. I am in that vacuum. God, I don’t want to be there anymore. There is a great hope in Christ though. Christ is infinite. He fills the vacuum until it overflows and spills out into a mighty river that washes and renews and cleanses. Christ bottoms it out. He is my pride, and He humbles me. He is my hope and in Him I have no fear. When that void is filled by Christ, I am in Him and He is in me. My puzzle comes together marvelously. Because, He was the Maker of the puzzle, and He holds all my parts. He knows what the portrait is supposed to look like. 

God, I have felt so empty and worn out. I feel like I have lost so many of my pieces. I feel void beyond repair. But, I call You my Healer. You have never lied for it is not Your character. Heal this emptiness Lord. I know in this moment, You felt what I am feeling. God bring me back to You. God, I am nothing. I am absolutely nothing. I can be proud of my skills and brag on my house and think that I am amazing, but Lord you formed me from the dust and You knitted me together in my mother’s womb, All my accomplishments and skills and bragging rights fall before Your throne like flies. They are nothing and I am even less. Nothing I can do can help me. Nothing I can say can help me. You, God, You see me. Your prodigal daughter with her God shaped void just trying to avoid acknowledging that I am not okay. Late have I loved You. God, I am so sorry. Ugh, I am just so sorry. Lord, how did I get so far. Why do I go so far? Why do I trade the Son of God for fleeting pleasure? God help me. 

Jesus, You know where I am. I need You. Help me seek You more. Let my love for You be the heartbeat of my life. Fill this void that I simply cannot contain. Shatter the borders of my faith. Lord, I don’t care if You take me to Spain or keep me in this house until I die. Wherever You tell me to go, I will go. Because wherever you are, I am home. You are my home. 

In Jesus Holy Name, 
Amen