Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Naming of the Fifth

Babylon is all around me - clamoring loud and reeling me in. The many voices speaking their many thoughts and all those thoughts pointing out different views that sound right and good and true...

And it is so easy to get sucked in and stuck there - from Chailles to Voskamp to Bessey to Held - they all speak. They all have platform - they all read from the same Word I do, but all have come away with such different thoughts, beliefs, convictions. Empires are built and divisions crack wider and it is all. so. overwhelming.

What happened to just hearing and speaking the truth of the gospel? Of seeing my life, my moments not as separate and individual, but as a part of a daily offering, lifted up to the One Who created me - being shaped by the transforming truth of the gospel, not the political climate around me?

I sit tucked into the corner of the coffee shop, unnoticed by the couple beside me. They are strangers and she all but pleads with him to notice her - to pursue her. He can't help but notice the offering and he teases - offers hope. Until his phone rings and his head ducks. He turns his face towards me, head and voice low so she can't hear. But I can't help but overhear him promise the one on the other end that he'll be home soon. That he loves her. 

And my heart aches for all 3 - a trio of hurt sitting to my right.

For a month I take myself off of Facebook - I need some quiet from all the noise. 

It's amazing how loud a white screen can be.

I thought I would feel caged, trapped - lost without knowing what was going on in the lives around me.

I didn't realize I would feel freedom.

That my interactions with those around me would become intentionally personal because I wouldn't be assuming anymore that I knew what was going on - and I had missed that.

I slipped back on last night and it felt hard to breathe as so many opinions and articles slipped noiselessly beneath my thumb - as though I was swiping a millstone around my neck.

I didn't sleep well.

And I wonder, what would happen if instead of being tossed about by a never ending wave of FB news feeds, my hope was actually grounded in the beauty of Jesus Christ Himself. 

The truth of the matter is, I can say all I want to that my hope is found in Him alone, but when I find myself storm tossed and overwhelmed by all the chaos on a screen held in my hand, I prove that my words hold no weight. Christ is not my anchor or my harbor and I am adrift on a churning, ugly tide of opinions clamoring and fighting to be right.

The startling truth though, is that 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
Psalm 46:4-5

This river isn't a passing one, full of changing, tossing thoughts rushing past and knocking my feet out from underneath me - this is the Living Water of Christ - completely satisfying, bringing joy and peace.

Despite the mess of me, the sinfulness of me, I have incredibly become the dwelling place of the Most High. In the midst of me is His very Presence and my life, my very soul is upheld and strengthened.

It is here with the firm foundation of this truth that the many voices can be heard, but not absorbed. I am not shaken when God's truth is what cups and weighs all else.

They call to us, luring us with the false promises of other gods and saviors...and in their very midst, we remember Jesus, the firstborn of the new creation and delare that we live for another King and another kingdom. - Rhythms of Grace

When His hesed has been experienced deeply and when His love surrounds a year faithfully (all years actually, but so deeply known in this one) I move forward unafraid to have my soul strengthened because joined to Him Who is utterly steadfast, I cannot fall even though I may fail.

If all my life is worship, a living sacrifice - if my soul is set aflame but not consumed - the year spread out in front of me blazes with His grace as the surety of Him becomes that very Hope to set my anchor on.

I've lived numb I think, to protect myself from feeling vulnerable, from feeling overwhelmed and unsure. So many days have had just get to bedtime as the goal. 

I have forgotten Whose I am - I have forgotten how to enter into the mundane parts of my life fully.

This year marks 5 years since the first time God named my year ahead of me - before naming the years became popular and books were written on it - Jesus prepared my heart days before my world was completely ripped apart by suicide and brokenness through just one small word, Abide.

And every year, around summertime, I begin to look expectantly and He never fails to give me another word that ushers in a deeper knowing of Him.

This year, a phrase - a trio of words.

His Hesed, in shocking and beautiful ways became my sure foundation this past year and so it only seems natural that resting on that would be the very name of this blog and the verse that it stands on;
this is the year of In the Midst. Because God is in the midst of me - I will not fall. He will help me when morning comes.

And until He calls me home, morning always comes. 

He's faithful like that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


It's while I'm sitting across from a friend that I look out the front window and see Tony on the sidewalk across the street walking slow with one of the kids from the mission. He's one of the first kids I ever met in those early days - one of the first to welcome this family so obviously not from this area.

We've entered into our third year here and three years deepen voices and grows up inches and three years hardens tender hearts who witness so much pain.

We've watched it happen to him - this kid who stands on the edges of being a man - who feels lost on these edges and hides his hurt with anger.

I get it.

I've done it too.

So while my friend sips her coffee, I watch Tony walk the permiter of the field outside our window - this wide open space in the middle of the ghetto and I think of Jericho and those walls...high and strong walls and the slow and patient walk of those many feet.

I know the edges of my man - I recognize the way his head bends as he listens, the steady rythym of his steps as he stands strong beside the boy lost who is grasping for something sure. Hands in his pockets, I know he is praying and I know that as they walk that perimeter, God is doing something unseen.

Last night, we lit the second candle and spoke of Peace - of the Prince of Peace. We read of Abraham and Isaac and a father's love and the hints of the coming Messiah. We listen and sing of Emmanuel and our hearts long for His coming as we circle the perimeter of this life we are given day after day, step by step.

Faith - it propels us keeps us circling the Jericho in front of us. Whether it's an angry kid or an unsteady future or a restlessness that won't go away.  Faith propels, but trust in the goodness of the God who has called us keeps us in motion. It's a knowing that it isn't my footsteps that will bring down these walls, but the very hand of God. It isn't my will that keeps me walking, but it is the presence of Jesus - the very One Who is Peace that keeps my heart steady.

So these days grow darker, but these candles, one by one, grow brighter, and like the slow and steady walk of those praying down walls we keeping moving forward, keep pressing into the One Who is with us in all the broken mess.