Monthly Archives: December 2016

To The Men Who Choose Their Families, Especially My Dad

Dear Dad – and all the men who choose their families – but especially Dad,

Thank you.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but I have a fear of abandonment.

I think part of it stems from hearing the story of my grandparents’ divorce – you know, how he wanted to go to law school, and how she told him (probably tired of him not being around with all the hunting and political campaigning) that if he did that he may as well give her a divorce, and how he did exactly that. She was ever after portrayed as having gotten what she deserved – bitter, demanding, divisive, but he – he only did what any reasonable man in his position would have done.

Part of it stems from watching men choose things over their wives and families again and again. Things like other women. Things like alcohol and drugs and porn. Things like their careers. Things like church and ministry and doing things for God. Watching the blame for these choices be shifted to the women and children who are either too much or not enough. Watching the devastation that ensues.

And I’ve been so afraid of doing and saying things that might be too much or might not be enough because I might lose people in the process.

And I say, “Thank you,” because I didn’t learn that fear from you.

Because you chose your family. And you continue to choose your family.

I remember this one Sunday morning, about six-and-a-half years ago. I had an attitude about where I was going to have to go to church that morning, and so you and Mom and I stayed home and hashed it out. It was the culmination of four or five years of being sat down and lectured by you about things I didn’t remotely understand, and I guess all that miscommunication exploded to the surface that day. I remember it was ugly and rough. I remember understanding some of the things you’d been saying for years, just because you worded them differently. I remember our communication got better after that.

You know what I don’t remember about that Sunday morning? Any resentment on your end about not being in church. There was no sense that you were supposed to be anywhere but right where you were. That day, I was your ministry.

In another ugly and rough situation, I remember you stood up for your child and another man stood up for his ministry. There were a couple years you didn’t get to preach as a result, and the other man did. Your child knows your love for him prompted your actions, but the other man’s child has no such assurance. In that situation, my brother was your ministry.

I remember when I first began understanding the blessing of having a dad who recognized his family as his primary ministry and chose accordingly. It was during a season where I was running around doing things for church, but my bedroom was a mess. You seemed to think cleaning my bedroom should have been a priority, and, not for the first time, I thought you were out of your mind. You were trying to teach me that God is not impressed when we’re out doing “big” things for Him when the things closest to home are neglected, but I started to realize all the ways you placed value in your family.

When we found out Mom was sick at the end of last year, I was most glad she has you to take care of her. Because I know – even before your eight kids – she is your ministry. It means something to me, yes, but even one of my cousins commented on it when you visited her several months ago.

With so many people pursuing greatness to be seen by other people, and the ruin they too often leave in their wake, your way is needed, Dad. And even though you don’t do it for the credit, your way is appreciated.

So, thank you.

And I’m sorry. This fear of abandonment does not come from you, does not come from any personal experience, but I operate from it nonetheless. Too often, I surround myself with men who live up to this expectation that I will be abandoned in my too-much-ness and not-enough-ness, like they are the only kind of men. It’s actually a pretty crappy response to the kind of man you are.

I have to do things differently.

I will stop affirming men who choose other women, because they offer excitement that I don’t. I will stop affirming men who cling to alcohol and drugs and porn, as if those are the real things, and I am not. I will stop affirming men who fling themselves into careers and church and ministry and doing things for God, and leave their families vulnerable.

I will expect men who remain loving and faithful. I will expect men who fill their bodies, hearts, minds, spirits, and souls with true things. I will expect men who seek the Heavenly Father’s heart in everything they do.

Of course I will say and do things that are too much and not enough. Everyone does.

I will still be loved.

And I will still maintain high expectations.

You are a man after God’s own Father-heart, Dad. Hopefully this encourages all husbands and dads who make their wives and children their primary ministry, but I mostly want you to know.

I love you!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court” (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV).

 

 

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The Sign of the Shower Curtain and My Honey-Do List

Last Monday night, after everything had been sorted out with my car battery, I heard a crash in my apartment, and I thought, “What now?” I hurried into my closet, half-expecting one of the bars to have snapped and all of my clothes to be in a crumpled heap on the floor, but everything was fine in there. I went to my second closet and everything was fine in there. I went into the kitchen and opened up my cupboards, pantry, and refrigerator. Everything was fine in there.  Everything seemed to be fine everywhere. Then, I went into my bathroom, and the shower curtain and rod had fallen.

Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you might recall that it took forty-five minutes for me to hang this shower curtain rod when I moved into this apartment over a year ago. Not the shower curtain, mind you; the shower curtain rod. (If you haven’t been following me that long, or don’t recall, you can read the story here.)

Last Monday night, as I made several attempts to wrestle it back into place, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how I’d gotten it up in the first place. (For the record, this is not a complex shower curtain rod. It’s one of those el cheapo tension rods from Wal-Mart. El cheapo might have been part of the problem.) You know what I ended up doing? Dropping the whole kit and caboodle into the bathtub and resolving to get a new rod, a better rod, a rod that came with instructions and pictures the next day. From Target. (Not because I now have an issue with Wal-Mart shower curtain rods or anything; I just happened to have a Target coupon. And maybe there was a smidgen of resentment towards Wal-Mart when that decision was made.) And once I obtained it, it was so much easier to install than that other one, for the record. Possibly because I kept and followed the instructions. Possibly because it’s a far superior shower curtain rod. Who’s really to say?

And as I was stringing up the curtain and liner on the new rod, I was thinking about how much I enjoy being single and having my own space and structure, but how I wouldn’t mind having a man around for this sort of thing. You know, hanging shower curtains, jumping car batteries, getting deals on car batteries, carrying in groceries, dusting, building me shelves and other storage solutions, and sometimes cooking. I wouldn’t mind having a man with me when I go walking and hiking and adventuring, especially here in Oklahoma, where we have rattlesnakes. Of course, I do most of these things on my own, and God has always sent someone for those things I can’t do on my own, and so it’s not strictly necessary. But it would be nice.

And I’m not just looking for a butler. It would be nice to have a hand to hold, to be held when inevitable loss and defeat come. It would be nice to have a man with whom to laugh and dance when celebration comes. It would be nice to have a man with whom to pray and think and talk about it all. It would be nice to have a man with whom to grow old and closer to the Heavenly Father.

Not necessary. Everything I need, God provides, one way or another. He’s good like that.

Not even missing. My relationship with God has grown in these “shower curtain rod” moments over the past year. I’ve learned His voice, His heart so much better.

It would just be another grace. Another something added. Like I said … nice.

 

On Deterioration

Lately, God has been speaking to my heart about deterioration.

Odd, I know, because, as everyone knows, I am the restoration girl. I don’t believe in lost causes, irreconcilable differences, or too far gone. I think everything can be saved. I think everything should be saved. Oh, I don’t think I’ll be the one doing the saving, mind you, but I think God’s heart is sold out for bringing back and making new, and so over the course of my walk with him, I’ve become obsessed with asking Him to save, save, save. Because I know He can. I know He wants to. And He is honored and delighted in my asking, my unhedged belief in Him to do it.

But recently, He’s been letting me know: not everyone wants their situation to be saved. And He will not force what He wants, no matter how much He wants it. And He does not want me to force it either.

So, God has allowed some things to deteriorate. In my life. In the lives of people around me. In how I relate to people. In how people relate to me.

And, you know, part of me is so tempted to go into restoration mode, but God has asked me to let go, to stop fighting for and pouring myself into the resistant and unwilling, to step out of the gap. He has asked me to stop accepting and absorbing the dead and the vain; in fact, He has asked me to let the dead and vain things I’ve already internalized to burn inside of me.

And so I have. My hands are open and still. The gifts He has cultivated in me are at last viable, or perhaps I just at last realize their value, and the importance of sharing them where He will use them to produce gifts in others. I am ready to share.

I am no longer able to walk through life with my head down. I am no longer able to take in shame and disrespect and indignity as if I deserve them. I am no longer able to take in any person’s treatment of me, opinion of me as the measure of my person. I am no longer able to keep coming back for more. And even though these things have taken up a lot of space in my life, and their burning will leave a vacancy, they contribute nothing to my actual life and some of them are actually harmful, and I am no longer able to keep them around.

These things need to deteriorate.

They do not honor and delight God.

I should not be fighting for them.

So I’m not.

It’s been felt, I know. In the past week, in the past month. The people for whom I have fought for so long may not know it’s because I’ve lowered my hands and taken a step back, but they have felt the shift in their lives.

And maybe that’s God’s point: that they feel this, and learn to desire and fight for restoration for themselves. I hope that’s God’s point, anyhow. No, I know that’s God’s point. After all, it’s what He’s teaching me through the deterioration taking place in my own life – to fight to know him more, to fight for tribe/community, to fight for career, to fight to savor and enjoy life, to fight to be fought for.

Like restoration, deterioration is a teaching tool God uses; the question is whether or not we are willing to learn.

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24 NIV).

 

 

 

When Nothing Is Missing

Tomorrow night when I see him, my grandpa will likely ask if there are any men in my life, and I’ll probably get cute and tell him I have too many men in my life. We’ll have this conversation – or some variation on it – with the classic Thomas smirk and mischief in our eyes, because it’s just our thing. I won’t come away from that conversation with any pangs over the men I’ve lost this year to broken relationships or the man who just isn’t here yet; I’ll just be grateful to have a grandpa with whom I share a similar sense of humor and can joke around.

Listening to Pandora’s generic Christmas radio station a few weeks ago, I realized something: too much of our view of this holiday focuses on what is missing, and not enough highlights the joy of the advent of a Savior who satisfies the world’s deepest needs and longings. Too often, I focus on who was here last year and isn’t this year, traditions that haven’t been carried forward, who might be here in years to come and isn’t yet this year, traditions that I will pioneer with the man with whom I spend the rest of my life and our kids,… Too often, I focus on what Christmas is supposed to look and feel like, and not its reality. And I was about to go there again this year.

This is, after all, the first Christmas I have ever spent without my parents, and the fewest of my siblings. I did, after all, just break up with a man who is determined to make walking away as rough as possible. I have, after all, recently been released from the call that brought me where I am, though not from the location, which was never on my list of places to live, but is home and will remain home in this season nonetheless. I am, after all, single and singular.

And yet, Christmas is here. And what I found this year was that I wanted to enjoy Christmas, not have a Christmas heartbroken over everyone and everything missing.

So I deleted the generic Pandora Christmas station as Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You played for the umpteenth time, and created a customized station with traditional carols instrumentalized and sung by the great musicians and choirs of the world. Carols that herald the joy of the coming of a Savior who alone satisfy the world’s deepest needs and longings. I lit a candle. I took a bubble bath. I buttered myself up in lotion. I shimmied around my apartment listening to my Meghan Trainor station on Pandora. I watched Christmas movies. I cooked. I journaled. I prayed. I released things, and was released from things. I went for a walk when it snowed. I was loved and taken care of by people who are here. I was able to love and take care of some people. I met new people. I went to a Christmas program.

I savored and enjoyed every single moment.

The only point I wished someone or somebody was there was when my car battery died this past weekend, and that was short-lived, because as soon as I had met the people I was ordained to meet, everyone and everything I needed was there.

Overall, there has been no sense of anything being missing.

In fact, I’ve discovered this is how I must live every day, not just at Christmas: savoring and enjoying every single moment because nothing is missing.

There is awe and wonder listening to the greatest songs about the Greatest Person performed by the greatest musicians, walking through eddies of giant snowflakes, climbing a mesa and having a three-sixty view for miles. There is peace in a candlelit room with my pen and a journal, in a bubble bath, in the many still and silent nights after days I thought would tear out my beating heart. There is joy in music and dancing around because and not caring, in watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, in looking through old pictures and stories and letters and cards and journals. There is grace in the day-in-and-day-out cooking and cleaning and journaling and praying, in the mini-meltdowns and full-on-meltdowns and breakdowns, in letting go and being let go. There is love in coworkers taking care of cars and apartments and bringing breakfast and sharing jokes and singing names, in a neighbor’s greeting with a big smile and talking like old friends now because of a shared experience, in a church mother coming up in the middle of a service and because it’s the only time quiet enough to hear each other.

There are more places to find wonder and peace and joy and grace and love than we often know, and the more we discover that, the dissatisfaction that comes from feeling something is missing will lesson. It won’t matter who is or isn’t there, or what we are or aren’t surrounded by, because we become satisfied in the satisfying things, and nothing can take them from us.

I may get a few questions about my single status this weekend, some of them probably tongue-in-cheek, some of them probably not so much. As in years past, I don’t have a list of reasons why, but I can honestly assure the askers that nothing is missing. I am savoring and enjoying every bit of my life. I’ll keep savoring and enjoying it whether my family is here or there, whether I’m in a relationship or heartbroken, whether I’m there or here, whether I’m in a tribe or one in a million. That’s a part of me that’s absolutely unchangeable.

 

 

 

 

 

“You are a person of joy,” He whispers. “That’s what everything you just went through produced in you. What will joy bring about in you? That’s what you’re about to find out.”

 

 

God is telling you to do something.

Do it.

Don’t delay.

Don’t make excuses.

Don’t let your pride stop you.

Do. It.

I urge you for your own benefit.

I will reap what has been cultivated in me during this season. No matter what.

You are the one who stands to lose.

God laid it on my heart to ask Him for what you need to do, so I know He wants to see it done. For your benefit.

Oh, He will get you where He wants you, no matter what. He loves you and has great plans to bring you closer and closer to Himself. I have no doubt. Right now, though – right now, He’s offering you a gentler path.

Take it.

Don’t delay.

Don’t make excuses.

Don’t let your pride stop you.

God is telling you to do something. He expects to be obeyed. He will not allow anyone to lead who will not follow.

Much love ❤

 

On This The Shortest Day of the Year

On this – the shortest – day of the year, we invite the Light.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

In Scripture, John tells us that in Jesus is Life, and His Life is the Light of the human race.

Hail the heaven born prince of peace
Hail the son of righteousness
Light and life to all he brings
Risen with healing in his wings

Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn king”

The sacredness, the power of light invading darkness, steadily conquering it, cancelling it out. Can’t you just feel the ripeness of our world for the power of light and life?

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;

He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

Join me on this – the shortest – day of the year in inviting the Light to come.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 NIV).

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:1a, 2, 6-7a NIV).

“He will bring me out into the light” (Micah 6:9 NIV).

My God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28 NIV).

When God Wants to Give You More Than a Jump

My car battery died. It was over five years old, so when the single-digit temperatures hit Oklahoma this past weekend, they sapped out what little life was left in the battery. (Rest in peace, little buddy.)

My older brother, who happens to be a school bus mechanic, kept insisting that I needed a new battery, which was all well and good, but seriously, all I wanted was a jump. I figured I could go to Wal-Mart, get one of those little jump boxes, and be in a position to jump myself. You know, until I could get the money together for a battery.

And I totally would have made that work.

As God worked it out, I received a Christmas bonus at work yesterday, and so I had the money for a new battery before I even got the jumpstart for which I was about willing to give my firstborn.

After my car was back up and running yesterday evening, my mom said something profound. (I don’t think she meant it to be profound, but sometimes the things people say just hit me, you know?) She said, “The cold tends to bring those kinds of things to light.”

The cold tends to bring those kinds of things to light.

There are certain things that only certain circumstances can bring about.

Cold temperatures will completely drain an old battery and reveal not only the need for power, but the need for a replacement of the old source of power with a completely new one, because no battery was made to last forever.

This morning, a coworker who helped me with my car told me, “That battery had probably been going little bit by little bit for a long time.”

See, I am the patron saint of lost causes, and I believe in my core that if I just do my part, I can infuse dying things with new life. And for a while, I can. For a while, I guess I’m probably meant to, for as long as I’m given the grace. Sometimes, I strive beyond the grace I’ve been given, and that’s when God sends the cold – to show me I’m holding a dead thing, to show me it’s time for a new thing.

Oh, yes. The cold tends to bring those kinds of things to light.

“And everything that is illuminated becomes a light” (Ephesians 5:13b NIV).

In this coming season – the season that is now here – the dead things are going to burn up. All of the things I’ve poured my life into that are no longer living, they’re going to catch fire and be consumed. And the light from that fire is going to be a beacon until the sun rises.

And the sun will rise.

The darkness cannot conquer the light.

Death cannot conquer life.

Light and life are not as peaceful as one might imagine, for darkness and death will not be defeated without a brutal battle. The dawn is not silent, for the light and life it brings have fought to be there, and they raise a victory cry. The holiness, the sacredness there is not silent, is not still, is not settled. It is exuberant, vibrant, powerful.

Yes, light and life are unparalleled in power. The majesty of a sunrise is found in its having been through and gained victory over the night. The victory of light and life is known only by those who fight through the night.

There are certain things that only certain circumstances can bring about.

 

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If You Want to Get to Know Me

An open letter to the men interested in me.

Dear Men Who Are Interested in Me,

So we’ve been talking, and for reasons only you and the good Lord know, you’ve decided you want to get to know me a little more … one-on-one. Congratulations (I’m awesome, really) and welcome to an ever-expanding club of men, established circa 2007, all of whom have been unsuccessful in successfully pursuing me. Since I can be a bit hard to read, I’ve developed a little guide to help you along. (You’re welcome.)

First of all, if you are under 25, over 35, in any way romantically attached to anyone, or were not born male, you should ask God to remove or transform your interest in me, because romantic interest will not be returned. I am only romantically interested in a man with whom I can grow old and live the one and only life.

Just ask.  Look, I’m quiet, so if you think that if I’m interested in you, I’m going to initiate something, you’re probably wrong. (I say probably only because I asked a guy to get coffee once, but I had most definitely been under the influence of NyQuil when I did. I engage in some pretty out-of-character behavior when on NyQuil.) Also, I’m quiet (which I think I’ve mentioned before), so it takes me a minute to warm and open up to people, but once I get there, I’m as open as they come. If you want to get to know me one-on-one, or if you want to get to know anything about me at all, just ask. (Unless you want to wait for me to get a head cold and be strung out on NyQuil. Your call.)

Until you meet my parents, or other spiritual authorities in my life who I trust, and they have a favorable opinion of you, our getting to know each other one-on-one will take place in public, well-lit places and spaces. For my physical and emotional protection, you have to earn my trust before we’re alone together. You earn my trust, earn the privilege of privacy with me by treating me with respect, nurture, and value in public. And because there is strength in numbers, I’ll be getting a second opinion or ten.

Getting to know me one-on-one is not going to include sex until you’ve made a commitment not to leave me until death do us part. Sex is a big deal to me. If you’ll pardon a Trump-ism, it’s huge. It’s the most intimate human interaction I can imagine, and it requires a context of love and trust and faithfulness. It’s a progressive unveiling – we build up to it through greater and greater levels of friendship, and we build on it in marriage, which, as my dad says, is just another level of friendship.

Handle me with care. I may seem impregnable, but I’m not. I feel everything, but am often overwhelmed by how much I feel and afraid of overwhelming others with that weight, so I am guarded about expressing feeling. Still, every presence in my life impacts what I feel on some level, and if you get to know me one-on-one, that will include you. Know that I feel you, the things you do and say, and at times, the things you feel. But knowing because I say so will probably not satisfy you long, and at some point, you will dig around to get me to show my feelings. I want you to do that, want you to discover me, but please be careful how you unearth and handle my feelings. I don’t bounce back easy.

Fight for me. At some point, I will probably deliberately put distance between us just to see what you do with it. It’s my signature – and least healthy – move, and I’ve never been less proud of any behavior in my life. I’m more conscious of it and less likely to engage in it as I’ve matured, but I still regress. I’m sorry in advance because it will hit you out of nowhere, leaving you wondering what is happening, and God knows it’s not fair to you. If you want a future with me, please come after me. You can yell at me about it, but please – please, please, please – come after me.

Fight with me. I go to great lengths to avoid arguments, up to and including dismissing my own emotions. From time to time, things are going to get messy, maybe even ugly, between us, and I’m not going to like it. You will have to be able to fearlessly challenge me, and I will have to be able to fearlessly challenge you.

Respect and love the parts of me that have nothing to do with you. In the words of Leslie Gore, “You don’t own me.” You are not, and never will be, my entire life. I do not have any desire to be consumed or absorbed or possessed by you, nor do I wish to consume or absorb or possess you. We are partners, a team, ideally each bringing things to the table that the other person cannot.

I’m a Jesus girl. In some of my circles, I am the Jesus girl. The expectation from others is that I will be with a Jesus guy, although I have no such standard personally. (Anymore. I used to. Maybe I’ll recover it someday.) Whether you know and love and follow Jesus or not, these are the questions you should ask yourself about getting to know me one-on-one :

  • Do I have the courage to initiate a one-on-one relationship with this admittedly quiet and guarded girl?
  • Am I willing to take time building trust with this girl and the people whose opinions she respects?
  • Am I willing to refrain from enjoying sexual intimacy with this girl until marriage?
  • Am I willing to labor to discover the things about this girl that are not immediately apparent? Am I strong and gentle enough to handle every part of her with care?
  • Am I willing and able to fight for her when she gives up, to run after her when she runs away, to close distances she creates?
  • Am I willing to challenge her when she’s wrong? Am I humble enough to be challenged by her when I’m wrong?
  • Am I comfortable with her being my partner and yet her own person?
  • Am I comfortable perpetually being second place in her life?

Obviously, you won’t know the answers to all of these questions right away. It will take time. But. The moment one of your answers to these questions is a “no”, I am no longer someone you should be getting to know one-on-one.

Anyway, hopefully this helps.

Sincerely,

The One and Only Me

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Becoming a Person of Joy

“…Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice…” – Psalm 105:3b

This is my one resolution for this next season: become a person of joy – throbbing, heart-swelling joy.

This season has been a shaking season, a dark season, a stretching season, but through it, I’ve inherited so much strength, so much hope, so much bravery. And I am grateful.

But the season is changing. The light is coming, and everything light brings. It will come as a fire at first, I know. I find myself alert, and strong, and fierce to meet it.

And the one thing I want to be in this season, the one thing I want others to see in this season is a person who savors life. I want to be a person of wonder – tasting and enjoying every little thing. I want to be a person of gratitude – at peace knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life are woven into a masterpiece by the hands of the Redeemer and being thankful for it. I want to be a person who operates from victory and not loss – to grieve losses for what they are and then … let them go. I want to be a person of grace – to be patient with myself, with my circumstances, and with others, abiding in empathy and the understanding that this life is a journey and nothing happens all at once. I want to be a person who allows herself to be fiercely pursued and known and loved – to not accept and magnify scraps that will leave me empty and rob me of joy. I want to be a person of community – to do life with people and let them do life with me. I want to be my Father’s daughter – to relinquish control in every area of my life where I’m trying to make something happen.

Ready or not, here it comes.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
 Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

 Then you will look and be radiant,
    your heart will throb and swell with joy.” -Isaiah 60:1-3, 5a NIV