When Mighty Comes in Unexpected Ways

It’s hard to switch into “grown-up” mode when My efforts have been directed toward penning children’s missions’ blogs, writing a kids’ musical, and coming up with five dramas to be reenacted at a Vacation Bible School, so I’m a little behind on here. But that doesn’t mean that my mind has been idle.

I’ve taken lots of time to think on the word prompt of “mighty” from last week’s Five-Minute-Friday challenge, and I’ve seen God display that very might in small and unexpected ways all week long. Perhaps because I’ve been purposefully looking for Him to show up.

He does that, you know. Shows up when we are looking. Comes out of hiding when we are willing to notice.

He’s made His presence known so blatantly a few times this week, that all I could do was shake my head and smile. He literally had me laughing out loud last evening at the immediate answer to a flitting thought that skipped across my mind. I think He likes to make me laugh. In fact, I’m sure He does.

While I may be breaking the rules of the “five minutes” part of this blog challenge today, I’m pretty certain that the “unedited” part will remain, so forgive my errors and my over-extension on the time limit as I pour out my heart on the marvels of God’s might:

MIGHTY

Reigning unleashed – yet powerfully contained – within fallible, flawed, earthen clay. Now that is mighty.

Why not use all Your power to make Yourself known in spectacular ways?

Why not choose the biggest and the best to show Yourself to this world You have created?

But instead, You choose to place your power within me.

A simple, humble jar of dust…

Surely it would seem more fitting to shine Your glory through a golden, gem-encrusted vessel.

But that is not Your way.

Your way is the path of humility when all others would choose the path of greatness.

Your way is to empower the weak to show Yourself strong.

Your way is to sustain the broken and fill the empty with Your all-sufficient grace.

Your way is to pour Your might into… me.

To think You would choose to display the essence of Your presence within one so unworthy is a mighty big thought to wrap this earthly mind about.

But I see that it is Your goodness that causes You to do so.

It is Your mercy poured out in lavish abandon that causes You to reside here in the fragments and smoking debris of my life.

Finding You here, blazing gloriously in the ashes, proves the power of Your might in the grandest of ways.

Holy, nail-scarred hands embracing my sins.

This is where Your power is unleashed.

This is where love is most gloriously displayed.

This is where the world sees and knows You

Where I see and know You.

Here in the fullness of Your might cradling the smallness of me.

P1010447“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

 

 

 

Breathing Advent

waiting
holding out for holy
hoping for the Light of the World
to show up in this darkness
counting down the days to the promised deliverance
gratefully grasping for the gift of God’s presence
trusting it will arrive just in time
to offer the way of salvation
in the midst of this wayward world

gasping for a breath of the Divine
longing for a birth of life to come in these moments
to bridge the gap of here and now with infinite eternal
to hope for His coming in the messiness of manger life
to know His love among the muck and mire
of this sin-soaked dwelling
wishing to be rich enough to offer a five-star hotel
but humbled and grateful that He comes to this stable
content to appear in stubble and dung
‘tho He deserves all pristine and glorious

pondering this starlit night of death and life
warring for the souls of mankind
i lift my eyes to the hills where angels descend to bring
glad tidings of great joy that will be for all people
and i marvel to be chosen as one of the all
breathing in this fearsome glory
i set my feet upon timeworn path
following shepherds’ footprints to stable of old
only to find it is my own heart to which i am led

with cadence of drummer boy’s heartbeat
i join in angels’ song
kneeling in awe and wonder
breathing deeply the scent of straw and sweat
and dawning of freedom
birthed with Salvation’s cry
i warm myself near Advent’s glow

images

Psithurism of the Holy

Whispers.

Prayers I’m praying,

Murmurs of my heart.

I see these soul words slow-dancing in the Spirit,

Twisting, turning, swaying, billowing.

Finding a home as they reach my heart and extend to His.

Sealed with a promise,

Kept for a purpose,

Whispering through my soul,

Taking my breath away

While filling me with new life.

Beckoning me to embrace every awe-filled moment.

Ever present,

Revealing His mercy,

Gracing my days with blessing.

Rustling light amidst the shadows,

Unveiling sweet discoveries

For finite eyes to capture.

Filling the empty places with His whispers,

Psithurism of the holy,

Shouting through my life.

IMG_3746Psithurism:  (n.) the sound of the wind through trees

Stubbing My Toes on the Holy

I’m a girl trying to see past the ordinary. I want to see grace in the mundane and humor in the plain and dig deeper than the surface of the things that I think about. I want to take off my shoes and stub my toes on Holy Ground. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved going barefoot.

As I read the above words from the Stumbling Barefoot blog that I quite literally stumbled upon the other day, I could not help but think that I had found a kindred spirit. A barefooted sister searching for grace in the everyday. Groping for a glimpse of God alongside me as we stub our toes against the Holy, even if purely by accident. Seriously, it was like she was inside my head and pulling words from my own heart.

So often I, too, am straining my eyes to see past the ordinary in hopes of finding a glimpse of God in the mundane moments. Digging through what seems like mountains of dirty laundry in hopes that He has planted a seed of something that I can cling to in my everyday. Something that will grow bigger than the responsibilities that surround me, sometimes threatening to overwhelm me, no matter how precious my “quiet time with Jesus” was just a few sweet minutes before.

Because I need for there to be more to this life than just a list of obligations and appointments. I need to experience the Holy in the here and now.

And I realized that in stumbling upon Stumbling Barefoot, I did indeed stub my toes on a portion of Holy Ground allotted for me. God was unveiling one more piece of truth to fit in the puzzle of my life. He was reminding me that He is always thinking of me, ever aware of my smallest needs, even when I am not intentionally thinking of Him. Even when I am not expecting Him to bless me. And in this marvelous lesson of mercy, I am straining to look harder for the presence of His grace. Everywhere.

Because it is there.

The truth is, I will stumble upon the Holy every day of my life.

Sometimes that encounter will be joyful and exhilarating, and sometimes that stubbing will hurt. Sometimes God will choose to show up in ways that are painful, at least for a season. Like hoeing in my garden in order to sow a seed that will grow into a plant that nourishes me with its fruit, sometimes God must “dig” into my heart to make the site ready for His planting. And sometimes that digging is painful. But it is also necessary.

Unlike our human nature, God does not inflict pain in order to “get even” or “pay us back” for our wrongs against Him. His actions toward us are always motivated by love. A love that wants nothing more than for us to experience the wonder of His presence as we watch the seeds sprout and produce a harvest of love and blessings in our lives. He wants us to trust Him to bring the wonder through the pain of life’s disappointments and through the redemption of a heart drawn back to His side.

So I will choose to look for the wonder in the obvious and hear whispers of holiness in the everyday. I will pray for eyes to see and ears to hear the magic that is happening all around me. To stop overlooking and start experiencing life happening here – hope being realized right now – not just in the somedays still to come.

I will determine to tug the holy out of the ordinary moments that fill my days, to tease the light out of a darkness that encompasses my nights. To breathlessly wait for the sunrise that is promised even as I venture into the midnight hours of the soul. To listen for the whispers of a God who roars through my silence even when I live as one unaware.

I will trust in a Savior who sees me through the rose-colored glasses of Calvary’s blood.

Who loves me as though I have always been and will always be pure and innocent before Him – even when I am cloaked with the filth of a life lived in the streets of self-indulgence. I will grope for His goodness and cling to His grace as I stumble my way to the Holy Ground of Calvary and stub my toes against His glory as I exchange my sins for His forgiveness… again.

And that is enough to make me gasp with the wonder of the Holy for this moment…
and forever.

IMG_2099

Connecting to the Holy

Perhaps one of the most profound thoughts I ever heard recounted from a pulpit was something along the lines of, I was sitting with my friends on the back porch listening to Nat King Cole. It was a holy moment. Not your typical Sunday morning sermon notes.

Nevertheless, this thought has continued to stick with me throughout the years, bouncing between my head and my heart at the strangest of moments.

If my pastor friend can define listening to Nat King Cole as a “holy moment,” then what other simple things of life can be placed in the same category? It’s not like the famous jazz singer was noted for belting out worship music or for writing amazing hymns. So what justified this particular moment in time as being “holy” to my friend? More importantly, what “holy moments” am I overlooking every day of my life?

Sometimes we get the confused idea that to “be holy” means we must be cloaked in the brown garb of a monk and live in seclusion while reciting Scripture twelve hours a day. Sadly, we insist on doing something to make holiness happen rather than being in communion with God, regardless of what is happening. The hidden truth is that anything can be “holy” when God is in the center of it.

And since God exists in literally everything that our senses behold, then the truth of the matter is that all of life is seeping with the Divine.

But while it is easy to recognize the holiness of God in the sweet smile of a sleeping newborn, it can be much more difficult to notice God’s presence in places where life is troublesome or in people who make us feel uncomfortable. We tend to want to pick and choose where we believe God’s holiness will show up instead of choosing to believe that holiness appears wherever God is.

This morning, a friend posted a facebook comment that may well be the key to embracing those holy moments in life: Today, will you simply recognize your connection to Christ?

A simple, yet profound statement, indeed. The key in recognizing those holy moments is to be mindful of our connection to God… in every moment of living. To be grateful for the gift of the kingdom of God placed within these fragile, earthen vessels. Vessels formed to contain His glory and to experience His holiness with every breath of living.

And if that is the case, then truly holiness can be found anywhere.

At any time.

In anyone.

May we have ears to hear the call of holiness – from the first cries of the life of a newborn to the last death rattle of a saint.

And all the moments in between.

26283_121966041147480_100000022551687_326545_5031885_n