brave&little

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I say to myself, The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from The Lord.
Lamentations 3:24-26

My favorite scene from Downton Abbey is when Carson follows a trail of smoke only to discover Ms. Hughes trying out her new electric toaster. To her, it is something new and exciting. To him, it represents the unknown, changing times ahead. Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Ms. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?

I’m going to be moving soon, and it’s a big deal for me. It’s all sorts of exciting and scary at the same time. My good friend just made a similar move today, actually. A couple weeks ago he posted this quote, and it sums up what I’m trying to say better than I can say it on my own:

“Always, in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown and it is your first encounter with the wilderness you are going into.” -Wendell Berry

Sometimes I feel like Ms. Hughes and her toaster: curious and excited because I’ve embraced the unknown with arms wide open. Most of the time, though, I feel like Carson: full of nagging dread. Those Carson moments pass and I’m able to remember why I’m making this move in the first place. But the only way I make it through those moments is by remembering that I’ve been seeking the Lord out in this whole process. Even if I make the wrong choice, if I’m continuing to seek him out, he’ll always lead me home. And even if there is a lot that is unknown still, trusting him becomes a bit more familiar every day.

the way he tells us to

the way he tells us to

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:11-14

There are some moments that you just remember about people when you think about them. I’ll never forget this one day when I was sitting across from my mentor. I was munching on my chicken salad sandwich, asking her about things that confuse me like honesty and faith and sex and truth. She looked at me and asked, “Do you think it’s important to do things the way God tells us to do them?” I didn’t have an answer for her, and I’m still wrestling with that question. But I think I’m in a bit of a better head space today than I was then. I’m learning and relearning that my faith is not just for myself. My life, my actions, and my words, are all supposed to reflect what I’ve found in Christ. And that idea is something I cannot refute. I never want to point people to something other than Christ…so when I think about those confusing things today, I get clarity a lot quicker when I think about what my choices communicate to the world.

On another note, this picture and verse will always remind me of this song.

the bread and the wine

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…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God…
Acts 2:46 & 47

Breaking bread requires a certain level of humility. In Communion, the breaking of bread is a symbol of the most humble act of Christianity–the body of Christ broken for all mankind, the blood of Christ shed for all mankind. I find I can be absolutely prideful in every moment of every day except when I take Communion. It’s a reminder for me that I needed that sacrifice to be made for me so that my soul can be whole and well. I can’t be whole on my own.

The concept of breaking bread with friends is similar to that for me. If we are to view one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing that we are all made in Christ’s image, shouldn’t my relationships be approached in the utmost posture of humility? Just as I approach the table for Communion, I should also approach the people in my life with reverence and a lack of pride or any self-seeking motive.

Written to the tune of “Break Bread” and “Bread & Wine” both by the wonderful Josh Garrels

for the boring

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This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

For the days when nothing has changed from yesterday: when the AC is still broken and the morning begins quietly. For the days when there are no boys to text or to fluster me: when the only thing on my to-do list are two scrambled eggs with cheese (that I eat for breakfast every day) and getting a flu shot. For the days when there is no new drama to occupy my wandering thoughts: when I have time to be still, to reflect on what you’ve already done and who you are. Thank you for being the God of the boring days, too.

details

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But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you won’t be once more?
1 John 3:18-24
I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.
Hosea 13:4-5

They start small, but some are bigger than my hand. Flimsy and fragile, they will make one fall in their life and there’s no getting back on the branch once that fall has happened. They take what they need and then they leave. Yet each one is intricate and beautiful. Lines that look like my veins carefully touch one another and shake hands to say, “Hey, we’re in this journey together.” These leaves, some bigger than my hand, are not beautiful by conventional definition. They’re asymmetrical, at least when I think they are looking their best. Their color is inconsistent and fine lines are apparent. But to me, they’re beautiful because it’s clear they’ve been cared for. Their fall is unique as are their roots and limbs, but their story is not. In their short lives, these leaves, some bigger than my hand, grown and function, live and die. The beauty lies in their details, because something so delicate and fleeting shouldn’t need the time of acquired beauty but they do. Because they are beautiful and for that–I’m thankful. If He gives such detail to these leaves, some bigger than my hand, how much detail does He give to us?

favor year

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The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11

 

in his sight

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For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4

I’m cheating a little bit this week because this isn’t a picture I took. Obviously. But in light of last week’s post, it’s incredible to think a God who creates spaces and moments like this used that same mind to create you and me–blameless and holy in his sight.

For me, it’s time to start living like it.

the place called perfect

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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

If you’ve ever seen the movie Hitch, then you know the quote, “Life is not about the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.” There is discrepancy over who authored the quote; one theory holds that a Canadian man came up with it for Carleton Cards, signed away the copyright, and now adorns the honorable title of Author Unknown. But if the nameless Canadian man behind this quote is a genuine, hopeless romantic, then I’d like to think he cares less about his name being coined to the quote and more about how, in order to articulate such a statement, he is a blessed man for having experienced such moments in life.

When I took this picture, this was one of those moments for me. The photo doesn’t do it justice, because the place was flawless and breathtaking. It was one of those scenes that’s so beautiful and good and right that you want to change your life and leave a better person for having seen it. Praise God, my God who can’t seem to contain His own beauty in places and moments like this.

is it so simple?

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The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
1 Kings 19:11-13

Elijah was running from chaos to the place where he knew he could be with the Lord. And even still, he was looking for God’s voice in all the wrong things. Sometimes, even when we put our bodies in the right place, we still need to quiet our hearts and minds. The Lord makes himself known in the simplest of places. He’s not desperately trying to compete for our attention. He is strong and consistent, never budging or changing. When we look to Him, He will make Himself known.

My roommate Rachel and I woke up early after the first night of what would be remembered forever in our hearts as the most wonderful camping trip with unlikely friends. It was still dark and we clumsily carried our lawn chairs away from our campsite to the open field right behind the tent in which all of our good company lay, enjoying the last few moments of peace before the new day began. Our fingers cold and toes chilly from the damp grass and the sunrise slow, so we had time to sit in silence and wait. We had time to take note of every detail–the beauty of everything: the birds having pillow talk telling the world morning was about to come. My roommate said, “Play a song so that every time I hear it I’ll think of this moment.”

Before that morning, I couldn’t tell you the last time I came to the Lord with my heart in the right place to receive his peace and presence. I always get caught up in the familiarity of tension and chaos, but I think being in God’s presence really is as simple as it was that morning. Every time I hear that song, I feel like I’ve been hit with something that pushes back as I try to plow forward through my day. It’s as if God is saying

Hush

Be still

Remember Me.

Is this it?
Is it so simple my God?
home I found I found you now!