Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Tabernacle

So I wrote this post before Christmas, but I thought the message of Mary should remain until after the big day. As a side note, the idea of Mary's desire turning into the desire of God that already exists is beautiful to me. She accepts it, desires it, but it doesn't take away from how hard it is and will be. Keep that in mind as you allow God to mold your desires into what He desires. Its cool... but in ain't easy.

Anyway, along with the post. I am past this now in my current study of Exodus, but I hope this raises questions and thoughts from you. Thanks for reading and participating with me as I grow in the knowledge and understanding of God through His word (even in the OT).

my tabernacle

So… as you may know, and if not you’re just now finding out, I have been studying the Old Testament. For words I don’t understand I look at my thick concordance. But generally things make sense when taken in smaller chunks. Sure I could use a little history lesson, but it beautiful coincides with some of the study I’m doing in Revelation at Common Ground and Acts that I am doing with a friend.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Exodus, but for a while its been mainly about Moses; the journey out of Egpyt, through the sea, into the wilderness, etc. I just finished the laws, and have entered into the building of the tabernacle.

Its taken days on days to get through it, and I’m still reading about curtains, pillars, linens, the alter, etc. It is filled with intricate details, none of which I will begin to share with you lest I lose the small amount of interest that I have thankfully peaked. Just know that it is very detailed. As the sizes are determined, the materials choses (gold, silver, bronze, acacia wood, etc.), and colors picked (purple linen for example) I was amazed for the first couple chapters of such detail; pulling some verses to which I can squeeze a drop of “word” into my soul for that day’s “daily bread”.

Well, a couple days ago, I continued on this journey of reading how God was describing that the Israelites build His tabernacle. Then I noticed a baby “a” right by the word “tabernacle”. (this signals me to go down to the bottom of the page and see what reference its talking about) It translated the word “tabernacle” to “dwelling place”. For a minute I began to think “cool. Yeah. Where God dwells…like His church”.

Although that may be true, and Exodus is speaking of a physical place that is being built, the Holy Spirit led me to consider my body as the temple, or “dwelling place” of the Lord. You have heard it said, or read, that our bodies are God’s temples. From that you can draw ideas as to how to eat, work out, drink, etc; just the general upkeep of our bodies. Well, consider with me for a moment that through out Exodus as God describes how He desires the temple to be built not just maintained, how then are we building our temple?

What kinds of things are we allow ourselves to be built with? I’m not suggesting we hide from the world, and to be honest, I haven’t gotten much beyond the question to myself, but something to consider and really something I’m looking for feedback on.

We are tabernacles. We are dwellings places for the most High God! That in and of itself is powerful…and then how is God telling us to build it?

Maybe the dwelling place is the collective church/tabernacle of the body of Christ. In which case God specifically outlines how we are to “build one another up” and to operate as Christ to the world, and to each other. To mourn with those who mourn. To be joyful with those who are joyful. “There is a time for everything under the sun…” and to be fully with God and each other in those times.

Just a thought…

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There is more depth in Christmas...

I have been challenged with some thoughts regarding Christmas and I thought it would be good for me to dig deeper into them in this venue.

The first being the idea of saying "Welcome to the world baby Jesus!" My friend was struggling with the idea of saying this knowing the purpose and intent of God coming down in the form of man to suffer, be persecuted, and ultimately killed for His people - us! How can you say lightly "Welcome!" ? I think there are some things to keep in mind in regards to that idea. Absolutely it is with humble gratitude that we thank God for coming to save us from the destruction that we ask for, the wrath we deserve... knowing He offers life apart from that.

God decided long before we began to say "welcome" that He would send His only son, to come, live this life, die for us, and then be raised from the dead. He crafted His plan so that all mankind would have the opportunity to come and know Him. We rejoice with who He is. We hurt because we see our God take on our punishment on the cross. And we rejoice when He is raised from the dead because that is what gives us life.

So he came, he lived, he died, and now lives again.

"...And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14: 15-17)

PRAISE GOD! When I take communion, some times my mind is coherent and alert enough as I come before the throne of God, my creator, my savior, my redeemer, my restorer, my King, I imagine the nails going into Jesus' hands. I picture the blood pouring out of them. I imagine the Father on the throne allowing this to take place so that He would see me not only in Heaven, but living this life for Him.

I imagine my greed nailed on Jesus. I imagine my selfishness pouring from his forehead. I imagine my lust nailing his feet. I weep in raw humility of what my God has done for me. I weep knowing He CHOSE to give me the option at life, and He died so that I may also die to myself.

Three days later my God rose again. He rose so that I may have life. He sent the counselor. He sent the Spirit. He was not just offering life in Heaven, but on earth. Life to the fullest in both places.

"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me." (John 14: 28)

That is Jesus speaking to His disciples. The world MUST KNOW. Who is going to tell them? Who is going to communicate the gospel in love to the people who haven't a clue? Its not about the 4 spiritual laws. Jesus loved. Follow His example. He was in relationship. Follow that too. Trust Him.

So when I say "Welcome to the world baby Jesus"... may my heart be rendered humbly and eternally thankful for the sacrifice and choice that God made to save a wretch like me.

Point Number 2 (keeping in mind point number one and even the previous blogs on redemption):

Mary was first told by an angel that she was going to give birth to Jesus. She was engaged, not married. She was a virgin. So obviously there were a lot of questions. She was not afraid to ask the angel...

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

And as angels do, they provide clarity and reassurance of God...

"The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

Any well minded teenager I am sure would have many more questions... wondering what people would think of her, of Joseph, how they would provide for this baby; and so it is with the call of God on our lives so often.

"God seriously? Keeping me in Indiana? How will I do the things I'm passionate about in this state?"

" Um... so Africa... money... language... culture... how God?"

"Sarah has cancer. If she dies Lord, how will I live? How will I breath? How will I go on?"

After each question I ask, He continually answers "Trust Me."

Anyway, so, Mary doesn't ask a second round. The angel affirms her, and puts her in her place, so to speak. "Nothing is impossible with God."

Well ok then. She says..."I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."

What was so astounding to me today, was after the revelation from the angel, telling Mary what was about to happen, was her reaction. Its ok to wonder, its ok to ask a question, but sooner rather than later you need to accept that this is God's will. Mary did that so beautifully.

"I am the Lord's servant. May it be as you have said."

Yes its scary. The will of God isn't always easy or predictable, but if He has called you to it, you must trust Him that it is better than what YOU could have conjured up yourself. That, to me my friends, is incredible faith. If you notice it is not just "yes God I'll do what you say", but it is "May it be as you have said." Her desire for her life then became what God's desire is.

May my will conform to what God's will is. May my desire for my life be what God's desire is for it.

"Not my will, but Your's be done."

Jesus said that (to bring back point 1). He chose God's will, and essentially His, to be crucified, taking on the wrath of the world, and to be raised 3 days later and then ascend into Heaven. WOW. So that we, all mankind, might be saved. That is the most beautiful love story of all. That is the greatest unfolding of God's will I've known.

There are so many things to learn. There is so much transformation of my heart that needs to happen. May we be presently aware of the inter workings of the miracle of Jesus' birth, and the characters and stories that God worked together for one pregnancy.

The birth of our savior is something to be trembled.

I pray that this season, these days, we would focus on GOD. Not just the story. Not the days and years that followed, but praising God today, 2008, for how He continues to unfold the story of redemption in our lives.

Joyfully & Humbly His today,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Part 2: Redemption in the Inbetween

I don't believe I've ever written a "part 2" on my blog before. If you're finding this just read the previous post about redemption. I'm sure I will begin to repeat myself, for which I apologize, but I am praying that God gives me the words that He wants me to share here; as I process what redemption looks like in my own life.

Ironically (or not so because of God), today at church we talked about redemption. I'm sure many churches across the US, or perhaps the world, did as well. Why you ask? Because Common Ground has decided to walk through the liturgy of the advent season. Today's verses were found in Isaiah 61, mainly.

So, as I'm sitting there astonished after reading Isaiah 61 and the first thing the pastor says is "You know what this story is? REDEMPTION." Ok Jesus, let the lessons begin. I just re-read Isaiah 61, and tears welled up in my eyes over the story of redemption. So much so that I'm not sure where to begin with the processes as I sat in church.

Lets start at the beginning. Restoration. "Restoration Katie? I thought we were talking about redemption?" We are, but as I sat there and the pastor almost used the two interchangeably I was challenge by the possible integration of the two.

So... I looked them up. Definition time. If you read my blog a lot you know how much I love getting to the definitions. It makes it all the more clear in my heart as I understand what is being said.

#1: Redemption:
  • deliverance; rescue
  • atonement for guilt
  • theology: deliverance from sin, salvation

#2: Restoration:
  • the act of restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment.
  • restitution of something taken away or lost
  • a return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition
Friends, is the truth of this unveiling itself in your heart?

To me it would seem, (feel free to send me emails and comments about how I'm wrong. I certainly don't stand to be the expert on any subject. I write what I'm learning, and its open for discussion) that redemption is part of the bigger story of restoration. I have heard restoration a lot in the church and in the word. "Restoration of all things" Taking this into our context, not just of the Israelites which I mentioned in the blog post below, or the passage that is going through it in Isaiah 61, but in our lives.

God is the one who is restoring all mankind back until itself. He is returning something former. He is in the process of restitution... something that was lost or stolen. I venture to guess what was lost or stolen was our perfection in Him. Our sin was the thief. His desire is for us to return to the original state of being.

We cannot be restored without redemption. He has delivered us from our sin. He has rescued us from lives filled with it and living in emptiness. He has, and is, redeeming us.

The reason I believe its continual acts of redemption leading to our restoration is because we are not perfect until we go home. Its small victories won, with Jesus. Its us admitting ourselves to be transformed into His likeness. Its the body of Christ committing to participate in His kingdom come on earth.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. " James 1:2-3

Trials suck. Earth can often suck. Joy doesn't mean happiness. But my prayer is that we would "keep the faith". That we would run with perseverance the race marked for us; whatever befall us.

So on this grander story of restoration, through God's redemption in us and around us (through the cross of Christ), we can partake also in His joy. Knowing He is the only One who can bring about healing, redemption, and restoration... let us hold tight to His promises. "I will never leave you nor forsake you." "I am with you always. Even to the end of the age." "I am not slow concerning my promises... but not willing that any should perish." (these might not be direct, but they're in my heart)

Friends, if you're still with me, thank you. I know its this massive "revelation" if you will in my heart, I just hope it translates to someone. One person. Continuing on...

After our suffering, even if it is one trial to the next, God will redeem us, restore us, and put us "back together" in a newer, probably better, version of ourselves. "To grant those who mourn in Zion. Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)

That is where I started to cry when I re-read it. Those are the promises. That is what he is doing after, and through, each trial. That is what He is doing in all mankind. He is restoring us to be better version of ourselves that we didn't know could come, or exist, unless there was suffering.

It doesn't mean live is easier, or happier, but to grasp how wide and deep is the love of God, to know His promises of Heaven by watching a dearly loved one go there, changes your life. It transforms the way you live, the way you think, the way you breath, the way you live.

In this beautiful body of Christ, I also believe God did not intend to allow our experiences with Him to only be for ourselves, but each other. Here is a nugget of truth expressed in Isaiah and in church today.

"The recipients of redemption then become the administers of it." In God's stories of redemption He uses people, each other. I posted a blog about this Every Good and Perfect Gift", the idea being that it is always God weaving this story, but He might use others to do it.

Be encouraged family. When I was 20 I would not have chosen to lose my big sister at age 21. I would not have picked this road for myself. But I know that it has brought blessings into my life that I would not have otherwise had.

I lost my sister, but I lost her to Jesus. I ache for her. I miss her like crazy. But in the same breath I am SO thankful that God uses tragedy, or suffering, in the lives of others. If I knew what the outcome was, and continues to be, and how God uses it, honestly not sure if I would choose it still. But, that doesn't matter. This is the story being written on my heart. God is using my story of redemption in the lives of others. He is using Sarah's story of redemption in the lives of others. And I know He will use your's too.

Why? For the greater restoration of all things. If you continue to read the rest of Isaiah 61 - you will see how obvious it is that God is using the people He is redeeming, to be a part of other redemption stories in the greater story of Restoration.

The beginning of ALL this, and the foundation of ALL restoration and redemption, is the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I NEVER want to discount that. It is because of that that I write these words, and know the Lord that I know.

I pray that you find these words encouraging your heart today as you go through what life has dropped on your lap.

Take heart...


Friday, December 12, 2008

Redemption in the inbetween

Do you know any really good stories of redemption? Immediately perhaps your mind goes to the redemption of mankind; Jesus coming, living, dying, and then raising again. That is part of God's redemption story. I suppose in a nutshell (if you can put God, or His redemption story in a "nutshell") that might be it.

But as I read in Exodus these days I am blown away at God's desire for the people of Israel to remember where they've been redeemed from. Chapter after Chapter, trial after trial, "Israel, remember what I've redeemed you from!" They were in bondage in Egypt, and now they're free. They were slaves, and now they're free. God provided for them in their captivity and He continued to in their freedom. Did they complain? Yes. They would say things like "Why did you bring us into the wilderness to die? We would rather be back in Egypt. At least we ate there." WHAT? The people of Israel are requesting to be set back in the chains that God freed them from.

I dare to compare us to them. I don't believe things have changed. God did amazing things to set the Israelites free from Pharaoh and his armies. The parting of the red sea. Providing manna. The plagues. Even in love he sent the plagues so that ALL MEN (the Egyptians too) would know that He is God. After all of that, they still said "we want our chains back". You can't be serious. I split a sea, you walked on the ocean floor, I provided manna - this crazy food from heaven, I made water pour out from a rock, and I began this redemption story as I came to this dude named Moses in a burning bush, and you still don't trust Me?"

Wow. How silly, close minded, and near sighted individuals we can be. "Remember from what I've redeemed you." Friends, my admission is that as God weaves His story of redemption within my life, I get caught up in myself. I lose a thankful heart that should constantly be there if I remembered what He has redeemed me from. He freed me from bondage of sin, guilt, shame. He set me free from a life of death and self distruction. I was walking toward death, and he plucked me up, and put me on the road to life. Narrow as it may be, a road nonetheless. Now I have to walk on it.

What has He brought me to on this road? A life lived for Him; ultimately satisfying; even if it doesn't feel that way sometimes. That is my sin keeping me from experiencing the freedom right? Its me saying "God. I don't know about this. Its getting awfully hard. I kind of liked where I was a month ago." But to keep growing into this freedom, to dig deeper in my relationship wtih God, to truly be redeemed, the road I walk is narrow and hard. Not that many are on it. But oh the life it brings. Beautifully fulfilling even in the midst of suffering. Hopeful? Nothing but.

He is redeeming His people. Please... lets not forget from whence we came. He is a gracious God. He is pouring His love into you through every bite you eat, through ever friendship you have, through every gift you receive. He is telling His story of love. He did it on the cross. Even as I write that new truth hits me to share with you.

He showed His redemptive love through the cross. The cross was the very wrath of God, that we deserve - STILL, taken on by God Himself. If that isn't love, if that isn't redemption, then we have no hope of ever experiencing it. Redemption will never be without suffering. Nor will life. (really life should be the redemption) Redemption will never come without an admission that we were wrong. That we have sinned. And that we are, indeed, in need of it.

May our hearts be humbled, and our mouths rejoice, for He is, was, and will redeem us from ourselves and welcome us home one day into His eternal glorious home. I await that day my friends. But in the mean time, I will abide in the inbetween. I will rejoice in Him. He has not called me home yet, but He has called me here. To abide in God. So many are often on either side of Heaven... caught up here and not wanting to think of it OR caught up in it and not wanting to be here.

But I suggest to my often heaven-longing heart - I will allow Him to pour out His love and write a small chapter of His greater story of redemption, in me, that He is working out through all mankind.

That includes you.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A broken heart for another...

I don't have much to say as I am caught up on the lives in the McCracken household. (their blog) My heart is overflowing with a deep sense of the weight that exists. Tears well up in my eyes over them.

Suffering... certainly not something we wish and hope for. Certainly something that isn't easy. However, I trust that God is in the midst of it. He is loving them through it. And that the best thing for me to do is bring them before His thrown.

McCrackens... if you read this, my heart is ever with you. It is breaking for you. I will do my part in bringing you before the thrown of our Savior. May the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your hearts in minds in Christ Jesus.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A lift in the downpour...

Today there has been a lift in spirits.

In the waiting much prayer took place. My dad was supposed to go into his tests today at 12:45. I called my mom every 20 or so minutes to check in. I was planning on going to hospital once my mom said he was "in", because 45 minutes later we would know the answer.

So around 1:45 he went in, and at 1:55 I headed for Noblesville's Riverview Hospital. I arrived seeing my down the hall. "They found nothing". "What?" I exclaimed. "I'll tell you in a minute."

So she got her cheeseburger and we sat down. Basically they didn't find anything. What the ER doctor thought was internal bleeding wasn't. My dad has had two bleeding ulcers in the past, and now he is battling anemia and pneumonia. So they, the new set of doctors, believe this is the reasoning for the symptoms that brought him into the ER twice in the past two weeks.

Alas, he is on a new eating regimen and iron pills for the anemia. If after the pneumonia is gone, and the anemia gets better, they'll reassess. I'm praying the reason they didn't find what they expected to is because God healed my dad. There is no doubt in my mind that is possible, and I give Him complete glory for the lift in the storm.

I raise my hands and bow my head to the Peace giver and lover of my soul. He sang a beautiful lullaby over my heart today and called me to rest there.

Thank you body of Christ for being a part of my life. Thank you for joining with me in this fight. There is no doubt there are more mountains to climb, but I am also confident of God's presence in the midst of them.

Thank you for your notes, words of encouragement, and love poured out. You are a faithful family, and for you I give Gods thanks today.


ps- don't crawl in caves. That may sound silly but yesterday I shut down. I hibernated. I went into my "cave" of processing and it made things worse. I would let no one in and I certainly wasn't coming out. God was with me, but my heart was so unbearably hard I'm not even sure I was listening to the One person who was trying to get me out of there.

I am thankful for God's presence with me. I am thankful that He yanked me out of there today. Note to self: do not crawl into a cave unless you plan on bringing someone out.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A storm...

Batten down the hatches. Put up the storm windows. Another blizzard is coming in. Snow piled in feet at our door. Not sure we packed enough for this one.

Yesterday my family had our Thanksgiving. [Thursday we got together. It was pretty ok. Nice to be at Annas. I ran a race that morning which was fun & wicked cold. But that is a different blog for another time]

As we watched the Colts barely win, and then the Hoosiers struggle for a victory, the mood at my parents was mediocre. Laura brought up how cute it would be for all of us to wear our Colts jerseys for a Christmas card. Quickly a response comes, “what would we say?”, and in that Umbaugh sarcasm, “We are having the happiest of holidays.” Anna chimes in “Pray for us!” I mention creating something like a prayer card… (Jokingly) “Here is a list of things you can pray for us about.”

This isn’t a “poor us” email, or a request or plea for you to feel bad for us. It is simply recognition of the storm that isn’t coming, but has arrived. The storm began in 2004 when my sister was diagnosed with cancer and the hits just haven’t stopped coming. Mixed in the last 4 years have been times of immense pain and extreme joy. Currently we are in one of the more painful times of life as God works His plans in and through us.

My family is one of faith, but we are never void of emotion. My grandpa, my dad’s dad, went to Heaven in October of this year. If you’re new to this blog, which is doubtful, there is a post or two about him back in October. Check it out.

Anyway, three weeks prior it was a waiting game of ups and downs. My dad stayed in Plymouth (Indiana, not Rock) the majority of the time. His time consisted of sleeping on the floor of the nursing home, with his dad in bed and my grandma in the recliner. He didn’t get much sleep those three weeks, and as always in death, it often doesn’t hit you until after the fact. It has been hitting my dad for weeks now. Along with his heart and blood flow. My dad is having tests tomorrow, Tuesday, to see whats going on in him. We know there is internal bleeding, but the cause is uncertain. I know I just wrote about this but frankly its hitting me harder than I’ve recognized.

We could find out a lot or a little. It could be anywhere from cancer to an ulcer. We are hoping for the later, but certainly won’t know until tomorrow. If there is a “cancer possibility” there will be more tests to be had.

As with anything, this does not just wear on the person going through it, but it wears on those they love and who love them. This is certainly wearing on my family, and more specifically my mom. I did not get permission to post this blog, or write about them, but I trust the eyes that fall on this blog will lift them up in prayer. I trust that those of who you stumbled on my blog will be challenged to pray. (even if you aren’t used to it)

My mom has shown more bravery and strength in the last 2 months than I have ever seen in her. It has been a beautiful experience for me to watch as she would “rise to the challenge” to take care of my dad the way she is. For my parents…each individual is in desperate need of strength and peace. They are both squeezed to the pulp. Tuesday could mean a lot of things, and I pray out of God’s grace that it would mean a quick fix, health for my dad, and ultimately joy for my family.

But alas, if it does mean more testing, if it does mean cancer, we will stare at it straight in the face and say “we will not let you take us down. God has the victory be it in this life or the next.” My family knows that truth, and we will rest in that truth once again. (if that is indeed where this is going) We will take life one day at a time as we’ve done for the last 4 years.

I am not ignoring God’s graces in storms, or His immense love for me. Job poured out his heart in his angst and heartache, and I am doing the same. I will remain faithful to my God, for His love for me, and my family, stretches beyond my comprehension.

He is faithful, even in sickness, and even in my sin. And so I will be faithful to Him, even in the face of trials, and my parents suffering. I don’t discount this is “my suffering” too, but I wish I could take it from them; the hurt, the grief, the pain, the illness. However, that is my Dad’s cross to bear, and my mom’s cross to bear. My cross is suffering along side them. I will pick it up, and I will follow Him.

There are other things that are happening in my life as an individual that aren’t cultivating peace. However, the One who offers me peace is always with me.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

I am challenged to seek Him first. It makes sense why the word says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Oddly enough, it comes from Matthew 6, in the ever famous passage of scripture about not worrying.

I do think, beyond food and clothing, God promises something else. I never thought that the things that would be “added” are peace, joy, comfort, wisdom… I just HAVE to put my trust, and turn my outcries to God before others. I must seek first His kingdom. My desire must be His. “God, to YOU be the glory in this seeming mess … and whatever that means it means.” “God YOUR will be done.”

As my eyes grow weary of watching my family’s suffering, as I grow tired of seeing my Daddy, the man in my life, hurt so deeply, I cry out to God for healing. I ask that you would please join with me in this.

I thank God for the words of wisdom my beautiful friend Amanda, out poured to me last night in a text message. As I reflect on her words, as I read again her love expressed here, it hits me “This is the body. This is the community I long for and am now experiencing. Praise God!” These words brought tears to my eyes…

“The word compassion comes from the roots that mean literally to ‘suffer with’; to show compassion means sharing in the suffering ‘passion’ of another. To live with compassion means to enter others dark moments. It is to walk into places of pain, not to flinch or look away when another agonizes. It means to stay where people suffer. You, my friend, are compassionate to me and to your friends you mentioned on your blog. I am honored to call you friend. I promise to be that for you as I pray for you and all of the things that make your heart heavy right now. Love you lots.”

She also gave me this verse on Sunday: (James 5:16b-18)

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

You are the righteous ones. Thank you for being a part of my life by reading this blog. Even if this is your first time or your last, thank you for being faithful in reading, keeping up, and praying for my friends and family that I mention. Thank you for praying for me.

As I sit here, reflecting on what my heart has poured out to you, Sara Groves song “What I thought I wanted” popped on, and these words sang over my agitation.

I keep wanting you to be fair

But that’s not what you said

I want certain answers to these prayers

But that’s not what you said

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job

I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows

About what it is he wanted and what he got instead

How to be broken and faithful

What I thought I wanted...

Staring in the water like Esops foolish dog

I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost

What it was I wanted, what I got instead

Leaves me broken and grateful

I’m broken and grateful

I want to be broken and grateful

I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful

I stand (or rather sit) here broken and praying. I am grateful for God, His sovereignty, His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love bestowed on my family and me…just needing the prayers of the saints.

Thank you.