arrested development

TV show on Netflix - all right belong to them

TV show on Netflix – all rights belong to them

arrested  development  –

noun
an abnormal state in which development has stopped prematurely

have you ever been in that state?

(I think it may be number 51 in the count…. 🙂
it’s ok – – perhaps that was a failed attempt at some humor)

but seriously, have you ever been there?
a place where you think you have stopped
growing
maturing
learning
progressing
and you think you are
stagnant
stunted
decreasing
retreating

I sure have been.

past
present

it’s funny how I (we) listen to the “voice” of the Enemy…
funny in that I hear it, I recognize it, and I believe it.
why is it that I wonder when it’s God’s voice talking to me?
(somewhat rhetorical)
am I not “still” enough to know that it is God? (Psalm 46:10)
do I spend too much time sitting with the lies and listening to the static that it is familiar to me?

and, what does that listening, and eventual believing get me?
depression
aggravation
frustration
stagnation
paralysis…

what if, the more time I spend with God, the more I recognize and follow His voice…
I don’t fight against his shaping and molding
I don’t struggle…

what if what I came to see and believe as “arrested development”
premature stopping of any forward motion
in “gritty, unsanitary experiences” (McMinn)
has simply been God chiseling
and molding
and shaping
and redeeming my life?

what difference would that make?

“God is using all of your experiences, both good and bad, to develop your character to match your calling.”
— Lysa TerKeurst

what if all along this has been character development?
what if…
this has been Jesus moving into the complex, messy places of my life
to be with me in my struggles and darkness
to offer healing and hope in the midst of my pain? – Mark McMinn

that, my friends, feels like redemption

redeeming grace..

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on being brave…

winnie the pooh

brave

/breɪv/ [breyv]

possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.
  • adventurous
  • audacious
  • confident
  • daring
  • fearless
  • gallant
  • gutsy
  • resolute
  • spirited
  • spunky
  • strong
  • valiant
  • chin-up
  • firm
  • stalwart
  • chivalrous
  • dauntless
  • gritty
  • plucky
  • unabashed
  • unafraid
  • unblenching
  • undaunted
  • venturesome

 

am I brave??
am I truly braver than I believe?

so often I feel exposed and unguarded
not safe
and I battle within myself to stay
protected and strong

but could that very thing that exposes me
that vulnerability
actually be bravery?

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” – Brene Brown

could it be courageous??

I have begun this new venture in my life
not only in following a calling that found me
but also in rediscovering who I am…
meshing the protected with the free
the guarded with the unrestrained
the courage with the ability

owning my story.

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” – Brene Brown

a friend of mine recently told me…”you are brave, courageous, and wise”
I actually dismissed that…

how could I be?
I am laid wide open…
my heart pumping and beating…
my thoughts exposed…
my weaknesses revealed…

you are braver than you believe…”

by walking on this journey…
“a long obedience in the same direction” (Eugene Peterson)
I am finding that I am braver that I believe
that things I thought were impossible are truly possible
that limitations are non-existent

The way it always was
                    Is no longer good enough – Nichole Nordeman, Brave

I may not always feel brave, but that doesn’t mean that I am not.

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. – 1 Corinthians 6:13 (the Voice)

I cannot be strong, courageous, brave on my own…
been there
done that

“My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” … when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:8b, 10b (the Voice)

so, maybe I am brave…
but only because of the power of Christ.

Jesus, how I need your grace…to cover me, to transform me, to empower me, to strengthen me…may I trust You more.

plucky grace…

 

cross country

cross strength

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You – Lead Me to the Cross, Chris and Conrad

the cross…
strong
mighty
death
life
freedom
agony
suffering
redemption
nakedness

what an image…
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You

I was reminded today
of the centrality of the cross

this picture sums it up for me…

cross great divide(photo courtesy of lastdaysministries.org)

the cross (Jesus) bridging the gap between me and God…
now, imagine this…
the cross (Jesus) bridging the gap between a client and God…
the cross (Jesus) traversing the canyon between client and therapist
between husband and wife
between two friends
between….just making travel across the expanse possible

yes, of course, the Cross is the only way that we can reach God…
but, the power of the cross is so much more intense than that!
it (Jesus) can break down barriers
span the canyons of hatred and jealousy and hurt and pain…
Jesus makes a way for restoration…

what if we made where we live
where we work
our relationships, our daily interactions….
“cross country” – where Jesus spans the division ?

a place of safety and freedom
a land of redemption and do-overs
a community where the distance between two people bridged and seen through the transparency of the cross…

sit with that image for a minute…

a bridge of grace…

 

exhale

balloon-pile

do you ever feel like a balloon?

…let me explain (if I can)
and use your imaginations, ok?

imagine yourself as the material of the balloon…expandable, flexible, able to be filled
something happens…
you take a breath.
filling the balloon a little.
another event
another breath
more volume to the balloon

now, you don’t actually realize that you are filling said balloon with anything…
but over the days, weeks, months, years..
the balloon grows and grows…
on the verge of explosion.
then…
a pivotal release happens.
the balloon does not burst, as it has many times before – not allowing the stuff inside to be adequately dealt with
but this time…
you exhale.

all of the stuff doesn’t come out of the balloon at once…
healing takes time…
and many respirations.

but this time
the thing that happened decades ago
the wound that was seemingly healed
the toxic air that was taking up too much valuable space
was exhaled.

the prayer that was whispered…
“take the sting away”
was answered….

the wound was uncovered…
only to find that it never really formed a scab.
it was fresh
it was meaty
it was raw
it was sensitive
it was old.

This is where the healing begins
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us – Tenth Avenue North, Healing Begins

funny how God works…
He shows us places in us that we didn’t realize were broken
and then…
they are brought into the light…
the breath that we took so many years ago is suffocating us…
His light invades and there is no room for the toxicity of the hurt and the pain
we exhale

I am not naïve enough to write that this is the end of the struggle…
that the wound is gone
but, I do know that with the absolute grace of God
the sting is gone.

I am speaking of my own hurt, my own sting, my own crud
horrible things happen to wonderful people, and for that, I do not even try to give a balloon answer
please do not misinterpret this

my own struggle with depression
and unworthiness
and loneliness
and feelings of being forgotten
and of suicide…are what were taking up way too much room in my balloon

I shared these struggles with a group of people for the first time in 20 years the other day
previous references were vague and blurred and protected
apparently I was hanging on to them…
(and that is probably a whole post in itself)

by putting words to what was taking up space in my balloon
and letting the lethal air escape
grace entered in

so, get a balloon
blow into it the crud in your life that needs healing
that you are totally ready to have healed
and fill it just to the brink of bursting
(that’s how you feel anyway, right?)
and then invite God’s grace to collide with that situation
and exhale
deflate the balloon

and allow the healing to begin.


colliding with grace…

 

 

earlier bits

February 2014
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