Impossible

It matters.

It matters that God broke through to do the impossible.  That He caused a virgin to conceive and give birth to a son.  That He shared His plan with lowly shepherds and well-established wise men, so they’d know what this could mean for humanity.

It matters that His life was marked by miracles:  healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead.  It matters that His example of a perfect life, being both fully man and fully Divine, shows us the impossible is possible with God.

It matters because I desperately need the impossible to be possible- to be given healing, sight and a resurrected life from the grave.  I can do none of these things for myself.  He broke through, He found a way, and He made it possible.

It matters.

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It’s ridiculous that I love Jesus

It’s ridiculous that I love Jesus.

I didn’t want to for so long- and I successfully avoided it for almost 20 years.  There was so much stacked against the idea of believing:  doubt, cynicism, the weird stories about His life.  But most of all, it was Christians that kept me away from Christ.  You know, the mean ones.  The hypocritical ones.  The “you can’t come to church looking like that” ones.

So here I am, 5 years in, and I don’t want to be the kind of Christian that keeps non-believers from Christ.  I want to be a reflection of the purest love I’ve ever known- the kind of love that makes no sense, takes risks, and forgives quickly.  The kind of Love that spends time with non-believers, with no agenda.

Christ follower:  If we really believed the truth and tragedy of this world; that people need Christ, and without Him, there is no hope… now or in eternity…we would be the most desperate, driven folks on earth.  We would find a way to live out this message, and accept the weight of our responsibility.  We will be held accountable to our Father in Heaven.

Non Christ follower:  please try to forgive those who have kept you from Christ.  Please discover for yourself, that although His followers aren’t perfect, He is.  He loves you and wants to be in your life.  He’s better than any Christian can properly explain- please seek Him for yourself with your whole heart, and you will discover what all the fuss is about.

Love,

jen

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Running at the speed of…

I move too fast. I can’t sit still, and I need some rest.

As a believer, I know that I have a day of rest built into my week. A time set aside for reflection and recharging my batteries. A time to remember I can do nothing apart from Christ.

I can hardly stand it.

My obsessive busy-ness, my constant planning and effort. My addiction of self reliance. All of it helps me to avoid the quiet of the deep, the stillness that I so deperately need.

What I’m really avoiding is: worry, regret, fear, insecurity, doubt. I’d rather keep those monsters in the closet where they belong. Maybe they’ll go away if I pretend they’re not there long enough.

But I also know another place, just on the other side of the darkness. It’s like the dawn, holding the promises of a new day and a fresh start. Its the place where He waits for me. To remember the joy we have when we’re together. And to remember that He carries me; always has and always will.

Today I will rest and surrender to His loving embrace.

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Strong River

Grace is messy business, especially when you have the chance to go where its  really needed. 

Because the darkness just keeps imploding on itself until someone goes in and shines a light.

I think its easy to just ignore all the need; the dirty, smelly, hard to reach kind of need.  The seems like you can never make a difference need.  The slap in the face kind of need.  But isn’t that what we’re called to do?   Isn’t that what Jesus did for us?  

Its easy for me to pretend that my brand of dirty wasn’t as bad as some others, that the stench of my brokenness somehow did not reek quite so badly.  I look back and want to candy-coat the choices I made, or justify them, but the truth is I am no better than anyone else.  We’re all in need of a Savior.  And now that I have one, I want my Life to be a reflection of His perfect love and mercy.  I want to be gracious and gentle and generous with my love- to have God’s love flow through me like a strong river, winding down through the darkest places, until it finally reaches its destination.

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A Time to Grieve

I’m grieving again.  Every spring for the past 10 years I’ve felt it.  Easter, Mother’s Day and the anniversary of my mom’s death; always bring it up for me again, bubbling just below the surface. 

This year I’m mourning the loss of other things, too.  I’m less afraid of the pain now than I used to be, because I know that there is healing on the other side.   I know that the pain of healing is different than the pain of despair.   Recovery is the process of grieving, of allowing God to get in there with His tools and go to work. 

I still try to avoid it, to distract myself with whatever temporary thing I can find, but the dull ache is waiting for me when the anesthesia has worn off.  And God in His kindness is ready when I am.  He knows just what I need and when. 

So this time, I will trust Him more, I will go deeper, I will experience His healing even more.  I will ask Him to do for me what I cannot do for myself. 

 And He will answer.

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surrender

I used to wonder about people who said they were grateful for all the bad stuff in their lives.  They seemed so serious about it, even happy.  I didn’t get it.

Surrender has not been easy for me.  Surrender seems weak; I’m a fighter, a survivor, a get over it and move on with my Life kind of girl.  So when it became clear a few years ago that my way wasn’t working, what else could I do but fall on my face and cry out for help?

This was certainly not my first idea or standard approach.  I ran my own life, and did pretty well, thank you very much.  I had to reach a point of total devastation to acknowledge that I personally did not have all the answers.  My crying out was involuntary, there was nothing left, no other options available. 

Now I understand why.

Surrender requires trust.  And I had none.  I had learned that trust was always broken, and you just had to learn to take care of yourself.  God in His wisdom knew that my surrender to Him would require nothing less than me running completely out of my own power.

So He let me.

Then He picked me up and started rebuilding my Life and showing me about His true nature- that He is trustworthy and capable and kind.  And interested.  And relentless.  And creative.  He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get me to the point where I’m willing to do whatever it takes to seek Him. 

 He loves me that much.  He knows me that well.  And today, I am grateful.

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Broken Hearted

Today I listened to a friend. I mean, really listened.

As she shared her frustration with me, she told me about a problem that had been brewing for awhile. She’d reached a point where it was time to make some changes. To have that difficult conversation and clear the air.  The tension had built up in her and could no longer be ignored.

What I really heard was that she was still hurt.  And she wanted someone to fix it. 

I offered sympathy and a suggestion:  what if needing someone else to fix our hurt only hurt us more?  What if the energy we spent on expecting others to do things differently only robbed us of what we need to look within? 

Unfortunately, I have plenty of experience in this department.  I spent many years trying to get people to do what I wanted/needed/expected them to do.  The more I tried, the worse things got.  I ran my self-will right into a brick wall, and the devastation has been more than I could handle.  The grief and shame and guilt, the mess I created was what it took to crack my crusty heart open and cry out from my soul… HELP!!  PLEASE HELP!

That was about 5 years ago, and it turns out that place of surrender is where all the miracles happen.  It turns out the broken hearted, crushed in spirit, really devastated folks actually have an advantage in the spiritual realm.  It turns out that “first will be last, and last first” and “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” aren’t just catchy phrases.

The reality is that those who think they have it together, resist the idea of surrender.  Be it pride, ego or fear of the unknown, they’re lacking the proper motivation.  When I’ve hit rock bottom and reached the end of my rope, when I cry out involuntarily, that is when I’m finally in a position to receive some help.  And it almost never looks how I think it should look.  It rarely involves other people changing to meet my expectations.  It always has to do with my part, my side of the street.  It’s an inside job. 

And I’m grateful, because that’s where the problem in my Life really lies, inside my own broken heart.

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