Sunday, October 25, 2015

My daughter's lips

My daughter is beautiful. She lights up our world. I love my boys and thank God for them every single day. But because we have four boys and one princess, her beauty kind of stands out if ya know what I mean. Obviously I am not speaking of a worldly, everything is perfectly arranged and completely flawless kind of beauty, but of an inner sweetness, a precious innocence and a giggle that bubbles over into every part of her being. So when she decided to be a princess for a friends Halloween party I definitely didn't argue. We braided her hair, fastened her crown and zipped up her flowing gown. Then, for the very first time (she is 4) we painted her lips and rosied up her plump (in an adorably pinchable kind of way) cheeks. We looked in the mirror and admired our work. But, something didn't look right. She was holding her lips at a funny angle and talking without shutting them. She was worried. She didn't want her lipstick to come off. For the next hour she had a hard time relaxing. I kept reassuring her that she looked beautiful and that she didn't need to worry. Eventually, when she was surrounded by her friends, lots of candy and of course a Minecraft creeper, Steve, Tigger and Thomas the train (her brothers), she settled into her princess role and forgot all about her lips.
     As Christians, we do the same thing. We are sons and daughters of the King. He has made us new, beautiful and sparkling clean. But, instead of basking in His love, enjoying the incredible gifts he's given us, talking with him, listening to Him and reading His letters of love we decide to try harder. We work on patience, strive to love, beat ourselves up for lacking self control and try to hold our lips in the perfect smiling position so that we seem joyful.  All the while, we inwardly believe we are failures, that we don't measure up and we will never figure out how to do this life thing right. Here's the thing, Our Father and the maker of the universe has already made us beautiful and wants to walk with us as we learn how to receive His love and allow it to flow through us. But, if we are too busy trying to hold our lips just right, longing for someone else's dress or filling our lives with distraction so we don't have time to feel, we may join him in Heaven one day, but we will spend our lives exhausted, discouraged and lonely.
     You are beautiful. You are loved. If you are a believer, your sins are completely forgiven (even the ones you commit five minutes after reading this), you are a daughter (or son) of the King. Stop wasting time trying to hold your lips just right and use them to ask your deliverer what worshipping Him is supposed to look like in your life. If you don't hear the answer, don't walk away discouraged or think you need to try harder. Keep asking, keep listening, and rest knowing that He will answer you in His time.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Our war room

I have never started a blog post without anything in particular on my heart and mind. But, oh how I've missed writing. I've been begging God to give me the time, energy, motivation and inspiration to write again. And, here I am. I have no idea what this post is going to be about. Ok, I think I just lied...well, sort of. As soon as I wrote the words "begging God" something started to stir within my heart. So, I guess I'll start there. Prayer. What an incredible gift that God, the maker of the universe and former of our hearts has given us. And yet I open it so rarely. I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie "The War Room" with a good friend (and in the middle of the day, amazingly enough). I laughed, I cried and I left the theatre feeling totally and completely convicted...in a good way. The kind of conviction that comes with hope, passion and desire (by the way I'm learning that the other kind of conviction, which comes with guilt, shame and hopelessness is actually condemnation from the enemy not conviction from the spirit). Anyway, back to prayer...for some reason, I don't really think of prayer as a battle ground. I am much more content (or so I feel) fighting my own battles and telling God what I need next. Like He is some kind of errand boy instead of the General of the Armies. Oh Lord, forgive me! You want to fight for me and I don't even take the time to share my heart with you. Thank you for the incredible freedom and joy that has come from running to you over the past couple of days instead of hiding or even more often distracting myself from feelings all together. You are so worthy, so able, so ready to fight our battles, mend our hearts, change our outlooks, fill us up, heal our wounds - but we'd rather catch 3 more episodes of our latest Netflix binge or spend hours looking for something on Facebook or Pinterest that might possibly make our lives easier, better or at least less empty. Oh Lord draw us in. You offer so much more! Show each of us how we can best share our hearts with you (and ask you to  share yours). Fill us with the creativity to come to you in ways that best fit each of us...whether it's using text to speech to start an online prayer journal, taking a walk and admiring your creation, creating a literal prayer closet, holding a friends hand and begging you to revive us, crafting a homemade journal (and actually using it ;), turning the radio up and letting your praises heal, writing an encouraging prayer letter to/for a friend, riding a horse while listening for your voice, running fingers through a loved ones hair at their hospital bedside or dancing with all our hearts before you. You know us, Lord. Show us. And  Lord, please don't let us settle for less than your best.