A Place for Us

We built a house, and it was an adventure.  You have to pick so much crap, and it was wonderful!  I know I’m weird.  I spent a few years feeling like a shallow loser for liking pretty things, but truly I get into this stuff.  We’ve moved five times in seven years, and it’s really the nomadic spirit of our marriage. E left home at 18 with the military and has been everywhere.  I began asking for travel as gifts in my teens, took my first major trip without them or a field trip group at 16, left the country without my parents for the first time at 17, and couldn’t get enough.

When we moved into our first place together just after our first anniversary- yes, you read that right.  We spent our dating life and first year of marriage in separate countries. We moved in together to furniture E had bought but placed straight into storage where it sat for years unused.  Those first few years, we loved our homes, and loved to fill them with life entertaining and life.  They were fun investments, and they each served their purpose for that period in our lives.

The last house, we lived in a year and a half, had a baby and walked through the toughest time we’ve had as a married couple.  God was changing us for the better, but in that sweet little beautiful home, I made no changes.  The same grey from the day we closed on it still adorned the walls the day we sold it, and it’s open floor plan, beautiful light and one story layout with oaks served as our hideaway to retreat from everything the world was throwing at us.  Beautiful memories happened there as our babies grew brighter and funnier every day, but it’s purpose was for that time.

As our family is growing and we emerged from the cocoon of that period, God called us out to a new place, and in that a new part of His plan. We’re in a new town, more separated from what we knew.  We have a new church community and now I’m home more to focus on these little people and whatever God calls me to do.

People always think we’re nuts for all these moves, and I’ve heard plenty of jokes about our nomadic ways, and I don’t really disagree, lol. God is beginning to reveal the whys of it all, though, and I think sometimes we don’t realize how our physical locations can impact everything about us.  It wasn’t the houses themselves that mattered, but it was being in the appropriate space for our needs and hearing His voice properly in that time.

I’ve been spending time in Genesis and Abraham’s story and my goodness did he ever have a place for each time in life.  God called him out and to the places his family needed to be.  Look at how his life was multiplied and carried on because of his obedience.

Now people want to know things like what this house looks like and how we love being so far away from everything we know, and truthfully, it’s wonderful.  I haven’t really thought about sharing it, because it hadn’t occurred to me. It hadn’t occurred to me, because we’ve been more focused on our little crew without the distractions we had built up.  I can feel the spirit pulling me home when it’s time and calling me to serve where I am needed and no more- nothing to leave my people distraught or without as we go through a critical time of growth.

This space is us, it’s the roots of where we will help our babes feel safe and make memories with their friends. We are working every day to cast aside anything that will give them from completely fulfilling their God-given stories and have our eyes open that there is much in this world coming up against us, but that there are also beautiful stories in this world and, as a dear friend says, ‘the good news out there is really good.’

I hope you’re taking the time to be the good news you were created to be.  I hope I am too, for that matter 😉

 

Advertisements

Stop Pretending

Saturday morning I sat in a beautiful park overlooking Charleston harbor amongst beautiful oaks, homes and sunlight and prayer.  Just after sunrise we started the day with prayer for our fair city, and we wept and read, and it was amazing.

What did I get out it, you ask? (If you didn’t ask, I’m going to ramble anyway.)

I sat looking at that beautiful harbor and those fantastic larger-than-life antebellum abodes, and all i could think about was slavery. What was it like to be a woman and see all of those ships filing into the harbor, and to know your own lifestyle was tended to by people who had no choice but to do the work for you. How would I just ignore that pain?

Standing on a piazza then, looking out on the busy harbor, how did they live with the lie it was all fine?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

-James 2:14-17

God said to me in that moment that I would have ignored it.  I would have looked away from the devastating human condition all around us.  Just like the way we look the other way when there is someone begging for food beside us at the red light- the way anyone ignores the family rift at Thanksgiving dinner, the way we don’t talk to that friend with the substance problem about what’s going on, the way we don’t know what to say to the friend whose marriages is falling apart so we say nothing at all.

At what point does our imitation ignorance of a situation make us culpable in it? If we ignore the Spirit’s telling us to move, at what point does He give up on using us?

Our savior literally DIED for us and our crappy decisions and we can’t even ask each other real questions for fear of making someone uncomfortable.  We also have no idea how to call for help ourselves when our marriages are falling apart right up until someone walks out the door. We would rather die than face the real problems or confess our sins to the Creator who can truly save us.

So, just like those antebellum women, we get up and dress and put on a smile and ignore the wailing and gnashing of teeth happening outside our doors.

Keep Him Pure, People

rrThis morning, I sat in awe of God’s presence and looked out to the ocean and prayed with other women over this city and the fathers of it.

I was so moved by the scripture and the prayer and the presence of the Spirit, and the weight of the honesty of it all.  As we all walked back to our cars, I noticed these gentlemen.  Standing on the battery positioned between the confederate memorial and Ft. Sumter the stood in silent.  They weren’t shouting, they weren’t angry, they just stood in silence. I didn’t sense hostility in their nature, yet the symbols they had chosen provoked such horrendous emotions to seemingly all around.

If you want to sense electricity in the air, this is the town and this is the time. We sat in unified prayer and reference to our Holy Father across denominations and ages praying for our city to be healed.

In the distance, we saw this .

IMG_6971

A mile or two away, a block from where I sit and write this, people are gathering in peaceful assembly for a unity march through Charleston. In the shadow of Emanuel AME, people cry out to lay down our personal agendas, but no one can seem to figure out how to do it completely.

IMG_6982

Though the stories are varied, we all want unity, and we all want respect and we all want to honor things and people we feel need honoring.  We all have experienced, in this little space of ours, inexplicable pain from the different sins committed by others in our community, and, quite honestly, our forefathers. The problem is, if they aren’t biblical, then they carry weight when compared to our faith.

In looking at those flags this morning, I hurt.  I wasn’t angry or wanting to shout.  I wanted to understand, because these men started right.  They put the symbol of our faith first on the top of that pole, but then they took that message of love and truth that God has given us through the Bible, and tied it to a belief of their own- a political piece, a symbol for a defunct nation made by men who chose to rebel from authority of the government under which they served.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.    

-1 Corinthians 8:9

But then God reminded me that there were easy targets in the blame game, and there were harder ones, too.  How often do we take our God and tie Him to something completely non-biblical to justify it?

Fiery ginger that I am, I am frequently moved to scream by the rants of the day from people.  My walk of recent as God works on this project that is me, is that I have to sit and listen, because it is super easy to start ranting as well, tie it to a ‘God spoke this to me’ and tell myself thats ok.  The truth is it’s the worst, and the truth is many times we don’t even realize it.

You see those men were trying to gain awareness to something that for some reason or hurt they’ve experienced think that flag they are waving matters.  Tying one of the symbols of our faith to it, however, perverts it.  It doesn’t make the flag seem more peaceful, it creates the potential for someone to not want to know anymore about our faith because seeing that is enough for them to not ask questions and turn away from it completely.

We have been called to more, so if we truly believe in everything that top flag symbolizes, it would never occur to us to fly the flag that is placed beneath it, whether it’s the flag of a nonexistent nation, the flag of hatred toward someone who wronged you, the flag of judgement to someone you have decided is wrong.  I was no better than them as I drove away.  I ached to try to talk them through their mistake, but decided it would in poorly or in vain- another calling and opportunity missed. God says we are all the same with these hangups we have. They’re human.  Some are just less socially acceptable than others.

 

 

 

What is this healing of which you speak?

So I managed to slice the tip of my thumb off in fantastic fashion last weekend as I prepped a cheese tray for a dinner party at my home that had already begun.  In true Magyver (no idea how to spell that, but you get the gist) fashion, my husband went all field med on me and before I knew it, I was rinsed out, super glued and electrical taped back together so the party could continue. Yes, garage items are way better than actual medical supplies in this house, guys, because look at the great double duty they pull! I can’t talk because I’ve broken a toe, drilled into my hand and now lost a fingerprint all during events, and we didn’t stop the show.  You ask why I feel like I have something to prove, and I say ‘that’s a layer to the onion I haven’t reached yet!’ but I digress.

So back to the thumb thing.  A piece of me was damaged and broken and honestly completely gone.  I honestly wasn’t sure what things were going to look like going forward on my poor fat thumb (especially since all the sudden my fingerprint is coming between me and the easy unlock on my stupid iPhone).

Today, I’m changing the bandage and what do I see, new skin appearing- fingerprint and all! Some medical journal gobblety goop I referenced to be sure I’m not dumb said “in most cases, because of the engrained imprinting in the deeper skin layers, once exposure to the abrasive, caustic or hot conditions cease, the fingerprints will grow back.” That is fascinating to me!  I was amazed to see it but there it was, and to be sure I checked and science agreed!

The cooler thing about it, is in that moment, God spoke to me.  He used it to show me what I have been struggling to put into words.  You see, the entire world is telling us we are defined by our scars, our victimizations, our poor choices.  I read a bio for a very popular author and speaker the other day.  In it she wrote in depth about her struggles, her addiction, her pain, and how she was defined by all of that negative and now she wore all of that with pride, unashamed. Sounds great and good for her right?

My counterpoint is this: It is not beauty that endears, it_s love that makes us see beauty.

There may still be a scar when it heals, but that fingerprint, that original creation that makes us HIS, that makes us created with specific skills and gifts for a specific purpose is still there.

God says we were fully formed  from DAY 1.  He made our souls, selected our traits, gave us our gifts, and put that beautiful person inside that tiny little body, so as we grew and were still small, the world would see all of it begin to shine through and no matter what the world threw at us, the sin, the dust that dulled our shine, we will NEVER be something different at our core than what He created.

We have to CHOOSE to believe that God is bigger than everything, that the bad things that keep happening, the monsters that keep coming or the ones we’ve chased, are proof that He is with us always and He is loving us through.

What are the consequences?

The consequences are Satan wins. He won every time anxiety closed me into a ball and I couldn’t be around people or show them hospitality, because I was too afraid to move. Are you going to let Him win over you?  He would love to come in and bind every one of those amazing things God put in you to show his love and light to the world.  It’s your choice whether you do it or not.

Getting back

Who did people describe us as when we were five? What was that beautiful little creature known to be then- before life got hard and we knew too much.  Ask yourself that question. Heck, ask your mama that question, if you feel like it’s been too long since you’ve seen that shining person He created in you.

Whatever those qualities are, consider the sin, whether you committed or someone else, that bound you up, rendered you useless or neutralized for the kingdom. What I’m finding as I work through the pressure points that trigger my panic, is that every single thing was perfectly designed to bind up a gift from God when He created me.  Run the test on yourself and see what you find.  For me, it has been amazing to look at each piece and see it as a planned attack on me.  It allows me to separate myself from it and see it for the lie that it is.  My Father is there beside me and that potential divorce, bankruptcy or even worse, is an outside force coming at us to render us useless, and knowing that is the first step to beating it.  It’s the step towards recovering and protecting who He told us to be.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. -John 17:15

We are here. We are supposed to be in the world, but we are not ‘of’ the world.  Christ wanted us protected from the evil one. He wanted us to remain who we were to be the true lights God envisioned us to be.

I believe that there is true healing.  I believe it’s from good.  I don’t believe we are to wear our sin and the victimizations put upon us as our badges.  We are not to be named by the world.  We are to take what the world throws at us as the attacks they are and love anyway, praise anyway, serve anyway.  That is our call.