Peace Playing Hard to Get

Don’t be a runner,
I constantly tell myself
For runners break down & destroy.
Nomads move towards while runners move away.
Away from people, places, experiences, the earth, God: everything we were meant to embrace.
Be a lover and a leader,
A never-giver-up-er.

Through the hardness,
Through the wandering,
Through the hate and ignorance and hurt feelings,
Through dark and light;
God lifts His children up.
He offers immense hope.
His peace is an elusive, yet everlasting one.
His love is home,
His world a declaration of glory!

Remember me, O God, for my good~Nehemiah

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Religious Drivel

He turned my mourning into dancing;
My sorrow into joy.

I asked for God to show me Himself and He did.
Darkness and distress was in my heart and mind and after 3 hard days of holding onto His promises like a lifeline,
He lifted the veil from my heart, revealing another taste of His glory to me. JOY exploded within me and I smiled, sang, and would have danced if not for the pain in my feet.
God is real. He seeks me out. I am the lost coin, the silly wandering sheep. Yet He LOVES me. He loves that my request was to enter His presence. I could feel Him rejoice as He shared his magnificence with me.
Why does He love me so? Why would He choose to call me out and water me when thousands would rather die of thirst?
I don’t know the answer to these questions that make my head spin. The one thing I do know: His love is infinite. I’ve “used up” a lot of it, but He won’t run out. Come to the river and drink life. His love is not human; it is otherworldly and grand. All the things that bring you joy in this life (yes, you)…all the people who make you smile…add that up and multiply it by 1,000. His love leaves it all behind.
Bask in the light of His love with me.
Taste and see that my Jesus-our Jesus-is good.

We.

In this generation (I call my own) there’s a minority who refer to themselves as “believers.” A small band, capable of much, yet so easily distracted. For many of the number lack clear sense of the right and wrong. The message around them, snuck into their textbooks, blaring through their car speakers, is TOLERANCE, more than that: ASSIMILATION INTO IMMORALITY. It’s such a blinding darkness that these young people, even those planted firmly, cannot help but be sorely shaken, clear to their roots. Though they stepped out, well meaning, these “believers” now toe the line opposite of all that sets them apart. It’s difficult to see for their enjoyment and peer approval fogs holy vision. They need to be free. Immorality, preached by some boy on some girl, as you hear her bed thump-thump against the wall. TOLERANCE, shouted by the group of homosexuals around whom you can actually relax. It all seems suitable, you’re trying! St. Paul speaks of taking on the chameleon’s ability to adapt and fit in, right? That’s what I’m doing, correct? Looking like them so you can witness, or witnessing their message by forfeiting your own?
There’s a Spirit out there seeking to give you clarity.
Stop shutting it up.
Relentlessly pursue Truth, gently turning from that which puts distance between you and the One in whom you believe.

Soul Trouble

“Do you think you can do a better job with your life than I can?” God asks

God’s voice, it comes, calm through stormy thoughts and emotions. Like the moon on a lake, His voice glances off every ripple, all the waves. And it’s peaceful. He calls me to go, I know not where. He promises grand adventure, I insist on knowing how I can get myself there.
But it’s not about that.
It’s about my obedience. Keeping His word. Loving the unlovable. Telling the Truth. Dying a little bit here and there.
“And I will give them one heart, and a new Spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God.”-Ezekiel 11:19&20
Phew. All I have to do is tell Him that I love Him.
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment-what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”~Jesus
I’m not here to figure out what is going to happen next. It is my joy to follow Him around this corner, to listen, obey, speak the Good News. That never changes.

Ask Him for a some peace. Feel it wash over you, erasing the trouble from your tired tired soul.

Water Me

“…Wherever the Spirit would go, they went without turning as they went.” Ezekiel 1:12b

I plot my wicked course. I scout a way past the protective barriers that love has surrounded me with. I giggle in the face of goodness; spit at the naivete of righteousness. All while claiming to live for Goodness and Righteousness. Like a leech I suck up that which benefits me. Then I put my finger down my throat and throw up whatever doesn’t suit. I live for my own human-centered agenda. Me. Me. Me.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

“A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Proverbs 11:17

Remember the hurt that sinful selfishness inflicts, on you and others. Let wisdom and TRUE love win. Though wickedness oozes from the bone structure of my entirety, I remain conceited. Thoughts of my own purity and loveliness of character soar in my mind. So foolish, foolish.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.” Proverbs 11:30

I am wrong again; He is still right. All right. Nothing can change that. Better yet, nothing can shake His love.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galations 5:13

My ears hear you. Now let my heart-torn though it is-hear You too. Whisper the tale of love and redemption into me, for I desperately need reminders, renewal, conviction.

“I stretch out my hands to you; My soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” Psalm 143:6

Redemption > Remorse.

 

 

 

 

Highlights

A menagerie of memories from the 365 days that we labeled, “2012:”

Teaching kids to read.

“God created us because He wanted to love us.”

Finishing the Radical Experiement!

Seeing my favorite band (Page CXVI) in concert.

Highschool graduation!

MEXICO!

“I wonder what homeless people talk about….”

“He does not try to pass the time but sits down and lives.”-Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”-Dumbledore

Anything this side of Hell is pure grace.

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”-Lamentations 3:27

“We could get into trouble,” Isabel.  “That’s how you know it’s an adventure!” Hugo (Hugo, the movie.)

“Quiet your mind, hear what the land has to say,”-Zac Brown

Don’t cry “peace” in the good times only to yell for war when something doesn’t suit you.

It’s not that I am crying,  it’s just that hot tears are falling from my eyes because it hurts so bad.

“…an aesthetic voyager struggling to destroy the beast within,” Chris MccCandless.

NOMADS.

“The compassion we feel when we see the bad things going on in the world is not humanism, it is God’s spirit,” Jamie Zumwalt.

A glowing jellyfish-larva fight on the beach late in the evening.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

We cannot take back the way we treat others.

“You are waiting. I am smoking.”-Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows.

I feel the sun. It soaks into my bones. My toes curl with gravel between them. The thoughts in my head are as transparent as the cloudless sky. Wind whips hair sharply around my face. Literal truth: I am on the floor in my bedroom. Soul truth: I am on a great red peak in the midst of a canyon wonderland. Ah, imagination power.

We cannot apply the distraction of politics to our faith.

Watching old friends struggle through ancient issues, and holding them while they cry.

“Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other too…”-George Atkins, “Brethren We Have Met to Worship.”

“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.”-J.D. Salinger

“You’ve got such an old soul to you.”

My prayer is for the people who have decided that death is preferable to life.

“The Christian, when he dies, catches hold of Christ’s garment, and Christ bears him into Heaven,” Charles Spurgeon.

“Sad parting promises fresh adventure.”

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller.

“No Heaven will be so sweet as a Heaven preceded by torments and pains,” Charles Spurgeon.

“All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbours was, that if scrubbed with lye soap, in very hot water, his skin was white,” To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

She who loves life can do anything.

I care about you more than I coud ever care about me.

“…that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” 2 Kings 19:19b

“They don’t recognize you asl the adult that you are, but you probably just need to submit right now,” KimT.

“This too shall pass,” the Sadler.

The nearly-tangible blanket of peace that God wrapped around me as I left the children whom I loved with my entire heart to the care of their Jamaican school-teachers and caretakers.

Buying my truck.

“And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” John 6:51b

That’s my life; my year. Thanks for reading all the way down! I am being shaped for something big. Odds are you too are being shaped!

spoopsandyoyo@gmail.com

This Continual Conversation

And I entreat Him again using countless cliche complaints:

When will the pain float on?

Will there be another day without the groaning, aching, and ripping plaguing my every posture?

Please take it away; will you not take this cup from me soon?

You have promised to end the hurting; when will that day come?

He answers with characteristic immutability:

I won’t say when, but the day will come. I promise. It is the same day that I have promised to the young mothers in Uganda, Brazil, Brooklyn. You’ll share that day with the sufferers in Syria. That is the day when prisoners will be released and returned to their families. That’s the day when the needs of children with bellies bloated from hunger will finally be met. The kids who sniff glue, the men who worked day and night just to watch their first born commit suicide, the women whose hair was stolen by cancer; all await that day. The planet earth groans in its’ impatience for the time to come.

You are selfish in thinking that you alone know pain.

 

Hallelujah, there is hope.

My heart overflows with gladness.

Even so:

Come, Lord Jesus.

 

Dry Up For Me the Jordan

I am strong and Titan, she said.  She looked in the mirror and there was Strength.  A girl with no loyalty, only power.

I can do anything.  Here is what I can do for You, God. Let’s go!

Then God showed her a bit of Himself…twice.   She cried out:

All. All for and to You! Draw me nearer, You are the wind in my chest, the breathe behind my sails.

He stretched out His Heavenly hand and touched her.  She believed she was ready to go, sold out for His glory.  He knew it wasn’t time yet.  She was not broken enough.  He weakened her, let her be torn apart-limb from limb, dream from dream.  Physically, emotionally, socially, financially:  all fell away like sand in an hour-glass.  He wanted her to let Him take over in order that she become 100% His servant-slave.  But doubts crept into her heart; she looked in the mirror and the demons told her:

Weak. Undesirable.  You’ll never be happy, worthless girl.

She believed them for a moment and the pain rolled over her like a cement truck until her Saviour renewed the Divine hope within her soul:

Don’t give up, Beloved.  There is so much more to come.

He whispered to her heart:

This too shall pass.  Press on.  I am a God of miracles.

Life.  Real, extraordinary life is around the corner!

Faith Is

Faith looks different in every stage of life. It morphs and changes each day. Life keeps us on our toes as we try and figure out what today’s faith looks like.

Right now, my faith is…

Believing that a perfect chain of events has led me where I am today.

It is not my fault-or any fault at all.

It is a Divine conspiracy.

Right now-here-is the destination.

Something great is going to happen.

This is not a dead end.

It is only a  rocky start.

This is not a preview of all the sorrows and struggles that my life shall be made up of.

Faith is getting affirmation from a God I cannot see because He alone understands what is going on.

Empow’r

The odd thing about right-now-in-my-life is that it is a time of definitions. People are watching me, my friends, all the other just-out-of-high-school-ers, to see what we do. Now is when we decide who to be.

I never thought that there was a choice: my beliefs are set; the person I want to be is in my mind’s eye, now I’ll step into that personhood. My belief system is not going to change drastically, so of course I will be a good worker, friend, student, citizen. Things will pan out….Wrong wrong wrong. One does not simply step into anything. Everyday decisions reveal to me that the girl I want to be is years away, separated from me by piles of lessons to be learned.  Contemporary choices can seem so insignificant: an unwashed shirt, a unanswered email, a gift withheld, but it is obvious now that they shape the bigger decisions. An unwashed shirt becomes habitual dirtiness, an unanswered email is a loss of opportunity, a gift withheld snowballs into chronic greed.

We will die in this wilderness but death will not separate us from the love of God.~Dr. Mark E. Ross

Not only do I want to be an upstanding citizen; I have chosen to live by a radical moral code. Wealth? Never. Clean, boxed-up, air-conditioned religion is no reality of mine. Scraping a living, thriving purely by the Spirit pow’r, it’s the plan. Yet suddenly I see, none of this is going to come easy. The idealistic world that I foresaw in my high school naivety is being disrobed. Knowing what I believe does not make me special. Convictions do not say “yes” or “no” for us. Deciding to live by these convictions is what shows true color.

Listen…has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?~St. Paul

traveler. cigarette smoker? not-pothead. hostel stayer. hard worker. too hard? No frequenting clubs. Bars will be OK. Who decides these things? Since when am I in charge? How come I choose what is right and wrong? That is not how it works. That is what my daddy does. But I never wanted him to. Now he’s not. Good. Deep breath. Smile. Sway to the music.

Only one desire that’s left in me, let the whole damn world come dance with me.~Edward Sharpe

You never wanted to be worried. You never wanted to bring lines to your cheeks. So don’t. This is the relax-if-ever-you-will time. Now, as actions shape and form to reflect my worldview, the time for no-worry is here. No such time as the present to be smiling. To be loose, to be fit and funny. To take responsibility for  mistakes and to laugh at them.

The Water is free but I should warn you, it costs everything. ~Kendall Payne