Breath of Heaven

For many months, our church has been struggling. The hows and the wheres and the whys are not relevant to this story; suffice it to say the church has been slowly dying and those of us who remain have been grieving our once-vibrant Spiritual community. I was ready to jump ship at the end of last year. But as DH and I talked and prayed, we realized God was telling us to stay put.

I didn’t want to hear that. I cried. I would have argued long and hard with Him, but I knew even before I began that it wasn’t worth the breath or time to go on; God would win. God always wins. I felt He was asking us to be a part of His plan for new life, health, and growth. So I went back to church, and a tiny part of me deep inside started to feel a whisper of excitement in anticipation of God doing one of His God-things.

Since that night, I have seen His plan just begin to unfold. Change is slow and painful. More friends have left the church. The lessons God has for us are hard. And yet, He is with us. God has the power of life and Life is stronger than death. Even when hope seems to be dying, we can put our hope in the One who conquered death and lives forever.

These are the words of God to the dry bones, “My Spirit will bring you back to life. I will connect you with muscles and tendons; I will regrow organs and blood vessels and cover you with skin. I will breathe My own breath into you and you will live. Being alive, you will know Me as the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 37:5-6, paraphrase)

No matter how dead, how beyond repair, how hopeless it seems, God can breathe His life into us, and doing so, He brings us back to life (John 11:21-27). Even when we have walked away from Him, He desires us; He pursues us (Romans 5:6). He calls us His own family (1 John 4:7-10). He offers life more abundant than anything we can picture (Ephesians 3:14-20) and promises to be with us always (Deuteronomy 31:8).

God,

I find it so easy to see hopelessness and desperation as the end. When I can’t imagine a way through, I don’t believe there can be a way. Yet You are beyond all I can imagine. You work beyond my wildest dreams. You are so much greater than I can even begin to understand. Let me rest in the Mystery, Lord. Let me be at peace knowing You ARE.

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Where I Belong

I don’t remember being particularly afraid of the dark as a child. It’s more of an adult-onset condition. And, of course, it’s not the dark itself that’s scary. I tend to have many anxious thoughts around bedtime–the time of day when everything finally settles down and I’m supposed to be able to rest. Only I’ve found that as my body begins to relax, my mind picks up the pace. So long as there are other things I need to focus on, I don’t have the time or energy to devote to my worries. But at the end of the day, when nothing else is happening, all the anxious thoughts I’ve kept at bay come rushing out to attack.

Last night was rough. I was panicky and shaking as I tried to relax in bed. DH asked me what I was worried about. I started going through my laundry list of failures and the fears that I must be reaching the outer limits of God’s grace and my body’s ability to withstand the stress I can’t seem to diffuse and the charity of society as a whole. He chuckled. I recognized how ridiculous my thoughts must appear from the outside of my head.

DH reminded me that the concerns I found most troubling were rooted in lies–the lie that tells me I’m not worth the effort it takes to love me and the lie that says I’m not doing a good enough job fulfilling my responsibilities. I know I’m not supposed to worry about anything. But how do I do that? How can I let go of these things that cause me anxiety?

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (I John 3:19-20, NIV)

God,

You speak truth over my life. Help me to listen to Your truth about who I am, and remember that I belong to You. Help me to know that You are greater than any of my fears, any of my sins, any of my insecurities. Thank You for loving me and taking care of me and even listening to me cry out because I’ve chosen to believe that the me You made isn’t very valuable. Let me rest in You, always.

Ooh, Look, a Rainbow!

The window in our front door has a beveled design in the glass. DD gets very excited each day when the sun shines through the glass, which acts as a prism and makes rainbows on the living room walls. It occurred to me the other day, that I have a lot in common with a prism–at least, I could.

Every color of the rainbow is in the sunlight all the time. But we only get to see them when they shine through something that acts as a prism–a beveled glass, drops of moisture in the air, even a clear plastic cup works, so long as it’s clean. In the same way, God is at work all the time, yet He chooses to show off His “colors” through the hearts and lives of the people He created. But, just like a prism, nobody gets a good image of God revealed in us when we let our hearts get dusty and dingy or we move out of the Light.

God is Light and in him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are His friends but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. (I John 1:5b-7, TLB)

God,

It’s so easy to get focused on me and forget that I was made to shine Your Light. I want to be noticed. I want to be recognized and lauded and talked about because I’m so wonderful. And yet, as lovely as a prism may be, what makes it positively spectacular is the light shining through, refracted into a rainbow. I simply don’t have the capacity to inspire wonder on the level You do.

Thank You for creating me and shaping me and shining in me. Help me to recognize the beauty of Your Light in my life. Let me be available and transparent enough for You to create a magnificent rainbow through me. Thank You for the privilege of showing Your Light to the world.