“Unshaken and Certain” | June 25th, 2013

That those things which cannot be shaken may remain Hebrews 12:27

When things are amuck, what happens to you? What kind of person do you become?

The way we react to the threat of losing control over the things in our lives we so insist make our world go round, (possessions, relationships, etc.–you name it, we got it), is highly dependent on the type of person we initially desire to be. For we are what we desire, and oftentimes, we grasp and crave the things that are shakeable.

If we are shakeable people, we do not know the kingdom we’ve been given; nor the Giver, Christ.

We will unravel from time to time, for things will be shaken on this earth. But the things below the sky should never have such authority over us. With our hands clutching, we must release the notion that all we can hold is all that we have and thus need. Our heart, mind and soul easily become dependent on the things we give power to, and we must refrain; we must refrain from being people who do not recognize the Kingdom as our own. While we seek to keep the things we possess in this present moment, our earthly lot in life, we must always be those who lift it higher and higher until it is given unto Him. That is how we receive the Kingdom. Ultimately, this scripture presses forward and fully on what the bible is generally about; “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When this acknowledged and accepted love of God is all that we grasp, our reach is certain, because we become people who know a certainty.

All of our own strength and might to make things in our lives function, to be well, do not compare to the strength and might that covers and cares after us already. Nothing can affect the latter, everything can the former.

When things are amuck, who are you? Are you one who is able to see your Salvation and security in Him? Or are you distracted by the interference of your own want and will and loose lot? We live in a world where many things will go amuck. May we be people amidst the mess, who choose to profess the peace of the unshaken when tested by the shakeable. Be comforted in the certainty that in this world, you are ultimately made for another.  

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What Keeps You

And what keeps you from hearing from God?

Today is Ash Wednesday. And though many of us don’t care to, know about, or find it irrelevant to really celebrate Lent, I know I look forward to it with great anticipation and nervousness. I’m not comfortable with challenging myself when it means shifting my schedule, altering my tendencies and honing in on my habits. But at the same time, I’m pretty comfortable with the idea of drawing closer to a hunger that in it’s purest form, is fed by the Savior, and not by things that constantly make me famished and thirst repeatedly.

Granted, 40 Days is a somewhat stroll in the park considering, but I don’t think the Lenten Season is meant to make us set and accomplish something in x amount of days–rather I think the Lenten Season is the fresh breath we take annually that realigns our hoped for and intended posture towards others, towards ourselves and of course, towards the Lord.

This year, I want to challenge you, my friends, and ask, what keeps you? What blurs your vision from sovereign truths, what distracts and defames your heart from good, good things?

Super hard questions, super easy to respond answers.

 

 

Thankful

I’m thankful for the rarity but reality of an 8 hour deep sleep. I’m thankful for rest that is adamant. I’m thankful for the sound of the planes in the middle of the day, afternoon and night and even when I’m in my backyard reading—and reading itself, for it uncovers longing, familiarity and adventure. I admit though, the sound of the planes competes with your voices/texts/tweets and for that I am also thankful for. I am thankful for refreshing new company, renewed old company and the blood and heart both have seem to interwoven in my spirit that creates a sigh of uninterrupted joy.

I’m thankful for childhood albums and before and after photos. My have we’ve grown a lot all the while not very much at all. And my have we’ve also perhaps grown apart. But I’m thankful for lingering hugs and elongated sentences when we do correspond. I’m thankful for letters written and received, conversations with coffee-colored steam or just a short walk by what now has been my frontyard’s subtle sea. I’m thankful for invitations to dinner parties, gatherings and wedding celebrations and long tables and lit lamps outdoors that spur community, creativity and the occasional cocktail or three.

I’m thankful for surviving not just trials and tragedy, but other people. I’m thankful for relationships. Close and distant, near or far, and one still to be discovered–how it still challenges the heart with the same mystery. I’m thankful for feeling and curiosity. I’m thankful for healing and for warm and prayerful hands who have led me away from a cold spirit (the kind that is deathly). I’m thankful for honesty that soothes and hurt that sharpens, how interchangeable they can be and how changeable I myself can be. I’m thankful for change. The kind  in my heart and even in my pockets.

I’m thankful for the overall steadiness of an acknowledged blessed life filled with family, friends, faith and even food. Yes food. I’m thankful for family who pays for expensive face cream, friends who make you blended smoothies and faith that endows me with grace-laced perspective. And I am thankful that the simplicities that uproot all intricacies are not faced by myself and only me. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit who goes on behalf of me when I fail, when I flee and when I’m fed up. Thankful to be led by unrelenting power, amidst undeniable life circumstances alongside thankful’s creator Himself, Jesus Christ.

A Romantic

There is nothing more enjoyable than witnessing good, true love. I don’t see it often, but during the handful of times I do, I’m reassured and rested in the story God has so configured and arranged for us, for me.

And because I’ve been close to such good story, I’ve had the opportunity to write a toast for a very good friend of mine’s wedding. A day where all things point to completion and also contemplation. All that to say, below is the speech I wrote which has found it’s way to infiltrate my current thought life in a way that says YES to the things I doubt and no to the things I anxiously and dangerously crave.

For as long as I’ve known M, I’ve known the word strong. The kind of strength that doesn’t boast, that doesn’t pry and that doesn’t seclude. But the kind that’s legible like a good story you love to hear and want to be reminded of over and over again.  Or the kind that’s contagious like her laughter (or laughter itself) so that when you are around it, you feel utterly joyful. The strong that is remarkably not afraid to be vulnerable, with fault or ironically, to be alone.

 For as long as I’ve known G, I’ve known the word protector. It’s by his grasp of knowledge of both the human mind and the holy heart, by his sass fused with kindness and by his patience and aspirations, that G has proved to be the beyond suitable and a true protector of the past, present and future of my best friend, M. 

CS lewis says it best concerning this kind of love I witness before me when he states that

The Inventor of the human machine (God) was telling us that it’s two halves, male and female were made and meant to be combined.

And I so believe that because without M—without strength, protection is incomplete. Just the same, without protection, without G, strength seems kind of foolish. But together, when combined, these two things become a force you cannot interrupt and  refuse to ever withhold, because you want to share this kind of love, give truth to it’s fanciful shadows…all because it’s fruition, a completion of love itself…and all in the form of a man and his wife. Paradoxically, of Christ and his Church.

To the man and the wife, who have been the languishing patients for  proper and patient love. May there be calm in the unknown, comfort in solitary, victory in hardship and may there be of course, the endless reminder that He who created that extravagant idea of true love is as real as the flesh that stands beside you today and forever.

Look at the what the light did

I like the way the light hits through the window when it’s 3 pm. It’s anxious I can tell to reach my face, but I hide under stacks of to-dos that have nothing to do with being responsible, but rather, responsive. I keep x-ing boxes of inquiries because I don’t think I am called to coordinate unorganized people or walk your dog, but  I am called to organize the coordination of prayer, talent and the timing that is my person. It’s hard to tell what timing is when I hide under stacks, but I guess 3 o clock is a good indicator that there isn’t much time left so maybe I should stop eye-flirting with my fellow coffee shop dweller and start flirting with the submission of resumes and creation of cover letters.

But then again, maybe not, because time, when measured well is abundant.

If I could live off my declaration of independence from ever having a 9 to 5 I would be a happy woman. Maybe happy isn’t the right word, but I’d for sure be the woman I think I’m meant (hate that word) to be. I would also just be happier if all the Bloody Marys I consumed were free. But my vices advise me to drink and be merry and to get to know the people around me and to invest wholly and honestly. So I have, will and am learning how to continue that specific calling and also afford a crown for my tooth*.

Yet still there is a tension in my bones of late.  Thankfully it is quickly remedied with the fact Jesus is faithful and that my thankfulness is thankfully not as fickle as I am. Because as I live, and breath and sip this espresso, I’m completely at a lost for words why I get to sit here and shout my dreams while landing safely in a home built upon peace, hope and immense love. I also have come to grips (while we’re getting personal) with that fact this has become my one and only diary, so please lock it back up after you eavesdrop this solo coffee date I’m having.

I hope a lot of things, but I’m hopeful about much more. And today as I catch the light retracting from it’s attempts to reach me, I all of a sudden am vying for it’s attention hoping for a tomorrow filled with more grace and patience. And though it feels like the light is well out of my reach, I know Faithfulness will bring me an opportunity to hid or show my face. So I’m challenged to be honest with the expressions I display–even if it communicates I want to hide. Because things are so good. And goodness should be displayed and expressed. Like how the light shines through the window this time of day. And this reminder is for solely me, though meant for us both.

*Previous post shall explain my dental reference.

I forgot Jesus was my Comforter because my mouth freakin’ hurt.

I like, I need, I want, I choose. Four different prefaces we often jumble to equate one value, and when in honest perspective, each make us very different kinds people.

I like coffee. I need friendship. I want unlimted data for my phone. I choose to follow and trust Christ. What a scale of varying desires and what a responsiblity I have to embody as I serve as the gauge of these very things that can make or break my day. Or in this case, my back molar.

This call to responsibility is ever so present since perspective itself has come to mind as of late due to a recent root canal that has bestowed me with it’s annoying and painful presence. Some of you might feel bad for me while others might think I’m greatly blessed (and couldn’t care less because you know worse pain) BUT the point is, there is a lesson somewhere between the cursing of the sky and the crying of the face that I want to surely make note of.

Already I can tell you, when my perspective if off, I’m WAY off. And I forget about Jesus as my comforter because my mouth freaking hurts. 

Like most of us who know when we are about to sneeze was my inconsolable desire to have a really good cry during this dental drama. I’m regretfully regretting my baby cries by way of this blog, but here it is and here I am, so bear hug me man.

As I sat in my living room waiting for my third dentist appointment (in 36 hours) to finally get my root canal, hands cupping the left side of my mouth and hair tied in a greasy high bun, the initial subtle dampness below my eyes trickled and turned into the inevitable and long awaited flood. Relief and clarity sprang up and holy perspective revisited my understanding. It is SO easy to get into a posture of self-pity when you’re in pain and feel weak. In addition, it’s even easier when you don’t have insurance or your mommy, lover or bff  around to take care of you. All of a sudden, a bummer of a circumstance is propelled into a lens of ultimate pity turned anger turned river of tears. Enter the visual I painted so humbly for you.

Suffering is hard, but this all challenged me to become more acquainted with suffering well–because when we do, we are bound to forego all that other stuff that involve things like forgetting Jesus. When we suffer well, our focus is on our Comforter more than our discomfort. When we suffer poorly, essential tools turn into a bad thing. In my case, independence was branded by loneliness. Absurd questions came into play such as “how come I have to do this all myself?” when really, it was simply a poor question asked by a poor spirit.  The challenge lies in the awareness and action to make certain that ( in my case) independence would  lead to a final dependence on God and not resentment in my solitude–in my aloneness but fulfillment in his peace, his presence.

And though this is a pretty sad scenario, and I do think we are allowed to be sad, the ultimate sadness is actually forgetting the ultimate Comforter when we find ourselves with such a poor stature which is the inevitable poor spirit. This kind of spirit is forgetful, it’s jealous and it’s really angry. It’s stuck. That how you know when you don’t suffer well I think. And in no way does this spirit welcome the kind of healing that it necessary for relief and clarity to enter.

I’d like for this pain to go away. I need this pain to go away. I want  pain to go away. I choose to let God take care of this pain. When I rely on the first three, I’m the kind of person who kicks and screams and forgets and gets stuck. When I’m the last, I’m the kind of person who knows comfort and suffering is a hand in hand kind of thing.

To You It May Concern,

I’ve had the pleasure to know you, to hear your heart, to feel your lows and to celebrate your highs. And this came blatantly to tangible fruition recently as I entered the next chapter of my life in celebration with you beside me. Whether by presence, by words, by prayer or simply by that one conversation we had in that one enclosed space for what felt like at least the afternoon, you are my concern and I’m thankful for you.

Your friendship has been a goodness that I’m learning that gives me courage to unclench my fist around the things I thought I was protecting my whole life. Around the things I didn’t trust anyone with, until you showed me that heavy hands are not meant to be in bondage nor that freakin’ heavy.

You are wiser than me in ways I lack and I more than you in yours, and the wisdom that intertwines our dialogues have woven in me bridges of humility, challenge, and well, a lot of lofty and powerful metaphors concerning the intricacies of my insides all to reach the heart of my heart that have essentially healed me with freedom to. just. be.

And that has been the kind of heavy I’m learning to cling toward. The weight that does not drag but drives.

So thank you for the space you create with your affirming head nods, your discreet you know better than this look in your eyes, your insistent posture of honesty and anti-bullshit, your vulnerability that sharpens my own vulnerability and simply your friendship and love that pours into my life at the speed of what feels divinely guided and grandiose.

To you, this may concern.

 

/t

Knots in my head, on my head.

I feel impending like the lack from the knotted twine lugging up a love weightier than it’s counterpart. Like the sum of my misplaced heart and an abstract heart, I’m a whole disguised by a half by something holy and woefully indebted to Eternity’s gift of eternity. I can grasp the lesser Known more than what I call my own. And this protects the anxious I call my hunger, my posture, my heart. But the bright circle turns into a dark circle and a new day is born, torn from a “no” and a “not yet” and a times a “never”–but torn. And so my hunger, posture and heart are in a civil war because I forget my grasp is from my hand, and my palms are often human. Sometimes it is I who lack when I do not accept to know the Known and so the unknown takes hold of me. And now there knots are in my head, or on my head–but they are knots, tangled within each other forming treaties to obstruct my pace and my peace. Knots that loosen me to drop below and far from my counterpart, from my Love.

But the dark circle, of my eyes while more the sky, turns into a bright circle. With or without a head nod, there lies a circumference of comfort that corals any impending into arrival.

Remember knotted head, remember.

Blessed are my eyes, though weak and old and one of a kind–and terrible at flirting.

You know what a wretch is?

I’m a wretch. Carefully crafted in piles of forgiveness, restoration and renewal.

My hands are dry after embarking on this grapefruit and cramp often too. I write a lot these days, it does nobody good. But it is good (the act of not necessarily the content)! My nail polish chips as I tap out some hopefully decent words to produce some fruitful responses. Did I mention they are sparkly silver? A woman I am.

My eyes are my mother’s. Older, weaker and one of a kind. I’ve seen a lot with these and only hope to see more. But lately I’ve seen a skinny bearded man fall in love, best friends packing up their life away from mine and a lot of bills and thrills in the form of paper and dapper gentlemen. These stress and mess with me. Blessed are my eyes, though weak and old and one of a kind–and terrible at flirting.

My soul is whole though continual pokes and prodding from onlookers and outsiders and outlaws of Easybreezyville are adamant. Soul is stronger than life, so this bodes well considering a year filled with uneven ratios of mishaps and missing/wanting/needing/disliking people, things, circumstances. Soul is whole. Period. I guess. YES.     .

My mouth is chapped from the Santa Anas (oh and that damn grapefruit). It’s also a lifesaver in the line of defense when encountering my foes (doubt, hunger, mundane living and the flu…)–whether in writing, speaking, singing or tasting. My mouth is also really small which is for some reason disheartening and makes me feel odd. Like an outsider.

My love is still deep, pure and lovely. My love is for the Father, love for Jesus, love for bffs, love for family, love for a good cup of coffee, love for a brilliant sentence, love for a delicious lamb shank pie, love for a glass of wine, love for many things yet still not for one tall, dark and handsome one. (Perhaps my luck will change if I grow a beard and get skinny).

All in all, sometimes I wish I could fly and yet sometimes the sky is frightening. So it turns into a dream of floating rather than flying. Depending how brave I feel in that moment. A human I am.

I am many things. And am all these things but paired with prayer. Which makes me prayer itself. A prayer faced daily with the interchangeable definitions of what good and bad are to me. And carried thus victoriously by the words that turn me into a bravery that says yes again and again to what I easily forget: forgiveness, restoration and renewal upon my house. And for my eyes, soul, heart and love.

I am made new and well by the impeccably steadfast truth of what prayer does from the mouth of wretch, of a woman, of a human.

 

But I want the pink Jeep.

The apostle Paul says, “I pray for what you most need.”

When I was younger, I could be found vehemently praying for a pink Jeep. And it seems looking back, all things pink and jeep were pretty foreign to good ol’ Paul. Today the equivalent prayer to my pink Jeep desire is perhaps still a pink Jeep in a sense. But if it’s not a Jeep, it’s definitely  to have my own place…or to attain some really expensive camera/artsy equipment…or really, just some nice boots. Nonetheless, I really wanted a pink Jeep and after two long and blustery winters of not receiving such a noble and honest request, I started to devise a plan on how I would enjoy my inevitable gift and also what I should start praying secondly for in the mean time, to kill time.  See, I knew I’d get it, but the waiting made me upset and truly had me obsessing over what car decals and stickers I would place on the shiny new hot pink paint, once them plastic keys were in my hands. The expectation of what I thought I deserved was donned with a crown of self-righteousness and I swear, arms have never been folded across the chest as often as they did when I was a youngin.

(Obvious) Disclaimer: I am an only child.

And I also  pray a lot.

And when I pray a lot I always end up thinking—moreso than actually verbalizing, “Lord when are you going to honor my decision to be faithful to you?!”

And since the expectation of what I most needed was ill-rooted when I was ten, I’ve easily  forgiven little Tracy. But as the Tracy today, I’m less accepting of my internal tantrums or subtle wishes. And seldom do I ever really deserve any type of plastic in my hand.

Disclaimer #2: It sucks not being ten.

And quickly, Jesus surely responds, “why do you let yourself grow weary?”

I grow tired, a lot.

It seems it’s taken His response to my non-response to truly see where my petitions are going and to hear which attitude they are declared in. Upon reflection, I’m embarrassed. With that, I am doing my best to answer questions such as, “What do you need?” with responses such as, “Nothing, for I have plenty.” To get there, there needs to be major re-evaluation. And I’m not talking about considering a different colored jeep. I may be even suggesting instead of asking for that jeep, asking for the desire for control over my life to be surrendered. Instead of asking for my debt to be vanquished, perhaps asking to rejoice in the bread on my plate daily and nightly. Instead of asking for a new or cooler job, maybe ask for the clear vision that there is true fruit in my labor.

To pray for not a change of circumstances but an understanding in what we have in Christ is what I need.

For gratitude is finding that what we have is surely enough.

If we have that, no matter how bad or difficult our life circumstances are or how blustery our sky appears, we can handle them as a woman or man of righteousness.