Saturday, July 28, 2007

On the Doorstep

tonight You set the stage
for the ask of a lifetime
as we begin a new series at church
centered around the beauty of doors
my heart and mind are dancing in a whirlwhind
toe-tapping anticipation
the give and take of fear and trust like swaying hips
and most of all
the ache for so many former students and co-workers
Nothing would compare to seeing them walk through the door
to find You
and that something they know is missing
that something more they can't define
but many of them will not come
so many other doors are calling them
and the bright lights and catch phrases
often outweigh Your gentle knocking
but I will choose to look down at the glass half full
and rejoice for those that will come
and choose You
I can picture You placing each stepping stone
on the path that would lead them there
but ultimately it is up to them
thanks for the butterflies
and that gasp of breath
as we all stand on the doorstep

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

"Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens." Psalm 78:23

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." Proverbs 8:34

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

"Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door." Matthew 24:33

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose." Acts 16:26

"So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them." Mark 2:2

"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door." Mark 13:29

"He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." Luke 13:24

"The whole town gathered at the door . . ." Mark 1:33

If only . . . .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And She's Off ...

"Righteous Father, the world has never known you, But I have known you, and these disciples know That you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them— Who you are and what you do— And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them." John 17:24b

Your precious cargo will board a plane today
packing more than just clothes in their suitcases
one small step for GCC, one giant leap for Sarah
a week of firsts
first plane trip
first time out of the country
first mission trip
I remember my first mission trip
how your heart breaks and overflows all at once
how you feel like someone tore off the outer protective layer of your skin
and you're left with this raw awareness of your own insignificance
and yet your own purpose all at once
how hard physical labor somehow feels like your favorite sport
and your biggest fear is no longer Americana social rejection
but rather that you aren't able to help enough
or that you've wasted the last few years of your life with nonsense
I tried to explain it to her in some blind effort to prepare her
but it was like trying to talk with peanut butter in my mouth
or when Mom tried to explain motherhood to me before Lauren
or when scripture glosses over until I fumble through a challenge and look back
she is in for the ride of her life
and the best part comes when she realizes Who's really driving
I lean in anticipating Your blessings to come for all involved
and for this incredible girl
who for the last nine months
has been walking toward You
may all that's stripped away
only strengthen her sensation of You
in this week of sprinting and spending

"And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lemon Drops

"'I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work.'
God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them." Isaiah 55:8-11 (Msg)

phew, what a day
perfectionist devil on the shoulder
looks back and points the little red scepter
at all the lemons thrown throughout the day
Lauren's tears and and open-mouthed, tongue-shaking cries
as she battled a stomach ache
and I hear a lemon drop
e-mails about miscommunication
in only my second week on the job
lemon drop
after fifty seamless rehearsals at home
my mind draws a blank at tech rehearsal
lemon drop
right before church Lauren
somehow manages to get a piece of mulch in her eye
lemon drop
after a day of praying and going over and over
and over a crucial message, a beautiful illustration
of the door You built for us
I somehow manage to turn my microphone off instead of on
major giant mutant mama lemon drop with nunchucks
after years of never blanking out on stage
it seems to make sense that it would occur on the day of a thousand lemon drops
but the greatest thing of all
is that when life hands us lemons
You make lemonade.
Lauren is sleeping soundly,
Buddha belly and gorgeous eyes back to normal
and even though my neurotic estrogen chemicals
are presenting the evidence of failure to the jury in my brain
I object and somehow know that in the midst of all my blundering
You found a way to recruit a few more door-keepers
and make some lemonade.
Cuz that's just the way You roll.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Better Than Mary Kay

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful." 1 Peter 3: 3-5

I swing in the beauty of your painted world
my new favorite spot for mornings with You
a canopy of branches cheers me on
to the training for inner beauty
and the manual sits in my lap
as the wind dances around us
my little beauty came by for a visit
and the text takes on a layer as I look into her eyes
teach me so I can pass on to her
the freedom of true beauty
beyond makeup and magazine covers
the beauty of knowing You

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There's More than Corn . . .

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Peter 2:2-3

I've always loved corn on the cob
but Saturday
I was introduced to farmer's market corn on the cob
so succulent
when I went for seconds, I didn't even need butter and salt
I never knew what I was missing.

I've always loved my job
but this week
I was inroduced to my new career
so sweet
when I went the next day, I didn't even need the alarm clock
I never knew what I was missing.

I've always loved You
but this year
I was introduced to new depths of You I never imagined
so close
when I wake up each day, I don't even need rhetoric
I never knew what I was missing . . .

Friday, July 06, 2007

Isaiah, Hezekiah, and ABrandNewDay-ah

"If we come expecting God, we will meet Him and be changed by the encounter." Jason Miller, "Illumination" sermon 7/5/07

patterns, structure, and routine
they can comfort like a favorite blankey
or torture like a dripping faucet
provide that coming-home safety
or that punchclock, cubicle monotony
our morning quiet time has not been so quiet lately
reading Your word like a novel
as a New year's resolution is proving tougher than I thought
the shiny cover of the Daily Chronological Bible
now worn with white creases like dried skin
my rose-colored glasses make me wince
as I read of the war, bloodshed, and the violent cycle of Isreal
But this morning I took a moment
A moment to call You near
like an over-the-shoulder tutor whispering new insights
with occasional pats on the back
like scratch n sniff stickers back when pigtails were cool
after trudging through the prophets like mud to my knees
like some pouting child in time out,
listening with my arms folded to the promises of destruction
wrath, wailing,weeping, gnashing of teeth,and sackcloth
but today You reminded me in that gentle tutor voice
that the darkness of conflict tends to illuminate the light of victory
my arms felt like feathers and floated toward the pages
to let my fingers trace new meaning
and Isaiah stepped in with the ultimate preview
"a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse . ..
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes...
but with righteousness he will judge the needy"
fingers dance through the pages, light on their tips with anticipation
just then Hezekiah stepped in to break the cycle of royal corruption
"He removed the high places and smashed the sacred stones...
There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah ...
He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him..."
my arms shoot up for a touchdown sign!
and I'm reminded why I should never do my quiet time in public . . .
too risky
so risky I just might look forward to it
so from now on
I will come to meet You
like a child's Christmas Eve,
dusk on the fourth of July,
Price is Right door #3,
or better yet
an opportunity to be near You

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:2-7

" He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him." 2 Kings 18:3-7

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thank You

Today I am wordlessly overwhlemed with the many blessings I don't deserve
So I am saying the only two words that have been swirling around in my mouth-gaping head
Thank YOU

"Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4