Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Unwavering Confidence

Today's Pandora find: "Los Angeles" by Peter Bradley Adams :)

I'm convinced that I have nothing I can say that can be excellent or praiseworthy...only God can do that. But I hope to struggle with pen and paper to try, to say what I can toward the faith and hope I have in God's promise.

I am blown away. Truly, I am astounded and humbled by the way that God is so artistic with my life. I see lately that my life is this series of hairpin turns and sudden changes. I used to feel fixed in a plan, a straight line, a path that could no sooner be altered than discovered. And yet, I feel lately that the road less traveled is so much more like a rich backwoods trail, winding in sudden directions, deep enough to be unable to see much further ahead, but always being led deeper and deeper into the beauty of the Forest. My God is sovereign, and I see now that no matter what happens, I am His. His goodness doesn't run out, it doesn't wane. Even in the hardship of life, God wastes no experience. His discipline is perfect, and if I fall into it with a teachable heart, he will bring about a promised "harvest of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11).

So what can I have to fear then? What is there to be anxious about? As long as I cling to God, I can only expect that the circumstances of life, no matter their character, to draw me closer into His arms. In all of it, I learn. In all of it, God teaches me about His character and about my own. What more can I want? I have this guarantee before me: that if I trust and love and seek my Father in all earnestness, all readiness to be reworked by His hand - the throes of life can only draw me closer to my Savior, my deepest desire. You see, to "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4) is to allow your desires to be reshaped by a God who loves and wants the best for you.

Moreover I think of God the Father. The Daddy. And I think of me, his tiny little daughter. My God is a Father who knows what's best for his daughter, no matter what the daughter thinks is best for herself. How many fewer tantrums would happen if toddlers had the presence of mind to trust their parents' wisdom! Likewise, the peace to trust our God's wisdom leaves calm waters in our heart.

May we trust our God today! May we know and trust His desires for our lives! Oh, may we throw ourselves into His trustworthy arms! Do you hear him calling you?

"'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.'"
Psalm 91:14-16

(But really, you should read all of Psalm 91)

Sweetest regards,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fathers, Grandfathers, and a beautiful life

Hi again! This beautiful gem from Pandora reveals that I'm really a folksy girl at heart. :)

I've never had the pleasure of meeting my grandpa Harrison. He died when my dad was only 8 years old, and I think because of this, he's always been a little bit of a mystery to me. I never really got to understand who he was, save a few small details about his life. And maybe as many victims of history, his character and the things about his personality have always been lost to the general shadowy stoicism of past lives. But in my recent visit to my dad in Portland, one of my favorite conversations we had was getting to ask my dad to tell me more about my grandfather.

To my delight, my grandpa Harrison, William was his name, sounds like such an an intriguing person. I see a surprising bit of him in me, which is a change from the glimpses I've had of him in the past. The son of an architect, he was an energetic young man, an independent and brilliant thinker who despised that the System could control him, but worked within it with fervor anyway. He was a fun-loving high-schooler who perhaps a little ostentatiously drove his friends around in his big expensive Cadillac in the 50s. To the dismay of his conservative well-to-do family, he eloped with my grandmother when she was 17 and they began a family as he began a business.

When he received word from his secretary that he had received something from the Army in the mail that looked like the draft, he signed up for the air force. He rose to the top of his class because he was told he could pick his own assignment if he did, and thereafter became an expert in radar and a pilot as well. When his time was done, he resumed pursuing business but kept a personal plane that he flew for pleasure and business alike. He used to call my dad Tiger and insisted playfully that he would have a double chin when he grew up. He was brilliant in his technical discipline, but played cello in the living room to relax from the stresses of single parent-hood (he and my grandma divorced when my dad was 6). When they succeeded in talking him into it, he would take my dad and his brothers camping on remote beaches only reachable by plane. Ultimately he died in a plane crash flying his personal plane through the mountains of Washington when he was 33. Even though I never got to know him, I think I am proud to say that he was my grandfather.

And speaking of my dad, I really had a fantastic visit with him in Oregon. We got so much time to spend doing fun "meaningless" things that meant so much, such as exploring downtown, or hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls, sticking our feet in the Columbia River, and scaring tadpoles everywhere. All through it all, the beauty of conversation between two people who have known each other long interspersed all of our activities. And laughter followed not far behind.

We look nothing alike. :)
And now classes have begun and various other things have crossed my thoughts and come to rest there. I continue to learn a lot about life and who I am, a pattern of refinement continuing from the summer. I look forward to the person I am becoming. It seems that life is made up of little hairpin turns that change the course of everything. A year ago, I would not have guessed to be in the place I am, doing the things I am and pursuing the goals I am...but I like it a lot. And I like that life is unpredictable like that. God keeps me guessing (and trusting). I imagine that another year from now, I will be someone who today has not yet crossed my mind's eye. And you know, as a side note, I am learning to give myself grace. It's a long journey from infant to maturity physically, and yet we expect it somehow to be different spiritually. There are some pretty awkward dumb things that happen when you're a teenager, and I'm learning to look back on those spiritual "teenage" years and let them be what they were. It occurred to me that as life continues, I will continue grow more beautiful in God's plan if I hold fast to it. I hope to be one stunning older woman some day, from the inside out.


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Purpose Beyond Our Own

You know, as believers, our personal concerns are really secondary. Not because they're not important, but because God already knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8). I think about my life, and the various things on my mind between my job, and car repairs, school, my hopes for the present and the future, the things that matter to me...and they just seem like facts somehow. Those things are facts in my life, even the things that aren't actually physically there. The things that are and the things I've thought through, that I hope for, that I bother to worry a second over...they're there. And God knows about them. But even more than Him knowing and caring, and having a character that I will trust to act...well there's just so much more! I have seemingly big hopes for my life, but the greatest hopes that cross my thoughts may not have very much to do with "my life" at all!

As believers, we live with such greater purpose than our own selves. What a beauty to be swept into Christ's mission for our lives! Nothing is ordinary and nothing is meaningless. I love that. As I've prayed for a deeper hunger for truth this week, God has answered without doubt. And what I see when I look around is a beautiful calling that surpasses anything I could want for myself. 

At Second Mile this week, we sang a new song. The opening lyrics go like this:

My foes are many, they rise against me
But I will hold my ground
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way

(For the full song:

I love that: my Help is on the way. I guess I really have two ideas going on here. First that we need not worry about our lives because God is good. He will not let those who trust in Him crash to the ground as they hope in Him. But second, even amidst those various concerns, as valid as they are, we live for something greater than they, because we live for Christ.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)