Oh

I am not happy today. I am not sad, angry, excited – I can’t figure out how I feel today. I know I feel, I feel so so much. I feel the way my heart beat speeds up when I have to spend fifty dollars on various vitamins and supplements just to get rid of a cold that has been plaguing me for the past three months. I feel the way my hair just barely blows across my face when I am laughing and running outside with the best smalls I know. I feel the way my eyes water when I think about the things I regret most. I feel the pain from when I bite my finger out of stress and the relief from when I stop. I feel life and death, sin and redemption.

Oh to be loved by Jesus. Oh to be loved by Him. Oh to have joy and peace within. Oh to be loved by Him.

This hymn just started playing as I am typing this, like a small whisper saying “This is what you are feeling.” It’s funny how that happens, how as soon as I acknowledge that I don’t know something about myself I learn it. I feel love. I feel the way He provides so that I can get better. I feel the way He brings laughter and sunshine. I feel the way He forgives when I do not. I feel the way He brings hope, the way He chooses to be my Savior daily.

Oh to be loved by Jesus. Oh to be loved by Him. Oh to have joy and peace within.

There’s a certain way the sun shines sometimes that lights up everything and makes it impossible to see all at the same time, like I know of my surroundings but I feel blinded nonetheless. In these moments I know the world is beautiful. I don’t see it, I just know. And I am right, it is. These aren’t necessarily the moments of ecstatic happiness or passionate anger or necessarily anything in between. These are the moments of joy, when my soul tastes the breath of its Savior and it moves through every fiber of my being.

Oh to be loved by Jesus. Oh to be loved by Him.

It’s sweet, the way it feels when my heart sings that Oh. It’s relief, a long journey ending, a coming home. It’s relaxation and excitement all at the same time. It’s my soul dancing around and staying still at the same time because I am free and I grow, but I don’t float away like I always feared I would when storms approached. It is my anchor. It is the way I am inhaling His Spirit and the way I pray it will move. So no, maybe I am not happy today. Maybe I can’t pinpoint any sort of deep emotion, but I can find joy. That’s what there is today. I don’t have a great conclusion or a verse handy to share that would connect all of this in the way a pretty ribbon completes a gift. I don’t have a call to action or anything of the sort. There is joy and there is peace and today, that has to be enough.

Oh to have joy and peace within. Oh to be loved by Him.

 

Happily Ever After

The Old Testament ends with a promise, one that I needed so deeply to hear today, in a passage in Malachi that feeds my soul like no other.

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

This promise is foretold. That’s the thing about promises – we desire them before we even know of them, like the small who doesn’t know he wants ice cream until he hears Do Your Ears Hang Low? playing in the distance. This is the promise that created us.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.

This promise is truth. We all want to say we’d be that person, the one who would be able to stand. I believe we also want to admit that we wouldn’t be able to, because who stands when the earth is trembling under their feet, but we would be lying if we said that sin didn’t run deep through our veins.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.

This promise is ours. It defines every strand of our very souls. This is His gift to us, not only to give us treasures, but to make us into one. And so He came down to us, not only to live at our level, but to push us up to His.

Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.”

This promise is our offering, our ultimate sacrifice. It is the sacrifice He poured out for us, so we wouldn’t have to. It is Him giving us an offering that will never fail. It is Him turning us toward Him and teaching us how to run.

So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

This promise is courage. it is the way we are able to stand when we have the weight of a thousand stones sitting on our shoulders. It is the way He makes our eyes sparkle, like newlyweds sharing their first kiss. It is the way we dance when standing still would be so much easier. This promise is a story given to us by the Writer of the Story of all stories. And as happily ever after has followed me throughout playgrounds and freeways, throughout crowded trampolines and lonely beds, I have learned that all the best stories end with a beginning. This story ends with life abundant; it ends with a love like no other. This promise is our happily ever after: Amen.

 

Baby Names

Most days I’m content to just let the future be. I know that my future has been planned, every detail of it, so I don’t have to worry, but then there are days like today when I sit on Pinterest designing a nursery for a baby who may never exist and I’m suddenly worried it will never happen. Yesterday I didn’t care, but that’s the thing about worry. It doesn’t care about your past or lessons learned, it’s only there to eat away at whatever peace and trust you still cling to. It rots, destroys from the inside out, but there is Hope and that begins by saying this: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If I should ever have a daughter, I’d like to call her Esther, so that she may be a star that points to the Heavens. And I’d want her to experience the depth of the King’s guidance, to follow the light of a star much brighter than her own. But when I think about the possibility of something so important being entrusted to me by its very creator, I am petrified. Worry will always come back. It’s at the root of my sin, my deepest struggle. I worry I can’t do this thing called life on my own, and I can’t, but Hope continues: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

If I should ever have a daughter, I’d like to caller her Eden, so that she may learn of Perfection. I’d want her to know, to always know, what it’s like to have the Giver of Life breathe into her. I’d want her to know what it’s like to look to Him for comfort when she stresses like I know she will. As much as I want to pass on my faith, I know that sin is inherited, too. I am learning to trust, however, that Hope is stronger than fear and it continues: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

If I should ever have a daughter I’d like to call her Eve, not so she would be stuck in hiding but so she could know what it’s like to be found. She’ll experience insecurity, she’s my daughter after all, but she’s His even more so. He’ll find her as He found me. She will experience imprisonment, she will know what it is to be broken. But Hope will continue and she will experience freedom and redemption: I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity.

I plan. I worry because I forget I don’t have to. I either trust or I dream and I’m learning that it’s okay to do both. Before I should ever have a daughter I’d like to learn to call myself these things, always and forever. If I should pass on Hope and Love, I pray I’d pass them together. I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

If I should ever have a daughter I’d like to call her His, but first, that’s what I’ll call myself.

The Beginning

I don’t know what it is about starting that makes me freeze, but the beginning of something is always the hardest for me. I do know, however, what I want to get out of this.

I want growth. I want to experience something new. I want to change, to become more like Him, the writer of all beginnings.

I want peace. I want to be comforted on this journey. I want to see His control in all things.

I want community. I want to see active joy in the lives of others. I want to love like He loves.

I want to see. I want to look into the world and find my Savior. I want this month to be my Esther, to reflect the gifts of my Savior, as He says “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

I want this to be a leap of faith. I want to take chances. I want to trust Him completely.

This is my prayer for the month. I’m starting simple, because I really don’t know how to start. But I’m trusting Him to use this month to His advantage. I’m trusting Him to help me grow in a way that is encouraging to others, in a way that points others to Him because if I’m being honest, I need that, and if I’m also being a bit blunt, so do you.

So here’s to reflection. Here’s to vulnerability. Here’s to nerves and getting them out of the way. I don’t exactly know what this journey will entail, but I hope you’ll join me on it anyway. Maybe we’ll learn something together.

Here’s to Blogging Every Day in April.