The Adventure Begins

It’s been too long since I’ve written, and the words feel jammed inside somewhere. As if I need to get a few cleared out, and thoughts might flow a little better.

Changes. Changes full of beauty and a deeper love than I could imagine.  Terrifying changes. Changes that drive me to Jesus in utter dependency and a fresh realization that there is nowhere safer to be than in Him.

Since my last post here, a lot has happened.

The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the morning and headed into what seemed would be a normal day. A bit later, I got a terse text that said “Come to the chapel right now.” I’m sure tires were screeching as I careened through the neighborhood. An hour later I was purchasing airplane tickets for my Dad and two other men to go international on a mission to protect the innocent. 7 hours later they were headed to the airport and embarking on a journey which no one really knew what it might involve. I prayed I would see my Dad alive again.

During the week he was gone, we prayed, we stood strong, we excitedly waited for any and every little update we could find.

And, unrelated to anything else going on, we received an email from someone about a little girl here in the States who needed someone to care for her.

A week after he left, I hugged Dad tightly in our living room, so thankful for the Lord’s protection.

The next day, I got another brief text: “It looks like she’s going to be ours.” So fast. What was happening? I wasn’t sure, but I already loved this little girl whose name I still didn’t know, and I was ready to do whatever God asked.

Two and a half days later, I looked for the first time at the beautiful girl who was to be my little sister.

As I looked in her eyes, tears filled mine and I had to turn away before they spilled over. Desperation. Hope. Terror. Emptiness. Trauma. Excitement. Desperate hope. I saw her story written on her face as she turned away from all she had ever known and got into our car. She pressed her face against the window and waved one last time as we drove away before turning forward and allowing a deep sob to escape her chest. There was no stopping the tears in each of our eyes and hearts.

So young, so vulnerable. And ours.

I helped her make cookies this morning. I posed for her as she drew a picture of me. I watched the Sound of Music with her. I sat with my arms around her, her sweet head in my lap. I went shopping with her. I laid on my bed and ate pretzels with her. I whispered “I love you” over and over. I hugged her goodnight. I promised to be right there with her first thing in the morning. I watched my parents fall in love with their new daughter. Tears spilled over again as she excitedly yelled “Daddy!” as soon as he walked back in the front door from the gym.

For nearly 25 years I have been the youngest child, and paradigms are shifting in our family.

This little one looks up to me like no one ever has before in my life. We love each other deeply, and every time she snuggles up to me and wraps her arms around my waist and doesn’t let go, my heart aches a little more. Ever since this little girl stepped into our lives just a short while ago, tears have either been running down my cheeks constantly or hiding just around the corner ready to show up without warning.  How can I already love her this much? How can I be a big sister to one so desperate for love and a rebuilding of trust? What do I do when I see the hurt well up and she closes down and acts in the only way she knows how based on the things she has experienced in her young little life–experiences I can’t even imagine. How can I show her the love of her Heavenly Father?

Jesus. HE is how. Jesus is Who I must turn to. His heart is the only one that can handle such love and such sorrow.

This past several weeks has been life-altering in ways I could never have fathomed when I got up that Friday morning. It has been difficult. It has been heart-breaking. It has been exhausting…

…and it has been filled with JOY. It has been filled with JESUS. I can’t deny the beauty in seeing my own weakness and His utter strength. I’m enraptured.

Seeing the heart of God in my parents through these past few weeks has touched something in me that hasn’t ever really been touched on before. I can’t express how honored and humbled I am to be part of their lives and learning from them the way I have for my whole life–but especially the past few weeks. Their given-ness; their endless love; their pre-decided “YES!” to anything the Lord may ask of them; allowing the door of their life–physically and emotionally–to be flung open to the most vulnerable. Thank You, Jesus. You had a beautiful plan when you scripted the lives of my parents.

And the proof that You know what You’re doing? It’s inescapable. I see it so clearly in the way this little sister of mine came into our family.

It is with great joy and expectancy that I can say my life has changed and it will never be the same. Oh! the adventures the Lord takes us on!

Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God. – Jim Elliot

Oh, how much this quote describes my life. I have fallen willingly into the “easy life” of just being “normal”. But I claim to be hidden in the very life of Christ, and to have Him dwelling in me…how can I be “normal” while truly living that?

I was reading in Katie Davis’ book and this cute interlude between her and one of her children popped out at me (this is slightly paraphrased because I don’t have the book right here with me)–

‘One of my girls asked me: “If I ask Jesus into my heart, will I explode?” I laughingly replied with “No, of course not!” and then I rethought my answer: “Yes, if Jesus comes into your heart, you will explode.” That is exactly what we should do if Jesus comes to live inside our hearts. We will explode with love, with compassion, with hurt for those who are hurting, and with joy for those who rejoice. We will explode with a desire to be more, to be better, to be close to the one who made us.’ -Katie Davis

When we enter into Christ and He enters into us, it is an exchange–His life for ours. Our life for HIS. It is not a joining of two lives. God is not coming in and joining up with our old life. He comes in and ravishes our life and completely overtakes us….this is how it should be, anyway. We are to be dead to self–our old man absolutely eradicated. Exchanged for the life of CHRIST.

“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.” Psalm 4:3

Set apart: to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished
to be wonderful
to make separate, set apart

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

There are areas of life where in this world we are to be extraordinary–but in the heavenly realms, these things are to be the norm.

In our world, it is normal to worry about things that aren’t looking so great. But as a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be anxious for nothing.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do live a “good life” and just not do “bad things”. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to continually “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith” and to “be perfect as [HE] is perfect.” In our earthly terms, to truly live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do get upset about things, wish our circumstances were different than they really are, to get discouraged at our situations in life, to shy away from pain and persecutions. As a new creation in Christ, set apart for Him, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, REJOICE!” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is normal and even wise to have a backup plan, in case God doesn’t come through (although we wouldn’t actually put it in those terms). We specifically plan for “plan B” to kick in. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are to have Christ as our all in all–and once we put our hand to the plow, we are not to even glance back. We are called to extreme faith (“without wavering!”) in the One who has called us–“for He is faithful that promised.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do hold a grievance against another when they have specifically wronged you, we feel justified in holding onto our offenses. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to forgive, even as the Heavenly Father has forgiven us–completely and utterly, without even a remembrance of any wrong done. In our earthly terms, to live this way is beyond extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to become panicked in a time of crisis. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be still and know that [He] is God.” The disciples, when panicking over looking death right in the face, are rebuked: “…why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to depend on ourselves and our own strength–we are so often specifically even raised this way in our culture. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to have complete and utter dependence on God, in absolutely every single aspect of our lives. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary (and is usually seen as stupid!).

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to take time for ourselves, to make our own self feel better, to have “down time”, to pat ourselves on the back for all the good we’ve done and reward ourselves with some time for ourselves. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to live as if our lives are not our own–because, indeed, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are not our own. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary.

There are so many more such examples.

The point is that these things should not be extraordinary in the life of Christ–living as the life of God requires of us should be the normal for a life surrendered fully to God. But if the world looks at us as “normal”, we have much to be concerned about!

We are to be showcasing a new creation. A creation made exquisitely by the Master Creator Himself!

True godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ to whose eternally unchanging and altogether adequate “I AM!” your heart has learned to say with unshatterable faith, “Thou art!” – Major Ian Thomas

If we are holding onto parts and pieces of our life for any reason, then we have not yet grasped the fullness of the Gospel. When we’ve truly seen Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is no holding back from giving Him our all…but it should be completely outside of anything we or anyone else may personally receive–it is because this is what the life and death of Christ requires of those claiming His name: abandonment of self and all you once held dear.

And it is with great excitement and willingness that this takes place, because we have seen that He is worthy!

If there are still parts of us that are living “to and for ourselves”, where does full surrender then come into the picture?

Full surrender doesn’t come into the picture . . . it is the picture.

It is not ordinary to desire to be spilled out for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to be willing to be looked on as being a fool for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to get excited at the thought of dying for Christ’s sake. It is not ordinary to love Jesus more than life itself.

But this is what a life surrendered to an extraordinary God compels us to.

So, I say again with Jim Elliot:

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”

When one is captivated by and allows their life to be ravished and overtaken by so extraordinary a God, they become a “one-note wonder”. JESUS.

JESUS.

JESUS.

That is the cry of my heart. The refrain of my life. And I want that to be the only cry of my heart for the rest of my days–that every breath I breathe would proclaim

JESUS.

Make me ever more dependent on you, Lord. I need you desperately.

We are commissioned to represent Christ! To bear the very name, to bear the very image and reputation of God Almighty!

Don’t pray that God would teach you how to love like He loves; pray that He would fill you with Himself and that He would love in and through you. Don’t pray that He would teach you to have joy; pray that the living God full of joy would enter into you. Don’t pray that He would teach you how to be peaceful; ask for the God of peace, the Prince of peace to infill you. Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works because it is Him imitating Himself, and He is very good at being God. -Eric Ludy

Tonight’s Thoughts

Tonight is a night where everything is so still that I can almost palpably feel the nearness of my Jesus.

Tonight He is whispering to my heart with words of love and truth.

Tonight I am grieving over my own hardness of heart.

Tonight I am thankful for weakness and pain.

Tonight I am unable to sleep because of the aching in my heart.

Tonight is a night of peace and contentment; a night of longing and searching.

Tonight is a night of sweet worship in adoration of my beloved King.

Tonight is the sort of night I’d love to be taking a ramble in the woods, peeking up into the stars above between the branches of the trees, reveling in the majesty of creation.

Tonight, the cry of my heart is “Desiderio Domini!” (“I dearly long to be with my Lord”)

Tonight I am thankful. So very thankful.

Tonight I am realizing afresh my own unworthiness, and the utter worthiness of my God.

Tonight the tears are falling as I pray for my brother who does not yet know the reality of a life lived for Christ.

Tonight my arms are aching for the hugs of my dear kiddos in Africa, and the ones I’ve not yet met all over the world.

Tonight I am hungering and thirsting for more of my Jesus.

Tonight is a sweet gift from God.

Do you remember?

Memory is a fascinating thing, and today I’m so thankful for memories.

Honestly, I’m thankful for the good memories and the bad. Somehow. I’m not sure how I’m thankful for bad memories, but I guess it’s because the things that come to mind when I think of “bad memories” are things that I can now look back on and see so visibly how God has taken those instances and worked them for great good in my life and my family’s life.

There are definitely memories that I’m very much not fond of, but . . . the good outweighs the bad, by far.

***

I remember the day I tried roller-skating down The 4th Street Hill when I was about 10. It definitely doesn’t stand out as the most brilliant decision I ever made, and I had scars to prove it for awhile, but . . . the adrenaline rush I got still brings a smile to my face.

***

I remember being so confused as to why Mom wouldn’t make me a Green Bean Birthday Cake when I was about 6 years old. People had carrot cake for their birthday. I loved green beans. Why not have a green bean birthday cake? My little brain just didn’t understand why my wish was being denied.

***

I remember many an enchanting hour spent on the white-wicker porch swing on the slate blue porch of The Little White House.

***

I remember the time I packed a real live mouse into my suitcase, and then realized it in the middle of the night.

***

I remember my first ride on an ambulance as a patient. I was headed to the hospital to volunteer when someone hit me from behind at a high-ish speed. I sure made it to the hospital a lot faster than I was originally intending…

***

I remember when I first realized what a fun thing it was to imagine things. Sure, I had imagined lots of things before, but . . . this was the moment when I was completely enraptured with the concept of imagination. What a wonderful moment that was, and oh! how I never want to leave that place of being enraptured.

***

I remember happy days spent down at the wharf catching crabs, touring the Alaska ferry, chatting with the gift shop ladies, throwing bread to the seagulls, and breathing deeply of the scent of salt water and the nearby fish warehouse.

***

I remember many excruciating hours spent trying to learn how to ride the unicycle . . . I was determined!

***

I remember the day Dad set me up with my very own email address.

***

I remember sitting in my brother’s room on his bed the day I first had any contact with the girl who was to instantly become my best friend. Remember that day, Bex?

***

I remember sitting in my little yellow kayak out in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks of New York and being surrounded by dozens of speed boats. They sped past me, producing waves worthy of surfing on. My poor little kayak and I didn’t know what to do, but after floundering for awhile, we finally made it to shore and survived the whole incident with nothing worse than a strange desire to experience it again. Ah, adrenaline.

***

I remember my first late-night horseback ride, racing through fields drenched in moonlight, hair loose in the wind.

***

I remember writing my very first book. I’d love to go back and read it again (I think. But then again . . . .maybe I don’t want to read it again!) but unfortunately, it was lost in the Laptop Crash of . . . oh, probably ’08-ish? My second book was also lost the same day. And almost all of my short stories. *moment of silence*

***

I remember the very first day of the very first semester of Ellerslie. Oh, the many memories that Ellerslie has added to my repertoire!

***

I remember the day my life flashed in front of me as I headed under the semi-truck. I should’ve died that day, but God miraculously spared me, and I ended up with nothing worse than a stiff neck, a broken axle, a nearly totaled car, and a hysterical mother. She has since recovered. ;)

***

I remember the day I saw the miracle of a life coming into the world. Love you, Kipling Joel Anthony!

***

I remember the day I was excitedly sitting in my very first A&P class. That day ended with a trip to the ER, and within a few days I had made several more trips back to the ER, dropped out of college, and been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. That has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

***

I remember the day I first realized what a relationship with the Lord truly was to be–a life of intimacy and victory. A daily dying to self and living for Christ. A lifetime of serving and glorifying my beloved King.

***

I remember the day I found out I was officially going to Africa. And then, of course, I remember the day I arrived, the day I first went to the village, the day I first went to the market, the day I ate roasted ants, the day I fell in love with the African culture, and the day I had to leave.

***

I remember the day I first met my chiropractor–one of the first people in the “medical field” (which, I don’t really think chiropractors technically are…) who gave me hope–and I remember the day he officially made it onto my “close friends” list. What a blessing to have a Christian chiropractor who understands and cares and continually directs my attention back to the Lord.

***

I remember the day I told myself I’d one day be a famous singer. Ha.

***

I remember the day I won a sibling-wide contest as to who could fit the largest kitchen utensil into their mouth. It’s not something I often boast about, but I still hold it over my siblings here and there. Probably not the smartest move, considering they have ample room to come back with some “big-mouthed” comment.

***

I remember the big, big swing-set Dad made when I was little. It was adult-sized, and my little 6 year old self absolutely loved swinging as high as possible on it. I told secrets to the clouds as I rose above the tree tops of our little orchard. I wanted to spend the rest of my days on that swing-set.

***

I remember many afternoons of Cops and Robbers with my brothers in the driveway on our bicycles, Cowboys and Indians in the orchard next door–complete with teepees(!), Salvation Army in the back yard, and House/Secret Club/etc behind the chicken house.

***

I could go on and on and on and on and on . . . .

But I think I shall wrap this up, and perhaps sometime do a Part II installment because I had such a fun time reminiscing about all this things.

Oh, the joys of memories!

What are some of your favorite memories?

the best news ever

The weather today is undeniably perfect in just about every way. At least, perfect in every way for a non-rainy, non-foggy day. Those are the best days. But for a sunny day, this is perfect.


It hasn’t gotten above 67 degrees today in the sweet little town I live in, the sun is slanting in through the tree across the yard at just the right angle to make me thrill with the knowledge that the earth is at just such a situation to proclaim “autumn!!” to this part of the world, I’m drinking Twining’s Earl Grey tea out of a lovely green mug that some dear girls gave me a week or two ago when I was really sick, I’ve gotten lots of things accomplished today in spite of feeling quite ill (I blame the crazy amounts of antibiotics I’m on–those things kill), and I got my camera out!

I’m one blessed girl.

Do you ever feel like you couldn’t love Jesus any more than you do at that very moment. And yet the very next moment you are filled with an even deeper adoration for Him. And you just want to fall down and worship at His feet, while simultaneously you are hardly able to contain yourself from shouting His name to anyone who might hear. And you feel like you’re about to burst, and you can’t stop yourself from talking about Him to everyone you lay eyes on?

That’s me today.

I wish I could say that that was me everyday. Why do I want to tell my curly hair secrets to every girl I see who has curly hair that could use some help, but I’m not willing to tell people I see who obviously don’t know Jesus about the One who loves them more than anyone could possibly love anyone? Why am I scared of what people will think of me? I look at myself sometimes and am ashamed that I’ll make a fool of myself for so many other reasons–I get the urge to sing loudly in the aisle of Wal-Mart, and you couldn’t stop me if you tried. I tell a random stranger at the drinking fountain “don’t drink all of it!” and they look at me like I’m crazy. I hug total strangers in the grocery store. I go weeks and months without shampooing my hair (curly hair secret alert!) and people think I’ve gone totally crunchy/granola. And I don’t care what anyone thinks of me in those situations. And yet I find myself unwilling to talk to the person in line behind me at the grocery store about the Love of my life. Why?

I refuse to continue on like this. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. If I am truly in love with Him, how could I help but tell everyone I know about the One whom my soul loves?

It’s been frustrating to me, because the desire is there to talk about Him freely to those who may not feel the same way about my King as I do, and yet I’ve allowed fear in this area to rule my life.

It cannot be.

I’m proclaiming to the world at large right now that I have found my soul-Husband. I have fallen deeply in love with the Creator of the universe. He is mine, and I am His. I want to be a fool for His sake. I want people to know that I’m completely captivated and have eyes only for Him. I don’t care what people think about me.

And I’m also here to proclaim to the world at large that the little town I live in better watch out. They’re going to hear about the One my heart is totally ravished by, because I can’t keep silent any longer! I want everyone around me to know without a doubt where my affections lie. I want them to personally know the One who holds the world in His hand. I want them to experience the love of a perfect Father. I want them to realize that there is victory! Oh, there is little doubt in my mind as to why the gospel is called the good news!

And yet I think there could be a better term for it.

The best, most exciting, awe-inspiring, beautiful, majestic, freeing, adoration-producing, life-changing news that ever fell upon human ear.

How could I not want to share that with every single person I come across? I have a treasure, and I want to share it.

This is what I need.

To be willing.

To be ready.

Prepared.

To be completely given.

Surrendered.

To never diminish the ache deep inside me that has been placed there by the heart of my Jesus.

To never live at peace with even one moment of apathy.

To look laziness in the face with a determination and a fight.

To fight.

To give up my hopes.

My dreams.

The things I think I deserve.

To love every single person I see.

To allow God to love through me.

Even those who are “un-loveable”.

The homeless man down the street.

The mom in the grocery store who can’t keep her kids under control.

The dad who ignores his family.

The man who threatened me last week.

And to love those who are easy to love.

To not be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of unloved people.

The children.

The girls.

The elderly.

The boys.

The men.

The babies.

The caregivers.

Oh, Jesus.

Your heart.

This is what I need.

Full Surrender

It was a relatively normal sort of day.

Perhaps it was a late autumn evening, bright moon shining down between the naked branches of a tree etched against a dark purple sky. Perhaps I was outside, sitting against a fence, looking out across the lake at the reflection of pulsating stars.

Perhaps it was a spring afternoon, full of new life. Leaves and buds bursting forth on readied limbs–the perfect afternoon for a solo picnic at my favorite river spot, just me and Jesus. And a few ants.

Perhaps it was a hot summer day full of lots of things to do. One of those hectic days of running to-and-fro, hither and yon, with a to-do list as long as my arm. The kind of day where the still small voice of my King echoes throughout the busy-ness, calling me away to the secret place–calling me away to physically “be still and know” even in the midst of everyday life.

All-in-all, though, it was a relatively normal day. I know it was, because I don’t remember the specifics.

I do remember the force with which the reality of what I’m about to tell you hit me. My legs wobbled a little. I took several deep breaths. A part of me that I had previously thought was long dead and rotting in the grave screamed at me to run away . . . back to the “easy life”. (Ironically, my fingers just typed “easy lie” instead of “easy life”. So fitting.)

It was a time of reckoning. A time of accepting or denying a full surrender to God. A time of first realizing just what exactly is encompassed in a full surrender to God.

It was a time to fully face what was before me. The part that I had been subconsciously ignoring for so long without even realizing.

It was a time to consciously count the cost–once and for all.

The hard part of it all–the part which induced the wobbly legs, the ugly dead rotting thing rearing its head and screaming in my face, and the gasping for air–was this: I didn’t know exactly what I was reckoning. I didn’t know the details of what I was counting the cost for. I didn’t know specifics.

I like knowing specifics.

But I knew that it was time. I wanted so desperately to be ready and prepared for what was ahead of me, but not knowing was part of the deal.

I wrestled and I fought. I watched the previous misgivings melt away. I heard the voice of my Saviour telling me “Choose.”

It was in that moment that I realized that FULL SURRENDER to God meant exactly that. Full surrender. Surrender to the extent that I was surrendered even to the unknown–because I was surrendering the unknown to a known God.

I laid down my desires and dreams in that moment and said “Yes” to the Lord . . . an across-the-board “yes” to anything He might ask or require of me.

A life fully surrendered to God is not going to fight in the instance that God asks something of it–it will not sit there trying to decide whether or not it is going to move ahead in what God is asking of it. That happened back when you first surrendered and counted the cost.

A blanket “Yes.”

This is what the Lord was asking of me on this normal day. And in that moment, I fought and I wrestled. I counted the cost.

And then I reckoned. I reckoned it to be true that my God is a good God. My God is a faithful God. My God is a trustworthy God. My God is a worthy God. My God is a God of glory and majesty. Grace and mercy. My God is a God who demands everything from me–and then pours back out abundantly in return in ways that my little brain and heart can’t even comprehend or imagine. A God worthy of worship and adoration.

Yes, Jesus, yes.

Unless ye become as little children…

It is so intriguing to observe children–especially when one observes them with the mind that we are to be as little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Specifically in the area of intellect.

“…Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

A child trusts. They ask something of their parents fully believing it will be given–“Can I have some water?” And when something is told them–“We’re going to the zoo tomorrow!”–they go to sleep the night before without a doubt in their mind that they will indeed be going to the zoo the next day. When something is offered to them–“I bought you this toy!”–they take it, fully accepting that if told it is for them, that they can take it.

How unlike children we so often are! We reason and hem-haw about things, we don’t feel like things are how we’re told they are or will be. We lack trust.

God’s promises are true. The Holy Spirit bears witness of this–and in Him are all the promises of God “yea” and “Amen!” Unto the glory of God.

What God has promised will be fulfilled. What God has spoken is truth and absolute fact. What God has given us is indeed ours for the taking.

When God has given something for us to accept, it doesn’t necessitate hours of agony and wondering and questioning–it is there for the taking. We have but to rise up and accept what has been offered.

A quote from a story which I will add later really struck me today when I was reading it:

“As you took forgiveness from the hand of the dying Christ, take the [promises of God as fact] from the hand of the living Christ.”

So many people struggle with this–myself included. God has given so much, and yet we struggled to receive.

It doesn’t seem like those promises are for me. I don’t feel any different. It seems to easy.

God, make me like a child! A child willing to stand up and take what has been offered. To trust the One who is trustworthy above all else!

Here is the story I mentioned above. It is the perspective of a preacher of old:

I had been for a long time a minister in Leicester, with a large church and of considerable influence in the city, but very unhappy.  Conscious that I had not received the power of the Holy Ghost, I went to Keswick.  A great number of God’s people gathered there to seek and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and they elected to have a prayer meeting from nine o’clock to eleven and onwards, to pray for the Holy Ghost.  A great many people were there agonizing.  I was too tired to agonize and I felt that God did not want me to agonize hour after hour, but I had to learn to take; that God wanted to give, and I had only to take.

Tomorrow your little girl will come down to breakfast.  She is very hungry, and the bread and milk or the oatmeal is on the table.  You do not say: “Little girlie, run upstairs and agonize, roll on the floor for an hour, and then come down.”  You say to her: “Little one, I am so glad you have a good appetite.  Now there is your chair; in you get, say your prayer, and start away.”
That is what God says to the soul.  Those whole nights of prayer for the Holy Ghost are principally necessary to get people who pray into a fit condition to receive the Holy Ghost; for when the people are ready, the Holy Ghost will come without agonizing.

So I left that prayer meeting, and crept out into the lane, and away from the town.  As I walked I said, “O my God, if there is a man who needs the power of the Holy Ghost to rest upon him it is I; but I do not know how to receive Him.  I am too tired, too worn, too nervously down to agonize.”  A voice said to me, “As you took forgiveness from the hand of the dying Christ, take the Holy Ghost from the hand of the living Christ.”

I turned to Christ and said, “Lord, as I breathe in this whiff of warm night air, so I breathe into every part of me Thy blessed Spirit.”  I felt no hand laid upon my head, there was no lambent flame, there was no rushing sound from heaven; but by faith, without emotion, without excitement, I took, and took for the first time, and I have kept on taking ever since.

I turned to leave the mountain side, and as I went down the tempter said: “You have got nothing.  It is just moonlight.”  I said: “I have.”  He said: “Do you feel it?”  “I do not feel it, but I reckon that God is faithful, and He could not have brought a hungry soul to claim faith, and then give a stone for bread, and a scorpion for a fish.  I know I have got it because God led me to claim it.”

When I was in Africa, I talked to the Mamas who worked at the orphanage where I was staying. Some of them had horrific stories of things that they had been through personally and with their families. Siblings being taken as child-soldiers and then killed. Parents who had been repeatedly raped and then left for dead. Husbands who had been shot point-blank in front of them. Children who had been electrocuted. And at the end of their stories, three of these ladies in particular ended with tears in their eyes, and the statement: “My God is faithful and good, and I trust Him!”

I didn’t sleep that night.

How could these women who had endured trials beyond anything I can even imagine still have more trust and faith in God than hardly anyone I had ever seen? I questioned them about it the next time we talked while folding laundry.

“What’s the secret?”

“I read the Bible and I believe it. My God is good. He has said He is and will be good and faithful. He keeps His promises. You should read the Bible and read His promises and believe them. Take them for you.

The faith and trust of a little child, no matter the circumstances around. It doesn’t matter if it feel like God is good. It doesn’t matter if it looks like God is faithful.

It cannot be based on feeling. We must base our trust and faith in our God on fact. Feelings and emotions won’t always line up–but what is more trustworthy: emotions or the Word of God? And once we experience the fullness of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and trustworthiness, emotions and feelings will definitely line up.

You won’t be able to keep from shouting the utter goodness of your God from the rooftops!

“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

“[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” Romans 4:20

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)” Hebrews 10:23

“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“But the Lord is faithful, Who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?…” Genesis 18:14a

“…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25b

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Ephesians 1:3

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly placed in Christ Jesus;” Ephesians 2:8

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6

What could I say?

Have you ever said “When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God _______”?

I have.

There are some confusing things in this world.

One of those questions that haunts me is why does He allow poverty, desperation, hunger, injustice in this world? He can do something about it–why doesn’t He? I’d like to sit down and talk to Him about this . . . ask Him directly.

But then I’m afraid . . . what would I say if He asked me the same thing?

Memories.

It’s a cold windy evening, clouds blowing overhead giving slight glimpses of the stars. I can smell wood smoke in the air. And the moisture from last night’s rain (which later turned to snow) still lingers in the air.

This is exactly the kind of night that recalls to mind the time when I lived at the little white house with some of the dearest girls in the world. Love them.

I’m there again. On the slate blue porch, curled up in a cozy blanket on the white wicker porch swing–steaming tea in hand. Street lights come on as the bustle of day wanes into quietness–even on our busy street.

A subdued, yet beautiful sunset–streaks of pink across a baby blue sky, wispy clouds, black trees etched into the background. A cold breeze rustles the newly forming leaves on the trees. I curl further into the blanket. Night settles in and patches of clouds drift across the inky sky. I crane my neck looking for my favorite star amidst the misty clouds.

I can almost pretend I’m there again. I can almost still taste the pancakes (Abby’s famous ones!) we had for dinner that night, the scent and sticky-ness of syrup still lingering on my hands. I can still hear the muffled music coming from Bex’s laptop. And I still smile when I think about Rissa curled up in a corner with an adorable look in her eyes–it was Tuesday evening, and we all knew what that meant.

I still remember the exact workings that were going on in me that night–God was touching parts of my heart that I had never allowed to be vulnerable to Him before. I was learning what it meant to uncurl my sweaty little fingers from the paltry, pitiful prize they so fiercely clung to–I was learning what it meant to exchange my life for His. And I was struggling. I had not yet entirely accepted the fact that God is good. The fact that He knows me better than I know myself; that He has promised and He cannot lie; that He has my very best in mind; that He is worth it all.

But that night, for what I realize now was one of the very first times, I was truly tasting and seeing that the Lord is good! And from that moment on, I knew. My head couldn’t deny what my heart had experienced. On that white wicker porch swing that night, enveloped in a large blanket, with random people walking by on the sidewalk, tears began to slip down my cheek. I whispered to the Lord–and I meant it:

“I love You, Jesus.”