Sunday, March 31, 2013

no good reason

In the last week, I've had ample opportunity to be alone in a lot of quiet with my thoughts. I've heard and read a lot this holy week about service, and a good friend mentioned something to me a while ago that has been a beautiful derailment of my thoughts.
When Jesus was preparing to be accused, arrested, separated from God, and put to  death, he was doing something that astounds me, in more ways than one. He was with his closest friends, sharing a meal and  doing what he did well: teaching. That's not hard to relate to; I don't know anyone who wouldn't choose to be with their closest friends and family in that situation. But here's the part that knocks me right over:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 
[John 13:1-5]

He washed the disciples feet. JESUS. Washed. Their feet.

Can you imagine that?

The Messiah "knew that his hour had come", and what did he do? Serve. Can you imagine facing something one iota as stressful and traumatic and terrifying as what He was about to face, and choosing to serve people in that way? It blows my mind.

Here's the thing about feet: not only do they make me extremely uncomfortable [which is a lot of progress from the day in which I would have said they make me puke], and I just don't like them. But in that day and age, in that culture, they didn't idolize feet in the same way that we do. They didn't spend money on shoes. If they had shoes, they were pretty bare and insufficient. So, feet were disgusting. They were perpetually dirty and blistered and calloused. Washing someone's feet would have essentially been the same as wiping someone's butt [honestly].

So Jesus didn't just serve, he served radically. This was the King of Kings, cleaning up the most disgusting part of these grown men, removing himself from any semblance of his rightful royalty, and literally getting on the ground.

As I've sat quietly with my thoughts and searched my heart this week, I have heard [faintly] from God, and one of the things He is whispering over me is to serve. To give radically of myself in light of what I am facing. I want to do that. I want to be like Jesus in that way. And if Jesus can do it, facing what he was, certainly I can give of myself fully, in ways that maybe aren't fair, to love and give radically. I want to love "to the end".

So that is the choice I have made.

It isn't easy. It is uncomfortable. I think it was difficult for Jesus, but he set a perfect example, getting on his knees, dirtying himself for the cleanliness of others.

May I be made very little so that He may be made great in my love.

Nothing Fancy, Dave Barnes

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tired, battered fighters


That's how I describe myself. Maybe it's because I am fully aware of all the ridiculous, insecure nonsense that floats in my heart, & am able to see all that never makes it to the surface. Maybe, I'm just really prideful and think too highly of myself.

I am a strong woman.

I know who I am, what I want, & what I like. And at the end of the day, I'm not apologizing for any of it. [it took me years to get here]

Sometimes, things happen. Things change. Things fall apart. Things come together. Things, that an aggregation of make a girl's strength quaver.

I've been knocked in the face today, looking at the last two to three months, trying to figure out how I'm still standing [actually, I'm not currently standing. I'm lounging]. Almost like I didn't even realize all that I have faced. Like walking into a minefield and not knowing you're missing a leg until the prosthetic goes on. [gross. I know.]

The word sustained keeps rolling around in my mind. Sustained. Maintained at length without interruption or weakening.

Yep. That's what is happening to me. Someone is maintaining me [which in my delirium is really hysterical to me - I can hear my Dad making "maintenance" jokes right now. Guess I'm just now figuring out what he has known all along]. Someone with infinite measures of strength and love and patience is holding me up.

Sometimes people leave.

Sometimes people tell lies about you.

Sometimes answers aren't really answers and only initiate more questions.

Sometimes people you love lose people they love and a funeral becomes the backdrop of your first impression.

Sometimes things that were northern stars and blinking lights become giant question marks.

Sometimes sisters get really sick.

Sometimes jobs are frustrating, challenging and lost.

Sometimes accidents happen, people lie, and their lie costs you a lot.

Sometimes you have to defend yourself to people who love you and have assumed the worst about you.

Sometimes you have to tell dear friends that they are wrong.

Sometimes you fight with people you are desperate to be close to.

Sometimes the calls, texts, and emails don't stop coming.

Sometimes more people leave.

Sometimes fear is the loudest emotion.

Sometimes people you love lose someone else that they love.

Sometimes you fail in doing good.

Sometimes you fail at loving well.

Sometimes you fail at obedience.

Sometimes, a girl on a diet just needs a cheeseburger.

And sometimes, it happens all at once. Even though it feels like too much - it's not. It's just right. It's not too much for the One holding you up. There is always enough grace and forgiveness and answers to get from one day to the next. And one day to the next is really all you need.

It's OK if I don't remember how I get from one day to the next. What I don't accomplish doesn't matter. What matters is Who I cling to; who's neck I hug, who's eyes I smile into, who's words I let in and which ones I keep out.

Chin up. Strength has a posture of consistency. Keep moving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

and seasons change

Big surprise. This post is about music.


The other night the boyfriend and I went to see Matt Wertz and Steve Moakler at The Kessler. First of all, I'm very sorry that I never paid Steve Moakler any attention before. Secondly, The Kessler is an AMAZING venue. We were sitting at the back of the place, and it still felt like we were just hanging out in the living room. It had a great vibe, great sound, and great seats [that's right. seats].

I've seen Matt several times before. Every time, he's played with a full band and it's been a fun, woo-girl-inspiring show. This show was different. Not just because I had my person with me [it makes a difference. just does], but because it was an acoustic show in a very intimate venue.


It was really good.

A few days before the show, Matt had posted on Facebook a request for songs to be played at his Texas shows. I scrolled through the comments and saw that any song that I wanted to hear was already listed. Also, I know that there is a new album in the works, so I felt good about getting to hear some new songs. I felt confident that I wouldn't be disappointed in the set list.

And I wasn't.

One of my very favorites, I've only heard him perform one other time. Honestly, it's one of my favorites, but it's also one that I tend to forget about. I saw it in the comments on the facebook post from earlier in the week and thought "oooo... yeah. That one." So, when he started to play it, I got happy and excited. I sat back with a smile on my face and just listened.

And then it happened.

Tears. Lots and lots and lots of tears. []

Overcome isn't even adequate. I was consumed by the beauty of the music, the time and the place, and by the Truth of the words. I had no idea how in need I was of that Truth being sung over me. [that's what it felt like in there - like the words were being sung over me.]

I don't think I realized how often I feel inadequate. I didn't realize how badly I needed the reminder that no matter what I do, what I say, where I go; no matter how much I don't hold up my end of the covenant and cease to praise the one who paid my debt - nothing changes.

No amount of my misbehaving, no amount of my best behavior changes how much I am loved and how well I am taken care of. I will give you what you need, in plenty or in poverty. Even when I have nothing, when supply is insufficient - I will still have what I need.

I needed my confidence to be renewed, and those words and notes and harmonies have been whirling around me ever since that night. My God beautifully clothes every single blade of grass and flower in the field, and He considers me to be far more valuable than they. Of course He will give me what I need.

And it will be beautiful.
It always is.

Friday, August 31, 2012

what the promise is for

This is a very special day. [for a lot of reasons, but that's a whole other post]

Today, my oldest sister celebrates 10 years of marriage. My favorite part of celebrating this milestone with her is recalling the beauty that the last 10 years has held for her. As someone who has been watching her my whole life, the last decade has been the most fun to watch. She's struggled, she's succeeded, she's worked hard, she's had three beautiful girls and two of the most charming little boys. She's served, ministered, and shared.

The only word I know to use for my sister's marriage is Redeemed. It didn't start right, but it has been the most wonderful thing to watch. And my sister, she is an amazing woman. She faithfully gives credit to her Sustainer, and I love watching her serve, forgive, encourage, and laugh with her husband. They have always been best friends - one of my favorite things is watching them laugh together.

My sister had dated her fair share of schmuck's. We were all pleasantly surprised when Lori started bringing Graham around - we liked him a lot from the start. I remember telling my other sister, Cathy, that Graham is not at all what I would have pictured Lori with, but I liked that. I liked that Graham didn't fit the mold. Ten years later, Graham is still keeping our family challenged and on our toes in the best way possible.

At the time Lori and  Graham were dating, she and I worked together. Let me tell you, it was a lot of fun to watch Lori come in to work after she'd been with Graham. She was smiling and happy and funny - my sister's not perfect, but Graham has always brought out the best in her.

While their marriage has never been perfect, it has always had purpose. And nothing about my sister and her husband has ever pointed to anything other than the Perfecter of their relationship. As the younger, single sister - I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to watch and learn from them; it's invaluable to me.

Thanks, Lori & Graham for modeling for me what un-perfect people are capable of when Jesus is in the middle of it. And thanks for those little munchkins that I get to love on and who love on me!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

he'd love to know why

Five things that I'm excited about today:

1. I'm excited that in 44 short days I will have my own place again. My own place to come home to that looks like me and smells like me and is peaceful for me. [sigh]

2. I'm excited to take a ginormous sleeping pill later this evening and sleep like a champ. [4 days on very.little.sleep. it's not pretty.]

3. I'm excited to see the amazingly talented and fun Ben Rector on Sunday night! 

4. I'm excited that I technically have one more week of the Summer Tour. Seven more days and three more projects - I can do it! 

5. I'm excited about Fall. I know we still have to get through September, but today it's been gloriously cloudy and gloomy and I really want to cuddle up in some comfies with a hot cup of coffee. [can't wait!]

The Kill, Ben Rector

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

why do we try

Five things that I'm thankful for today:

1. I'm very thankful for the amazing dream I had about Matt Wertz last night [wow-ow.]
2. Regarding the slimy, narrow-minded, pretentious asshole who couldn't make enough jokes about how a girl "manages" to make a "profession" out of being a "sorority girl" and sat next to me at the airport today - I'm very thankful he is not my dad, nor anything like mine. [his poor 15 year old daughter. poor, poor girl]

3. I'm very thankful that as I was having a melt-down cryfest while pumping gas into my car at the scary-gary gas station, that not one of the after 10 pm parking lot patrons felt the need to see if I was OK.

4. I'm very thankful that my neighbor's ridiculously obnoxious, yappy dog wasn't making a sound when I came home tonight, and therefore, I didn't have to leave my strongly worded note on their door.

5. When I did come home, and found that someone had dropped a glass container with some sort of cleaner in it all over the building lobby floor and instead of cleaning it up, taped the area off with signs that said "danger, broken glass" , and as I proceeded to slice my sandaled foot on said glass [if only that tape on the wall could actually contain the glass on the ground], I'm very thankful that I won't need stitches.

Everything Will Be Alright, Matt Wertz

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

watch your first step

Five things today that I'm happy about/grateful for:

1. Music. I don't need to explain this, do I?

2. The man that I spend my summer tour with - the way he lets me walk first through every door, looks me in the eyes, laughs at my jokes, and challenges my creativity.

3. Coffee. I'm excited right now thinking about the coffee I'll get in the morning.

4. Nephews.
He has my heart.
5. One time a few summers ago, one of my best friends and I worked a concert out at a nearby lake. I was thinking about that day today and it made me smile. Lots of good memories from that day. We saw this guy: Velvet, Stoney LaRue