Friday, April 29, 2011

In the Quiet Places

Jesus will meet us in the quiet places.

The unexpected places.

The places where no one is around.

The places where our stereos quit working and we can't turn up the worship music.

The places where our laptops die and we can't watch the IHOP live streams and the sermon videos.

The places where the electricity goes out completely.

And all that's left is us, God, and the Bible.

God will meet us at the times that don't make sense to us.

The times that our family is angry with us.

The times that every. single. one. of our friends won't answer their phones.

The times when we shake our fists at Him and ask Him "why?"

The times when we just want to feel lonely.

The times when we are bursting with joy and don't feel like we can be any more contented than this.

The times when all is well with the world and we think we don't "need" Him.

The times when we try to be independent.

The times when we are so completely dependent.

The point is...our most important time and place is when it is just us and God.

It is NOT:

When we are relying on others, when we are relying on ourselves, when we are ignoring reliance altogether.

We. Have. To. Rely. On. God.



seek Him.


and over...

and over again.

And again.


Yes. And when we earnestly seek Him with all of our hearts, He will meet us.

"Draw near to the Lord, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8.

But YOU must seek Him for YOURSELF.

Meet Him in The Quiet Places.

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Guess Who My Daddy Is, Satan? Let me give you a clue...

So, let me tell you all (or you two) about my day. And my family's day. ...well, and let me preclude with the past three days :P

Two days ago, a good friend of mine and I had our last "goodbye," because it was just necessary, and it was basically the second or third worst day of my life (only second or third to the first time we took a break from talking for about three months and the day I turned my back to God). So that led to a lot of selfishness and depression and bitterness and hurt and anger and other such delightful emotions. Yesterday, my mom and I were arguing over things like college again. A LOT. And that added to the bad day before. But, last night a really good friend slept over and we talked about mostly deep things with a few random things tossed in, and we stayed up not that late because we were both pretty worn out, and we slept in, and I woke up, and after I got over my tiredness, I felt pretty joyful. REALLY joyful, actually. It was refreshing. And I kept thinking "He brings new mercies with the morning!" and I felt it. God is so, so, so good to us.

Then the day progressed. My mom and I and now my dad, too, all got into it about college and general life decisions, and it just got worse and worse, and we were NOT on the same page at all, and I was just trying to keep my mouth shut, because I think sometimes that's the best thing you can do to be honorable--shut your pie hole! So I tried. And mostly succeeded. Then I was spending time with God. And I heard my mom say "Oh, are you okay?!" on the phone she just answered. Praise God no one was hurt, but my sister and her best friend had rear-ended someone (not their fault, also Praise God) in her friend's car.

Then, later, I was turning around in a random driveway because I missed my turn, and of course the one driveway I chose was gated in, and it was narrow and surrounded by two long ditches, so I decided to drive up to the gate where there were two blocks of concrete on the sides of the driveway. Yeah, um, when it was too late, I realized it was about as large as the minivan I was driving. NOT GOOD, right? So I try to turn around in this thing...and misjudge my distance and wreck just enough into the freaking BRICK WALL (seriously?!) to bust the glass on one of the headlights and scratch up the paint on the front right side of my MOM'S minivan. Let's not mention the deductible before those payments. Great.

THEN my parents and I get into it about my life decisions...AGAIN. Because we totally didn't have enough to argue about already.

AND mom bought some dessert thing that we all like and wasn't too thrilled when she found out I can't eat it because I'm fasting yeast for Passover until Tuesday night, not to mention the other foods I can't eat (like rolls or whatever. at least there's macaroni with no yeast). (Not that I care if I have food or not, but I guess since she's my mom she's obliged to care if I eat or not or something).

Then, I hear my mom scream AGAIN and she sounds in pain. So my sister and I book it down the stairs to find out if she's okay. Apparently, Dad forgot to replace the trashcan lid after he took the trash out, so it was in the floor, and mom tripped over it. Thankfully, she at least seems to be okay (no blood or broken bones...from what we can tell, anyway).

And I was still mad about the earlier college and life discussions (as I'm sure they were, as well).

So now that you see what we've been through today, you wanna know what I have to say about all of this and today?






He isn't just good on the "good" days or the "pleasant" days or the days when we get the raise or we hear a really good sermon or your dream prom dress is on sale or Mazzie, the 5 year old I babysit, decides she's a big girl and likes the crust on the peanut butter sandwich I made her for lunch.

God is good on the days when the people I work for can't afford to keep me around and the pastor can't stop obsessing over the football game last weekend (although it would be really nice if somehow that had something to do with Jesus) and the drycleaners can't fix the wire poking out on my Belle dress and Mazzie decides the chocolate she's melting in her hands is "dark and scary" so that's why she can't tell me what she's hiding.


So I decided to thank Him for today.

Lord, thank you for your new mercies with the morning as well as the inexpressible joy that you have made to dwell inside of us. Thank you that my sister and her friend were safe and that the wreck wasn't their fault so there's no one suing them and that the damage wasn't too terrible. Thank you for helping me keep my mouth shut. Thank you for giving me parents who at least care about my life and choices. Thank you for counseling and guidance and the wisdom that you're so determined to give me through life experiences, and for breaking down ALL my idols, one by one (day by day). Thank you for protecting me on my way home today and allowing only minimal damage to the minivan, and thank you that I was returning from dancing with three wonderful, godly girls in order to worship you and prepare for the community worship event you've had me planning for a year that will finally take place June 25th. Thank you for protecting my mom when she fell. Thank you for the overwhelming joy and peace that you gave me when I thanked you, as well as for your intervention and praying for me all the time through intercession. Thank you for who you are and what you do. YOU. ARE. SO. GOOD.

So guess who my Daddy is, Satan? I LOVE MY PRECIOUS JESUS, and I know that HE IS RISEN and PURSUING ME and those who believe! Amen, hallelujah!

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Um...yeah. RENAMED: God is good all the time!

I'm gonna learn to love selflessly, even if it hurts (and by the does. it hurts a lot. quite often.). Why? Because I wanna be like Jesus.

...I'll let you know when it's "the end" because right now I'm just another person in the middle of the plot.

EDIT: 7 hours later...

I feel sick. (No, I didn't catch the stomach bug that's going around). I feel nauseous, like there's this huge vacuum of sorrow and agony right in the middle of my stomach, and it's trying to take in every last ounce of pain and hurt and abandonment that's lingering in my thoughts, every taste of bitterness that my heart licks up. Yeah...sounds pretty gross, huh? is.

God is good all the time.

Funny how God allows us to be tested on all the things that we believe and teach. Funny how all day I've pondered the selfish desires I cannot receive due to various events that have taken place over the past half-year. Funny how I thought the only pains I would suffer were nostalgic and in my control. Funny how several hours after I wrote the first draft to this post, the circumstances with a dear, the dearest, friend of mine became EVEN. MORE. COMPLICATED. and now we can't even speak to one another until this friend works through some things...and that could be weeks, months, years...oh Lord, please forbid ever.

God is good all the time.

Funny how I prayed and thought and half-fell-asleep for two hours after we got off the phone and suddenly didn't care what time it was or that I didn't have enough money to buy that mocha frappe I'd wanted earlier or that I'd spent an hour studying Genesis with some friends the hour prior to this conversation. Funny how despite the rotting, stinking pit in my stomach there was a joy that glowed within my heart and kept me from crying too many tears, for my heart could hardly bear any more.

God is good all the time.

Funny how I'm sitting here at 11:14 p.m. typing up a blog post only two or three people might read when I should be sleeping so I'll be well-rested in the morning before I clean a house. Funny how I don't care, because spilling out my heart's refuse and redemption seems more important to me than a full night's rest for some reason. (Maybe our priorities are a little screwy sometimes and we need to redefine importance to mean something other than "you should do this and that").

God is good all the time.

Funny how my heart is battling to hand itself over to God once again and not fear. Funny how God has slowly been revealing His plans to me over the past...oh, who cares how long...and after years of begging for answers I want to plug my ears with my fingers and sing "la la la!" because what I'm hearing is much harder, more complicated, more selfless, more committal than I ever imagined any plans for my life ever being. I just wanted to live in a mud hut and let kids fingerpaint my walls.

God is good all the time.

Funny how...God will heal my stomach vacuum of sorrow, since He has turned my weeping into laughing, turned my mourning into dancing, for HE is good all the time, and whatever trying circumstances and life plans He gives will be more perfect and beautiful and rewarding than I can ever imagine.

God is good. ALL. THE. TIME.

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Time. What time it is doesn't matter here. A clock is only a circle with two hands crossing or a box with four random glowing letters. Time is just a word used by the government and means as much as the word "schedule" or "meeting" to them--which is also nothing.

Time fades fast as the sun rises and slowly as the sun sets. Time disappears behind smiles and frowns. It drowns under the cries of anguish from a mother watching her children as they die from starvation, as well as the songs of thanksgiving from those who rejoice because of the salvation freely given them.

Time as we know it matters not, but maybe if we give time a different definition, we can relate to one another in a down-to-earth way that connects our souls as it breaks down the boundaries of culture, race, and stereotype.

Time is: laughing, crying, hoping, praying, seeking. Time is a hundred salty tears blending with the dirt below the knees of one who begs for mercy. Time is the shooting star following its course through the dark night as a sweaty, bloodied soldier lives through another sleepless night. Time is a group of busybody Americans settings aside their busybody lives for a few hours to worship Jesus. Time is a tribe of Africans meeting when the shadows fade to dance around a campfire and share ancient tales and daily burdens. Time is a little girl twirling in a twirly dress while her parents clap their hands in delight. Time is a hand to hold, a song to sing, a story to share, a love to pray, a hope to rejoice over, a Love that's better than life.

When we redefine Time, suddenly we realize we have something to live for; we truly have a Love that is better than life.