Another Rotation

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(December 2011)

Life rotates so fasts, it leaves my head spinning. Last time I lived at home, my sweet little brother looked like this^. Now he’s capable of taking Lexy and I both out. Luckily, he’s still one of kindest-hearted people I know, and doesn’t pummel us :).

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(December 2016, Bronco Playoff game)

I took an ice-skating class one semester at A&M as a required kinesiology credit, and when we learned to spin, they taught us to choose a point of focus. On every rotation, look for that point again and again and again. Maybe there is something to that, I thought. Even if you go a few spins without finding your point of focus, stay on your feet with searching eyes. For me, that point of focus has to do with faith. Every trying circumstance puts fear into our hearts of falling, failing, and potential being down for the count. But, it also ignites a fire in our searching hearts and eyes to stay up. Stay up. Stay up. Even as the earth rotates on it’s axis, it maintains its point of focus on the North Star (don’t get technical on me, I know it is slowly changing). This point of focus causes seasons, which could be an additional analogy :). Analogies are my favorite avenue of communication.

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(August 2016, San Juan Mts.)

Just around the next “turn” could be a mountaintop lake at 12,000ft. Last August, while backpacking in the San Juan Mountains, we woke up at 4 AM for “peak day.” After peaking at nearly 14, 000 ft. around 8 in the morning, it felt like a marathon to turn around and seek out this lake. To be frank, I didn’t want to gain that kind of altitude again. Sometimes we all just need a push to find the kind of beauty we long to partake in on this side of heaven. A push to jump in the lake ;). Or someone else to do it first, hah. Usually God provides one of those, “I’ll go first,” people for me. —> Dearest Lexy, that is you.

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(December 2016, Alexa picked up this chameleon without thinking twice, lol)

This kind of beauty looks a million different ways to me. To name a sparse few: it is phone conversations with dear friends, the smell of stargazer lilies, good books, all the catch up session walks we’ve counted as workouts, talking about everything and nothing really, the gift of working closely with families I love, rocking babies in my favorite canyon’s summer air, seeing and being a part of outsiders welcomed in, floating the river, praying together, cliff jumping, dancing, guitar music around a fire in the fall, homemade brownies and ice cream, shooting guns with dad, Blayzey’s football games, doing something I love as a career, consistency, and seeing people grow. Beauty is one of those transcendent things that connects our hearts to the eternity which lies in wait as believers in Christ.

Very very very few days are “peak days,” but there is so much life to be found in the valley. Geographically speaking, there are often rivers running through valleys. The places most beautiful places I know are also some of the most challenging to reach. It’s all part of the analogy, so let’s keep pushing each other; let the oxygen gained on this turn ignite a fire in our wanderlust hearts… aliens and strangers, yet neighbors, friends, and family.

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(August 2017, Devil’s River)

Ordain

Let thankful ordinance rule richly in our stories. I really do mean this about the heartbreaking ones, as well as the victories. For all the stubborn hearts like mine, the Lord gives us pockets of despair, and they are a gift. Our hope cannot be tied to this place. Our hope will not be tied to this place.  May God grant us the grace to endure in sowing……. a pre-meditated bountiful amount that doesn’t make sense. Muddy hands and feet, pure hearts, and a patient spirit of faithful consistency is my prayer for us. To be covered in mud and prayer is to be covered in hope 🙂

The point is this: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one should give as he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

If [when] our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. 1 John 3:20

 

this I know

(there is a common theme in basically everything I write in about the last year… I left this kind of messy on purpose, and have also left some parts intentionally, but hopefully it reflects both the messiness and hope that is present in every beautiful & worthy story I’ve ever heard… including the one I live in…)

 

I know…

there is too much pain in the atmosphere

too much chaos, smog, and brokenness for the air to clear

a landfill of rubble and souls on the streets

on a dirty floor the shattered glass of realities meet

the cutting of bare feet, sickness, hunger, rape, and confusion–

living oblivious to these means we’re under illusion

I know…

I know there is so much I don’t know, with so far to go

And most of the time I’ve got nothing to show

Nothing but blisters on my Achilles and pinky toes

But, deep, deep, deep is written on my spirit

Sometimes so quiet, it’s hard to hear it

A hope that the King has not given up on this mess of a place

An ocean of mercy and the floodgates of grace

I know…

He’s seen what I see, and He’s felt what you’re feeling

Paid for the shame, brining infinite healing

He wastes not an ounce of confusion and pain

One day it will be for eternal gain

 

I know…

I have felt His arms too secure to deny

I have run away from his voice… or at least I try

He chases the broken hearted, He chases me

Never, no never, though I stubbornly run

has he given up on us, His work is not done

though evil forces assault

our families, careers, friendships, bodies, and souls,

He wastes not an ounce…

This I know from the deepest place in my being

In twinkling of an eye,  Victory we’ll being seeing

He wins, He wins, He wins, He wins….

love wins in the end,

though we are messing up everyday in every kind of way…

remind your family, your coworkers, your neighbors, your friends

from the battles we have seeming lost

I’ve seen eternal gains

a complex, complicated dynamic narrating all of our stories

I am the chief of doubters, yet cling a sure hope of His eternal glories.

 

 

dance

Ever captivating in this way…

Dance me off my feet, I pray,

Strong arm snugly wrapping my waist,

With urgency, not with haste,

Foreign song, uncharted dance,

Forbid I lead, give You the chance…

Consistently, I have prayed something of this theme, and God has led in so many moments of uncertainty. He makes me look graceful on the dance floor when I am not. I was sure I didn’t want to dance at all.

Deep gratitude pulses through my veins, for the Lord has insisted.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Proverbs 25:2

dust

this doesn’t rhyme

“Beauty is pain,” Mom reminded my pouty lower lip as she tightly pulled wisps of blonde hair into two french braids. I always wanted my braided hair to match my sway-backed horse’s braided mane, sparkles included. I wonder if Strawberry despised the process of achieving our glamourous glittery braids as much as my five year-old self…We tied her to the porch of a double wide as while rubber banding her coarse black mane and thickly smearing sparkles, inevidtably mixing with West Texas dust on her strawberry roan coat….She was twenty years older than me then, so maybe she was more patient and tolerent. Here I am, almost twenty years later, still unsure about how patience, pain, and age all intersect. Beauty and pain certainly do….in a plunge more than the braided manes kinda-way 😉

I’m captivated by the way that beauty grows from pain. Astonished. This year I have seen firsthand, the Lord bringing the most brilliant and blindingly beautiful light from tragedy and injustice. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. His story is our story. It is my story.

What the powers of darkness meant to be a destructive blow is now a weapon pointed right back at their camp. It is painfully beautiful to watch.

 “not possible”

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:24

 

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change: to make or become different

momentary losses for eternal gains

a season of death in too many domains

that pride will keel over, and not rise again

that hope victoriously arises, to win

let all these notes rise up, forming praise unto You

breaking though dark shadows, still breaking though,

a bird before daybreak just waiting to sing, sing, sing

though desperately we try to cling, cling, cling

trying on our own ideas of how life should go

like garments that we try on and throw

a mess strung out across the room

nothing to wear, no, no shiny costume

not fancy, but futile, no, not fruitful at all,

lacking answers reminds us that we are so small

Your grand gestures, and kindness, and steadfastness too,

unsure and uncertain, we look to You

earnestly You desire to restore

Emmanuel in change, You endure.

But I am like a green olive tree

in the house of God.

I trust in the steadfast love of God

forever and ever.

Psalm 52:8

Anchor

 

Quite honestly, I don’t know much about boats that require anchors. Kayaking down the Devil’s River is a very different thing. I know more about removing grease stains and about the peculiar personality of pugs. I know more about changing my air filter, making tea, assembling desks from IKEA, reading running records, and even football. Point being, I don’t know much about boats. However, I do know that there’s not much use for an anchor in a pond or a wishing fountain. I have been thinking about the hope that we have in Jesus Christ a lot lately. My conclusion is somewhere in the ballpark of how the hope He gives is not at all like a wish. Not in the slightest. It is much more like a solid and trustworthy chunk of weight that keeps our souls right were they need to be.

If hope is an anchor to the soul,

Why in calm water shall we bother?

 

 

When then, will we realize

God is not a genie for granting wishes

Or a fountain for tossing pennies–

He is more like the anchor.

Each crisis and inadequacy,

Needier we become,

Needing a little more of His weight, His stability,

Wanting a little less of our own invented lottery,

Casting out an anchor,

Not pennies upon the water.

 

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.Hebrews 6:19

 

 

 

Seeking

Wrote this about a month ago…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His heart is for justice and for mercy.

Mercy, like me leaving the kitchen a sticky mess and Mom cleaning it up without a complaint (oops).

Justice, like the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team) tracking down those stolen horses.

It sure seems like a paradox to me. A mystery.

He is in the sweet laughter of children playing.

He is in the long phone calls.

He is in the encouraging words spoken, and in the sometimes hard to hear words as well.

He is filling the air with a sweet perfume of summer evenings (grilling and rainstorms and swimming pools).

He is in the traction holding my rubber to the road (literally and metaphorically).

He is in the gravity that is holding us when it feels like the world is spinning too fast.

He is wrapping us in something sturdier than packing peanuts and bubble wrap for this journey.

He is there in the situation of brokenness that we cannot understand, deny, or fix.

He is above all of time.

He is inside and outside of many things, but we still feel confused about where He is all the time. I am full of hope that He is still seeking each one of us for the long haul. Life is so so so much sweeter than any moment we can ‘capture.’ Sometimes it sure doesn’t feel that way. C.S Lewis nails this one I think:

 

“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we should be cured of those sins at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” -C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Rocket Science

God uses relational imagery throughout the Bible and in our daily lives to teach us about big theological ideas. For all my education people out there, I like to think of this like I’m stuck in one of Piaget’s stages of development. In this concrete operational stage of faith, I cannot understand the abstract, “rocket science” things of God. I just can’t. They are too far above me. That’s okay though, because he isn’t going to stand up at front and lecture off a Powerpoint today (or any day for that matter) . He provides physical, tangible, experiential things in each of our lives designed to point us to the gospel. Each one only adds to the song that we will one day become.

 

Composing

When pastures of hallowed ground are ablaze, and shots were fired from behind, let not our souls give up hope and tragically unwind.

When sparkling light of a gleaming new day greets mornings of mercy–warm washing all of my heart’s dismay,

May these pockets of time resound– long lost notes joining together in one accord at the end of all days,

Echoes of sorrow and death surrender to a triumphant chorus of steadfast love and justice, singing of our Maker’s praise.

 

 

 

 

 

one box of matches and a big knife

Music cranked and windows down, I was hauling it down a dark backroad somewhere near the Louisiana-Texas border with a kayak haphazardly strapped to the top of my car. The piney early November air chilled our noses and cheeks, but we were so excited to finally get to the camp sight after a four-hour drive. “You have arrived at your destination.” What? NO. Siri was wrong this time. We were on an eerie backroad with an abandoned cemetery—not a park ranger in sight. Up until this very moment, Melissa and I were acting like we knew exactly what we were doing with this whole camping adventure (fake it till yah make it, right?). An hour and eleven 18-point turns later, we had rolled up our sleeves, put on our serious goggles, and made one very crucial stop at a tiny cafe with the “Best Breakfast Burritos in Town.” Our directions came hand-drawn on a napkin, with a scribbled phone number that saved the day. Thank God for small-town folk.

I will spare you the details, only to avoid embarrassing my dear friends and myself. In summary, there were a few more haphazard mistakes on this trip.  Learning how to make a fire from some questionable characters, meeting ‘the law’, staying a night in the home of a kind Christian woman (rather than our tent), and kayaking with an Alligator all contributed to the haphazardness of this adventure. Mom says we shouldn’t camp without boys, and dad says we shouldn’t camp without a gun. Both of them were probably right. Most of all, I am just glad for all the laughter. Fear may have crept it’s way into our hearts in the cold and darkness of those few nights without such immense laughter. Life can be like that. Looking at the mountains of mistakes in our very recent pasts, and realizing we do not know how to handle our impending future yields a certain paralyzing fear. On cold nights, riddled with more mistakes than a target at a shooting range, I can hear the laughter of my dearest friends ring out. I hear grace touching down as a helicopter on a landing pad would, and I know that the Lord’s Army of Angels encamp around me.

God has been incredibly gracious in twenty-fifteen, and as a wonderful Psalm reminds me– He will continue to be gracious in twenty-sixteen.

 

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,  that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:7-9

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