Tuesday, June 22, 2010

an act of love

On the way to work the last few days I have been listening to worship music. Work has been difficult of late, and it has been one of several efforts to get my mind at peace before entering the glass doors of the center.

I have also been reading the Psalms, each one a perfect piece of worship.

It seems so easy sometimes. Worship. When other people do it.

I have never been much of a hand raiser or dancer. Only on a very rare occasion. And I worry at times that a worshipful awe is not often the attitude of my heart.

I don't think worship can be practiced without an understanding of love. And I have hope, for I'm beginning to know love.

It is so easy to worship an idol, especially one that you love dearly, and one that loves you in return. My husband has been my most beloved idol, and it is easy to "worship" his existence and cling on his every word. I know that he loves me, and I love him. It isn't hard to think about him, dream about him, talk about him, and spend all my time with him.

Tim doesn't have to love me. But he loves me unconditionally. It really blows my mind sometimes that he loves me after discovering my crazy side, my weird side, and my dark side. I mean, it's easy to like someone on a date, but after you know everything... it's a little more difficult.

And God knows all of those things.... and more. And He loves and He loves. To the point of death.

The depth of that love is unfathomable, I cannot reach the bottom. Maybe, just maybe, going deeper into that love will bring me to a place of true worship? Maybe understanding His love for me will bring me to my knees in love, honor, joy, and gratitude?

It also helps me to think about how wonderful God is. When I think about my husband Tim, I love to think about the things that make him wonderful. His love, his faithfulness, his kindness, his sense of humor, his graciousness, his wisdom.... and on and on.

Making a list about Tim makes me think of all those words we toss around in worship songs for our Bridegroom in heaven.... gracious, loving, holy, mighty, faithful, just, beautiful, and the list goes on forever. Reflecting on the wonderful things about the Lover of my soul helps me love Him in return.

"How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure.
That He should give His only Son,
To make a wretch His treasure."
-Stuart Townend

Little by little, God is helping me understand His love.... and that is bringing me back to worship. Knowing His love for me, and reflecting on His attributes brings my heart to its knees in wonder.... a place that I wish it was at more often than I can admit to.

What is keeping you from worship? Busyness? Other idols? Doubt? Apathy? I've been there, and I'm still there, too often. Start seeking personal worship time. It's too easy to think Sunday morning worship will be good enough. It can't be. Worship is for everyday. It's a heart issue. It's an act of love.

Seek the Lord with me, He's waiting for us.

father's day

So this post is late Dad, but I didn't want to miss writing it for you. Thank you for being a father that loved me, and sacrificed for me so that I might begin to understand the love my heavenly Father has for me. Thank you for all the time you spent bringing me to soccer practice and games, and counseling me through hard times. Thank you for encouraging me to use my gifts and giving me opportunities to discover them. Thank you for working long hours to provide for our family. Thank you for showing me what it looks like to trust God with everything that you have. You are awesome Dad, and I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

apathetic guilt vs. grace

Sometimes my relationship with God can be downright frustrating. I'm not mad at God. I'm mad at me. I'm so distracted and distant.

Usually in human relationships, a problem is created by two. Rarely is one to shoulder all the blame. But not in a divine relationship.

Sorry Lord, this one is on me. Along with all the other ones. You are infinitely great... and I'm finitely small. And I blew it again.

I have been longing to be closer to God, and at the same time feel apathetic. And it freaks me out. The busyness of life is making my mind, tired? Every time I get a chance to sit and be still.... my first instinct isn't to spend it with God. The second instinct is, and it is a guilty one.

I've been reading the Psalms. The Psalms have always been comforting to me, but lately I was reading them with this nagging doubt. It goes something like this:

I know the history behind these Psalms. A lot of the desperate ones were written by David when he was in battle or being chased by a son who wanted to kill him. I look over my list of complaints and I don't find any that are remotely close to being that urgent or deathly. My next thought is this, "How do I apply these to my middle class American life?" I feel guilty that my problems weigh me down the way that they do.

Last night a dear friend set me straight. It doesn't matter that my life isn't being physically threatened. If I'm feeling crushed emotionally, spiritually, or mentally... I too can cry out with the Psalmist:

"Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my afflictions and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins." Psalm 25:16-18

Recognizing that there are distresses and afflictions, and giving them to God is so relieving. I don't get very far when I beat myself silly over the things I cannot fix on my own, regardless of their size. It's just another way I try to save myself... rather than letting God's grace reign supreme in my life.

I don't want guilt to make me apathetic anymore.

So, is there a cure for the distressed, distant, and distracted? One step for me was writing this blog. Knowing that my guilt continues to be a roadblock was another step. Expressing the fact that I'm frustrated that I'm far away, and want to desire God more feels good.

This is probably another valley that I will look back on fondly knowing God was next to me every step of the way. And I know that the light is returning.

Where are you? Do you feel tired, crushed? Down trodden, apathetic? Read a few Psalms and be honest with God. He already knows how you feel, you won't surprise Him.

Stay near your people Lord Jesus, stay near me, tis sweet to be near Thee.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

memorial day camping

1. The pines.
2. Lights by the campers.
3. Nephew tried to prevent the bags tournament.
4. Pinecones, we play baseball with a few of these and an old broom-handle.
5. Campfire.
6. A fancy attempt at sand writing.

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day, and I hope you are all excited for a great summer! I know I am.