it’s been a while.
I’ve missed you.
you’re a great listener, you know. 🙂
thanks for that, friend.
I have something to say, today (surprise, surprise).
I sit here, a cup of nutella cocoa (yes, it is as good as they say!) cradled in one hand, remaining snowdrifts getting all drippy out the big window, waiting for munchkin to awake. I’m still wearing a scarf, on top of two sweaters, because this girl just can’t seem to get warm these past few ugly-frigid february days. yesterday I may or may not have tugged on a too-big sweatshirt and worn fleece-lined tights under my jeans and two pairs of heavy knit socks… yes, I almost couldn’t get my boots on when I left for work. so sexy. (stop laughing! jerk.)
as you may remember, I planned to venture up into the blizzard-y north (is it possible to get hypothermia from thinking about cold temperatures? also- am I allowed to build a fire indoors?) with my mother this past weekend, for my nana’s 80th. unfortunately, the blizzard-y-ness stood in our way. nevertheless, I did make the three-hour trek (thankfully, snuggled in my mama’s toasty-warm car) to my parents’ home. in the midst of a weekend full of scrapbooking and munching and WATCHING THE PATRIOTS WIN THE SUPERBOWL (ahem 😉 sorry. my I-told-you-so is showing.), I managed to catch snippets of this and that and the other from my number one kid brother about life and applicable theology the struggle of hard-pressed faith.
my life is overflowing with grace. so much beauty.
can I say something else?
conversation is powerful.
I’ve had the glorious opportunity to take advantage of the raging northern storms and skype with my dear jen (which I practically never get to do since she is so darn busy always!) whilst she was snowed in.
the thing about her which most touches and speaks to my heart, is the fire in hers. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who so fiercely embraces their dreams and doubts and deep, uncomfortable thoughts as one equal experience of themselves and one huge breath of glory. I admire her even when she’s angry and even when she’s broken. and, to be honest, it’s likely her anger and her brokenness that often fuels my faith… and fills my head with heart-passion. she faces head-on the things which others dance gingerly around. she does battle with them. she’s a warrior.
jennay, love, you’re a brilliant speck of Jesus in a ceaselessly, flamboyantly ugly world. I love you for it.
conversing with her and her lovely-raw heart often awakens things in me, which otherwise would have perhaps sat dormant for a bit longer. in this case, our shared words only served to plague a sore spot that had been growing more tender by the day.
here’s the ugly word: conviction.
here’s another one: judgement.
and yet another: held accountable. (okay, that was two words.)
for the past few weeks, my mind has been slow-mulling on some great and wild and dangerous things. things that when spoken, all too often cause self-harm to the body of the Bride. so I’ve been wary of softly tossing this riotous gem of truth into the arena of conversation, but at last, I’ve realized I have no choice.
because if it survives the feigned conflict of disinterest… it changes people.
and people don’t much like to be changed.
honestly, I think sometimes people would rather be scalded or buried or beaten than changed. (how sad!)
but, while there’s a factor of fear in change, there’s also a hope that lives there…
there are a lot of Jesus-followers who write angry letters to the Bride as a whole. I’ve done it. I know the frustration, brothers. I feel your anger, revival few. sister, I’ve drunk your sorrow and washed it down with my own hot tears. even lately and often I have cried bitterly for the church I see that looks nothing like the Church which Jesus built… for the people I see slipping slowly away, unnoticed by those too blinded by themselves to stop them. I have been boiling with anger. but that is not the answer. I never thought I’d say that. but it’s true.
the truth is in the fastened gaze.
do you think about it, Church?
revival few, and the sin-trapped, and the materialistic… do you think about it?
think about what?
Jesus is returning, Church.
to judge the lost, yes.
but to judge you, too.
our Jesus does not reward disobedience, dear ones.
we will live in His city, yes, but will we sweep the streets or dance in our palace?
would you, perhaps, be heaven-homeless?
“well done” is not guaranteed, Church.
read the Bible, truly, and you’ll see it, too.
your heaven-less deeds will all be burned away.
gaze on that moment.
feel fear that pushes you to the life-gospel.
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling…
for once, don’t explain it away.
don’t pretend it means “respect”.
don’t change the meaning to fit your materialistic, self-centered world-view.
know God. know the fear of the heavy greatness His presence.
dwell here, every day.
think on the Day and let it move your every day to new heights of sacrifice!
the more you dwell on the expectation, the more you will realize that your reality doesn’t make sense. it doesn’t match. it doesn’t even look similar.
stop spending your money on stupid things. the time and money spent on those mani pedis and material items and excessive leisure will be your deepest regrets as you watch those moments burn in the fire of holiness.
where was the time for these things on Jesus’ timetable? there wasn’t any.
stop being afraid to get your heart dirty. dig into the lives of the broken. do battle for their souls. rescue the perishing.
in the the light of the Day, I lose my soapbox and find my voice.
I can no longer point the finger at the Church, because it’s now my judgement day, too, and these are my useless moments burning.
so I keep gazing out of pure, untainted desperation at his glory… impossibly desperate to know Jesus more deeply. to love His lost ones more authentically. to live exponentially greater than myself in the power of the un-quenched Spirit. to die to myself entirely. in every moment. with every breath.
focus on that Day.
let your gaze define you.
keep the eyes of your heart glued to the ever-present glory of the Jesus you say you follow.
actually follow Him.