Proclaiming it Out Loud

Original_Marian-Parsons-Thanksgiving-Give-Thanks-Banner-Beauty1_s4x3So much to be thankful for. So very much. I look back over the last year, where we’ve come from, where we are headed from here. I’m bracing myself for this next year. It’s bound to be a doozey with fast paced changes and big decisions. But right now, I’m about to settle into my cozy apartment. Maybe turn on some music and begin to work on my cooking and baking for this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.

We didn’t go home. And yes, I feel a little sad without all that nostalgia and comfort. But we are creating new nostalgia and new memories right here in Louisville with our dear friends. It won’t always be like this so I’m cherishing the moments. It’s been a hefty semester. The kind where the husband is at our computer all nights of the week hashing away at a paper or slaving away on some 1000 page book. So I’ve busied myself with little things all the while waiting for it to end so we could go to bed at the same time. But God has been so good. We are in a rhythm. And before I know it, that rhythm will change. It always does. Still I soak in these days and nights and weeks.

I opened up my Bible last night and looked for Psalms and chapters that would turn my heart to thank my Lord. I opened to Psalsm 26:7- “Proclaiming your thanksgiving aloud and telling all your wondrous deeds.” Yes. And then Philippians 1:8- “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” I feel this for all the people God has put in my life and have shaped my life from near and far. And in verse 6- “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” In this I rest. Even with all the decisions coming our way, we can face them because he already has our plan mapped.

Tonight and tomorrow, I pause to reflect not in any way different than what I should do on a daily basis but specifically so that my gaze would be heavenward as we walk these next steps into the Christmas season and beyond.

And with that I proclaim it out loud and breathe a prayer of Eucharisteao. Thanksgiving.


One of Those Weeks

538722_3646167913462_830113366_nIt’s been one of those weeks. It’s a good week but I feel like I’m basically treading water. I’m starting a new job next Monday and have to tie up loose ends at my old job before I leave, thus a busy week at work.

Class work is piling up around me with little time to get caught up. Every night of the week we have something- good things but still something. I even feel my throat getting a little scratchy.

I wake up tired, grab the coffee, hurry to work because I’m running late…again, see those flashing lights behind me, and hear the deserved words, “I’m giving you a ticket, Ma’am”. This was yesterday and this has been my week so far.

And yet , there’s my Bible laying by my bed barely cracked. Why during these weeks do I not run to the Source of life? Instead I try to do it on my own, eyes drooping from the tired, house all a mess because I’m barely home.

The only thing that keeps me from going into a spiral of self-loathing is His grace. His grace is sufficient even for a week of busyness, even for a lack-of-spiritual-discipline week. And even when I know his grace is sufficient for those times that I don’t reach for my bible first, I still yearn for it. It’s in me. And this too is grace.

So, this morning I treat myself to a Carmel Macchiato- double shot, half the syrup. I rejoice in the little flakes of snow coming down around me as I head back to my office. I will soak up a Christ saturated chapel service and let my heart be ministered to. I will work at my job with all my might because I am leaving them soon. And I will rest in the mercies of the Lord because they are new every morning.

The Pursuit

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit….The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him.” A. W.Tozer

candle2Tozer calls this Prevenient grace– “that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man”. As I lay in bed reading this last night, my heart was warmed. I guess I sometimes think that the desire to meet with God has to be conjured from within myself, by myself. And when I fail to feel that, I end up feeling guilty and have even less of a desire to meet with God because of my guilt. But when I read that quote last night, my heart soared!

God is the one to produce desire within myself. I heard a pastor put it this way, “if there is even a little spark of desire, take it and do something with it. Fan the flame.” God puts that little spark within me because He actually WANTS communion with me. He isn’t sitting there saying, “I wonder when Emily will want to meet with me next. It sure has been a long time. I hope it’s soon.” NO! He comes hard after me. He brings me to the end of myself over and over and over. And in those hard moments of feeling helplessness and despair and all I can do is cry out to Him, He is drawing me to himself…because He wants to meet with me.

This beautiful truth causes me to rejoice in my Savior. This is not a truth that should cause me to swell up with pride- that I am someone worth meeting with. In fact, it should cause me to fall on my face in humility that my Lord would even want to converse with me, a wretched sinner. But the beauty of it that I am clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. This is the only way God could meet with me.

But what’s the outcome? Peace, truth, joy, confidence, Christ-likeness. All of this, when put into effect in everyday life, affects the Kingdom for my good and His glory. I am reminded of John Piper’s most famous quote: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” God pursues us for His glory and our good. He knows this is the best thing for us- to be filled with Him. But, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit drawing us to Himself, we would not seek after Him. “Bind my wandering heart to Thee”, I sing!

I dare not ignore the fact that I also have a calling to follow after Him upon His quickening impulse in my heart. Priscilla Shirer said that God often holds his gifts of goodness within hands reach, meaning- I still have to reach. But even that reaching is a gift of grace. So last night I rested in the fact that God desires to meet with me. He quickens my heart. He knows what’s best for me and that’s Him. And once he quickens my heart I must act in obedience. And all of this is by His grace!

The Thief

That thief

That ugly thief rearing its ugly head

It stealthily makes its way in

Stealing joy and gratitude and leaving only an ugly mess in its place

And not until the tears flow

And the hearts mesh do I realize what part of the problem is

What actually is enabling the thievery

He calms the tears that make him feel helpless

But not until he listens and I get it out

Sometimes I just need to do that

Like the thief’s gloved fingers you don’t always know from where it comes-

The Dissatisfaction, envy, self consciousness

We decided I needed to unplug, shut it off, log out

So I did

I breathed

I could then be me without having to display it all

They could be them without me comparing the tiny pieces of the puzzle

For the tiny pieces are often all we see

And we know that’s not the big picture

The big picture turns us upward and outward

And the thief can’t take that away

~”Comparison is the thief of joy”~

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” ~John 10:10