This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Buck the System of Complacency

Scandal of Grace. Have you heard that song? Have you felt that you are wrapped up in a scandal where you are more often than not on the receiving end of God's grace? Not earned. Not deserving. Not worthy. 

I'm there. Every second, I am there. And I meet people out on that edge, so I feel better about my junk because it's sometimes a little shinier than the guy next to me. But really, it's still junk. 

Even now as I type these words, do I believe it? Do I think I am undeserving? When I'm handed trust and opportunity, is there a place at the back of my brain that whispers, "you did this. You earned this. Well done"? 

Not enough. 
And yes. 

But I'm a work in progress. I've stood up in the boat, and I am hunched forward, hands gripping the walls- the wood refusing to yield under pressure. My eyes a deadlock on Jesus, and though he is a ways off, I know he is walking on the water, and I know what I'm to do. My eyes a deadlock on Jesus. He's not letting go. I'm not letting go. 
My leg is over the side…

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It Riles People

Ever been accused of riling things up?

I have.

Try choosing a ministry other people aren't on board with. Try pointing out heavy truths of slavery and oppression taking place on the streets of your town. Try moving to a state or a city or a neighborhood that people don't quite understand. Try selling all of your stuff and giving it away. Try walking to a church in your neighborhood and calling those in the pews your "people" whether or not that church has the coolest VBS and worship program. Try leaving your church to spend your Sundays in a different way. It riles people.

Everyone wants an explanation. Suddenly people are huddling in close to you wanting the inside skinny on why you're really leaving. Simply stating that God is doing something with you isn't enough. Don't even try it. Well, try it. And good luck with it. It riles people.

Suddenly, everyone feels they are closer to you than he or she ever truly was. You can't quite remember becoming close enough with them for this conversation. They don't say it, but they mean, "I know you aren't around gossiping, but obviously you will tell ME."They are riled.

You find yourself at a birthday party and people want to hash it out. They are riled. People pull you out of service and need to know if something happened. And to that we should always be able to say, "Yes."

Yes. God is at work here. Prepare to be riled if you aren't in cahoots with his plan.
And be ready to be a lone reed if you are.

Every day and every minute you are trying to stand before God and hone in on his still small voice. You want nothing more than to lock eyes with The One Who Calls You. You find your grasp is a white knuckled fist upon his robes. And you are low and humble and crying more days than not.

In the end, do you know what you will discover? You need to know that when people get riled up it is much more their issue and much less your problem. You aren't riling anyone, actually. What is happening is the Holy Spirit is about you, and rather than meet that with support, their fear jumps up. And then rather than meet their fear with grace, we sometimes find that we are afraid of that very thing they are talking about. And if we aren't careful we begin to reverse the work God is doing in us. We are no longer out on the waves, eye to eye with Jesus and his deep grace. We are swimming back to shore, walking up to our chair, and pulling a towel over our face to block out what we left and what we are now missing. It's a sham.

That fear? It's a sham. God says, "Grace abounds in deepest waters. Join me. Look in my eyes and feel my heartbeat in time with yours. This is when your doubt subsides and you are strong in me. This is how you know me. Most importantly, this is how other will know me- when they watch you." It riles me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Sometimes you'll find you are standing, and you look around, and it appears to be just you and your shadow. You'll reach right. Left. Back. Waving your hands a bit wildly in the vacant space and land on nothing. Sometimes you will be praying and asking and trying and crying and gasping for just a small life line. For a breath. Pleading for God to give you a tiny break. Your friends are far. Your support has backed off. And you are standing. A lone reed. 
And in this instant you realize how drastically you're situation has changed.  Maybe all you want most in the world is to conform and blend and be lost in the crowd of ordinary. 
But you know that isn't where you belong. And because there is this silence, a space has formed to make room for a way to hear. Hear you do. And your perspective changes. 
You look down and notice your legs are strong. You look over and see you're surrounded by a quiet that is less silent and more peaceful. A quiet that has enough space between the pages to actually feel like God's whisper is jumping off the page and landing in the depths of your soul. 

It's in this moment that you catch a glimpse of that shadow once more. It is here you realize your shadow looks nothing like this one. And you start to question out loud, "is that my shadow after all?" 
And you don't even have to wait for a response. You know. You recognize. You feel. That's Jesus' shadow. He's here. He's been here. You are not alone. You are never alone. You are standing side by side and he knows you.