Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Love

He says, "Abide in me, and I in the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love."
What a curious thing it is that our human hearts resist to be abandoned to this kind of love. And, yet, we'd hopelessly splurge and give ourselves away to anyone and anything on earth that asks for it, at whatever loss or cost. And, even when those things don't satisfy, or perhaps lead us to life-long misery, we still continue to give to them. What a grieving cycle the human heart lives in! No matter what "good intentions" we may have, it is all vain and unfulfilling. I look around at my generation and it is no wonder why so many are disillusioned and miserable. It's no wonder why I was once the very same.

I remember when I had resisted this love, calvary love. I resisted because I knew it was going to mean the death of me. Because it would mean I would no longer be free to do as I will. Because it would mean He would be ruling and I would be submitting. But, why does that sound so terrible? He is so trustworthy. To be free in His will is vastly more wondrous than being free in my own will. Only a repentant heart learns this, though.
Now, on the other side of that breaking and awakening, I feel like a child. I closely resemble the apostle Peter. I don't have anything to boast of in this life. But, I'm on a love-journey, and have been for quite some time now. This love-journey is massively unpredictable and a little topsy-turvey. I am walking with my Maker; how much more strange can it get? Sometimes, I sense that the Lord keeps me in a perpetual state of disillusionment in regards to all things earthly. When frustration has drifted in and out, I seen more clearly that He would have me free from the illusions of my own making. He would have me disrobed of all the expectations that seem "normal" in order to lead me to happiness. This is why I was significantly moved by the lyrics to a Misty Edwards' song: "And happy am I, to live a hungry life/Blessed am I, to thirst/Disillusionment, it is my gift within/I am blessed/I am blessed among men!" Disillusionment, a gift? Yes, one of the best gifts that He has given me. I have heard Him whisper into my life, "I want your heart. I long for it and I will have it." So, I don't run anymore. I'm a little stuffed up with Self at times, but He makes His way in. It is a beautiful gift to belong to Him, to take His name, and to no longer be identified in anyway with myself.
At the start of 2011, I remember prayerfully asking my Lord to take me deeper into His love, to grow me up into Him. In every way, this year has appeared to be more of a hindrance to that prayer than an encourager. It has been the weight of so many things pressing in at all sides. My heart was desperate because I couldn't even sense His presence and love at times. Yet, it was all necessary to this love-journey. And, I remember, His love is so unlike this world's love. His love leads us through many deaths and resurrections. His love leads us through tempests. One of my favorite lines of poetry even testifies to this unearthly love:
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

So, I am in love. Living in it, searching it out, yielding to it. And, this love has a name...Yeshua.

I'm in love with a Man
I'm in love with a Stranger
I'm in love with my Maker
Whom I have never seen
I'm in love with a Lamb
I'm in love with a Lion
I'm in love with my Savior
Whom I have yet to know

There is no shadow of turning in You
No rebellion or pride
You don’t know greed or envy or strife
Your intentions are pure and holy

Delighting to do the Father’s will
You don’t have a thought against Him
But humbly You live in perfect restraint
Waiting for promises given

You’re gentle, You’re meek, yet Your heart is strong
Jesus, Your gladness is contagious
You are not selfish, You can’t compromise
You are the truth, You can’t lie

You don’t hold a grudge or have a cynical eye
Bitterness has no part of You
But You’re quick to forgive, let me back in again
Your kindness is so liberating

Jesus, You have a beautiful heart
Jesus, You have a beautiful heart

For I am in love with you,
and there is no cost.
I am in love with you,
and there is no loss.
I am in love with you,
I want to take your name.
I am in love with you,
I want to cling to you, Jesus,
Just let me cling to you, Jesus.

For a long time, I’ve been waiting for You
You have won my heart, and I am following
For a long time, I’ve been crying out for You
Tears make my heart soft
And I am ready for the return of the Lover

Fashioned from the very fabric of God
At the start of time, set free to decide
I will love You, ’cause You’re the One who loved me first
Just one look from Your eyes
I’m captivated by the eyes of the Lover
Take my heart, my mind and strength too

I was made for loving You
I will wait, and I’ll be faithful
I was made for loving You

Bowing low in the presence of the One
At the end of time, I’ll hear the bells chime for our wedding
It will wait no longer now
Oh how I love You
I’ll finally fall into the arms of the Lover

Come as close as You want,
Consume this heart that longs to burn
I know Your fire can hurt,
But I would be worse here without You

For I was made to dwell with You,
And how I ache until I do

Holy God, Take my heart,
Purge with flame and truth!
Holy heart is all I want,
That I may live with You!

Come and take all this chains
That get in the way of what You want
And as I stand in the flame
Still I will say, “I trust You God!”

And then I saw Him there, hanging on a tree, looking at me
I saw Him there, hanging on a tree, looking at me
He was looking at me, looking at Him, staring through me
I could not escape those beautiful eyes
And I began to weep and weep

He had arms wide open, a heart exposed
Arms wide open; He was bleeding, bleeding

Love’s definition, love’s definition was looking at me
Looking at Him, hanging on a tree
I began to weep and weep and weep and weep

This is how I know what love is, this is how I know what love is

And as I sat there weeping, crying
Those beautiful eyes, full of desire and love
He said to me:

“You shall love Me, You shall love Me
You shall love Me, You shall love Me”

(compilation of lyrics by Misty Edwards)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feed the real hunger of Christ

It has been over 14 years since my family and I last celebrated Christmas. For various reasons (many of them Scriptural), we decided it would be best not to observe it as a holiday in our home. And yet, we're not anti-Christmas (okay, well, maybe I am a bit Scrooge-like, hehe!). Christmas has never held meaning for me, but I, honestly, don't mind going to holiday parties with friends and taking part in Christmas-related gatherings. I don't really have anything against it other than for the fact that it's terribly commercialized and watered down. It's never appealed to me...except maybe for the opportunity to have wonderful food, gifts, and family around. But it just doesn't hold much for me, personally. Nevertheless, I love an authentic, Gospel-saturated Christmas-related message when I hear one. Or, in this case, read one. And, these are words that are meant to touch and move in us on a daily basis. Isn't this what it means to be His disciple? I want to live simply and less self-focused so that I find His fullness.

I’d rather only fill a child’s tummy than fill my house with anymore things.

Maybe that’s always the only choice we have to make every Christmas: feed our own fickle wishes or feed the real hunger of Christ?

Nothing can be claimed, taken, received, had; everything we have is gift to us from heaven. All that we have has no other source but the hand of God (Jn 3:27).

So “Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give us gifts for our gain because a gift can never stop being a gift— it is always meant to be given.”

When we pass our gifts on — the gifts from Him remaining a gift and being given again — we are the ones given even more of the source of all gifts — more of God Himself. Filled.

When we give to Christ in the hungry, He satisfies our own hunger pangs.

A decade of this, our little family turning the Christmas tree upside down and letting gifts all fall into the hands of the poor.

~Ann Voskamp

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I will be
The gladdest thing under the sun.
I will embrace
A multitude of joys and not miss one.
There -
In that field where hidden lies
The Pearl of great price.
Haven of my desires,
Encompassed in Thy holy fire.
I trod Thy sacred ground
Where full delight is found.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Living from the inside-out

A new discipline that I have recently been attempting to re-instill in myself is songwriting. I feel like music is always the last thing on my priority list, always wondering when it will find its way back near the top again. Something that I have found helpful is to sit down and just write...whether it be in the format of a song, poem, or merely prose. It enables me to seize the moment. It forces me to be still. It stirs me to let out what is held within.
Since this past May, I have had continued hindrances with my throat. This feeling of tightness and discomfort has kept me from singing and keeping strength in my singing. While I can still sing to an extent, I am unable to maintain consistency and control in my voice without straining. Music has been on the back burner since I released it to the Lord in spring '10. And, since summer '10, life has taken me on a completely different path than I ever could have imagined. All of it is good and necessary, just hard. Very hard. So, once can imagine the immense discouragement that this has been to me in the midst of an already difficult year. Even after running tests at the doctor, the issue remains unsolved because the tests came back good. I have nothing to explain what is wrong with my throat because, technically, there is really nothing wrong with it. This can only be targeted to some intense stress, mainly emotional, that my heart has undergone this year. I can kick against it, but that has not proved to be useful. So, this has led me to reflect on some things...basic concepts that I mentioned in a recent note on pausing, slowing down, and gaining a more holistic approach to health and life. It is too easy for me to become overwhelmed and stressed. Emotional implosions are what I call them. Sometimes, I just cry with frustration because anxiety comes so easily and peace does not. That inward collapse, that emotionally violent all comes too naturally. In thinking upon this, it is no wonder that this is physically manifested in the tightness and discomfort I feel in my throat, hindering the flow of vocal expression.

So, I'm searching...grasping...groping in the shadows for that sacred ground that Jacob spoke of in Genesis 28 when he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it." He set up a pillar there and called it Bethel, the House of God. Every moment is a "God-moment," a chance to worship Him. A sacred opportunity to give thanks. And, I think, this may prove to be the very healing balm that I need for a fuller, Spirit-given peace. This, too, may bring that strength to my voice when I learn to be still and praise from within.
So, this is why I sense a draw to write again. Snippets of poetry. Bits of melodies. All pooled together to erect my own "pillar" as I learn to be still in every season, moments that house Him. And, in thanksgiving, to stumble across the divine...the sacred...the very presence of the Lord, brooding over the waters. I will trust Him with this. I choose to trust Him in this. He is only ever faithful.

You keep near the dust
Of my being
To the underside of Your wings.
You bestow life,
Impute righteousness,
Lavish affection,
Upon this earthen jar,
Chipped and faded.
Faithful to an infidel.
Jealous for a harlot.
You remain.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I am a garden enclosed
A locked garden, a fountain sealed
I am Your resting place
I am Your resting place

Here oh Lord have I prepared
A place for You to dwell
Here in the reservoir of me
That You would dwell in my heart
That I would be in You and You would be in me

That I could fellowship with God
Here where it's You and me alone
The very glory of God on the inside of me
I want to fellowship with You

Here it's You and me alone God
You and me alone
Here it's You and me alone God
You and me alone

I am Your resting place
For You said that You would be in me
If I would abide in the vine
Christ in me the hope of my glory

You and me alone God
You and me alone
Here it's You and me alone God
You and me alone

And You hedge me in with skin all around me
I'm a garden enclosed
A locked garden
Life takes place behind the face

Where it's You and me alone God
Here it's You and me alone
Here it's You and me alone God
You and me alone

So come into Your garden, come into Your garden

I'm no longer my own, I'm Your garden

I don't wanna waste my life living on the outside
I'm gonna live from the inside out

So come into Your garden
Come into Your garden
Come into Your garden
Come into Your garden

~ Misty Edwards