The Holy Rhythm will Remind You

I grab my bible and sit, hoping for a few moments to soak in Psalm 87 before starting the laundry. I can hear the boys up front, in the living room,  building a fort with the giant waffle blocks Isaiah got for Christmas. Happy chatter quickly turns to arguing and I reach for my noise cancelling earphones as their father intervenes. I slip the sleek black gift onto my Medusa morning hair and turn my attention back to the words but stop, remembering I haven't prayed yet. I lean into the silence and ask the Father for forgiveness, I ask him to open his words to my heart. I take a deep breath and clear my head.

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The toddler screams into a fit that even my earphones cannot drown out.

But all I can really hear is the beat of my heart. It's coming through as I breathe, loud, deep, strong, even, and true. I listen for its movement. What a gift this heart is with its ever-steady work. The blood rushing in, valves slamming shut, pressure building, then blood hurtling forth to keep this human body alive. I'm forty today and a little unsure of it. But this sound that keeps me alive reminds me what God has given me. I know someday the beat will cease. Maybe I'll see it coming, maybe I won't. Either way, there's no longer any fear in knowing that my heartbeat has an expiration date.

As I listen to my rhythm I think of the heart within Jesus. How much love did it hold to choose death over life? Could he hear his rhythm over the crowds as they chanted, "Crucify him, crucify him!"? Did he slow the rate when the end was close, or did he just stop it? Because unlike me, Jesus was in charge of his heartbeat's end.

"No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." (John 10:18)

He knew precisely when to command his heart to stop beating and let go of his spirit. And he did not falter or second guess his heart work. He just let his earthly body go.

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Are we brave enough to do the same? Can we ignore the crowds around us and focus on the rhythm God has given us until we can let our earthly grip go? Do we have the strength of spirit to walk with time as we age and not stop carrying the heartbeat of our work with us?

Dear friends, may we be reminded each day our heart continues its rhythm that we have a God-given purpose. Our work awaits us each morning fresh and new with no idea how old we are or how many gray hairs have appeared. As long as our beat continues, then so does God's calling on our lives. Lean into the silence and find that holy rhythm God has given you and bring him all the Glory he deserves.

Freedom from Fear

I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for The Lord; be strong & take heart & wait for The Lord.  Psalms 27:13,14

I am surrounded by people I don't know in a sea of unfamiliar voices clashing about politics, prom dresses, and last night's you tube comedian.  They chatter about useless information and act as though they don't know the nurse just called my momma's name.  I am quiet and still in their midst.  I make no eye contact and offer no support for them or their families.  Today I have no extra strength to give.  Today I can focus only on her.  Only on His goodness.  Only on His provision.  I am moment by moment today.

My momma is sick.  Something is wrong.  Today they will make some cuts and try to determine what kind of sickness she has.  Somehow I have a peace that just enfolds me.  It covers me like the night swallows the sun at days end.  Those "what if" questions that hover around me are not choking me.  I am not afraid of them.  Even the darkest ones hold no power over me.  My confidence is not shaken.

Does momma have cancer?  If she does will she need more surgery?  What about chemo and radiation?  What if we lose her?  What if I lose my momma?

The hardest things to write are still the truest.  These are my "what if" questions.  I'm sure you have your own.  What if my parent's get divorced?  What if I lose my job again?  What if I can't make rehab work this time?  What if they knew?  And they carry an avalanche of emotion with them.  But I am not a prisoner bound by the fear they could bring and you don't have to be either.  Instead I say them, I write them, and I just give them to Him.  These are His questions and only He can answer them.  Only He can see the bigger greater story that is being written.

I am confident that God can heal her if that is what He chooses to do.  I want Him to, I ask Him to, and at times argue with the God of the heavens to keep her safe but His goodness is not dependent on Him doing this.  He is good because it is his very nature.  He is good because he loves me so much He is giving me grace to walk every moment of this life.  I am confident because God's the best event planner I know.  When sin separated me from Him, He came up with dying for me to get me back so I'm pretty sure whatever's headed our way He can handle.  He will use it for good.  That's what He does.  He takes our mess & and makes it beautiful.  

When I'm walking through the fires of this life I don't always understand it.  I rarely understand it; but I'm confident in Him, in His wisdom, in His strength, in His grace.  Christ gives me the freedom to not have to understand everything all the time.  I just trust.  I dig deep into Him and trust.  And then I'm free.  Free to not have all the answers all the time.  Free to wait and see what God's answers will be.  Free to know that His answers will be for my benefit and to know that sometimes I won't understand those answers this side of heaven.  Free to know that whatever lies on the other side of this mountain cannot change who He is but it will most definitely change who I am.  Paul reminds us of this in the following passage:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 4:17,18

Every day that we choose Christ we choose freedom.  Every day we choose to have confidence in, patience for, and submission to Christ we get freedom.  Every moment we choose to let go of our lives and trust that His design is far more spectacular than ours we get freedom.  And in the midst of this day to day choosing something else happens.  We start to look different.  We start to act different.  We become better, exceedingly better than we could have ever been on our own.  Truthfully better is a terrible word for it because often we don't resemble our old self at all.  That's what transformation from the Holy Spirit will do for you.  

Transformation.

I know that's what happened to me.  Six years ago I would have prayed some for my momma, but I would have worried more.  I would have given her to God in voice, but in truth I would have held her back more tightly than ever.  I didn't know then what I know now.  I didn't know what freedom was.  I didn't know what confidence In Christ meant.  I hadn't been on my Damascus road back then.  I hadn't seen His light or felt its radiant heat.  But now I have.


 Now I know and so can you that there is freedom from fear in the presence of Christ.  You can be confident that your God is the master architect.  And while you may not see Him finish the project, have faith to know that when He's through it will be a masterpiece.

God's Tattoos

I have a confession….I am secretly obsessed with tattoos. Whew, that feels better.  Now, when you catch me looking at yours you won’t have to wonder why you’ll just know I’m doing that thing I do, obsessing about tattoos.  I look at folks’ body art and wonder about every detail; like the significance of the design and the placement they picked.  How did they decide on the style of the tattoo, or the colors?    I mean how in the world do you choose these things?  And please don’t get me started on the pain.  Everyone talks about it differently but still all will admit some is involved.  The whole process just seems overwhelming to me!

I didn’t used to be like this.  But over the years tattooing has become more mainstream and I can’t throw a rock without hitting a man or woman with a full sleeve so I have to wonder, “What’s the deal?”  I mean this thing is permanent.

PERMANENT. 

It involves needles, and pain, and did I mention needles and pain?  So what drives folks to ink something into their skin forever?  It’s a pretty bold statement about something in your life!  I’ve seen Navy emblems, tribal designs, ocean life, and Japanese characters.  If you can imagine it someone has put it on their body as an artistic expression, a description of who they are as a person, or what this life has put them through.

And I’ll admit I’ve seen some beautiful work, some really amazing, breathtaking art on skin.

However it seems a lot of people I’ve talked with regard tattoos with disdain.  There’s a whole camp of people that will talk about the body being a temple and how we shouldn’t mess it up and that sort of thing.  And if I’m being honest I should tell you they haven’t always been my favorite idea either.  But people change.  God has a way of doing that to us.  He rounds off our sharp corners and changes our notions of how things should or ought to be.  The truth is what’s on someone’s body isn’t really my business.  It’s not there for my approval or disapproval.  It’s there because they want it there.  It’s there because it means something to them. 
And here’s something a few of us may not have realized;

God has a tattoo.

 Isaiah 49:16 says so,

“Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the

palms of my hands; …..”


According to the ancient Jewish custom the wording used as “engraved” most likely refers to their custom of using a woodblock to transfer an image to their skin and then using small needles ink would be placed just below the skin’s surface.

Your name is tattooed on God’s hand. 

That’s how important you are to him.  The God of the heavens is strolling around with your name on the palm of his hand.  Think about that for a moment and let it sink in deeply.  Your name is on his body forever. 

If you’re someone with a tattoo I believe you might understand the significance of this better than those who don’t have one.  You selected your art, you endured the pain, and you bear it because of your own reasons but whatever those reasons are or were they were essential to you.  Essential enough to become a permanent symbol.  They are a part of you that goes much deeper than the ink that lies within your skin. 

For those of you who don’t have tattoos because the very thought of one makes you nervous or nauseous then perhaps you should view it like this.  You are so important that God chose to display his love for you in an act that you yourself could never do.  Funny how he keeps doing that, isn’t it.

I believe we live in a world determined to remind us how insignificant we are.  Satan wants us to believe that no one really love us the way we long to be loved.  But the truth is this, God does. 

He selected your name and engraved it onto the palms of his hands as a symbol to everyone, including you that your heart lies within his heart. 

You are vitally important to him. 

You are his family. 

So when others forget you, when friends forsake you, when the world is against you remember that the Savior has you in the palm of his hand.  Literally.  No one will ever love you more. 

I suppose some of you might be wondering if I have some ink of my own.  The straight answer is no.  There is no ink on my skin, but I believe my body bears the tattoos of my maker. 
 
My tattoos have been drawn on the inside. 

My heart bears his handiwork best. 

There inscribed by the Master’s hands are the names of my children; the three the specialist told us we’d never have, the one still living on another continent, and the one who went home before us.  It displays the name of my husband, the man who makes all other guys fade into the background like white noise.  And it has carved into it other words as well.  Words like, forgiven, redeemed, and beloved; but the most amazing art he has tattooed there is his own name, Savior.  An ever present reminder of the night he made it his home.  

So it’s true I don’t have any art on my skin but I think that’s just because so far no human artist has convinced me that their ink will live up to his.