Monday, December 29, 2008


I've been doing some reflecting on the past year and all that God has done for me. There is so much to thank Him for. This has been such a difficult and painful year in many, many ways. Yet it's also been incredibly beautiful and amazing as I've seen the Lord take care of me and hold me through everything.

It's been a year of paradox, everything upside down. Acceptance in the middle of rejection, joy in the middle of sadness and grief, beauty out of desolation, abundance in the midst of poverty. I have been very blessed in so many ways that really matter.

But there are times I wake up in the morning and I find myself empty, with a restless longing for something more. I don't always recognize this deep need in myself; it usually takes a while. After attempting to satisfy this heart hunger with entertainment, other people, chocolate, even spiritual activities, or trying to distract myself with new ideas, work, housecleaning, facebook, whatever -- I find myself just getting frustrated and the longing has only intensified.

I've even found myself thinking that if my husband's heart changes and he returns to us, then I will be satisfied and have my heart's desire. Or someday when I'm doing what I was created for and fulfilling my purpose in life, then I will be filled up. I just have to wait for those things. But the honest truth is that I will still be hungry and empty even then.

What I'm realizing is that this deep need is my heart's longing for God. He has done so much for me and shown me so much of His love for me, especially this past year, that I would have thought that would be enough. But I'm discovering that it's not. I need more.

I was created empty. That is my supreme offering to the Lord -- me, with all my lack, my failure, my inability, my weakness, my empty heart. I'm seeing that it is His great joy and pleasure to fill me with Himself. That's what He's been waiting for. And maybe the truth is that this inner restless longing is simply His gift to draw me into a deeper intimacy than I can imagine. And I will find that when I have Him, I have everything.

So I wait -- empty and thankful for it, trusting Him to fill me and satisfy me when He wants to and in His good time.

"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Some things to ponder --

To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do - to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst — is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. You can even prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own. - Fredrick Buechner

I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am. - John Newton

Maybe when we truly trust God we are empowered to trust others, because the outcome of our trust -- for better or for worse -- is in God's providential hands.
- Jason Brian Santos

Not only do we not know God, except through Jesus Christ, we do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ. - Blaise Pascal

The issue of your ‘name’ is the concept of your essential being by which you live. God has His own name for us all. And to live out of your in-God-identity you must refuse the many names, labels, roles imposed on you. If the enemy can superimpose a ‘name’ on you . . . you have become who you are not.

This matter of identity is crucial to live for God in a hostile world. If you take your personhood from the world, you lose God. If you take on your 'new creation' - your new existence, the world cannot oppress you or own you.
- Martha Kilpatrick

I am more me now than I used to be.
- Angela

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."
2 Cor. 5:17

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Tree

I've inherited a Christmas tree from the friends whose house I'm renting. Back in July, when I first moved in, I noticed the tree in a box in the garage. I was thankful that we would have a tree but didn't give it much thought since December seemed so far away.

But now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it's time to prepare for Christmas. So the plan was for the kids and I to put it up and decorate it in the evening. I had visions of us sipping hot cocoa and admiring our beautiful tree.

After school, the kids and I went to Walmart to buy a few bulbs to decorate our Christmas tree. All our normal Christmas decorations are in storage in another state along with everything else. So I wanted to get a few items but not go overboard.

We got home, ate supper and I told my son he could start bringing in the tree pieces. After multiple trips to the garage to get branch after branch, I started to realize that this tree may be bigger than I thought.

As it began to take shape, I knew the truth. This was God's tree. He provided it. So it stands to reason that it would be MASSIVE!!!! The thing is huge!!! It stands at least 7 feet high, by far the largest tree I've ever decorated or owned. It's also very wide. The small area of the living room I had picked out for the tree to stand in was not going to work. So my kids and I rearranged the furniture and now our tree dominates a corner of the room. (Or should I say, stands regally and majestically.)

My 20 bulbs are hardly visible. You need binoculars to find them in all the branches. I'm going to have to get more decorations, because my tiny collection isn't going to cut it. (By the way, that picture I included is not The Tree. I don't have a camera so had to cut and paste.) Anyway, we'll have to finish decorating after I make another trip to the store.

But it was just hilarious looking at that thing last night. It's like way overkill for one woman and her two kids. I know God was laughing. When I look at that tree, I see the lavishness of God. It's a reminder.

I only ask for little things and expect small things from the Lord. But He has a much grander, more immense and MASSIVE plan in mind and THAT is what He wants to give me. He just asks me to trust Him and wait and dream BIG.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His mighty power at work within us." Eph. 3:20