hope

Be Thou My Vision

Glasses. We put them on to see better. We wear them to protect our eyes from the sun’s vibrant rays.

We use them to distort our vision to.

Wait. What?

That’s ridiculous, right? Why would anyone use lenses that make things worse? No one actually does that.

Physically, no. But spiritually, emotionally, mentally… we do it all the time.

Every experience, encounter, situation, trauma, life season, relationship… all of these things cause us to look at things through certain lenses.

If you’ve grown up with an abusive father, that will cause you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, cowering at every dominant male figure and never feeling good enough.

Some of you were taught that little girls (or boys) look this way, and bad girls and boys look that way. That causes you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, judging and turning your nose up to everyone who looks and acts “worse” than you, and only surrounding yourself with “pretty” people.

If your parents never EVER fought in front of you but always looked miserable, that causes you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality. My guess is you live life with your spouse and never EVER fight. Chances are you are more distant than the those roommates who have absolutely nothing in common. If you are looking through these lenses, I promise you, it will boil up and explode eventually.

Maybe you grew up with no real adult figures, causing you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, taking on the world as an enemy you have to conquer, and never relying on anyone but yourself.

Or perhaps you gave everything you had to that person, and they left you, causing you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality. Never again will you let anyone get that close to your torn-to-pieces heart.

Do you see where I’m going? I could go on and on, because there are an infinite amount of glasses we choose to put on each day.  These lenses affect every choice we make, every word we say and every feeling that we feel.

But there is only one pair that will give us clear vision, help us speak truth and allow our souls to live in shalom.

The gospel.

When we look through the lenses of the gospel, everything becomes clear.

When we read scripture through the lenses of the gospel, we begin to see it as a whole and perfect story of brokenness, grace, redemption, love and eternity.

When we view the gospel through the lenses of the gospel, we no longer think of it as a product we sell to people on the street in exchange for the satisfaction of numbers.

When we think about Jesus through the lenses of the gospel, we know we are not condemned and shamed, but redeemed, lifted up and victorious.

When we view sin through the lenses of the gospel, we understand that we are innately crooked, and that God is the one who breaks, sets and heals our disease-ridden bones.

When we view suffering through the lenses of the gospel, our gaze shifts from our phone and that current tv series to God because we know He is everything and everything else is nothing in comparison. We rejoice because we are being made like Christ.

When we view our brother’s and sister’s mistakes through the lenses of the gospel, we see them as a fellow fallen soldier who needs some help getting up and getting back to base camp.

When we see that pregnant mom in the parking lot smoking a cigarette through the lenses of the gospel, not only do we feel passionate about the well being of that baby’s life, but we also have overwhelming love and compassion for that mom who doesn’t have any other way out at the moment.

When we think about that guy who keeps running further and further away from great things and deeper and deeper into drugs and loneliness through the lenses of the gospel, we are so burdened for his soul that we get on our face and weep in intercession for him.

When we understand worship through the lenses of the gospel, we realize that every movement we makes decides what we worship, not just 20 minutes on Sunday morning before the pastor speaks.

When we look at ourselves through the lenses of the gospel, we discover how incredibly weak we are and how desperately we need our Creator to save us. Out of that discovery, grace, hope and faith towards everyone and everything bursts forth into the world around us.

He was here before us.

He made us.

He wept for us.

He revealed the depravity in us.

He sent Himself for us.

He died for us.

He covered us.

He redeemed us.

He loves us.

He delights in us.

He makes us new.

He is making all things new.

That is a pair of glasses that I never want to take off.

 

Music Monday: Who I Am

So as I’ve shared recently, running (or trying to run) has been a mountain I’ve been trying to conquer. When viewed with the right lenses and for the right reasons, health is really important to me. Unfortunately, we all know how difficult it is to keep our sights set on why we need to be healthy in the first place.

For me, I am not able to successfully be healthy if my goal is to make myself happy or to please Daniel. I have always and will forever fail if those two reasons are why I do anything. It just proves so hard how human I am. When I am able to believe that striving for healthy living is for God and his glory, then the success comes. Again, it’s difficult.

Some days I’ve truly got it. And some days I don’t feel God and I’d rather sit on the couch and eat an entire bag of Pirates Booty.

An album, and more specifically a certain song reminds me of why I do anything in the first place, and helps me see myself differently.

Life In Your Way’s Kingdoms, which is an album comprised of three EP’s (The Kingdom of Man, The Kingdom of Darkness and The Kingdom of God) , is something you NEED to listen to, especially if you are into melodic hardcore. But even if you’re not, give it a listen.

My favorite EP of the three part album is The Kingdom of God. On there is a song called “Who I Am”… and good grief.

It’s funny, because every time I’m running and contemplating giving up, this song starts playing through my Nike running app. It’s starts off with an intense, “THIS IS WHO I AM…” You know in Super Mario Kart, those question marks you run into that sometimes give you a super boost and you blast by all of the other guys? That’s what happens to me when this song comes on. It somehow gives me the power to believe who I really am, versus who I’ve made myself out to be in my own mind.

He doesn’t see what I see, He doesn’t see what you see.
He sees my destiny and calls me to be a son.

I seriously get teary eyed every time I reach this part of the song. You know why this is motivating? Because it’s true. And even though I don’t quite understand fully what God sees in me, I know He sees it. I’m so grateful because if my worth was solely left up to me, well then I would just be a sad girl all the time.

This is going to sound stupid and girly, but it also helps me get past what I see in the mirror. Like it or not, we all have issues with what stares back at us. You could have a slammin’ hot bod, and still find something that unsettles you. No matter how much physical beauty we think we’ve accomplished, it is just never enough. Most of the time, I feel like the grossest person ever. I could name off at least 20 things I’d have different on my body. Now, hear me. This is not a call for shallow compliments, because that will never be what satisfies my soul. And please don’t tell me how I just have to “love myself.” I refuse to trade in the sin of self-loathing for the sin of pride. It’s a battle most of us (both men and women) will fight every day, and we could blame it on all kinds of things. Media, childhood, food, friends, etc.

But the reality is, He sees none of that crap. He sees what He has made, what He is cultivating, and ultimately what He will finish. That pushes me. That gives me that last shred of energy to go one more mile. That allows me not to look in the mirror and smile, but to walk passed it completely and not even worry about it. It helps me choose to love others, even when they severely piss me off. It gives me the strength I desperately need to be a better wife, mom and person.

This is who I am, by the power of the risen death and what You’ve done.
This is who I am, all I’ve been and who I’ve become.

 

 

R59

I’m pleased to share with you today that a family that has been a part of our church community has been called to Nakuru, Kenya to love their international neighbors and provide care for orphans. This is so exciting! They are going to uproot their entire lives to go serve others in need and nothing gets my blood pumping more.

Their website launched this morning, and you can read all about where they are going and why they are doing this. Check it out and think about giving whatever support you can offer, be it financially, spiritually or with words of encouragement! It’s not every day an American family chooses to leave behind a whole heap of worldly comforts to give all of themselves to people who are desperate for new life. They are going to need all of the love they can get! Click on the picture and it will take you over to their brand new site.