Well folks, it's good to be back. It was a pretty darn good vacation too! Last friday my sis, the twins and I took off to meet all of our cousins in Gatlinburg, Tn. We had 6 kidos under the age of 5, and about 13 adults in a cabin overlooking the beautiful smokey mountains (and a family of black bears :). Although baby bath times were a bit chaotic, we had such a great time of fellowship and sharing the blessing of life with one other. Each person has quite a testimony over the last few years, and it's a precious time when everyone's reflection gives so much glory to God for making it through the thick. I saw so much giving, serving, sharing, and loving this past weekend. And I also realize how rare this is. Sadly, some people never get to see this type of family in action. Sure we had our messes and mistakes, but we also had plenty of forgiveness and laughter :) Moments of togetherness like this always teach us how messy life can be (especially with so many under one roof), how imperfect it is... yet how beautiful it becomes when the center is HIM. This is community; this is how our worldwide church family should, can, and will be. A beautiful mess.
Surprisingly, one of the most interesting outings our family took while visiting "hillbilly las vegas" was the titanic exhibit. What could've been a quite depressing two hour tour of tragedy was actually a good little revelation for me. (By now I'm sure you've realized I can find spiritual significance in just about anything. Haha. ) As you know the titanic's big tag line (pre-accident) was the "unsinkable ship". As you walk through the halls reading the stories, listening to the claims, and sensing the fear... you can almost taste the pride that threaded it's way through the ship's journey to it's fatal end.
When we boast of perfection we'll always fall short somehow, but when we consider ourselves a failure we fall short of God's "claim" on us. Believe it or not, both are pride... and both paths lead to destruction. Pride sank the unsinkable, it destroys relationships, severs marriages, defeats the poor, and truly keeps us from hearing God's voice. (And it's not because He's not talking.) When we realize how truly helpless we are in this world without God and decide to put our trust and confidence in Him... we finally begin to embrace our very own beautiful mess. Our eyes open to His love and lack of intimidation for our journey, and everyone elses for that matter. This is called: stepping into the kingdom He offers on earth now. We can actually walk around in the kingdom of heaven here.... before we die physically. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done... on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6) This world (and our body) is fallen and broken, but He is perfect! Amen?
I know we all have our fair share of "icebergs". I'm positive every person reading this has experienced severe pain at some point in their lives. Some of you still have not fully gotten through it, and you may not be seeing relief in the distance. Why then would you believe someone like me telling you that the rescue boats have already been sent out and are on their way? Truth is, you don't have to believe me... you don't even have to believe God i guess. But that's EXACTLY why we have faith. We wouldn't even need it if everything happened the way we thought or expected. But we don't HAVE to guess either. Thankfully we have the option of trusting in a good good God who knows way better than we do. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" God firmly but lovingly tells Job. I don't know about you, but I would rather trust and rest than worry and fret in any and EVERY situation (big or small).
Icebergs, waves, and storms will come and most likely threaten our lives... at the very least our joy. But if we humbly choose to grab His hand and walk (ok, sail) with the one who IS unsinkable... we can rest assured that not only will we survive, we will thrive! Because of who we serve we are NO longer victims... but victors! Every breath is another opportunity to trust.
The following is part of an email I just received from a dear friend, I thought it fit appropriately with today's blog. This young woman has been through a lot the past couple of years, and I feel as though her personal revelation will release the Lord's healing hand in others lives tonight:
"It's taken me many years to get this far and it may feel like im near the end of some things but there is new exciting territory ahead on the other side of these seas. Ive been scared for a long time to know what they may be, but today God gave me joy in realizing it IS brighter and His light shall be enough motivation to step out. I was walking by moon light today when i realized the love of walking with god. I then recognized my fear of the unknown that would normally keep me home past dark. If I would've let the fear stop me, i would have missed the glorious opportunity to see Him. Its time to step into the unkown future with hope :)"
B90: (Psalm 57- 77:20) It wasn't hard for David to relate to the sea (or any of the people we read about in the bible for that matter.) If they weren't swimming in it, fishing from it, or walking on it... they were parting it. Try to picture yourself not "land-locked" for a moment while meditating on some of this scripture.
"Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God." Ps. 69: 1-3 I'm gonna skip to vs 29..." But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!" This is our morse code and Jesus is our translator.... this is our desperate plea for help. We all have these moments, some more than others.... and guess what? That's ok! God loves hearing our voice and He loves an open desired opportunity to move in a powerful way. Unfortunately sometimes we are silent; unwilling to ask, seek, or even cry out! David is a perfect example of calling out to the Lord. His songs are filled with dilemmas, questions, and wonders of God's mystery and will. But His call is always followed up with a declaration of God's character. You can almost see a visible shift in perspective after His cry and in His declaration. Believing God is who He is glorifying.... He begins to see the light and praise HIM!
Picking it back up again in Ch 69:30 David says, "I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; YOU WHO SEEK GOD, LET YOUR HEARTS REVIVE. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them....." Amen.