Year’s End.

If your year has been anything remotely similar to mine (in thinking you might not make it through), then like me, you will be unable to sincerely pray this prayer without tears overflowing out of your brokenness. Taken from “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions”… a book that, if I could afford it, I would give to all those I love. This past year when I’ve been speechless, not knowing what or even how to pray, the words in this prayer book have centered me and brought me back to truth, enabling me to pour out my heart to the One who created it. So, the prayer for the year’s end, of which I can formulate no better prayer to end this blessed yet twisting wilderness:

O Love beyond compare,
Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when the night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me during another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed Pilot of my future
as of my past.
I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes
to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always
for thy use.

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It’s His birthday, not ours.

A few days ago I picked up a book called “The Papa Prayer”. I’ve kinda been avoiding it because of its popularity and fanaticism in Christian circles. And even thought I’m a rising fan of the author Larry Crabb, I’m just not a huge fan of what’s bigger, better, and popular stuff… especially when it comes to Christian bookstore paraphernalia (have you said your prayer of Jabez today?).

I’ve only read a few pages into the book, and I’m already hooked. Crabb is starkingly honest about the prayer struggle. He’s quite candid about the Christian use of prayer as a tool to use God for our own purposes and wishes. And honestly, I bet if all the prayers I’ve prayed since I was four had been recorded (well, they are in heaven, but that doesn’t do me much good right now for this magnitude of a project), there’s no doubt that my ‘wish list’ far outweighs His ‘praise list’.

So, in light of the season of celebrating the best Gift in all the history and future of the universe, I naturally want to give Him something special for His birthday. I saw on a friend’s facebook that they are ‘fasting’ from Facebook this Christmas week to focus on Him. I thought that was a neat idea. But it wasn’t really what I wanted to give Him. As soon as I read these pages in The Papa Prayer, I knew what I wanted to give Him.

This year in celebration of Jesus’ birthday, I want to give Him a week of not asking for anything. I just want to enjoy Him. Be with Him. Praise Him. Adore Him. Worship Him. It’s been less than 24 hours that I’ve decided this, and already I’m realizing how habitually demanding my prayer life has been. It shouldn’t be this hard not to ask Him for anything.

I have a feeling that this gift to Him will prove the statement, “It really is more blessed to give than to receive”.

WELCOME

Welcome to my new blog. I’m turning over a new leaf in a different country (the States) and figured this was an appropriate way to start over.

So welcome to my wanderings and ponderings.

Furious Love

Just started reading “The Furious Longing of God” by Brennan Manning (if you’ve never read any of his books, get your hands on them as fast as you can, it’s the real deal). He’s got me thinking about the love of God. And he’s got me wanting (well, more like starving) to come into a deeper understanding of His agape love.

I’m reminded of a past episodic experience of longing for more of His love. My thoughts on that experience are here

As tears fill my eyes and a chuckle fills my throat, I can’t deny that this is exactly what God has been doing in me this year. Painstakingly obvious. And here I am, with a little better understanding and sweeter taste lingering in my soul about what His agape love is all about. It means His unhindered and very real expressions of His tender affection toward me. His compassion [“com”= with / “passion”=suffer]… how He has suffered with me through the difficulties unparalleled to any other I’ve experienced. Yup. He has taken me much, much deeper into the ocean of His love… and the waves continue to crash upon me with His furious longing for me.

It’s like that time I was a little girl, playing naively in the waves of the ocean. I had yet to experience the furious power that carried those waves from the other side of the waters. I remember it so clearly… getting joyfully ready to ride the ginormous wave coming toward me, but my timing was a bit off. Next thing I know, I’m hurled down through the ocean by its forceful power and fury, doing unintentional summersaults beneath the wave. I didn’t know what hit me and I was in the current of its mercy. I can still close my eyes and see the murky waters filling my eyes and rushing into every orifice on my face. I honestly thought I was going to die. It was too strong; I was too weak. I fought as hard as I could to come up for air, but obviously the wave had me under its control. I finally got above water, spit all the h2o out of my mouth and nose, and took a giant breath of air… a breath I really didn’t think I’d be able to reach. Then I had a bit of a meltdown, clawed my way out of the murderous ocean, and safely sat on the sand.

Furious love. That’s the jealous love of God. If violence could have a positive connotation, I suppose that would be a great word to describe His love and affection toward me, and how He expresses it. He has been so faithful in caring tenderly for me while the forceful waves and storms of life pull me under. His waves of love are stronger. And I’m finding that not even the force of all that is against me can separate me from His tender affection for me. The fury of His “love” wave sweeps me up out of the current of that which is against me. And that love is the wave that carries me, somehow peacefully, above the turbulent waters sent to drown me.

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, nor any powers [“beginnings, origin, cause”], not present circumstances nor impending circumstances [I am about to suffer by divine appointment], not height [“rampart, barrier, bulwark”] nor depth [“extremely deep; hidden things”], nor any created thing or person could ever separate [“divorce”] me from the agape love of God that is mine in Christ Jesus.

Nope. Nothing.
[Romans 8.38-39]