May 20, 2020

COVID + Why I'm Not Looking for a New Normal








I wasn't planning to write a post about COVID.

*smiles* But here goes. Because this is my prayer, my fear, the hope I keep reminding myself of, and what I'm living for.

I don't want a new normal.

We don't need a new normal.







God is writing new stories, and I love them.

I love the way He pulls the carpet out from under us by closing cities, locking us in our homes, and making us stop. I love it because when we fall, we remember.

We write letters to old friends we miss. We video chat, have real conversations. We sit around the family table and are all together. We play games, raise our faces towards the sunshine, and actually live life instead of running through it.

We pray more. We love more.

I hurt too; I hurt for the nursing homes where people suffer and live alone, sick. I hurt for families with parents in the hospital, young adults who struggle for every breath, people scared and lonely and hurting. I hurt for graduates without celebrations, weddings postponed, beautiful occasions passing by alone. All this is not God's heart, not the way He desires life to be. But it happened.

Yet even so, there is beauty, incredible beauty.

Quarantine brought me on long walks. I planted tiny seeds, watched them bud into sprigs of green. I gathered with the family to listen to audiobooks, groaning at cliff hangers, and trying to guess what would happen yet. I saw sunshine and rainbows and baby animals and spring flowers. I stared at stars, glimpsed the first fireflies.

But things are changing. Stores are opening. Churches having services. Friends meeting. Running shoes put on for this race to continue once again.

We'll go back to work. We'll visit again, we'll sing.

But we don't need a "new normal."

The last normal was broken. Many of us were too busy, too distracted. We lived crazy lives and forgot to savor the little moments.

I want life to change. I want history books to write that COVID altered a lot—and we stepped up and lived in a new way.

We loved more. We realized the beauty and stories of every single person. We took time to be still and know that He is God. We surrendered to Him, let Him guide our lives completely. We sang, rejoiced, went to work with a smile, and did school with joy.

Where we didn't just go to church, but we became the Church. We didn't just pray and read and memorize and give more, but we let Him be the center focus of our life where everything revolved around Jesus.

I want our generation to stand up, to realize that we were created for such a time as this, to dance and sing in Jesus' glory, and yet to fight the enemy with fierce determination because we know who we are in Jesus.

And, in all, to live in the quiet place where we know Jesus intimately, love Him completely, and see life through His eyes.

Be still and know that He is God.

But it's not just for us, for this country; it's for me.

I will seek Jesus. I will rest in Him. I will know who I am in Him, Who He is, and how that changes everything.

And I'll praise!

I'm not looking for a new normal, not wanting to keep running and living old stories. Let's write new ones. Let's live the way we've always known we should, seek the dreams He has given us, and rest.

Let's rise up as the Church.

God is writing new stories; I want to be part of them.

Practically?

That means I'm getting on my knees. I'm setting apart time. I'm worshiping and remembering who I am and Who He is.

And it's beautiful.







Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts... humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.


Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
 
 ~♥~

May 7, 2020

Purpose in Today + Freebies!







I'm sitting here where the creek dances under a rock, and I'm above it, above all of it.

Paper growing wet on this old log, fallen. Little holes in its flesh; I wonder. I wonder if termites make their hiding places here in secret crags. I wonder if woodpeckers used to sink their beaks deep into the bark that's now rotted away. Did the tree know it would fall, where water plays under this rock? Where puddles sleep, I see a worm drowning, and I save it. Us girls gather round for picnics, throwing peanut shells and watching them float away.

Old times, new times, ones I can't see yet. All beautiful and caked with stories and sunshine.

There are old lessons to relearn and remember, new ones to dig up like treasure. And ones in the future I can only dream of.

Today I'm going back, wondering what life is. What it means.

Because we talk so much about what Jesus did, and we grow calloused to it. We talk about His death. It's beautiful. It's amazing.

While we were sinners, Christ died for us. While we were enemies, He chose us.

What story has the hero die for the villain? What type of purpose, meaning, love would that be?

We're all Adam. We've sinned, we've struggled, we used to be enemies. We fought Him, mocked Him as if we were the soldiers that nailed Him to that cross.

He loved anyway.

He died anyway.

But it doesn't stop there. We aren't just saved, reconciled, justified. We're righteous.

God looks at us and sees Jesus.


For if, while we were his enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more surely, having been reconciled, will we experience further salvation through his life?... we also exalt the acts of God.


His death brought us life, and now we reign in that life through Him (Romans 5:17)!

I love that word: reign. It means reigning as a King, exercising that dominion, authority.

With Jesus, you're not just you. He. is. in. you. Everything changes.

So I think of the forests, the water that hides under the rock, the tree fallen so many years ago and now only a rotting stump, and it is beautiful. Jesus died, and that changes my forever. He lives, and I live in Him.

Every moment has a purpose. And we rejoice!

A reminder for me, for you, for today. No matter what you've done, in Christ, you are righteous, pure, spotless. And He wants to live in you, to take over your ordinary life and make it epic.

Surrender. Rest. Abide. Shalom.

And if you need truth reminders, I have freebies from me to you, including bookmarks, posters, and quotes! I've enjoyed designing them and digging through Romans 5, and I hope you can print them out, save them on your device, or dig into Romans yourself to remember who you are and Who He is.




You have a purpose, dear friend.

*hugs*







If, as a result of the one man's offence, death began to hold sway because of that one man, how much more surely will those who now experience this - God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of salvation - come to hold authority in life because of the one man, Jesus the Messiah?

~~



Apr 30, 2020

Rejoicing in the Lord Always








Through the trees, I hear something beautiful.

Children's laughter, shouts, happiness in pure music and joy. Like the very expression of true life summarized in melodic noise. With the singing of the birds, traffic on distant winds, people coughing, walking, living, this noise rises above, and it's music, and it's beautiful. Beside a hospital's hard, white walls and beyond the masked faces and long days, the playground erupts in that noise.

I see something beautiful too.

A dozen colors. Every shirt different, the shades and hues like a rainbow but curving in arches as the children rise up, swing down, rise again.

Legs pump, tiny fists clench, heads thrown back. Their hair flies, more laughter, more screams. They swing a dozen times and then again, again, forever, and "push me higher!" That girl in pink, still holding on as others slip away and go inside. She tries to pump herself higher. Curly, brown hair, still swinging, lower and lower. She doesn't seem to notice, to care, because she's still flying like the stars.

The skies are darker now. Rain will fall, and it will be cold and wet and fierce. But I hear those children, see the colors, and it's the rainbow in this coming storm.

There are no masks. No worries about germs and dumping on hand sanitizer. It's early morning, so they play.

The girl with a red bow in her sweeping, blond hair.

The child swinging so low I can't see him above the rise of the ground.

The one crying, picked up, and running again.

And still, that first girl I saw, the one in pink, she's a bird flying back and forth and singing with her laughter.

I see it all, and I will remember it forever.

I will remember what joy sounds like. I will remember how the masks were thrown off because life was too beautiful to hide from. I will remember the sunshine of their smiles amidst the upcoming rain. I will never forget how that hospital with hard walls listened to the children laughing, and somehow it was more beautiful too, marble.

And I will be like those children. I will laugh and play and not just say God is good but believe it. Live in it.










Rejoice always, He says, and I rejoice.

You are loved, His promises, and they're true.

I will never leave you, my hope.

I'm not scared of corona or this storm or what tomorrow may bring, because I'm too busy playing on the swings and rejoicing in Jesus.

Somehow, that seems more like life than the one we know.

He has made everything beautiful.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
- Proverbs 3:5-6

The girl in pink is gone. Maybe she's on the jungle gym now, dancing and climbing to the squeaks of the swings. Seats flying, hinges scraping metal, and I love the sound.

Wind, cool. Leaves with points and patterns like snowflakes; I wonder if any two of them are exactly alike?

A million gifts and beauties, and we rejoice.








The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad. 

~♥~