Friday, June 7, 2019

five life-giving steps for walking through change (and remembering who you are)


I’ve dubbed the first few months of 2019 the hardest I’ve ever lived. This moving out of the safe house in Hong Kong with those remarkable lively women, back to my homeland--for a few different unpredictable reasons that dug their ugh deep into my heart--it has been hard. 

But tonight I went to the movies with my sister and the kids and watched The Secret Life of Pets 2 and laughed hard and loud and then we came home and caught lighting bugs in the backyard and man, life's hard but not nearly as hard as it is glorious. 

And as the hardness of the change lingers but the awareness of God's delight in me grows, I've decided to read more books and grow more plants and wear more lipstick and talk to my delighted-in-me God more often. 

So let me make a public declaration:
I'm done whining and worrying about my life right now. 

It's true that I don't live in Asia anymore, I don't walk by the ocean every night, those beautiful women from Africa are no longer my roommates, and there are approximately 8,000 things I miss. And about 8,000 more I don't understand. 

 But it's also true that my sister's kids who I cried for during the two years I lived in Asia are now living across the hall from me and asking me to tell them stories every night before bed. 

And here's what else is true, change is a booger and boy we go through a lot of it in life. All of us. Extremely painful change, inevitable for everyone. 

I keep burying my head in God's chest and crying. He keeps wrapping big arms around me and saying kind and true words to my soul. 

Change. 
Help us go through it well, God. 

If we'll join our hearts up with His during the changes, He will use them to shape us and help us and teach us important things we need to be taught. Like, He loved taking care of us back then, and He loves taking care of us right now. The care coming out of His unbelievably good heart is constant. Stable. Doesn't change. 
What a relief. 

An expert at comparison--my life to her's and my purpose to his and my happiness to their's and then I even compare my current self to my used-to-be-self and think that my used-to-be-self was better--let me tell you that being an expert at comparison is an awful and stupid thing to be an expert at. So I'm retiring.  

Comparing and changing and self-pitying helped me to kinda forget who I was. So me and God are still in the teaching-me-who-I-am process. And the amazings He's given me as friends and family, they're teaching me who I am, too. I taped a bunch of pictures across the wall beside my bed--smiling people who love me, secured next to my head. I named it my "identity wall." 
  
--

Five life-giving steps I've found helpful as I'm walking (not crawling...anymore) through change: 

1. Don't have pity parties. 
Look around for something to be thankful for, then be thankful for it. You'll probably find a few million things and spend the rest of your life listing off the thankfuls. 

2. Don't compare yourself to A.N.Y.B.O.D.Y.
 Including your old self. 
You're not your heroes, you're not your parents, you're not whoever else you may think you wish you were. You're you. Do you. Be proud of you. Explore you. Are you super weird and don't know anybody else like yourself? Awesome. Me, too. You were God's original idea and He only has good ideas.

3. Don't worry about what others are thinking about ya. 
Talk to Jesus, worship Jesus, read what He's saying in the Bible, listen to Jesus--then don't mind at all if others think you're not amazing. He thinks you're amazing and His opinion is the only one that counts.  

4. Find friends and lean on them. 
"Community" it's called and it's oh-so-important. Call up some friends, cry to them, bare your soul to them, listen to them.
(and maybe tape pictures of them on your bedroom wall) 

5. If you only listen to one of the suggestions, listen to this one:  pray pray pray. Talk to God about every single thing going on in your heart during the change and ask Him for all His help. He loves an open heart, even if it smells like manure and looks like poison. He's not intimated and can cradle those things back to healthy thriving life. That's what He's been doing with mine. 
(and get all the friends taped to your wall to pray for you, too)

I've been studying new ways to pray then taking my findings into drug rehabs and we're getting closer to Jesus together. He's the best conversation Partner and the best helper and the best everything. 

We're going to make it. And when He's the leader of your life, everything really is going to be ok. 

Chin up! He's got you. 



Those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed. 
-Isaiah 49:23


p.s. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is my new favorite movie. 





Tuesday, May 14, 2019

why we don't have to live love deprived: lessons from drug rehab and this toyota

Craig, the young man at Auto Zone in the red shirt and confidence, came out and looked at the tiny rust spots on my hood--I asked him to because I figured he was working at Auto Zone so he'd know what to do. 

"Oh yeah, some spray paint will take care of that," confident Craig said.  

The shade of blue looked close enough to the shade of my new 2003 Highlander that all my friends just bought me. Confident Craig agreed. So $11, later I was standing in Auto Zone parking lot, confident Craig's support cheering me on, and I spray painted a giant blue circle, a very different blue than the color of my car, right onto my Highlander's hood. And then I didn't stop. In no time, I had bright blue polka dots across the front of my beautiful car. Then I stood there, wondering what in the heck I'd just done. And wanting to spray paint confident Craig's face. 

Next day, I knocked over my french press full of piping hot coffee, spilling its contents across my computer keyboard. Coffee-soaked computer hasn't recovered but I left it with Jason at the computer repair shop and I'm praying for a resurrection. If it doesn't ever come back to life, I'm going to spray paint it blue and tape it to my hood. For decoration. And go visit Craig. 

I've started praying prayers like this: 

"Help me not be an idiot, God."

So I packed up my secret place in the back of that polka-dotted Highlander and drove to a drug rehab. I unpacked my treasure--the thrill of knowing Jesus--all over the rehab living room. Colorful blanket laid on the floor, candle lit, secrets of the secret place shared, hard questions asked. 

That drug rehab living room was full of 17 women hungry for more love. Aren’t we all? 

Love love love--It’s what God’s made of. 

He’s longing, itching, intense desiring-—to come in, flood in, dance in, and pour love everywhere, all over all of us. Drenching our deepest corners and holes and moron activities-—with love. With Himself. When we've ruined valuable relationships and computers and have worshiped everybody but Him, He still wants to fill our lives with love. 

Those 17 ladies in recovery and me, we’re recovering from broken hearts and bad habits—-aren’t we all? 

I feel at home in rehabs with the honest and open and hurting. They tell their stories of habits and abuse without batting their tired pretty eyes. I wish the rest of us would be that honest.

I told those ladies the same thing He’s been telling me—-He likes our company. And His company is what we're created for. The simple truth I'm discovering--when we make space for Him, He fills it--I want to keep sharing with rehabs and neighbors and nations and you. 

In the midst of our hurting recovering hearts in the rehab living room, He--the great King of the universe--met with us and filled the space we made for Him. He always does. 

What are 20 minutes? What’s an hour? What else could I possibly have to do that outweighs sitting before my Maker breath-Giver who wants me to sit before Him? He made us for this. For Him. For love.

Those 17 girls and me, we know about hunger and longing and intense wanting. The deepest place in us, it can only be satisfied by One. We make damaging mistakes trying to get something else to satisfy that deepest place. No income, number of friends, loud applause, health, wild adventure, drug, man, or woman can satisfy that deep want everybody feels--for love. Love is the thing we're all starving for and there's only One named Love. He’s the God who became a baby in a feeding trough, then a carpenter, then murdered for the sins of the world. He did that so He can touch our deep insides, wash clean those nasty places inside of us, and bring us into intense intimacy with Himself. The Gospel! He's the One. He is Love.   

We don’t have to live love-deprived. Not anymore.

It's costly, but not complicated. He isn't a quick fix. He's a Mystery to be discovered with time and focus and songs and listening and reading those ageless Words.

-------------------------------------------- 

Give Him 10 minutes of your time. 

-Tell Him you want to see Him and ask Him for help
-Read a few verses in the Bible 
(if you're starting, I'd suggest Psalm 139)
-Think about what you're reading, 
talk to God about what you're reading
-Ask Him to show you a picture of you and Him together. 
Close your eyes and wait. 

He's got enough love in His heart for you, too, if you’ll let Him love you. He never gives us anything except love. 

And He doesn’t call us idiots, or addicts.
He calls us lovers and family and friends.*



p.s. I still get giddy when I get in my Highlander, even with its new polka dots. Thank you, everybody. 

p.p.s. ask God to keep directing me and all my friends in rehab into His love--2 Thessalonians 3:5.

p.p.p.s. ask God to help my computer live.

*Lover-Song of Solomon 2:16
 Family- Matthew 12:50
 Friend-John 15:15

Sunday, April 28, 2019

jessica, my weak heart, and the way God waits

They were drunk, handsome, and thought I was pretty. 

But then I remember. 
Right before that humanity's story-transforming murder, Jesus sat down at a table with His 12 friends. When He took the bread and broke it, took the wine and poured it, He gave it to them. Just like that, He offered, again, all of Himself to His friends. 

"Remember, through the rest of history, that I have given myself to humanity. Take Me, accept Me, have all of Me. Here I am, given to you, Love." 

Then He hung, completely given, to you and me. I love the Cross.

Jessica Lynn, my blonde friend with defined muscles and a massive heart, got married. 

“This has been the best day of my life,” she beamed, minutes before walking down the aisle to her waiting groom. 

My new friends at the reception kept going back to the bar and kept giving me their attention. And they were funny. And had so many nice things to say to me.

But—-I had lots of makeup on and they were drunk. 

On Monday, when they were sober and back to work, why was I still thinking about their liquor-soaked compliments? 

I'm all the way convinced; if we could feel God's pursuit of our affections, His unchanging want for our love, His real and deep (and sober) compliments--we wouldn't feel lonely, we'd stop being mean, our insecurity would get replaced with confidence, and sin would be swallowed up in His love. God help us feel Your love for us, deep down let us feel it.

God sees all of me. So much of my life has been me making mistakes, ugly selfish heart on display. There are secrets I wish I didn't have, filthy hidden that embarrass me. Makeup washed off, flawed face and flawed heart--no one has any idea how weak I am. Except One. There is One who knows...and His response? 

He waits at the end of the aisle. 

Still, even still--His eyes fixed on me, heart coveting forever covenant with me, His bare hands open to take mine into forever holy matrimony. Oh God, You still want me. 

Makeup, curls, invitations, cakes, workouts, parties, counselling, and dreaming since she was five—-preparation for this day, this coming together in promise forever moment. Jessica Lynn stood before her groom and there they gave themselves to each other, their worst and their best, exchanged in holy vows. 

Gosh she was pretty. Yeah the muscles and perfectly-pinned hair were lovely, but the prettiest was the love she floated in. She was thrilled. She knew she was walking down the aisle to a man who wanted all of her, purely and rightly. 

Doesn't God want us to be an in-love bride? Floating down the altar in love? 

Why marriage? A promise held sacred in Ethiopia and Canada and all the places in between—-why do we do it? 

God wants us to know what He’s like. We get a lot of tiny windows to see into Heaven, tastes of the indescribable sweet that’s coming soon to those who want Him. And the promised “I do” of husband and wife is one of those windows. I don't think there's a window that let's us see Him any clearer. 

"I,__, take thee,__, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you."

When we look at Him, we see a furious loving Groom who has pledged Himself to us, given Himself in full to every person who wants Him. Our marriage to Him, there is no "death do us part." There's only together. Forever. Ah. 

Why did I think about those drunk guys' compliments so much? I guess it's because being wanted is wonderful. 

People can't satisfy people. There are moments of satisfaction, but they don't, they can't, carry us. Marriage, even a blissful one, won't fulfill us. It can't. We're created for a more, a-united-to-the-Uncreated-forever more. He is the satisfaction that carries. The total giving of Himself to me, my total giving of myself to Him--it's His love-soaked design.

His Heart—-the one giraffes and cherry trees and eye sight and wheat fields and sunsets came out of—-it’s still feeling. The feelings? Want for you and me and for all 7.7 billion of us.

When I say to Him, "Let me know how much You want me," and I listen, read the Bible, and wait, He lets my little heart feel this truth. And I stop daydreaming about drunk men calling me beautiful. And I'm satisfied.

God's compliments are sober. And He's waiting at the end of the aisle. 


Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
-Revelation 19:9

Thursday, April 18, 2019

3 ways to help me put God's love on display (plus what's happening at the dentist)

Laid back in the dentist chair, I started to cry.
The tears weren't rolling from pain, but from the warming extraordinary feeling of being cared for. 

When I slammed my head into that metal pole in Thailand, two front teeth broke off (one ripped through my bottom lip...but the Thai plastic surgeon sewed that hole up nicely). 

I recently began considering a visit to a fake-teeth-specializing dentist. 

"Oh no. It's too expensive. I need a car instead of two new fake teeth. And I'm just being vain, anyway. And what about starving people?"

Right when I'd about talked myself out of a new smile, God interrupted the guilty-I-don't-have-enough-money-and-am-too-vain chatter in my head; 

"I love your smile. I can afford new teeth AND a car AND feed starving people." 

Well ok, God! If You say so! 
(We can hear God's voice! Jesus made that possible!)

In the fake-teeth-specialiazing dentist's chair, after he cracked my last pair of fake teeth off, I snuck my phone out and snapped the most awful-looking and hilarious selfie that's ever been snapped (I'd done this before, years ago, but wondered what they looked like now, after years had passed...I was pleased to find myself looking as attractive as ever). 

This is what I really look like. 
I'm a scary-looking goofball. Jesus sees who we really are, even after our wrecks, our divorces, our wars--and His intense love is unchanged.

We are super imperfect, tempted, doubting, weak little things, oh, but God doesn't look away! We smile our imperfect grins and He says "Beauty! Beauty! Beauty!" 

Getting ahold of how He feels about me, it's changing all my insides. Hopeless holes are getting filled in with hope--hope that looks like blooming huge colorful flowers. My scary goofball grin is loved, cherished even, by the Maker of the entire universe. Ahhhh. 

At my next appointment, trying out the new fake teeth that had just come in, the specializing dentist says to me, 
"If you don't absolutely love these teeth when we try them on, then we're sending them back."

He slipped the new beauts onto the scary nubbs and they looked quite nice--my smile looking more like my pre-wreck smile than it had in seven years. But they were a little large and a little the wrong color. So specializing dentist calls in the other specializing dentist and both of those angelic doctors stood over my smile discussing in detail--shape, color, texture, size, how to communicate the details with the lab,  and I laid there, mouth wide open under the bright light, and felt so loved, so cared for.

Tears started rolling from the sides of my eyes, leaking onto the grey specializing dentist chair. 

God whispered, 
"Your smile is important to Me." 

On top of that, car money's been coming in, new monthly supporters have been signing up, I've been calling homeless shelters in Louisville to find out how to get hungry people fed with a food truck, this last week I got to tell a drug rehab and a youth group about Jesus' longing for their company, and I've been mailing letters, singing God songs, and letting Him shape what He wants my life in America to look like. 
HE IS GOOD.

So, everybody. 
Thank you. 
Each of you who are joining the display of love God is doing in my life, thank you. Your love is helping the homeless and the recovering and the church folks and the nursing home residents and the cashiers to experience the great love of the great God who defeated Hell for all of us. Together, your love and mine, is displaying for many people what Jesus is like--good and right and generous and incredibly interested and  strong and made of love. He is love! He came for everybody! And it's almost Easter! And I'm getting new fake teeth!* By gum. There's so much Good News.
________________________________________

If you're wondering how you can help people know Jesus in a very practical day-to-day sort of way, I've got more good news. That day-to-day making Jesus known is the life I'm living. 
And I need your help.

1. Pray
2. Give
 3. Come 

Pray--Sign up for my prayer e-mail if you'd like to pray with me. 

Give--I'm still living on what people have told me is a "part-time salary." I'm doing the full-time ministry work, so asking God to raise my salary...."my salary" means people who want to be part of what God's doing in my life and send me money every month. My goal is 55% raised.  Give here or mail my mom (aka my accountant).

Come--Oh I love friends and adventuring together. If you want to come with me to preach the Gospel, feed the homeless, or anything else God leads us to do, you're welcome. abbiejean@hotmail.com

Together is God's way and His love shines bright through us. Us.

God's been reminding me who I am and I've been reading through old journals, getting dreams and hopes churned up in me again...


August 14, 2012
Andra Pradesh, India
So I'm buying Joseph a motorcycle today! I say "I'm" like it's my money, but none of its mine. Like I told Sudar today, I'm just a funnel. People have given so much for this venture I'm on, and now I get the awesome job of finding places to put their money. So fun! Since Joseph is literally making disciples of the nations, I thought something to help him "Go" would line right up with the Great Commission. Had plenty of funds to give him $1,100 for a motorcycle, so that's what we're doing today.

We just waltzed in here like royalty and Joseph picked out which one he wanted. I couldn't stop smiling. They keep thanking me and saying things like this; "I can't believe it. I never knew God would send the money through such a little sista." hahaha!  God's rich and He's just looking for generous people to dump His richness on. I never want money to stop at me, I want it to just pass through my hands.


God is good, Jesus is alive, and from Kentucky to India, He loves taking care of us. 
Happy Good Friday, my friends. 





*p.s. I have two bank accounts--ministry and personal. Every month, my ministry pays me a set salary which my board has approved, while the rest stays in the ministry account. Ministry pays for ministry things, while personal pays for personal (like new fake teeth). Just in case you wondered. Ok I love you bye. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

a busy go-getter's guide to sitting still and falling in love

I’m 31. I don’t have a house, a husband, or a car. 

But Wal-Mart was having a sale on Fall-scented candles so I bought 13 pumpkin spices. They make the whole room smell like a bakery in October. It's April but I don't mind. 

“What would it be like to live in my own house? I'd decorate it like a gyspy-farmer-bohemian medley. Why am I not married? I wish I had a car. Why don't I have a car?” 

Then I start wondering how long I’ll be living in America, why I don’t have more control of my thoughts, and how many people liked my last instagram post. There’s so much noise up here.

But then I get a whiff of pumpkin spice and remember the point of life.

God wants our attention.

Whether you've got a hundred houses and a hundred kids or you're more like me, and own some twinkle lights and live out of suitcases and sleep in other people's houses and babysit other people's kids; we've all got the same purpose and the same in-love God leaned over Heaven's balcony, desire flowing out of His heart, singing, 
"I love you and I want you, will you love me back?"

Psychology Today says "paying attention is the most basic form of love."

What are we paying attention to? 
The dream spouse, the dream house, the huge salary, the fame, the right number of friends...why do we let that nonsense noise fill our heads? As I waste my attention on the nonsense, do you know what God is doing? Yes. Leaned over Heaven's balcony, dreaming of my attention to turn to Him.

There’s this terrifying glorious truth—-we get as much of God as we want.  

 The more I pay attention to Him, the more I realize how wonderful He is, and the more I want Him. Frantic nonsense or the Great God who takes the attention we give Him and makes love grow? The choice is ours. 

I have an inside! You have an inside! The reason, the whole big reason, for giving every person an inside--so we can live with Him in here. Oh man. My thoughts--this 24/7 screen called my mind--He wants. 

When my attention gets turned to Him, my insides connect with His and I get to know Him better. He's a mystery that just keeps going and every single discovery about Him is good. Lord help us pay attention to You.  

Running, hard and fast, from person to person, ministry to ministry, country to country--it's been my way. But these pumpkin spice candles burn and I sit here on my gold couch and I remember why I’m alive. No other agenda here. No other priority. Just sitting, slow, talking to my Creator Friend and listening to my Creator Friend talk back to me. Still, de-cluttered, quiet.

I’m not a professional at it yet, but I’m better today than I was yesterday. And let me tell you what else I am more today than I was yesterday--in love. 

The stuff is cultivated here with Him. 

In the sitting, the being enjoyed by Jesus, I'm learning to let Him have my attention. Intimacy is made here, no one else around, in the pumpkin-spice-fragranced-quiet-moments. The living God and me.

And anybody can do this. 
Paying attention to God and falling in love with Him--it's not for only super spiritual holy people who've been to seminary. I wouldn't qualify. 

It's for full-time moms, truck drivers, the immature, school teachers, the brokenhearted, farmers, vagabonds, and everyone else with a heart beating in their chest. If you're breathing air, you are in the category called "Human beings God is in love with." 

You don't have to spend three hours in on-your-knees uninterrupted silence to pay attention to God. Know what counts? 90 seconds. Take 90 seconds--be quiet, tell your mind to chill out, and give God your attention. Anybody can do that. 

He's Emmanuel because He wants to be. To be close to us is His choice, His dream. 

Want to try it right now? Here's a timer. 
He's excited and ready.  



I am Your resting child and my soul is content in You.
-Psalm 131:2


p.s. if you want to help me get a car so I can drive to grocery stores and people to love while I live in America, you may give here. Write "car" in the note. Thank you. 

“The caress of God meets us in a stillness on the inside.”
-Ann Voskamp, 
The Broken Way

Friday, March 15, 2019

being broken: 3 ways I’m finding hope in the middle of it




My skull, my teeth, my lip, my heart--things get broke. 

And now my Swatch watch that cost a good chunk of money from a big mall in Hong Kong. A crack on the bottom of the glass screen, right across the 6. 

The doctors said it was good the way my skull cracked in so many places, it made space for my bleeding brain to swell into. Without the breaks, there wouldn’t have been anywhere for my swelling brain to go.

Maybe the broken places are always supposed to make room for growing?

Our relationships, our dreams, our bones—-we know what broken feels like. All of us.

Naked newborn baby, God, laying in a feeding trough, flies buzzing, smell of manure filling His tiny holy nostrils, crying, “Go ahead and break me, broken world. I’ve come to be broken.”

And we did. 

God walking around with skin on, entered our broken and let us break Him. 

He chose broken. 

Moments before all His best friends betrayed Him, all their sins cut deep into His skin as He bled out onto the earth He made, He took some bread—-and He broke it. 

He said looking at those breaks in the bread, wholeness ripped apart, would remind us of Him. 

He gave them those broken pieces and told them to remember His broken body. They ate it then betrayed Him and He got nailed to wooden beams. 

Broken to death, He made the way for my broken heart to connect to His, latched on, together and brilliant. 

His brokenness is my salvation.

And here we are, with our busted up lives, needing to remember that broken Savior--and needing Him to hold all our pieces. 

You may be broken because of choices you’ve made, or because of choices someone else made that you wish they hadn’t. Either way, I’m sorry. Life is hard and it hurts and we end up in pieces. But there’s hope-filled life in our broken places when we let Jesus have His way. 

I’m a fixer. I just love fixing. Things or people, just let me fix fix fix. I'll take those broken pieces and glue and tape and weld them...I'll take those broken hearts and lecture and pep talk and Scripture them. But fixing isn’t always what’s possible. Or best. 

A seed in the ground, happy and whole, starts tearing apart, broken split right open, roots cutting through into the soil. It’s the only way that little thing can turn into a tree. The life grows from the broken ripped open seed--hidden in the ground. 

A mom’s water breaks, pain comes, and out a baby pushes into the world. 

Broken is the way of new life. Broken is our start. 

Broken is painful, ugly, messy, and I can hardly stand it. Fixing is more fun, more comfortable, more results-like. But the broken seed doesn’t need to be fixed. Staying broke open is the only way it turns into a tree. And me? Guess it’s about the same. Broke open is the way God makes room for life and through the hurting confusion mess, I trust Him.

Every thriving corn field, every green forest, every life-filled flower garden — they’re all living because a bunch of seeds fell to the ground and broke. 

Inside of Him is the willingness to stoop down, scoop me up, and meet the deepest broken inside of me. 

He picks up all my broken pieces--not blaming me or mad at me or questioning me--and holds all of them close. Here, in His big Arms, loved, I remember—-this is why I’m alive. 

God’s not looking for perfect performers. He’s lookin for honest and broken open and latched onto Him in desperation. I qualify. 

Three things I'm finding helpful to keep doing with my broken: 

1. I keep reading the Psalms.
David was broken. And he handled his brokenness well, in continual dialogue with God. I’m learning. 

2. I keep talking to friends. 
Being honest and showing them my broken heart is part of God’s healing process. 

3. I keep leaning. 
Jesus is jealous. Like, He wants all I am, all the time. Leaning into Him and listening to His love, it’s the most satisfaction my broken heart has ever found. 

He loves us. 


“It has always seemed to me that broken things, just like broken people, get used more; it’s probably because God has more pieces to work with.”
- Bob Goff


Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 
-John 12:24 

He was despised and rejected by mankind, 
a Man of suffering and familiar with pain. 
Surely He bore our suffering, 
yet we considered Him punished by God, 
stricken by Him, and afflicted. 
But He was pierced for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, 
and by His wounds we are healed. 
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 
-Isaiah 53:3-6 

Friday, March 1, 2019

dear tired heart, it's ok to rest

My hair's the size of a house and I keep sitting on my gold couch. 

Man there’s a lot to do. But when the God with skin sat in a living room and told his hard-working host that there’s only one thing in life that’s important? To sit still, right in front of Him.*
 Oh my. Why have we gotten so busy? And what are we doing? 

I have tried to get it all done. All of it. The loving, the be-friending, the going, the doing, the entertaining, the impressing-then to sleep only to start over again at the alarm’s cry in the morning.

But I’m tired. 

And what about all the places that should be together but are broken? 

Jesus, what are You saying? 
I’m leaning in and it’s finally gettin quiet enough to hear Him in the deeper places I’d been ignoring with loud busy noise. 

“I love you. Rest.”

Eye contact is a slow activity. And warming up by a fire when you’re freezing takes time. Moments pass—you’re not sure when it happened exactly but now your toes are thawed and the warm you feel is friendly. 

The eyes I'm looking into—the time it takes to settle in and see them—they are like fire.* Jesus is God and He wants us to look at Him. And we can. 

The no’s I need to say to the millions of distractions, the time alone I’ll fight for—of course. Anything for this eye contact with fire. With desire I was made for. Looking at Him lets the bogged down heart feel light again. 

Am I nice enough? Generous enough? Holy enough? Clever enough? Good enough? And do I have enough friends? 

God’s asking me to slow down, and I’m asking Him to help. Looking away from my phone: Oh God, I’d rather see You. The silence starts to come and my mind starts to clear: He pulls me closer and my heart rests and hears—love that’s jealous. And He's made me good enough.  

My time, attention, affections: I’ll stop all I’m doing in the middle of my life, curl up next to God and breathe. The fire thaws me out and the warmth is friendly. 

My time, attention, affections: You can have me, Maker Savior Lover Friend. All of me. 

More than He wants me to work hard, He wants my company. 

It’s ok if no one is impressed. I’ll lay here happy and warm. Fire eyes lookin into mine. What if I weren’t in a hurry to leave? What if this moment of stillness with Him mattered more than all my to-do lists? It does. 

I don’t like counting. But I looked through the past decade and I counted—how many times have I moved? 

Age 21: from the dorm room with my Japanese roommate into my sister’s basement with the washer and dryer 
Age 22: from my sister’s basement to my grandma’s rent house in the middle of my hometown 
Age 23: a 2-month stay in those cabins in Michigan at a camp for kids from the inner city 
Age 24: a 2-month stay in a children’s home in southern India, surrounded by 70 kids, a mile from the Indian Ocean 
Age 24: a 3-week stay in the hospital in Bangkok, Thailand as God healed my injured head (not exactly a move but...)
Age 24 (it was a full year): with a confused memory and too skinny but recovering body-from my grandma’s rent house to my parent's basement 
Age 25: a 2-month stay with my friends in India
Age 25: a 2-month stay with people helping kids in northern Thailand, with a couple of those weeks spent with kids in Mynamar
Age 26: from my parents basement to my other sister’s basement 
Age 27: from my other sister’s basement to Hong Kong- into my boss’ 75-story apartment complex for six months
Age 27: from Hong Kong back into my parent’s basement  
Age 28: from my parent’s basement to Pemba, Mozambique—a house with 12 ladies from England, Germany, South Africa, Hong Kong, India, Brazil, and America 
Age 28: from Pemba, Mozambique to a safe house in Hong Kong
Age 29: from a safe house in Hong Kong with our African roommates, to a bigger safe house —it was raining hard on moving day
Age 30: from that Hong Kong safe house to my parent’s basement 
Age 31: from my parent’s basement to my sister’s spare bedroom-across the hall from her kids 

16. Including the head injury hospital visit. Braided into the 16 moves were flights to many countries with the Gospel and a jillion new friends. 

It’s been a wild wonderful decade. To see what the next one holds...I’m excited...

But I want to hold still for a little bit. 

He likes us when we rest the same amount as when we work hard. I'm learning to believe that.  

Are you tired? You can talk to Him about it, and you can accept His invitation to rest. 




*His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns
-Revelation 19:12

*"But only one thing is needed, Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.”
-Jesus
Luke 10:42