Lose my Life (my perfection) to Find It

I was plowing through old snippets, journal jots and tiddles and half notes to someone at sometime, when I came across this. Funny, no, awesome, how perfect God’s timing is to resurrect old lessons He’s taught and gently remind me.

Hope it brightens your heart today too:

To a Friend,

I completely agree and just this morning God was quickening my heart to this truth. You know Jesus says in Matt. 10:39 that we must lose our lives to find it. I have been mulling that over thinking: I must “lose” my fake happy, my artificial perfect (my attempts to create a perfect body or perfect diet or control my world) in order to find true happiness–true joy. We cannot grasp the real LIFE of Christ while our fists are tightly clinging to a poor substitute.

In the Greek, the word lose can be translated: render useless. I have to render useless all my “perfect” happy. And that may cost me something, it will cost me my control, my eating disorder identity and many other things. But, it WILL find abundant life that Christ gives me!

What’s In A Name?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my sisters are popping out babies fast enough to exhaust the alphabet this year. Names and all their meanings have been on my mind, lately.

Names have always been associated with identity. Native Americans are the most obvious example, naming their children after the seasons in which they were born or aspirations for them to grow into great hunters.

It’s seen over and over in the Bible, too. Jacob’s name meant “deceiver”, and he lived up to it. When he was a young man, he collaborated with his mother to deceive his blind father into giving him the greatest portion of the inheritance and the birthright that belonged to his older brother.

Our names define us. They single us out in a crowd, they identify us for all kinds of legal procedures; they designate our legacies long after we’re gone. So it’s not surprising that in the Bible, when God did big things in someone’s He often changed their name. Jacob is a perfect example.

Giving someone a name is a sign of intimacy. Though not a legal procedure, as people become close and develop a unique relationship, it’s not uncommon for them to bestow nicknames on each other. Sometimes, that nickname takes over and forms the identity of one person to another and no one else can use that special title.

Think of a father who named his daughter in the birthing room. But as she aged, they bonded over daddy-daughter dates, popsicles and fishing. Now, he calls her something new, a name with special significance, something no one else understands, something no else can say. When she hears that name, she instantly knows the one who summons her, and she runs into his arms.

Revelation 2:17 says, “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”

I think that’s our Heavenly Father’s promise of a greater intimacy with Him than we have ever known. His love for us and knowledge of us far surpasses any human relationship. And one day, He will whisper that precious nickname that He has called you from the very start.

Cause of Christ

I am contemplating causes.

Those things which clamor for commitment,

Constrain us to sacrifice for their worthiness.

 

Cancer has drafted the voices of millions.

Nearly everyone has a someone who has tasted of its dregs

And come up, if fortunate enough, forever changed by the bitterness of the disease.

It is broadcast from billboards and bumpers and tattooed on bodies.

It is touted from television and telethons.

It has been walked-for and Made-a-Wish for.

And millions declare this cause their anthem.

 

Cancer is a cause because it alters all that’s as it should be.

And we hate it for that.

Cancer is not greeting the sunrise with a steady stomach and

firm constitution.

Cancer is not combing swishy ponytails,

Not relishing long walks,

Not having a voice or controlling the bladder.

Cancer is not having conviction of tomorrow,

Not nursing a newborn.

Cancer is not caressing the smooth flesh of a lover’s breast.

Cancer is not life as it should be.

 

Causes are taken up for holiness of all that’s as it should be.

Causes are the human call for restoration of right.

Causes ought to be Christ.

 

How can I call Christ a cause?

How can He be all that should be, if He isn’t all that is?

How can I take up a cause for the establishment of

something that is not yet,

And how can I be sure that Christ, the consummation of that which is not seen

Is really as it should be?

 

Christ contains all that we do know as it should be

And scatters it through a kaleidoscope.

He takes all that really is, refracting and reflecting ordinary

Through the lens of Himself and like cancer

Creates what is not.

But unlike cancer, Christ creates

All that is bigger, radiant and full of glory.

 

In our world, Christ is a cause because

He makes martyrs who do not slay themselves.

He is the Book which has not settled in grooves

On dusty shelves.

After centuries, Jesus is not irrelevant

As is normal for all names attached to dust-men.

His years were pocked with things not as they should be,

Things which are not now –

Blind men seeing, dead men walking, un-hands reaching.

He is things not as are in the confines of human intellect –

Fishermen teaching, murderers weeping then preaching.

He is redwoods from seeds no larger than a cherry,

Wings from a sticky chrysalis.

He is hearts that beat insatiably through decades and disasters.

 

Christian!

Where is your voice for the Cause?

Where is your anthem for Christ?

 

For His cause, His utterly other worldly cause

Consumes death,

Unlike all things as they seem – confined by years.

Christian, your Cause consumes all others.

Your Cause constrains you to declare it

Not only on bumpers and billboards, or bodies

Not only on television, telethons

Walks and wishes,

 

But in action and deed,

In expression and smile.

In small hand and sweaty backs,

In silence and solidarity.

In doing all things unlike as they are,

But all things, as they should be

As the Christ, whose Cause you carry.

 

(This poem is in no way intended to minimize the valiant efforts of all who have taken up a cure for cancer as their personal cause. It is only meant to draw attention to the fact that as a whole, we make a greater deal about something that steals lives than about the One God who promises eternal life.)

A Prayer for Syria

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Abba,

We come to you in acknowledgment of, and deeply happy for your sovereignty. How frightening this world would be, our individual lives, if we were not fully persuaded of your mercy, everlasting loving kindness and unsurpassed power.

Oh Lord, we highly honor you; we praise your name. You have done miraculous things. You have been completely reliable in carrying out your plans from long ago.

Even from the threshold of your throne room, Father, I plead for those who do not yet know of your goodness, who are not familiar with your face. For those who are reading this, whose hearts are whispering prayers to an unknown god, I ask you to reveal yourself. Open their eyes to the complexity of your character, so that they can find rest and quietness for their souls, even as our world swirls with chaos.

You have turned cities into ruins, fortified cities into piles of rubble, and foreigners’ palaces into cities that will never be rebuilt That is why strong people will honor you, and cities ruled by the world’s tyrants fear you. 

Lord, I pray your word over those in Syria and throughout the world, who hope to wake each morning and who tuck their children in at night, praying at least for painless death. I ask you to comfort them because we know that there is no god besides you, there is no leader or world power that can stand against you.

You silence the song of tyrants, like heat that is reduced by the shadow of a cloud. 

Father, we confess that death scares us. Death looms low over our soldiers and over even the defenseless women and children of Syria. But death is no match for you.

You will swallow up death forever. The Almighty Lord will wipe away tears from every face, and he will remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. 

We will say loudly, with confidence and trust, “This is our God; we have waited for Him, and now He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad because He will save us.”

Lord for centuries, nations have desired peace and found it elusive. We have built armies and written treaties. We have stashed weapons and called for truces. We have held peace talks and lied to the faces of our friends. Lord, we confess that we cannot manufacture peace. But…

You will establish peace for us, since you have done everything for us. O Lord, our God,  we have allowed other idols to rule over us, but today we acknowledge You Alone. 

We pray in the sovereign name of The Prince of Peace, Jesus, Amen

Receiving, Re-gifting Life

[Re-posted from Finding Balance]Brave for FB

My dog Brave and I volunteer at a nursing home with an organization called Pet Partners. He has an uncanny way of making even the sternest face brighten. Frustrated, puckered expressions relax when he wags his tail like a dust mop over a patient’s knees. I love to watch wrinkled hands cup his furry face and touch noses with him. Brave, like many dogs spreads life like a contagious, happy disease.

Just last week, an elderly woman asked me if I really intended to keep Brave. She said it wasn’t fair, because she needed him. Laughing, I told her, yes, I plan on keeping him, then pulled my beloved puppy into my chest. She has no idea how much I need him. In more than one way, he saved my life.

One of the reasons that Brave and I got involved in pet therapy visits is because of the role Brave played in my recovery from anorexia. I had been a compulsive, long distance runner for several years and despite the advice of counselors and nutritionists, I felt physically unable to relinquish the addiction.

Lies rambled nonstop through my head, “If you don’t run as many miles as you did last week, you’ll be fat by the time you wake up tomorrow.”

When I got Brave, he was only five pounds; there was no way he could manage to keep up on my runs. But he did need exercise and I felt magnetically drawn to spend every spare minute with this little bundle of life. Almost over night, and almost unintentionally, I reduced my runs to leisurely walks. And guess what? I didn’t get fat!

By the time Brave came to live with me, I’d been in and out of vicious battles with anorexia for fifteen years. My family and my husband were tired, exhausted from the strain of worry and frustrated by their inability to help me get well.

I’m walking in health now, but I still struggle sometimes. And to this day, Brave never tires of my occasional tears or a lingering irrational fear of food.

One of the most surprising ways that Brave has helped me recover is simply in the fact that I have to feed him. At first I was paranoid that I might feed him too much. I hated the thought of owning a fat dog. Suddenly, I realized I was projecting my own fear onto my dog and I could see with clarity that going hungry could hurt him, even kill him, something I had a hard time believing about myself.

More than once, as dogs will do, Brave has found his way into the cat food or a patient at the nursing home has given him her whole lunch. On those days, his little sides are distended, but he seems unaffected by the momentary experience of fulness. Within a day, his stomach recedes to its normal boundaries and his happy life goes on. To think that being full is not the end of the world!

I’ve taken so many lessons from my four-legged friend. Yes, I’m thrilled to share his encouragement with others, but I’m fully aware of the gift God has given me in this little dog. I’m grateful, and I intend to keep him.

RELATED:

Life Lessons from Callie, by Gina Paris

Moving Toward Balance, Healthy Goals

Managing Depression, video resource

Life Lessons From Callie

Partially reposted and linked from Finding Balance:

I have already learned a lot from Callie, the newest member of our family.

I was having a hard time after my grandma died and I really wanted a cat. I had been praying for one for 5 years, but I live with my mom so the answer was always no. I however kept praying, believing God would bring me one. I had no idea that the cat he would give me would be one I needed badly to teach me lessons I need to learn.

You can read the rest of Gina Paris’s post here…

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Consuming Eternity

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I hustle and rest,
I try my best
To place you in the center.
Then find my heart in barren winter.
How with such pure effort,
Can I not comport
My self in righteousness,
Shaded by your holiness?

How do I find myself excavated
All my energies relegated
To survival, to clinging to shreds
Of dignity, goodness and holy fruit?

Like a thirsty tree thrusting branches higher,
When clean deep trenches gush with water.
I clamor for refreshment in obvious places,
Ignorant of your ready, near, abundant graces.

You are not far!
Though you hung the stars.
You never cleave,
Call me to cleave.
If I could but wrest away
My hands from briefer things.
Then part with time,
Spread these dormant wings,
And live this day, in its place
On the timeline of eternity.