Tuesday, March 30, 2010

So Much More

First of all.... HAPPY 100th POST TO ME!!!
There are times its important to celebrate whatever little things you can.

Because this is such a momentumental post, it couldn't be just about anything. Right before the beginning of the year, I decided to declare this year - 2010 - the year of "so much more."
So for post #100 I thought I would look back on the last 3 months and share some of my "so much more" thus far this year.

The new year started with me bringing in a whole lot less of the negative, uneccesary and no-no's. Almost immediately I experienced so much more understanding, love, strength, peace and the presence of God.

Several new friends have come into my life of varying degrees. The love they show me is so much more than I ever expected or often feel I deserve. These relationships feed my soul and push me closer to God in greater ways. I am able to love them so much more. Many of these friends I have been blessed with meeting face to face and it has been an incredible experience.

I have been so much more social and carefree than the last couple of years had seen. Many years ago, one of my roomates would always tell me to go put in pigtails and be "Tia" whenever I would get to overly concerned with something. This year... pigtails have not been necessary (although I will still wear them cause I can and they make me look young and cute).

I am understanding my purpose in life so much more. Knowing it brings joy and contentment to the everyday grind. My soul has swelled to heights and depths it has never reached before. With that I have also been priveldged to carry and feel much more pain. But I know, even that will serve its purpose and lead to so much more good as well.

And a very special friendship has led to so much more, I don't even have words. But my heart is stretching to treasure all the things God has orchestrated on this journey for how ever long our paths should travel the same direction.

Most importantly, life has just been filled with so much more of God and just basking in His love and presence here with me as I walk, run, trip and crawl my way through life.

The year is young, there is still so much more to come....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Onward Christian Soldiers

I’ve had this image in my head for a couple weeks now of standing near the edge of a cliff.

Just a little background – I do not like heights. My pulse races standing on a step stool. Also, not a fan of the freefall feeling where your stomach lurches into your throat and then slams back down… yeah… not so much.

But here I am on this proverbial cliff and God wants me to jump off. And little by little He’s been inching me closer to the edge. My big toe is just slightly hanging over. He pushes a little more… Now the front half of my feet are off. Balance is getting harder to maintain.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to just let go. Let go of my words, my thoughts and feelings without weighing them and calculating all possible outcomes first. There is a constant editor in my head. But I’m trying to keep myself calm, knowing at some point I am going off the edge of this cliff. And like the words from the song Wild Horses:

All I want is the wind in my hair
To face the fear but, not feel scared

Then over the edge I went.

Unexpectedly, it was right into a deep dark pit. I haven't felt evil that strong around me in such a long time. My stomach felt upended and I was tired. I knew I was in a weakened state in that sense. I left work to go home, hoping to sleep. Sleep never came and as each hour passed I became more and more agitated and restless. Felt like I was tied down, blindfolded and gagged. I fought on my own as long as I could. As much as I wanted and didn't want to at the same time... I reached out the only place I knew I could. But I felt so disconnected. She seemed a million miles away in ways much worse than miles. It all felt cold. And my icy heart shivered, burying itself deeper into despair. I felt utterly alone. Flashing thoughts of self-destruction and twisted scenes dotted the very little I could think. There was a strong pull towards the pit of hell and I was afraid.

There are a few musicians whose music I can put on and the music itself does battle on my behalf. Jason Upton is one such artist. There are parts that sound like the voice of the Spirit to me. Like David's music soothed Saul and sent the tormenting spirits away, I knew this is where I needed to turn for relief. Listening to these words...

Sometimes we feel so afraid
Sometimes we feel so lonely
Sometimes we feel confused
Sometimes we feel so helpless
And we don't know what to do

it's so hard to believe it
if we never heard it
the voice of a father saying your name

You're not alone
You're not alone
I'll never leave you
I'll never leave you alone

The storm passed… God had kept watch and she had joined Him. Listening and praying, even miles away. Knowing the battle was fierce and reinforcements were necessary. The weight lifted, calm returned and finally sleep found me.

At the time I didn’t understand why this was happening. Why such an assault? While out walking with a friend, I began to understand. Of course I would be trusting God and praying very bold prayers while things were sweet and He felt so close. It was as if He let me fall off the cliff into the pit to say… “Tia, will you still trust me here in the dark? Here in the confusion and pain? Or will you choose your old methods of coping; the ones of your own fashioning that have no power? You’ve been training, now show me what you’ve learned…”

Onward Christian soldiers…. I know there is still so much more to be learned…

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moses and Me

Can we talk Moses a little bit?

I’m not sure I really understood him until recently. He’s always just kind of been this superhero with a bad past character, who ultimately blows it right at the end. But in between all that…. He spoke with and saw God!

God knew what He was going to use Moses to deliver the Israelites and I think Moses had an inkling of that long before he was commissioned through the Burning Bush. It was the sense of injustice that welled up causing him to kill an Egyptian. Quickly followed by doubt, fear and running. Oh yeah… I can relate to that part.

Several years ago, I had a very close friend who unfortunately had to trudge through some very hard things I didn’t understand and couldn’t really relate to. Still, because I loved her, I was armed and ready to slay the enemy, put out fires, carry her crosses each and every one. Only problem was I hadn’t been commissioned yet. I felt the emotions and went forward guns a-blazing and in the process managed to do more damage to our relationship that anything else. When that ended… I ran for the hills to hide in safer fields of keeping people away.

I knew that God had a calling of this sort on my life, but it wasn’t time yet. I still had training and preparation that needed to be completed. I am just now beginning to see it this way.

Once Moses was following God instead of darting out in front, he was unstoppable. And God granted him such closeness and intimacy. Moses dwelled in the presence of God. Many times, scripture tells us how he went into the cloud and stayed. These past few months of my life, things have been changing. I have been deeper into that cloud than I think I’ve ever been and I am beginning to see Moses less as a story character and more like a man who just dwelled so close to God, it became easy to trust. Strike a rock for water? Why not? Cross a raging river? Ah… we’ve seen it before. No big deal…

I have taken off my sandals and allowed my feet to touch hallowed ground. I have tentatively put my foot into the Jordan River and watched as the waters part. I am listening more intensely to the nuances of my Father’s voice and there is less questioning of whether it is Him speaking. It’s addicting and intoxicating and strangely overwhelming at times. And yet, I have never felt so alive and full of love and joy. I have never been so sure of the kingdom purposes laid out for me before my birth.

Now, when the call comes and the enemy is beating hard at the door of someone I love. I know whose strength I stand on. I pick up my sword and shield and run in behind the banner of Love…this battle belongs to the Lord.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Be Like Snow

Last weekend I had spiritual cabin fever. The kind where you pray and it feels as if your prayers hit the ceiling and whack you right back in the head. I was restless and frustrated and just about sick of myself.

Since the outdoors have a much higher ceiling, it was demanded suggested that I go out for a prayer walk. Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day – one of the first hope-for-spring kind. I attempted to dress appropriately and set off down the road and into the park. About a quarter mile away I reach the fork in the road. Usually I know which way I will choose because I go the opposite of the last time, but this day I had to make a decision. A few days earlier I had taken the path to the left. I knew it was cleared and would have few people on it. The path to the right would be much more populated, especially on this warm sunny day, which could be a little strange as I was going to pray out loud. I decided to head right anyway. Down under the freeway and I reach a small ice rink. The entire path under the bridge is a sheet of ice, but I press on…

I emerge on the other side to discover the path still snow covered, packed down and not the best for walking. I forgot they use the path for cross-country skiing in the winter! Should have thought about it sooner and gone and rented skis. At a much more cautious pace, since there are greater things at stake, I press on…

Mostly I am staring at my feet and the path as I walk. Trying not to break my ankle. The bright light is reflecting off the white snow and ice and I think to myself… there must be a lesson in this. It comes to me in little bites throughout the afternoon.

Life is like that path. Sometimes the season provides a clear path for running with few obstacles. But in other seasons, we must slow down and be careful of our step. The way can be dangerous and slippery. And I press on…

God may put those obstacles in our way to get us to slow down. Sometimes I am so busy trying to “get” to the next thing, or the end of the journey that I miss out on what I could have had if I had staying in that place for a bit. I may hear God’s voice speaking to me, but I miss the end because I’m already down the road before He’s done. It may be un-American or un-human to slow down, but it isn’t un-godly. How much have I missed out on? I can just hear God saying, “We’ll have to try that one again some other time.”

I stop and wait…

It takes trust to face your fears even when logically you are aware there is nothing to fear. And sometimes the best you can do your first time out is take a few steps out onto the frozen pond before turning back. But next time, you might just walk across the whole lake – frozen or not.

I want to be like snow. Pure and white. Transparent. Solid and yet able to melt at a touch, turned into water and poured out to help aid life and growth. It’s a prayer that sounds pretty, but the fulfillment of will cause much stretching, pruning, pounding, and other uncomfortable things. I fully admit I tend to be a little (or more) stubborn at times. I begin to press in…

Sometimes after just a little while with Daddy you can feel like leaping, spinning in circles or sliding across a frozen mirror, pressing the darkness out.

Two and half hours later, sun-kissed, peaceful and a little weary I returned home. Grateful that God would take such time and care to spend the afternoon walking with me through his creation. Blessed time spent in the betweens.