Resting in uncharted territory. {Scripture for the 2014 journey.}

psalm1162Three hundred and sixty-five days lie ahead in 2014. Its a new chapter, a new opportunity to respond well to the truth of the gospel. But of course, no one really knows what these days will bring, and that lack of knowledge can be daunting. 2013, in all of its glory, was also a year that, for me, was marred by anxiety.

In the midst of it all, I was thrilled by the congruence of scripture. Perhaps that idea is elementary, but for me, it became revolutionary. I fell in love with the Word afresh and anew in 2013. I came to understand what it means to hide the Word in my heart. In Proverbs, scripture speaks of writing the Word of the Lord on the tablet of our hearts so that we will not stray.

This space, my writing, has ultimately become a note to self -- a reminder of sorts of the faithfulness of God. When life seems tumultuous, this is where I come, with my Bible and a cup of tea -- to whisper His love over and over. The white space, silent like a prayer closet, waits patiently for me to wander in with my words. And as I look back over the past twelve months of blogging, I see just how much the Lord has used 2013 and this place to mold me.

I wonder, was my choice to be anxious so much of the time really me trying to test Him? Have I only been dipping my toes into the pool of faith?

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there will be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. -- Malachi 3:10-12 (NIV)

Its no secret: its hard to offer up our whole selves. Especially when we cannot see or touch Him. But even seeing and touching us didn't make it any easier for Jesus to offer up his life in our stead. Yet he said "not my will, but Yours." 

Oh, Love. Mercy, find me when I struggle to live out the Image.

The nations will call me blessed when I surrender to Him, the God who knows everything I need and desires to give me even more out of His goodness. And that goodness is constant. He does not change or falter. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And He is the author, the perfecter: love incarnate.

He is before all things. What do I have to fear? This, this is how our souls find rest.

 Linking up with a host of beautiful people from all over the world for OneWord365. Have you chosen a word to focus on in 2014? Share it in the comments below! 

When you have to trust God... again.

My dad has worked his whole life to make things better. He takes care of people. There was never a night that I stayed out too late that he was not awake, waiting for me. He never fails to ask what he can do for someone else, whether it be picking up frozen peas for my roommate or remodeling a house for a pastor. He shows up every time. This is who he is. I get this from him… this need to take care of things. And at twenty-two years old, I am learning how to be responsible.

Sometimes, If I am not worried, I fear I am failing to take care of things and be responsible. So I worry a lot. To the point of tears and paralysis, often.

How can we possibly survive living paycheck to paycheck, feeling like there is never enough oil in our jars, the summer my brother’s car broke down, I had to balance my bill for college in order to graduate… the winter my dad lost his job at home and I had a hundred and four degree flu at school and I was too afraid to tell him because I knew he would worry because that’s what he does.

How do we make it when it feels like the world has rolled on top of us and this time its going to be different, you’re so sure that you won’t make it. When I’m exhausted, and just want to be finished because I don’t know if I’ll survive another day of this uncertainty and things falling apart.

And it doesn’t seem to ever stop. I can’t get Simon Bolivar’s last words out of my head: “damn it, how will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”

When you reach the light at the end of this tunnel, you know it will scorch you, leave you gasping, and its all a cruel trick because there are always more lines you have to cross and hoops you have to jump through just to get through the day. The mornings you wake up tired and it takes every ounce of courage to get out of bed and face whatever is waiting for you on the other side of your bedroom door.

I have a lot of those mornings. More than I care to count. The devil lures me into fear and then laughs at me, making me feel like a complete and total failure when I give in.

I need to get it together, I tell myself.

But what I really need is to grab onto grace sufficient for my weakness.

To sing in faith: I will not fear the war. I will not fear the storm, my help is on the way. 

Even if I have to sing through tears, curled up on the floor. To finally breathe, calmed by the measures, by the repeating of scripture over and over and over again.

Because when you breathe panic, there is no way to be filled. Chest rises and falls out of control and its just so fast and you barely receive any oxygen that way.

You must come empty to the altar. Because the God who spoke into the chaos of darkness brought about a living, breathing world, all for the sake of loving it. He is before all things, and in Him, everything is held together.

When I lack faith, He is faithful. He who has promised is faithful.

He sustains me because he loves me. And surely He knows what I need before I ask. So I allow myself to breathe in slow the mercy. The grace that never leaves me where it found me, because He who began this work will be faithful to bring it to completion.

Shalom, selah.