A Prayer to Say Yes.

Oh Lord, you have orchestrated all of my beginnings. You've taken account of all my wandering. My hands have wildly flapped open and shut to the mystery you sustain us on. I believe, but help my unbelief. Has there been a more honest prayer? God, meet me in my dark places. Help me put these pieces together to see the masterpiece you designed before the foundation of the world.

Give me grace to take one step at a time, even when I don't yet see where you are leading. Be the lamp unto my feet when the world seems dark and my heart lacks direction. Help me to remember that even when you call me out of my comfort zone, that I am always with the Comforter.

Help me to open my arms and my heart wide to say yes. Help me to run the course of your commandments, knowing that no matter what comes in this life, that you are truly working all things together for my good and for your glory, and may there be no room in my life for fear and anxiety.

Teach me to number my days, and to count all things joy, even when I'm tired and the last thing that I want to do is take on what feels like another burden. Help me to remember that your burden is light. Give me the strength to honor you, even in the hard times. Give me wisdom, give me peace.

Help me to not seek to win the affections of others, but to live each moment in fierce pursuit of your glory, knowing that nothing can separate me from the love that you created me for. You went to the ends of the earth to win my heart and to prove that you are for me. I want to be passionately, desperately seeking your heart.

Help me to go in the strength that I have into a world that is dark and proclaim that you are the hope.

Give me grace to be the light of Christ, and to wash the feet of those who are in pain. Consecrate my life as one of service to your kingdom.

Help me to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and help my thoughts to center around what is true and honorable and pure and lovely and of good repute.

In all things, search me, Lord. Know my ever anxious thoughts, and if there be any offensive way in me, break me and create me clean.

I'm saying yes,  inviting you to change my life all over again.

In Jesus' name, so be it.

A Life Spent Creating

“Art, really, is never about applause. It is about coming to an altar. Its about laying it down for God to choose what He does with it.” -- Ann Voskamp

From the time we are small, we are creative. We build architectural masterpieces with blocks and paint Starry Nights and Mona Lisa’s with our fingers. We’re born that way, with ingenuity and interest. We come into the world with the desire to study everything from the minute to the majestic, all things bright and beautiful. We grow up to affect culture. And this intrinsic curiosity is no accident. When the Godhead spoke of our existence, they said “let us make man in our image,” meaning that we were fashioned to take on the very form of the divine Creative.  This desire to make and craft and build dates back to the beginning of time, and its purpose is to draw us to the Source of our being.

In the beginning, our creativity was solely inspired by God. But the slithering, hissing serpent had something to say about that, and after the Fall, our entire motivation shifted from bringing glory to the Lord to bringing glory to ourselves. Satan knew that if he could succeed at controlling how we view ourselves, he would find a way to destroy everything.

Whether we choose to believe it about ourselves or not, our lives are still very much about art: a lover’s knowing glance, singing our babies to sleep, creating and presenting business proposals, excelling in sports, decorating a space, cooking the perfect eggplant parmesan.  Every moment of our lives, our very day to day, is art. Which means every moment is an opportunity to meet God, and bring Him glory.

Having grown up in church, I thought I was fairly familiar with the concept of altars. I had heard the stories, at least. In the Old Testament, the Israelites built altars on which to sacrifice the best of their livestock in order to atone for their sins. Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son he had longed for, and at the last moment, the Lord provided a lamb to be bled out in his place. Elijah, proving to the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel that Yahweh was the one true God, and so on. Even if you have no experience with the church whatsoever, it is likely that you’ve at least heard of these stories. As such, they’re all well and good. But as my faith grew, I began to wonder how altars translated to my life, much removed from the times written about in scripture. How does this tower of stones, however metaphorical now, grow a faith and a relationship with Christ? Moreover, how can altar building be practiced in the middle of the seemingly mundane everyday?

I don’t have to tell you that life is often messy, chaotic, and sometimes painful. Surely, there are moments when we doubt if we have the strength to make it another day. But I believe that if we come to understand the altar, we can discover a life of peace and joy and gratitude and security.

For as long as I can remember, even before I realized what was happening, words have been my personal, primary way to meet with the Lord. Before I truly grasped that God could be encountered outside the four walls of a church, and that faith was far more expansive than what song or sermon could contain, I knew words. I journaled throughout middle and high school, and began blogging with intent in college. Words were my source of comfort in trying times, and I found that they were also a means of connecting with the people around me. And I've found that as my faith has deepened, so has my capacity for expression.

The primary definition of the altar has always been the place at which we encounter God. I pray that as you read these chapters, you would discover your own ground on which to meet with the Lord, and not only that you begin to see the art of your life, but that you fall in love with the Artist whose image you bear.

Coming to the AltarLinking up with The Nester and a host of other amazing bloggers for {31 Days}.