Thursday, June 24, 2010

letters to God

i have suddenly fallen in love with the art of letter writing again. there is something about a handwritten note that comes in the mail that is just so amazing. i’m not sure what part of it i love the most, the fact that someone thought of me and took time to write or that the mailman realizes i’m a big deal in someone’s life because they sent me a letter.

i remember in middle school - before email, instant messaging, and texts were all the rage – a close friend and i would write notes back and forth several times throughout the day. we would draw cute little borders and pictures that would make each other laugh on the edges and fill the page with lots of thoughts that were meant only for the other to see. now, just eight short years later it’s about the communications that are much more convenient than letters. emails, texts, and instant messages are the new way to let someone know you care in a much simpler, quicker way. you can type them, there’s no charge to send, and they arrive within seconds. however, these digital communications don’t have the beautiful scrawl of your loved ones or the scribbled out mess-ups of a younger sibling. a handwritten note is the diamond of written communication.

now, a journal has never been the thing for me. i have no desire to write to a book about my days. but there is something so cathartic about writing a letter to God every once in a while to let Him know your heart and to create a little reminder to you about the big moments in your faith. i never liked feeling like i had to write every day… or every other day (something my mom is soooo good at!), but instead have found it helpful to my faith to look at my notebook and realize there are bimonthly letters to God. some are sad and pleading for His help, others are reminders to myself about my lacking in some area while strong in others, and still more talk about my loved ones. but the one thing that’s the same in all of them, i’m speaking, very honestly, with my God.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” –Philippians 4:8

what do you have to bring to God? it doesn’t have to be a letter like Paul wrote to Galatians with all kinds of biblical knowledge, but rather a note of honesty, of pure heart. show God you long to be thinking on the things of Him despite the fact that you haven’t in the past. you don’t have to worry about impressing God with everything that you know about His word… why? because compared to Him you know nothing!

“Boast no more so very proudly,

Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;

For the Lord is a God of knowledge,

And with Him actions are weighed. -1 Samuel 2:3

God speaks about the vastness of His own knowledge throughout the bible, but in 1 Samuel 2:3 he lays it out straight, “the Lord is a God of knowledge”. boom. we get it…. or do we?

my favorite passage to look at in my notes talks about the amazing faith of the people in my life – the immeasurable strength of my father’s, the curiosity and longing of my mother’s, the ever worshipping faith of my brother’s, the child’s faith of my baby brother’s, the new, yet intellectual faith of my boyfriend’s – and then i refer to my faith… i say to God it’s dried up and hungry, but I’m letting it stay that way, God. i don’t feel like i even have the energy to fix it. God read those words too, and He fixed it. He took the cup of life and filled my little heart until i sought out His word like a traveler in the desert seeking water.

verbal or silent mental prayer is much like email. it is soooo much more efficient and easier to use than writing things out. but when you handwrite a letter to God, when you put your thoughts and words on paper, you create a permanent record of your prayers rather than a fleeting thought. use a letter to God to renew your communications with Him. write your prayer out on a paper and keep it somewhere safe. then, in a couple months, look back and enjoy the answers to those written prayers.

song of the day:

you give me hope - between the trees

this song is on the movie letters to God soundtrack. it reminds me that He is here to give hope and i need to be keeping my eyes open and concentrated on all of the little rays of hope shining down from Him above. rays that could so easily be missed but are sent specifically me by my Father in heaven who loves me most.

the singer says, "you give me hope in spite of everything. you show me love even with so much pain. so i'll take this life and live like i was given another try." amen. He gives us hope. He love us. so, we will take our lives and live like He has given us another try.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

yummy in my tummy

i have been watching my weight and what i eat lots lately. i have become very conscientious about how much i eat and how much i work out... but instead of learning a lot about myself and getting thin i have, once again, had my eyes refocused on my oh-so-good God.

i really love m&ms, chips and salsa, and iced tea with no sweetener. i mean i love them. if they could be a well-balanced meal i'd be such a happy girl. however, too many m&ms and too many chips with salsa make my tummy really upset. i have realized that it doesn't take much to go from just enough to too much and for a tummy ache to quickly set in.

in Phillipians 3:19, God warns against overindulgence:
"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."

the iced tea is, luckily, a healthy choice and i don't have problems with an upset stomach due to over-ingestion. God is much like iced tea. He is good for you, He has elements critical to life (like tea has water), He's just being Him and not trying to be too sweet (in other words, He's all natural and has no need for sugar coating).

but God is not like m&ms or chips and salsa. too much doesn't make you sick. He is not tempting you only to make you pay for quenching your desires. He longs for you to come and enjoy all of the flavor that He has to offer. God extends an invitation to believers in 1 Corinthians 10:31 in saying "So whether you eat or drink whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." amen, let's enjoy! His goodness will come upon us and bless us through our indulgence in Him.

enjoy the best of summer drinks and think of His greatness. He longs for us to drink of His greatness while spending time thinking on Him. i'm up for it.

song of the day:
the time is now by: phil wickham
it's summer, it's time for tea. yum. enjoy!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the sacredness of the nest

well, two weeks i fell off the face of the earth, but i'm back and i'm learning. sometimes i struggle because i feel like my thoughts are trivial and how in the world could i turn them into something that makes a difference for others... lately my blog has been getting a lot of hits and it makes me more conscious of the things that i'm putting out. if people are actually reading, i want to be speaking something worthwhile.

that said, bird's nests have always been of a major fascination to me. my mom loves them and has lots of artificial and real nests that she keeps around the house as precious decorations. but lately, a lesson from God has laid within the sweet little constructs.

a bird's nest is a very special little natural construct not just a bundle of sticks and reeds turned into a little home that serves a very special purpose. what is it that is so special about bird's nests?

1. you can't fake a nest.
when i was a young girl i really wanted there to be baby animals in my family (and there was no way that we were going to be puppies or kittens in our house), so i came up with a plan. my little brother (3 years younger than me) and i decided that we were going to build an artificial nest in the front yard of our home. we took our time perfecting the shape of the nest and gather together the perfect materials that even a bird would pick. no eggs and no birds found our little nest that sit so perfectly in the lawn for them.

just in this same way, you can't fake the plans or dreams, the place in life that God has for you. as much as it might not be exactly what you want or the plans you had made for yourself, God has them and His timing is ultimate.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

just remember the little nest, remember that its built by the mama bird for a very special reason and if it's not made by her, it's not a place for her kids to be born.

2. nests are made with tender love and care.
a mother bird spends just as much time creating and forming the nest for her little birdies than she spends in the nest atop the eggs waiting to meet her sweet babies. and once they are born, it's a very short period of time that they stay in the sweet structure she made. we, as humans, have become obsessed with being as time efficient as possible rather than putting their heart into an effort that doesn't lead to a great reward, whether its self glory or material goods.

"Then he said to them, "Watch out!" Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." -Luke 12:15

we must remember to be mindful of what it is our efforts are truly doing for us rather than seeking a personal gain in all that we do.

3. creating a nest and hatching baby birds in it requires much patience.
sitting still and trusting there to be a wonderful end to your wait is a new extreme test of faith. i truly struggle being peaceful and waiting. i want things to happen and i want them to happen now. a mama bird, just sits and provides heat for her little unborn babies. she doesn't sit with others, she sits alone waiting for her babies to break from their little shells.

as God says in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God". we must be still and wait for the little eggs God has sitting in our nest to hatch and fill our lives with His grand, unimaginable plan for us.

song of the day: Be Still My Soul
Kari Jobe