It's late, and not time at all for a blog post, but I've missed so much the interplay of words that I must dabble with some this night. It was about 70 here today, and I hear that my beloved Montana is predicting -16 this coming week. Sweet injections of joy have been surging my soul, and while little introspection has been had, my mind fills with the wondrous ebb and flow of this life.
I boarded a train for Montana seven years ago, and had I known of the blessings to follow, I would have never dreamed a life to be my own. Unfortunately, it takes a looking back and savoring to assess this, but nevertheless, I've been heaped with earthly joys I never expected to receive. I landed in Shelby, MT and bumped along the long dirt roads with insane anticipation and insurmountable felicity. My first home scene was a bluegrass showdown, and in typical Nellie fashion, I was so overwhelmed with sensory overload that afterward I took to the field for lone cartwheels and deep praise of God. I remember being blasted down in awe seeing Steamboat and Twin Buttes for the first time, and I continually lost myself in the Lord in that dear place. The year blew by, and one became five, as I endeavored to part with that place so dear to my soul.
I sit here in Columbia, South Carolina with a heart full of praise to the Giver, and open hands to Providence's amassing grand favor. Our God is good, and it is only in Him to bless His children, whether we see His blessing, or behold the passing fringes of His robe. He loves you, reader, and desires you deeply to know this, and Him.
For the past three years I have been endowed with the task of tracing the dew marks beneath the fog. Many prayers have been uttered out, and into unaccounted obscurity, and with a hand breadth of hope I shot them up to Him. Spurgeon speaks of these long uttered prayers, and says: the mist will part, the way will clear, and as Isaiah 30:20 says, "Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you; "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Knowing not how, He will make the way for us. Ambiguity births clarity, and those frozen hopes begin to thaw and droop with richer clusters and fuller, more luxuriant boughs.
Our God is a God of hope, and as His faithfulness enters my mind, I am enlivened to think of my future. That unknown abyss need not be so bleak, and is rather an immeasurably deep pool of future grace, through which I will indefinitely pass. My grandma wrote these words to me, "I don't tell you enough how much I care and wish you the most of God's will for you. So often what is said the least, is wished the most. What a great gift God gave for a granddaughter." My dear grandma has only recently acquired this heavenly tenderness, and her words come to my heart as from God. If only we knew how affectionately He tends us, and how faithfully He watches over us. I am determined to stake out His faithful biddings, and I draw you, dear reader to this very thing, on this very day.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The mind is such a strange thing; the dwelling of intellect, and the filter of affection. Through it passes considerations of life, the trappings of death, and either the liberty or captivity of the contents passing through it. Considerable time ought be given to that which enters it, and as I sat yesterday stuck in traffic, I was contemplating all of these things.
A barrage of temptation lands upon us each day, and unknowingly passing images and allusions become the landscape onto which we play out our lives. I mourn this, for within the walls of our churches stand these same measuring rods that were never meant to assess our progress, and growth in godliness.
The New Testament is filled with paradoxes of the first being last, the least greatest, and the meek inheriting life, but yet what we celebrate are not these things. They present us with ideals, and we apply their concepts, but do we (I) believe them to be the truth of which we live out our lives? It seems we are still seeking as the world, that canopy of perceived productivity, and that "fruitfulness" that comes from having established a title wherein our good works might pronounced. I have no heart to squelch the offices affirmed by God, but the seeking of them beyond the seeking of Him is problematic to me. I think of Brother Lawrence who scrubbed pots to God's glory and got it; his heart was daily with Him, and he realized that it never ought be lived for the public eye, for all that will be tested and burned with fire in proving the veracity of the form (1 Cor. 3:12).
I mean never to stir things up for mere controversy, but moreso because I see a deadening happening in our lives where we (I) really allow the world's standards to affect my growth in godliness because the church assesses my outward progress. Good works ought to follow us because we are walking in the power of the Spirit. Goodness and mercy should be trailing behind us, and we should be those whose hearts are trained to evidence growth in grace in others, and work therein to overturn this damaging assessment of outward "productivity." God is glorified by our good works, and when we are connected to Him it is impossible for them to not come out; need we a covering of profession to warrant the authenticity of our possession? I challenge us this day, as I am so challenged by this all. We are to be faithful to invest the talents given, but beyond that, are we willing to invest them, and ourselves into Him, regardless of whether or not if ever amounts to anything we think it should? Could we be content to never have the recognition we so eagerly desire?
I write this on the day of my birth, as this day presents me a violence of emotion and thought. I raise all of these questions to myself, and felt that I must also inflict them upon you :) May you perceive the love that is in them.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I simply had to post this this morning. I've been trying to amp up this truth to its rightful place, and I've felt oh-so-struck down in my daily living. This truth is one not loved by most, and hardly heralded much at all. For this reason, I'm waving this post as a banner and inviting you all to celebrate along, dipping deep in grace's fountain, and awaiting the strength that can only lead us to triumph.
2 Corinthians 12:9
"A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory,” defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve him in his own way, and in his strength, or he will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth he casteth away; he will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before he will put his own into thee; he will first clean out thy granaries before he will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which he himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up."
“When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song.”