3.10.22

In Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, God commands His people to “remember” over 15 times.

“Remember the Lord your God brought you out [of Egypt]” (Deut 5:15), “remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh” (Deut. 7:18), “Remember…that the Lord your God has led you these forty years” (Deut 8:2), “Remember…Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…” (Deut. 9:27)

Yet, over and over again, we see the Israelites grumbling. “We’re thirsty. We’re don’t like this food. Moses, why did you bring us here. It would be better to go back to Egypt!”  (my paraphrase of Numbers 14:2-3, Numbers 21:4b-5) The complaints even warrant physical consequences at some points like fire from the sky and poisonous snake bites (Numbers 11:1, 21:6). Yikes!

It’s easy to look at the Israelites and think “How could they complain? God literally split the Red Sea, defeated Pharaoh’s army, and made food fall from the sky!” Nehemiah 9:21 even says their clothes didn’t wear out and they “lacked nothing”

But then I remember how often I grumble myself. The temperature in this room is too cold, gas prices are so high, the neighbor’s dogs won’t be quiet, if only my students would listen and follow directions, why don’t I have a boyfriend?, traffic is so bad, we have to wear these annoying masks, our refrigerator has been broken for a month and we don’t have any ice! — the list goes on and on.  

And I realize I’m not much different than the Israelites. We’re both on a journey. God has spoken promises to both of us. And we’ve both forgotten.

The New Testament doesn’t beat around the bush. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Phil. 2:14); some translations say “Do all things without complaining or arguing” A few chapters later, we see how to tangibly do this. In both Phillippians 4:4-7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16,18 we are exhorted to “rejoice always” and “give thanks”

It’s the same command from a different angle. Remember. 

Remember there is One worthy of worship. Remember He is the Giver of Good Gifts. Take the focus off of what seems to be looming in front of you and remember the bigger story.

You see, our outward circumstances do not dictate our “right” to be discontent. If anything, they reveal where we are finding our peace and placing our hope. When we grumble and complain we forget the Lord’s faithfulness and are blind to His provision. In a way, complaining is another form of worry; it’s lamenting a situation out of our control and choosing to be grumpy about it. Complaining is a distrust of God’s goodness and His ways. 

Secondly, grumbling blinds us to the needs of others. How often do we complain about something someone else might be longing for. This room might be chilly but somewhere closer to the equator, people are living without air conditioning. Gas prices might be high but I have a car to put it in. My students may be stretching my patience but what a gift that we have facilities to dance in. Your kids may leave legos on the floor yet how many people are longing for a child? When I am focused on why my life is inconvenienced, I can’t see ways to serve those around me.

Anne of Green Gables says “There are ever so many bright sides” And I agree with her on most days; we can find them if we look. I’m not saying that we should ignore the seemingly crumby parts of our circumstances nor should we pursue a false sense of optimism. I’m encouraging us (myself, most of all) to remember. To resist the temptation to complain and choose to find contentment in Him —even in the wilderness.

He makes us lie down in green pastures
He leads us besides still waters.
In Him we lack nothing (Ps. 23:1,2). 
He makes the boundary lines fall for us in pleasant places (Ps. 16:6)

Let us choose to remember His faithfulness. Let us remember the One who really did have every “right” to complain but didn’t. The One who instead sacrificed His life for us and asked us to remember in the bread and the wine (Lk. 22:19). And in our remembering, let us look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. For He is our hope and peace; and will lead us to the Promised Land.

2.11.22

Whimsy in the waiting.
Magic in the moment.
Majesty in the mundane.

When patience is waning.
And the world seems hell-bent.
The choices remain.

To succumb to complaining.
Or perhaps cry lament.
These days did God ordain?

Yet with hearts of thanksgiving
We persevere till we’re spent
Knowing there’s eternal gain.

We’ll choose to keep dancing.
Our eyes with a glint.
This sacred grace we won’t profane.

Whimsy in the waiting.
Magic in the moment.
Majesty in the mundane.

12.23.21

At the appointed time…

These words have stood out to me this advent season. 

Time is a curious thing. Our brains, amazing as they are, can’t quite grasp the concept of existence without time. Yet, for God, this container of time and space is His invention! He’s always existed outside of time. (I can’t even write that sentence without a time/space marker to describe the situation). 

“In the beginning…” the first words of scripture. Eternity interrupted. The clock starts ticking. The heavens and earth and all their inhabitants are introduced to the concept of waiting. 

Starting with the creation of Eve (Gen. 2:18), we see God declaring “I will…”. These promises refer to things He will do (like bring justice and judgment) and things he will never do (like flood the earth again). As the Grand Narrative unfolds, we begin to see some of these promises fulfilled. The “I wills…” become markers of His faithfulness.

But there’s that idea of time again. The only way we are able to see these is because we are removed from the events. Think about what it might have been like to be in the moment.

Sarah, in her nineties, with a barren womb, remembering God’s words to her husband, Abraham, “I will make you a great nation…” (Gen 12:2). She overhears the Lord reminding Abraham of this promise and laughs. I don’t really blame her, I probably would have laughed too; the situation seems impossible, she was being realistic. Yet God says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen. 18:14). 

Or Habakkuk having a conversation with God on behalf of Israel. The Assyrians had captured the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Culturally, the Israelites had strayed from the commands of God while at the same time were suffering injustice and oppression. “Why do you…remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” Habakkuk asks (Hab. 1:13). The Lord answers him “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Hab. 2:3).

A lot of us find ourselves in similar positions—waiting and hoping for something that seems impossible. We can relate to Sarah and Habakkuk. Yet, we also know what happens next in their stories. From this perspective of history, we’re able to see the greatest promise of God fulfilled to date. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4,5). 

Jesus! The Savior of the world…at the appointed time…

Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” isn’t that really comforting? Solomon goes on to say, “Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”

Eternity. Our innate knowledge of it magnifies mysteries and makes us keenly aware of our limitations within this time-container. Eternity in our hearts introduces us to the concept of hope. And where we place our hope, determines how well we wait.

If you ask me what I’m waiting for, I would say without hesitation “A husband!”— your answer might be, “a job, healing, a restored relationship, a child,” or something else. All of those things are good and valid things to desire. But I’ve realized that if we zoom out, we’re really waiting for something deeper—Jesus! He is the hope that will never disappoint! These yearnings we feel as we wait on Earth are echoes of our yearnings for eternity. The desires we long for may not be fulfilled like we imagine but we can know they will one day be fully satisfied in the consummation of all things. 

…at the appointed time…

It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s tempting to take matters into our own hands. Or to wallow in the cynicism and disappointment of hope misplaced. Friends, I am with you. Let us pray with David in Psalm 31:14,15, “But I trust in you, O Lord’ I say, “You are my God” My times are in your hand;…”

As we live in this tension between the now and not yet, let us persevere. In the waiting He is working and asks us to join Him. The posture of our hearts correlates to our patience. A heart that recognizes “He [God] changes the times and the seasons…” (Dan. 2:21a) can steward the time in hope rather than strive to gain what we feel is missing. An impatient heart looks inward, viewing everything through the lens of serving the self whereas a surrendered heart is soil for the Spirit to cultivate the fruit of patience.

And maybe, just maybe, God has a reason for those unfulfilled dreams. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:8,9) Perhaps this space between desires realized is providing precious time for us to trust, obey, seek peace, and share the good news. For one day these minutes and hours will cease.

Our God is a Promise Keeper.
He will come again.

All will be made right and these deepest desires fulfilled…

…at the appointed time. 

11.22.21

Dance is a communal art — it’s meant to be shared and experienced in the flesh together. 

Even though I knew this, I didn’t really realize it until the pandemic lockdowns. On one hand, it was cool to take class “with” friends miles away but eventually, the novelty of it wore off and I began to crave the fellowship a shared studio brings. How you can walk into the studio still half asleep, nod good morning to the friend across the room, drop your five different bags of stuff (because why can’t dancers just have one?), pop your hips, and proceed to loosen your IT bands on the foam roller all without saying a word. The subtle, wordless communication that happens as you figure out who’s going in what group across the floor. You’re all working hard individually, thinking about your own corrections. Cheering each other on and whispering “nice!” when your friend hits that quadruple pirouette in the waltz combo or commiserating as you all fight for that eight count developpe. 

And it’s not just class, it’s performances too. The dancers on stage, the orchestra in the pit, the stage crew in the shadows, the audience in the house — all experiencing the same thing from different perspectives. Each person stepping into their unique role of the process. 

Just as dance is a communal art, life is the same. This adventure is meant to be lived in community. 

Sometimes it seems easier/safer/less messy/more convenient to keep dancing as if we were a one man show — to isolate our selfish solos in a single spotlight. I confess I have a tendency to do this sometimes; for reasons either real or imagined, I’ll avoid the people that point me to Jesus. It may feel good in the moment, but is it easier in the long run? nope, that’s a big fat lie from the Enemy. 

Think about it in terms of a performance, a solo act can only go on for so long before the artist needs a rest. It’s also only as dimensional as that one person, we might be super engaged but we’re only experiencing a little bit of the story. When an entire cast and crew and orchestra are working together, we get a production with depth, scope, and perspective.

I was thinking about how life in community is like a dance. Sometimes the choreography will take you close to someone for a while, maybe in a little pas de trios or pas de quat but then other times you may just be standing on the side in b+ smiling across the stage at each other. There are seasons of life that we will be in close proximity and deep friendships with each other, then there are other seasons where we’re so focused on our own choreography and spacing that we have no idea what someone else’s is. I think that’s ok as long as we’re letting the Master Choreographer, as long as we’re letting Jesus, direct the show. 

All that to say, what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 10 verses 23-25: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds, not  giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

Friends, may we bravely share the stories we carry and realize the unique steps we dance are part of the Grand Choreography. May we wisely discern which dancers to stay in proximity with, who to whisper reminders to, and who to smile at from across the stage. 

For these many bodies form one Body. And the Story only makes sense when this mosaic of souls courageously + humbly experience the Music together.

11.3.21

Every day.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.

Every day.
Opening these hands.
In surrender and offering.
Hope{full} trust

Every day.
Sober minded.
Seeking good.
Set apart.

Every day.
Recognizing the Imago Dei in others
To serve not to be served.
Remembering eternity.

Every day.
Choosing joy.
Patient endurance.
Taking courage.
Making peace.

Every day.
Resting in your grace.
Listening to your voice.
Trading my plans for yours.

Every day.
Stewarding the moment.
Step by step.
Steadfastly faithful.

Every day.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.

9.10.21

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I was feeling like my gifts hadn’t been used to their fullest extent; that I had more to offer but there wasn’t an appropriate time or place to do so. I began to think that maybe I had wasted an opportunity because, in my mind, I wanted to be most efficient and effective in a short amount of time.

As I sorted it out internally, God gently reminded me to lay aside my pride: who am I to say how I’m most “effective” for the Kingdom? All He asks me to do is to steward the moments that I am given.

Yes, I should be diligent to prepare towards the tasks He is calling me to, but just because I can or I’m “qualified” to do certain things doesn’t mean I’m supposed to in every single circumstance. 

The burden of determining the results of our faithfulness does not lay on our shoulders. May we be freed from the prideful lie to think otherwise. 

Let us rest in the grace that allows us to leverage the current moment with excellence. May we resist the treadmill of feeling like we didn’t “do enough” and instead trust that He is enough.

Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom…May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the works of our hands for us — yes, establish the works of our hands ~Ps. 90:12,17

8.5.2021

For the past year and a half, I think we’ve all experienced a heightened sense of trepidation. It’s a daily battle to distinguish truth from falsehood and fear is a valid emotional response that needs to be acknowledged.

Psalm 34:4 has been on my mind, “He delivered me from all my fears…”

I’m realizing that, at it’s root, fear is a lie 
Fear is a lie of scarcity.

Fear says there’s not enough.
God says, “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10)

Fear says, “I can’t handle it”
God says, “My grace is sufficient and I have given you everything you need for life in godliness” (2 Cor. 12:9, 2 Peter 1:3)

Fear says “I need to have it all figured out”
God says, “My burden is light; trust me and I will direct your steps” (Matt. 11:28-30, Pr. 3:5-6)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! (Ps. 34:8)

In Him is abundance.
Life abundant.
Resources abundant.
Grace abundant.

It doesn’t mean we won’t experience hardship. Many are the afflictions of the righteous and in this world we will have trouble (Ps. 34:19, Jn. 16:33).

It’s the juxtaposition of now and not yet.

There is sweet in the bitter.
There is joy in the pain.
A letting go to grasp hold of.

As we persevere in this yearning for eternity we get glimpses of glory to come.

Let us remember: where fear whispers “what if” He says, “I am”. May we not let fear obscure our eternal perspective but may His joy be our strength to freely + courageously step into the good works He has prepared for us. 

6.16.21

A lot of the time I share Peter Pan’s sentiments when he emphatically sings “I won’t grow up.” And I think, to a degree, that’s a healthy attitude to have as we fight to maintain a childlike wonder + curiosity in a broken world.

Yet, often it’s led me to mourn getting older as if it were a bad thing.

Lately, I’ve realized more keenly the perspective age can bring. Nearing the end of my twenties, I’m starting to see the fruit of seeds sown in intentionality and God’s faithfulness is coming to life in a whole new way. Though it can be bitter to leave certain seasons behind, this life adventure only gets sweeter. Growing up isn’t all that bad.

Friends, may we continue to find the magic in the world + grace in the moment, fixing our eyes on Jesus as we faithfully steward the time and take hold of the abundant life found in Him

4.14.21

On January 1st, some friends and I embarked on a journey to read the Bible in 90 days. The task was daunting at first and required a lot of intentionality, perseverance, and endurance but as we got into a rhythm, it became a highlight of my day. We unintentionally finished Easter Weekend and it was really sweet. Here are a few things that scratch the surface of what I learned.

My biggest takeaway from the experience is that God is consistent. Society will tell us that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament and that we have to explain away His commands that don’t match our version of xyz. Going into this study, I had been exploring this topic a little bit and, intellectually, I knew that God is God regardless of the time period or circumstances. But reading His word in its full context entirety cemented it into my heart. God is wholly loving and wholly just; He does not contradict Himself or act against His nature in any way. He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. 

Reading everything in chronological order as it was written and seeing God’s attention to detail sparked awe and worship. This book was written by dozens of authors over thousands of years and it all tells the same story! Not to mention, it has been accurately preserved for thousands more years!

A few themes kept recurring as well.

  • I am the Lord your God
  • God is holy
  • God’s love and faithfulness are unending
  • God wants our whole heart. He asks us to love Him with all that we are
  • God calls us to holiness
  • God is with us
  • In the Lord is rest
  • God’s people are set apart and made holy in Him
  • Do not be afraid
  • Wait for the Lord
  • God is personal — He makes Himself available and invites us to be known
  • God equips His people

More and more these days, I am realizing the need for Biblical literacy among Jesus followers. The cultural conversations surrounding us today are fraught with confusion. A lot of ideologies we see coming to the forefront sound like good ideas at first but upon further examination, they aren’t consistent with God’s word. This is a much bigger conversation that we’ll probably touch on in future posts. 

In the mean time. may we take the time to humble our hearts under the authority of scripture and prioritize studying the inspired and inerrant words of the Creator as He reveals more of Himself and strengthens us to take our place in the Grand Narrative.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, I highly recommend the Every Word study. You will not regret it!

3.11.21

“You know what assuming does?” My mom said after I had said something unverified and probably inaccurate. “…makes an a** out of you and me” “Mommy!” I gasped (she is not prone to using obscenities at all) but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense (not to mention, it’s pretty clever). 

Spreading information that could lead to false conclusions is one thing; acting on it is another. Whether we realize it or not, we act on assumptions every day. Sometimes, these actions end up being harmless, other times, assumptions seep into our worldviews, are mistaken for truth, and affect our decision making. We constantly need to be fact-checking our assumptions with the Word of God, particularly when it comes to how we interact with our fellow human beings. 

Our culture is quick to put people into mental buckets as if we were sorting laundry. And just like if that orange sock accidentally slips into the wash with your white dress shirt, categorizing people can be dangerous. If we’re always viewing people through the filter of the group with which we think they associate, we automatically put barriers into our relationship. Not to mention, it’s also exhausting to constantly evaluate and treat fellow human beings according to what group we assume they identify with. 

What if we built bridges instead of fences?

Instead of being quick to ask someone about their enneagram number (might want to do some research on that btw) or MBTI, maybe we should take some time to walk with them and really get to know them. If we don’t take the time to put others first and attempt to step into their world, we’ll never know who they really are.

In the same way, maybe we should also be slow to put labels on ourselves. 

It’s easy to base our identity on the we ideas we hold, trends we enjoy, jobs we perform, or the company we keep. Yet those are mainly external attributes and ultimately only a small part of who we really are. In the long run, these groups are mostly social constructs and subject to change with the cultural tides. Deep, deep down, with all of these things stripped away, do we really know who we are?

We are God’s imagers; created for a specific purpose and placed within an intentional sphere. That’s a fact that will never change. When we view others through this lens, we ascribe to them their innate dignity (by operating under assumptions we deprive them of it). Seeing people as God sees them also changes our heart attitude from one of judgment to one of compassion. It frees all of us to live as who we were created to be.  

What if we viewed others as God’s imagers? What if we invited dialogue with the intent of listening and understanding instead of spewing generalizations and talking past each other? What if we treated one another with dignity and respect even if we find out we have arrived at different conclusions from the same set of facts? What if we sought out those who are different than us and chose to love them instead of only surrounding ourselves with people who will affirm our assumptions?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, let’s give each other a little grace. Let’s attempt to lay aside our assumptions and instead be quick to listen and slow to speak. It might save us from looking stupid and build up others up in the process.

“…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity…” ~Colossians 3:12-14