Thursday, September 29, 2011

Breath of Grace

Somewhere in the middle of all the crazy, the noisy, the messy, the overwhelming, You are there.  You find me, still small, too small for all this day holds up for me to manage, and You offer me Your strength.

Treading hard to keep my head above the rush of current that sweeps me up into moments of relentless trying-hard, You fill my lungs with Your breath of grace.  I inhale the fragrance of Your life poured out so that Your Spirit in me is my strength.  You didn't mean for me to ever try to face the swells alone.  You know I can't.  So You have made a way for me.

Why, so many days, do I press hard through deep waters and carry the weight of this life without You?  Why do I sometimes let my heart feel overwhelmed in the middle of days You've already promised to spend with me? When will I get this grace and faith and peace walk right?

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."  Isaiah 43:2

You are patient with me, Lord.  You never complain when I need You to teach me the same lesson over and over.  You see the tender heart You gave me.  You know its limitations, and You so gently cover me with Your faithfulness.  You quiet the storms in me with Your sweet voice.  You lead me through the days I fight to conquer on my own, and You love me even in my stubbornness.

I don't deserve You, and You give Yourself to me still.

Please teach me to how to live each of my moments in the fullness of Your grace, to let Your peace and love flood my life, so that all I have to give out is grace.  The burdens I struggle to surrender, the dreams I don't know how to let go of, please help me uncurl my fingers from around those things that I hold onto more tightly than I do Your hand.

Show me how to raise up little lives in Your grace alone and by Your Word and Your Spirit.  I know I have to be good at recieving all this from You if I'm going to be good at giving it to them.  Thank You, Lord, that You give me what I don't deserve.  Thank You for all You've entrusted to my care and promise to help me do for Your glory.

Thank you for helping me breathe in the fullness of Your grace.

"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."  1 Timothy 1:14

Friday, September 16, 2011

Substance of Things Hoped For

We've been back for almost three weeks, I think, and I haven't really posted anything about our trip to Ukraine.  Please let me say I'm sorry about that.  So many of you gave your time, bought gifts, made generous donations, prayed faithfully, and I promised to keep you posted, and I haven't done well with that at all.  And it's not because I haven't thought of it.  I've actually thought of little else.  It's just that I haven't been able to sit and write without crying.

There is no way that I could have ever known how deeply personal, how intensely emotional and how heart-stoppingly overwhelming this whole experience would have been.  I knew it would be unforgettable.  I knew I would cry when I first met Sasha.  I knew that when my eyes fell on his face in a crowd of people, I would mark that instant as a gift from my Father in heaven.  I knew our friends Oksana and Ania would be amazing.  And I knew it would be excrutiating to leave all of these people behind and return home.  But I didn't know how much this week would level my heart and bring me to a screeching halt and render me wordless (wonder of wonders).  I didn't know I would feel like I was leaving home and saying goodbye to my children both times I boarded the plane.  Truly, I could not even speak of this week without floods of tears (on airplanes, in airports, even a week later in the grocery store parking lot!).  So I just haven't known how to put all this into words.

But I need to try.

You have all been part of what God did in our family while we were in Ukraine.  So I will begin to try to put into words the indescribable goodness of God we experienced in our trip to Sunshine.

This exact moment, it was a gift from the hand of God.  Each of our moments are.  But this one, it's one I can mark to the second.  Capture in a photo.  Keep tucked in my heart. A perfectly ordinary-looking moment containing the invisible substance of an answered prayer.  

And I recall that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." (Hebrews 11:1) This moment.  This walking out the doors of an airport amidst throngs of strangers and also amidst long prayed-over friends.  This is the substance of things hoped for in my heart.  This is what faith looks like...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest-posting at Project HOPEFUL's blog today. Come on along!

This morning I've been given the opportunity to share a little about our visit to the orphanage in Kiev where the children with HIV or and other medical needs live.  It was truly an answer to prayer to have this open door, and another answer to prayer to be able to take photographs.  There is so much to tell you about our trip, but today, I'd love to have you come on over to the Project HOPEFUL blog with me!

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families."  Psalm 68:5-6