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Forgiveness, Real.

FORGIVENESS, REAL. Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that we can always have from God if we ask for it. ~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


That CS Lewis.. he’s so wise. In that book he also talks about the difference between forgiving and excusing. We tend to ask God for an excusal.. as in “I had no choice! I am not to blame!” instead of “I did it. Accept me still.”

Right now I am frustrated. At first I was angry and the more I’ve really focused my heart on the Lord I’ve just turned frustrated. There’s not much more elaborating that can be done without indulging in my frustration. All I know is that I’m doing a lot of thinking and inviting the Lord to be present in a lot of those thoughts. All, actually. All of those thoughts.

Mike Yaconelli writes in Messy Spirituality that perhaps prayer is not just stopping and folding our hands and bowing our heads and reciting “Heavenly Father…” but perhaps it is just thinking to him. Sounds simple enough. But for the past 40 minutes I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about Christ and his personality and how he handled conflicts. That’s prayer. If anything, that is the listening aspect of prayer. Sometimes I get frustrated that I don’t find myself on my knees often enough, but I know that God is close to me when I am thinking towards him. That’s what I will call this other prayer. “Thinking towards.”

In honor of my friend Cassie’s birthday we all got desert and went bowling. I’m so glad to have friends like these.

JP, Abbie & Cassie.. caught off guard.
JP, Abbie & Cassie.. caught off guard.
Cassie & Abbie
Cassie & Abbie
The girls
The girls
This is a bit frightening.
This is a bit frightening.
Cassie & Corey
Cassie & Corey
The boys. Dont they look exciting?
The boys. Don’t they look exciting?
Me, Cassie & Chrissy
Me, Cassie & Chrissy

I’m going to go think towards God for a little bit.

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Faith is not about force. It’s about fascination.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President) speak at a church here in Portland. He is full of so much wisdom and passion. One thing he said really stuck with me, though.

He was talking about how there were people who wanted to know if he was the One. Instead of saying yes or no, Jesus told them to look at the things they saw; the blind seeing, the lepers being healed.. basically “what do YOU think?”

Shane then shared how as Christians, we should be like that. If people said “are you a Christian,” we would say “what do YOU think?” and our actions, like Christ’s, should back it up.

If we are living our lives fully committed to God and letting him smear himself all over every aspect of our lives, then we could say “what do YOU think?” and people could then reason “they love, they are accepting, they are full of grace, they are humble.. they are probably a Christian!”

unfortunately, we are so unlike Christ that the reasons people might not be sure of our Christianity are reasons that make us so much like the world we are trying to detach ourselves from – greed, impatience, judgement, slander.. none of those things are anything like our Jesus.

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I’m sailing on a ship that’s bound for life.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8

In the Summer of 2007, the Lord gave me a plan. It was to stick through another (school)year of my job, quit to work as a counselor in the summer, and trust Him with the fall. Even though I thought it was a terrible plan for so many reasons, I agreed.

Immediately, I was tested. Things at work changed and I wanted to quit my job. God gave me the strength to perservere. It came time for the camp part of it. I applied and was offered positions other than counselor. God gave me the focus to turn them down and stick with the counselor position. Then the fall came in which the Lord tested my willingness to trust Him and go wherever he sent me. So I did, willing to leave much behind. Then he blessed me by allowing me to stay.

He gave me my old job back, he blessed me with fellowship and community, and I was settled in. After prayer, he gave me the opportunity to join back in ministry at my corps.

Today, everything has been turned upside down. We had a meeting at work and found out that our company is moving 30 miles away.. in a week and a half. Because we are a small company and they value us, we are given a lot of flexibility in our hours and what we want to do. Which is a blessing. But deep within my soul, I feel that this is not permanent. Deep within my soul, this is stirring something in me that says “this is not the place that I need to be.”

But where, then? The Lord’s plan only got me so far. I have trusted; I am trusting. It is hard to want to see the fruits of my faithfulness. A few times I’ve thought that I have, but it has not actually been anything lasting.

There is not an ounce of me that is angry with the Lord. I love my Lord very deeply and while I believe it is healthy and intimate to express my anger with Him.. there is none of that. There is a bit of frustration.. but mostly at my being here and His being in Heaven. So I need prayer not for understanding, not for the situation.. but just for the Lord’s guidance.

Wherever the Lord sends me, I will go. I just need to know where. Knowing that when all is said and done, I will be with the Lord makes everything else pale in comparison. At least I know the final destination.

A voice is on the wind
It calls me further in
I’m heading deeper into Your heart
Your mark is on my chest
My sails filled with your breath
You guide me by the light of the stars

I’m sailing on a ship that’s bound for life
I wrestle with the wind against the tide
I leave it all behind to each for more
I’m sailing on to Your golden shore

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The Story of a Marriage.

I have finished Madeleine L’Engle’s “Two Part Invention.” The last chapter or so was finished while I was sitting on the bathroom floor, shower running, holding back tears. Madeleine and Hugh’s relationship was so beautiful. Not because they were romantics and ran around chirping about their love, but because it was so focused and so passionate towards each other.

It’s made me think about marriage. As a single 23 year old girl, I will admit that I think about marriage often, especially with so many people my age already married or about to be married. I’ve always had strange standards for a marriage. I want a marriage to be based first and foremost on logic and compatibility. Love and romance can come later. It is strange, and I expect that on the day I find someone who really knows, understands and believes the things I stand for.. then I will have found the man I am to marry.

There is too much emphasis put on the idea of romantic love. Songs, movies, books, TV shows.. it all displays this unrealistic, shallow love. Love that is embodied in flowers in a vase or cute notes tucked in briefcases or big sloppy kisses in public. Things that can be part of love, but are not the key components to it. Things that I worry have replaced real, genuine love.

The more I learn about myself, the more I realize that I don’t want to be married as a response to love. Which isn’t to say I want a marriage that is devoid of love; that is false, also. I want my marriage to reflect the following idea:

We glorify the Lord more as a unit than we ever could apart.

Nothing to do with infatuation or butterflies or things taht are earthly or temporary. All I want is to glorify my Lord in everything I do, whether it is brushing my teeth, vacuuming the carpet, or entering into a marriage. All done to glorify the Lord.

The Lord is the love of my life both mortally and eternally.

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