the wildly beautiful right in wrong

So as I was thinking about why I am blogging the other day, several reasons came to my mind through question-scattered prayers…why am I even doing this?  Will anyone even read it? Do you want me to write, Lord? How can I bring you glory through it when it seems to point to me and my life even when I desire for it to point to you?  I’m so passionate about You, about the husband and kids you have given me…will it sound like I have it all together? You know I dont…Silence preceded the shiver-whisper, and then it was there… “You don’t get to write because you did it all right, but because My grace covered what you did wrong.”  Whew! Whew! Whew!  And so I write.  I write because I am full of passion, and passionate people screw things up.  Ever hear of Peter?  Yeah, I’m kind of like Peter that way.  One thing is clear: Peter loved his Lord….passionately.  In fact it was Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who penned one of my two life verses and is what I decided to name this entire blog after, “Though you do not see Him, you love him, and though you cannot see Him now, you believe Him and rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).  You see, the Lord has intricately woven my life together in such a way that even in all of my past sin, choosing wrong when I should have chosen right, selfishness, unkind words, and pride, it is a wildly beautiful life because when my Abba looks at me, He sees Christ.  Since the moment He transferred Christ’s righteousness to me in the gift of salvation, he has been righting my wrongs. He knew back then I would still disrespect my husband, act selfishly as a wife and mother, become irritated with my kids, judge other believers, desire my own way, shift blame, and relentlessly celebrate me in manipulative pity parties. None of these things were the wildly beautiful part.  The wildly beautiful part came and continues to come with God’s undeserved kindness towards me when I act this way.  Because He has promised to finish the good work He has started at me, he just won’t leave me in my sin.  His glory is at stake.  So what does He do? His Holy Spirit graciously reminds me that I have sinned against a Holy God in actions, words, or attitude of heart and that I must confess and repent.  So when I say something hurtful, unkind or manipulative to my husband in order to get my way, I must first go to the cross recognizing my own depravity, and secondly to my husband admitting my sin and asking his forgiveness.  Something wildly beautiful happens as sin and forgiveness collide.  Expressions of grace awaken the senses in these collisions.  God becomes more real, love deepens, souls are cleansed, and a bit more of his glory passes by as he holds us safely in the cleft of the rock. This is the wildly beautiful part.  So I write….because of Him and He is right.  So right.

consumed in his love.  Really.

trish

Order in the garden

If I am going to take you on this journey… A journey of sinking into Christ and learning from Him as women disciples, women who crave the ancient paths…you know those unpopular, old-fashioned even debatebly boring, ancient paths? May I suggest to you that these paths are anything but boring, that these paths are filled with the seeking and sinking into an all powerful God who desires that we know Him in such a way that when we begin to discover who He is, we will be left in knee-hitting ground awe, speechless in wonder, and a bursting heart leaking inexplainable joy, that we will be anything but bored.  These are the paths that lead to God and to rest, and we must heed his word, “Thus says the Lord, ‘stand by the roads, and look and ask, for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘we will not walk in it'” (Jeremiah 6:16).  Oh weary, burdened mama, beloved sister, let us be women who heed this quickly!  Let us not be obstinate women who say, “we will not walk in it!”  He promises rest for our souls if we heed  the ancient and true paths!  When will we be women who so seriously take His word to us that we “tremble at His Holy words?” (Jeremiah 23:9).  Esteemed daughter, there is a path for us…a path that was painted with all the colors of creativity, beauty, tenderness of heart, feminity in all its softness, compassion, gentle hands and kind tongues…a path, though purposefully placed on unfamiliar terrain, through deep valleys, up steep mountains, and across sun drenched meadows, nevertheless, it was intentionally placed before every choice woman of God to bravely set her feet upon, to courageously set out, with a determination to not look back….if we believe there is a path that leads to Him and to rest in marriage and motherhood, then we need to start in the beginning and decide.  We need to decide and resolve that there is a God who made us.  Who made us male and female and assigned to us beautiful complementary roles, and that within these roles, there is an order, for our God is a God of order and within that order He made all things good (1 Corinthians 14:14, 1 Timothy 4:4). If we decide this….If we understand this basic premise to diving into a sea of wonder and beauty within the black and white phrases, jots and tittles….then this book of words will be sure to come alive and actively at work as the Holy Spirit illuminates the ancient paths for us.  Dangerously at work.  Purifying.  Consuming Work.  Blowing away chaff.  Cultivating fruit.  luxurious  fruit and green foliage that will not shrivel up even in our season of lack and want…..if we believe and so therefore we speak…that He is God, then we can start.  For by proclaiming and confessing He is God, and understanding what it means to surrender your life to Christ as Lord of your life, then we are in fact saying that He is in rightful authority over our lives and we joyfully submit to His Holy word.  That Holy word, as holy as it is, as difficult as it is, becomes easy as we apply it to a rightly positioned heart in submission to Christ and his magnificent and glorious instructions to us as women.  So let’s start….in the beginning; the garden.

In the beginning, God had been at work.  A holy work.  A good work.  And he had skillfully crafted all that we know as the earth, the sea, the sky and all they contained.  Hanging lights on a canvas of black, jagged moss and snow covered rock reaching into clouds, deep caverns of swirling water where glowing fish dart about and hauntingly hover….magnificent scaled beasts, and the dance of the  amoeba… Bouncing about….is there a rhyme to it all?  A reason perhaps?  Is there an order of things and worlds and planets and times and epochs and nights and days and generation after generation of human life?  The answer is yes. And we will find it in the garden.  Enter with me into the most beautiful place on earth.  A place where God’s  presence was known to man before sin.  A place He had perfectly and ever so carefully designed for man to live and to thrive and to enjoy the presence of God. Perfect climate. Lush vegetation. Crystal River. Colors so brilliant and life so vibrant we would be left hand over mouth breathless.  The garden was paradise and it had been given to man to live.  God loves giving good gifts to His children and I beleive this to be the first of many gifts, other than his very breath within them.  It was to be an unending vacation in paradise.  This is the place God had prepared for his people.  This is a God of good gifts.  What kind of love breathes  life into dust and then tenderly places that God-formed life in the most beautiful place on earth? Our God. The one who made male and female (Genesis 1:27).  The One who fashioned these two brilliant creatures to be equal in worth yet vastly different in physical appearance, thoughts and ideas, temperament, emotions, personalities, skills and abilities, over which all, He was in charge and had masterfully and specifically designed within each to complement the other, serve the other, and to glorify their Maker.  The two, made in the image of Him, each a masterpiece, a workmanship with the mark of a holy God, intertwined and made one flesh, and God delighted and celebrated and angels peered down in puzzlement.  For they were not angels, they were mortal, yet oh how they reminded the angels of God in image.  What a wonderment to behold, a man and a woman. And how did the order become?  There was God, the holy triune God, and then God formed his precious Adam out of dirt.  Since it was not good for man to be alone, God tenderly put His Adam to sleep and took from him a rib in order to fashion Eve and create for Adam a “helper.” (Genesis 2:18).  The God who keeps giving gifts, gave His beautiful Eve to His precious Adam.  There was The perfectly happy self existent triune God.  There was precious Adam.  There was lovely, beautiful eve given to “help” Adam.  There is our order.  This order helps set the stage for God’s instructions to women.  If God created Eve,to be Adam’s helper, what does that help mean?  What does it look like?  Does it look the same today as it did back then? In order to answer these questions we will closely parallel Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 beginning with the first order of instruction in both passages.  When we meet again we will explore our instruction to “love our husbands” and to discover “the heart of our husband that trusts in her” (Titus 2:4, Proverbs 31:11).

consumed in His love,

trish

front porch conversations…

Ahhhh….summer.  Slow down.  Capture it for more than a moment.  Behold its beauty.  It’s warmth.  Dance in the lush bladed carpeting between your toes and chase bugs that glow.  Feel the heat of hours of sun baked into pavement on the bottoms of your bare feet.  Warm them.  Dip them in water off of a dock.  Cool them.  Drive.  For hours. Touch the soft velvet of brilliant wildly-colored blooms.  Listen to the chorus of the night owl.  Really listen.  Can you hear him?  He sounds hungry…”who cooks for you…?  Who cooks for you…?”  This seems to be his question over and over.  Look up.  Mama bird is poking worms into oversized beaks poking out of feathers in your hanging basket.  Hear thunder.  Watch lightening.  Inhale magnolia in June.  Have front porch conversations on nothing-Saturday mornings and slowed-down evenings after filled bellies are satisfied with fried chicken and family. Get to know one another better in this slower pace of summer with extended evenings.  Front porch conversations talk about 6 foot 3 holdin’ 5 foot nothin’s hand at an old time county fair, and the glee of extended Ferris wheel rides.  Innocent dates. Front porch conversations talk about get rich quick ideas with a 19 year old and the wisdom of Gods word and the value of long. Steady. Hard. Work. Front porch conversations allow for real muscle crunching belly laughter…that heals.  Good medicine for tired bones and weary hearts.  Front porches house wicker in small spaces for nestling close and listening well.  Peer into eyes… Sink into souls.  Stay.   The cat and the dog drift off to familiar voices having real life face to face conversations while cell phones are charging out of sight and reach.  Front porches echo stories of the two who are one’s first days and months together.  Lessons are learned from stories like these….as true love deepens.  Front porch conversations forget t.v.  Front porch conversations forget the work of the day and dream about tomorrow.  ahhhhh…….front porches were made for summer.  Come, sit…..just “be” on the front  porch.  Experience the stillness.  Don’t plan.  Don’t rush.  Just sink…..he is God, you know?  Maybe…just maybe, God created summer for rest. To rest from work.  To retreat.  To sabbath.  To breathe.  To sink deeper into Him.  Longer into Him.  Pressing.  A time to love one another better.  Longer.  Harder….as we work on relationships.  Pray.  Pray wisely about seasons and times for serving….and times for resting.  Evaluate and examine.  Prioritize.  Love the members of your household well by just being mom.  Being there.  Teach them not to rush…..and really use your front porch for what it’s there for.  Sitting.  Being still.

I Want to Teach You to Sink..

I am passionate about being a wife and mother.  I am even more passionate about living out my calling as a wife and mother in the way God designed me to live.  Yet I cannot be passionate and excited about this calling unless I am first and foremost most passionate about my Savior, my Life,my First Love, in Christ.  He is the reason I write to you today for apart from Him I can do nothing.  So I have learned to abide in Him and He has truly made my joy complete in Him and what He has assigned me to do in this life.  Two of the greatest gifts second to the undeserved gift of salvation are being a wife and mother.  I have longed to write about and teach younger women who are married what a high and valuable calling this.  I say calling, because in Christ we are called to walk in a manner worthy of Him and the gospel of grace.  But often marriage and children are left clinging to our yoga pants as we run out the door and pursue what we believe to be more satisfying, more fulfilling, or even more for the Kingdom of God.  Breathe with me for a second, sweet mama….exhausted wife…come inhale the rest that is offered to you by the gentle and easy yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).  Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).  Did you know the original meaning of the word “still” as used in the verse, means to sink down or into?  Oh sweet and cherished, highly esteemed daughter of God, would you sink down into Him with me as we let the truth of His Word wash over us, revive us and give us a fresh outlook on our marriages and motherhood as we place ourselves under the yoke of Him who views marriage as a reflection of loving something so hard, so furiously, so relentlessly and unstoppable that he gave His life for it?  That’s right.  God loved the church and all those who would come to truly know Him so much, nothing could stop this mysterious love.  Not even death.  Do we long to love our husbands like this? Have we lost all hope of loving like this? Are we numb to the passion and the heights and depths and deeply felt emotions for our husbands we once had?  Let me stop you right there.   If you are hungry…if your are broken in marriage…if you feel nothing because youve been living too long in a lifeless marriage….if the distractions and demands of this world have choked out the truth of the beauty, sacrifice, and joy of your marriage….and stolen from you the incomparable sweetness of just you and child being together as an afternoon disappears, but holds the memory of skin on skin cuddling, echoes of silly giggles…at nothing…..and looking into deep inquisitive eyes that taught you something new about your child’s mysterious heart.  If you are exhausted from the constant demands of children and your life doesn’t look like the way you had always dreamed of….if life is so rushed that you feel as though the lives of your children are whizzing by at the rate of  the latest and greatest preschool and their teaching methods so your child doesn’t fall behind, to recognizing their talents before they can speak so that you can ensure they are enrolled in whatever it is that will enhance these seemingly unique and gifted abilities but run you ragged and leave you living for your next paycheck instead of for things that moth and rust cannot destroy in the gift of relationship.  From sports to music, to new  apps and programs that you are simply suffocating, struggling to breathe (and for some this is literal as we suffer from the effects of anxiety as a result of a too full schedule) then please sink down with me.  Sink down into Him with me as we explore His instructions to us, to His cherished, beloved women, and find true rest for your soul and the souls of those He has given to you and entrusted to you in your husband and wee ones. My desire is to help us discover “His rivers of delight”…..because “in His light, we see light” (Psalm 36).  Yes, precious sisters, as we open up our bibles and look at, meditate on, and learn from Him and  his desire for us and the families He has given to us, we will be splashing one another in the outpouring of His fountain of grace.  Prayerfully, I will write weekly and explore the whole context of His Word as we embrace the beauty and sophistication of our feminine roles.  Will you join me?

trish