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Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear 2012

Dear 2012, 

As my friend Marri would say, you were a superb year. 

You brought so many blessings, I couldn't even count them all. From January 1 to December 31, you were a collection of wrestlings and fightings and praise and grace and joy and blessings. And I couldn't be more grateful for you. 

What came in your days was a lot of love that drove me to my knees. And then once I got there, I wasn't sure what to do or say and then couldn't see. But underneath the layers of confusion and fear, was freedom. A most sweet kind of freedom that sings sweet riches of worth in Jesus. Boldly approach the throne of grace. 

Thanks for reminding me that our God is always, continuously, never ceasing, forevermore a good, good God. 

I love my new apartment. I love my new job. I love my boss. I love my life group. I love my corner. I love myself. I didn't just survive you, 2012. We thrived together - through all that was disguised as trial and came out as a deep blessing of the Father. Because, you know, He's most concerned with heart and our eternal character. There's always something bigger happening in the bigger picture, always. 

You were messy, 2012. Wonderfully messy. Thanks for showing me that the fight's worth it.

Love, Lindsay

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Pause

A year-end pause.

What I'm watching.
New Girl. Jess Day is all kinds of cool.
Les Miserables. Who said people can't sing everything they say? literallyeverythingtheysay. Absolutely, incredibly beautiful. 
Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper and Katniss.

What I'm reading. 
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas. History, biography, theology? Too good to be true. What a remarkable person. 

Poetry. ee cummings. Beauty with words. i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you. 

Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott. A new, unique look at prayer.

One Thousand Gifts Devotional, Ann Voskamp. Always Ann.

What I think you should read. 
My dear friend's blog, it's really quite beautiful. Her story, her fearlessness, her understanding of her Belovedness. Read, read, and cheer her on for her book! www.werewolfjesusbook.blogspot.com

What I'm loving. 
My apartment. It's beautiful! It's a space my own and I am so grateful for friends and family that helped and contributed skills, talents, time, paint, ideas, resources, creativity to make it so wonderful and lovely! It's really, really so lovely. 

Have I mentioned New Girl? I am loving Jess Day. Her hair, her glasses, her wit, her singing. Is she real? Doesn't matter. 

What I'm learning.
Step by step. I don't think I've ever learned step by step or process as much as I have through my apartment love story. It's been quite incredible. It's been piece by piece, step by step, and I've learned to appreciate every single piece that comes through my door. It's taught intentionality and gratitude and slowing down. So much beauty. There's a story for each piece, a person who helped make it, and I rejoice in the uniqueness and the love in each one. Versus the accumulation of things, the slow and steady beauty is really something else. It's making something my own,there's just something about making your first place your home. And the blessings for the putting together of a home have translated into the putting together of a faith. Oh the blessings!

Freedom. Always learning freedom. But this, this is a new dimension, a new facet, a new level and layer of what freedom means. To live and function fully in the freedom we've been given means we can choose. We can work out of the fullness of freedom. We can move. We don't have to sit, we don't have to walk in circles, we can move forward. It's okay to want good things because we are loved by a good God who created and loved us and has given us life new and has set us free. That's our worth! It's okay. Who says we can't be free?

Today's the day! We can choose. It's a gift. 

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it. - Jack Kerouac

What I'm remembering. 
I am a daughter of God. I am Beloved. That is who I am. The Father's love is incredible - how worthy I am! Rejoice! romans 8: 14-17. 

Take a pause. Then keep going.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today's the Day

Today's the day. 

Throw off all that entangles and be set free.
Can't today be the day?

There's a God and the most magnificent Savior who holds our world and our lives and our plans so perfectly calm in His eye and in His hand. He has gone before, He is with us, He hems us in, He is in and among and all around. 

There is choice. We can choose how to act, how to be, how to think. We can choose to stay put, live in complacency, move forward. We can choose how we influence. We can choose to live each day with the knowledge of the love of our God and act most certainly, directly out of that. 

Sometimes I think there is a great tension between the two, but really there is not. Because our choice comes out of the greatness of our God. And our worship and belief of who He is. There is a God who is the center of everything, yes. And we've been given choice to be who we were created to be. Every moment, every day.

We don't have to wait for the new year. We don't have to make resolutions in the coming months. We can decide in our next breath whether to rejoice or reject, be free or held captive, do what we've always wanted to do. Use our gifts, forgive someone, tell someone the truth. It's all right at our fingerprints. We just have to stand firm in the face of whatever voices tell us not to be free in the fullness of how we were created.

What holds you back? What are you afraid of?
Today could be your day!
Make today your day.

Are you afraid of the not knowing? Are you afraid of not following the will of God and you're not sure what it is? Hold fast to the promises of Scripture and what you do know. Of who God is and what He desires for you. Shed doubt and lean hard into Jesus. 

Hope to be made new. 

Today is the day!

A Holy Experience

Saturday, December 1, 2012


When people ask me about my trip to Rwanda, I have a hard time knowing what to say. 
Here's my attempt.

There were people we spoke to, people we ate meals with and spent our days with, that had survived the fastest occurring genocide recorded in history. Close to a million people were killed in 100 days. And we met these survivors and heard their stories.

Upon return, my mind has wondered and questioned and pondered the age old question of the sovereignty of God. Those thoughts will get me nowhere because that's just what sovereignty is and what His is supposed to be - mysterious, never understanding, His plan over mine. But, to be vulnerable and honest, I look into the faces of the survivors of genocide and I wonder well why? but really, why? Will I ever get to know? Will it all just make sense one day? Will I get to ask God when I get to heaven or will these things on earth not matter anymore?

But that's not ultimately what this post is about. 
This post is about faith. Which I guess ties into the sovereignty of God more than I realize. 

My dear friend Kristin reminded me once, back in the summer on a Charleston trip, that in suffering is fullness of joy. And I've tossed that around in the ensuing months and it seems like my mind always softly hears that way back in its crevices. I am confident (I am learning to be confident) in understanding this to be true. 

One of the most incredible pieces of the Good news of Jesus Christ is the reality that in the very darkness, in the darkest moment of the crucifixion, in that moment, was life. From His sacrificial death, the veil was torn and we were given new life. And when his disciples thought everything was going wrong and their king had been slain and there was so much pain, He rose again and they saw the empty tomb and realized the plan and Peter 'went away marveling at what had happened.' 

In death, there is life. 
I couldn't even begin to claim to know the fullness of how amazing that is. How many dimensions and levels that truth holds. I was talking to my friend Gentry just the other day about this very thing and he said and we talked about how the Gospel is physical. And I keep adding pieces to the enigma of the puzzle that the new covenant of Jesus is.  

In death, there is life - even in the horrors of genocide. Especially in the horrors of genocide. Survivors of death looked me right in the eye and said "God is so good." And I struggle to say that when things don't work out the way I want it?

I heard survivors say they were called back to participate in the restoration of Rwanda to preach the message of forgiveness. They said, "we can relate to the poor because we were poor. We can relate to the desolate because we were desolate. We can relate to the traumatized because we were traumatized." I heard them say, "I rose out of the ashes of the genocide." I met people who had experienced Jesus and saw the face of God in the very grim realities of the brokenness of sin. 

Out of the ashes, we rise.
In the very context of death, there is the purest form of life. 
Can suffering be one of the truest ways to see the work of Jesus? Can death, in the end, set us free?

On the cross, Jesus absorbed all the pain and rescued us.
In suffering, there is fullness of joy. Joy is Jesus. Fullness of Jesus. It's true.

And this Gospel? It doesn't come wrapped in twinkling lights and satin bows; it comes straight into our pitchest black. The Gospel of Christ, it's a messy, bloody thing and this is how God was born, bloody and bruised, and that's how God chose to die, bloody and beaten. And our God, He knows the comings and goings of our blackest bloody battles, and this is exactly where He meets us. The Gospel is good news in the eye of the worst news. - Ann Voskamp