Greater Expectations

I don’t think I’ve ever read Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. Now before you start questioning my authority on greater expectations or even if I really earned a degree in English Literature or not, this isn’t about Pip.  Nope, this is about my own expectations.

A few weeks ago God whispered to me, “Expect good things.” I was in the midst of a crisis at the time and I needed to hear that. A couple of days ago I was pondering those words again and began questioning my own expectations.

I think most times my expectations can go one of two ways. They either get a plastic, fake feel to them in a “positive thinking” kind of way, forced out because I’m a  “good christian” therefore I should be positive and happy (which by the way is a lie); or they tend to take on a shot of reality where they’re infused with an attitude of “nothing good can come from this.”

Either direction is warped.

As I was contemplating this quadary, God’s Spirit breathed, “Holy Expectations.” Holy Expectations are hard. They require trust in a God whose ways I don’t always understand, and also generally require me to wait. Ugh, not waiting, not again.

I think that’s why I prefer my plastic expectations infused with doses of reality. I am in control of those. But here’s the cool thing:  God’s holy expectations always exceed our human expectations. Always.

So the next time you find yourself contemplating expectations over something good or bad in your life, seek out greater expectations. Ask God what His holy expectations for the situation are. And then trust. And wait. And expect good things.

What is a current expectation of yours? How are you settling for less than holy expectation in your situation?

Weedy Reflections

First off let me apologize for my recent inconsistency in posting. As you all are very much aware, sometimes life happens. My life happening has stirred up the soil of my heart. Honestly, I’m not really enjoying what has been stirred up:  weeds, and lots of them.

Several years ago my husband and I bought a house on a couple of acres. It was our first taste of owning acreage and we were in for some definite shocks to our manicured, city mentality. The property was foreclosed on and the previous owner had horses.

Much of the land was barren, that is the land that wasn’t being overrun by blackberries (gotta love the Northwest). Ironically, I planted a few plants in an area that remained barren until we moved last summer. I know, location location location.

One hillside, or rather one part of the hilly acreage, had a patch of thistles. I’m sure the horses kept them in check, but by the time we moved in, they were easily over my head at 5’2″. These were SERIOUS thistles. Serious as in, cloak yourself in armor, at least double gloves, and pull them up. I didn’t even want to go near them for the potential pain they could cause. PRICKLY!

Another weed scattered around the property was milkweed. If you have never had the pleasure of pulling some up, know that they have to be one of the stinkiest weeds ever, and messy too with their milky, smelly liquid oozing from a broken stem. I always hated pulling up milkweed.

A final predominant weed continually battled against was scotch broom. The thing about scotch broom is that I actually think it’s pretty when in bloom, and even in the winter when my eyes are starved for any color other than grey. But scotch broom is deceiving. It propogates via seeds in late summer and spreads like wildfire. Its roots go deep and they are stubborn to pull out.

Real life connection/application:  I need to pull up some weeds in my heart. There are thistles growing, prickly issues I don’t want to tackle for fear of being hurt. Milk weed is abundant; stinky, oozing, messy things to be dealt with. Scotch broom propogates lies and spreads its deceitful beauty.

I can’t tackle these weeds without God. I don’t want to tackle these weedy issues without Christ. And here’s the thing:  God wants to clear away the weeds to make way for a garden of goodness and beauty, right in our hearts.

What are the weeds prevailant in your heart? How does God want you to tackle them? I’ll give you a hint, it’s with Him.

Wanted: Dead or Alive

I’m wanted in four, possibly five, states. No, I haven’t carried out any crime and the states I’m wanted in are not locations per say.

I’m being tracked by the Hunter who wants me dead or alive, preferably dead. The states are:  emotional state, mental state, physical state and spiritual state, and possibly relational state. He had me cornered in the emotional state for a few days, imprisoned in an emotional eddy where I kept going around and around, kicking to swim out but too weak to escape.

For years he’s been coming after me, although at times I could say with confidence that I had no idea I was being pursued by such a venomous, evil being. If he captures me alive then I am quite sure he will try to put me to use for his own vile plans.

But the good news is I have another One who pursues me. He definitely wants me alive. However in order for me to be alive for Him, I must become dead to myself. It is a daily death and some days I comply and some days I do not comply. The latter are the days when the Hunter comes close and I’m sure that if I sniffed the air spiritually I could catch a whiff of his awful scent.

But the True Pursuer of Love protects me. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. (Psalm 18:34, ESV) He gives me strength, discernment and weapons for battle against the Hunter. I stand on the Rock of my Salvation. I scan the horizon for the enemy of my soul. I prepare to meet him and fight.

So yes, I am wanted. I am wanted for Christ, and He wants me very much alive.

How does the Hunter track you most days?

 

No Laughing Matter

I haven’t outright belly laughed lately. You know, the kind of laughter where your eyes water and you can’t catch your breath and maybe you start choking a bit on spittle, meanwhile hoping you don’t piddle your pants.

And this is no laughing matter that I have no laughing matter. Remember how funny joke books were when we were kids? When did I become a boring a-dult?

True, this has been rather a trying season lately, but deep  down in me I still long to let loose and giggle, chuckle, snicker, guffaw, and or cackle.

When did I allow myself to get so serious? More importantly, how can I find my way back?

Any suggestions beyond youtube or TV shows or movies?

What makes you laugh?

Hangovers

Confession:  I’ve never been drunk. Even so I have had hangovers. Like when I don’t do the dishes after dinner and I wake up in the morning to a counter full of dirty dishes. I call that a dishes hangover. I feel lousy and the task of cleaning them seems overwhelming.

I’ve had lots of other housecleaning hangovers of various sorts over the years.

This morning I awoke with a Downton Abbey hangover. I got sucked in last night thinking it would only be one hour. Two hours later I crawled into bed. I woke up this morning groggy and cranky, feeling like I would never be able to catch up during the day. Even now my thoughts are still a bit foggy.

In preparing for this post I decided to look up the word hangover. It has another meaning besides the one we all know of too much alcoholic indulgence the night before. I found the second definition interesting.

www.merriam-webster.com says:  something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past. Google defines it as:  a thing that has survived from the past. www.thefreedictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary) describes it as:  a person or thing left over from or influenced by a past age.

Am I a hangover? Are you? Aren’t we all influenced by a past age?

True, sometimes I feel like I’m left over from a past age of less technology. But what about in the spiritual realm?

I think my faith could be a hangover. It has definitely survived from my past, has made it over many seemingly impossible hurdles, and even currently my faith is being influenced by a past age as I read of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness.

What about you, can your faith be classified as a hangover? Or has it passed by the wayside in an effort to move forward?

I don’t know about you, but I am happy for the hangover of my faith.

 

Declaration of War

I hope you don’t think less of me, but I like spam. I’m actually not talking about the canned kind, which brings back fond childhood memories for me–yes, I know that sounds wierd–but I’m talking about the spam that every computer user encounters on an ongoing basis.

Why? Before this morning, I would have found it just as annoying as you, and will probably continue to do so. But today God showed me something.

I was checking my comments and going through them to mark which ones were allowed to be shown, etc. I came across one that severely criticized one of my posts.

I am not against a difference of opinions and will gladly post comments that don’t agree with my views. However, this spammer then gave two additional comments to the same post praising it to high heaven! I obviously marked it as spam.

Real life application:  Isn’t that just like the devil to flatter and criticize us with his deceptive spam?

We are inundated with the devil’s spam in our lives. Think of all the lies we believe and accept as truth on a day to day basis!

What if, when those voices of deception crept in, we could thoroughly mark them as spam and chuck them from our life? We do it in our email, so why not in our lives?

Stop accepting spam into your heart and mind. Declare war on the devil’s spam. Put on the full armor of God and stand against the devil’s lies in the name and blood of Christ Jesus!

May God’s power and wisdom and love clearly show you where you are believing lies and accepting the devil’s spam into your life. Let GOD’S TRUTH reign!

I’m going to eat breakfast now. And yes, spam does sound good to me.

Raw Moment

Can I be raw here for a moment?

I don’t want to be a girl on a journey right now. I want the journey to be over. I’m not talking about suicide and ending it all, I’m talking about a “Come, Lord Jesus” moment. Wipe it all away.

Wipe all the work, the sorrows–somedays by the bucketfulls, and the misery of this life away. No more 12′ breaker days.

Huddled in the midst of these trials there must be good things, things invisible to the eye and only seen through the Presence of God. So, come Lord Jesus, so I can see, because right now my vision is unreliable and my heart is wounded within me.

I feel like David, immensely longing for and waiting on God to act. The troop morale is low and the captain is tired of the ongoing pursuit of his enemy.

Come Lord Jesus, meet us here in the midst of this pain and change us by Your transforming power which works miracles. Come Lord Jesus, help us to see Your holiness amidst the dark cloud, just like Moses. Come Lord Jesus and see us through these times of ongoing suffering.

To You be the glory, forever and ever. Amen

Geological Thoughts

When I was a child my best friend and I spent hours going through a pile of rocks set aside for pothole control in her extra long driveway.

There was just something so interesting about all the different shapes, colors, designs, and types of rocks. We each started our own collections and even to this day I still find myself collecting rocks and compiling little piles of them on my desk by the computer.

Lately I’ve been thinking about rocks differently.  I hit rock bottom recently in an area of my life, with no farther to plummet. I’ve been trying to delve meaning from the place of my bedrock, wondering what is there for me these days.

I watched a show over the weekend on gold mining in Alaska and they were digging down to the bedrock. That, supposedly, was where they would find gold. The mining equipment sometimes jammed and broke in their efforts to clear away the sediment and get down to the bedrock where the gold would mask itself.

I have so much sediment covering my bedrock. I must excavate down to it and then search for the nuggets or even specks of gold hidden among the bedrock of my life. And the sediment builds up again and again, brought on by the onslaught of the rains of life.

I am between a rock and a hard place. The hard place is the current situation I must face, and its not a pleasant one by any means. The rock, I have come to understand, is Christ. He is the One I must look to. He is the Rock of my salvation. A favorite hymn puts it this way:  On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Are you currently between a rock and a hard place? Is your bedrock visible or must the sediment be cleared off again, so that you can get to the gold? Are you standing on The Rock or sinking in the sand? If sand standing, what can you do to get to The Rock?

I wish you the best on your own geological discoveries. Rock on.