Gain or Loss

I spent half the month of March on a journey of my mom passing away. I know she’s with Jesus and that brings me great comfort, but I still miss her.

There were so many good things that came out of the two weeks away from home including quality time with both of my sisters and time with my dad. We all had opportunities to say our goodbyes.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve received multiple sympathy cards. Most people write or speak to me, “Sorry for your loss.” And it is a loss.

Yesterday I started thinking about Philippians 3:7: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (ESV) I began to wonder if God had something else for me there.

Yes, earthly gain counted as loss for Christ is God truth. But what if earthly loss counted as gain for Christ is also God truth?

I’m not trying to add to the word of God, rather thinking about my response, any of our responses, to earthly losses of any kind. What are our options?

Wallow in sorrow, despair, self-pity. Plant feet firmly in anger and resistance against God and others. Go to our happy place, AKA, escape and never truly deal with the loss. Just a few examples from an endless list I’m sure.

But what if I take this earthly loss and live it out in such a way to bring glory to God? What if before I respond in my human flesh, I try responding in the Spirit?

I’m trying my best to do just that. I’m hoping that all of us who call ourselves active believers can do the same.
That’s not to say that sorrow and anger and the rest of the grieving process isn’t valid, it’s more to say that we don’t let it consume us.

What current loss are you struggling over? What could you do to make it a loss that counts as gain for Christ?

My Most Useful APP

I am attempting to crawl back from the underbelly of the whale called, “Going Back to Work.” The number one killer of blog followers is inconsistency. For those of you whom I’ve killed off–I’m truly sorry. For the die hards, I am setting a goal of 1x per week. PLEASE HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

And now to what’s on my mind and heart these days:  APPs. Everyone has their favorite APP they cannot live without. Maps, of course, is a highly used APP for me, also weather, Pandora, Facebook, urbanspoon and tip calculator. But these days my favorite APP is the God APP.

Now I’m sure that there really is some kind of God APP out there, I haven’t even bothered to check. My God APP is God Alphabet Praise & Prayer. It works like this:  When I’m in the midst of crisis or mediocrity or the blahs or the wahoos or the whatever, I start with an “A” word and pray it for my situation or acknowledge God in praise. Then I work my way through the alphabet.

For example, God, You are ABOUNDING in love or God, I pray You would ACT ACCORDING to Your will in this situation. Slowly I pray or praise my way through the alphabet. It’s not rocket science, to be sure, but I started it at the beginning of the year when I was in the midst of an intense personal crisis. Sometimes during that time I needed to pray it through. At other times a good old-fashioned dose of praise was comfort to my soul.

Warning, use of the God APP may be challenging and difficult. It may even force you to turn your eyes away from yourself or a situation. A few letters can still stump me from time to time. I’ve had to get creative with “X” and “Z” and certain letters force me to articulate my heartfelt thoughts in a new way, even to praise God in a new way.

Maybe this APP isn’t for you, but I say give it a try and see what happens. A little more praise and prayer can’t hurt, right?

What’s your favorite APP? What does it reveal about you?

Wound A’ Dressin’

I don’t like wounds. I was forced last week to remove bandages around a wound I had and I almost passed out. The old dressing was sticking, the wound was uglier than a slug–yes, I’m allowed to say that, I live in the Pacific Northwest–and the new dressing was awkward to put on by myself.

I had a flashback from twenty-nine years ago when I had to pull off the butterfly tape from my open heart surgery at age twelve. I almost passed out then too. I didn’t and don’t like to look at the wound straight on. I would rather avoid it altogether.

Then I realized that most wounds I have had have produced the same reaction. I don’t like pulling off dressing from wounds. Period.

So what if I take this to a spiritual level? I still don’t like wounds. I don’t want to address the issues of the wound and pull off the conformed and protective shell around it which I have dressed the wound with. . . like lies or avoidance or pride or  whatever sin I can hide behind in order to keep from addressing the real issue of my wound.

Pulling off the initial dressings almost always involves a greater risk of re-opening the wound. Ugh. In time, the dressing comes off easier, but the wound is still there–ugly and never healing as quickly as I want it to.

But here’s the thing:  wounds, whether physical or spiritual, must be cleaned frequently and aired and protected. And so how do you clean a spiritual wound?

Expose it before Christ, ask His Spirit to clean it, to air it out, not for the world to see and know, but before Him in a sacred place where repentance, forgiveness, mercy and love abound:  in His Presence. Ask Him for a new perspective and wait for Him to breathe on it. Keep it protected until it heals under His touch completely, and then give your testimony as and when He directs.

It seems simple enough, so why don’t I do it more often?

What old or new wounds are you avoiding? What are you gaining by refusing to address and re-dress the wound? What could be released in you by exposing it to the air of God?


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

Cafe Deja Vu

As soon as I stepped in the door, I knew I had been there before, even though I hadn’t.

Immediately warmth enveloped me. I felt at home. I chose where to sit amidst cozy, mismatched furniture and sipped my cappuccino, listening to singer songwriter music, my favorite.

And all the while I was reminded of a coffee shop I had been to before in Yellow Springs, OH. Or was it Indianapolis, IN? Bar Harbor, ME? Noblesville, IN?

The Village Idiot, a coffeeshop in a house somewhere around the north part of Indianapolis when I was in college. I thought, this is the type of place I would own if I owned a coffeeshop. But of course it would have to be tea.

What is it that called to me so much about the place? I’ve been socked in with fog for days. Damp gloom. But I felt it lift away from my spirit as I sat there journaling, dreaming, questioning.

It felt homey, more so than the rental I currently reside in. Maybe it was about escape, or perhaps just a break up of weary, oppressive routine. Either way my mind drifted easily to other chapters of my life, seemingly simpler times, although I know that each chapter had its own struggles and obstacles to persevere through and overcome. As does my current chapter, LORD help me.

Have you ever been somewhere new and found yourself swept away to a past chapter of your life? What was it about the place that whisked you off?