Friday, February 28, 2014

If You Thought 30 Was Exciting....

So last Sunday I hit 31 years.

Can I tell you the truth?  I don't like the sound of that number.  But can I tell you what redeems that?  It's only the age of my body.  My temporary home.  My soul?  It's ageless.  And so is yours!

So whether you'd like to turn back time to 1989, or 1960, or 1940....remember this.  We're not really getting older.  We're just getting closer to immortality!  Who needs the fountain of eternal youth?  Although according to my little bro, I must have found it.  When asked how old I was on my birthday, his answer?   A hundred!

But seriously, I'm looking forward to this year.  Because 30 was pretty exciting.  And I can't wait to see what God has in store for 31!

I thought it was a good time for a little remembering.  So here are some of the memorable moments from the past year of my life.

When I was 30, I.....

Took three months of Tae Kwon Do and earned my orange belt.
Biked and rode the train on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park scenic railroad and towpath trail.
Got my first stitches.
Spent three weeks in Romania!
Tasted homemade Romanian moonshine.
Sailed on Lake Michigan at sunset.
Wiped out on a wakeboard.
Wiped out on a horse.
Saw my first movie in a theater. Yep. Really.
Experienced the hot air balloon festival in St. Louis.
Did a 21 day media fast.  Which I could stand to do again!
Watched a couple of rodeos.
Worked with a new (to me) horse and gained confidence.
Moved from one state to another and back again.
Worked on a horse ranch and at two sweet little coffee shops.
Bought a car!

These are just highlights....all in all, it's been a wonderful year.  I've grown, and I've seen how much more I have to grow.  My life has been enriched with so many friends who have taught me things about life and God and horses and relationships and myself, and encouraged and enabled me in so many ways.

And I just have a feeling that now God is saying, "So you think 30 was exciting?  You ain't seen nothin yet!"

Bring it on!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Don't Act Your Age

"Act your age, not your shoe size!"  Have you ever heard this phrase?  I was talking to a coworker the other day, and upon finding out that I am celebrating my birthday this weekend, he asked how old I'd be.  He was surprised to discover I am much older than I look!  He then proceeded to ask me to guess his age, which I actually got almost right on.  Guessing ages is a tricky thing.  Some people look their age, and some don't.  I know people who look much older than they are.  Sometimes this is due to certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking or excessive tanning.  Sometimes it is because of health issues or stress.  It can even be the way they dress and wear makeup.  I also know people, say in their 50's, who look younger but physically act their age, or older!  Old age can take it's toll much faster if we choose things like unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, internalizing stress, or negativity.

As much as I want to be forever young, I can't stop the clock on biological aging.  But I have decided that I am NOT going to act my age....not even when I'm 50!  This is not an excuse to act childish, but rather a quest to rediscover child-likeness.  Jesus Himself said, Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven!

I've been listening to Chris August lately, and he wrote a song called 1989.  It talks about how life was carefree and uncomplicated when he was seven years old.  How it was to live in childlike faith.  And how he wants to go back to living that way.  I realized that I was six years old in 1989.  I'm not one of those people who can remember a lot of their childhood with clarity.  I remember bits and pieces, sometimes the most random and weird things!  I can't say I really remember what it was like being six.  But I know life sure seemed simpler.  And a lot more fun.  I still find ways to have some great fun, but we know that's not what life is all about.  But what if we could recapture the wonder of a child?

These days God is drawing me back to learn how to be a kid again.  I think He wants us to have that kind of wonder at Him and the things He has made.  If I take the time to slow down and fully experience the simple things, the little everyday gifts in life....I begin to find that wonder again.

Things like being mesmerized by snowflakes falling sparkly in the streetlight after dark.  Laughing at squirrels chasing each other up and down trees.  Dancing crazy to happy music.  Hugging a giant tree just to see how far my arms reach.  Making a snow angel on a walk through the woods.  Walking out giant hearts with my footprints in the snow in the park.  Diving onto a queen bed.  Twirling in circles at the bowling alley with my little brother.  And the other day, I discovered polymer sand....I spent an hour or more playing with it while talking with my friend....squeezing, squishing, letting it drop through my's the coolest stuff ever!  And we laughed and had the best time entertaining ourselves with this simple plaything!

I'm learning that when I slow down and live fully in the moment....when I take time to look and count all the gifts God has poured out on the day and to give thanks....when I find delight in the simple things, even childish things....when I let myself linger and wonder at the things God created and the ways He reveals Himself all around brings back an unadulterated joy and pleasure that feels a little bit like being a kid again!

I think Jesus said we must become like a child because only children have the eyes to see God.  And only children can trust without reservation.

"It is so uncomplicated with You make the person that I once was reappear
I'm sorry that I made it something complicated
I am ready now, it's not too late
Everyday I'm learning it's all about returning
I'm living my life with childlike I could
Turn back time and go to 1989
Where every day was full of chasin dreams
Yeah I may be grown up but maybe I should try
Livin like it's 1989"

From 1989 by Chris Augustt

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stop Chasing God

Today I just want to share some tender heart thoughts.  These are fresh, uncensored journalings.  The kind that are almost too private to share.  But I will because I have found a breath of freedom today.  And I want to extend it to you, whoever you are, taking the time to stop in on my musings in this moment.  I will not attempt to analyze or explain.  This is not a sermon or a well thought out message.  Just a heart-flow.  Take it for whatever it speaks to you.

I am the harlot.

You are the relentless Lover.  The reckless Lover spilling all of Himself.  The scandalous Lover who will stop at nothing to bring the harlot back to His embrace, to endless intimacy.  Taking her to a place she never dreamed existed.  To make her the Beauty she has spent her lifetime longing to be, trying to be, failing to be...yes, to make her even more than that be the Beauty who ravishes You!

The utterly worthless becomes a pearl of surpassing value over which You dance and sing.  The hopelessly broken transformed into unspeakable glory.

Recreated.  Cherished.  Wanted.

Thank You.  For wanting me.  That I don't have to chase You.  That's it's not about me wanting You badly enough....because You want me with an otherworldly desire.  Enough to create me.  Enough to rescue me.  Enough to win the heart of this harlot.  Relentless Grace.

I am the harlot.  I am both the beauty and the beast.  I am Cinderella.  Rags to Happily Ever After.  I am the sought-after, fought for, hard-won heroine to Your Hero in the Greatest Romance of Time and Eternity!

Charis.  Eucharisteo.  Chara.

Grace.  Thanksgiving.  Joy.

The whisper of hope in all this pain.  The clue that all is not as it seems.  The rush of air into gasping lungs, smothered by earth's smog.  The literal breath of life.  Bread sustaining my soul.  These could turn a whole day.  A week.  A life.  They could turn a world upside down.  Or right side up.

Breathe in.  Grace.  Breathe out.  Thanksgiving.  Feel the life flood this body, rush through these veins, awaken these dry bones.  Joy.  Dance to the soundless melody.  Reach out and touch the invisible.  Gaze on the unseen reality surrounding you like an ocean.  Walk on thin air.

Faith.  SUBSTANCE of things hoped for.  PROOF of things unseen.  To know that what I do not yet hold in my hand is MINE just as surely and solidly as the ground I walk on.

God. Is. Here.