Friday, September 7, 2012

September's Chick Chat Book Club Selection

The Chick Chat Book Club selection for Sept is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp! You can get it for 22% off from our sponsor - Knoxville LifeWay Christian Stores! (Join by "liking" the Club page on facebook and simply inbox me from that Club page that you want one)
"Just like us, Ann hungers to live her one life well. How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long---and sometimes even dark? How is God even here? In 'One Thousand Gifts', Ann invites us to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted ... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others."
Join us in this months adventure of seeing what God wants to say to us as we grow together!

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Am Crushed Under the Love!

I had a conversation with my friend Leslie on Sunday during one of the services we weren't either attending about a sacred echo in my life right now. Leslie has cancer. She has completed 10 of her 12 treatments so far. She has them every two weeks. So she has a really bad week and a good week. Over and over and over. We were talking about God's favor, His blessings, and His application of love in our lives in those disconcerting times (like cancer, loss of a job, a completely broken relationship with someone you love dearly, or ‘you insert your disconcerting time here’). You know, the times in our lives that don’t always leave us with the warm fuzzies at the moment... at first. And yes, on the surface (and sometimes even quite a a few layers down) these times suck! Can I say that? You’ll forgive me if I offend, but it’s a fact. It sucks.
But as we discussed and shared some things on Sunday morning, like Leslies days of feeling so sore and horrible from her treatments, she also shared a revelation she has come to - that she can now share her faith in such a bolder way than she ever could before and that she is thankful for all this!
Wait a minute, thankful for cancer? Yes, she is now thankful for this fight against the disease in her body. Because Leslie says she is realizing, like I am in my own hard journeys these last 18 months, that even while we're still in the midst of our hard places that’s when we can truly feel loved the most – and began to see and feel the warm fuzzies even before the hard place goes away!
Why? Because these cannot happen without the fact that the Potter is at work in us!

So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Jeremiah 18:3-4

And here’s the catch and the glory of it all... when the potter is breaking the vessel and beginning to rebuild it, and the wheel is turning, and the clay is being pulled, is being stretched, and is being shaped - HIS HANDS ARE ON THE CLAY!

So here is the echo I keep hearing and learning lately - The life more abundant that Christ came to give us sometimes means an abundant stretching, abundant growth, abundant discipline, and an abundant rescue that seems sometimes to take so long because the fact is that it's just not about us anymore - and it never was. True love ALWAYS builds up, makes us better. And His is an abundant rescuing love. It's about others. It's about Him.

So what I am learning even more now is it's about Him lovingly crushing Leslie, lovingly crushing me, lovingly crushing the one I am alienated from, lovingly crushing someone who is watching me walk this journey, and someone watching Leslie walk her journey – and its about Him lovingly crushing you and someone watching you walk yours. And the truth is that in either way or all the above it doesn’t matter, because it’s all about Him, His revealing, His renown, and that sweet abundant love that changes everything!!

Father, help remind me that in the hard places YOUR HAND is lovingly upon me. Even in the sweet crushing. Thank you for the grandeur of your love, a love so all consuming that you allow in my life not only what I sometimes need to change me into the person you created me to be, but that you also give me in it all the honor of knowing you desire to use me to show your faithfulness to others and in the end to show the world what YOU can do anything! Amen and Amen

If you, like me and Leslie, find yourself on the Potter’s wheel today, thank him for His Hand. For the crushing. Thank Him for His rescuing love that is already taking place – we will be beautiful!

Joyful on the Journey,