Wednesday, December 28, 2011

hope hurts.

The Bible says God is the God of hope. All through Scripture, hope is mentioned and encouraged. "Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love."

But I realize tonight that sometimes, hope hurts too much.
Tonight, my hope - about a certain situation - is shattered all over the floor like broken glass. It feels like my heart is there with it.
And I don't want to hope anymore.

Because when it fails, hope hurts.
Because there's no such thing as false hope - all hope is real and meaningful and fragile.
Because hope deferred makes the heart sick.

And yet, when you want something so badly, how can you stop hoping for it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It's Christmas.
No, it's not actually Christmas Day yet, but it's Christmas. The season. The spirit. I love this quote from a book that I read during this season every year:
"Christmas took a long time coming. It gathered speed, and size, and volume. It gathered songs and snow and gift wrap and hope, until it was this enormous avalanche..." (from What Child is This by Caroline Cooney)

So, I'm sitting here in my house tonight, drinking egg nog, looking at my Christmas tree with its sparse ornaments -- ones I've collected over my childhood and few years of adulthood -- and listening to the dryer running as I'm doing laundry so I can pack to go home for Christmas. It has been fun to have my own little place to decorate this year, and put up my own tree for the first time.

This evening, I exchanged gifts with my camp family. Man, I love those folks. What a blessing to have my boss and coworkers as truly my friends, my family, my Christian brothers and sisters, and to know they love me. I'm sooo blessed!!

I guess I'm a bit reflective tonight, thinking about how this year is coming to a close, and all the changes that are going to take place in 2012. In a few months, I'll be leaving camp, changing jobs...probably moving out of state. Nothing is decided definitely yet as far as where I'm going, but at this point I'll say that the leaving/changing is for sure. I'm excited about that, but tonight a little bit sad, knowing how much I'll miss the people here who I've grown to love dearly. And a little nervous because everything is so uncertain... but God has good plans and I'm choosing to trust Him every moment.

There's a newer Christmas-ish song that I've discovered this week that is totally rocking my world. I've probably listened to it 20 times in the last few days. Francesca Battistelli sings it on the multi-artist album called "Music Inspired by the Story." The song is called "Be Born in Me" and it's from the perspective of Mary, Jesus' mother. It's a gorgeous song, and man, the lyrics just kind of make my heart explode. Speaking to me right where I am right now. Check it out -- Be Born in Me by Francesca Battistelli.

Thanks, friends, for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts tonight. I hope each of you has a merry and bright Christmas with those you love, and may your soul rejoice in the indescribable gift God has given us. Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

it is well with my soul.

Great Redeemer, take our weakness
And show Yourself strong
Show Yourself strong

That's a line from a song we sang at the worship session tonight. I'm currently at a conference with about 600 other Christians, and the worship services have been amazing. First of all, hearing 600 people sing praise to God is pretty awesome. That's about as close to a multitude -- a multitude all intent on one purpose, like in the Bible -- as I can comprehend. To me, it's a small taste of what heaven might be like. A very small taste.
Secondly, the words of the songs have just blessed me this week. The songs are no different than the ones we sing at church or the ones I hear on the radio. But this week as we have sung them, as I've closed my eyes and focused on the words, I've just felt God's grace in each word wash over me. I've allowed the words to have meaning and to touch me, and it feels like my soul is being revived. It has stirred a hunger in me... a hunger for more of Him, for a deeper communion and a deeper love, a hunger to be spiritually alive again.

I don't want to lose that. When I go back home to Tennessee tomorrow, and back to camp, I don't want to fall back into the same old ruts.... the ruts of work, school, and sleep, and having to struggle to find joy in each day. I want to live and I want to love and I want to be alive. I'm afraid of losing what I've grasped onto this week.
But mountain-top experiences have to come to an end, I know that. We meet God on the mountain, but our place to live it out is in the valley. Tomorrow I'm going back to the valley. And praying God helps me stay close to Him.

There have been other really, really good things about this week. There have also been distractions pulling my attention in other ways. I won't go into all that now. But it's been a great week, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity. What God has done for me this week hasn't been what I expected, but then again.... isn't that how God works?