Lessons on Faith

A few fragments of truth have made their way slowly and steadily into my life lately. I haven’t really been looking for them; they’ve been quite unexpected, sometimes popping up when I’m listening, but more often when I’m trying not to hear.

God has an uncanny way of inserting Himself in the pockets of doubt that we’d rather keep to ourselves. It’s actually quite rude and I’d rather He keep to Himself sometimes.

But nonetheless he enters the scene of all that I have reluctantly presented to Him as the territory I’d rather leave unexplored. And like a stray cat, he shows up when I least expect him, quiet and eerily close.

It reminds me of a song by Sufjan Stevens called “Seven Swans” that always makes me pause and wonder exactly how far I would be “chased” if God, given the slightest chance, would pursue me.

He will take you
If you run
He will chase you
He will take you
If you run
He will chase you
Because he is the Lord

Kind of creepy, I’m not going to lie. But somehow, it rings true.

The following are bits and pieces of truth that have been showing up lately, like proverbial stray cats. They are not complete or proper or theological. They are in no particular order. They are simply glimmers of lessons I hope to learn:

  • Sometimes when the next step in life isn’t black and white, we have to rest on what is–God’s faithfulness.
  • He doesn’t always say, “Go this way” or “Do this”. But he does say, “If you follow me, I’ll show you more of me.”
  • Sometimes I get too caught up in the where, when, or what. I forget the Who. I miss the point. Because sometimes God’s leading is no where that’s clear to us. Sometimes it’s just Him. Knowing Him, being close to Him, and understanding more about his infinite love for us.
  • I’m finding out that God’s refinement comes only when I’m incredibly close . . . too close for comfort, close enough to feel all of His breathtaking intensity. It’s uncomfortable, but if I always know the way, how can I remain close?
  • The crucible of faith is just that–a cramped environment of extreme pressure, errupt-able and volatile. Faith cannot be diluted by certainty or any other stabilizing chemicals, it can only exist as a pure, unrefined element.

Just some thoughts I’ve been thinking….no answers except for what’s already been promised:

With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

–Romans 8:32 MSG

Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

–Psalm 37:5 MSG

People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

–Isaiah 26:3 MSG

For now I’m holding on to these “black and whites” while I’m in the gray . . . and hoping it looks a little like faith.

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Spring

 

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Is it so small a thing

To have enjoyed the sun,

To have lived light in the Spring,

To have loved, to have thought, to have done . . .

 

–Matthew Arnold

“Surprised by Joy”

“For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy in his heart.”

–Ecclesiastes 5:20

I believe that one of the most intense struggles we face as human beings is the loneliness that plagues the heart. This lonliness doesn’t stem simply from the absence of companionship–it’s roots are in an unbearable longing for something eternal. This is why we can be surrounded by friends, family, and the lot and still sense a burden of disconnection that seems more ancient than time.

I’ve come to recognize that the little glimpses of joy we experience on life’s journey have an eternal quality to them. Joy is the antithesis for loneliness. Joy tells us that we belong and that we are full. Joy connects us to a sense of wholeness and beauty that doesn’t seem to show up anywhere else in life. You could say that joy is the cousin of freedom.

The morning my son was born, I was surprised by joy.

It went something like this:

“I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again… I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.”

― C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

The moment I saw him, I was in awe. Joy makes us do that. Maybe it’s because I never felt God’s love so close. Perhaps this is why a mother’s love for her children is so fierce–because she’s guarding something God has entrusted specifically to her.

And maybe that’s why it’s so life-changing to meet your child for the first time–you are face to face with human being that has been kept so closely by God, reserved for the perfect time to enter into the world. Of all the people, old and young on this earth, babies have been the closest to God.

Giving birth allowed me to see God’s kindness in such a way that I never have before. It’s the most spiritual thing I’ve ever done.

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Enough Said

Happy Friday!

More Than Just a Day

It seems like there’s a designated day for everything.

There’s a  Bring-Your-Pet-To-Work day and an International Coffee Day. (Both sound oh-so-fun, too)

And it’s no surprise that today is a “day” set aside specifically for water.

Today you’ll be enthused to know is World Water Day.  You mean you haven’t got out your slip n’ slide to celebrate? Gasp.

Before you go racing to find a level piece of ground void of pine cones and some dish detergent, let me say a few words.

First of all, lacking access to clean water is an overwhelming crisis for nearly 1 billion people on the planet today. The water in our toilets is cleaner than the water 1 out of 6 people drink every day.

So what should we do about it? Well, for years now, lots and lots of water organizations have made it their mission to drill clean water wells where there were none before, providing water for millions. This is, no doubt, a huge achievement.

But, unfortunately, this well-drilling extravaganza isn’t entirely sustainable. Wells break . . . a lot. So all that work to get a well in a community lasts about as long as batteries in a new toy. The framework is there, but there’s no juice to keep the operation going.

Charity, as well-intended as it may be, is not always the best investment. But investments are hard to sell to you and I because they aren’t sleek, shiny and sexy…. investments aren’t sexy because they take time.

So what is sexy? How about the beautiful thing that happens when the “helpless” are empowered to help themselves? You know, that undeniable joy that occurs when mothers and fathers can provide for their families AND do something to help the community?

J-O-B-S.

Today, I’m asking you to consider where you give your money and why you give to the people and places that you do. Do you invest in charity, or do you invest in dignity? Do you know where your money goes, or are you just guessing?

Today, for World Water Day, the Adventure Project is doing something pretty fantastic. They’re funding well mechanic programs in India and their goal is to fund 186 people to become mechanics. Check it:

Every$550 raised helps one mechanic receive:
*Training classes
*Tools and spare parts
*A one-year stipend to help an entrepreneur launch their business.

And here’s a really cool part: One well mechanic will care for 50 wells which will ensure clean water for 5,000 people!

The icing on the cake? The Prem Rawat Foundation is pledging a $25K matching gift if our goal is met today.

Find out more here.

Give here.

Let’s think about changing the way we give so that today becomes more about people and less about “a day”. Seriously, we can do this!

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Sometimes Passion Is All You Have

Life sometimes gets pretty daunting. There’s a thousand choices and a thousand paths.

You choose plan A and it doesn’t work out.

You’re not educated or experience enough to apply for that job you’re dreaming of every other second.

Your spouse’s dreams change or shift.

The “plan” for your life is a little off now.

As for me, I only have a few tricks in my bag. I work hard–but sometimes even working hard doesn’t always yield the successes I was initially aiming for.

I am also pretty creative. More often than not I can conjure up a solution to most of my “solvable” everyday puzzles. Other times I have writer’s block. Or a bad day.

That’s about it–those are my two staple tricks that I employ every day to build, create, strive and thrive.

When those tricks fail me, I have to reach back in the bag (deep down…like Mary Poppins) for something more substantial. There it is.

Passion. Raw, unadulterated, child-like faith-ish passion. Passion that I often dismiss as unharnessed emotional energy that makes me hope for things too far out of reach and risk my entire hand against Life’s stony poker face.

When I let it out, it comes on strong. Too emotional. Can’t discredit myself as a capable woman with a silly thing like emotion. (Wrong answer, by the way. Listen up.)

Guess what. That passion–that conglomerate of zeal and faith–is sometimes all I have.

Don’t get me wrong, passion has to be harnessed and assessed to be productive, realistic, and sensible….but at times those aren’t what needs to be cultivated.

In a world full of opportunities for sensible decision making, passion is the fuel that trumps it all. It gives us that toe-curling, pencil tapping, knee-knocking gumption to rebel against what’s safe.

And yet, rather ironically, we hold on to it when we’ve lost our way. That risky fellow called Passion just made you feel like you were on a phantasmal adventure. You’ve didn’t know what was next…but you never felt “safer”.

I’m holding on for dear life. And I’m kind of enjoying it.

Wonderbus: Our Epic Journey to NYC

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Tiff and I decided several months ago that it was high time to plan an adventure to New York City.

We set a date. Bought tickets for the ride of a lifetime: on the “Megabus”. $15 for a day on a stale smelling bus with random strangers. It sounded like fun to us!

We later decided that “wonderbus” sounded better–made me think of good times in fifth grade watching the “Magic School Bus”. Mrs. Frizzle is legit. Her voice kind of reminds me of Sarah Palin’s.

So now we are about halfway through our journey. You are welcome to keep up via twitter: #wonderbus.

I assure you, there are epic times ahead!

Unexpected People. Unexpected Places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve finally regained some sense of composure after living in a daze for the past 4 days post-tyeTAP Water Revolution.

I’m sure you’ve already heard (many of you have probably blocked me from all your social media feeds) but typeTAP’s efforts on World Water Day raised $11,000+ for the well mechanics program in India.

The Prem Rawat Foundation decided to be awesome and matched our grand total in full. Did I mention I’ve been speechless the last 4 days?

With some big time support from unexpected people and places like the Huffington Post, Halogen TV and TapIt, the typeTAP floodgates exploded with blogging coverage and a swarm of generous dollars.

At one point, right after we reached our goal and I was on speaker phone with my dear friend, Tiffany, I almost cried…in fact, I did inside.  On the outside I was too dehydrated and exhausted to even muster up a few salty droplets.

I’m overwhelmed by the opportunity to be a part of something like this…it’s what gets my heart pumping. Its in these kind of moments that I feel like God is saying, “See, this is what I’ve made you for. All you have to do is be obedient and available.”

Tiff and I had a conversation after the momentous day that solidified our utter amazement. It went something like this.

Tiff: “So, this is crazy. I’m exhausted.”

Me: “Me too….but you know what is the craziest thing about all of this? That they (Becky and Jody) took us seriously. I mean, we were total strangers three weeks ago. Now I feel like we are all BFFs.  That doesn’t just happen.”

Tiff:  “That’s how you know something is from God. It sounds totally crazy, even after its already happened.”

Unexpected people. Unexpected places.

So to all of my incredible supporters, donors, and friends, I am more grateful for you thank you know.  Faith is an adventure I’d never want to experience alone.

I’m pumped. For this. And for my next adventure, whatever it may be.