I've agonized over this blog for almost a year now. I apologize for being distant and ask for your grace.
The good news is that there's still a fire inside me. Fire that wells up from deep within me from time to time, like in the -- unfortunate and unrestrained -- impassioned moment when I threw a plate across the room, smashed smithereens a metaphor of this struggle for a reconciled life. There's mature and not-mature ways to express righteous indignation. I foolishly chose the latter.
We were simply having... family time.
Reading. A story about love. And sacrifice.
Perhaps I ought to consider my read-aloud skills. Maybe I'm monotone. Or maybe the story didn't have enough action. Or maybe it was too long. Whatever the case, interruptions of, "Stop it! Get away from me! Ouch! Don't kick me! Hey, I was there first! Gimme that!" filled the background. And for a while, I'd pause, wait, ask if I could help, offered soft answers to turn away selfishness.
Then someone spewed, "You idiot!" And I snapped. My breakfast plate, clean except for the few crumbs left over from breakfast, well, it became my attention-grabbing device. Like the ragged fragments of hurt from careless words, shards of ceramic exploded across tile. Of course, I should have stopped there. To my shame, I picked up the book we were reading... and threw it, too. Threw it across the room... where, to my horror and dismay, my husband sat... Fortunately, his reflexes are quick and he caught it mid-strike. But still. I gushed apologies, assuring him that I didn't purposely aim for him, that I didn't even look, I just threw... Ugh. Pathetic lack of self control.
And I'm tempted. I think irrationally If we didn't have stuff to argue over... If our family could go on a journey that required faith... If we prayed more... If LeRoy and I were better parents... If... But then Spirit reminds me, "My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness."
And so I take notice of the countless ways He is faithful throughout the journey:
127. The earnestness in us learning to live in the tension of in-between. That place where we experience God's abundant extravagances as well as His extravagant grace in our trials.
"...Your Kingdom come, On earth as it is in Heaven." Life in a broken world and glimpses of Heaven. I'll be honest, we're falling apart here in our home. There's this ever present tension between truth, reality, and eternal perspective and the distractions all around us. My children feel it. We feel it in our parenting and in our marriage. The process of learning total surrender -- of absolute abandonment.
Abandonment is the process of taking our hands off of what we have been holding onto. It involves turning away from lesser things and renouncing our “rights” to them. It is an emptying that clears away emotional space for new attachments. ~ Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys: The Lost Spiritual Discipline
Barnes goes on to ask a thought-provoking question, "Is the fruit worth the risk?" ...I’d like to suggest that the greatest risk we face these days is that of an unlived life. If we don’t question the model of life society gives us, we may one day find ourselves entombed beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, gadgetry, and playthings. We may wake up one day and see the years have slipped by. We may discover that the dreams of our youth lie caked in dust on the shelves of memory.
128. Remembering the "dreams of our youth." The longings, the yearnings of our hearts.
129. His promise, "If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." - Jeremiah 29:13
"Theology can't live in a vacuum." ~ Tim Hansel
130. Israel's suggestion, "I think, Mom, that our family isn't really a Christian family."
It's the impossibly irreconcilable gap between what we say we believe and the reality of our days lived tidy, neat. Controlled. Theology in a vacuum. Our theology yearns for the adventure of risk-taking, do-hard-things-faith. Anything less feels like... less. Is the fruit worth the risk?
131. The conviction that we can't afford to live half-hearted. Wholeheartedly, Lord Jesus. Ignite a fire in our hearts to search for You wholeheartedly!
132. The awareness that we've played it too safe. Ready hearts for a Kingdom Journey.
133. The Gift of Restlessness.
134. And the Gift of Hope.
135. The Gift of Brokenness.
136. And the resulting Gift of Dependence.
You don't have to go on a kingdom journey to experience brokenness, but it helps. God sent every major hero in the Bible on a journey so they could be broken. David ran from Saul and was broken along the way. Elijah was driven to the wilderness for two years. Abraham left his father's tent and spent the rest of his life in the desert. Jonah had to throw himself off the ship that he was using to flee God before he was broken. Paul lived a life of journeying that began with blindness and a rebuke. Jesus started his three-year journey to the cross with a forty-day sojourn in the wilderness that left him so depleted the angels had to minister to him. ~ Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys: The Lost Spiritual Discipline
137. My family's unconditional love and forgiveness when I apologize for my sinful outburst.
138. The gift of His body following His calling, encouraging the whole body to passionately live out the Kingdom Dreams God has placed on their hearts.
139. The opportunity to ask for a miracle... that God would provide a way [in the midst of making an incredibly difficult decision] where we humanly see no way.
*Photos from our family's journey to Split, Croatia to visit Diocletian's Palace.