Sunday, May 27, 2012

Journey of the Heart

He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. Job 24

I've been away from home, in all senses. I've been travelling like a fiend lately. First, the Carolina coast, then the Big Apple, and now the honky tonk capitol of the world. I've been invigorated by life in each place. The quiet gentleness of a cool waterfront wind, the ever-evolving energy of the City, the sights and sounds of the South. I find beauty and truth in each. I'm grateful for the chance to experience scenery change. It's good for the soul every now and again to see the way the world spins in different corners of this map. 

I could go on and on about what I saw, tasted, and experienced in New York. That city has a way of weaseling its way into my heart more and more with each visit. Creativity inhabits every square inch of that place, and it's life-giving simply to breathe its air. I had the chance to attend the National Stationery Show while there this go-round. I met folks whose blogs I've only ever read from my Southern station. I saw paper goodness galore, gained a bit of confidence in my craft. It was nothing short of a gift from God to be able to walk among the folks I did. 

In all my travels, I've realized, too, the wandering path of my own heart. No matter where I go, what He is doing in me is steady. He is at work in the shadows and shame of my sin. He is digging into my insecurity and wrong-thinking. No matter where I turn, He is there. 

I've been reading this book lately. I wasn't expecting it to pierce me the way that it has. But, it has deeply affected my thoughts, my conversations, and my dealings with the Lord in the last few weeks. Larry talks at length about how people tend to seek peaceful pain-free easy lives rather than God. We pray, weep, and gnash our teeth when things go poorly. We pray our way out of rough patches, and then come into seasons of goodness, thanking God for His love.

Larry all but uses me by name. 

I've been so focused on getting past the pain of heartbreak. I've wanted to feel better way more than I've wanted to know God. Fact. Only recently was I able to admit to myself and others that for a long time, I have wanted marriage/success/happiness more than I have wanted to be in His presence. It's tricky, sometimes. It feels like God's goodness equates to His blessing. Not so.

Job was one who walked that road. Stripped of every good thing, He came to the end of himself. Out of emptiness, out of despair, he declared:

God understands the way to [wisdom] and he alone knows where it dwells... When he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorms, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it. And he said to the human race, 'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding. (Job 28)

I'm being honest with myself, those I love, with God now. I've been away from home. Wet from thunderstorms, I want to find shelter in Him. I want trust that rain is grace. I want to understand that the point of life is not my comfort. I want to palms-open-wide assert that I want Christ. No more, no less.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's new again

In a few days, I'll head to the inspiratio-land that is New York. I'll savor the tastes, sights, and smells of a place that, time and time again, has brought new parts of me to life. I'll visit with friends, make some new ones, and open my eyes wider to the growing, changing world. No doubt, I will have some things to share about my time there. I simply cannot wait.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Relishing the Small Things

This spring has been a great teacher. The gentle season has bestowed no small amount of wisdom on the importance of easing pace, of looking for beauty everywhere, of valuing the simple-ness of life as it is ordinarily lived. These pages have supplemented the message that joy can be found around the table, in a spoonful of kitchen's craft, in a morning ritual. I'm so grateful for the way the Lord has drawn my attention to the truth in Ecclesiastes 8:

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun (v. 15)

It's easy to notice crumbs, imperfections. It takes more awareness to see what's good and downright art-ful in the everyday. Lord, thank you for flavors, and for friends to relish them with. Thank you for truth, and for slow mornings used to soak it in.