Tender days

 

There was a plan.

Roger and I have been faithfully working on that plan for many years.

The plan was to be debt free. To have our house paid off along with all the debts in our lives.

Now imagine being able to know that the finish line was only a year away and then…..

A young person walks into my house and compliments us on a lovely home and asks me a question, “what brings you back to Lawrenceville?” To which I answer her with our long term goal of being debt free. She then looks at me with her beautiful big shiny eyes full of excitement and curiosity and asks me, “then what?”

I look at her and stutter, “what do you mean, ‘then what ’?” The goal is TO BE DEBT FREE, to which she says, “yeah, that’s awesome, then what”. Can I tell you that my ears started ringing a little bit. My mouth went dry and my heart was beating a little too fast.

All I can think of was, “oh no, there might be some reason we are doing this other than to ENJOY BEING DEBT FREE.” I don’t know why it never entered my brain. To know me is to know that I overthink everything in life. Everything in life is not an exaggeration. Thinking is what I do in my free time and I believe I even do it while I’m sleeping!

It is as if I literally saw a new mountain arise behind the mountain we were currently scaling. The mountain called debt.

Then the wrestle began with the still small voice.

No, no, no, no, no, no, it can’t be that there is another adventure to be had. Another mountain to scale, another B zone to conquer.

God, you do know that I just turned 50 right? That’s oldish if I do say so myself. Not the time to be taking financial risks and doing daring things (I said in my best hobbit voice). It’s time to grow up and enjoy some of the payoff that living right and hard work has to offer.

Then I could sense that heightened awareness of God’s presence wanting to get a word in edge wise. “You were created to live on Mission Rozy”, is what I kept hearing over and over again.

In my younger years I would have done the not so polite thing of putting my metaphoric hands over my ears and start singing lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you, by choosing busyness and distraction.

But being older and a bit wiser, I know those are just delaying tactics.

It was time for me to just listen to the whisper of possibility, to pull an old dream out of the dusty basement of my soul and remember it.

When I was younger I would dream about having a house where learning and living and thriving could happen. Where people who were worn and tired or just needed to remember the goodness of God could come and be rekindled. A house of bread and wine, of laughter and joy and surrounded by all things beautiful.

“Home is a place of ministry. Redeeming words, thoughts, and actions are shared and taught, the wisdom and instructions of God is passed along, and God’s love is offered to all who come under its influence.” -From the Living Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sarah and Sally Clarkson

I had packed that dream away and tucked it just out of arms reach. But it wasn’t out of the Spirit’s reach.

After much prayer and courageous conversation, Roger and I decided it was time to house hunt again, closer to where I work in Gainesville.

To find a home where souls could flourish. Where our whole family could continue to thrive together.

I’m happy/scared to say that we found one. We are set to close on March 18th and move on the 19th.

Moving is hard on my sentimental soul.

So if you think of me offer up a prayer.

Sky Cottage

Version 2

IMG_5619

On a lake in Gainesville GA.

An unscripted life.


The last few years of my life are radically different than I had planned.
Having sat in a church with a strong leadership emphasis, I was diligent to set out goals and worked to achieve them.  There is generally nothing wrong with that unless you happen to be praying for the “more” of God.

Then all of a sudden I read books like Crazy Love by Chan or Radical by Platt and my heart became disenchanted with my limited experience as a disciple of Christ.  Don’t get me wrong I was busy and productive on paper and on the church calendar but there was this deep witness in my spirit that what I was living was too safe and scripted. It was like I had written out a complete manuscript and I just needed God to fill in the few empty spaces.  Somehow God wanted a whole blank page and the thought of that just filled me with anxiety.  God was asking me to live a life I couldn’t control.

Something in me kept whispering that it was time to take the love of God out of the walls of the Church and that the church needed to have legs on it.  The Lord has always been relentless in my life.  God thoughts can at time feel like a thorn in my brain that cannot be forgotten.  The dialogue when a little like this:
“Rozy, when are you going leave this safe structure behind and go be the church?”
“Rozy,  when are you going to take the light into the darkness?”
“Rozy my grace is sufficient for you, why don’t you trust me?”

My answers sounded like this:

“I can’t afford to travel the world Lord, what on earth are you thinking?”
“ It’s not safe to travel to areas where their governmental structures are unpredictable or non-existent.”  “What if I get into an accident or need a hospital?”
“ I don’t have a missional call on my life, I never wanted to be a missionary.”

On and on those conversations would go and at time I thought I presented my case quite well but winning was losing in God’s economy.  I kept talking myself right out of the more of God.

Then one day I stopped making excuses.  An invitation was given. I said yes and never turned back.  In the last few years I’ve worked, cried, laughed and invested more intentionally than I ever thought possible.  I’ve walked on the 5 different continents and I’ve lost count of how many countries I’ve visited.  I’ve ministered to missionaries and loved on strangers. Fed and housed more young people than ever before.  My heart has been torn open to be an unrecognizable size.  I have had to face fears I never imagined and experienced extraordinary measure of the grace of God I didn’t know existed.

I feel like I’m finally part of His plan instead of having God in mine. I have only one regret, that I didn’t say yes sooner.

Who are you?

One of life’s biggest hurdles is discovering who we really are.

Your childhood, education, philosophy of life will all color your beliefs about yourself.

Beliefs are formed by perceptions and the problem is that perceptions are both real and false.

Have you ever had to jump a few feet, say about 3ft but from where you are viewing the floor is actually more like 8 ft.  Our eyes are not located where are feet are so our perception is telling us something that is not true.  But it sure does feel true.

Courage has to step in and have faith (believe) that what looks like 8 ft is really 3ft.

When it comes to our true identity we have to push forward in courage to believe that we are who God says we are.  We are the redeemed, beloved, chosen children of God.  We are the desire of God.

The struggle lies in the fact that we act what we believe and very few of us believe the very heart of God.  We choose our misperceptions, the comments delivered to wound us, the message that culture screams at us.  Or even the mistakes that we believe reveal our true selves.

Here is a mind-blowing truth.  We have the power to CHOOSE our beliefs.

So why is it that we often choose to believe a nasty lie over the truths of scripture?

Here are a couple of big reasons.

The lies feel true and hope hurts.

Somewhere in life we have discovered that something we believed in or wanted was not what we hoped for and it hurt.

We felt that pain and decided it was bad and some of us decided to safe guard our hope.

Here in lies the problem – without hope we cannot believe God.

If faith was a balloon then it is hope that fills it up.

Hope and faith are partners.

We unintentionally cripple our faith and replace it with fear, anger, or apathy because we decided that hope was to painful to endure.

If you want to wake up to the beauty and potential of your life then you are going to have to dig out your hope, extend it in faith,  push past your fears and BELIEVE GOD.

Jump people, its only 3 ft and at the end of that jump is the loving arms of God.

His plan for your life is beyond your imagination.

What a two year old taught me about God.

I spent a week with my grand-daughter while her parents were away.  It’s been over 20 years since I’ve cared for a little one for more than an overnight visit.

Storie is now 2 years old.  She can walk and communicate in her precious limited way. Missing every few consonants of the words she uses and making me smile every time.  This age is such an incredible time of dependence.

As I spent time caring for her it became a study in discipleship as I watched her interactions with me – her Nana – her caregiver – the power figure in her world.

These are the scriptures that kept circling my mind as I watched her and knew she represents me as I represent God in this example.

Matthew 18:1-4

At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 Jesus called a little child to him and stood the child before his followers. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child.

Here are a few illuminating factors I enjoyed discovering about childlike humility.

  • Full participation in our relationship – Affection is the most enjoyable key ingredient in this relationship.  My affection for her is fully returned and it is the glue in every aspect of our relationship.  The smile that greets me as I scoop her out of her bed in the morning.  Her arms held out in anticipation of my embrace.  Somehow she knows that love connects us and that great things are coming.One of the sweetest aspects of our relationship is the pure delight that we share together.  Storie does understand to some extent maybe even better than I do the limits of her power without me.  She doesn’t use me for her agenda or try to have a whole day without me.  She delights in me as we journey throughout the day.  She loves my full attention and her discoveries are for my quick applause and affirmation.
  • Surrender to my Power – Storie surrenders to my power.  My strength is used for her benefit as I carry her from room to room. Or room to car, and place to place.  She will be where I am, so that I can care, protect and benefit her.  She doesn’t fight my arms but readily anticipates being scooped up and brought close.  Trusting without thought or fear that I would deposit her to a place away from myself.  Even when she cannot see me, she can trust that I am not far and my voice comforts her.
  • Trust that I am Good – Our relationship has been present in every moment of her life.  From the time she was delivered to this world as a premature   baby, my heart, my hands and voice have hovered over her.  She can trust without a complete intellectual understanding that all I have and all I am is for her benefit and good.  My love hovers like a fuzzy velor, warm blanket in her life.  A force of love though all she understands at this point is that I make things happen that are awesome. I ease discomfort and pain. I bring food and snacks and even CHOCOLATE. Which she delightfully calls chopate.  Even when she is mad that she can’t force me to do something that isn’t good for her, her only comfort is in my arms.  She turns to me for solace and not away.
  • Allows me to teach her – Storie fully expects and appreciates my influence and instruction in her life that helps her become more proficient in her environment.  She studies my actions and repeats them with full concentration as she increases her motor skills and understanding of the world around her.

It’s been a great week. I’m thoroughly exhausted, (unlike God) and full of new insights.  Thank you my little love for teaching your Nana more about childlike humility.