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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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spring cleaning and bullet points

I’ve decided to succumb to the temptation to title a post like millions of others will this spring. Partly because the idea is very fitting for all the clutter I’ve gathered in my life and partly because I am very literally spring cleaning. The laundry is going out back, the trash is beckoning from all corners of my seemingly small abode, and my room is desperate for some attention.

Tonight, I have moved my computer combo (what I now lovingly call my laptop/computer monitor combination) to the dining room table and now I have the grandest ambitions to do some spring cleaning (or planting, maybe?) in the area of writing.
My operation looks something like this, if you put them both together on the kitchen table:
This week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) and most all of my friends and students are off to a coast or a country or a lake to enjoy the week off from school. Meanwhile, I am reading feverishly and awkwardly adjusting to this strange, SLOW pace of life. Yesterday, as I sat outside reading and sunning, I told my mom, “This week is going to be fantastic and so needed. I really just need the rest.”
This morning I woke up and felt the usual antsy-ness creeping into my system. “A whole WEEK of this!?!” I asked to all the stuffed up, hot air in my house.
I know I have A LOT of catching up to do here on the blog, and my default method when I have lots to say is to use bullets, so I hope this will give you a picture of what has been happening.
Bullet points are kind of my way of spring cleaning my mind. I have a tendency to make all my physical spaces reflect the mayhem and madness in my mind…
translation: my desk, room, craft space, work space, car space, all space looks distracted and dysfunctional.
solution: bullet points. it may not make the mess go away, but at least I can look at it with some kind of order.
MISSION TRIP
First of all, I don’t know where to start with this one… I’ll give you the best I got (in slimmed down, bullet-version of course) of the mission trip where I took 9 students to team up with 29 coming from Texas for a week working at an orphanage, planning carnivals for rural schools, and doing various work projects.
  • I have a greater understanding and appreciation for the ministries being “served” on short-term mission trips. Whew! It’s definitely NOT about the work that the high school kids can accomplish in one week (it can be done faster, cheaper, and better by locals). It IS about the heart. period.
  • The opposite happened than my mission trip norm (personal devotions become a last priority) I practically LIVED for that hour in the morning to keep my head on straight.
  • I love watching students learn and love and feel the love of God come out their fingertips. It makes my heart downright giddy.
  • I have a hard time fitting in to the “adult” table and “adult” meetings and “adult” discipline of a mission trip… will have to work on that in the future
  • I am a WORLD CLASS WORRIER! If I had a quarter for every time my students said, “Miss, chill. Seriously, just chill.” I would have been able to pay for all the mission trip expenses! I admit, I got a little out of control with the worries. There is no excuse, but I think having a co-leader could be a good idea. It was just too much for me to think/plan/coordinate… and frankly (no matter how many times they say, “chill”) someone has to worry about the details or guess what? nothing happens. I’ve tried “chilling” to the max and basically it is un-productive.
  • Every day since the mission trip ended, I have felt a huge burden to continue encouraging the students.
  • pursuing any cause, mission, goal, or idea as an end in itself (or for my own accomplishment as an end) is to pursue death
PASSION for TRUTH/PERSONAL GROWTH
  • I want more Bible. I want more Jesus. I want more God. That’s the best way I can explain my deepening desire to KNOW my Lord more. Whenever God calls me from Honduras, I know I will be going to pursue more Bible instruction. I am considering this option, a ministry of Mars Hill Church in Seattle: Re:Train I want to learn under the best teachers and be forced to question every assumption based on the WORD as Authority. I want to be fully equipped for mission with a great dexterity in wielding the sword of the Spirit.
  • physical “things” are so fluid… well, they are mostly flowing out of me right now. I think I am a financial planner’s worst nightmare. No, that can’t be right….. a financial planner wouldn’t know the first thing to think about me (probably that someday I’ll end up living in my parents’ basement). Funny, cause this ‘money flowing out’ thing can only work as long as it’s flowing in… and I still want a blackberry and a new Mac laptop. Guess I can’t shake all the materialism off, can I? 🙂
  • Loving the inspiration coming from musicians like this: Robbie Seay Band, The Civil Wars, JJ Heller, Rhema Soul, The Arrows, Luke Brindley, Trevor Davis
  • Loving the preaching/teaching of these good folks: Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Chris Tomlinson, Vessels of Mercy, Jared Wilson, The Gospel Coalition, WORLD magazine
STUDENTS/DISCIPLESHIP
  • relationships, relationships, relationships. I thought this year would be simply a building year, after spending last year reaching out and in the ambiguous and easily excusable stage of ‘getting to know’ students. My assumption that I could reap so quickly has led to many humbling experiences. Regardless of response or excitement or fruit, I am called to do the same thing for the students here: LOVE fiercely and SHARE the Truth of the gospel unashamedly.
  • God, in His grace, has given me beautiful glimmers of the blessing of His refining process and His timing. I have been able to REJOICE with students who are seeing Him clearly for the first time. Actually, I think they are seeing just the edge of His garment and are surprised at the joy they find. WHAT a BLESSING to watch them discover!!
  • I am trying and testing my heart to know how I can best love these students in discipleship relationship. I want them to HUNGER and THIRST for the Lord. … and then I remember being in high school and how strange that sounded. But, regardless, I feel an URGENCY to insist they pursue the BEST and not just okay.
CURRENTLY READING/JUST FINISHED READING
  • Angel of Mercy by Baker
    This book blew me away – crazy what the passion of one person can do. She blazed the trail for the indigent insane to receive care in the United States and some countries in Europe.
  • The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
    For doubters, skeptics, and YOU. That’s right. I think EVERYONE should read this book because it will sharpen your skills to understand and examine WHY you believe in God.
  • Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams
    Read a bit about her in college, but returning to read about the amazing work Jane Addams did in Chicago with the poor and needy. She’s said by some to be the mother of modern day social work.
  • Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church by DA Carson
    I’m revisiting this knucklepunch. It’s pretty heavy (over my head, if you will), but I want to learn.
  • Lord, Is it Warfare? Teach me to Stand by Kay Arthur
    Oh, boy. I picked this up off my shelf because I feel like I desperately need it.
  • Basic Christianity by John Stott
    I bought this awhile back and need to dive in.
  • The World is Flat by Friedman
    I’m feeling an urgency to know how small our world is getting, because I think it has crazy implications for the Gospel!
Okay, friends. I could go on and on and on, but I know you would never make it to the end of the post and then I would be too tired to continue to write this week. So, I will leave it here. To come: mission trip pics, funny driving stories (YES THE CAR IS UP AND RUNNING!), 17 again anecdotes (I have way too many!), and aspirations to make an herb garden, sew some t-shirts, and accomplish 3 loads of ironing. 🙂
and please, please, please…
let LOVE FLY like cRaZY

3 comments on “spring cleaning and bullet points

  1. Mrs. Nichols says:

    Welcome back- Slow down and savor this week!

  2. chelsea says:

    all i have to say is that I love you like crazy and it is encouraging to read your blog. I am inspired by the deep way that you want to get to know the Lord so much deeper. I am craving to understand him more as well. Enjoy your spring break, wish I could spend it with you. I am on mine now! Love you

    Chelsea

  3. Caroline says:

    mom: I love that you were waiting for ME to enter back into the blogosphere! 🙂 you are SO hip!

    chelsea: oh friend, how i have missed you! your love has touched me… even just knowing that you are passionate about the Lord is an encouragement – when you do and don’t know it 🙂 yes, I wish my love could fly me like crazy to you. but it is not to be … until summer! 🙂 lOVE YOU

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