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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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learning to live “a la orden”

where the JOY happens

In the mess of emotions and energy and exhaustion of the past week, I’m breaking mental ground for a new life motto. Up until this point, I’ve stuck with “Love God, Love Others.” I know, I know – it’s nothing mind-blowing. It’s as old as Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22:36-40.

It seems like we shouldn’t really have to improve on what God explained so clearly. This bold declaration to love God with all my heart and love others out of that love will always breathe life into whatever else God is teaching me. Lately, it seems the lessons in my conversations and experiences have me searching for words to explain how my theology informs my philosophy of living.

So, this past week, I started taking my joy pulse. I was intentionally on the lookout for those times when there was “fullness of joy” in my life, because those moments found me in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). So many things triggered this crazy feeling of joy bubbling over the flimsy walls of my heart – laughter on the bus ride, children on top of high school students’ shoulders, serious late-night talks, watching a drama acted out to the glory of God, hearing stories of evangelism teams, playing in the ocean in the rain, singing/rapping, sunshine and clouds – all these things amounted to an emotion I can’t explain.

One of the beautiful moments where God arrived in splendor happened the last night before we came back. We were all sharing and reflecting about what made an impact on us, where we felt we made an impact, and what God is leading us to do as a result of our experiences. One of the students mentioned how wonderful it felt to just share. She mentioned that normally all her friends would be very possessive of their “things,” but this week she experienced how cool it was to share.

Something clicked while she was talking… something that I am learning as I live here in this beautiful country: “a la orden.” I can remember so many times when I’ve made a comment to one of my students about her outfit and heard this response, which means, “at your service.” It’s like saying, “Oh? You like it? Well you can wear it whenever you want!”

I love this.

I realized my joy pulse goes crazy whenever I think of ways I can live a la orden… and I truly believe this is how we live out Philippians 2:1-4. The idea is WAY bigger than offering our clothes. When someone compliments us about our gifts of leadership, encouragement, organization, creativity, laughter, work ethic, prayer, or ministry, our response can and should be, “a la orden.”

Can you imagine what would happen if we made our best gifts available and “at your service”?

Person 1: Wow, you really have an amazing way with children!
Person 2: Thanks! God is so good! And, well, I’m at your service whenever you need.
Person 1: (confused) Oh, cool… what do you mean by that?
Person 2: Well,  I mean that what good is a “way with children” if I don’t use it? So, please let me know the next time you have a need involving kids!
Person 1: Whoa. That’s kind of crazy. So, you mean you’d be available to fill the open spot at the after-school program I work with on Tuesdays?
Person 2: That’s exactly what I mean. Let’s talk details.

Obviously, this scenario can’t play out perfectly every time because our days will fill up and we will find it difficult to make ourselves “a la orden” all of the time. But, the point I’m making is a mental shift. No longer am I guarding my time and treasure for myself. God blessed me and saved me for His purposes, not mine. When people point out beautiful things in me, it is only a reflection of my God who formed me in my mother’s womb. My gifts aren’t meant to bring me glory, but they will bring me joy if I make them available to others through my service.

Very few of us wear clothes that we’ve designed ourselves and our spiritual gifts are the same way. We wear them and get compliments on them, but we did not design them. When we receive compliments they should be re-directed to the Designer and He promises the MOST joy will happen when we aren’t promoting ourselves with our gifts, but instead looking for ways to elevate others.

I have SO MANY STORIES and ways God has blessed this philosophy. The joy seriously multiplies! I love looking into beautiful brown eyes and saying, “Whenever. Wherever. You name the place. I know God has gifted me for such a time as this and such a person as you.”

That’s what makes my joy pulse go crazy! And that’s how I know making ourselves available by putting others first is the biggest blessing we could receive.

another reason to

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

7 comments on “learning to live “a la orden”

  1. Cindy Nichols says:

    I. Love. This. Can I use it?????

  2. Caroline says:

    Of course! I’m still processing it… but wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I didn’t say this idea was “at your service”? Because, really my ideas are not mine at all but the Lord’s!

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