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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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the cost of “a la orden”


My entire Saturday was saturated with a painful joy. I’m resigned to calling my emotion painful joy because, as much as I’ve reached and grabbed at the English language, I can’t find anything better. I guess it has a lot to do with processing a very emotional week of mission, but I think it’s also this new life philosophy I’m trying out.

I’m really attempting to put everything in my life in the “a la orden” perspective. And, as I do so, I’m noticing the painful joy pressing in on my heart more than I can express. As I share stories with people and listen to memories from students on the mission trip, I am overwhelmed. It’s like standing under Niagara Falls and trying to be thankful for every drop of water cascading from such a great height. It’s TOO MUCH to take in. I was trying to build up monuments (like the Israelites) with words so we can look back and see the Lord’s blessing, but I felt almost frantic to find enough stones and build fast enough.

Have you ever sat with someone who is sharing his/her heart and not known how to express the love blooming like springtime in your soul? I sit there and wish there was a way to dance, sing, laugh, and hug with the colorful power of a hundred springtimes. If I sound crazy, I am doing well with this explanation because it doesn’t make any sense to me either.

The more I make my gifts “available” to the Lord, the more I feel completely blown away by His brilliant use of them. I really consider any gift or ability I have not at all my own, but the Lord’s, so it shouldn’t surprise me that He knows best how to use these gifts for His glory. But, I think the surprise is wrapped up somehow in my joy as well. The mystery of seeing the Gospel alive and working in front of my eyes to transform people I love is marvelous.

THIS is what it means to taste and see that the Lord is good!

Where is the pain? you might ask. Well, yesterday my soul hurt. It ached like the worst charlie horse, but there was no massaging it away. This pain was in every way attached to my joy and I’m still figuring out why.

taste and see
I think (maybe) the more we taste and see that the Lord is good, we might also start to understand the limits of that taste. Let me try to explain. While we are still living on this earth in the “already, not yet” of Kingdom Come, we are limited to merely taste and see the Lord is good. To be honest, I think “taste” is all we can handle, but that reveals one very important, painful truth: this broken world can’t handle the whole feast. We are not yet in eternity where our days will be filled with the FULLNESS of the Lord’s goodness, not just a taste. When we taste something, if it’s a good something, we generally want more.

This could not be more true of the Lord. When we are overwhelmed with delight in His presence, we want more of Him… even ache for more of Him. Within this deep desire there is a struggle for the “eternity set in our hearts” where this ache will be relieved.

subject and mode
The subject of my true delight is the Lord always, but the mode seems to be this “a la orden” (make every gift and talent available through service). And, in serving, the pain comes with the joy as well. With every child comforted or hungry man fed, millions more wait. There is pain (possibly the “groaning in expectation” in Romans?) in serving others in this world when the need is so great. So, at the same time I am experiencing the joy of obedience and following God’s heart, I am experiencing pain through the realization that others may not feel the same joy.

selfish love
I love these students. It almost scares me how much I love them. To see them ENJOYING the presence of the Lord has been one of God’s greatest gifts to me in my time here. Because I’ve been so blessed to see God work in them, I realize that my part in their journey may soon end. It is, of course, the LORD who is moving and working and drawing them near the Throne of Grace. And I am realizing it is one of the biggest steps of faith to believe God will take care of them whether or not I am by their side. I am having to let go of the reasons my love for them encourages me … and hold on to the reasons my love for God will help me love them in the best way that encourages them.

So, there’s some Sunday reflection for you. I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Sabbath day!

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

6 comments on “the cost of “a la orden”

  1. Cindy Nichols says:

    Painful joy- not unlike sending your daughter off to college…………or off to Honduras….knowing that, after all the years of love and training you have poured into her as a mom, Jesus loves her more than you do and is in charge of her spiritual growth and maturity……..and pain………and joy.
    love you!

  2. Caroline says:

    It’s true… I just read back through this and the last part has “MOM” written all over it. If I can’t find words to express my love now, I can’t imagine what being a mother feels like. All I know is, this has been one heck of a boot camp for that position!

  3. Jenna says:

    Beauuutiful. This post reminds me of the Shane and Shane song:

    That I might see this day
    This waging war might go away
    And be no more
    That I might see His face
    And hear Him say
    Son, welcome home
    The war is over

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