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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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how lofty are you?

photo by Casey Groves in Iowa

There is snow falling in flaky clumps outside, freckling the brown ground. I couldn’t call tonight dreary even if I stretched my imagination to its stretchiest state. The moments are delicious with laughter and Jasmine Green Tea and new things to puzzle.

The blooms of poinsettias and the static-y, sticking up hair in the winter… the Mercury Villager that nearly ran me off the road on 13th street tonight and the whir of the washing machine… the smell of fresh coffee grounds and the safety offered by three comforters on my bed.

Hm. I’m trying to make new habits – to count as blessings all things in my life. Inspired by Ann Voskamp and my close friend, I’m making thanksgiving a habit by living wide-eyed in search of life’s gifts.

A light that turns on by a switch, recycled paper grocery bags to wrap gifts, the welcome company of a dog I don’t even like, a newspaper on the doorstep in the morning – all gifts, these.

What is it that causes us to only count the big blessings? Why don’t the little, menial details of this life qualify?

It is sometimes truly the smallest of details that make up the biggest of blessings.

Sometimes we assume our existence is inevitable. We forget that we are God’s speech – walking, breathing, loving, and savoring sunlight. We are the physical fortitude of divinely penned, intricate poetry. N.D. Wilson‘s “Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl” speaks about how silly our sense of entitlement appears when we realize we own nothing. We control nothing, yet we presume power.

Are you too important to be amused at your own finitude? Are you unaware that your bowels move daily? How lofty are you?

How lofty are you? Too lofty to admit you are limited?

It’s a good question, and not just for a Sunday School in lecture about being humble, obeying your parents, and doing your chores.

It’s way bigger and way smaller than that.

Naming the symmetry of wooden cabinets as a gift is perfectly acceptable, because how is it that materials can be shaped as such?

Am I above naming the small gifts?

Am I above laughing at the whimsical things in this life that seem to only serve the purpose of God’s divine humor? Am I too lofty to marvel at a delicious drink made from soaking leaves in hot water?

Not that long ago, I felt the Lord leading me beside still waters and making me lie down in green pastures – a very literal slowing of my spirit and schedule. After a bit of a search, I took a position working at a church as an assistant in youth ministry. Today, I added two more employers to that list and now work in three completed unrelated fields (unless “customer service” covers all the bases).

Christ was not too lofty for this life, not too lofty for this skin, not too good for long walks in the desert. Christ made Himself the lowliest when He came as a babe. Our Lord and Savior had daily bowel movements, too.

If God can live inside this skin and still be holy, then there is much to rejoice about that is being forgotten – so many mysteries to have wide eyes to see.

I intend to do just that, Lord willing.

Rejoice in the Lord always, friends!
Search Him and you will know Him, if you search with all your heart.

 

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