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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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when we pray, “Lord, I need You.”

A while back, I was reading this article at Desiring God, “No Longer an Orphan (but tempted to live like it” by Christine Hoover, which led me to order Rose Marie Miller’s book Nothing is impossible with God and write this post, “erase the ways of our orphanhood” about our freedom in discovering what it means to be called a child of God.

If I haven’t lost you to the above links (I kind of wish I have, btw), then sit with me a minute as I reflect on what’s squeezing my heart today: the gospel of adoption. Jared Wilson writes in Gospel Deeps,

“Only in the complex depths of the triune godhead are wrath-owed enemies also love-won children.”

My pen painted marks all over this sentence on page 152, but it got real messy on the next page and I decided the next person to read this book might have a hard time being objective. I’m not sure how I can explain my thoughts without giving you a full paragraph, so here it is,

“God turns rebels into family. He does this in deep love before time began (Eph. 1:5), through meticulous sovereignty throughout the old covenant (Rom. 9:4), by abundant grace in the new covenant offering of Christ (Gal. 4:4-5), and with affectionate power in the Spirit’s ongoing mission (Gal. 4:6). He is still on the surface of the deep, calling out order from the formless void of our hearts. And in this wonder is another incomprehensible wonder, namely that the Spirit’s conversion of us godward is characterized as both adoption and rebirth.” (Jared Wilson, Gospel Deeps, p. 153)

Take a moment.

Maybe print off this paragraph so you can mark it up, too. Look up Ephesians and Romans and Galatians to test the assertions and hold on only to what is good (1 Thes. 5:21). What I am holding onto after reflecting is what is holding on to me: adoption papers.

I read it this morning and I can not shake it. I am adopted – a full-blown child with a new last name, an eternal inheritance, and a forever family – and I was at war with my Father when He signed the papers. He wanted me when I wanted nothing to do with him. While I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8), Christ chose me, loved me, and gave Himself up for me. I appreciate that Wilson uses the words “meticulous sovereignty” because I think it helps us picture just how intimately involved God is with the affairs of His people.

I often explain away my haphazard housekeeping by saying I am a “creative” person. For some reason “creative” people are off the hook when it comes to keeping things orderly. People will just say, “Oh, she’s artsy… you know, abstract” and that’s supposed to mean you shouldn’t expect that girl to have her life together. Maybe this makes God’s meticulous sovereignty even MORE amazing – creativity came from Him, but He is concerned with the littlest details of existence. From the broad strokes of orange-pink-purple sky to the number of raindrops in a storm, He is authoring all the beauty and also meticulously involved in orchestrating every atomic detail.

His powerful sovereignty runs like a thread throughout the old testament, reveals God’s love in Christ’s sacrifice, and weaves through the present to declare God’s glory. At the end of the paragraph I copied above, Wilson says that our conversion is characterized by both adoption and rebirth.

This. This is what is squeezing my heart today. God declares that we are His by what I imagine would be some divine paperwork and a holy signature dipped in Christ’s blood, but then He makes us His children as He sanctifies us every day. He is not an absent father, because even adoptive fathers can be absent. Instead, God declares us (His enemies) beloved children and then commits to making us more beautiful – to look more like the image of His perfect Son (Romans 8:29).

I see so many children in my work and they do not hide their fears. When parents have to leave (it doesn’t matter what the legal papers say), fear swims out of their eyes and clings in their hands. They get desperate and throw tantrums and ask impossible questions.

Today, I have been thinking about God declaring me His child and making me His child. My status is sealed in the work of Christ on my behalf, but my Father reminds me daily of His love efforts. He is relentless as He reminds me of His faithfulness that drives out fear. He is meticulous. And I need Him.

I need my Father to do more than sign papers that say I have access to forever with Him. I need Him to walk with me. I need Him to hold me up. I need Him to be strong for me. I need Him to be courage for me. I need Him to be hope for me. I need Him to be compassion for me. I need Him to be understanding for me. I need Him to teach me, correct me, rebuke me, love me, humble me, and chase me.

I need all these things in Him because I am empty otherwise. My need is not self-centered (though I suppose it can get twisted), but instead a declaration of my emptiness alone. The depth of my need would make me fearful if I didn’t know that his Fatherhood is more than abundant. His on-going, faithful adoption is a signature He writes on my heart every moment of today. The grace He has given will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, so that His name would be praised and His perfect Fatherhood would be blessed!

The beautiful thing about singing, “Lord, I need You” is in knowing His response. When we say, “Lord, I need You,” God responds with, “I know. I am faithful to give Myself.” We can safely cry out our need for refuge while knowing we are safe inside the very refuge we seek.

I think my belly just smiled (is that where our souls are, in our bellies?) because I’m chasing this around in circles.

As we are praying our need of God, we believe His faithfulness in being what we need.

The horrors of 3801 Lancaster (the place where Kermit Gosnell (see The Atlantic article) destroyed the lives of so many women and babies), lead us to pray, “Lord, we need You.” And I think He is saying, “I know. I am faithful to give Myself.”

2 comments on “when we pray, “Lord, I need You.”

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