miracles trump excuses

The morning is waking up and there are horns bleating outside the front window. Every several days, someone blocks the one-way road and the traffic behind that someone alerts the whole neighborhood of the inconvenience. But I’m inside listening to William Fitzsimmons so that somehow makes me immune to early morning annoyance.

It is Friday and there are Iowans invading NYC to see the Mayor and his team play tonight at Madison Square Garden, Spring keeps promising to be around the corner, and the work day will be short because other work days this week have been long. Today is good because it is today, because there is provision in sunshine and life and breath and being. Today is already good before it begins.

But today, I am still percolating a Monday conversation – still stewing about what it means to consider others’ needs ahead of mine in the context of city life and neighbor life and human life. How do I walk with Jesus to the cross as He made himself nothing in service to others? How do I forsake all else so that the love of Christ might be known?

There are excuses and legitimate ones, like exhaustion and safety and schedules and mental stability. We put ourselves first because we are too overwhelmed by lights and noise and commotion to do anything else. But, I am taking the legitimate excuses of city living and raising them a miracle. If excuses played poker, I think they might always go “all in” but they would definitely lose against miracles.

Miracles trump excuses.

I can always put myself next because miracles trump excuses and the keeper of miracles has called me His child. I am not invincible – I require sleep and quiet time and sunlight. I am not invincible, but God is and His portion is big enough to overflow mine.

I need to learn how to love others when it is inconvenient and when it is not self advancing and when it is painful and when it does not make sense – not because I am trying to be superhuman, but because I believe that miracles trump excuses. God provides the energy and wisdom and abundance and joy and this miracle overcomes every excuse like a tidal wave. We are freed from the striving that would be losing, so that we can share the burdens of others.

The weekend is dawning and I am already looking to the coconut cornmeal pancakes I will make for the next Pancake Mondays. I will probably still be percolating this community idea when the neighbor crowd gathers around the toppings to talk about city living.

What are your thoughts, friends?

Why is it so hard to put ourselves second or third or fourth (with joyful hearts)?

trading B for A game

After two days of sniffling and coughing and chugging various zicam and emergen-C products, I got in my car and drove two hours to be a counselor for junior high girls at winter camp last weekend.

I was sure, just sure it would be my B game I was bringing… especially after the emergency level phone calls were still ringing at 7 pm on Friday night. It was one of those “you can’t win ’em all” moments when you think you’re beat before you’ve started.

Winter camp started on Saturday, so Friday found me pulling in to my parents’ long driveway, opening the front door, and throwing my “Hello?” into the living room. I collapsed a little bit into the comfort – the way this home knows me.

My parents were sitting in the living room decompressing their own crazy weeks and I joined them like it was a regular thing for me to be there on a Friday. It always feels kind of like a time warp when I’m in that place – the same two people with the same caring faces in the same living room always brings me back. That night I played hymns on my mom’s piano, sang with my sisters, and didn’t check my work email.

I slept well even in the chilled upstairs and woke up to help my mom transform our valentine’s tradition into a breakfast spectacular. I packed quickly, drank strong coffee and headed in the direction of winter camp, refreshed but still expecting B game.

And then 36 junior high and senior high students happened… at a camp… in the country… where Christ is the main event… and B game is not an option.

It wasn’t even like I decided anything. I was just making decisions to believe God’s grace would be enough for the next moment – and not just enough, but abundant to the point that I was capable of every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

As I was making those grace-depending decisions, I stepped further into God’s glorious plan for the weekend: wide eyes, praise, wonder.

I listened to my campers work through what it means to be a fan vs. what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We didn’t mess around during our breakout sessions. I mean, we made bargains (like when they said, “we’ll pay attention if you sing us a song.” Of course, I did), but we got serious about opening the Word and chewing on what we found.

I’m not boasting in bringing A game – not at all. It was like A game was brought to me… if that makes sense. Two days full to the brim with talking about the glory of God, listening to the glory of God, and reading the glory of God in the words of Scripture will make A game happen.

You will love when you have nothing left. You will keep your eyes open when your body wants to sleep. You will create a rap with a ninth grade boy about salvation. You will make up a song and dance with 6 squealing young ladies about the way Jesus made you beautiful. You will run in unseasonal February sunshine. You will glow.

Have you ever experienced this – when you thought you had little to offer but God’s grace proved otherwise?

God’s grace is amazing – so amazing that it can take a body that is not good for anything and make it fit his purposes so that He would be glorified and salvation would be proclaimed.

The Word transforms every kind of body into something useful for the Kingdom. And the process of transformation wakes up the soul to shout praise.

Maybe you are bent or broken or bruised on this Monday and you think you’ve only got B game to offer. Let me tell you, an awakened soul is full of delight and surprises.

“Whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

and the nightmares and monsters

…and your biggest fears seem lightyears away, no they won’t find you here.

This saturday feels like a sigh I’m not afraid to sink into.

There’s a lot of rushing that happens Monday-Friday, even if we don’t admit to being in the race. At about 6 o’clock Friday night after my last appointment, I started sinking – the good kind of sinking.

I have this crazy determination that there won’t be moments or days or phases of my life that I have to hold my breath to get through. You know the kind – where you play, “Just get through it” over and over in your mind. Maybe you fix your eyes on the end of the tunnel and haul out in a full-on sprint?

Do you know the moments and days and phases I’m talking about?

Well, I never want to hold my breath because I believe there is grace enough to breathe in every moment. There is grace enough to take deep breaths and conquer fear and worry and pain even while I’m stuck inside all of it.

That said, 6 o’clock yesterday was like the perfect breeze. It was extra grace – more space to smile and laugh and stretch my hands out to feel the motion. And the nightmares and monsters of the weekday grind fade for a little bit while the weekend happens.

There is a special kind of grace that allows for us to rest.
This is the grace of my saturday sigh and I’m not one bit afraid to sink into it – that place where those weekday things seem lightyears away.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy