16 May 2014


Reading through Isaiah’s been a little dry recently. You know, one of those times when what you’re reading in Scripture isn’t matching up with the needs of your everyday-feet-on-the-ground-real-life. (We’re in the throes of massive decisions about schooling for the kids. But perhaps that’ll be a topic for later. In the meantime, you can pray. Thanks.)

And then I reached chapter 12. And it was what I needed. Here it is, in the Message.

And you will say in that day,
“I thank you, God.
You were angry
but your anger wasn’t forever.
You withdrew your anger
and moved in and comforted me.
“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
best of all, my salvation!”
Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water
from the wells of salvation.
And as you do it, you’ll say,
“Give thanks to God.
Call out his name.
Ask him anything!
Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done,
spread the news of his great reputation!
“Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all!
Let the whole earth know what he’s done!
Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.”

There are times when it’s easy to say “I trust, I won’t be afraid.” But most often I find that it’s a choice to plant my feet firmly (or even stomp a foot intentionally) and with a boldness I don’t feel, say (or just yell), “I trust, I won’t be afraid.” I choose to lean hard into the messiness of the indecision or the uncertainty or even the quietness of God. I can wait. If he’s not in a hurry, why should I be? 

Today “God--yes God!-- is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!” Not sure what salvation will look like on this day, but I accept it as truth. He is. That is all. 

Now. About those buckets of water. 

Wells are usually pretty deep. Pulling up buckets of water requires a whole lot of effort. Muscles burning. Sweat dripping. Rope straining. How long does it take? Is the joy in the pulling or is the joy in the water? Or is it a delight in the salvation? 

But as you’re pulling, the rope rubbing blisters into your hands, “you’ll say, ‘Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation!’” That’s even before the bucket reaches the top of the well. It’s before you’ve had a drink. It’s while the muscles are still straining and the sweat is still dripping. 

Today my decisions are still looming. The questions haunt my mind when I go to bed and they’re the first thoughts to enter my head in the morning. They just won’t. go. away. But I think I need to visit the well today. 

First, I’ll peer deeply into it. I might drop a pebble to hear a far away splash. Then I’ll lower the bucket. And I’ll keep letting out more and more and more rope. Cause, friends, this well of salvation is r.e.a.l.l.y. deep. Really. We’ve been offered so much. 

Today it will be hard work to bring that bucket back to the top. Today I will lean hard into the decisions looming. Today I my muscles will burn and the sweat will drip. 

And today, with unanswered questions, I’m shouting, 

“Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation!”

Wanna join me? We’ll be intentional. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. 

Also, I’m not settling for just a drink today. How bout a water fight? Are you in? 

15 May 2014


The Bering Sea is literally a stone’s throw from the apartment we’re renting. When we moved in the end of March the sea was frozen solid. Yes, salt water will freeze. At 28.4˚ F. 

But now that it’s mid-May the ice is breaking up in massive chunks. Late evenings find kids in tennis shoes and sweatshirts jumping from ice floe to ice floe, riding the flat bergs as they move up and down. Last night the Nome Police stopped to talk to our teens and warn them of the dangers of crushing ice and ask them to stay off the ocean. 

A few days ago the water was mostly flat, but as some ice is washed ashore (some pieces the size of a small car) and other pieces float out to sea, the tides are more visible and the waves are beginning to once again crash on the shore. In fact, I can hear the waves as I sit in my living room. 

This morning I stood mesmerized at the window watching a huge piece of ice, perfectly flat as the waves tumbled it about. First once side would rise into the air, then it would smack down as the wave washed over it. Up and down, ice chunk riding waves like a riderless surf board. 

I’ve felt like that chunk of ice for the last several weeks. Floating along, minding my own business, but getting hammered by waves. Feeling the icy cold water wash over my head when I wasn’t prepared. I’m not sure if I’ll float out to sea or if I’ll be washed ashore. Some kid might even stand on me. A sudden change in wind could alter my direction. 

But I’m not that sheet of foot-thick sea ice tossed around in an ocean of salt water. I’m me. I’m going to sit on the rocks or walk on the beach. I will listen to the waves, but they won’t pummel me. I will watch them, but they won’t drive me out to sea. 

Daniel and the four youngest jump ice floes several evenings ago. 
Instead I choose the room of grace. I’ll turn my back to the sea and its storminess. To its uncertainty. To its exhausting crashes. Today I desperately need the room of grace. I need its quiet. Its deep care for my soul. Its acceptance of my questions. 
The view from my deck just moments ago. Waves crashing. Ice moving. 

The room of grace just invites me to just be. Not do. Not perform. Not decide. Just be. It’s my safe place. And He is there. 

Does your soul feel pummeled? Are there more questions than answers about your future? Your kids? Your job? Or lack of a job? Run to the room of grace. Let your soul sigh. Grace is offered. Embrace it. 
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