What is a crisis of faith? To me a crisis of faith is any time anything (circumstances, ideas, people, desires, etc) challenges my current beliefs. When my beliefs are challenged I must wrestle with all of it and either see how the challenge really does work inside of what I believe or I have to adjust my beliefs.
It sounds pretty basic, but it’s hardly ever a fun experience.
I remember once I was sitting in a shared room with my friend Jessica. We were on vacation, we were young and we were up super late talking about the mysteries of the Universe, or men, or both. At some point one of us suggested, “What if we don’t actually exist?” What followed was both frightening and hilarious (in retrospect). Both of us could almost feel the floor of the room slide away revealing a black, sucking chasm beneath us. Although it couldn’t have actually happened this way, my memory shows the situation to me like we were both actually hanging onto the beds for dear life as the room rocked back and forth and objects began to disappear…. Continue reading “Crisis of Faith”
I am driven strongly by relationships, but no relationship more than my relationship with God. This used to express itself in a constant fear of failure… a vigilant weighing and measuring how “good” I was on any given day. But in recent years I’ve been able to let go of that more and more and begin to really enjoy God himself (realizing that He quite enjoys me).
Does that seem like a strange concept? Enjoying God? I used to wonder if it was a tail told by overemotional, super holy people. I am neither of those things. I have an interesting perspective because while I am a huge feeler and very expressive, I also have such a deep desire to know what is true. The way that this has worked itself out in my life is that I have LONGED to dive straight into the heart of God and be entirely lost, but I am also constantly testing things against reality, against the Bible, against the advice of people I deeply trust…. Continue reading “They Shall See God”
The speaker for our class last week started out her time by asking the class for introductions. She asked where they were from, what they were passionate about and one thing they’ve learned so far during the school.
This question, “What are you passionate about?” is a good one and although I have looked at various branches of my passion and tried to articulate these things well, I had not come to the direct point until the other day. I think what helped me with this was that the speaker said, “You’re not allowed to say, ‘Jesus.’ We’re all here because we’re passionate about Jesus.” She was right, of course. I never felt like this answer was a cop-out because it is true of me, but being forced to find a more specific way to express myself was enlightening…. Continue reading “What Matters Most”
This post was birthed in the last, but when I finished writing this bit I realized it deserved its own place. Jumping off of thoughts about what might be next, I got caught up in what God is doing in the present to reveal himself.
I’ve discovered, while studying the Bible so in depth, that I have a lot to say. I can suddenly see my own context and the larger context of living… the things that make us human and human for a reason. The why of my existence along with the bigger why of existing for humanity. Not like a tidy religious package, as you might assume, but… well… It’s like Love, for example. Everyone has their perspective on love. When we spend too much time immersed in media and fake intimacy then we stop craving anything deeper, so to others looking in on ‘media lovers’, love looks cheap – because it is. It doesn’t cost anything. Others spend time learning that love is a list of rules, lines to not cross, words to not say and so their love might actually look like hate to others because ‘rule lovers’ have taken the idea of preferring the other person and turned it into correcting the other person. There are many other ways to look at love, my point isn’t to point out failures but to give an example of something really big that can be made small…. Continue reading “The Unknown God”
God speaks. This particular truth is one I have known for a long time. I experienced God speaking when I first started following Him at the age of 16. He spoke to me on my front porch while I was smoking a cigarrette. Since then, I have believed He would speak in many important (and “unimportant”) situations.
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The reason that I want to study this truth (this last week I did this specifically while studying Genesis) is not because it is new, but because I am learning this in a deeper way the last year. Several years ago I went through what seemed like a very “silent” time on God’s part. This lasted about 4 years. I’m sure He was not entirely silent, but hearing from Him, be it direction, comfort, correction or discernment, was VERY difficult. Looking back I know the reason, but still it was a confusing and painful experience.
For the last year and a half I have heard A LOT from God. He seems to be speaking all of the time. So when I came to reading Genesis and then deciding on a theme, I immediately thought of “God speaks”. Maybe as a way of girding myself up for any time in the future when I may struggle again with this reality. I find His communication so precious that I don’t ever want to lose it again.
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At the same time, as it is seen in Genesis, God speaks when He chooses. He says what He chooses and to whom He chooses. This is also super important to remember and hang on to. He is not a vending machine for direction or comfort. He is a friend, a master and all those other things that involve relationship….
I did not end up having very much time alone during the break to read, but yesterday and today the perfect thing happened. I realized how much I needed to purposefully get alone and I found the perfect book to end this Week of Worry. A few weeks ago a guy came to teach in one of the schools here. I hadn’t met him, but there was quite a buzz about his presence here as he is well known and well loved by many. As a result of what I heard and then a story he told one night in a big group meeting, I was quite interested in his books.
What I picked up to read yesterday was his personal account of being imprisoned in Iran in 1997 for 9 weeks. This is not even close to the same as my current situation, but what was similar, which is impacting me right now, is God’s character throughout this man’s story. While he tells the story from his own eyes with humble honesty, what stands out is this mutual and deep love between him and God. What it is like to walk with God is so palpable and transparent and so completely my experience that it was almost as if I came to a friend and told them how I was struggling with worry and they told me their own story to remind me of the truth…. Continue reading “After the Storm”
This has been a pretty intense week between Staff Conference and the book of Acts. I just barely got my work done and turned in on time, but pushing really hard all week (except for when I fell on my face Friday and struggled to regain motivation) was really worth it. Today I am really grateful and want to share two things I gleaned this week from the Bible. In two parts because it turns out to be a lot of words 🙂
Paul. I’ll be honest, in the past I have not been a big fan of the guy. I have often felt like there was no way I could uphold his standards. I mean, he went immediately from hard core persecuting Christians to proving that Jesus was the Christ in a very short space of time. He’s headed like a freight train in one direction, meets Jesus on the road to Damascus and BAM he’s headed the other way in an equally unstoppable manner.
There is something in Paul’s heart which encourages God to interrupt him and change his course. Paul heard Stephen’s beautiful speech (Acts 7) before the religious leaders killed him and maybe there was even something in Stephen’s face which deeply disturbed Paul. Maybe in his zeal for God he felt he was facing a powerful adversary and he himself needed to strike back with strength against whatever Stephen had. Until he met Stephen’s reason for preaching and realized that Jesus was actually the God he thought he was defending…. Continue reading “Kingdom of the Heart (part 1)”
Today was so incredible and I’m not sure if I can put it into words that will do it justice.
For a start, last night was not good. Bad zombie nightmare and then no sleeping… bad dreams for my roommate as well and for the kid who lives next door to us (my roommate heard him screaming after she woke up from her nightmare).
But when I woke up very early to work out, I was full of excitement. I refused to let a bad night influence such a day as today.
Just in the introductions this morning I felt an almost overwhelming gratitude rising up in me. I admit I got choked up several times.
Then during worship (which involves the whole base) they all prayed for us students and our staff. I had four different people pray for me things that God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks- using specific words He had used to me. I just stood with my head bowed, nodding and crying because again, God is so good and faithful and generous. He speaks and all of His plans are good…. Continue reading “Relentless Mercies”
I’m undergoing some serious change here. I want to put it into words and share it but I’m not sure where to start.
One thing God is doing is making His word (you know, the Bible) like this living, breathing creature I carry around in my purse. I open it and it SPEAKS. Have you ever read a book that described something so vividly that you could picture it like a scene played out before you in 3D? It’s kind of like that, only it’s like I look at the words on the page (usually I’m reminded of a small piece- a phrase like “for the joy set before him”… and so I go to see what the words around the phrase mean) and it’s like they are being spoken into my ear and piercing deep into my heart.
The other day I was watching part of this video series called The Truth Project and the guy quoted Philippians 3:7-11. As soon as I heard this (verses I’ve heard many times in the past) I practically jumped up and shouted.
Now you probably think I’m crazy but it struck me as exactly where I am and what I want.
Continuing with thoughts from Perelandra… here is something I’ve been meaning to share for a few weeks. The way I have been spending my time has not lent itself much to reading and with school coming I must make time to read, but probably not this great book.
As you may know, Ransom spent the first book of the “space trilogy” on a planet called Malacandra- which we know as Mars. It is his and our introduction to life on other planets. While he is there, he becomes close with a particular “tribe” of beings. He learns their language and their ways which serve to be part of the reason he is commissioned to take another trip in the second book…. Continue reading “The Meaning of Life”
Last night I watched the movie Amazing Grace with a few friends. I heard about William Wilberforce during the school I did last fall on communications and I am again moved by his dedication to fight injustice… and keep fighting when it seemed too few were listening.
After the movie and while waiting for my laundry to dry I was thinking about this passionate abolitionist and, as
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usual, pondering what I will be when I grow up. I made some steps forward this week by letting go of some responsibilities that were not ‘the thing’ so that I can be freed up to for whatever ‘the thing’ might be. At the same time I have been totally exhausted and realizing that wherever I go I always end up having more people in my heart than I have energy to effectively walk with.
So I need boundaries and I need to stay really close to God who sees it all and knows for whom and how much I should be poured out…. Continue reading “Wake me up inside”
I’ve been trying to read books. A little success was made this last week.
I picked up Perelandra by CS Lewis. It’s the second of the “space trilogy”. In all fairness, I have read this book several times, so it’s less of an exercise and more of a favorite world to visit. What I love so much about this book, though, is not the interesting world, but the depth of insight Lewis shows concerning the mind of the main female character.
The main male character, Ransom, is sent to the planet of Perelandra with the job of saving its perfect and innocent first inhabitants from the dark serpent sent to corrupt them. Ransom is just a man.
This suddenly reminds me of what I did last Thursday night. I went with a group of friends to down town Colorado Springs to see if God had anything he wanted to say to people there through us. Back in the days of Bible college this would have been Evangelism time but this was much less about putting notches on the soul conversion chart and more about revealing God’s character and His heart for whoever needed to hear…. Continue reading “Out of a silent planet”
Growth is painful. I attest to this.
Do I have to ask whether it is worth it?
Would I change the things I have gone through if I had the choice? This question has always bothered me a little. I wouldn’t want to boil down my hard times to one or two “why”s. Oh, THIS is why that happened. I don’t want to do that because it seems to limit the ripple effect of growth.
Today a friend payed me a high compliment by saying that he enjoys how honest I am with myself… not just honest to others about who I am, but honest with myself about who I am. After he said this I considered how it would be if I did otherwise… or rather, how it iswhen I do otherwise. I constantly come back to the reality that I must always live with myself. I cannot get away from me, no matter what I do or where I go. I am with myself when I wake up in the morning, at my side all day, and then, still there when I lay down to sleep at night….. Continue reading “Part of You Pours Out of Me”
Yesterday morning I spent some time reading Isaiah. For some reason this is the main thing I read when I read the Bible.
I’m drawn to Isaiah.
I find myself identifying with him, craving the words there to be spoken to me and also, I’ll be honest, I find myself a bit confused sometimes. I used to struggle with making his words personal. I wanted to, but I often told myself, “No, this was a long time ago and God was just speaking to Israel”, but there are actually many places in Isaiah where God speaks directly to those ‘outside’.
I watched the documentary War Photographer last week for class and it has changed my perspective… or, rather, it has focused my vision for my purpose as a photographer. I’m so inspired by this man, James Nachtwey.