Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Than Ordinary Morality

"...So often we simply equate Christ-like character
with ordinary morality..."

~ Jerry Bridges, "Transforming Grace"


"Sanctification, or holiness (the two words are virtually interchangeable),
is essentially conformity to the moral character of God.

- Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving Him My Best, My Dearest

Re-posting this... it so fits this season of my life!

"The fair new petals must fall, and for no visible reason.
No one seems enriched by the stripping.

And the first step into the realm of giving is a like surrender - not manward but Godward: an utter yielding of our best. So long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never grasped its true meaning: that is not worthy of the name, for 'no polluted thing' can be offered.
The life lost on the Cross was not a sinful one - the treasure poured forth there was God-given, God-blessed treasure, lawful and right to be kept: only that there was the life of the world at stake."

-- Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Cross

Sometimes the God Who gave all and spared not His own Son asks all - even our lawful, God-given, God-blessed heart treasures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Being 27 and Happy!

Ahhh…. I’m now 27. And so it calls for a note… an update… something.

Where do I begin?
Really. An update on my life? What part of life? The part everyone sees? What has gone on in my heart in recent months? What the future looks like? My deepest struggles and the lessons I’m learning? Would I really write all of that down for all of you?

I’m torn between journaling on my blog and keeping my life private. I don’t have time to keep a private journal AND blog, so I’ve had to choose between the two….

Mostly, I blog and some stuff consequently doesn’t get written down because I surely don’t intend to put all of my life on my blog. I’m sure I’ll regret someday that I didn’t journal about life as it happened… Oh, well. Sometimes you just can’t do everything that you’d like to.

A few short years ago, I would have imagined myself as something incredibly wise, and mature and lovely and happy and perfected at such an age as this. I would have thought that by now I’d have my own family, my own little house… that I would be good and kind and sweet.

So much of my life has been everything but what I imagined. I really didn’t plan to live the life I have… at all. It just kinda happened. I can’t say it’s all been easy, or fun… but it’s ALL been rich, so rich. The most difficult days are the ones that now give me courage to put an unknown future into the Hands of a loving God who has shown me His goodness over and over every day that I have been alive.

I spent my late teens and early twenties trying to move forward with my life, but completely unsure of where it was going or where it was supposed to go or how I was to get wherever that place was. So many sleepless nights and fretful days as I tried to decide what it was that I was created to do and be.

I was most terrified of wasting my life doing something that I would regret later… making a wrong choice and heading down a path that would later stop me in my tracks and send me re-tracing my steps and agonizing over the years that I could have been doing something better.

Looking back, the only time I wasted was the time I spent fretting about what to do. Everything that I did and everything that happened to me was just what I needed to grow up and it gave me a bigger perspective on the world around me and the God who made it all.

“So, then what happened, Mary? You grew up?”

Well, maybe… kinda, sort of. I don’t know what I should call myself now. I’m old (even though I don’t feel “old”), but I don’t feel “grown up.”

I’m still a scared, silly little girl who tries to be brave and do the stuff that scares me.

Am I a little wiser? Maybe, but other days I wonder.

One thing I know. I trust God a whole lot more than I used to. I used to say that I knew that He was good. Now I really believe it. I have seen the goodness of the Lord over and over and over again. When people learn to forgive and love again, when rebels hearts are softened, when people see their need of Jesus, when God shows me the depravity of my own heart once again and gives me the humility and grace to admit my wrong and make it right, when the selfishness and wickedness of men is thwarted and redeemed by the hand of a great God. Even in the midst of hard things, painful things, harsh things, bitter things, somehow the Love of an all-wise, ever-kind God shines through.

In brief, this past year has been one of so many transitions for me, and of yielding my desires and dreams - Of realizing that life is moving on and I can’t stay here and stay the same. I must change and grow with everything happening around me. I must hold my dreams loosely, and let the One who made the Universe plan Tomorrow. And I have the choice to do it joyfully and confidently, knowing that a Loving God holds my future or to hold back in apprehension and fear and disbelief.

I choose to fling myself out – into those Everlasting Arms. To trust, even when I can’t see the path or know what lies ahead. To trust that if my Father gives it to me, it will be good, so very good, and chosen with the deepest love that I might someday reflect His Face to others.

As Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt of every situation that you believe to be the Will of God!”

I don’t deserve the life I’ve been given. But it’s mine. And the God of Heaven chooses to call me His friend, His daughter, His bride. I am grateful beyond words for these green pastures that He has placed me in.

“Each of us cry, with thankful tongues, Lord, why was I a guest?

Why was I made to hear Thy voice, And enter while there's room;
When thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come?

- Isaac Watts

“As for me, I will behold Thy Face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christy - The Real One

Our dear, sweet friend, Carissa Grace got married yesterday. It was such a gorgeous day for her outdoor ceremony by the river! My sister, Ruth, was the photographer, and took some amazing pictures, but I'm not going to steal her thunder or her photos... :)

But I'll post one of my photos - Carissa's sister, Christy and I together after the wedding. :)

Christy has been a good friend of mine for many years, but she definitely grows dearer as the years go by! Christy is, of all of my friends on earth, the most honest and genuine person I know! I have so much to learn from her. She has no pretense or pretending to be somebody that she's not (as I tend so often to do). She's just herself, and she admits openly and freely when she needs prayer or has a bad attitude or is struggling. I tend to pull myself together in front of people and try to be the person they imagine me to be, whether or not I really am.

I think so often of Jesus - there was "no guile" found in Him - no "pretending" or "fakeness" or imitation of goodness that wasn't really there. What you saw was genuine goodness from deep in His very heart and soul.

May I be that way - genuinely good and kind and pure from the heart.
And when I'm not, may I not pretend that I am!

I love you, Christy! I hope to be a lot more like you someday when I grow up!

The Ordinary Stuff of Life

My friend, Sarah, posted this quote on her Facebook the other day. It so summed up much of what I've thinking on in recent days that I just couldn't help myself... I stole it for my blog! :)

"It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and the aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle." - Chambers

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Life is so full and happy and busy. I don't even know where to start! I feel breathlessly overwhelmed with all of God's goodness to me! I don't know if He's been extra kind to me lately, or if I just never noticed before. I feel like I'm in love... except it's with my Savior!

Answered prayer after answered prayer...
He doesn't have to do anything for me, and yet daily He showers me with blessings!
I hope to have time to say more soon here on my blog, though I really don't know where I would start.

Until then, keep pressing upward and looking at the Face of Jesus!
The things of earth will grow strangely dim. And He will become all you want.

Enjoying these lyrics today:
"How deep the Father's love for us.... that He should make a wretch His treasure!"