Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More than birds

I have become obsessed with birds over the past couple of years. Never hated them before, but never loved them either. Now though, I am a bit of a bird fanatic. My favorite birds are what I call "parking lot birds"...the ones that are tiny and hop around and snatch up french fries and bits of other food from parking lots. 

(Not sea gulls though; while they have similar behavior they are fat and obnoxious and just...no. NO. They are not ideal for anything other than slingshot target practice).

Anywho...I think one of the reasons I have fallen in love with birds is because of what they remind me of; those promises in Scripture of God caring for us more than birds.

In Matthew 6 Jesus speaks of the birds and our value compared to theirs. God cares for the birds. "Are you not much more valuable than they?"

Last weekend I made this lovely little guy...$2 Goodwill frame, leftover curtain fabric, and a $5 custom Etsy print, and my little reminder of God's goodness is ready to hang in my dining room.

I need this reminder: That His banner over me is love

"More than birds". This has been my anthem. Such a promise, and something for us to cling to.

When you feel forgotten by Jesus.
When you feel that He sees you, but he isn’t doing anything.
In the hard times of waiting.
Cling to this truth that He sees and He cares, and He provides.
When others find their love and yours hasn’t come yet and the aching loneliness overwhelms you.
When you struggle with knowing your purpose and reasons for being here.
When loss rips you wide open.
When the world is full of babies and none of them are yours.
When you don't know where provision is coming from, or if it will come.

I need to be reminded that He sees, and that He is moving.  That I am worth His action and His words.  

This is what He has been telling me for months now.

Sometimes He whispers it:
More than birds, my love.  I care for you and love you more than birds.

Sometimes he repeats it over and over in a deep voice that rumbles like a song inside his chest:
More than birds, sweet girl.  I provide for you better than the birds.  I give you food and rest, shelter and comfort, love and peace.

Sometimes He shouts it, loud and resonating and bursting with truth:
More than birds!  You are more than the birds that I made and set to flight.  Your heart is more precious to me than them.

Sometimes He weeps with me and through His tears He says it-
More than birds my precious one.  I care and keep them.  I am caring for and keeping you.

Such a promise, and it's ours.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Grace --

I have a stack of note cards on my desk at work that have all the things I'm praying for on them.  Well, most of the things I pray for; it's not limited to just what's on the cards.  But the cards are a good system for me.  It allows me to keep requests current because I can make notes on each one and update them and then remove that card when the answer has come or been provided.

I was praying over my cards last week and it struck me how really, at the core of all my prayers, what I was really asking for was grace.

That person I know who doesn't know Jesus, and I pray that God would soften her heart to His gospel; that's grace.

The friend who is single and lonely and I pray that God would protect her heart and bring her her life's partner:  that's grace.

The elders at my church I pray over; for wisdom and godliness and peace; that's all grace.

The specific provision that Dave and I need; even though I'm asking for a specific thing, what I'm really asking for is grace.

It's such a simple idea, but it struck me so deeply. What all of us really need is grace.  And not just the "God's grace gives us salvation" type (though that is obviously huge).  But grace in the everyday--I guess I never really noticed before how grace is the answer to everything.  God's grace shows itself in His provision, His rebuke, His teaching us dependency, His salvation, His wisdom.

Grace is the twins my friend Laura is carrying.
Grace is Krishana battling cancer, and Sarah getting through school.
Grace is God showing Himself faithful in a friend's difficult season of marriage.
Grace is God holding someone steadfast while they figure out what to do next in their career.
Grace is the girl I know struggling and suffering because she's turned her back on God (yeah, he's showing her she can't do life without Him and that too is grace.)

Everything I pray for, I can just stop, and pray for grace.  (Not that I will, because vague prayers drive me batty--God's big enough for my specifics.)   Sometimes I forget grace.  I forget that it is everywhere; that the rain that poured out of the sky last night, and my beating heart, my marriage, my friendships, my job....they are all evidence of His grace.  His grace is amazing not just because it's so vast but because it can manifest itself everywhere, and in every thing.  It masquerades as a quiet afternoon at work so I can get caught up or in a cup of coffee and a sunrise that are just there for me to enjoy.  It shows up sometimes in a long hot shower and kind words from my husband.

Grace is everywhere. And it slays me, because who are we to deserve these little (and big) bits of favor from God?  I don't deserve any of His goodness, and yet it floods over me daily.  And the more I notice it, the more I realize how much I don't deserve it, and how much He gives it anyways.  I am one who tries to show myself worthy of grace--it's a nasty default of mine.  God is showing me that there's no way I can keep up with the goodness He gives; I'll never do enough or be enough to deserve any of it.  So as the daily onslaught of His grace continues, I'll try and just give up trying.  I won't always succeed, but he has grace to cover that too.

Look around you today; His grace is everywhere.  Let the torrent of grace push you to your knees in thanks at His goodness, and then ride the wave of His goodness throughout your day.  My brain can't comprehend His goodness.  So maybe from now on I'll stop trying to figure it out and earn it, and just enjoy the ride.