eyes on the Author- the every morning struggle to walk by faith


I don't wake up full of vision and motivation.  Actually, what motivates me most is the idea that my french press and single-origin coffee from Guatemala are just minutes away from awaking my senses with it's warm, toasty aroma.  And on those days when I get my stiff, puffy-eyed body out of bed and make my way to the cabinet to prep the press with my favorite coffee and find we're out, I feel great motivation to get dressed and drive to the local store so I can hurry up and get back home before too much time has passed and get my coffee going.

Basically, coffee motivates me to get up in the morning.

Mixed in the grogginess between eyes open and that first cup of coffee I remember who I am.

I am not my own.  I am a Christian.  The weight of meaning in that word falls on me like gravity on the fledgling attempts of a young eagle to fly every morning.

I feel myself falling.  Falling. Squawking out a cry, "Help!  Help Lord!  I am yours. Let me hear your loving kindness in the morning lest I be like those who go down to the pit!"  Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but never failing, my faithful Helper and Friend, my God, my Father, the one who made me a Christian and bought me out of slavery to the law of sin and death, he swoops down and lifts me up on his everlasting wings.

He's teaching me to fly.  To soar on wings like eagles.  To walk and not grow weary.  To run the race set before me as a woman finding her identity in Christ, as wife to James in a difficult marriage, as a mother raising men, in a community and time full of the "treasures of Egypt".  And when he finally lifts me up I see the wonder of who He is and what He's done and what He's doing in me, I can face the day.

I don't always get a chance to reflect on the truth of what God has done in calling me his own daughter like today.  Usually the day marches on and I struggle to fix my eyes on the One who wrote this story. He's the author of my faith, and since he is, he's also the one who will finish the story he started in me.  He's not an inconsistent blogger or an aspiring writer.  He's the author of life, and the writer of faith, and the one who began this good work in me.  And he will be faithful to complete it.

Every morning the struggle is real.  And that's no cliche.  I need to get my eyes on Jesus every morning and remember who I am, and the promise that He who began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it.  I need to remember that God gave me life in Christ and I am destined to be with him forever.  I need to remember because I'm called to die daily.  I'm called to follow Jesus in taking up my cross daily.  I'm not here for my best life now.  My life is not all about me and getting all the pleasure and comfort and ease I can squeeze out of the day and people in my world.  I'm a Christian, my best life is already and not yet.  I taste it here in every little resurrection, when I deny bitterness and embrace forgivenesss, when I deny ease and choose serving, when I feel the sorrow and the pain of my own sin and others' sins and rejoice in the promise that the One I love, who I have never seen, He will make all things new.

If I could just get my eyes on the Author today I'll be OK.

"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," - Hebrews 12:1-2

post anesthesia thoughts

(has nothing to do with the post, just a pretty pic i took a long time ago)

I'm not going to over think this post too much.  I had minor surgery today and am still feeling drunk on leftover anesthesia/fentanyl/percocet.  Consider yourself and the three other people reading this warned.

In the past few weeks I've been listening to podcasts from writers, reading articles about blogging and freelance writing, etc.  In one of those I was admonished to write something daily.  Be it a blog post, a journal entry, a poem... something.  Because writers don't just think about writing, they write.  I think my pastor said or wrote that once too.  It struck me then, and when I read this lady's article.  I am a writer.  Not a known writer.  Not the best writer.  But I enjoy writing and I just process life better when I'm writing.  But when I set out to write something, especially publicly, I sometimes step in the quicksand of self-analyzing and get stuck there.  And then I don't write anything.  And that sucks.  

So, I took that lady's advice and decided to write something daily.  And the next day my MacBook's hard-drive failed.  My 13 year old black Lab Bailey decided jump onto the chair where I was sitting on the back patio (something she has never done) sending Mrs. Mac descending to the concrete.  I believe she lasted 48 hours after that and died (the Mac, not Bailey).  Soooo, my writing daily challenge has been mostly limited to journaling.  

I worked consecutively this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the acute rehab unit where I practice one of the least-glamorous forms of nursing and often found myself thinking about the importance of doing the least-glamorous as a Christian.  But that's another blog post. Those past three days I wrote notes on paper about my patients and nothing more.  

Today I returned to the same hospital as a patient.  That's a good thing to do as nurse.  I had a minor being-a-girl related surgery that will hopefully help being a pre-menopausal girl with girl-problems be less problematic in the coming years. Such a surgical procedure is neither something one wants to talk about nor read about so I'll spare you.  But the experience of being a nurse on the other side is worth writing and reading about. 

I dont' tell nurses caring for me that I'm a nurse until I feel like they feel comfortable with me and I with them, or until they ask me what I do for a living.  That being said, I was really glad 7 different people asked me my name, date of birth and what procedure I was having today.  I know as a nurse this is a monotonous part of our job, constantly asking questions our patients often get tired of answering, but its reassuring as a nurse to know the people about to put me into a drug-induced coma and cut on my flesh are repetitively asking for the same information ensuring I'm not going to wake up without a leg or something.

While waiting for the doctor to come talk with me before the procedure, my husband and I had a very interesting conversation about Christian theology, homosexuality and forming personal relationships with people who don't share your worldview.  We don't share the same view on the first two of those three, but we agree that talking and listening with people who don't see life the way you do is a good thing for both parties and the community.  

The longer I stay married to a man who doesn't see life the way I do, the more I see how amazing Christ is... he is the great unifier of the most diverse people.  He makes a new person.  And he makes a person new.  "And such were some of you..."  The goal may be to win a person to Christ, but it's never to win an argument about Christ.  Required: humility, faithfulness and love.  May he bless me with those three treasures.  Oh to be made new!  And the wonder that he is making me new.  "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." 

3 lessons from a seminary podcast



I did a lot of driving yesterday and today.  The German Shepherd we rescued late last year was scheduled for neutering today in east Mesa, about an hour and 15 minutes of heavy traffic metropolis driving away. Driving on a six lane highway through Phoenix in 112 degree weather is not in my top 100,000 favorite things to do.  But since the dog's procedure was paid for by the previous owner at this location it was the option I chose.  The first half of today I was Uber-Mom.  Transporting child B to beginner saxophone practice, then child A to the high school summer conditioning program for incoming athletes and then picking up child B and enjoying a 1 hour break before taking child B to summer advanced band practice with his clarinet.  That brought us up to 11 am.  A quick trip to the grocery store, then to pick up child A and B from their various locations rounded out the morning.

For me, lots of driving equals lots of thinking. I talk to God, to myself, solve problems in my head, sometimes create problems in my head, and chew on various ideas and thoughts.  There are a few podcasts I enjoy listening to also.  This morning I listened to the For The Church podcast out of Midwestern Seminary.  It was about lessons learned from the collapse of Mars Hill Church.

I'm a mom of teenage boys, a wife, a nurse... I have no theological education.  I only have an associates degree in nursing.  So why listen to a podcast from a seminary?  I find teachings geared toward pastors and teacher and missionaries have much application to me as a mom and wife. In those roles I feel the call on my life to be a disciple-maker.  And as a woman in the Christ's global and historic church, I feel the need to listen to the leaders in my time and culture in the church.  I listen to know how to pray.  I listen to get sober eyes.  I listen to identify truth and truth-twisting.  I love the church.  I love the people who, like me, peculiarly love the Savior they've never seen.  Listening to this podcast today about the fall of Mars Hill Church I took away a couple applications for myself personally.

1) Don't get fixed on one preacher.  I should take inventory of my habits in listening to preachers.  Am I at church because that preacher is there or because God's word is being preached?  Does the church have other men besides the lead preacher/teacher who preaches on occasion?  Am I using "celebrity" preachers/teachers as my main "diet" of God's word, or am I in the word myself, studying what I have heard taught?

2) Read your Bible! Often!  The way God works in my life when the preacher preaches is something special.  Faith does come by hearing and often that hearing is through the preaching of the word of God. But it's the word, not the preacher that I need.  If I don't know how to get to the word myself and how to digest it and apply it to my life I'll be immature and dependent on a preacher... which is dangerous.

3) Even when things don't go the way we want in church, it's still God's church.  He is working all things for good for those who love him... to conform us to the image of his Son.  Even the falling apart of a huge church like Mars Hill is under his sovereign design for the good of his people and for his glory.   My own experience in loosing a church I loved (which was not due to the same issues as Mars Hill) was hard.  But through it, God has refined my faith and has caused me to see the church world-wide and local in her many branches as a beautiful work of Christ in which I too am a part.  No one preacher or teacher or even denomination should be how I identify with Christ's church. Paul corrected people in the Corinthian church for saying they followed Apollos, or Cephas, or Paul.  I take the warning.  I don't follow any pastor or teacher.  I am Christ's and he is mine.  The pastor functions in his role in the body.  I function in mine.  And we both worship the same Lord.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the people at Valley Life Surprise.  I love the preaching of the word that happens there and the gospel centrality of everything I hear. But I pray Jesus always captivates me... no man.  No preacher.  And I pray I can be even a tiny part in building up His church here in Surprise, AZ.



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