Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Poetry and Art Kinda Day

I used to have this poem hanging on my wall near my desk in college, so that every day I would read it and let it instruct my heart's prayers again. I wish I had it scrawled across my walls in giant letters... 

Flame of God
by Amy Carmichael
(missionary to India 1895-1951)

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.


And on another note altogether, I love quotes. I catch them everywhere and scribble them across everything. I have hundreds of them collected, and it's growing every day. Sometimes, I like to take photos I've snapped and attach a quote to it. It's been awhile but I was inspired today to do so again! A few pieces:
(This photo I didn't take, but found online and fell in love with!...)



Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Story of Boy Meets Girl

Soooo… you know the familiar story of boy meets girl? I have one of those I am privileged by God’s grace (and stand in delighted awe over still…) to tell :)

Once upon a time there was a girl who fell in love with Jesus and into a life of following Him. He walked with her down MANY a road from the time she was small, and as they walked, He loved her, and taught her to love like His heart. He began to teach her quite early the importance of trusting to Him everything in surrender, even her own story of boy-meets-girl.

Along the way there were stories of girl meets wrong boys. And there were some stories of girl meets really-great-but-not-right-boys and even girl meets boy-she-thinks-she-wishes-was-right-boy-- until she actually gets to meet REAL right boy... But in all these stories, He held the writing pen firmly in His hand and she watched it scrawl across the page from her position snug at His side next to where He carried all her hopes and dreams (and it was snug, because there were a great deal of them!).

This great and loving God who carried all her hopes and dreams continually asked her to trust Him, and to keep on surrendering her everything to Him. And as she did, He brought her all over His world, teaching her always about His love for it and the people in it, and her place in it and His love for her.

Then one day, girl met boy. It was September 10, 2009.

It was rather unlikely for most, but really rather appropriate for her that they met in writing, and communicated that way for the first 7 months that they knew one another. Boy was in London, girl was in Gothenburg. They spoke of everything from what annoyed them (girl couldn’t stand it when people didn’t put things back where they belonged, and boy hated it when people would double-dip in the salsa…), to their childhoods with their families (girl was the middle of 5 kids and grew up on a ranch in the countryside of a rural state; boy was an only child to a single mum and grew up in one of the biggest and most multi-cultural cities in the world), their church experiences (girl was walking through a difficult experience in serving in a church ministry after just finishing her degree in Theology; boy had been deeply involved in the same church family since he was small and was taking a class on preaching and giving his first sermons), their walks with God (they both loved Him and desired Him deeply, and would share with one another how they were seeking Him throughout the seasons), their walks with those around them (girl had roommate trouble to pray through! Boy had the responsibility of caring for his chronically-ill mother), their own personal brokenness and scars collected in living, and their ideas of the purpose for why they were put on this earth—to love and serve Christ and show His love to a world dying for it...

And the sovereign and love-story-writing God smiled in anticipation of all that He would teach girl and boy in the months to come, using them to teach one another facets of His love He had been saving up for them each to discover in good time...

When girl met boy, they simply recognized a similar heart each in the other, and they became friends; friends who began sharing everything with one another. Soon they began to feel odd if they missed a day of communicating. And so they prayerfully decided that they really needed to meet up and speak face-to-face. Girl was beginning to feel more for boy than they spoke about out-right and it frightened her… Boy felt more for girl too, and began to tell her frankly so…

So a date was set for a long-awaited walk through Hyde Park for the next time girl was travelling through London – April 28th, 2010. Girl picked out her favourite ‘casually cute’ outfit (button-down denim skirt, brown leather boots to the knees, blue polka-dot top, and grey cardie), and spent the afternoon beforehand having coffee with a friend and talking herself through her nerves! She really felt there was something different about this boy, something different about this date… She walked to King’s Cross station, held her breath, and waited to see if she could spot him first in the jumble of people coming and going…

She couldn’t have known when she first glimpsed them across the crowd how very special those gorgeous brown eyes would become to her… Or how she would come to want to hold forever that hand he placed in the small of her back as he led her along protectively.

Girl and Boy finally said goodnight near to midnight after wondering all over the city soaking in one another’s presence. It would be the first of many such wanders about London together, making somewhat awkward and stinted conversation after already pouring out their hearts in written words for endless hours in months past. Girl and Boy continued to go on such dates for the next 7 months, strengthening their friendship and praying for wisdom in what God would have them do. Girl was also praying for some courage to let herself be that oh-so-scary thing-- truly loved.

Boy started writing her poetry on July 1st, 2010. He was already in love with her, but he was patient and strong, giving her as much time and space as she needed, and yet proving to her again and again with his very character that he could be trusted, and that with Jesus, he would do everything he could to remain worthy of her trust, to love her well, so she would have no reason to fear. He held out his heart to her in open hands, and then waited…

And girl, though frightened of letting go, was falling for boy, and falling hard.

14 months after first meeting, boy came to visit girl in Sweden, and on November 12th, 2010 they decided to make it official. They stood on a ferry in the moonlight on the North Sea after just deciding that this was it, and they both prayed to a great, big, masterful God who had seen that very moment even all throughout the twenty-some years of their very separate lives full of very different experiences on different continents. They thanked Him, and asked for His guidance, which they had been seeking all those 14 months, to go with them still. Making this decision to be an official couple was a very serious matter because they had both been deliberate about waiting to date anyone exclusively until they were ready to be married. They knew that this would be the first step toward forever, or they wouldn’t be together. (Afterwards, they discovered that they had both been praying in that moment the same, but neither of them had known as they stood cuddled together in silence watching the moon reflect off the water :))

That night was the first time boy asked girl if he could hold her hand :)

Very soon after, in January 2011, girl was headed off to Uganda to have her heart broken by the beautiful little ones left desolate by poverty. Boy held her across the miles with his prayers and his love letters and the broken phone calls which he would spend much mula to make in the deep darkness of the African nights. By March, girl knew that she would have to come back there to adopt some of God’s little ones of Uganda when the time came. Much to her delight, boy put up no fight. And by the end of their separation, boy and girl felt strongly that they knew they wanted to build their lives with no one else… and it became only a matter of time.

In June 2011, boy came all the way over to America to meet girl’s family and to spend 2 weeks with them in her family home. For girl, this ‘test’ sealed the deal. Having her handsome British boy in her rural, midwestern, childhood home was surreal. And somehow, she loved him even more afterwards than she had before.

This boy meets girl story isn’t finished yet (and they hope it never will be!) but the testimony of God’s grace and gentle leading is already evident in it. Girl only dreamed that she would ever be treated so well, like so much precious treasure; like her Father in Heaven has always said she is, but she’s struggled to believe. And boy takes nothing about this gift for granted. And every day the boy and girl continue to examine their hearts and their relationship and learn what it means to love and be loved—through the good and the bad, the joys and the harsh realities, expectations, disappointments, beauty and pain—and to understand love’s place in His plan. He’s still carrying their many hopes and dreams, but now they press up close to Him together to watch what He’s doing and to learn love from the very Master of it…

It's about time I introduced you all to the man I love :)

“I love you from depths of my heart that have been untapped. That all the while in my life God decided through you he would show me a new kind of love, a new way of living for him. You’ve graced my life and it’s still so incomprehensible that I can call you mine. I don’t think I will ever come to terms with it. But I don’t really want to either, I much prefer standing in awe of God’s biggest blessing in my life next to saving me... giving me your heart to hold.” – Charles to Leah, February 2011

Monday, 18 July 2011

'Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me' by Ian Morgan Cron

I had a sweet surprise as I delved into a random book sent to me by an editor to review this summer. “Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts” by Ian Morgan Cron wasn’t some manly thriller complete with blow-out violence and car chases (though, the author did have a tale to tell of his engine over-heating and starting on fire on a drunken drive down the interstate…) and drug-busts (though it did revolve around the damage caused by his father’s addiction)— the kind of “un-like-me” theme I envisioned when told the title. It was a family drama, deftly told, about a healing man who was once a boy broken by an alcoholic father, and held together by a dysfunctional family and a faithful God.

Cron is a masterful story-teller. I was tickled by his sense of humour and conversational way with words peering through lines like, “Behind the wheel, Marcus was like a retired stuntman with dementia" (pg. 24). Intermingled with the down-to-earth humour, he also speaks in a poetic voice: "God provided me with music as a spiritual foster home until I could find a permanent place to live" (pg 115). In fact, Cron interprets much of his experiences with a poetic eye, like in how as a child Cron was drawn to this Lord who is bigger than any religious method made of man in the Catholic practice of Eucharist.  And by how his eyes were called heavenward through such simple things as a fawn in the woods or a water stain on his bedroom ceiling.

Cron’s over-arching story was a testimony of a walk with a Father God who reaches out to us in whatever our circumstances. I was touched by this fearless portrayal of his own doubt and questioning in His walk with God through the years of learning to see Him reaching out, his honesty about the journey that it is, and his gradual discovery that He is breathing in everything around us, and we only must train our ears to hear it. “There is no event so common place but that God is not present within it,” says Fredrick Buechner, “Always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.” God walked beside Cron as he maneuvered his way down a winding road, sometimes he could recognize it, and other times he could not. This is one man’s story which, despite growing up across countries and the child of a drunk CIA agent, is really not so very different from any of our own in this human condition-- and the enduring truth of it is God’s faithfulness on that road.

* *I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...