Thankful

It has been a long, long, very long day.  And yes, we are watching The Tudors again.  Can’t wait to see the Emmy’s tomorrow though…love Jimmy Fallon and definitely want to pull for some folks!

Worship was good this morning, but I admit I nearly choked up saying outloud our news about conference program money.  It’s good to say it outloud.  That makes it real and then we begin to work towards being proactive and not just reactive.

I finally worked up the energy to write to our board members and to some fellow alum and at dinner tonight I told the students about our new opportunity.  I thought I could make it at least the night without telling them – especially since this was our first worship, but at dinner I told them.  We had a good discussion about how we could cut costs and the things that they definitely wanted to keep and that was encouraging.  They were ready to help and all of us I think are ready to see what we can do.

I was also encouraged by a recent graduate who just entered grad school telling me, “I’m going to see how much of my paycheck I can give to Wesley every month.  Other students deserve the same experience that I had with Wesley.”  I was encouraged by the words of a dear, dear friend who was a part of Wesley when it was WNW with me.

“To the old Wesley Crew –

 Narcie – Thank you for sharing this unfortunate news with us all.  As we continue to struggle through this “recession” many nonprofits are losing support from their normal revenue streams.  On a positive note it is an opportunity to seek out new opportunities for funding and partnership.

After reading Narcie’s note I couldn’t help but reflect on my time at Wesley.  I think all of us on this list that are alumni think fondly of our time together.  Wesley gave us home away from home, a place to spend time with other students that were interested in grace and love.  I am forever grateful for the opportunities that Wesley afforded me as a student.  From the experiences of providing hope to those who needed it most to enjoying tons of laughs with friends, Wesley made an indelible mark on my life.

That being said I am pledging to make monthly donations to the Winthrop Wesley Foundation so that currents students can have the same opportunities that we did.  I want the students that are apart of Wesley now to be able to be fans of miracles, mercy, humility, grace and hope and they need our help to make that possible.

I do hope all of you will join me in true reflection on the importance of Wesley in your life and commit to making a monthly gift in support of its mission.”

I am thankful for the passion I saw in the students this evening around the dinner table.  I am thankful for my recent grads who are starting out but are already looking to help the next generation and I am thankful for the dear friends who like me, still to this day feel the forever imprints of our time spent in campus ministry.

Thanks to all of you for the prayers!  Tomorrow will be time for setting up paypal accounts, newsletter writing, and evaluating our budget and ministry! 

These Tudors really are crazy…

Money, money, money

I think it was in the first couple seasons of The Apprentice that they always played the, “Money, money, money” song that played at the beginning.  In looking at the lectionary texts this week, I actually liked them all.  But I’ve mostly been in Hebrews lately and I have never really preached it very much so I decided to stick with there.

The text is Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 and it’s a lot of instruction and wise counsel.  Mike and I have been watching The Tudors recently.  We’ve finished season 1 and have begun season 2.  Wow.  In so many ways times have changed!  It is amazing to me how far the rights of women have come from those days.  Mike spends much of the shows saying, “They were really like that?”  Sadly, yes.  There’s a ton of lies, betrayal, power hungry insanity, and since it’s on Showtime – sex.  Wow is it crazy.  We’ve been watching an episode a night and I think that’s the main reason I was drawn to this tet.

This passage is the absolute opposite of this royal debauchery.  It talks about showing hospitality to strangers, remembering those in prison, marriage being held in honor and then closing out with “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  These are very different instructions than how the Tudors acted even though they loved to throw the name of God and what “God’s will” is around all over the place.

It speaks a great deal to us all.  In reading this earlier in the week and in thinking on it the past couple days, the part about money wasn’t something that leaped out to me anymore than the rest of it.  Then this morning I go to our biannual Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry meeting and I find out that not only will we at Winthrop Wesley Foundation not receive any program money for 2011 as we were told a week and a half ago, but now we are no longer going to receive any other program funds for the rest of 2010.  So no check coming in September in the thankful income column, but plenty of expenses still going out.  Eek! is about the most nice, censored thing I can say…

But then tonight I read this text again abd I see verse 5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.'”  I don’t know if I would say I loved the program money we received from the conference.  In actuality it only made up 15% of our program money receipts.  But I would definitely say that I depended on it.  In the lean months when nothing from churches or sweet giving folks is coming in, I knew that we would receive that money from the Annual Conference and we could pay the light bill.  And that is a very good thing.  So although I don’t know if I “loved” the money we got, I was incredibly thankful we received it. 

But you know times they are a changing, and we live in a different world and economic time.  So it is what it is and it’s now time to move forward and trust that God is with us and will provide for us.  We step out in faith and trust that God will provide.  The semester is planned and commitments made and we’ll see how it all works out in the midst.  I trust that it will.  No amount of stressing is going to help, but boy it’s time to shake the bushes and get some money raised!

Again, God amazes me in giving us the Word we need when we need it.  Even in the midst of the unknown and the uncertainty and the obvious fear, there are tremendous opportunities and new and bold paths to explore and step out in.  I am weary thinking about the work ahead, but I’m excited to see new partners in ministry and the chance to vision anew as we as always try to do more, with less.

Money.  Power.  Intrigue.  Definitely more the world of the Tudors than campus ministry.  But hey – we all need a little instruction and reminders about where our hearts need to be and who are faith is in.  Still not sure what I’m preaching about tomorrow exactly, but often this sound instruction speaks for itself.

So in reading about afflictions…

Affliction is such a yuck word.  Don’t you think?  Affliction.  Doesn’t sound good at all?  I just googled it and did you know there’s an Affliction clothing line?  Why in the world would you want “Affliction” clothing?

The Upper Room this morning was on 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.  It begins with, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”

I wrote about the race earlier and about perseverance and some of our afflictions sure do take some perseverance.  This is the first week of school at Winthrop and could arguably be one of our busiest weeks of the year.  We’ve been doing our thing here at Wesley and things are going pretty well – it’s great meeting new people and love, love, love connecting and catching up with our returning Wesley folks!

But this is tiring….and draining….and so many more depleting adjectives.  It doesn’t seem like it’s just student life, but everywhere it seems that folks are tired right about now as we all get into the swing of a school year.

I admit that at times I am frustrated – I can’t remember things I used to.  I am really tired and the typical adrenaline boost is not kicking in.  I just can’t gear up for this right now – the energy reserves are not there.  I also finally got the letter scheduling the next MRI and surgeon’s appointment – September 14th MRI and September 15th the brain surgeon.

I’d like to think that I can do this normal welcome back wohoo wesley thing no problem and the same as always, but if I’m honest with myself – it’s not the same.  I can’t run around like a crazy person and not feel those affects.  Humbling.  Frustrating.  Frightening.  Freeing?

We get so caught up in a numbers game – so caught up in how much can we produce?  Who is coming to Wesley?  How many?  Who showed up for church on Sunday? How much money is our company making?  What did we do today?  There’s such a focus on numbers and what we do that we forget to just be and that we don’t have to do it all.  I write that, but do I mean that?  Josh and I were talking about numbers and church/Wesley/what is the crazy thing called ministry stuff this week and I know that when pastors say we shouldn’t focus on the numbers, that can sometimes mean they’re just using that as a justification for the size of the body of folks that they work with.  But sometimes I really do question numbers…is that all that there is to say that you’re doing something?  Do we get so caught up in proving that something is happening at our churches or in our classes or in our workplaces or in our lives that we miss the blessings and consolations that God gives us along the way?  Or do we miss being those blessings and consolations to others because we’re more concerned about the to-do lists and keeping up with “that” family or company or church or whatever?

I wonder what would happen if we didn’t just feel frustrated by some of these things that seem to limit us or tie us down but we could flip that and feel the freedom from the endless search for perfection and the chance to claim even our inabilities, sufferings, and crud for the grace and strength of God?  I can believe that at the beginning of the day reading the Upper Room.  It’s harder to believe at the end of a day wondering where it all went and how the list never gets shorter.

Maybe we just need to give ourselves a break…

U2’s “Walk On” is on my itunes dj right now.  Maybe that’s what we do from all the things that can weigh us down – we walk on.  Some of our afflictions may go with us, but we can trust that God is with us and we walk on.

“Leave it behind
You’ve got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme…”

Beautiful Things

I admit that Mike and I are a bit obsessed with Gungor at present.  I really, really enjoy their music and their “God is Not a White Man” video is hilariously awesome.  youtube it.

A couple Sundays ago I played their song, “Beautiful Things” in church and because I just couldn’t get it out of my head and I also think it’s something that is really important for us to “get,” we played it again this past Sunday.  The text was Jeremiah 1:4-10 and it’s where Jeremiah is saying “Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy…” And God responds saying hey – I’ve got this.  Don’t just tell me the I’m only’s because I’ll send you where I need you to go and I’ll give you the words to speak.  I’ve got this therefore – you’ve got this.

During Salkehatchie for many years when the camp director would give out t-shirts, he would place the t-shirts like a mantle over the youth or adult leaders necks and he would say “God is counting on you” or “The Lord is counting on you” and then your response would be “I am counting on God” or likewise. 

For me this was always a little bit an uneasy thing.  Maybe the t-shirts were heavy – just kidding.  But I guess I felt the weight of the statement that we were saying.  Now there’s a part of me that says – hey God is God – God doesn’t need us to do anything – God can do anything God wants.  But there’s another side that says – but God called us – we are to be in on this awesome partnership with God.  We are the agents for change that with the Spirit of God are called to bring God’s kingdom to earth.

Weighty.

I think of the Mercy Me song – “Word of God Speak.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTY-UKgLlXs 

Love that song.  Great to help quelch some fears and very true.

But sometimes this fear of being called to this place.  This fear of speaking out in truth and love.  This fear of stepping up to anything can rob us of so much…much more than we realize.  And let me tell you – we pastors fear these things too.  I’m sure professors and great presenters and presidents and congresspeople and all sorts of folks – feel a great deal of fear when they step up to the mic.  How can you not?

But we in this partnership with God – we can trust that we’ll have the words to speak when we need them.  God will come through for us.  If we open ourselves up to the leading of God, God won’t leave us hanging.  I’m calling this a partnership even though I completely realize that what we bring to the table and what God brings to the table are two totally different things and we only bring stuff at all to the table by the grace of God.  But I also say it’s a partnership because we are active and alive and crucial to this spreading of the Gospel – the spreading of the Word of God. 

In seminary I took this class with Dr. Brian Mahan called “Forgetting Ourselves On Purpose” or FOOP for short.  He wrote a book by the same name.  We also read Parker Palmer’s “Let Your Life Speak” in this class and I enjoyed both of them.  For some of us we are so concerned about what our life will say – we’re so concerned about our book sales, our successes, our failures, etc. that we get lost in the mix.  We’re so scared that we won’t measure up or be good enough that we lose ourselves and the whole point of all this in the process.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”  This dance that we’re doing with God – it’s not by our own abilities, it’s by the Spirit of God at work in us.  It’s not based on who has lived what’s seemed like the “best” life, but it is based on the grace of God that is alive and well in us.

One of the students at Wesley last night said that she asked a friend of hers from high school to come to Wesley with her.  They were working on in the gym – no big deal – just come on over with me.  And she said the girl told her that if she went, people would laugh at her.  The student of mine told her – no one there will laugh at you, it will be great…and then the girl told her, no not them.  If I tell my family I’ve gone to Wesley, if I tell my family I’ve been to church, they’ll laugh at me.

God did not make us with a measuring stick stuck to us that we may test out who is good enough and who is not.  God did not make us to live in fear and shame from ourselves without way to get out.  God made beautiful things out of dust and God breathed life into these beautiful things and God calls these beautiful things to be the mouthpieces of a new way of life.  No it is not easy and yes we will sometimes be scared, but God has called us to this place, in this time for a purpose and a word for those around us. 

I remember on one of my little brother’s walls as a child, there being a cross-stitched picture that said, “God don’t make junk.”  I think there was another phrase with it and a picture, but all I can remember is the “God don’t make junk.” 

We are each made in the quirky sometimes weird way that we are and that’s beautiful in and of itself.  We had a beautiful, amazingly spirit-filled, beautiful offertory on Sunday in The Journey – awesome clarinet music.  Wow the talent and the amazing gift of God!  We don’t all have to be the best musicians or the prettiest girl and the handsomest guy or the most athletic or the smart one in the family or the friendly cheerleader, or whatever else.  God made Jeremiah.  God called Jeremiah.  God made each and every one of us (hello Psalm 139) and God has called us.

And if you’re like me and you want to see them play the instruments…very, very cool.

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right had of the throne of God.”

In this season of campus ministry – you can’t just sprint.  When people talk about ministry and life in general you’ll often hear comparisons of a sprint versus a marathon.  If we’re constantly sprinting – we’re going to give out – run out – tag out.

I have a couple of friends right now training for marathons and they have their run keepers set on twitter and facebook so that everyone is keeping track of their training.  This is amazing to me.  I have a hard enough time talking myself into any exercise, much less training for a marathon.  I admire their commitment – their dedication.

I relate to the part of these verses that says “let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely…”  Sometimes it does feel like there our weights holding us down.  What are we carrying with us?  What is holding us back with all its might?  Is it unresolved hurt or anger?  Is it a feeling of unworth or mistrust?  Is it a sense of betrayal not just of a loved one but even in thinking about God?  Is it fear?

There can be a lot that weighs us down especially in the middle of the night as we wrestle with those things that we don’t want to acknowledge in the day light.  When everything is stripped away – what holds us back from running the race set before us?

We are not called to live a sedentary life.  But exercise and training can sometimes get beastly, especially when you’re not prepared.  Nobody is saying that the race is easy.  Sometimes you need to spend the big bucks on the right running shoes or suffer the consequences.  And in the race of life – sometimes you need to put in the extra time digging into scripture and forming community with one another.

How are we equipped in this life?  How are we ready?  How do we get geared up like Rocky for the fight ahead?  We have to dig into the Word of God.  We have to earnestly seek the Lord by prayer and supplication.  We have to open our eyes and our heart to the leading of God and the many ways God answers us in miraculous ways every day.

We also don’t have to run the race alone.  No one has to sit in their dorm room alone or has to hide in their office during lunch time.  Sometimes it feels that way and again – it’s not always easy.  But we have to band together as community – as church – with each other or we have little shot of making this trek on our own.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  In our busy world that seems to burst with “stuff” to do and weights pulling at us from all sides, boy do we need to get countercultural sometimes and ban together and get to know each other.

In a society where one could argue we have more opportunities than ever to connect, there are still so many of us that feel like we have to do everything on our own – by our own strength, our own merit, our own smarts, our own everything.  To run this race with perseverance – we’ve got to drop our pride at the door and be willing to step out and reach out to the others running the race with us.  If we just sit with each other on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights or whenever – and we don’t actually get to know one another – how are we being church with one another? 

Sometimes even with encouragement and building each other up, it still gets to be too much.  A student the other day mentioned how he and his roomate had decided last semester they were going to exercise 5 days a week.  They would hold each other accountable and they would encourage each other.  He then said they lasted about a week and a half.  Hey – for some of us – that’s not bad, but a week and a half…sometimes on our own – even if there’s a whole group of us – it ain’t gonna happen if we’re just doing it on our collective strength.

Bottom line – just like the verse says – we’ve got to keep looking to Jesus.  Because none of us are going to run this race perfectly.  None of us are going to always have the nice, shiny, non-scuffed up running shoes and the perfect form.  Sometimes things get tough and we need to know who to look to.  Jesus – the One who sustains us, the One who knows us inside and out, the One who walks before us and beside us each step of the way.  Do the training – dig into scripture, find a community that can support and lift you up – but always look to Jesus – who continues to strengthen our faith through both lifes sprints and marathons.

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who is a little miffed at Jon Stewart’s portrayal of Methodists in last week’s coverage of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding?  I know I was on vacation and out of the loop and I didn’t care nor watch any of the Clinton wedding coverage.  I also know that United Methodist Communications folks probably have bigger fish to fry, but there’s a whole lot of people that watch Jon Stewart and although he’s a little whatever at times, he does usually speak some semblance of the truth.  For the 18-35 year olds among us, many of us would choose to watch him, Colbert, or George Lopez than the news.

To see a clip from the episode I’m talking about check out this blog post from another United Methodist pastor.  He even tells you exactly when to start watching.  http://blog.hackingchristianity.net/2010/08/methodism-university-of-phoenix-of.html

If you don’t want to go to the site and see it for yourself here’s the gist – Jon Stewart says, “Being a Methodist is easy. It’s like the The University of Phoenix of religions: you just send them 50 bucks and click “I agree” and you are saved.”  Again, I know this is Jon Stewart and taken with a grain of salt.  Hello, I’m from the state of South Carolina.  We’ve been giving him great material for years.  But I still think this comment is bothersome.

Being a Methodist is easy. 

I’m a campus minister and every summer and during preview days during the school year we as a collective group of campus ministries (WCCM – Winthrop Cooperative Campus Ministries) host a table with the other student activity groups and we sign up students for more information about the various ministries.  It’s always hilarious to me how many students we get from particular denominations that actually emphasize this connection, how many students are looking nicely around and smiling and then they see our sign that says Campus Ministries and they don’t make eye contact, how many times we never see the student if the parent is the one who signed them up, and those that have already heard about our ministries from their home churches even before they got there.  Now that is a study in and of itself.  Inevitably when I leave these exchanges, I think boy, this grace thing that we United Methodists talk about all the time – that’s a tricky thing.  I don’t know if it’s helping us or hurting us in the arena of discipleship.

Don’t get me wrong – I love grace.  Heck my daughter Evy is Evy Grace.  Without grace humanity would be up the creek with no paddle and not even a boat or creek to begin with.  I LOVE the Wesleyan understanding of grace.  Prevenient grace – God draws us to God’s self even before we know it; Justifying grace – We realize that God’s grace is not only abundant but sufficient for us – even on our most sinful and lost day; Sanctifying grace – God doesn’t leave us where we are in sin but walks with us on this journey of faith drawing us forth to living more and more like Christ.  I get it.  I love it.  Seriously.

But dude, I think half of our people think because they have this grace thing down pat, than they’re all good to go and they forget that sanctifying part where we’re supposed to be growing more and more in the ways of Jesus.  You’ve heard of cheap grace.  I’ve never really liked that phrase because I don’t think grace is cheap – it came at a cost and one we didn’t have to pay.  I may not like the phrase but I think we see the sentiment all around us and contrary to what Mr. Stewart may believe, living out a life of faith is not easy.

Maybe if we really believed the theology we say we do, the things that the Wesleys’ lifted up in their teaching, their music, their lives – maybe then it wouldn’t look so easy or watered down.  I also argue that there are plenty of United Methodists and I know other Christians all over the world that are living out the Gospel with all of its radical, counter-cultural, transformational, and tenacious glory all over the place in all the ways they can, by all the means they can, as ever as long they can.

You don’t press the easy button and then suddenly become a Methodist.  Now that would make a funny new UMC commercial – true.  But it’s a balance.  Grace comes to us freely and without merit.  That in some ways is really easy.  You just call on the name of Jesus and viola – it is that easy.  A free gift – not earned, not based on gold stars we’re collecting on a sticker board in the sky.  How many people do we see in the gospel accounts as they encounter Jesus and suddenly their eyes are opened and they realize he is Lord?  That part – the ah hah – when we get it – is as easy as accepting it and knowing it.  But the living it and breathing it and trusting it and stepping out in faith – that’s a process.  That’s a lifetime.  That’s a step by step, day by day. 

So yes, Jon Stewart I think you are hilarious.  Yes, you are right that there was way too much news coverage of the Clinton wedding.  But yes you bothered me in your comments about our denomination.  Then again, maybe we should be bothered.  Maybe we should think about what we stand for.  Maybe we should think about how we’re living out our faith and how we’re living out such a radical Gospel.  Seriously, maybe that should be our new ad campaign.  Ready or not?  Easy or not?  What does it mean to follow Jesus?  What does it mean to be a United Methodist?  What do we actually stand for?  Not just what we stand against a la Anne Rice’s rant, but what do we clear as a bell, beyond a shadow of a doubt, stand for?

I’m not going to go there with the Anne Rice thing at this point but for a response I really liked and thatresonated with me, here’s one by Karen Spears Zacharias.  http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/current-events/op-ed-blog/22453-an-open-letter-to-anne-rice

Journey for Parts Unknown

We went on “vacation” last week to Garden City Beach with my family.  Some dear, dear folks have graciously given us use of their condo since I was 6 years old and that has been the greatest blessing!  Enoch has been talking about the beach all summer and it was great for Evy to experience it as well!  The first day she was like ew…sand…yuck, but by the last day she was sitting in the mud as we dug a huge pool, river and pond.  I know, I know – who digs a river…and yes, in high tide, someone probably fell over in that deep hole we dug as the “pool.”  But it was good times!

Why is vacation in quotation marks?  Because when you take a one and a half and three year old to the beach or anywhere for that matter on “vacation” is it really vacation?  Trying to get them to sleep, follow directions, eat, nap and overall keep them sane and occupied is a near miracle and is certainly not restful for anyone.  Last week’s lectionary text from Hebrews (11:1-3, 8-16) begins by talking about faith and uses Abraham as an example as he is given this promise of God and sets out on this journey with his wife Sarah across parts unknown sleeping in tents and not knowing what the next day will bring but having this promise.  Dude.  We can’t even make it to the beach without a gazillion toys, snacks, books, and all of the “stuff” that we need to survive for less than a week. 

On the way to the beach (we left on a Sunday night) and I was exhausted.  Like for real tired.  The kids were asleep cuddled up in their child seats with their stuffed animals and I wanted to fall asleep so badly, but I’ve always been the one to drive to the beach and Mike doesn’t know all the cut throughs to get down there the non-GPS way.  So here I am awake telling him to go down Old Marion Road, no not that light, the next one, etc.  And I’m thinking oh wow – Abraham had no map, had no GPS, had no clearly marked laid out plan, and yet he took off, packed himself and his family up, and trusted God.

That is CRAZY.  There are many of us that are anti-GPS or even anti-google directions or anti-maps.  Some of us like to wander.  Some of us like to discover.  Some of us like the journey.  (Not with two toddlers, mind you…but you get the drift.)  J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.”  Dad actually picked up a t-shirt with those words while we were at the beach.  Of course we gave him a hard time for that because that’s what we do since he loves his Mt. Mitchell camping extravaganzas, but I must say that I secretly liked the shirt a lot.  And I’ve always loved that quote.

Sometimes our wandering is part of the journey.  I was thrilled to return home and get our latest Entertainment Weekly out of the mailbox.  I love that magazine.  I do!  Call me crazy but I love stories and I love a magazine that talks about movies, tv, broadway, and books and has great columns with critical thinkers.  Good stuff.  Anyway – so there was a surprise for me in this issue.  I thought my days of getting little nuggets about the tv show Lost were over, but little did I know that with the new collection of dvd’s coming out, I’d get another gift of an article.  Some of you are like why in the world are you still talking about that ridiculous show and others of you are thinking I need to go get me an Entertainment Weekly.  But seriously it totally made sense to me and this text and this place that many of us are in – this journey.  Carlton Cuse one of the Executive Producers who wrote the show’s finale with Damon Lindelof were talking about how the finale was polarizing – some people happy with it and some people feeling like they wasted 6 years of their lives watching it.  He says, “It seems that the people who embraced the show as a journey and were not fixated on answers probably had the better experience with the show.”  Call me crazy but I completely resonate with that right now in terms of real life…

I’m not saying that we don’t wrestle with the big answers and the twists and turns and the why’s because as I’ve said before – God can handle those and God will give us what we need, but I am saying that part of this is the walk that we are on.  Part of this journey, this path is faith.  Faith that some of the big answers will take care of themselves and some may never get answered on this side of life, but faith that the journey – the life of faith that we lead – is enough.  It’s really easy to talk about faith and a lot harder to embrace it.  It’s really easy to talk the big talk about taking the scenic route and trusting our instincts or the leading of the Holy Spirit, but it’s a lot harder to put our money where our mouth is and not take the GPS.  Sometimes our faith leads us in scary directions with no quick Curious George DVD to plug in and a feeling of vertigo, and that’s tough and it’s scary and it’s real, but sometimes those scary places lead us to mountains of the highest heights and views we couldn’t have imagined and memories we will cherish like my prissy and beautiful little Evy with gritty and slimy beach sand all over her happily playing in the muck and loving it.  If we get stuck in place or if we’re too scared to move or if we stick our heads in the sand or are too busy to notice or care – yeah life seems pretty point a to b to c to d, turn left here, stay straight, this is how you get to your next destination.  But if we let go and let the Spirit lead…yep, we may have some twists and turns, yes, turbulence could be ahead, but what a ride.  What a faith that speaks.