coming down from the mountain

she looked out across the empty plain and knew immediately the reflection in her own soul–

everything felt empty.IMG_9222IMG_9267she could rest in the beauty, yes. she could see the branching oak trees and small delicate flowers. she could see the leaves changing in sync with the turning of the season. but she couldn’t see the point.

she knew the point for sure. she knew what every church-kid should know–it’s for His glory.

but why couldn’t she feel it? why couldn’t she know the fullness of the beauty-giver and sing and rejoice shout and dance?

that’s me.

it’s not that I don’t go through seasons of rejoicing and knowing the grace of my Savior. it’s that I forget his grace so quickly. it’s this: I’m on a spiritual mountain. I come down. and somehow I stop nourishing my faith.

oswald chambers must be reading my mind right now–or maybe it’s HIM working to get my attention

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.

yeah, that first part sounds an awful lot like me.

IMG_9125Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIMG_9167

this question is the heartbeat of the world. it’s the shadow of the trees. the beams of the sun. it’s the question of the philosopher and of the layman.

why am I here?

and as His daughter I’m learning more and more–that unless my faith is planted firmly and steadfastly in His sovereign work, I am left with nothing.

because without Christ there is no purpose. and if I stop nourishing my faith. If I stop believing every second of every moment of every day that His work is enough–I’m actually left right where the rest of the world is. emptiness.

oh, but if I nourish my faith. If I spend more than my leftovers. If I give my Savior the best of my time, the best of my resources. If I begin by obedience–I will begin to know His joy more fully, His plan more fully, and His purpose in me more fully. if I give all my time to His presence-to living continually before the face of God-then I will begin to know His fullness.

because when you boil all the philosophical questions down in the world to one, you get this: Will you surrender your soul to King Christ for ultimate fullness, or will you give your soul to the world for utter emptiness?

IMG_9225IMG_9151because knowing His fullness isn’t about working harder–

it’s about learning to rest.

You say, “child, come here.” You whisper, “daughter, come sit at my feet.” and so I come. weary and weak and discouraged and faint-hearted I come. I come because where else will I go? there is only one Well Beloved who whispers the food that I need to live–the words of eternal life. He makes the weak thump of my heart into a steady beat of grace. I am nothing in myself-but I have everything in Him. You, Jesus, are my only steadfast and true preserving power in this life. I have found where I belong. What I was made for. I have uncovered why I was made-you have shown me. I was made to thrive in the presence of The Lord of Hosts. and nothing really satisfies but to chase that presence. Oh You’re awakening me, Jesus. so slowly, but surely.

love,

mm

on “l o v e”

710e1d97a5f962c62d271da5fccb696aI googled “define love” today.

love
noun
1.an intense feeling of deep affection.

ouch.

I would perceive, then, that the next step is to try and figure out how to maintain a certain feeling. If we are to love then we must always have this intense, fuzzy feeling?

wrong.

well what about this stuff:

“it’s just bigger than the both of us”

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”

Really? Is this the best we can do? Is love really a feeling only? Something that happens accidentally? The WIND?

I’m a little bit frustrated.

I don’t know about you, but I want a real definition of love. a definition of love that is courageous and bold and beautiful and I want to live it. 757edcae2651b04f4f4a33d1539ba250

I wasn’t so much startled by this definition-but I was saddened. I wasn’t startled because I see it. Flippant relationships are the thing, and the world tells us that’s normal. Because it is normal.

But we are not called to live normal lives. We are not called to “love normally.” We are called to love boldly and dangerously and selflessly. We are called to love boldly in the realest and truest sense of the word   l o v e .

In the world’s eyes, the love that we are called to is an abnormal love.

So what’s wrong with our society’s definition?

We’ve mixed up the definition of love. We’ve put the feelings in front of the choice, the fuzzy in front of the difficult. We’ve put the enjoyment before the responsibility. We’ve made the definition immature, to fit our needs. Because our society has accepted immaturity.

This world can’t find an accurate definition of love by itself. It searches and searches. But where there is no Word of God-there is no truth-nothing to be found.

Are feelings dismissed, then? By no means. I definitely believe feelings are a part of love, but I do not believe feelings are the basis for love. Because feelings will come and go like the wind. But that’s not what love is.

Love is pure. It is free from expectations. It is patient. It is kind. It does not parade itself-but gives and pours continually. Love is not rude. Love does not change as your feelings do. Love does not come and go like the wind. Love is ultimately a choice. A choice that brings emotion.

Love breaks the barriers and limitations and gives itself selflessly. Love wants the best for someone else. Love doesn’t hold a grudge. Love gives up all it wants to see another rejoice.

And love never fails. Love never sees a reason to give up because love looks to THE One who never gives up on us. Love seeks to imitate Him. Love is simply a description of Christ. we are called to be like Him.

The greatest love is seen in Jesus Christ. Who broke all barriers and humbled Himself to become like us. And He took our deserving, He conquered death with His love.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

So pursue love. Because by it, they will know we are His.

Lord Jesus, teach me to love.

( m m )

 

far too easily pleased

fall“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak…we are far too easily pleased

-C.S. Lewis

chasing glory. running down happiness. seeking pleasure. yearning to delight.

we’re human and we’re broken and we’re trying to find something.

you’d be a fool if you wouldn’t admit that it’s in you. this yearning, this seeking for something greater.

John Piper adds, “We have accustomed ourselves to such meager, short-lived pleasures that our capacity for joy has shriveled. And so our worship has shriveled.”

we’ve lost sight of our purpose in settling for less, in refusing to wait, we’ve been feeding off of that which does not fill and drinking what doesn’t quench.

our thirst-our thirst has been artificially “quenched” by rivers from the world. we have not chased the glory we ought. instead of being pleased in rest, we busy ourselves running around to accomplish more vanity and puff our lives up to look bigger than they are to the rest of the world who is hurting just like us.

we’ve become far too easily pleased in that we’ll spend four hours in front of the television, but won’t discipline ourselves to spend 60 glorious minutes in the presence of King Jesus.

Isaiah has been my resting place these past few weeks.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

I’m on a quest to rest. to learn just to sit in His presence and know his love. I’m on a quest to live Isaiah 40.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name,by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord and my right is disregarded by my God’?

…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:26-7, 31

I don’t want to settle for anything less than the beautiful presence and glory and true beauty of Christ. I have far to go, but it is oh so amazing that this is just the beginning. the beginning of His peace. the beginning of surrender. the beginning of refusing to be far too easily pleased.

oswald chambers put it beautifully when he said, “but as soon as we do totally surrender, abandoning ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us a taste of His joy…beware of letting your natural desires hinder your walk in love before God.”

(( taste of His joy ))

I’ve tasted it in His presence and now it’s all that I can seek. I’ve felt His power through my weakness and now it’s all that I can long for. I’ve known His touch when my heart hurts and now it’s my truest desire.

He will enlarge this heart by His grace, He will consume my soul with longing, He will give a deeper love, a mind at rest in His plan, and eyes that don’t gaze at worthless things.

eyes and heart and being that are not too easily pleased.

and He will lift up the heart of the one who asks, and cause it to seek something greater. He will delight this heart in Him alone. He will remove anything He sees fit to be sure that this heart chases nothing but Him. because the heart that He has bought with His blood, must be made to beat to one rhythm. the rhythm of grace. the rhythm of satisfaction in a God who is all-satisfying. because as our delight in Him increases, we will not be too easily pleased with the things that are passing.

it amazes me how often “Christians” look exactly like the world-chasing the same things of the world. oh, dear soul, come out from them. chase Christ. chase something purer, higher. don’t settle for what fills the unbeliever when you are a believer. don’t rest until you rest in Him.

I fall and I fall again and again. I break I hurt, I crack I bend. but there’s a relentless hand that keeps picking me up-urging to love, pushing to trust.

and this hand is my God who knows what is best-He promises peace, if I would just rest.

If I would just fall, and think on His might. His mercy so great, His love ever bright.

I need only release my grasp on this life, to know He draws closer through this time of strife.

to know He is always pursuing my heart-and that was His purpose from the very start.

to make me more like Him, to cleanse me of self. to honor and serve Him, in sickness and health.

on good days and bad days, to shout forth His praise. to sing and proclaim His merciful ways.

this comfort remains-sure hope for my soul-that Jesus is chasing, the sheep in His fold.

love,

m a d y s o n

images here

on “s e l f – e s t e e m”

stripes

from the song lyrics to the t-shirts, from books to billboards, this world is successful in captivating and controlling and conforming so. many. minds.

the world out there-which perhaps you’ve let inside-is charging the platforms with command after command to love yourself. to embrace who you are just where you are and for what you are. to never change. to stay true to the inmost heart of your being because you shouldn’t be anything else. and yet it portrays images of unattainable perfection and beauty and allure. it magnifies the impossible. and it shouldn’t come as a surprise-the world and the devil and the flesh are the greatest champions of whispering roaring lies.

and the church-we’ve retaliated with broken bullets. with nothing. the message of the “church” is now seeking to persuade and attaining to convince you that you must love yourself because you are beautiful, and you don’t need a change. but they leave out the part that you are nothing

that is, apart from Christ. and soul, you need a radical change.

in this generation of insecurity and impossible standards and painful soul confusion, the solution to our problem is not self-esteem. it is not an improved body image and a growing flaunt of self-confidence. it is not becoming fully persuaded of our own beauty that will heal our broken souls and our insecure longings.

oh this church-this church of America-needs to see that there is nothing to praise of self. there is no confidence to be gained in exuding your true personality-because your true personality is deceitfully wicked and desperately depraved above all else.

but there is a beauty in surrender to a King who is most beautiful. and the heart that bows its knees to receive His gift is the most secure of all. resting, trusting, beautiful.

such a heart does not radiate a show of self-confidence and self-love, but rather becomes a reservoir for the love of Christ which is broad and wide and full. and as His love fills this heart, this heart overflows. onto every soul this love pours out, in words that make stronger and actions that give recklessly.

and such a heart is so captivated by its Lover, that it looses time to think of what it wants to gain. this heart is not consumed with looking good, and appealing to others while in this breath of a life-but doing good, and serving others.

you will have no peace in striving to love yourself-because honestly, the problem is that we love ourselves too much. the problem is that we’re even concerned about our confidence-instead of radiating His. the problem is that we want to be esteemed, when truly and really we should be like Him-

“esteemed not”

oh look to The Cross to find your beauty. lose yourself, oh soul-in Him. fall madly in love with the breather of the existence of stars and galaxies and oceans. surrender yourself and forget all your insecurities.

because at the feet of our King, we can forget who we have been. at the feet of our King we can find His glorious confidence-that we are the Beloved of God. get alone and spend hours with the God of all existence, and you will not be the same. because His story and His plan and His glorious unfolding is so much greater than you.

and when you forget yourself-the world will blink and stare, wide-eyed with wonder at such a confidence, because you will have the confidence of Christ.

love,

(( mm ))

image via