Tuesday, April 26, 2016

april thoughts in bullet points

  • ^ This is my favorite person. It was fun (and also very scary and stressful at times) helping him and his dad take a tree down by our carport over the weekend. I have been struck anew lately what a privilege marriage is.... a privilege and a responsibility that together we get to be a mini-model of God's love, honor, and grace toward us.
  • I used to think it was normal and right to refer to myself, as a Christian, as "a dirty, rotten sinner saved by grace." It didn't begin to occur to me until recent months and weeks what a flawed viewpoint that is. Yes, it's right to identify sin as what it is: sin, rebellion, unrighteousness, offense against the holiness of God Himself. But as a saved person it can't be right to identify myself with that sin any longer. I do not find Jesus or Paul or Peter or the other major characters of the New Testament referring to themselves and their followers as sinners - I find that they, almost without exception, use the word "saints" instead. I am not a dirty, rotten sinner saved by grace; I am a saint who, yes, still sins, but who is being perfected by the gracious hand of God every day. Can it be anything but damaging and wrong to look at myself differently than HE looks at me? Can I be so arrogant as to think I'm being super-righteous by getting more down on myself than God Himself does? Can His precious blood sacrifice possibly be "not enough" to WIPE AWAY my sin and change my identity completely?! I don't think so.
  • Speaking of being a saint who still sins... who is still in the process of being sanctified... sometimes this sanctification hurts. The breaking of pride hurts. I experienced this afresh last week and sometimes I would just rather say, "Nope, not going through this, God, not even for You." But I have found it true again that God draws near to humility, and that what is lost by the painful destruction of my pride is gained back tenfold in the way He picks me up from my epic fail and gifts me with His presence and closeness so much more richly. The Lord loves those He chastens! Hallelujah that He values His children enough to guide them to righteousness, even when it hurts.
  • I have been thinking about the concept of lament. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of lament in the Bible; most of the Psalms fall into this category along with (obviously) the whole book of Lamentations. I wonder sometimes why we don't see more lament happening in our worship and prayer times in the church. We sing a lot of praise and joy, which is needed and right, but it is only a small facet of worship. Huge depths of spiritual truth and growth and understanding of God are found in the laments of the Bible, and when we act like coming to God from a place of pain isn't okay, I think we miss out on a whole aspect of His character. God isn't too small to handle our pain or our anger or our fear or our complaints. And I sometimes think He would rather we come to HIM with these ugly things than do what we normally do, which is (for me) take them out on other people or to the all-knowing Internet. God is ready and willing to hear our deepest hurt and offer His grace, comfort, and healing. And it's usually in these places of pain that we find ourselves softened to the truth of God's Word that can help redirect our perspective and set us free.
So yeah... that's a little tip-of-the-iceberg taste of what has been whirling around in my head lately. There is so much wisdom and knowledge and truth to be had from our God and it just makes me excited. :) What's been on your mind recently?


  1. I just love these posts of yours because they are so thoughtful...and I know you were talking about "old souls" but I think everyone comes from a place that needs understanding. The "old souls" of us are the ones who help others, who have difficulty expressing themselves, to understand their own thoughts and feelings. I appreciate that you're willing to share what God has been teaching you, that every post comes from a place of contemplation; because you are willing to share your true feelings, even if it's "only" from a blog, you will touch someone's heart.

    Sorry if this sounds cheesy or silly, but that's what you made me think of. :)


    Dance A Real

    1. <3 <3 <3 Thanks fwiend. I sometimes feel like I'm rambling but I do think honesty with our deepest thoughts and emotions is one of the most powerful things we can give to others. :)

  2. Hallie,

    As Christians I think we too often wrap up our identity in what we do. And so when we continue to sin, we immediately identify ourselves with that sin instead of realizing that the only way to pursue sanctification and rid ourselves of the old man once and for all is to cling to Christ, cling to our identity in Christ, because it is only when we remember who we are that we will indeed become more like Christ.

    Sanctification is not an easy process. Over the last few months I have discovered that a lot of my sins are rooted in pride. It hurts to have your pride deconstructed over and over again but ultimately I want to be thankful that I have a God who is willing to not let me be happy in my pride.

    I grew up (and still am) in a church that sings Psalms exclusively in worship. And I've come to love the Psalms and love singing them as they not only are the beating heart of our Savior but also because for every place in life I have found myself, God has given me a song to sing and not just any song, but a song that he himself has written. For every trial and emotion, whether I find myself in grief or in joy, repentance or in praise, God has given us a Psalm.

    I think sometimes in worship we try too much to keep that "mountain top experience" and we forget the beautiful arc that God reveals in His word. Our God is not simply a God who can be found on the mountain top, He is a God who follows us through every experience, emotion, and trial in life...

    Dani xoxo
    a vapor in the wind

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, Dani! I always appreciate and enjoy your comments on my blog posts (even though I'm afraid I usually do a terrible job of replying). Your words are spot on and it's funny that you mentioned how we always want to evaluate ourselves based on what we do, because that's the very thing that started me thinking about this in the first place! It seems to run deep even in the secular culture around us to identify with our actions and our career. What I love is that in Middle Eastern culture, where the Word of God was first written and distributed, identity is based far more on who you are related to - and if I think about it that way and realize that I am a child of God, the things I do become almost irrelevant compared to my identity in Christ!

      Thanks again for commenting!


      PS - I LOVE that your church uses the Psalms for worship! The Psalms have such a great balance between (like you said) the mountain tops and the valleys. That must be such a powerful time to spend with the Lord and His people!



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