Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Full Life, or Full of Life?

"Are we living more fully, or are we just busy? A full schedule is not indicative of a full life. Sometimes a full schedule is the mark of a very empty life... Because we do not know how to live in the silence and stillness of life."
These are the words I penned this morning in my journal. They left me pensive. How many days do I simply fill up with tasks to take my mind off hard or uncertain things? Do I simply have a full life, or am I filled with life?


Over the weekend I went on a very enjoyable snowshoeing trip with my roommates. Though our days were full, they were also re-creative. Though we were on a sort of schedule, we were not so busy that I could not slip away to read Psalms and pray on the sunny deck. We were not so set on this or that as to miss the Spirit's leading... 

We spent Sunday morning writing down aspects of God's love and sharing how we saw various traces of His love in one another. I was handed a blood-red heart that read "life-giver" -- I nearly cried. So often I feel inadequate. I have received many gifts (even the trip itself was a birthday gift), rivers of love, vast amounts of forgiveness, and a multitude of patience from my friends and family. I feel like I have nothing to give in return. Often I feel like a needy child crying out of hunger, only my hunger is for love and acceptance. I am frail, weak, incapable of love without the Love of God. I cannot save myself. 

Like others, when I am loved on I feel the need to somehow repay that kindness. But Love does not seek to be repaid. True Love desires the good of others, asks for nothing in return, and believes the best about others. God loves us with an everlasting Love, knowing we can never love Him as He deserves. His Love teaches us how to love others, and how to love Him. Yet we love so imperfectly... Thus, I was overwhelmed to receive the little heart with the words "life-giver" inscribed upon it. I feel like all I have ever done is take, but God spoke through my friends that day. He showed me that He is at work in me, helping me to practise giving.


With all of my recent travels to Florida and to Rocky Mountain National Park, lunch dates, dinners with friends, travel, work, etc., I feel like my life is very full. But I find that I am actually filled with life when I take time to be still before the LORD, allowing Him to order my thoughts and my steps. Certainly He uses conversations with others, fun weekends, and even work, to deepen my life. But if I never take time to be still before Him, to let Him direct the way I reflect on things said and done, then I only ever live on the surface of those events.

I want depth... I want to be full of life. I want God to work through me to give life to others. I want to walk in humility and dependence. Because all I have and all I am is from God. I am poor and needy, yet He has looked upon me. I am weak and broken, yet He is my Strength and Healer. God truly is the Strength of my heart, and my Inheritance forever. 

Blesséd, blesséd, blesséd be He!

~ Johanna

Friday, February 1, 2013

The LORD is King Forever

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.
~ Psalm 29:10-11
When the flood waters rose upon the earth, God was the ruler of the Universe. He saved Noah and his family through those violent waves. The LORD sat enthroned when David wrote Pslams, tended sheep, killed Goliath, and when king Saul tried to kill him. God reigns now in the midst of our political and economic woes, and more personally, in the thick of our own sorrows and great joys. Indeed, the LORD is King forever. He is always on His throne, constantly sovereign. He is the One who will give us strength in our weakness, and hope in our hurting and brokenness. 

I do not know how many times I have read Psalm 29, glazing over those final verses, but this week when I read them, I saw them. I heard them. I knew something in them was more true than I knew (experientially) before. God is good. God is King over all of creation, over all circumstances. It is God who is our Strength in our weakness - and we are always weak. And only God Himself can grant us peace. 

When I read these verses this week I realised something else: if God is our King, our Strength, and our Peace, He is also worthy of our praise. Circumstances do not dictate whether or not God is worthy of praise - He is always worthy. It is we who must learn to praise Him when life is at its highest joys, and its deepest sorrows.

I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord
I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord

And I can't understand
All that You allow
I just can't see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And though I cannot see You
I choose to trust You

Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone
Yet I will praise You Lord

I will trust You Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord
I will trust You Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You bled and died for me
And if I have to suffer
I know that You've been there
And I know that You're here now

~ Johanna