Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Unfinished Business...

We are back in business.

Total failure to achieve objectives yesterday.
Complete and utter meltdown.
Ragged around the edges today. A little scared to poke into the shadows.
You know that feeling...when you think you got it all...and then...there it is..dust bunnies...grime behind the tap..soap scum..grease on the ceiling fan...mold in the corners of the window frame...
...ewwww what is THAT????
I know you know what I mean.
It's that feeling you get when you wake up after a loooooog Alberta (insert your above the 39th parallel town) winter and the Spring sunlight is blazing in the windows and you cringe as you realize that you've been living in "this".
How is it that I can be going along...walking the road...seeing the light...and then out of nowhere...
It hurts so bad.
Not the back, although that hurts too...
It's my insides...the deep insides...where I am made...
The place I believe from..the place I live from..
Where I am me.
Having been in an ambulance recently followed by a day in the emergency room...
Having scores of medical personnel poking and prodding and requesting a pain level estimate:
"Mrs.Wenham...on a scale of 1-10...how bad is it now ?"
Well...I realize pain is highly subjective..but what do you think the level would have to be to get me to call an ambulance in the first place ( costing upwards of $300 )...and putting up with needles...and bright lights...horrible hospital garments and let me tell you the bed here is not as comfortable as my memory foam mattress on the living-room floor....
Can you hear me now?
I have better things to do with my time.
I am not an advocate of pain.
I would love to avoid it all together.
This morning early..after the aforementioned meltdown, I made an ugly discovery.
Along with the ugly discovery however, comes a breathtaking miraculous knowledge.
The miracle ...despite it's beauty..and general all over miraculous-ness..has no way of eradicating the pain...
God has unfinished business with me.
The foundations of my house are askew.
The excavation has been scheduled.
Demo Day.
Have you ever noticed that never in the history of architecture has a house demo-ed itself?
Never has one designed itself either
Never has a house compared itself to another.
Only the designer compares the house to it's original purpose.... the blueprints.
Yesterday some foundations of thought..and subsequent beliefs..were uncovered deep inside my makings.
The walls were pulled off..the skeleton exposed.... the rot revealed.
Is that really me?
All this time?
How do you stand it?
How do you stand here with me and gaze with such piercing love at THAT?
I think I just threw up in my mouth.
The only thing holding me together is the knowledge that :
He makes all things beautiful.
He promised.
The only thing left for me is surrender.
The process....is seemingly endless...matched only by his patience.
He must see something more than I do...
It must be worth it...

Therein lies my hope and trust.
If He has decided.... that I am his...that I am worth the cost.... the effort...
Who am I... clay that I am...to argue?

I am not sure if the way ever gets easier...
The longer I walk..the deeper He goes.
I am Much Afraid on her journey to the High Places...the words of Bitterness echoing in her ears:

"Sooner of later, when he gets you up on the wild places of the mountains 
he will put you on some sort of cross and abandon you to it."
~ Hannah Hurnard: Hinds Feet on High Places ~

Today the pain has me by the throat.
No air.
If it weren't for His mercy... the knowledge of His trustworthiness...
I'd be nothing but ashes in the wind.
His love is better than life.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
~~ Psalm 63:1-4 ~~

Today I am Much Afraid in the Valley of the Shadow.... the Priest is at the altar...
The goal: the rooting out of self-love...
I cry out: Take it!
But like Much Afraid I know the coward lurks within...

" I am afraid that the pain may cause me to resist you. 
Will you bind me to the altar in some way so I cannot move ? 
I would not like to be found struggling while the will of my Lord is being done."

I am 43 year old...turning 44 this summer.
I will have been married 22 years on June 17th.
There is no other me on the planet.
The defining parameters of daughter first, sister second, then wife/lover and mother....
All the other relationships...
The landscape of my life..
The field...
 Designed for one purpose alone... His.

~~ Awake My Soul ~~

When I close my eyes
I can see Your glory
When I raise my hands
I can touch your face
When I bow my knees
I stand before You
And Christ is formed in me

Awake my soul prepare an entrance for Your glory
And let my heart become a throne for You to dwell
And when I need Your Holy Spirit more than life itself
Then Christ is formed in Me

When I lose myself I reflect Your image
When I break, break my will, then I am whole
When I give, give my all, I find life everlasting.
Then Christ is formed in me

~~ Philips, Craig and Dean ~~
There is no one to compare.
No one to blame.
Nowhere to Hide.
Whom have I but you Lord?

Holy Spirit... whatever it takes... I trust you to take care of business !

This is the air I breathe.... until I breathe no more,

Friday, May 20, 2011



“To have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic.”
“To have the mind excessively preoccupied 
with a single emotion or topic.”
“To have the mind 
excessively preoccupied 
with a single emotion or topic.”

Not a word I am used to applying in a positive frame.

Used sporadically throughout my life to point out inappropriate amounts of time
spent by others on things unapproved by yours truly.

" You're so obsessed with that_____________"

Fill in the blank.
Mood and voice tone and facial expression choices available:

1. Sharp, biting and superior
2. Low, muttering and self-pitying
3. Loud, criticizing and stormy
4. Tearful,reproachful and abject
5. Threatening, last-chance,ultimatum

The list is endless.
I'm sure there are others.
Feel free to insert your own mood, tone and facial expression as best befits your circumstances.

Today I discovered ( yes I am that slow) that there are only two obsession options on the planet.
They relate to everyone breathing.
No exceptions.

Option # 1:


Option # 2:



I know what a life obsessed with myself looks like.

I am presently embarking on a journey of developing, and living...acting upon...practicing...
moment by moment...step by tortuous step...  step by gloriously, liberating step....
 a magnificent obsession with Jesus.

Which means in layman's terms...


that something is me.

I want to live like there's no room for anything else. 

His name.
His fame.
His glory.
His reward.

Our God...is a consuming fire...
He reigns in all the earth.
~~Hebrews 12:29~~

I step out upon the path...I need no tunic...no purse...
No safety net.
He will supply and satisfy.
This is the air I breathe.
Come on....


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Divine Design

Waking up is a miracle. One I am thankful for every day. This way of thinking propels me into the presence of the One who holds all things together.I can proclaim the truth along with David in Psalm 139:7-12 :
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
My awareness of the ever present nature of my creator is a gift from his heart to mine. One I never take for granted. I am learning in this season that everything good originates with him. And he does ALL things well. He is always good, always right always loving. That premise informs my days. Today, as we were reading Extreme Devotion by The Voice of the Martyr's, I was struck again by the truth of God going before, abiding with and coming behind us as our rear guard. As I was marveling at his total supremacy. I felt the spirit prodding me and I began to speak to my sons about the Purposeful Design of God. The hairs were standing up all over my body and I was so aware that this was a moment pregnant with truth...with purpose.
This surrender, this obedient life.....the "following life" we are called to, is not one that is more sacrifice than benefit...more suffering than blessing....
The whole reason....the whole purpose is... love !

The battle is not so much with sin as it is with the belief/disbelief 
that we were designed specifically for one purpose alone: 
Communion with God. 

This is our best life. Anything else is contrary to our purpose.

We were not designed to sin....
we were designed by love for love..to love...

The results of not believing this are tragic...painful...confusing and dissatisfying...depressing.
You can't use a hammer to paint a wall.
A paintbrush can't change a tire.
A shovel can't fix a computer ( although some days I'd like to try that one!)
It's all in the design.
This world is full of made-in-the-image-of-God, living, breathing perfectly designed  creations...out of step with their supreme purpose.
The result is chaos.

I realized today that my fight is more with the Designer..than with the enemy.
In fact ..in some ways...I behave like an enemy of God.

My beliefs inform my actions.

Faith is expressed in love alone...or it is NOTHING.

Nothing else lasts...Faith, Hope and Love remain....but the greatest is Love.
For Love.
When we can't accept the love of God, the flaw is not in the design..but the application of the design:
I was intended for love.
When we refuse to love....again...it is not a design flaw...but misuse of purpose.
I am misusing this Divinely Designed and Purposed Creation...no wonder I am a mess !
A car is not a tractor...
An airplane is not a lawn mower...
A phone is not a blender...

It's all about design.

God purposed every one of us.
Creatively. Mysteriously. Perfectly.

This is the pot surrendering to the potter.
The cloth to the weaver...
The metal to the forger...
None of those would consider rebelling. It's laughable even to imagine !
They bend to the will of the designer.
And yet I....sigh....
My problem is not with the enemy of God...
My issue is with God himself.
He conceptualized me.Designed me.Fashioned me and brought me into being.
And I live...what...how...my own life?
Contrary to my purpose?
Against my design?
My God. The arrogance.
This was the sin of Satan.
Not content to worship..but desiring worship himself.
Contrary to his design.
And chaos reigns.
War is born and rages today throughout all of creation.
Adam and Eve succumbed...generations followed.

My life...all of history... is a journey... a story...of the designed creation returning to it's original purpose....
Submitted, surrendered....abandoned to the designer...

"Come, let us return to the LORD. 
He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; 
he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds."
~ Hosea 6:1  NIV ~

Jesus was the first submitted one..." Not my will....but thine be done."
He trusted His Father's design.
He lived for his Father's purposes.

Jesus trusted his Father's love...up a hill to an execution stake !

His joy was in his trust.....in his Father's trustworthiness.
This is the only place we will find rest.
This is the only place of contentment.
This is the only place of  true joy...true fulfillment.
This is our calling...our reason for breathing...existing...
Trust. Obey. Love.
Be who we were designed to be.
His Beloved.
Live it.
This is the Divine Design.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weeping Endures for the Night

It's dark outside as I lay propped up on a memory foam mattress on my living room floor, supported by pillows.. with a husband , desperate for connection curled up beside me.
The pain woke me again. I can't get comfortable. Tears flow.
My body shakes, twists..adjusts...
There is a desperation. a groaning. a crying out.
Not so much to understand or find relief physically...
But there is another desperation under the surface of the physical.
There is a soul cry.
I am relearning..or possibly even learning for the first time what it means to be a devoted follower of Jesus. What I am stunned to realize in the darkness of this May morning...is how little following I have done in my 43 years.
How little true worship has crossed my lips....or defined my days.
How barren I am in the ways of discipleship.
I am not the bond-slave I purported to be.
God have mercy.
I am beginning to catch a glimpse of what it means to live on the back side of the desert... and find my God..the deliverer.
He is unmistakable.
He is unyielding in his desire for all of me.
He is relentless.
He is right.
This is the threshing floor.
This is the hall of mirrors.
This is the crucible...the fire..the purification..
I have been contaminated with nominal Christianity...
Believing...without passionate loving....is not believing at all.
Professing without...seeking...turning...following...hungering....pursuing...
leaving...cleaving...surrendering...indentifying...abandoning myself....
That profession is empty...lies.
My hands are manicured...not full of splinters.
I am cultivated not captivated.
Massaged not pierced through.
Culturally tattooed not branded.
My God.
My soul hungers.
It weeps.
My body is broken at the moment.
My soul is more broken.
My back..the support for the rest of me...bulging, slipping...
...out of alignment...inflamed...
My central nervous system..out of whack.
There is no rest. No way to move that comforts. I am exhausted.
My soul is sicker.Infected.
It needs a healer more.
Dawn approaches...the sky is lightening to the east...
It's a new day..reforged..renewed...reborn...
Along with the sun comes mercies new...
My redeemer lives.
My saviour loves.
My God reigns.
Weeping endures for the night but Joy comes with the morning.
He is Joy.
I am His.

Today...I have decided to follow Jesus....no turning back.
My cross is close at hand...
Strength for today in ample supply...
Manna to sustain.
The Great Commission already established...
Lord find in me the marks of a disciple...
Let there be no question of whose I am...
Where you lead ...I will follow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


What is it about dawn in the spring?
It never fails to make my heart leap. It never gets old.
The sun rises every day of the year but sunrise in the Spring-time is by far one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life...and it happens every year.
I awoke this morning and pain was the dominant ruler of my day...and then the sun came up...
Fingers of light stretching east to west...
Illuminating, caressing the landscape..nourishing...
I think it is all about context...
Like the words of the song..
"Don't it always seem to go: You don't  know know what you've got til it's gone"
Spring always follows winter.
Day always follows night.
Up comes after down...

Sleep always seems like dying to me.
Laying down my body, closing the eyes, drifting off...
For all intents and purposes...I am not....
Then the awakening...the return...
It's a rebirth.
Today is a new day, yesterday washed away.... dead and gone...
I am like a Phoenix rising from the ashes every day with the sun..
Winter was long and hard....
It seems to steal from both ends...
Nipping at Autumn early and driving it out relentlessly, biting and clawing it's way forward.
It lingers and clutches at Springs coat-tails...laughing and taunting that it's not done with me yet.
But it is defeated....always.
Spring comes....ALWAYS.
Winter seems to have no purpose..but to ravage...defeat..destroy...
Don't get me wrong...snow is beautiful...and can provide hours of entertainment and fun.
There is a wonder and magic in the radiance of the white covering that shrouds a dead landscape.
It's stillness...breathlessness...is compelling.
But...Winter produces nothing living.
Nothing is alive save the living and breathing walking though it.
It's hard shell repels...rejects...forbids entry.
Storms rage....temperatures plummet...darkness rules.
It is a predator....it can kill with it's savage beauty.
It is a crucible. A furnace. An altar. A cross. A grave.
Spring....it is a womb..alive...pregnant with purpose...swelling with potential.
Spring pulses. It has a heart beat.

In this northern hemisphere, Spring is all the more magical and captivating in context...
It's battle with the long-fingered grasp of winter makes it all the more wondrous.
I could laugh with sheer joy!
This season is such a picture of overcoming.
Of life...after death.

My body woke me in agony this morning...
Pain has been the dominant feature on my landscape for a while now, causing me to gasp and drop and shuffle and twist..looking for relief....that seems the sole aim of my existence lately...Relief !

The sun rose this morning.
My heart skipped a beat.
Tears blur my vision.
There is more to my existence than being pain free.
I am more than the pain.
My mind, my thoughts, my heart and soul....they are eternal.
This landscape...this body... can be injured, broken, afflicted....it can fail..and fall.
It can die.
The words  of a hymn we used to sing whispers through my mind...

"But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded: 
that he is able...to keep that which I've committed ..unto him, against that day. "

My son has opened the window in my living room..
I lie here on my foamy..reclining ...leaning into the pain...pressing in...
The breeze blows fresh...carrying out the stale air and bringing with it birdsong and smells of green grass...
My eyes drift closed...a smile spreads slowly across my face...
Today...set before me is Life...and death...

I choose...Life....
I choose.... no one chooses for me...
I decide...what matters...
I shout it out!
To my body.
It doesn't matter.
Limits. Restrictions. Pain.
My thoughts. My mind. My attention. My being. My worship.
Live to die...Die to Live....
It's all about context....
Life wins every time!