Rahab is My Homegirl

By JMathis

Rahab is my homegirl.

For real.

You ask me what my favorite love story is, and I’ll give you Rahab everytime.

I know, I know. She’s not your traditional love story heroine…no glass slippers, no kiss from Prince Charming to wake her up.

Heck, even though the Bible goes out of its way to remind you each time that she’s the town whore, her story is definitely not from Pretty Woman.

And, that’s why she’s my favorite love story.

She’s a slut.

She’s a foreigner.

No Israelite was supposed to even touch her with a ten-foot pole.

After all, no one wanted to admit that they broke God’s rules to sleep with a prostitute of another race who was probably teeming with STDs.

But clearly someone did.

The Bible never even suggests that she gave up a life of whoring, or that she was ever embraced or accepted into the Israelite community.

Once an outcast, always an outcast.

No one loved her in the traditional Cinderella-sense. She never became someone’s Sleeping Beauty.

But God loved her. He truly did.

She’s mentioned by Joshua, Paul and James as the savior of the Israelite race, and Matthew specifically references her as being part of the kingly, priestly lineage that led to the birth of God’s pure, sinless, only Son–the Savior of all humankind.

God loved her. He truly did.

He wasn’t ashamed of her. He wasn’t embarrassed by her. He didn’t revise history to cut her story out of the Good Book.

God loved her. He truly did.

He loved that she didn’t know a lick about Him, but that she trusted Him anyway.

She heard one rumor about how He parted the Red Sea, and she immediately believed in Him–no questions asked. She commits treason, risks her life and acts as a spy for Him–sight unseen.

God loved her. He truly did.

In fact, I think He just melts every time He thinks of her. If He could pepper the Bible with more stories, poems and songs about her, I think He would.

We hear all the time that faith touches the heart of God. Well, I think Rahab’s faith floored Him. Made Him do a double-take. Made Him determined that all of humanity deserves a Savior–not just the Israelites.

God loved her. He truly did.

And, that’s why she’s my favorite love story.

Rahab is my homegirl.

For real.

To All the Grownup Bossy Fancy-Pants Adults Out There

By JMathis

The last time I felt confident, free and completely at peace with my Creator has been a long time. A very long time.

We’re looking at something like 10-15 years here.

Is that wrong to say?

I think back to when it all stopped, and I see that my reliance on Christ has been spotty ever since adulthood. Ever since the stressful job. Ever since getting married. Ever since the mortgage. Ever since the kid.

I have always loved Him, and not a day goes by where I don’t desire to be closer with Him. Just like with a lot of people in my adulthood, though, I keep Him at arm’s length.

Why do we “grownups” allow grief, stress and pain to nick at our hearts? To put our emotions into a tailspin? To separate us from the One Who Has All of the Answers?

Perhaps as adults, it’s easy for us to get engulfed in all sorts of Sunday School-type head-knowledge of God’s capabilities: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

But our heart-knowledge is severely lacking.

As much as we would love to move onmove on past the floods that floor us, the quakes that shake us, the roaring winds that bring us to our knees—we have to let Him into our lives first to survey the damage, to divide and bury.

To pile up sandbags around our bleeding hearts. To catch our tears into His Jar of Forgiving and Forgetting. To part our Red Sea.

We have to let Him in first, whispers the Spirit.

What if I can’t let go, God?

Let Him in.

Why does it seem impossible to move on past these troubles?

Let Him in.

Why do the same hurts and negative situations always seem to resurface?

Let Him in.

What if I don’t even know the first step of how to let You in? After all of these years, Lord?

Just ask, whispers the Spirit.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2

Just ask, whispers the Spirit.

Stop being a grownup. Stop being an adult with your bossy fancy-pants. Stop with your Sunday-School head-knowledge.

It’s that simple.

Just ask.

He is Here. He is Now. He is Present.

By JMathis

I’m hurriedly walking on the wet sidewalk, doing my best to avoid the wind and sleet as it whips violently against my face. A cold, wet afternoon is often just part and parcel of a “bad day” for me—I worry that my suit is drenched, my laptop is getting soaked, and that my cold symptoms are worsened by the calamitous weather outside.

A fleeting thought hits me that I need to be grateful. Grateful that I have a heated car to run into, grateful that I am clothed and grateful that no problem is too big for my God.

But, it’s fleeting and my grumbling persists.

In the mayhem of this storm, in that fleeting thought, He was gently reminding me that He was there. The problem was, though, that I just didn’t want to listen.

The rain was overpowering, and kept flooding over into my very thoughts.

My problems seemed great, and He seemed far away.

Is that why we don’t see Him in the Here and Now? Why we cannot enjoy the Present?

While your heart is saying that the storm is temporary, is your head losing sight of Him when the elements come crashing in over you?

He is the safety of your Here and Now. He is the refuge of your Present.

What will it take for us to remember this Truth? Do we need a constant reminder of the holes in His hand? The blood pouring out of His sides? The bruises on His face and back?

He died for your Here and Now. He lives to be your Present.

See Him. Feel Him. Listen for Him. Breathe Him into your spirit.

He is Here. He is Now. He is Present.

Flying Into Free-Fall

By JMathis

The notion of jumping off of life’s cliff, closing your eyes and free-falling into His arms sounds very romantic and simplistic. Taking that belly dive into your destiny, though, requires really taking stock of the difficult and the perfect, the bitter and the sweet.

Embracing those perfect and sweet days of free-fall means challenging ourselves to examine the truth behind the difficult and bitter days of our journey.

Are there dark forces of the air that make this flight into free-fall so treacherous? Or, are we often the engineers of the difficult and the bitter?

Looking back, we see that the free-fall is slow and painful, often excruciatingly so, because of the baggage we carry with us. He tells us to cast our cares upon Him, but we insist to Him that there are things we cannot live without in our voyage: the makeup bag (our daily mask we wear in front of others), a set of clothes for every temperature change (our insecurities about leaving our comfort zone), shoes for every possible occasion (distractions that keep us away from our true calling).

Our hording of this baggage then makes us ill-prepared for the evil that surrounds us. We are slow and sluggish in our lack of faith and trust, making us susceptible to inclement weather, birds of prey and the darkness that abounds. The world smells our weakness, our fear, our vulnerability, and then pounces for the attack.

We dismiss that He is made strong in our weakness, and we attempt to scale life’s boulders using our own might and fortitude. We forget that He is our shield and our night-watchman, and we attempt to make navigational errors that often cost us dearly.

While there is no doubt that He is faithful and merciful to catch us before we plunge into oblivion, are we the ones that make this journey into free-fall even more troublesome?

Perhaps free-falling into the perfect and the sweet really could be so simple. Perhaps it is us who make our difficult and bitter days even harder.

Take stock of the difficult and the perfect, the bitter and the sweet.

Who is the architect behind your difficult and bitter days?

Could it be you?

Picture-Perfect Days

By JMathis

I am trying to take AbbyA’s advice and seek out images of picture-perfect days. Days where I look to the sky and am giddy with excitement over all of God’s Creation.

This morning, I awoke to a stunning, autumn morning where the air was crisp and the birds were furiously tweeting love songs. There was a freshness in the air, and God had lovingly smattered hues of fall colors all over the canvas of my morning.

That right there could have been (should have been) the snapshot of my picture-perfect day. But, like most mornings, I didn’t allow that image to prevail.

I allowed the pressures of work and the guilt of mommyhood to struggle for dominance over my thoughts. I allowed the image of my picture-perfect day to be choked by worries over missed deadlines, half-packed lunches and speeding tickets.

What had I done? God had presented me with a picture-perfect day, and I chose to trample all over this gift instead. Can you imagine doing the same to an expensive, carefully selected present given to you by a dear friend?

Imagine getting an exquisite picture frame bordered by rare jewels and hand-made etchings. Then envision taking that picture frame and throwing it directly into the trash, all because you thought it was just too much effort to put a photograph inside.

Ladies, the days of Jeremiah are indeed upon us. Days of darkness, days of dread. Days where no one sees you for you, much less the treasure that resides within you.

But we also have a choice. A choice too choose joy. A choice to choose God’s gifts over the superficial worries of a fallen world. A choice to choose picture-perfect days.

What will you choose today?

Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23.

Into the Great Wide Open

By JMathis

Finding yourself—the true you, the authentic you—requires wading.

Wading into the Great Wide Open, with no discernible idea as to what you may find.

The beauty of the Great Wide Open is that there are dreams to awaken and promises yet to unfold.

Sometimes, however, when you wade deeper below the surface, it is not readily apparent that you do not wade alone.

That is why the wading requires Trust.

Trust that the waters are not too treacherous.

Trust that the waters are not too deep.

Trust that there are life preservers and lifeguards waiting to spring into action at the first sign of trouble.

Wading to find the true you, the authentic you, means Trusting.

Trusting Him.

Trusting that our Heavenly Father holds you protectively as you plunge deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Trusting that our Heavenly Father provides buoyancy in the love and support of others.

The Great Wide Open is where you will be found. The true you, the authentic you.

The wading is often demanding. (Trust is demanding.)

The wading is often exhausting. (Trust is exhausting.)

The wading is often filled with struggle. (Trust is filled with struggle.)

The wading often leaves you with a limp.

But the wading is the only way to move past the Great Wide Open into the Crystal Clear Lake.

The Crystal Clear Lake of healing.

The Crystal Clear Lake of abundance.

The Crystal Clear Lake of joy unspeakable.

Will you trust Him today with your journey?

The journey to find the true you, the authentic you?

He is there in the Great Wide Open. He is there in the Crystal Clear Lake.

Most importantly, He is there wherever you are.

The true you, the authentic you.

Trust Him.

Let Them See Your Limp

By JMathis

Let them see your limp.

Yes, the limp. Just like the one He gave Jacob.

The limp which signifies that you have made it through your breaking point.

Made it through? Made it through? How can I ever make it through, when it still feels like I am irreparably broken?

Broken by unemployment.

Broken by infertility.

Broken by past relationships.

Broken by cancer.

But you know better than I do that those things can’t break you.

They just make you believe that you are broken.

Once you believe they can break you, your limp is your defeat.

Ahhh, but only God can do the breaking.

When He does the breaking, your limp is your victory.

The limp means you came face-to-face with your struggles and won.

What we fail to realize is that when He does the breaking, it comes with a blessing.

The blessing of a new identity. A new character. A new purpose. A new way of living.

Let them see your limp.

When they see your limp, they know that you have experienced tragedy.

When they see your limp, they know that you have fought.

Fought your demons. Fought yourself. Fought God.

When they see your limp, they see all of the darkness of your past.

But they also see the resplendence of your future.

When they see your limp, they see Him.

His mercy. His healing. His salvation. His deliverance. His beauty.

Let them see your limp.