On the Side of Impossible

At the turn of the new year, most of us are ready to change in some way. Ready to turn over a new leaf or at least rev up a part of our lives that has been sitting quiet for too long. Depending on what you feel led to change, you are either very excited or very hesitant about the upcoming days and weeks. Will you really get up at 5:30am to ___________________________? Will you really stick to your new budget or to your healthy meal plan? Digging deeper, will you really keep a prayer journal and really pray for the people and things God puts on your heart?

For me, I am very excited about putting into action a few financial changes. I know I can stick to a healthy meal with some time carved out for preparations. When I dig deep, I feel compelled to pray daily for the things God cares about inside and outside my world. I feel like it is good for me to seek and grasp onto biblical devotions from men and women around the world. I think it is time for me to serve His suffering children around the world. And the truth is, for all my new year excitement, it will probably be tough getting up before 6am.

If you haven’t thought about any changes for the new year, you probably are experiencing something new or intense in your life and the larger picture can’t inch into your life right now. I’ve been there and I would say that asking yourself a few real questions will send you in the right direction. Like what does God want from me right now? God, what are you saying to me right now or through these circumstances? He knows the intensity of your situation and what you are going through. He is faithful to speak one or two powerful words into your day — and will continue to move and grow with you until you walk out onto the other side.

Among all these things I am hoping for, planning for and looking forward to, a few truths come to mind. I can do nothing without Christ. I have been to enough sad or sinful places outside His loving arms to know that nothing in the new year will come to pass without His will, strength and guidance in the center of it. This truth has been seeping into my heart and life for sometime. However, God has challenged my thinking with yet another truth: God can do impossible things and I should ask Him for those impossible things. I don’t know exactly what my impossible is, but I want to be a part of ending trafficking, starvation and disease around the world. I want to be a part of other’s salvation and growth. I want to be where God wants me to be all of the time. I want my heart to be like His every breathing moment of my life.

I know many of these things are an impossibility in our humanity. But I know this is where He wants me to be. And whatever remains impossible in this life will be perfected in eternity. I think this is the hope we all seek after. I think this is the truth that allows us to seek change and growth and great things … knowing all along that humanity won’t be as it should until Jesus comes. And, as unlikely as heaven may appear to the pessimist, or as irrational as it may appear to the nonbeliever, it is this hope that brings about personal change and lofty aspirations. Both impossible without Jesus and hope for heaven. These are truths we can live by. With all these things in mind, I will see you on the side of impossible — as I am starting to believe, there is no other better place to be.


Part 2/Boundaries

A wise woman knows that there is more than one way to trample her garden.  One of the more tempting ways to scorch garden flowers is to fill a need that is not yours to fill.  You can almost watch yourself prepare to flatten tall vines and blossoms.  You can almost see yourself begin to clip away at blooming buds.  In the names of grateful, accommodating, agreeable, encouraging and hospitable, you will do a lot for the “needy.”  You swing back your satchel of good things and get ready to deliver.  You are rearing to save . . . apart from the fact that the “needy” haven’t asked and your internal wisdom has already told you the timing is not right.

This is the sure way to give your garden a lawn job.  With your many gifts and talents, it is grueling to withhold passing on a treasure from your hard-earned collection.  You have weathered storms and gathered wisdom – – for the purpose of sharing and passing along.  It is challenging to hold back your arsenal of love from an opportunity even if it is not yours.  You can’t help to think that you can help.

A wise woman sees past her momentary need to give or help.  She gathers her sense of purpose and panoramic perspective.  She thinks back to the years she built her garden.  The pattern, sort and style of the rows and planters.  She sees the intersections of relationships and the timeliness of the happenings of her life.  The foundation of her garden and its gates center upon her very specific path and purpose.  Stepping off the already intricate, complex and full path to fill a need or gap that is not yours to fill is counterproductive.  The fact of the matter is that this is one sure way to trample your garden.

A wise woman knows the aftermath of a trampled garden.  She knows because she has been there at least a few times before.  Flatten some of your flowers while running off track.  Muddy up your shoes, trip and skin your elbow.  Show up late because it wasn’t your route.  Deliver the wrong flowers because they were supposed to be from someone else’s garden.  Awkward moment since the gift was meant to be delivered by someone else.  The bottom line is that you depleted your stock for a cause that was not yours and for a need that surely won’t be perfected by your gift.  Trampled garden, trampled cause.  This section of your garden is now a mess.  And now it’s clean up time.

A wise woman knows that she can help but waits for the opportune person, place and time.  Agreeable, encouraging and hospitable have remarkable worth when nurtured in a garden with a gate managed by a wise keeper.  It is challenging to hold back an arsenal of gifts.  It is challenging to desire to see someone blessed.  But she waits.  Her path and her purpose are tried and true.  She waits.  For her wisdom has grown her to be as set apart as her attractive garden.

Part 1: Boundaries

A wise woman knows that beauty accumulates through loving and sharing in trusting relationships.  A wise woman adds to her beauty by giving many gifts to others.  Her giving is wise.  It is thoughtful.  It is blessing.  She knows that her gifts are not up for auction or for grabbing from all sides.  Her garden offers fruit and friendship with a sensible, compassionate heart.

This type of wisdom in giving was not gained without many casualties – – primarily through many deaths of herself.  If you ask her, she will tell you that her past is splattered with falls down stairs, wipe outs and thoughts of insane asylums.  She learned disappointment as she tumbled down stairs that she thought would lead to faithful fellowship.  As she lay flat faced on the hard floor, she learned that unbalanced relationships can wipe you out.  She genuinely thought she was going nuts when her gifts were received with scorn and rejection.

She has learned that not all giving makes you beautiful.  The truth is that you cannot be a wise giver if you haven’t had a few slaps in the face.  If fact, you are not a wise giver in your relationships unless you have had your world turned upside down.  Upside down is a hard series of lessons to learn.  But, a woman like you takes her life lessons in seriousness and in stride.

Upside down means that you cannot be grateful, accommodating, agreeable, encouraging and hospitable without also setting in place wise boundaries around your garden.  If you have a well-kept, sturdy fence in your yard, you see the value of your labor.  You know what it takes to develop roots that take hold far below the soil.  You know that your garden’s rest under the stars prepares it for the rising sun at dawn.  You know that, if not for food and water, the blazing sun would harm your garden’s fruit and flowers.  You know that, without careful planning for the seasons, your garden may not produce fruit at the right time.  You know the value on your labor.

A wise woman knows when to open the gate of her garden’s fence.  She is thoughtful and mindful of the needs around her.  She is thoughtful and mindful of the hearts set before her.  She sees her brothers and sisters coming from a mile away.  And, she knows well her collection of treasures from the fruits of her garden.  She picks just the right fruit to give at just the right time.  This is true giving.  This is beautiful.

Part 3: Confidence that Gives

By AbbyA

You have been through a lot.  So much you can hardly recall.  You have experienced many revisions of yourself.  As the revisions color over top of one another, you have become quite beautiful.  In the making of woman, you have become gifted and full of treasure.  You are her now.  

You have walked to where you are supposed to be.  Many good miles in your shoes.  Paths, trails and routes under your belt, and in these shoes.  But your feet don’t hurt.  You are pleasantly quenched and the light unto your path warms and directs you as you walk.  The magic of your condition and of this course is that you seem both to attract and seek out souls to cross paths with.  Beauty doesn’t walk alone and treasures are worthless unless shared.

You are her now.  You hold treasures in your trinkets that are hidden in your colorful character.  You have gifts tucked away in the layers of the fabric of your life.  You see into the lives of the souls put before you.  You pass messages of encouragement and share bits of your journey in the right proportion.  You breathe life into what otherwise may have been dead.  The depth of your exchange resonates deep and wide.  For the good of others.

You could have chosen to keep your beauty to yourself or close the box that holds your remarkable worth.  You could have.  But then you would cease to be her.  You would slowly lose your luster.  Your layers would become limp, faded and unattractive.  You would find yourself selectively remembering the should haves, was nots and wishes for differentSadly, you may even find yourself alone on an island.  Loneliness lends itself to thirst and exhaustion, and depression.  This is no place for a woman of your quality.  No place for a woman who has walked good miles in her shoes.  No place for her

You are made of long lasting fabric.  The kind that holds up over space and time.  The kind that warms souls and quenches thirsty hearts.  The kind that transforms itself by loving, giving and growing.  She has so much to offer.  Explode into her.  She has become you.

Part 2: Walking Good Miles in Your Shoes

You have been through a lot.  So much that you can hardly recall.  Much is stored up in memory boxes of the heart.  You have childhood memories.  Holding your dad’s hand as you walk across the street.  Toy boxes.  Your little brother’s squishy hands and toes.  Your mom’s annual April Fool’s jokes.  Being queen for a day at grandmas.  You might remember road trips, camping trips or trips to time out.  For the most part, this memory box feels like warm sun on your face; it feels like licking an ice cream cone or sucking on a lollipop.  Whether sweet fantasy or true bliss, the good stuff drips down your chin, and since this is your childhood, you don’t mind at all.

The happenings of childhood are marked by innocence, naivety and blind love.  Children don’t pick birth places, living spaces or whether they get a silver spoon.  Children arrive into the environment prepared for them by imperfect human beings.  Your birthday suit probably did not include a tag stamped with equality, justice or life without bumps.  You got a partial clean slate, promises for good and a large serving of hope for who you just might be.

As time ticks forward, childhood innocence, naivety and blind love metamorphose.   As time ticks forward, who you are fills the space between your growing bones.  Independence and personal choice roll in.  As you discover the facts of your life, you can choose what may have been or you can choose to be who you were made to be.  In other words, you can choose to bloom or stay a sprout.

As you realize personal choice, you both stumble and discover over time spent becoming who you are.  If you check your memory boxes, there are whole periods of your life marked by an initial decision.   Whole periods of your life marked by an initial decision.  It is hard to imagine that there was an initial decision that defined a period of your life.  But that is how it happens.

Even if in the most subtle way, decisions are hued in darkness or light.  If you couldn’t see it then, you can see it now.  Looking behind you.  You may have thought there was one door of choice, but there was not.  There were at least two.  Perhaps the door you opened looked like the only one.  Perhaps that door was not wholly inviting, but it did appear to be the sole knob.  Looking back with later-found wisdom and clarity, you now see that it was not.

We all have our was nots.  Sometimes personal choice causes you horrible pain in remembrance.  Sometimes was nots make you feel quite stupid.  Sometimes it is unintentional mistakes that stab us in the chest for years to come.  Sometimes, should have, was not and wish for different compete to define whole periods of your life.  But no, that is not who you are.

You can walk good miles in shoes worn down by a few was nots.  In fact, you have walked many good miles in your shoes.  Perhaps some miles were not initially tagged as good, but eventually . . . your discoveries along life’s time line have healed you.  The memory box that used to haunt you is now covered by wisdom and truth.  It may be that it takes some time to get to these memory boxes; they are farther down your life’s time line.  But these boxes better represent the substance of you.  You chose to be who you are and the beauty of the box is remarkable.

Part 1: Colorful Confindence

By AbbyA

You have been through a lot.  So much that you can hardly recall.  Your physical body is like a map or legend for a map.  You have been both walking and leading the way.  Your journey is embedded in the tiny lines that form around your well-worn smile.  It is the kind of smile that draws sweetness from the inside and makes sturdy promises in soft curves to the onlooker.

The depth of your life is stored in the reflection radiating out of your eyes.  You have the kind of deep eyes that the onlooker can see through.  Into knowledge resulting from well weathered storms.  Into an abiding pure white that comes from poured out trust over bumpy travels.  Into fertile ground where both new seeds grow and taller trees reach for the heavens.

Your life is volumes.  The chapters flow down in layered ruffles.  Starting at your neck line.  Moving down around your shoulders, to your waist line, to the floor.  Dancing around in layers where the color comes from the tint of your journey.  Some layers are dyed in pink.  This tells of crowns and dreams of crowns like marriage and motherhood.  Like beaded necklaces put together by little children and then put on.  These are childhood dreams that you believed would one day be your milestones.

Some of your ruffles are stained in red or magenta.  This tells of your passions.  The culmination of your time spent pursuing.  Hunting down the substance of your life.  This is your blood and your sweat.  You will produce many colors, but the dye of your passionate efforts become you.

Some of your layers are patterned.  You don’t make patterns alone.  You labored with someone.  You set out with someone.  You made something together.  This part of you is speaking joy.  A configuration on your body that you can’t repeat or make by yourself.  Speaking joy.

Some white and pressed.  White and pressed never start that way.  These are your muddled messes that turned out brighter and better than you could have ever imagined.  This is the kind of white and pressed that doesn’t become wrinkled or stained.  You bled through red and magenta to get white.  Bright white remains.

Some layers are worn out because it was your favorite.  These few are faded, but it’s not out of lack of love.  It is out of so much love that it becomes worn.  It somehow becomes the color of you.  It is neither what it was before nor fully what you were then.  It has faded into now.

There are a few ruffles that you have cut off because they no longer wear well with the hue of your skin.  These are crossroads.  Old Ambitions.  Wrong paths. You moved on, cut off, set apart.  You walked on.  You have some apparent clippings on your form, but it has added to you the sense that you know when your colors don’t become you.

These are your volumes, your chapters, your pages.  Layers flowing down and around made of who you are and where you have walked.  Your physical body, your eyes, your smile.  Your flowing colors.  Your external body represents your internal beauty.  Your beauty is the culmination of your journey as of yet.

You have passed through so much that it is hard to recall.  Sometimes it may feel like a whirlwind.  Sometimes it is hard to recall that you that have made it here.  But you have.  You have weathered storms.  You have invited abiding pure white.  What once was untamed, bare land is now your fertile ground.  Crafted from passions and patterns.  Pruning and clippings.  This type of beauty does not come easy.  Now that she is here.  Explode into her.  She has become you.

Love Stories

By AbbyA

Mom, who is Ruth?  I realize that I have been waiting for this my entire life; that is, since the day I met Ruth in the Word.  My heart literally has been waiting for someone to ask me about my favorite book in the world.  Let alone my own little boy!  Ah, I love it.  This is my favorite love story.  I love Boaz.  I love Ruth’s proposal on the farmhouse floor in the dark at Boaz’s feet.  I love that Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother – – who I also love.  I love the gleaning – – symbolic of Ruth’s reliance on the sufficiency of God.   I love that Boaz is surprised, humbled and honored by Ruth’s love.  I love that Boaz didn’t sleep until he redeemed Ruth.  I love the seven months that it took Ruth and Boaz to fall in love.  (That’s my calculation – Ruth 2:23).  I love that seven is God’s perfect number and it is hidden in this love story.  Yes, I love this book and I will say it again that I love this book.

Why do I share my madness over this book with you?  There are so many reasons.  First, it’s His Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1.  He took His invisible self and, through His people, He crafted a book of evidence of Himself.  He described Himself and revealed His heart through every word, story and life put in His ink.  He is able to expose His own death and life without any regrets or rewrites or edits.  Because there is no shame in His revealing.  No mistakes to explain.  No forgiveness to ask for.  Every word He has written was meant to express His love for you and His worthiness to receive our love.  God is love.  1  John 4: 8. The Word is His love letter to you.  And, it is written in Perfection.

Why do I share my madness over the book of Ruth with you?  His word reveals to me who I am.  In the emptiness of my bitterness and depression, I remembered Ruth.  I remembered that I love her because she laid down on the floor in the dark to wait for her beloved to wake so she could profess her love to him.  She took a very big step in faith for her earthly husband because she first believed that she had a fully trustworthy partner in Christ.  At that time, I already had lost sight of who I was in my sadness, but through the Word, I remembered that I once rejoiced over Ruth’s story and really believed in love.  I eventually found myself making very big steps of faith to change my marriage.  Ruth is my Cinderella.  God used her to keep me humble and give me new hope at a time where I decided to lose my hope.

Why do I share my madness over the book of Ruth with you?  It’s His Word.  It is His love letter to you.  It is the map that leads you home.  It is the story of your life.  What do you love about it?   I also love Jeremiah because he tells the truth no matter what.  I love Matthew because it connects me to my Jewish heritage.  I love Revelation because I want to know the future and want to know how to judge myself.  I love Samuel because no one can deny a true “dramatic historical nonfiction.”  I love Proverbs because it makes me wise.  I love Psalms because it is the cry of my heart.  I love Paul and his New Testament letters because he claims to be nothing and is admirable in the sight of God.  I love His Word.

What do you love about it?  I love that, when my boy looks across the bed with bible in hand, and asks me who Ruth is, my heart leaps.  It leaps because I can look back at my boy with genuine excitement and tell him about my very, extremely, most favorite love story of all time.  And in my eyes, I know he can see that Christ’s love for him also is the greatest love story that was ever told.

Questions: What is your favorite love story?  Is it real, in a book or have you lived it?  Have you ever read His Word?  Do you have a favorite book of the bible?  What does it tell you about yourself?  Do you have guts to share something about yourself?  Do you have the guts to share the Word with someone close to you?

Challenge:  Jot down a verse or book of the bible every day this week.  Write a few lines about what it means to you or what it reveals about you.  Just once this week, share your truth with someone.  Love stories are worth passing.