Aslan Is On the Move

I’m one who likes to stay posted on world news and happenings. I think it’s smart to keep in touch with the realities of what is happening in other places outside of my own so that I don’t walk in the naivety that everything is flowers and roses. Lately, however, the news headlines, just from this past week, seem to be worse and worse each day:

The Ebola epidemic, stretching from Guinea to Nigeria, has killed over 1,000 people

ISIS attacks and unrest continue in Iraq

Suspected suicide of Robin Williams

Africa’s last polar bear died

Missiles being shot across Israel and Gaza

Boko Haram continues to kidnap young women in Nigeria

Teenager sets himself on fire while his mother helps

Protests in Missouri over alleged racist killing of an 18-year-old, resulting in release of the National Guard to protect citizens and police

Plane crash kills a Brazilian presidential candidate

Ukrainian government continues to fight pro-Russian separatists, resulting in over 2,000 deaths

I have opted in to receive automatic notifications from my CNN app to help me stay on top of things. Last week, I remember looking at my phone and seeing yet another blurb of bad news from CNN, and thinking to myself, “When will this stop?” I sighed a release of exhaustion from reading these things, paused for a brief thanks that I don’t have to dodge missiles or fear Ebola creeping in my organs, and continued about my day pulling espresso shots and making latte art.

I began to become bothered at how these notifications did not affect me like they really should. Sure, I was sad to see something else going on, but it didn’t hit me deep in my spirit like it should. It was like I had come to expect bad news, instead of expect good news. So, what do I do when bad news isn’t surprising anymore?

Since Eve first made headlines from eating the forbidden fruit, bad news has come to perpetrate our every day lives. It has instilled mistrust, fear, and instability in a world that was originally intended to walk in harmony with the Father. People lay their heads down at night hungry, sick, and hurting in places deeper and more complex than where bone and sinew meet. What’s the point of all this wrong? Why is it happening?

When Jesus was on the earth, He taught the disciples how to pray. The beginning of the prayer goes like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Jesus said that we should first recognize God as our Father and as holy. Then, He calls us to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done–the same on earth as it is in heaven. No pain, no fear, no bad news. Rather, He wants us to pray that earth would look and smell and feel and taste more and more like heaven every day. If I may be so bold, I don’t think that means us as Christians are to sit and pray and wait for God to come and eradicate all that is evil in the world. I think, instead, it is a call to action. A call for us to start spending our time, talents, and resources to transform earth into a more heaven-like place.

I recently read a book that briefly speaks of this world that God longs to see. The author, Sarah Bessey, references a popular and powerful quote from a classic C.S. Lewis tale after describing a place without fear and evil:

The Table may be loud and dominant, but love and freedom are spreading like yeast. I see hope creeping in, destabilizing old power structures. I feel it in the ground under my feet. I hear it in the stories of the people of God living right now. We’re whispering to each other, eyes alight, “Aslan is on the move.” Can’t you feel that? The kingdom is breathing among us already. -Jesus Feminist, 4

I believe that Aslan is already on the move in this earth, and that if we look closely, we can see His hand pushing out the enemy’s strongholds and His breath consuming things in opposition to Him. I believe that I (and all followers of Christ, for that matter) carry the power to transform this world into that which God desires it to be. I believe that Jesus commanded we pray for kingdom to come to earth just like heaven because He believes in us to join alongside His already existing work in the world in restoration and love. Colossians 1:27 confirms this power by declaring that the mystery has been made known, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

While there are thousands of people living in fear around the world, I think it’s time we rise up and declare the hope of Christ. We don’t have time to waste sitting in our safe homes, ignoring the cries of desperation, while God is asking us to be His mouthpiece to the hopeless. People are waiting for us to walk through the door and whisper into the depths of their souls that today is the day when fear dies and love prevails. It’s when we surrender our perception of safety and security that we can step beyond ourselves, look to where God is already in momentum within the world, and partner with His work in bringing His kingdom to earth, just as it is in heaven.

Do you believe it is actually possible for earth to be like heaven? Do you have your ears and eyes in tune to see the work of the Holy Spirit already moving? Are you ready to join hands with God and bring hope to this seemingly hopeless world?

Drowning for Love

It’s been a while since my last post. Almost three months. And for that, I apologize.

I have so badly wanted to write and share with you about my visit to the Middle East and the final weeks in Spain. Ideas would come to mind about things I could say, but as soon as I would sit down to put the pieces together, I couldn’t get anything out. Stories would wake me in the night that I would want to remember to paint on paper the next day, but by morning, they would have faded from my thoughts. I would write ideas on notes at random points, start posts, but somehow couldn’t finish them.

I longed to write. Just write. But God said no

He wanted to spend time with me. Nothing to do. Nobody to be with. Just me and Him.

The past few months, God took me to a place of raw honesty with Him and with myself. A place that was more on the hard end than the easy end. A place that I couldn’t avoid and couldn’t escape anymore, yet no matter how much it hurt, I truly felt safe. I finally sat at the table with the Father, where He had been waiting all along, drank pots and pots and pots of coffee with Him (He takes His coffee black, by the way), and went through a bajillion boxes of tissues. And because I sat down, He had the chance to ask me questions that, though I was afraid to encounter the true answers, dug deep and drew out the unrighteousness and unholiness hidden deep within me.

It was in the chaotic place of rawness that I found peace. It was in the midst of exposing darkness that I walked in light. It was upon recognizing death that I became alive.

Sometimes, God strips everything just so He can take you to deep waters of intimacy with Him. To have you release your grip on all things that help you float so that you can drown in the tidal waves of His love.

The pain. The tears. The exhaustion. I can honestly tell you that it’s all worth it to be fully loved by Him.

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Are you being honest with God and yourself in the innermost part of your being? What are you clinging to that is preventing you from allowing Him completely love you? Are you willing to release whatever He asks so that He can fill you even more?

On Life, Love, and What Actually Matters.

I fell in love last year when I was in India.

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Though he doesn’t know it, this little man taught me more than I could have ever asked for.

He taught me that life is most lived when you snap on your helmet of imagination and live like tomorrow may never come. When you wake up in the morning with a fresh perspective and see everybody as if they’re your own family. When you live so much that you crash as soon as you lay your head down to sleep…or eat…or pray. He showed me that life is best lived in freedom from worry, from insecurities, and from the approval of others. Because living with those limitations means you’re not really living at all.

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He’s one of those kids that you always have to keep your eyes on. Not because he gets into things he shouldn’t or because he will fight with the other boys or needs constant attention. He’s that kid you need to watch because you never know what he’s going to do. From his facial expressions to his crazy dances, to pretending to be a superhero and conquering the trees with a machete, he will always keep you entertained and laughing, making stories that evolve into the best memories.

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Though I carry many fears about getting married, being pregnant, and having kids, he is the reason I desire to experience all three of those things. The way that he trusted me and loved me is the way I hope my relationship with my husband is, and then some. How it felt when he jumped into my arms is how I long to know what it means to carry my own child. When he crawled up into my lap, curled up next to me on the floor, or snuggled into the corner is when I realized that deep down, I truly do want the blessing and honor of being a mother. I learned that the struggles and stress and lack of sleep that comes with having kids is completely worth it when I can give all my love to those tiny bodies snoring in the room next door. This little guy gently revealed the deep desires of my heart, simply by being himself.

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When I get caught up in my own sphere of life, I’m reminded that he revealed to me what actually matters in this world. It’s not how high gas prices are rising or the natural disasters that rage against our cities. It’s not discipling as many people I can find or fighting the right injustice. It’s not even poverty, war, AIDS, or human trafficking.

Don’t get me wrong. God cares deeply about His people and these things are important to Him, but there is something greater that matters in this world.

This six year old Indian boy taught me that what actually matters, what people really need, is to know they are loved, cared for, and fought for. To know a Savior whose love for them never ceases and extends to the far places of the universe. To believe that they are worth more than what others say because of the Image they are created in. To be fought for by a God who conquered death and rose victorious because He wants to spend forever with them.

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This little man whom I fell in love with reached into the depths of my heart and taught me the joys of life, the intimacies of love, and what actually matters.

I wonder…Who have you fallen in love with? What have you learned as a result?

Isn’t it totally worth it??