Maybe

image1Last night at small group, Carlee walked in with a huge smile on her face and these balloons and Maybe Banner in her hands.  “These are to celebrate all of our Maybes.  Too often we don’t let ourselves get excited about what maybe might be, because we’re afraid of being disappointed.  But tonight, we’re going to enjoy the fact these opportunities are in front of us, in this moment.”

Maybe a writer’s contract, maybe a new business adventure, maybe moves to new cities, maybe a break from the mundane, maybe law school, maybe an end to a difficult season at work, maybe a relationship, maybe an awakening of our hearts and our city.

So often these Maybes come, and we allow them to boss us into a corner of anxiety, doubt, and fear where hearts grow hard.  We recount our track record of “no’s,” and  brace for the moment when the door is slammed along with our spirit.  We anxiously demand to know where this is heading before taking a step forward.

But what if the Maybe wasn’t intended as a source of torture?  What if the Maybe is actually an invitation to a beautiful surrender?  What would we gain if we didn’t demand it to turn into a yes or no immediately, and we took cue from Emily Dickinson to  dwell in possibility?  What if we allowed ourselves to be infused with hope?  Because sure, there’s a chance it may fall through the cracks, and perhaps we’d save ourselves a bit of heartbreak by living in the land of worst-case-scenarios.  Oh, but what if it doesn’t?  What if this is in fact it?  What if this is the thing that brings us more joy and courage than we dared to dream?

So my charge to you tonight, whatever your Maybe may be is to be bold.  Steady heart.  Don’t fear.  Step into the glorious season of Maybe and all God is wanting to teach you in and through it.  Because chances are it’s going to be well worth it regardless of the outcome.  This season is intended.  Allow this moment, this opportunity, this spark of what might be, serve as a reminder of the desires placed deep within you.  And that you have a very good Father who is incredibly passionate about breathing life into those exact spaces. You are seen, known, cared, heard and fought for.  Don’t let the Maybe tell you otherwise.

To Those Who Wait…

The in-between.

Really?  Here… again?

Oh, God…haven’t we walked this season already?  Couldn’t You do more with me if we just fast forward things a bit?

And yet.  You have me here.  In the gap between the past and future.  The coming and the going.  The dreams and the reality.  The echo of “not quite yet.”

And in the waiting the ugliness of my heart is drawn out- pride, discouragement, anxiety.  The need to DO, to please, to control.  And the honest truth that sometimes (and sometimes more than just sometimes) I want the answers more than I want You, Jesus.  I want to lead people to Your feet, instead of sitting there myself.  I want to encourage people to allow You into their brokenness and sin more than I want to repent of mine.

“Oh, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

As I confess, You invite me:

Right there, my child, that restless place in Your heart.  That’s where I am starting.  That is what I long for…what I am jealous of.  Come.  Be still.  Am I enough for you?  If all you ever could do is sit with me, would that be enough for you?  I know the stirrings in your heart.  Trust me, we will have crazy adventures together.  But will you wait for me?  Will you let me lead?  Will you sit still long enough to listen instead of running ahead of me?  Will you let me prepare you?  Will you trust me that I am at work in this moment, that I am not wasting your time?

Not surprisingly, song lyrics immediately come to mind:

“You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.”

Yes.  Yes.  Remind me of this.  Allow me to be, be here- in this moment with You, the day You have in front of me, and the lives of those You have surrounding me.  Let me not miss Your face because I am too busy trying to figure things out apart from You.

Maybe you too are in a waiting season.  Longing to hold a baby who is still thousands of miles away because adoption finances haven’t yet come through.  Desperately praying for a new job that hasn’t appeared.  Crying out to God for healing of a beloved who is walking in unbearable pain.   Waiting on logistics to line up so you can carry out a God-given vision.

The truth is we all are waiting for something, because we live in the in-between of a Kingdom that has come and is still to come.

And so I pray for you and I- that we may be still and rest in the knowledge that Our Father truly knows our hearts and with a loving hand guides us step by step through this crazy, mixed-up world.  May we choose joy for the grace of today instead of fear for tomorrow.  May we find our hope in Him who is always faithful.  May we yield to His purpose of this season- be it purification, preparation, or whatever else He may have in mind.  May the words of Bethany Dillon’s “To Those Who Wait” become our own.  May His heart become more our own.

And remember through it all you are not alone.

“When I Am Among The Trees”

ImageWhen I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, ‘Stay awhile.’

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again,

‘It’s simple,’ they say,

‘and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.

“When I Am Among The Trees”  from Thirst by Mary Oliver

“Won’t You Dance with Me, Oh Lover of My Soul?”

The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano

Sweet tears ran down my face as I listened to the words sung by Jesus Culture.

“Won’t you dance with me, oh lover of my soul

to the song of all songs

Romance me, oh lover of my soul

to the song of all songs”

Isn’t this what I had just prayed for with my dear friend Naomi over our lives?  Hadn’t I just had this image come to mind during that amazing time of  prayer huddled in her car before she left for Honduras?  To fall in love with the Father more deeply than ever before, to trust His leading at every twist and turn, to follow His rhythms of grace and mercy, to rest when He rests, and move when He moves, to experience every emotion and note with Him just as one does when dancing?

Could it be He not only heard the cry of my heart, but was graciously acting on it?  Finding me across the room and offering me His hand, inviting me into the dance with Him?  My hopes were confirmed when later that day I received this message from my amazing friend and echo, Nina Coyle:

“Came across this tonight from my journal back in January. It was encouraging to me…thought I’d share:

‘… This is what it looks like to walk with the Father: it’s a lullaby, it’s a dance, it’s tearing through an open meadow and diving headfirst into a wild rushing River that flows out to the nations and back into His heart…’

Praying that Papa pulls you deeper into His heart today! Love you girls!!”

She had no idea what had been going on in my heart all day, and yet here she was as always speaking straight from God’s heart, echoing the things He was showing me.

And so with this confirmation, I placed my hand in His, and it began: living life dancing with the Father.  Being held in His capable, loving arms.  Letting Him gently guide me through every step.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Time for a Change

 

“Leonardo Bernstein tells me…that for him music is cosmos in chaos.  That has the ring of truth in my ears and sparks my creative imagination.  And it is true not only of music; all art is cosmos, cosmos found within chaos.  At least, all Christian art is cosmos in chaos.

To the nonbeliever, the person who sees no cosmos in chaos, we are all the victims of the darkness which surrounds our choices; we have lost our way; we do not know what is right and what is wrong; we cannot tell our left hand from our right.  There is no meaning.

But to serve any discipline of art, be it to chip a David out of an unwieldy piece of marble, to take oils and put a clown on canvas, to write a drama about a young man who kills his father and marries his mother and suffers for these actions, to hear a melody and set the notes down for a string quartet, is to affirm meaning, despite all the ambiguities and tragedies and misunderstanding which surrounds us.” -Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

I read this again recently and realized this is what I wanted my goal for this blog is to be (thus the new title).  I want to seek out, capture, wrestle with, and share my journey of finding cosmos in the chaos through words, relationships, analogies, music, photography, quotes, and every other type of medium.  Please leave your thoughts along the way! :)

Good Friday Goodness

It’s been much too long, and I have so much more I want to write and share from my time in the Dominican, but alas I am 2 weeks away from graduation…equaling a crazy season of life with little time for putting heart to paper.  But this will be happening soon.

In the meantime, check out John Mark McMillan’s line-by-line commentary on his “Death and His Grave”…brilliant for Good Friday.

John Mark McMillan’s folk rock, lyrically rich album, The Medicine, has been a go to album for me this year.  If you aren’t familiar with him, he also wrote and originally recorded “How He Loves” after the unexpected death of a close friend.  Watch the story here.

Update on Cristian

“In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” – 2 Samuel 22:7

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15

First off, thank you all so much for your love, support, tears, and mostly prayers for Cristian.  We as a team have received so many messages from people all around the world saying they were praying for him.  I am so excited to tell you that the Lord has been so faithful, and so good, and has heard the cries of His people as He has promised in His Word.

During our time with the kids, we noticed that Cristian was different from the rest…quiet and a bit disconnected.  We also knew that he had been living with his grandma since his dad had been killed and his mom had abandoned him.  Rachel, who had met him the previous year on her first trip with Servants’ Heart Ministry, said that he was wearing the same clothes he had been wearing then.   Being the amazing and compassionate family they are, the Dyers bought clothes for him while we were in town.  The next day, Cristian fell asleep in my arms and spent the afternoon there.  A couple of girls who I had spent a lot of the week with began telling me about how sad the situation was for him and how glad they were that he was being loved and able to sleep.  They then began to tell me (all in Spanish) that his grandma wanted him to go with us to the United States, and how he was beaten with switches made from the trees.  You can imagine at this point just how many times I asked in different ways to make sure I was getting the right translation, and how my heart was breaking.  I told the Dyer girls and our hearts broke together.  That night was when I wrote the blog.  In the morning, I awoke exhausted, and feeling terrible.  I went out to my balcony to spend some time with the Lord, desperate for a word from Him.  I have been reading through 1 Samuel, and what do you know the chapter I was set to read was the story of David and Goliath.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” -1 Samuel 17:45-47

During this time, God was telling me, “Kendra, this battle is in my hands.  Even though Cristian looks so small in comparison to these circumstances and his loss seems inevitable, I am His God who saves.”

Throughout the day we witnessed a number of these victories, and they continue today:

– The day after hearing more about Cristian’s situation, Ramón, the pastor on staff with Servants’ Heart Ministry, was able to talk to some of the women in the village.  He was able to find out that one of the ladies was Cristian’s aunt and spent some time talking with her.  We found out through their conversation, that Cristian’s grandma does in fact love him, she just doesn’t have the resources to take care of him.  She is discouraged over the situation and may at times take it out on him, resulting in the things the girls were talking about.  His grandma despite everything really does want the best for him.  She also shared that at times when not as many people are around he does break out of his shell, laugh and enjoy life.

– The beautiful Dyers family decided during the trip that they want to sponsor Cristian through the Servants’ Heart Ministry’s Child Sponsorship Program.  As Cristian’s sponsor, not only will they financially be supporting him, but they will bring accountability alongside of Cristian fighting for him to have the best life possible.

– Moved by Cristian’s story, Rex (Chief Executive Officer / Vice-Chairman of the Board at Servants’ Heart) and his wife flew down this weekend to learn more about his circumstances and what ways we can best help him.  They are also hoping to spend some time talking with his grandma and bring in some medical aid.  We should hear an update from them today.

As you can see from these few stories, the Lord is so faithful to hear our prayers.  Thank you for interceding for Cristian.  Many of you have asked if there is anything you could do apart from praying, and I want to encourage you to begin to ask God where He is stirring your heart.  Perhaps you are supposed to go on a trip and love on these kids first hand.  Maybe God is asking you to sponsor one of the other kids in the village of Valla Hondito or in Las Conoas.  The more I learn about the world, the more I realize Cristian’s story is the same for so many of the kids around the world.  They are desperate for people like you to step in and fight for them.  If you want to know more about Servants’ Heart, you can check out their website or message me, and I can get you in contact with them.

Again, thank you.  You all have taught me so much about what it looks like to be the church and to share each others’ burdens in a way that I have never experienced before.