Friday, December 30, 2011

hearts... the beginning

Hearts. Oh, the messy things!
It astonishes me what God would do for an undivided heart.

Sending his only Son was just the beginning, ensuring that his quest could be successful. But once Jesus' blood covers us, God gently covers us with His righteousness like a surgical gown and goes to work. His shepherding leads us to quiet waters and still pastures, but it is when our souls are finally quieted within us that He can whip out the surgeon's knife. If there's any anesthetic, I haven't found it yet! Jesus' way always leads to more feeling, more bracing life. At least in this age, His consuming fire of love comes with searing pain.

Back to the Beginning
The first glimpse of man's heart and of God's heart is separated by one verse:

Genesis 6:5
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
then in the very next verse, we see God's heart:

Genesis 6:6
And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

Already God had bound his heart to ours--our heart moved His. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The purse. The Red purse

I just have to brag on God about this.

This past week was EHC's 65th Anniversary.  With 150 international directors, countless conversations and airport rides, updates from continents and multicultural intercession, it was truly an amazing time.  I did not want it to end.  I still don't.  God is moving mightily all across the earth, and I felt incredibly honored to meet some of His favorites (you are, too, you know).  I need to let things settle internally a bit more before I attempt to write about it.  But it hit me like a typhoon.... on a beach.... with sand and crabs and coconuts flying.  just process THAT.

 So I'm NOT blogging about that, but AM writing about a tiny little thing that just shows God's kindness.

There was a missionary boutique for the internationals, and after the conference it became open for IMs (Intercessory Missionaries) to shop there.  Used/new clothing, purses, belts, etc.  I had grown up getting my clothes from these yearly boutiques in Taiwan, and also from large garbage bags of clothes that families would give us in the US and in Singapore.  I don't know how we got all these clothing connections, but people always seemed to give us clothes!  Maybe they were trying to tell us something. :)  

Anyhow, they're lots of fun.  Much less draining than shopping at strip malls.

I have been casually looking for a red purse for maybe five years.  Didn't want to spend a lot of money on it, and always seemed to find other ones that I liked.   And I knew exactly what I wanted; was very picky about it.  I'm kind of a mystic about these things, and knew that I would know it when I saw The Purse. 

So I was leafing through sweaters and activewear when I noticed a stack of bags.  Lo and behold, under a couple of rather pathetic totes was my red bag. 

Now I was completely exhausted and as sick as a dog, so I unemotionally added it to my collection and took it home.  Later that weekend, I looked at it more closely and recognized that it had EVERY detail that I had ever been looking for.

Jesus is so so kind.  I found all kinds of warm sweaters that I could have never afforded, and the perfect Red Purse.  He doesn't give us just enough, He lavishes.  May we live like that, too. 

Today there was a chorus that sang, "What is on your heart is on my mind," and I felt the Lord saying that to ME.  Which totally ruined me!
He really loves us, you know.  And He knows even about silly things like purses.  Xie Xie Ye Su

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

endowed with splendor

Well, let's see how a very sleep-deprived Stacia blogs!  Should be fun.

 Let's talk about BEAUTY.  Oh dear, when I write it like that, it seems so daunting.  Let's not be so epic. 

When thinking about beauty, I always think of a verse about differing splendors.  Thank you, Paul (NOT whom I'd expect for beauty insights!).   I Cor. 15:38-41:
"Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. "

Each of us is endowed with splendor although we differ from another in splendor.  Every woman is beautiful in a very personal way.  The God who calls the stars out by name ensures a handcrafted beauty.

We display His splendor (Is. 49:3, 60:21, 61:3. 62:3).   He has endowed us with splendor (Is 60:9). [Yes, those verses are about Israel.  We're grafted in.  They're also about the redeemed and the already-but not yet kingdom of God.]. 

yeah yeah yeah there are many things in this world that try to destroy beauty (and I think some of the major ones are frantic attempts FOR beauty, e.g. botox and eating issues).  But as we draw closer to God (THE BEAUTY), the ashes themselves become beautiful.  Restoration Resurrection HOPE. 

One of my favorite things is the moment when a veil is lifted and I see a woman's beauty.  It's especially fun if there are things that might mar the beauty.  When you're talking with her and she smiles or looks a certain way... and LOVELINESS is revealed.
Simply and irrevocably.  Oh I love that moment.  Then you know how to see, and you can see God's splendor whenever you see her.

May we all have Jesus' eyes to see.

Just one more note: we are beautiful just because God gives us beauty.  None of it is our own.  There is incredible rest in that truth.  It's all to Him and through Him...and FOR Him.  God loves beautiful women, he created a lot of us!  And we can rest in our beauty, for it depends on Jesus, not us.

Let me end with a movie quote from Twister.  I never ever thought I would write that sentence. 
The aunt catches the leading lady primping in her bedroom, and says, "Well, there's nothing you can do.  You're beautiful."


Saturday, August 20, 2011

i thank You God for most... (cummings. and a little me)

Almost my favorite.  I love e. e. cummings. Read it out loud!

i thank You God for most this amazing day 
~(e. e. cummings)~

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings;and of the gay
great happening ilimitably* earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

*Illimitable means incapable of being limited or bounded.  

And now my own little list--
i thank You God most for....  Love (which is You). 

i thank You God (not MOST, but thank you just the same) for:
 Live swing bands and Debussy and Brahms and books books books and Vitamin water and families and the ocean and pumpkin muffins and jiao zi's
 and red red roses and the hope of New Zealand and Italy and different cultures and the particular peculiarity of us people.  
For funniness... You didn't have to create hilarity, but it's lovely to laugh.  I want to know your laugh.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well.  It's been a while since I've written, so I'm determined to write something.  


Asking God for things.  

Jesus asks us to ask him for specific things.  Like when he asked a blind man what he could do for him (Matt 20, Mark 10, Luke 18).  And when Jesus asked the cripple by the pool if he wanted to be healed (John 5).
(I always thought those verses indicated a sense of humor, but now I believe Jesus was in earnest.  Drastic healing means drastic change, and voluntary change is never for the faint of heart.)

And of course, the famous, "Ask [in my name] and you will receive, and your joy will be complete (John 16:24)." For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:10)," "For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matt 7:8)."  And more.

God has asked me what I want during various conversations, and my typical response has been, "I want what you want."  I truly want what He wants, and believed that this was the right, holy answer.  It's also a pretty safe answer.

I still think that.


It wouldn't be very fun if a father asked their four-year-old what he wanted for his birthday, and the kid replied precociously, "I want whatever you want to give me, Daddy."  

It builds intimacy to voraciously LONG for a red fire-engine and then receive it.  More fun for the parent, too.  There's no robotic qualities whatsoever.

So with God, He's been nudging me to ask for things I want.  Which is terrifying and difficult!
It challenges who we can truly say that He is (probably most important question of our lives).  Is my Jesus kind?  Does He care about my desires?  Are they submitted to him but not stuffed into deadness?

And after the courageous leap to ASK (for healing, for a nation, for strawberry bubble gum, whatever have you) comes.... the waiting.  [duh duh duh DAH. Beethoven's 5th]

I wonder if the hours in the Garden of Gethsemane were not harder for Jesus than the flogging. 
The anticipation, the AGONY... the waiting.

confusion and doubts and accusations sting like hail.  No wonder faith (being SURE of what we HOPE for) is called a shield.

Well, that's all I've got.  Being in the thick of things, I really don't have resolution except that 
1. God wants us to search after what's in His heart and ask him those things. 
2. God also asks us to ask Him for things that we truly desire.  He LOVES it, because this means that we trust his kindness towards us, and we HOPE in Him. This brings us closer to him.  
3. Waiting is a battlefield, and God is glorified when we dare to fully feel and ache with him.
4. We know Jesus in a unique, precious way when we wait for things we long for.  He's only been waiting, oh, several thousand years for his bride!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psalm 63

Well, I am about to take the plunge and post POETRY. How scary is that--I am about to go emotionally skinny dipping. Ah, well... let's not get on the subject of nudity. This blog is a lady. Here we goooo...!

Psalm 63

The ache only grows
for my God Jesus
I feel it in the lament of empty arms and fingertips
I taste it on honeyed lips ready to flow to my beloved
My belly flames with longing
Miss you, Jesus. I miss you God.

Do you remember the garden I only know through thick glass?
I have seen you—I have—
and yet it is never enough.
I would shrink back, half-dead with heartache,
but for your strong hands on my shoulders holding me fast, even washing my feet
as I stagger on.

Tell me again the story of us, stars singing for joy as the world careened into motion, into love, into singing.

You fill me like a tidal wave drowns
You change me like fire ruins clay
You cripple me and break all my brokenness
Until you are my only help, you my only life.
O kind Love, kindly kill me
Until charred flesh gives way to glory.

 the only Cadence

my joy is your joy
my name is your name
let all else be ravished
let love remain

(mostly july 5th ’11)
*cadence is music-speak for 'ending'.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Eyes of the heart

Well, I missed June.  Oh well!  Happy July to all.  Go play some Christmas music (Am I the only one that does that?).

Anyhow... It's astonishing how critical perspective is.  In short, I suppose that perspective is a fancy word for how you see.  Your box seat in life. 

To step just one metre (i miss the Queen's English) deeper--Jesus is life.  There is no life apart from Him.  So all that matters truly is how you see Jesus.

"Who do you say that I am?" I LOVE that Jesus asked his disciples this question. 
He knew who he was.  But Jesus wanted to hear them name him.  He cares incredibly about who we can say he is.
And that dictates how we see.  If we can say You are GOOD--then even in really horrific circumstances, we will see through the lense of His goodness.

I also think he cares about us answering honestly.  He's never gone in for robot worship.  If we cannot honestly say that in our lives, Jesus is kind and gentle with perfect leadership, he doesn't pout or shrink back in disgust. 

It's an invitation to wrestle.  And the more we fight INTO him, the more we truly see him and his kindness.  Really, like Madeleine L'Engle writes (oh Jesus thank you for Madeleine L'Engle), the only unbearable thing is the refusal to love.  Because that seperates, and that is death.  As long as we're kicking and screaming and bleeding and yet still engaging Him, then I believe that He will perfect our sight.

I really want to see Him. 

To give a little anecdote--God often gives me songs a few days or weeks before I absolutely need to sing them to survive.  Or he might have others compliment me or bless me right before I'm really attacked in that certain area. 

This could be considered cruel, and I could grit my teeth whenever I receive anything encouraging or any song.  Or it could be taken as a tender touch by Jesus, preparing me and blessing me before hard things.

All depends on how well you see. 

Eph. 1:17-19.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

rainy day post

Time for a Taiwan memory post... other topics require too much brain power at present. :)  

The rain...

There are several seasons in Taiwan: hot and humid, hotter, rainy, and typhoon season.  The rainy season was the closest we got to winter, in the low 50s, and it actually did feel cold because we didn't have heating.   Sometimes it would rain for weeks.  I would daily lean out our apartment balcony, parting the waters of drying laundry, and strain to see how misty the mountains were.  If I couldn't see them at all, it would rain all day.  

Nothing ever really dried during the rainy season.  We would pin up sheets and everything else until they were close to dry and then use them.  The humidity injected an unavoidable musty smell on fabrics that you didn't notice until you visited another country.  

We didn't go on as many walks to the university (our neighborhood park equivalent) during the rainy season, but would have fantastic make-believes with random dress-up clothes.  Looking back, I had no idea where we found them all, but we had furry vests (think John the Baptist camel hair...mostly used for Native American characters), lacy scarves, and a pink panther costume.  

And a decidedly Asian tepee made from bamboo poles and mosquito netting that my resourceful father constructed.  Armed with these tools and a little (well... a lot, actually) facepaint, my siblings and I would create tunnels and houses and rescue each other from lava.   
My sister and I would dance to the Nutcracker, and Mom would dance to Ron Kenoly.  We would, too... and I would drag my brother into it as well.  My brother would write a million stories and we'd all draw and paint enough to fill a museum.  Paint each other, too.  My poor mother.

There's something about rainy days and the arts.  Maybe it's the ambiguity.  There's space in the blank white/gray sky to imagine all sorts of worlds.  That sky always reminds me of Chinese watercolor paintings, when often over half of the canvass is left blank.  The white could be snow, sky, sea, a lake... 
I like it because it leaves room for all the messiness of life.  There are things that are clear, and if there weren't, we'd have no painting at all (e.g. absolutes).  But there must be room, must be tension, for those things that are not so tidily compartmentalized into boxes (e.g. would this doctrine fit into every culture and age?).   How much tension can we live with?  How much must we, especially in international missions?

Rainy days also make me sleepy.  It's like the sun got tired of its conspicuity and felt like shyly hiding away for a couple of days.  Makes me want to hide away, too, and read and bake muffins.  And play Chopin.  Mozart's a little too brash for rainy days, and Liszt would be too much period.  But Chopin... and Debussy...would be perfect.

Ok well i think this post has enough random ideas in it for present.  :)  may your rainy days have lots of good books, music, hot tea, and lovely company. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

quenched's April!   I vaguely remember blogging in the ancient past, before weeks started to speed up like they were on a bet with the energizer bunny (oooh man I just made a corny blog joke.  What is this blog coming to??).    Well.  Let's begin.

I miss rain.  Torrential tropical downpours that give meaning to the word 'drenched.'  In Singapore, every single road, no matter how miniscule, had ditches along either side.  Major roads had twenty or forty foot chasms dividing their lanes.  If it were not for these drains, the city would be constantly flooded.

During downpours, the huge ditches would violently churn with yellowish water, tree branches, and whatever trash that immaculate Singapore could conjure.  During the rainy season, even the drains reached their limit and trash cans would slowly float down the street like congenial neighbors.

And you know what I miss about it the most?  It was WARM.  You could take a walk in the rain and get delightful soaked and never ever be chilly.  For the longest time I had no idea why Westerners would always link rain walks with catching colds.  Just like I never understood why those silly people would check the weather outside before getting dressed.  Now, with a couple of temperate seasons under my belt, I still haven't learned--if I decide it's the day for flip flops and a skirt, it will undoubtedly snow.  And hail.  And sleet.  (I live in Colorado.  enough said. :> ),

I love walking in the warm rain and getting so wet that it takes half a day to dry off.  Just like it's marvelous to soak in the sun so long that you feel your bone marrow sizzling.

QUENCHED.  I really like that word.  Partly because it starts with a 'q' and there aren't many like that.  At least in my vocabulary. :)  And it's an... onawanapeia.  I have no idea how to spell that!  It's when a word sounds like its meaning, like...  ok, I'm cheating and googling it.

Onomatopoeia (well, I was kind of close.  not at all.)--e.g. hiss, buzz.  They're fun.   I guess quenched isn't REALLY....that hard-to-spell word... but it is in my world.

When is the last time you felt quenched, drenched to the utmost?  That's what tropical thunderstorms make me think of, when you're sure that even your muscles are filling up with water.  And that's how I feel in worship, in God's presence.  It is tricky though, because the more quenched in God I am, the deeper the ache grows for more.  This seems mean of God, frankly.

But I'm slowly learning that I must trust who God is (His goodness, that He IS LOVE) in order to walk through spiritual doorways.  Then that goodness will be apparent.   And He just adores that place when faith is not yet made sight--it is precious to Him.

God cares so much about how we love Him.  It's crazy.

He calls us out when we're lying helpless in our own blood (Ez. 16), loves us, gives us His love to love him, and then meticulously orchestrates circumstances to allow us to choose Him (and gives us the grace to do so).  And celebrates our feeble movements toward Him!  Maybe He just likes to party.  :)

And so the deeper ache is carving out more room for Him.  So we can truly be quenched.
Ach, it's late and I need to go to sleep.  I'll finish with poetry--first read this poem in one of Madeleine L'Engle's books, and loved it.  Had to look up 'replete', though (it roughly means 'full of').  There's some dispute over the authorship, but it's either Thomas Brown or Sir Thomas Browne.  Here you go:

If thou couldst empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the Ocean shelf,
And say — "This is not dead," —
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That, when He comes, He says — "This is enow
Unto itself — 'Twere better let it be:
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."