Tuesday, February 24

I-15, South

It's the morning of day four on our family road trip from Calgary (A "village," we understand from one of our new American acquaintances that "even has a restaurant." He knows this, he explained, because he once stayed "overnight there when he went to visit a friend's llama farm up North...in Montana.") to wherever-the-grass-is-green-and-the-air-is-warm (Southern Utah/Northern Nevada, we've happily learned).

The moment we set tire to asphalt on the I-15 we knew we'd done something right. It's a highway traversing magnificent distance and amusingly, breathtakingly what could possibly be around the next corner diversity. Mountains, prairie, scrub brush, desert, and enormous sky grace miles and miles (1200, so far ~ That's just over 2,000 kilometers!) of seamless two-lane road trip ease.

Some things we've experienced so far:
  • An uncomfortable exchange rate.
  • But cheap gas ~ it might make up the difference. Yay!
  • The soothing beauty of Montana in a gently receding winter.
  • Utah. Scrub brush and mountains for mile after fascinating mile.
  • Three backseat voices politely acknowledging that "fascination" with "Mmmhm. Cool. Another bush ~ oooh! And there's a tree!" while hardly glancing up from the DS.
  • A staggering number of Mormon churches piercing the sky of every town with their narrow, white-as-snow steeples.
  • A visit (and unintentional tour) of the Mormon's Salt Lake City headquarters. We learned some things and Cory found inspiration for lyrics there. He titled his song, "Forgiven," a hope, a reality, that we all quit the state border feeling a little mindful of.
  • A winding, overwhelmed by ancient intelligent design, glide through Monument Valley. Imagine the Rockies ~ only carved in layer upon layer of reddish-brown sediment; rounded and caved and nurtured into matchless glory by time and wind and water.
  • A single threat to "...throw that DS right out the window if you don't look up and see how amazing this is right now!"
  • The touch of ever-warming air on pale Canadian flesh. Green grass (it really is greener on this side of the fence). And trees. With leaves on them.

I so wish you were here. For the price of a few tanks of gas and some $5 Subway subs, you could be! The I-15, South. Grab a map and a pair of sunglasses and you're away.

Sunday, February 15

Considering Thanks

I've always had to accept even the idea of faith by faith.

It's easier for me to believe in the One that I cannot see than it is to define what that believing is.

Sometimes it seems as though faith is something I deliberately, determinedly choose.

Sometimes faith lands in my lap like an unwarranted, sigh of relief gift.

Our friend Chris says, "Faith is the currency of Heaven..."

That is, God is moved by faith ~ He responds to belief in Him; He saves, gives, acts in response to our acknowledgment of Him.

Chris goes on to say, "Thankfulness is the language of faith."

That changes my perception of faith and gratitude. I'm prone to thanking God in an effort to stave-off potential wrath or the withholding of future goodness. Do you know what I mean? I've got it pretty good and I'd better be thankful because otherwise God might not give to me next time. Worse, He might take from me next time.

But if Chris is correct then I've been approaching both thanks and belief all wrong. He used the example of the five loaves and three fish: One day there wasn't enough food around to feed the crowd that had gathered to listen to Jesus teach. Jesus took the bit there was (a bit of bread and fish), thanked the Father for it, and proceeded to feed thousands of hungry mouths.

What if, Chris wonders, we thank God for what we already have while believing it will become what we need?

Staggering! Simple, but knock-ya'-over life changing. Instead of just thanking retrospectively, we could practice thanking hopefully. "I see what You've done already, God; thank you for what is to come."

We're not wealthy, but we have some money. Can we begin to thank God (not flinching in fear that He'll take away from us) for what He's provided, understanding that what we have can become what we need?

Could we approach every aspect of our lives in this way: relationally, emotionally (what would this do to depression?), health-wise (would this invite wholeness?). Are we lacking in something? Is there an area where we do not have enough? What if we thanked for the bit that we already have, expectantly waiting for God to multiply it to fill the entire need?

It's the difference between saying "Thank you" because I'm a dutiful and good girl and saying "Thank you" because the Giver is good and I believe Him to be so.

What do you think?

Monday, February 9

Sunday, February 8

One Part Panic, Three Parts Pity-Party

Sometimes we need a little shake-up, a little smack upside the head. But the needing doesn't make the getting any more enjoyable. Hearing the truth about ourselves burns hot and sharp. If we let it, that truth will offer broader thinking, deeper understanding, greater compassion.

...do you say, "I'm not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.'"
It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" ~ are you ready to be offered up like that?
Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket ~ to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister?
Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beaneath their dignity...
~O. Chambers~