How great is my God

For some reason, I feel impressed to simply share these videos. Nothing ground-breaking from me — just some songs from Elevation Worship that have uplifted my spirit and led me into worship of my Creator.

It amazes me how quickly I can forget just how great my God is. I find myself starting to tell Him how something should work out, planning each and every step for Him — only to realize that He’s already got it all under control. This video from Louie Giglio always serves as a fantastic reminder of just who my God is (it is a longer one, but worth every single minute).

 

Eyes on You

“We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are on You.”
— II Chronicles 20:12

My mind is cluttered
with thoughts I can
barely piece together
and comprehend —

confusion, disbelief,
disappointment, pride —

These wisps of feelings
shift and circle,
creating an abstract image
that forces me to
constantly adjust my
focus until my lens blurs.

I do not know what to do,
but my eyes are on You, Lord.

My eyes are on You,
but instead of looking
for answers about me,
let me truly see —

Let me see You, Lord —
not just look with
glancing eye, only to
shift my gaze away with
each new shimmering
distraction.

Let me see You, Lord —
in the fullness of Your
grace and majesty, in
Your faithfulness that
grants to me such
blessed assurance.

Let me see You, Lord —
a glimpse of who You are
and the love that
compelled You to make
a way so these blind
eyes could see You.

My eyes are on You, Lord,
so let me see.

embedded in the moments of growth

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As an adult, it is easy
to reflect on your life
and pinpoint various
moments of growth —
but as a child, those times
of growth are often
challenging and arduous

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments of pain —
growing pains that ache
and throb — subtle thieves
that attempt to diminish
your achievements

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments of forbearance —
a patience that must be
learned — as others grow
at a faster pace, while you
wait and wait and wait

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments at rock bottom —
when you’re buried under
stress and expectations —
the heavy soil impeding
your journey to the sun

but it is from those moments —
the pain, the long-suffering,
the rock bottom —
that measurements gain meaning —
for once you reach a certain height,
it is then that you can look back
upon that low point and say,

“That point right there —
that’s where I’ve come from.”

Today is a good day to be alive

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Why?

Because this is another day
to do something you love
or to try something new.

This is another day for you
to randomly talk with a stranger
about tea and crepes and birthdays
(it’s not as unlikely as you’d think).

This is another day for you
to encounter a new friend
or to spend time with a cherished one.

This is another day for you
to listen to your all-time favorite song
or to discover a new one
that. just. gets. you.

This is another day for you
to lend a helping hand to someone
or to thank those who have lent one to you.

This is another day for you
to enjoy the vibrant green leaves
that have replaced the bleak brown branches
(even when you’re stuck sitting in traffic).

This is another day for you
to pick up a new book to read
or to finally finish writing your own.

This is another day for you
to color with crayons and markers
or to laugh at the child-like drawing you created
(of course that’s how you intended it to look).

This is another day for you
to turn your life around
or to keep staying strong on the path you’re on.

It’s a good day to be alive
because you’ve been gifted one more breath
and one more
and one more
to live this day.

So, what will you do with it?

Wrestling with rest

Prologue

When you are concussed,
they say you should rest.

Sleep, yes —
but not just that.
Rest your brain,
so it can recover
from the impact
of collision
inside your skull.

Rest:
No watching TV
No computers
No bright lights
So, basically, no screens
No physical activity
No critical thinking
No reading

I stare intently,
but the computer screen
I shouldn’t be peering at
still shows the same words.

Well, what on earth am I
supposed to do then?

I know, I know.
Rest.

Chapter

After another day of work that entails staring at a bright computer screen all day, writing, reading, and thinking critically, I sit down and finish the last couple chapters of my book.

Now, I will rest.

I open my laptop and bring up a blank, bright white Word document on the screen. I try to think of what I want to write, what I have to say, but nothing comes to me.

I sit in silence, eyes closed. And then, a thought emerges: Peace, be still.

Background noises come to my mind’s forefront. I hear the rain splatter on the roof. The vehicles in the intersection hum, squeal, and clank. They are not the only travelers on the road. Water droplets have taken individual journeys and now collect together in puddles, filling the potholes and crevices in the road. They rest together for a moment, until they are disturbed and displaced by a set of rubber tires — another vehicle in a hurry to get somewhere other than there.

Epilogue

Distraction
Commotion
Chaos
Turmoil —
Our worlds are filled
to the brim with it all,
making it difficult
to extract yourself,
to withdraw,
to slow down,

to rest,
to simply be still.

Reason, Purpose, and a bit of March Madness

IMG_1553Man, the month of March has flown away in a mad flurry, taking with it my perfect March Madness bracket. But, like Coca-Cola keeps reassuring me, it’s not my fault the teams didn’t cooperate with me. That’s beside the point, however.

So, what is the point?

To put it clearly: The point of this post is to contemplate the point of reason, the point of purpose, the purpose of reason, and the reason for purpose.

Confused GIF
Not clear enough?

Throughout the month of March, the word “reason” resonated in my mind and I jotted down phrases using the word as they came to mind. For example:

               Give me one good reason why…

               Let me reason with you…

               Without rhyme or reason…

               I found a reason…

               I am here for a reason…

The definitions for “reason” all pertain to the mind, as they deal with explanation, thought and understanding. Essentially, they focus around rationale and logic.

As humans, we tend to look for a reason in everything. We want a good reason as to why we should buy a particular brand over another one. We give reasons for why people, banks or companies should invest in us. The reasons, explanations and justifications we give are based on a process of logic.

For instance, while some people might fill out their March Madness bracket willy-nilly and hope for the best, there are a multitude of others who use reason to create the most likely-to-win bracket.

You consider each team. How have they performed in the past? Do they have notable injuries? Are they experienced? What’s their offense like? What’s their 3-point shooting percentage? How’s their defense? You attempt to logically account for unexpected twists, justifying a #15 seed upset over a #2 seed because crazy upsets happen all the time. In a process of reason and logic — and a bit of guesswork — you attempt to create a perfect bracket.

Isn’t that similar to life, sometimes? We go through life, logically assessing what steps to take in order to get to a certain place, to achieve a certain goal. We plan everything out, submitting to the fact that an occasional upset might happen that disrupts the process.

But we’re almost never prepared for those upsets. Just like there’s no way for you to know that Arizona (#2) will lose to Xavier (#11) and screw up your bracket, there’s no way of knowing you’ll tear your ACL in a college intramural flag football game, forcing you to learn how to walk correctly again (speaking from experience here).

March Madness GIF
When those upsets happen, we begin to question the reason behind it all.

It’s easy to wonder, “Why am I going through this?” We try to justify it, thinking there must be a logical reason for it. But it’s hard to understand why these things are happening to you. When that injury blindsides you, or a relationship falls apart, or you lose a job, or you feel alone, or…

There can’t be a logical reason for those upsets in life, right?

Maybe, reason needs to give way to purpose.

Purpose: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

What’s the purpose in a March Madness bracket? Some do it for fun; others do it for money; and some do it for the promise of eternal glory when you — yes, you! — achieve that elusive perfect bracket.

Until that perfect bracket is shattered and your somewhat depressed, befuddled brain remembers the purpose of the entire March Madness basketball tournament — one team’s quest to successfully hurdle all of those upsets in its attempt to achieve ultimate victory.

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Maybe, the reason we experience upsets in life is to realize, remember, or reinforce our purpose… in life, in relationships, in your abilities.

When you finally heal from that injury, you no longer take for granted the ability to walk, sit, or sleep without pain. When you start a new job and are overwhelmed with training, you remember what is was like when you were overwhelmed while searching for a job, thinking you would never find one. Or, when you recognize someone who is hurting, you are able to help them because you went through the same hurt.

Maybe, instead of looking for a reason behind everything, we should be looking at our purpose in everything.

What do the Dark Side, Open Shortest Path First and Psalm 119:105 all have in common?

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To put it bluntly, I have been almost pathologically pondering paths.

Well, perhaps my desire to use alliteration and the word “pathological” makes that sound more extreme than it actually was, but let me semi-prove my point. A brief glimpse into Jen’s mind: Path. Paths. Follow the path. “You’re going down a path I can’t follow.” We all have paths we follow. Open Shortest Path First.  

Suffice it to say, if I had followed that original thought process, I would now be discussing either Anakin’s path to the Dark Side or Open Shortest Path First internet routing protocol. But I’m not, so rest easy.

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Instead, my thoughts turned elsewhere: Path. Paths. Follow the path. We all have paths we follow… “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Psalm 119:105 is one of those Bible verses that is so well-known, it becomes almost commonplace. I’ll be honest, I almost passed over it to focus on another thought. But then, I stopped.

Google, what is a path?

Google: A way or track laid down for walking or made by continual treading.

Continual treading. Those words intrigued me and prompted me to write the following words: A path indicates presence.

A path suggests that someone or something else has previously been in that same place.

Life snowflakes, we humans are unique. Our lives are unique. Yes, we can make similar choices and decisions, but our paths are all different. We have different experiences. You follow your path, and I follow my path.

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

If no one else has journeyed on my life’s path, how then can it be considered an actual path — if we consider Google’s definition and continual treading? If only I can follow my life’s path, then who or what has been there before me to create that path?

Let me turn your attention to the subject of Psalm 119:105 — word. More specifically, God’s word. How can God’s word be present to shine on our path? To answer that, I refer you to John 1:1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

God is the one who went before us, treading our paths. He prepared the paths that will lead us to the people we meet and the places we go. He even lights the way for us.

Will we choose to follow that path?