Sunday, June 28, 2015

RUN to the Goodness

It occurred to me over the last few months just how drawn I am how completely taken I am by God's promise that I will "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

One translation says "I would have despaired unless I had believed" that I would see it. 

Because one time I did despair thinking I wouldn't see it... and God knew I'd need those words.
Some days my vision is blurry and I have to wipe the sleep out of my eyes in order to see it...
Or I stump my toe climbing over the mountain for the day in order to feel it...
But, I decided to believe the promise.

I am going to see it. I am going to see it. I am GOING to see it.
He gives us ALL a glimpse of His goodness on this side of heaven.  Sometimes we have to look harder than others, though, to see that.

See, God is creative.

He doesn't just use our victories and our highest callings.

He uses our mistakes.  He uses our missteps.  He uses our confusion.  
He is willing to use it all, if we allow Him to do so. 
So, yes... even outside of the blinding grace that is the result of a risen Savior, He continues to give us moments of goodness to remind us in ALL things that He is still on the throne... and we can be heirs to that Legacy of Love.
Why does a God who has EVERYTHING continue to pursue our hearts so relentlessly? 

Because He knows we'll forget... and He loves us too much for that. 
Also? Because there is a flip side of the coin... 
Our battle is never against flesh and blood, but all of hell CELEBRATES when we think that it is.  The devil (yeah, he's real, y'all) delights in pitting family against family and friends against friends.   He's been having a FIELD DAY lately, in case you haven't noticed.

So, as we do life in a world that thrives on opposing sides and increasing division, God gifts us with the option of grace that is ours for the taking.  

So, let's do this.  Right now.  No more scrapping for what's ours.  As a child of the King of all Kings, we full out DANCE in the fact that there is PLENTY for ALL of us.

"Lord, today we take off the blinders and CHOOSE to see Your goodness on this side of heaven.  We CHOOSE extravagant grace that only You can provide.
We want to see it so badly that we actively step away from anything that speaks to the contrary and put a stamp of LIFE over our moments on this side of heaven.
We will not succumb to the easier, softer way of the world.  We are done trading empty worldly promises for the Hope of Eternity.

WE CHOOSE YOU, Jesus. Amen."
The world is looking for the goodness, friends.  Hurt is everywhere. Widely accessible and easy to put in our carry on bags. Despair is easy. Complaining and arguing are the ways of the world.  For that matter, a quick dose of happy-with-circumstances is pretty easy to come by, too.
Will you be a place that points them to the only Reliable Source for JOY that trumps circumstance?  

Think about it.  Let's give 'em something to talk about beyond the hurt and the "happy", y'all.
Let's give them Jesus and JOY for eternity.
I guarantee you that Jesus won people through relationship first, and then wooed them to His heart for them.

He never beat anyone over the head with His love.  

He actively caused stones of judgment to be dropped, and let behind a clear plan of action.

Your story doesn't make Him shake His head.  Mine doesn't, either.  And believe it or not?   Neither does the story of this world.
It makes Him want you, me, and all of the rest of His kids EVEN MORE.  He wants us closer to His heart.

I always tell my kids, "The worse the situation is, the faster I want you to run to Jesus and to me."

I believe that is His call to us today, friends.  

Run.  Run quickly to the arms of Jesus.  He's waiting for you there with goodness for THIS lifetime. 

And when it's time for Heaven?  Icing on the cake for eternity.  Right now, though, He's got a world for us to love.  So, get out there and see the GOODNESS of our Lord! :), 2015 
Twitter: @ChristieAitken
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Contagious Love - Thank you, Charleston, SC

"The love is out there.  Now let it RISE UP.  Let LOVE be more contagious than the hurt.  Let LOVE be more recognizable than the evil of our times."

I wrote that a few months ago with the prayer that the community of Baltimore might find peace.

I wrote it knowing that this side of heaven is going to walk us through great struggles.

What I didn't know is that one of the most shocking ones would make its way to us so quickly.

Upon hearing the news of this massacre in Charleston, we collectively crumbled to our knees as a nation....

Because.  This. Cannot.  Happen.

Lord, please tell us that this didn't happen.

Such sacred ground.

Such futility.

Such evil.

We just can't comprehend it.

But it did happen.

It did.

And we don't know what to do with the fact that such evil exists in our world...

But Charleston, SC knew exactly what to do with it.

They summoned up more love than I could have ever hoped for in the face of such loss.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Cor. 13

They showed the closest thing to perfect love that I've ever seen on earth (outside of that of my Jesus, of course).

I've often said that having a child helped me to understand just a small glimpse of how God might feel about us. These boys are my whole heart.

I would give my life for them, but I guarantee you on any given day that I would not give THEIR life for anyone else's.

I can't fathom it.

But my Father in Heaven did just that through Jesus on the cross... and then He forgave ME for being the reason it had to happen.

I'm undone by that.  Completely undone by the scandalous nature of grace that pardons a wreck like me.

I'm undone by the people of Charleston, South Carolina, also.  The most soul-stirring, heart-breaking, faith-affirming, and completely raw ministers of grace live there.

Thank you, Charleston.  Thank you for being LOVE.

Thank you for shaking this country to our core with forgiveness that the rest of us struggled with, but to which you never blinked an eye and so freely gave.

Thank you for setting the example of how to walk this out like God himself.

I won't ever hear someone sing "7 x 70 times" again without thinking of you all.

I won't ever teach my children about turning the other cheek without thinking of how you have done so in a manner that I can't quite even settle in my spirit just yet.

Over and over and over.  I keep saying the name of Jesus on your behalf.

I hope you feel it.

I hope you know that your forgiveness given in the middle of this atrocity... that forgiveness MEANS something.

I pray that you know their lives meant everything.

I pray you know that in the midst of indescribable hurt, you have allowed God to start the Romans 8:28 part of this simply because YOU were willing to forgive.

It's my heart that you see lives that are different because of your faith walk, Charleston, SC.

The country is watching as you are the epitome of salt and light.

We are  believing for YOUR healing, too.

So, I pray that you feel held.  Today and forever.

In the gap, thank you for leading our country in the most beautiful way.

You have taught the greatest lesson to a nation that desperately needs healing, and you taught it from a place of deep pain.

Your example reminds me over and over again that our Redeemer lives.

Thank you, Charleston.  Thank you.  You have redefined love in a way that can only be explained by a belief in the One True King.  Evil does not reign.  No, not at all.

A nation now looks to your corner of the world and wants the contagious love you've displayed.  We want to live like that.

Thank you for not changing your faith walk in the light of great pain.  Thank you for being real.

Copyright © 2015 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beautifully Broken- A Contradiction of the Heart?

We let the words slide off our tongue.

"Beautifully broken."

It's a phrase that sounds fantastic -- AFTER the broken part has happened and the healing has begun.

Unlike the phrase, though, we don't often get to SEE the beautiful while the BREAKING is happening.

Sometimes all we see is pain that wrecks us to our core.

Some of us watch the breaking from a distance.

Some of us get an up close and personal look at the breaking.


Some of us have become intimate with the breaking point... because it's happening to us.

Breaking ... "being broken"... is not beautiful to the world that's watching.  

It's not beautiful to the life to which it's happening.

It hurts.

We desperately want to take action... to stop the bleeding.

Sometimes we turn our heads and pretend it's not there.  
Maybe the pain will go away?

Other times we try to "play God"... to do the things that God never put our name on... to stop the breaking.  To stop OUR breaking.

It's like handing someone a tissue when they are sobbing.
We have to ask ourselves if the tissue is for their comfort 
or for ours?  

Do we want the tears to stop for them 
or do we NEED them to stop for us?

"Beautifully broken" is a walking contradiction in our hearts without One thing.

It's too much without Jesus in the mix.

We can't see broken as a beautiful state unless we know that broken has a Redemptive Force behind it that is more than what we see.  We have to know that this place called Broken can be used for something more... that it's not just about having walked through hell and saying, "I survived."

We don't get the luxury of phrases like "Beautifully Broken" without the only Inoculation for the pain being part of the story.

We don't get to approach the broken hearts of this world lightly... with casual phrases that sound good when spoken, but cut deep without Jesus in the mix.  We must have a commitment to help them find His heart, not simply exchange word band-aids.

It's simply not beautiful without Him in the mix.  It's hopeless without Him in the mix... and our survival on this side of heaven depends on the HOPE that is Him.  He IS the cure.

He is the Game Changer.

Beth Moore says it so beautifully.  
"Broken things can become blessed things if you let God do the mending."

So, we're letting God mend
the tragedies and heartbreak that unfold in front of us.

Kids, that's crazy hard to do.  I'm doing it.  I'm watching.  It's hard... and my heart KNOWS it's the next right thing.  But it's hard.

Can anyone relate?

So, we LEAN on the truths that we've chosen.

Or maybe we lean on the truths that someone else has mentioned to us and we're still warming up to... but we're desperate enough to give it a whirl.

We LEAN on God's truth that says all of the mess will work together for something much bigger than us, our loved ones, and those we will love.

We see with His eyes the beauty that can and will emerge from a heap of ashes in front of us.

And when we can't see it?  We lean on those who BELIEVE in our circle and can cast vision on our behalf.  We lean on those who help lift our heads and hands to the One who loves us most.

Beautifully broken... it's a thing.

It's real.  It's biblical.  It's not two passionate words strung together to declare victory over the past.

It's our TRUTH if we claim it in every hard moment.

That we WILL NOT be broken without CLAIMING the BEAUTY that Christ paid for at the cross.

We can claim it for ourselves.

We can claim it for those we love.

We can claim it for those that we don't even know, but KNOW need someone to prayerfully invest in their journey.

We can CLAIM beauty for ashes.

Beautifully broken.

No longer a walking contradiction.

We WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
I'm staking my claim in the middle of life's messes... because THAT is where the beauty begins.

How about you?

Copyright © 2015 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved.