Wednesday, November 14, 2012

nouwen & eternal friendship

"True friendships are lasting because true love is eternal. A friendship in which heart speaks to heart is a gift from God, and no gift that comes from God is temporary or occasional. All that comes from God participates in God's eternal life....You have to trust that every true friendship has no end, that a communion of saints exists among all those, living and dead, who have truly loved God and one another."
Henri Nouwen's journal, The Inner Voice of Love, pp. 80-81.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

nouwen & fearful self

"...Jesus dwells in your fearful, never fully received self. When you befriend your true self and discover that it is good and beautiful, you will see Jesus there. Where you are most human, most yourself, your weakest, there Jesus lives. Bringing your fearful self home is bringing Jesus home."
Henri Nouwen's journal, The Inner Voice of Love, p. 49.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I think hands are so beautiful. Their feel, their roughness, their agility. As a child I remember staring at my dad's hands as he cooked a gourmet meal, played the piano, or as he put his carpentry skills to good use. They seemed able to create, to build anything. His many inventions left me in awe; actually, it became something I expected, that dad could get us out of any messy situation creatively and safely. There was nothing those hands couldn't do. We rarely had to call professionals in to fix things, my dad or Poppa were usually able to use whatever was in the house, campsite or shop to invent a solution. On one camping trip when I was young, my Poppa was able to fix a man's motorcycle clutch because he just so happened to have tools in his truck for aluminum welding! My Poppa's hands, aged and experienced, have been able to create and build over many years for his family. To provide, protect, fix, and comfort. There's something about hands that are exquisitely powerful and gentle all at once.

I am always impressed by capable and expert hands. If we are made in God's image, it only makes sense that we would be able to design and craft so many wonderful things, which, though imperfect, are still beautiful. Human hands are also capable of much destruction. We use our creativity for evil and sometimes it can seem like both our hands are actually better at doing evil than good. Our human hands let us down. But our Father's hands will never let us down. His hands that created the stars and the insects, your heart and my heart, can only create beautiful and marvellous things. They are always ready. They are always able. They are hands that waste nothing. They created the universe out of nothing, and just when we think we are useless, we are used as tools in those hands for a grand design. His hands hold us, carry us, protect us, so we don't have to fear anything, even death. They work for what is good; they are hands of integrity. Powerful and mighty, but gentle and comforting.
Both of his hands are equally skilled at showing mercy
Equally skilled at loving the loveless
Equally skilled administering justice
Both of His hands, both of His hands.

(Equally Skilled, Jon Foreman)

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Part of me is dying. The younger part that used to feel safe because it had never experienced the dangers of love. There's so much of me that wants to prop up more walls, to run away from here, to go and grab hold of everything the tempting world has to offer while I still can, to be reckless and find a thrill that will distract me from my own depravity. But I know that wouldn't fix anything. Part of me just feels empty, like it needs so much human love and affirmation, more than ever before. I crave it somewhere in the essence of me. Though I hate to admit it, I need to be told I'm beautiful, I need hugs and stories to share with kindred spirits.

I wanna be somewhere real and true. Sometimes I feel like life is running away from me, teasing me with hopeless dreams. In my pride I become frustrated with people in churches. People who are arrogant, people who are trouble-makers, people who are overemotional, people who are stupid, people who are lazy. People who are so needy. I want to feel I have it all together. But I am a broken person too. I am all of the above.
Our church is full of shipwrecks,
from every hull these rocks have claimed.
- Listener, Wooden Heart
I recognize my own bitterness and ugliness. I've shared that ugliness, my dreams and fears, and, while I know being vulnerable and trusting is supposed to be a beautiful thing, sometimes it's scary not knowing whether that vulnerability will end up nurtured or as just an open sore. I know I'm scared. I'm so young, but I feel so old and tired. I am naive and inexperienced but I feel bruised from life already. And I don't like the sides of me I'm seeing. I'm cynical. I'm not confident. I make myself annoying and unlovable to those I care for the most. I feel unworthy of love. And then my overactive conscience makes me feel bad for not being perfect. I crave authenticity. But that includes accepting the brokenness.

A theology of suffering.  A chance to rest our broken ships and feel it all. To let ourselves be humbled by the pain. To see that we share the same humanity. To see God's grace in the midst of our shipwreck.

Monday, March 7, 2011

lesser measures could not have sufficed

If we believe that God is sovereign over the historical process, intervening as He sees fit to bring about His intentions for creation - that the historical process is guided by a loving Providence - how do we account for suffering? Why does a holy and all-powerful God endure our fallen humanity and allow suffering to continue?
The only ultimate answer lies in the cross of Jesus. If human beings have to bear suffering, God has borne more. Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, underwent mental anguish, human desertion, physical torture and a painful death. More, the sin that was swallowed up in his death created a schism in God, for the Son was alienated from the Father. That suffering is beyond our comprehension. 'No reason of man can justify God for His treatment of His Son; but whatever does justify it justifies God's whole providence with the universe, and solves its problem.' If the death of Jesus was necessary for putting right what was wrong with the world, it becomes evident that lesser measures could not have sufficed. Perhaps God has not abolished suffering by simpler methods because the death of Jesus guarantees something greater than the immediate abolition of suffering: present liberation from the power of sin and future liberation from the power of death. Further, victory over sin and death was achieved by suffering. This means that suffering can itself be triumphant. To suffer and yet to trust, to suffer and yet to hope - these things are vindicated by God. The cross alone makes the suffering that disfigures human history understandable within God's providence. (David Bebbington, Patterns in History, pp. 174-175)

Friday, October 15, 2010

If you tarry 'til you're better, you will never come at all.

Written by Joseph Hart, 1795. The song is called, I Will Arise and Go to Jesus. How easily I forget that everything I could ever ask for has been given to me already. I live trying to make myself better and fix my problems on my own, forgetting that the embrace of my Savior is waiting for me in an instant, no matter what condition I am in. He stands ready with the power to give life, while we run in the opposite direction. I am reminded that without Him we are weak and wounded; we cannot fix our own hearts.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

Michael Card's version can be found here:

Sunday, October 3, 2010


shh, there i am,
asleep; sedated.

it's easier than being awake
with a mind going crazy
and a smile that feels fake.

wake me up with
words from Thee,

rest in Me.