it’s in the process that we’re made beautiful

Since we’re in the midst of household demolition/reconstruction, I decided to do a quick video for the blog today instead of typing. Because…painting. So. Much. Painting.

I hope this encourages you.

 

 


Process of Becoming from Lara Williams

 

Fill me, Lord…

How has God recently encouraged you in the messy “process of becoming”?
 

one key to soul-revival {who’s coming with me}

In valiant efforts to not live distracted — to focus in and gain some traction in 2016 — I picked up a book that feels like home to me. I’ve mentioned it here before, but the little book “The Calvary Road” by Roy Hession always rocks my world. Always. I only have to read a paragraph before the embers in me are fanned into a flame. Really. It’s that good. And not to tell you what to do, but you should definitely own a copy.

Hession starts the book by diving into brokenness — a light-hearted intro. Not really. Then he talks about revival and being “filled to overflowing.” (Seriously. He uses those exact words. And I discovered him after naming my blog. So we’re pretty much bffs…if he were alive…and if he knew me.) Anyway, he refers to Colossians 3:15. So the other morning I went there and read the verses around that text and it confirmed something that God had already been stirring in me.

 

 

“Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth…
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”
Colossians 3:2, 16

Set. Your. Mind.

 

My mind gets clogged up so quickly with things of this world. If I don’t purposefully set my mind on things above, I’m definitely going to default back to thinking on things of the earth. And usually my default includes self-gain, self-protection, and self-defense. Lots of self going on.

I’ve tasted the sweetness of dying to self. It’s a beautiful, freeing way to live. So I don’t want to waste time in default mode — though I fall back into every single day. Our good God tells us to set our minds on things above. We have to decide to set our minds. We get to choose what we think about. And I want — nay, “need” (I’ve always wanted to say “nay” but rarely get the chance) — to set my mind on Him.

So, I’m going to try something. “Try” is the key word. And I don’t tell you this to impress you, because chances are high that I will fail. I tell you because I need accountability. If I tell you then I’m more likely to keep “trying” even when I don’t feel like it anymore.

I’m going to TRY to memorize Psalm 119 this year. If God can speak worlds into existence then He can empower me (and you, hint-hint) to remember 176 verses– the girl who can’t quite remember how much each of her kids weighed when they were born #truestory.

“Why such a seeming-impossible goal?” you ask. Well, the other day I listened to JD Greear’s sermon entitled “A Year in the Bible” and that fiery, crazy-eyed thing happened to me. I texted my sister to see if she would possibly want to memorize Psalm 119 with me. She thought that was funny.

 


 
FYI, my sister and I always (I repeat “always”) quote Christmas Vacation when we’re together. And we always think it’s funny. Bless our hearts.

 

Anyway, after I clarified my seriousness, she agreed to the crazy idea and we both decided we would “try” — by the absolute grace of God — to memorize Psalm 119 this year. Why? Because His Word is alive.

I’ve told you this story before, but when I went to seminary after years of prodigal living, I craved to know His Word. Craved it. I couldn’t get enough. After bringing me back to Himself, He gave me an appetite for His Word that I couldn’t control, contain, or conjure up. I remember walking into that seminary dorm room, throwing (in a loving way) my Bible down on the bed, and declaring to my roommate, “This thing is alive and it’s freaking me out!”

Back to the “why.” I go in waves of being diligent to memorize Scripture. A few years back Katie and I memorized Philippians together — and that rocked my world. Then I went a while without being real diligent in memorizing Scripture. Then I said I was going to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. I fizzled out about two-thirds the way through. Which made me feel like a total loser. But it is what it is.

Since then I haven’t committed any large chunks of Scripture to memory. But the other day while listening to that sermon, I sensed it was time. And then reading that Colossians text, that did me in. Because we live out of what we meditate upon. When life presses against us, whatever takes up residence in our souls drives our reaction. And more than anything I want His truth dwelling in me.

That said, I’m not going to do a bunch of publicity or blog images or Facebook groups. But I did want to ask you if you want to join me and my sister in trying to memorize Psalm 119. Not to get some Scripture memory Medal of Honor — which doesn’t exist — but because His Word is life. And we need it abiding in us in order to truly live.

By meditating on and memorizing 4 verses a week, we’ll finish it up in a year. So in true Jerry McGuire fashion, “Who’s coming with me? Who’s coming with me?”

Here’s to Tuesday, friends. If you’re braving it with us, spend time this week writing out, reading, and repeating Psalm 119:1-4. We remember what we repeat. Simple enough, right?

 

Week of January 18, 2016
Psalm 119:1-4
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.

 

Oh and if you have excuses as to why you can’t do this, well, I’ve probably had the same excuse come out of my mouth. So I can address those one-by-one in the comments, you blessed thing you.
 

Fill me, Lord…
Let’s name this crazy-eyed challenge. Any thoughts?
How has memorizing Scripture blessed you in the past?

 

goodbye, distraction. hello, new year.

December zaps me. Every. Year. It zaps me. I always need a serious, lets-turn-this-ship-around re-boot in January after all the December shenanigans. So I’m digging in, people. I’m pressing into our good God. I want to both hear His sweet, powerful voice (more than the sound of my own inner whininess that inevitably creeps into my spirit from worldly discontentment #blah) and follow His lead in the moments of my day.

 

goodbye distraction

 

God never leaves me in that numb, floundering, zapped place for too long. He faithfully jars me awake from distracted, soul-slumber. The other day it happened at the grocery store. Over a shopping cart.

It sounds completely insignificant now, but I was in a hurry on Saturday. It was the day of my son’s eighth birthday party. So I rushed into the grocery store to get some last minute food items, completely tunnel-visioned. I didn’t see the people around me. I was thinking about my schedule. And the people I needed to feed. And getting there on time. And making my son feel like his party was totally planned more than two days before the big event — which never happens because of Christmas.

Anyway, I plowed through the aisles, paid for the stuff, and rushed to the car. I had parked in a space near the front of the store but not close to a cart return area. So as I quickly unloaded my bags, I looked around trying to figure out where to put my cart. Two spaces down I noticed an older woman doing the same. And I heard in my spirit, “Go offer to get her cart and return them both.” I didn’t listen. I totally didn’t listen. I know it was God. I know it was an opportunity to show His kindness in the parking lot of a grocery store, but I was in a hurry. I had a party to get to. So I ignored Him. And I didn’t even put my cart in the right place. I pushed it near the store entrance and left it by one of the brick columns.

As I pulled out, I noticed the woman looking for a place to put her cart. She looked at me through the windshield. She looked around. Then she reached the column where I had stashed my cart…and took them both back into the store. After giving me a glaring look. Me in my mini-van with my bumper sticker that tells my church name. Good grief. I prayed for her. And prayed she didn’t see my bumper sticker. And confessed my selfishness. And thanked God that He doesn’t give up on humans.

 

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Galatians 4:5-7

 

It sounds insignificant, but the grocery store parking lot “incident” shook me awake. It reminded me afresh that our time on this planet is so short. And it’s not ultimately about schedules and to-do lists. Though I’m certain that God created schedules and to-do lists and they can honor God. “Amen” says my list-loving side. Ultimately it’s about living this short life in the power and presence of God, used by Him to touch this world with His lovingkindness. And we can’t do that if we’re only focused on ourselves. It just doesn’t work out.

We’re an extension of His love as we walk out our minutes in communion with Him. When we awake from the soul-slumber induced by our very convincing world and move in step with His Spirit, we’re an extension of His grace and mercy.

I’m not saying that being in a hurry is always wrong. Or that leaving our grocery cart beside columns is always wrong. Or that we should walk in condemnation for all the stuff we don’t do when we sense His prompting. God is grace, over and over. But it’s the moments in grocery store parking lots that make up our lives. If we waste them…well…we miss out on the true beauty of this thing called life.

So January, by the grace of God, I’m awake and ready for you. Let’s do this.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How are you entering into January?