Living on the Outskirts

We finally laid out our purposes for 2018.

It has become such a sweet tradition for our family the last three years & I relish in the time we set aside to reflect back, hunker down in the present and look forward with great expectation.

After thinking it would be tender to have William join in this year, we threw in the towel after eleven minutes of a screaming battle over eating his chicken and decided to wait until his angel face was sleeping.

2017 was not black and white. It wasn’t smooth sailing. And I find it smile-worthy to look at 2017’s purposes where the first thing we wrote was

embrace what God can do in the uncomfortable

And there was a lot of uncomfortable.

It wasn’t all “bad”, by any means…but it stretched us, forced us intimately towards Christ where it was lacking in our marriage, rooted us deep in prayer and led us to asking some really hard questions that I think we’ve been slowly unfolding–

like little secrets on scrolls buried far beneath the surface of our lives

— and it’s been amazing to see what we’ve walked away keeping.

I wrestled this year with feeling out of place moving back east. There was a sanctuary about our time in California, living in the mountains, far removed from the common pace of the world and where simple living produced thriving in the mundane. And not necessarily out of choice but by necessity and placement.

Those three years humbled Jeff and I to some truths that we find, even in our faith circles, are counter-intuitive and counter-pursued.

So the wrestling this year was good, really good. It affirmed for us how we had grown, it pruned us to live continuously in the ways the Lord had transformed our hearts, even when the thick of the world our feet have been in has been loud with

self-serving. 

—————————————

We live in a self-serving world.

A feel good culture.

An I deserve mentality,

filled in with spaces of relational happiness, job or financial security, experiences and adventure, success and career minded motivation, materialism and the pursuit of things over people.

And not that these subjects are bad or wrong,

but they are me-focused, earth-life focused. 

Here is where our struggle lies.

When we purposed to know our Creator with more intention, time set aside, and in the good and the hard times, we were stripped of our self.

In really ugly, exposing ways. We saw life through a new lens, and He sat us down like small children at new window sills, in both abrupt and tender ways.

The way a Father does.

I’m currently re-reading “The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp. She reaches into all of those vulnerable spaces of our faith re-shaping time and puts it in a jar of words that strikingly resembles our new understanding as husband and wife.

This self-serving nature produces a forgetful people in us.

Forgetful of why Jesus came, how deeply God loves us, and that that love split wide open into death that let us live.

He freed us into life. 

She uses communion as such a tangible grip on this love and what it means.

And what it means pulls back the blinds of the why Jeff and I are so intent on Kingdom-living.

Jesus’s death doesn’t mean we get happiness. 

It means that even though we are sinners birthed into this holy mess of a world, what we deserve is actually our own death and suffering, but He wiped that mess up with His own wounds and blood and gut-wrenching pain and buried it forever.

He buried our mess, in His own grave.

Does that not make your knees lock, or your eyes wet with tears?

Knowing that, on what planet is there anything He can’t ask of me? 

Knowing that, on what planet do I get to live for myself and in pursuit of my own happiness?

None. Which is why when the world — even our Christian one — is saying yes to a whole lot of things, we find ourselves out of place saying no.

And reminded again, we’re not made for this home, but the next. 

—————————————–

When I break bread now, I see Christ breaking for me.

When I drink that wine, or really any wine, it helps me remember a love spilled out in agony for me.

Living communion means living every moment, every choice, every relationship, every tear, every thin place, every heartbreak, every big move, every laugh knowing that I get to live with Him.

Not that I do it perfectly, but it is this knowing that I wake up pursuing and choosing and feeling wrapped up in. Most days.

Grace is no longer just a blanket, it’s a reason.

And peace is no longer a place or moment or position I’m pursuing, but a person I’m learning to abide in.

So when Jeff and I sit down at our table, exhausted and learning how to reason with a toddler, and trying to keep the romance in our marriage lit, and reconciling with how to be stewards of our time and responsibilities here on earth while still raising up our little arrows for heaven — a beautiful and whole world beyond this — I find myself breathing better, rather than getting swallowed up by the day or the year or the faces of this space we share presently.

What are you purposing for this year?

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