Pathways in the Wilderness

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“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

God moves in ways we can’t even imagine. Here’s to new beginnings in familiar places :) My heart already feels a new peace.

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It Begins with Him

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:15-20

It’s been a quiet month on Heights of Love. While we are living this transitional chapter, a tale of two cities if you will, I have been seeking stillness in the chaos. My heart has been receiving a lot in this time and I look forward to sharing it with you in the weeks to come.

I was planning to write a post about the song Let There Be Peace on Earth. Tyler and I went to see the Boston Holiday Pops last weekend and at the very end of the concert, the Pops led a sing-a-long of this song in honor of Newtown.

I was struck by the phrase “let it begin with us” and thought I would write about how there is something each of us can do every day to contribute to peace.

I still believe that we play an integral part in making peace come alive but on this Christmas morning, I am reminded that it does not begin with us.

It begins with Him.

He came as an innocent babe, born into a modest setting and suffered a tragic death. Why?

For us.

So that we could have peace…

So that we could receive grace…

So that we could know His true love – a love that will never fade or grow distant.

Just as Mary treasured the miracle of her son, a life-giving prophesy fulfilled, I pray that we, too, would remember the miracle of this day and the hope that it symbolizes.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and new beginnings in 2013.

Blessings and peace to you this Christmas morning :)

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Released From Perfection

To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless.
Psalm 119:96

I’m thankful to be released from the false promise of perfection.

I am a recovering perfectionist. I have spent most of my life figuring out the absolute right way to do things so that I could get the best possible outcome.

And I have failed and disappointed myself time and time again.

I worked with the late Bill Bicknell who used to say, “The best is the enemy of the good.” (I think this quote is attributed to Voltaire) Bill taught this in the context of quality in public health practice. Essentially, when we strive for perfection, the cost of getting there is not worth the end.

This idea of striving for unattainable perfection came up again last week at a faculty workshop led by one of my colleagues at BU. She was sharing some new teaching methods she had used in her courses recently and gave the disclaimer that they haven’t all worked perfectly, she’s just been willing to try. Some of her experiments have failed but some have yielded pretty incredible results in the classroom.

I don’t have to depend on my own abilities or plans to yield a life of excellence but I do have to be willing to step out on a limb and accept that sometimes I will fail. The security lies in God’s sovereignty: His abilities and plans know no limits. He is not handicapped by doubt or forces out if His control. He IS in control.

We are not.

That reality terrifies us but really, we should speak this verse and breathe a huge sigh of relief. We don’t have to be perfect!

Our pride gets in the way here because we WANT to be perfect and we want so desperately to be able to control it. But until we stop striving for the impossible and obsessing over the details, we won’t get to taste the improbable yet incredible glory that God bestows on us when we learn to walk in His way.

Our version of perfection will never measure up to God’s greatness and the cost of trying to get there on our own is far too high.

Thank You, Jesus, that you died for all my gross imperfections and continue to cleanse me from my sins. I rejoice in the freedom of letting go of an idol that only serves my pride instead of the goodness we trick ourselves into believing we will produce by being “perfect”. You are perfect, Jesus, and I pray that our striving nature would strive to be like You and not a worldly version of perfect. Thank You for lifting this burden from me!

Renew Our Spirit of Freedom

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19

I’m thankful to live in a country where I can wake up the morning after a hotly contested election and go about my day in peace and security.

After months of bitter campaign ads and tense debate, I’m in awe of the quietness of this morning.

Whether we are in joy or in sorrow over the results of the election, we still live in freedom.

What an incredible gift.

I think we can all agree, regardless of who we voted for, that there is work to be done in this nation. Let’s not stand in each other’s way with stubborn hearts and lazy conviction.

I pray that we would all be renewed in the spirit of love and community that Christ modeled for us in the Gospel. I pray that we would recognize His spirit in us today and that we would have the courage and boldness to act out of it.

We may not be a perfect country, but our freedom is something others pray for everyday. Let’s not waste it.