do angels ever cry?

i wrote this almost 6 years ago…6 years.

The pain is overwhelming. I begin to ask why.
Now I am starting to wonder, do angels ever cry?
Do their hearts get broken when they’re turned away?
Do they have to turn and leave, when really they want to stay?
Were they sad that Christmas morning when God came down to earth?
Did they have to hold back tears as they proclaimed the Savior’s birth?
Were they happy when He began to walk, or sad when He scraped His knee?
Were they proud as He was teaching ‘cause the world He would set free?
Did they cry as people mocked Him? Did they weep at the sight of his tears?
Did they want to rush and save Him? Was this the worst of their fears?
Were they lonely while He was away? Away defeating death.
Did they ever start to think he had breathed His own last breath?
Now that He’s in heaven, and I’m left here all alone,
Does He send His angels to save me, and claim me as His own?
While I sit here crying can they hear my plea?
Now I don’t wonder if angels cry, but do they cry for me?

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remember the why

I always wanted to join this adventure. But I never wanted to do it. Something quietly screaming in my head kept telling me to do it. That, and Elora wouldn’t let up on Facebook and Twitter. I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Well, there was kindergarten. I wanted to be an dinosaur and then an astronaut. Some well meaning adult told me “you cal be ANYTHING you want to be.” Well, I guess that sounds good. But they didn’t take into account that dinosaurs are extinct and I can’t stand roller-coasters. So flying out of the atmosphere was probably not in the cards for me. And it’s probably a good thing too, because NASA has recently cancelled the space program. After that, it was writing. I have always loved books. Sitting in the floor of my closet with a flashlight, I would get lost in the story. I would make friends of all sorts and mourn their death as the book ended. I wanted a story like that. I never really wanted to write those stories. I wanted to live them.

And then life happened…as it always does.

My temptation right now, in this moment, is to hide. Stop writing and move along. Life happens. Things get messy. And you realize this is NOT the stuff of fairy tales. There isn’t always a happy ending. Things aren’t always tied up with a little bow. Looking back on my short 25, almost 26, years I can see that it has been a story. An adventure. I have taken quite a few more hits, bandaged more wounds, and pulled more splinters out of my feet than I can remember any of my favorite characters. All of this isn’t tied up pretty yet. It’s not over. But it’s still a story. It still needs to be written.

I want to make a difference. I want my 50 or so years to mean something. Somehow, I hope that my story will be a light to those who sit in darkness, a small glimer of hope to those who have long since written off the idea of the dawn. I hope those who feel that grace cannot reach them can be encouraged by my story – that there is always enough grace. Grace to enjoy the day, or grace to be sustained through it. But there is always enough. Always sufficient. He is enough. I desire that making much of Him will be my dream fulfilled.

exhaustion.

i. am. exhausted.

and even that feels like an understatement. between moving and my CRAZY work schedule this week my life has been non-stop running since before i can remember. i have officially moved everything of mine out of the apartment. except my bed. my dad is coming up on tuesday to get it and take it to my grandpas to store for awhile.

i have a hard time with rest. i have an easy time with earning things and doing. i always want a list of things i can do for everything. what do i need to do to move. what do i need to do to get my car fixed. what do i need to do in order to please my boss. what do i need to do to fight fear. what do i need to do to somehow “get my shit together”. and because of wanting a list, and there never being one, i find myself running and running to somehow achieve all the bullet points on a list that doesn’t even exist in the first place. its like making the list while you are at the grocery store and you are simultaneously writing things down just to scratch them off. then you get home and realize that you got everything you needed…except for 10 things. fail.

so here i am wanting the list. writing things down to just check them off. and that, my friends, is exhausting. cause you never really get anywhere. hamster on a wheel. running on a treadmill. you get worn out pretty quickly and you never go anywhere.

i realize this post is random. i am ok with that. it is almost 1am, anyway.

another thing on my mind is fear. yesterday, meeting with my therapist was rough. there is a good sort of rough, where you feel like you accomplished something. and there is a sort of rough that is well, just rough. the kind of rough that keeps your mind going and makes you want to just sit down, talk it out, and figure out what to do next. (see, there i go, with the DOING again)

she said something about fear. or maybe i said it. i can’t really remember. but i have been plagued my this anxiety of epic proportions. paralyzing anxiety. tight chest. rapid heart beat. feeling like i could vomit at any moment. i brought it up. and then i kept rambling about how it has been around since i was such a little person. there isn’t a time that i remember where it wasn’t there. paralyzed by fear. crying all night just so my parents would pick me up from the poor friend i was supposed to be staying the night with. hiding in closets. not because anyone was looking for me. it was just safer in there. 3 walls around me. closed door. and topped off with more clothes than anyone should have. it was safe there. so thats where i hid when i was afraid. and i was always afraid.

i find that my reactions have changed a bit. but my fearful heart hasn’t. i still cry all night on occasion. i still hide. i still feel like i could vomit. but we, as a culture, have prettied up “being scared” into “anxiety”. or, in the church world “not trusting the Lord.” not that those aren’t true. but maybe we’re just scared of being scared. i don’t know, i’m rambling again.

so thats where i am tonight. that’s where you can find me and my fearful heart. wanting a list of “do’s and don’t’s” in order to not be scared anymore. i don’t think the list exists. i wish it did. so i keep doing things. writing them down. and then marking them off. and that is exhausting.

why can’t i just rest…

hope. expectation

hope. a synonym for expectation.

a song has been on repeat in my world lately. the words pack a punch that is sure to knock even the burliest of men to their knees in worship.

“let hope rise. and darkness tremble in Your holy light. that every eye would see Jesus our God, great and mighty to be praised. so let hope rise…”

it goes on to say. “God of all days, glorious in all of your ways.”

this song has stirred something in me. deep in the recesses of my heart it has awakened hope. expectation. in Him. proverbs 13:12 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick”. misplaced expectations make the heart sick. why? because that thing will never be able to deliver what you imagine. that person will let you down. your kids will misbehave. your parents won’t always know how to love you well. your job isn’t always as secure as you think it is. all of these things can never bear the weight we put on them. we will simply crush them. and, in the end, ourselves.

there is only one constant. one never failing. one never giving up. one always true. one more beautiful, more worthy, more valuable, more lovely, more safe than anything in this world we could put our hope, our expectation, in. and the thing is…he never disappoints.

hope has never come easy for me. ever. some people tend to swing more to that end of the pendulum. me? i swing the complete opposite direction. despair. every now and then there would be bursts of hope. of anticipation. but i pretty much hung out with despair and fear. “don’t expect too much, you’ll just get let down, your feelings hurt, disappointment.

so today, i am working on letting hope rise. reminding my soul to hope in God.

“let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

“and now, O Lord, for what do i wait? my hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

“why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? hope in God; for i shall again praise him, my salvation!” Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5

“for God alone, o my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in Him” Psalm 62:5

“by awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” Psalm 65:5

“but i will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more” Psalm 71:14

“remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope” Psalm 119:49

“the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” Psalm 147:11

may the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may ABOUND in HOPE

when we hope in Him, the God of HOPE…we can abound in it. we can expect great things from Him. He is great and mighty to be praised. Jesus, our God. the reason we have this hope.

so here’s to expectations. here’s to the God of all hope.

expect what?

I came home last night to an apartment littered with boxes. Boxes everywhere. Living room. Hallway to the kitchen. Bedroom. Closets. Its almost ridiculous how much stuff I have seemed to accumulate. I jokingly told my roommate that I should join an “I’ve got too much shit club.” She says they are normally called hoarders. I’m pretty sure I agree.

I feel like the Lord asked me if I value Him over all else. My answer was delayed. Not necessarily because I don’t…I just took way too much time assessing everything else I valued. So now He is asking me to let it all go. And in the letting go, He is showing me that He is already all I need.

Doesn’t make it easy, though. You know, realizing that He is enough. In fact, I’m pretty sure it makes it a little terrifying. All of a sudden I realize just how small and insignificant I am. How, apart from Him, how “enough” I am not. I need Him. I mean, absolutely, desperately need Him.

With each item I throw or give away I can almost hear Jesus whisper…”more than this?” – “do you treasure me above this really awesome thing?” – “am I more to you than all these beautiful memories?” – “that broken thing that this photo reminds you of, do you value me more than that? do you trust me to heal what is broken?” – “if this relationship never heals, or these wounds never go away, am I still enough for you?” – “will you count all of this as loss…so that you can KNOW me?”

So here I am. Sitting in my living room floor. Surrounded by memories. Surrounded by excess. Surrounded by hopes, dreams, and expectations of the Lord redeeming broken things and healing deep wounds that I have carried far too long. I am giving it all away for one reason.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.

So my expectation this week? That I will find Him. “Those who seek find”. He said that. Not me. Its His promise. In the middle of giving it all away, in the process of laying all my past hopes and desires at His feet in the form of photographs and birthday cards, I will find that He is enough. I will find Him – and I will be satisfied.

one word. 365.

so, here’s the thing about expectations. 97% of the time they are not met. you are let down. things didn’t play out the way you had hoped. that person didn’t say the very one thing that you were waiting to hear. the job you have been working so hard for goes to the guy in the next cubicle. the movie was good, but just not as good as you were expecting it to be. you have made all these great plans. laid them perfectly out before you. only to have the wind pick up and all you can do is stand aside and watch all your expectations flutter in the wind.

you see, i have come to expect very little. from anyone. ever. and when i do expect things, i usually expect the worst. easier to deal with when the worst actually happens. aim low and you are less disappointed when low is all you get. aim high and then get low? you’ll have to pull my crumpled heap of disappointments from the ground. so i just don’t expect. i don’t expect anyone to bring me lunch at work. i don’t expect anyone to pump the gas into my car when its cold. i don’t expect anyone to help me move. and its not because i think all the people in my life suck and wouldn’t do those things…i just don’t expect them to. i don’t wait around for someone to run to my rescue. i, in a sense, have become my own rescue.

over the past few weeks life has kind of flipped upside down. i didn’t know where i was going to live, my best friend and roommate of 5 years left the country, christmas, blah blah blah, and on and on the list could go. i have been silently wondering, “i know he is a good father, but why does it seem that i am never getting good gifts? it barely even seems like he is withholding the bad ones”

my view of God has become so tainted. hearing lies for 15+ years has numbed my heart and mind into believing he was loving me out of obligation. he was begrudgingly making me more like Jesus. “welp, i saved her. now she’s got to look like him. eh, its ok. we can make this work.” i don’t expect him to give good gifts. i don’t expect him to ride in on his white horse to rescue me. i don’t expect him to direct my steps to where i am going to live. i don’t expect him to even provide a place to live. it seems like i am functionally walking around expecting only one thing from him – disappointment.

in talking with a friend, she reminded me – “he is good father who longs to give you good gifts. even the hard things, even the hurt, even the uncertainty, even the finding a place to live – those are good gifts to you. maybe they are to make you trust him more. maybe they are to show your need for him. or maybe they are just to bring you joy. pure joy.”

so this year i am going to expect. i am going to expect him to move in my life. i am going to expect him to make me look more like Jesus. i am going to expect him to be a good father who loves his children extravagantly. i am not going to put a list of expectations on him that he should fill in order to prove himself. no. he has already proven himself over and over. this year, i am just going to expect him to be who he says he is. and if i find myself disappointed, i will look into my own heart for the fault. because i know it can’t be with him.

so here is to expectations.
may i expect great things from the one who always keeps his word.