Monday, March 2, 2015

Press On

Some of you have asked me to share a little more about my upcoming trip to Haiti and why serving kids and families in a totally different country than my own means so much to me. I'm hoping maybe I can explain that a little bit more by sharing a couple verses with you.

Hosea 6:3 says, "Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." I have always loved this verse because it portrays knowing God as something we work at and push for and strain for--it doesn't always come naturally and it involves seeking after Him with all our hearts--but the reward is so beautiful and so certain. He will respond to us as surely as even the changing of the seasons.

But then what does it mean, exactly, to know the Lord? This is such a multifaceted concept and I know I can't fully dig into that in this small space....but Jeremiah 22:16 shares at least one thing that knowing the Lord most definitely encompasses. It says, "He defended the rights of the poor and needy . . . isn't that what it means to know me?"

Well, isn't it? God's heart is for the poor and needy and broken and voiceless, and it's always been that way! If you tried to cut out every part of Scripture where it talks about justice for the poor, helping the needy and orphans and widows, and speaking up for those who can't speak up for themselves, your Bible would literally be full of holes because it's everywhere. Everywhere. God spoke up for us when we couldn't speak up for ourselves! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He stood in the gap for us. He fully embraced our brokenness and took our dirt and grime and scars and shame upon himself. The economy of God has never favored the rich and powerful! The economy of God blesses the last in line, the utterly devastated, the outcasts, the sick, the impoverished, and the desperate . . . a woman who's been bleeding for 12 years, a criminal gasping out his final breaths on a cross, a widow down to her last two pennies. And we are each commanded over and over again in Scripture to jump on board with God's way of looking at things, to embrace His deeply compassionate heart, knowing that whatever we do for the least of these, we are truly, truly doing for Him.

Isn't this one major way in which we can press on to know the Lord? If God's heart is for the poor and broken--both physically and spiritually--how can ours not be as well? As Christians, we are called to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken, hurting, hungry, impoverished world. We can't be content to just sit back and let suffering happen, or let injustices prevail. It's easier and more convenient and rocks our world less to sit back and do nothing, but I just can't sit back and do nothing. I'm not willing to sit back and do nothing when there are needs to be met, cups of cold water to be given out, love to be offered in tangible, practical ways to people who need it the most. When we love other people in this way, we are pressing on to know the Lord! We press on to know and acknowledge the Lord when we get behind what He is behind and go where He goes, because His grace goes absolutely everywhere . . . to the prisons and brothels and crack houses and homeless shelters and orphanages, and to desperately poor villages in need of hope like Titanyen, Haiti. I want to know God more deeply today than I knew Him yesterday, and when we love the broken, we press on to know the Lord because that is SO near and dear to the heart of God. There's a lot of desperate need in Haiti, and there's a lot of need right in front of us, too, in our own communities. I feel a strong calling to be a part of what God is doing in Haiti and such a love for the people there, and ultimately I feel an overwhelming urge to hear the heartbeat of God wherever I go, whether it's loving orphans in a tiny Haitian village or fighting for children to be protected by our legal system at my job every day. God's made it so clear that His heart beats for the broken and needy, so shouldn't ours too? Let's be about our Father's business and love what He loves and be passionate about what He is passionate about, because this is part of what it means to press on and push forward and lay aside every hindrance to know the Lord. We serve and love because He first loved us. We are the instruments of His grace because we have first received His grace. And I want my life to be well done, not just well said . . . don't you?

Press on.

Monday, February 2, 2015

You Don't Have Time

You don't have time to wait till tomorrow to do what God has called you to do today.

You don't have time to sit around waiting for the "right moment" to act on your God-given talents and abilities . . . there's a broken world out there and it needs you NOW.

You don't have time to know the good you ought to do without doing it. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

You can't wait till tomorrow to live your life on mission and to be about your Father's business . . . do it today! If you're not living your life on mission, why not? What exactly are you waiting for?

You don't have time to get to so caught up in the world's flimsy and ephemeral definition of success that you forget to give a cup of cold water to someone in need. Doing good is more important than doing well. And we don't do good works so that we are saved . . . we do them because we are saved.

You don't have time to be living your life with anything less than a sense of passionate urgency, because the days run short. As the Psalmist said, "Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom!" Number them . . . it is ok to stop and ponder once in awhile on the fact that your life won't last forever. Though some would claim this is morbid, what better way to become thankful for the breath and life you have today--and then to go out and do something with it? Something compassionate and inspiring and God-honoring and hopeful and fearless?

You don't have time to build your life on the shifting sands of wealth, beauty, success, power, and fame. Build your life on a firm foundation, one you know will hold fast, come what may.

You don't have time to waste comparing yourself to others or your life to so-and-so's life when you could just be following Jesus. As Jesus said to his disciple Peter, "What is that to you? You must follow me!" (John 21:22)

Get off the couch and do what God has called you to do, and do it now! Believe me, I'm speaking to myself more than to anyone else . . . but really, just do it. I don't know what it is for you. I know what it is for me . . . I literally have a list right now of specific tasks I feel God is leading me to do and it's time for me to get moving on it.

Don't waste your time, because that's what your life is made of. Get up and get moving. I need to follow Jesus. You need to follow Jesus. No one has time for anything less than that.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Readers, I am back after my long but much-needed hiatus. Maintaining this blog has just not been a high priority for me in the last couple of months as I've been busy with work, and I can't promise it will be that high of a priority in 2015 either, but I have missed writing and I do want to try to give you at least a few posts a month moving forward. So don't give up on me yet!

As is everyone else, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on everything that happened in 2014 and all the goals I have for 2015. In a way, I was sorry to see 2014 go. God has been very, VERY faithful and kind to me in the past year, and I've had the sheer joy of seeing Him answer prayers with a "yes" that I had previously thought might always be answered with a "no." He has worked in my life in ways that previously He had not worked, placed opportunities in front of me that I could not have imagined having, and walked with me while I've faced a lot of my fears, teaching me that I wanted to pursue His plans for me more than I was afraid of pursuing them, and these past few days I've just been celebrating that. With graduating from law school, my trip to Haiti (where I left a little piece of my heart), starting a job I absolutely love as an attorney, moving to the city I've wanted to live in for a long time, passing the bar exam, running my first two half-marathons, and appearing in court on behalf of real clients for the first time ever, this past year has been full of exciting and happy moments. I can't wait for many more to come in the year ahead as I encounter new challenges and tackle more things I've never tackled before.

Some of my goals for 2015?

  • Go to Iceland and see the Northern Lights
  • See the Colosseum in Rome
  • Watch the sun rise/ set over the Eiffel Tower (these first three should be able to be accomplished on the trip to Europe, traveling through Iceland, that Meagan and I are planning for late fall of 2015)
  • Begin handling my own cases at the firm
  • Do a deposition by myself
  • Appear in court by myself (as opposed to being supervised by my boss, as I was when I did trials this fall)
  • Go to New York City and see a show on Broadway
  • Read at least 50 books
  • Go to Haiti again
  • Get sworn in to practice law before the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court
  • Read the Bible from cover to cover
  • Become a better listener (it has come to my attention that I'm not really such a great listener. Time to improve on this vital skill). 
  • Pay off all credit card debt and start a new habit of saving cash BEFORE I buy things instead of putting them on credit and paying them off later. 

Well, I wish I had some deeply inspirational thoughts for 2015 but I really don't. I'm just excited to be getting back to blogging after so long away! I am going to try to be kinder, more joyful, more determined, more tenacious, and more fearless in 2015 than I was in 2014, and I hope you will too. Happy New Year!