Friday, December 24, 2010

Abundant Life

"I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

1. present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient: an abundant supply of water.
2. well supplied; abounding: a river abundant in salmon.
3. richly supplied: an abundant land.

Life more abundantly. Abundant life. I've been pondering this phrase for quite some time now. I don't think I want, really want, an abundant life. No. I don't think many of us want an abundant life and if I had to choose a substitute I would go with adequate. I want an adequate life. Adequate as in enough. I want enough money. I want enough time. Enough patience. Enough rest. Enough testing to still warrant my own sense of piety but with it enough faith to come out unshaken, unscarred.

But Jesus didn't offer an adequate life. In fact, the only thing adequate about Christ was his death and payment for my sin. It was enough. But everything else in the realm of following Him is wrapped up by this notion of abundance. And 2010 as much, way more than...any other year shed a sometimes unflattering light on this abundant life.

This is not a life that follows a straight, manicured, well-illuminated path. It's more like the yellow brick road full of dark forests, deceptive poppy fields, and some downright terrifying flying monkeys--but made easier to traverse by the company of good friends.

Our joys this year have been abundant. Celebrating milestones like weddings and graduations. At times we have laughed so hard our sides hurt and are hearts have been full to overflowing. Abundant smiles.

Our sorrows this year have been abundant. Grieving the loss of thousands, hundreds of thousands, in a country so dear to us barely a year ago. Fearing for and grieving with our dearest friends and loved ones of those lost. Weeping over the loss of one precious, tiny life just a few short weeks ago. At times we have cried so hard our bodies ached and our hearts felt broken beyond repair. Abundant tears.

And to be perfectly honest, we've had more than enough, an abundance, of doubts and questioning. Times that our trust was so weak and our faith so shallow our own skepticism threatened to swallow us up. Abundant confusion.

Many of you have been good company. You've walked with us and helped us fight off those proverbial "lions, tigers, and bears" of uncertainty, fear, and spiritual attack. You've prayed for us, encouraged us, supported us. Abundant gratitude.

Looking back on the year, I see that all of this --ALL OF IT--is part of the abundant life that Christ gives; the storms and swells as much as the still moments. Even David's "quiet waters" were marked by "darkest valleys."

But I have this regret. That far too often I lost sight of the most important thing. The abundance of God's presence.

I don't want another year like 2010. Many of you may share this sentiment. I'd rather that no one face overwhelming natural disasters, that no one die a senseless and tragic death, that no one suffer injustice or abuse... the idealistic wish list could go on for days. And so mostly, I don't want another year of overlooking His abundant presence. His sufficient grace. His boundless mercy.

Whether 2011 is a frightful raging sea, a playful babbling brook, or deep still waters I want to (and may need occasional reminders to) remember, live in, and cling to the knowledge that God's love, my Savior's love, His very Spirit in me is adequate...sufficient...boundless....ABUNDANT!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Deep in the Heart of Texas

If you've been following this blog or our ministry blog for any great length of time, then you already know our connection to and affection for Haiti. You are probably also familiar with a some of our favorite people on the planet --Troy and Tara Livesay and their crew.

Saturday morning, we will be boarding a plane headed for Texas to spend a few days with these people who claim to love us but have never managed to hit NC soil to prove it. It's all good though because we need to enjoy being the better people in at least one friendship and Troy and Tara provide ample opportunity. ;-)

As Tara mentioned here, Tim and Troy became instant bff's after finally meeting just last year despite the fact that most men of their age and station in life would go to great extremes to avoid such an effeminate reference. It works for them without being too creepy. Sort of. =)

Since we saw them last summer MUCH (understatement) has happened. Their adopted home country being ravaged by an earthquake and their displacement in the States being top of the list. And while we know that they know that we love them and have been praying for them --this trip is not about them; it's about us. :-) And we will feel better after getting to see, love on, and squeeze them in person.

Aside from all the excitement about our visit, I am also experiencing a level of apprehension over the flight(s) that await me. I don't love to fly. I've stated this fact many times. It has not changed. Tim LOVES to fly. He flew often as a child and enjoys it immensely. He loves planes, knows lots about them and loves the whole shebang. He will be comfortable sipping soda and listening to pod casts while munching down the complimentary trail mix. I will be practicing shallow breathing, clenching my fist, and trying not to look like I'm about to spew while chanting my flying mantra "I will NOT throw up in a paper bag!" He will at some point attempt to chat with me about some random bit and I will smile sweetly while shaking my head "no." No as in do not talk to me, do not touch me, and for heaven's sake do not interrupt the "I will NOT throw up in a paper bag" mantra. Okay, maybe that's all a slight exaggeration but still, I do not love flying.

Additionally, I do not love "advanced imaging technology." I am not looking forward to the new screening process of having my x-ray silhouette examined by some remote security agent. Though I choose to believe that said remote security agent is not looking forward to it either. I've read lots of articles, blogs, etc. about the controversy and I get why people are wary but seriously, is it necessary to assume that all TSA agents are perverted, x-cons and sex offenders who signed onto the job as soon as they heard the words "invasive pat-down"? Did TSA break protocol and seek out new employees by posting a classified ad for people to "feel up airline passengers?" I don't think so. I choose to believe the whole thing is uncomfortable for ALL parties involved and for that reason, I will be polite, compliant, and respectful although...

I am fighting the urge to write on my belly with a metallic marker: "I SEE YOU LOOKIN'!"