Dear Love, Holy Moments, life making, Praise Songs

He Brings Grace Like FireFlies

It is the end of summer. And my soul aches to say goodbye to it. Number two pencils have begun to  fill jars instead of sweet tea and crisp burst of air invade mornings hinting to a new season. So many have eagerly awaited the fall, and as each leaf drops there is a momentary celebration as they anticipate all the more to come: bonfires, holidays, and that inspiration that seems to accompany the season. But for me, I can’t help but wish I could have a few more days of summer. All I can think is where did the time go? How did this season, this season full of so much fun, so much to do, end so quickly? And my heart chews while I look out the window. And I realize I am watching time pass right in front of me, stillness is only a trick of the eye, and even in my awareness it is a magic trick I can not figure.  

I am southern through and through. And I roll around in the hot season like a dog on grass, mouth open, tongue out, tail wagging. It is the magic of the season that I cling to. Summer days, summer nights, and memories that smear into ideas. Memories of childhood. Memories of running through sprinklers with my brothers and sister, while wearing that swimsuit-the one with the iridescent purple- all day long and deep into night, catching fireflies in between gloppy spoonfuls of half melted ice cream, memories of laughter, so much laughter. Is that why it calls to me still? On nights so humid that I feel the curtain of vapor that hangs heavy in the air, my own theater, with its cicada symphony tuning up, readying its song, making melody in its own kind of chaos. The conductor taps for attention, and suddenly light. My mind its own kind of camera. And there is action. As fireflies light up the sky, light up the trees, light up the air, swooping, jumping, gliding. Its own miniature ballet. And I, all child and wonder, am captivated by the season. I sit in my front row seat with mouth ajar, and memories smear into idea. Yes, it is the magic of the season that I cling to.

I watch them. Those tiny dancers in the sky. I wonder why they charm me so much. But I find myself watching, glued to their choreography. I cannot look away. They are brief moments of joy, arranged in sequence, one after the other, for my delight, for my pleasure. Moments of grace. Moments of joy.

Yes.

Moments of joy.

The phrase catches me off guard. Had I forgotten joy? In the midst of sitting out the season I loved so much, in the midst of watching rather than experiencing, had I forgotten about the very thing that makes me smile? When was the last time I felt joyful? When was the last time I sought it out, looked for it as often as I look for my keys? When was the last time I considered myself a joyful person? Consider it all Joy, brothers, when you fall into various trials. Trials? Yes, I had that. But joy? I’m not so sure. Consider it all joy when you fall. Fall? Yes, it feels like a fall. I hear the oomph as I hit the hard pavement of a broken world. I look down to scratched knees and trickling blood. I feel the burn of air to exposed nerves. So many exposed nerves. So much burning. I fell. I fall. I keep falling. Trial after trial after trial. How do I find joy in the fall, in the falling into?

My mind comes back to the moment. I am sitting under full moon in the land where fireflies come together. One by one they unite in their synchronized  dance. I smile. I half giggle. I reach for them. I remember. I remember the nights mom sent me outside with a jar in hand. A jar to catch as many as I could, jumping into the air, hands cupping into the sky to seize the moment (moments of grace? Moments of joy?), to seize those dancers, but what else? It is more than just bug catching that made those nights so memorable. It is more than just creatures pulled to jar.

It is joy. Joy that sweeps in and out of those days and nights. It is joy that sweeps in and out of these. Like a child I run here and there with my jar, catching them like fireflies, hoarding them in my little catcher, determined to gather, determined to keep my stock, determined to press face hard against glass and watch the glow. The wom!, wom!, wom! of light that fills air, fills sky. If but only for a brief moment it is enough, it is enough to fill dark moments with hope, for another glow, and another, and another. And like a child addicted to the thrill I watch. I whisper. I watch, quiet and still, careful not to scare the magic of hope away. It is sacred. These summer nights thick and muggy. It is sacred. These nights of magic as I watch grace spread out and fill the backyard, fill the trees, fill the air. And bouts of light appear. Suddenly, and just as quickly it is gone. The moment fickle. But I do not care. Because the magic has thrilled me. He has thrilled me! And I am child once more, bubbling laughter out and over like a fountain, like a fountain of pure joy. And I know. I know my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. And so I run, I run into His creation, I run into thick, muggy, humid life and I let drops of vapor cling to me. Because it is hot, and it is stale. But in the hot, in the stale, whether it be middle or end (does it really matter?) yes, in the hot the fireflies come. In the hot the magic bursts into open air. In the hot, not in the cold, life comes out of crooks and crannies, birthing, birthing, always birthing. And light is found. Yes, in the hot it comes. In the trials. Consider it all joy when you fall into trials. Consider it all joy, for it is in the hot, in the trial that hope can thrill. It is in the trial that the fireflies burst their light. He brings grace like fireflies. And it is only in the hot, muggy nights I see them. Only in the dark is their magic spectacular. Only in the trial does the wonder come. Yes, I see it now. Consider it joy when you fall into various trials. Consider it joy, clap hands in wonder with each catch. Knowing that the testing of your faith, the catching of these moments produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect, complete, lacking in nothing.
It is the end of summer. And my soul aches to say goodbye to it. But I hold my jar, full of grace, full of joy. Little glowing reminders of the hope He has for me. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. And I see Him in every glow in that jar. He is my grace. He is my joy. He brings grace like fireflies. And light, light, always light, sometimes in moments, sometimes in hours, sometimes in whole seasons. And no matter its length, I do not care, Because the light has thrilled me, and I know, I know, my help comes from the Lord. For I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.

 

Psalm 121:2 | James 1:2-4 | Song of Songs 6:3

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A New Day, Dear Love, Holy Moments, Love Story

Cups

My whole life I have dreamed of my wedding. Of being a bride. Of being a wife. Over and over and over again I dressed my dolls in white, traipsed them back and forth across brown carpets letting them walk imaginary aisles towards their grooms. When my mom went to work I would sneak into her closet, dressing myself in lace scarves and gloves all white and stare, always stare into the mirror and into my imaginations. I was not a girl playing dress up. I was a bride. I was beautiful. I was wanted and loved.

As the years passed I fell asleep dreaming of him. The one that I would meet who would want me over any other. The one who would, on one knee, look up at me with eyes so genuine, asking me to be the one he would wake up to, share coffee with, while morning sun spilled down smiling faces and into cups, the one I would drive to not so far off adventures on weekends, laugh, share life.

As I got sicker, I wondered if he would care. Would he love me enough to find joy in protecting me, providing for me even when there wasn’t much I could give back? Would the sick get in the way of the love? Would it still be worth it to him? I walked into events, always looking. Was he that one? Or the one leaning against the wall? Or the one laughing with friends in the middle of the room there? Was he here? Or would I meet him next week, at the the Starbucks on Morrel? My eyes were always looking, my heart was always wanting. The little girl in me still staring into her imaginations.

And I don’t know how exactly the sickness took the attention. But slowly, I noticed less and less, as the caring dwindled and the keeping up rose. And slowly it was other things that took my attention, namely the basics, the everyday needs of life that suddenly felt so much heavier than they ever felt before. And I didn’t care so much about finding him, because there were too many other things that deemed themselves prevalent.

Isn’t that how it goes? The child in us, ever hungry for relationship and love, seeks out, longs for, hopes in. And time goes by and we age through circumstances, and independence and necessity for the to-do’s and the to-get-done’s becomes louder and louder and suddenly relationship no longer seems vital, and love is merely a luxury rather than a need. But the to-do’s and the-need-to-get-done’s, that never ending list, that always-being-added-to list grows heavier and heavier to the burden of our backs and for a girl, like me,  who can’t notice details in the healthy, it is an impossibility in the sick. And suddenly, I was thick in the quicksand of self-sufficiency. Gurgling calls of help as fingers sunk deep into sand. And my mind went back to the One, the One who loves me over any other, and I couldn’t see Him, but He said He was there. He said He would never leave me. And suddenly, again, I was reminded that it was His presence I needed over any other.

And so we talked. He and I. We talked. And I told Him all of it. Every day. Every hour. We talked and I reminded the One who didn’t need reminding. And we talked, while morning sun spilled down not so smiling faces and into cups. Into cups I didn’t want. Into cups I never asked for. Into cups I hoped to rid myself of.

If you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Into cups that gave more than just drink. Into cups I found more than just relief of thirst.

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you…

Cups of covenant. Cups of remembrance. Cups of relationship. Cups of love. And over those cups, He asked me what I wanted.

Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.

What I wanted. What I wanted? Did I even know? I had always wanted a husband. And that dream seemed so long ago. Slowly, life shook and cracked and crumbled around me. The strippings of a world no longer necessary, a world full more of superficiality than I had ever noticed before. What I wanted. How could such an easy question feel so difficult. Words that felt so tangible I rolled them around in my fingers. Possibilities flipping through my mind, and after so much, they no longer seemed important. I wanted security, but money no longer seemed necessary. I wanted peace, but at what store do we buy peace? I wanted to breathe, but how do I send off for breath? But a husband. The age old desire circled back into my mind. The little girl in me hoped, but the worn, tired heart wanted more.

“A husband.”

My answer, alone, exposed, and unsure. My answer, reeking vulnerability as I placed it there, open on this table of discussion, this table among cups. I looked to Him. I looked at Him. His words, an open invitation into more, but did I want more? And what did my answer mean? A husband. A husband? I thought again. I rolled those words over and over my fingers, like a marble and a trick I never knew I had.

I said it again, “A husband.”

Confident and sure. It grew in me. And slowly, with each time spoken, I knew. I knew what I wanted.

A husband.

Tears fell. Cups were poured. Covenant. Remembrance. Relationship. Love.

Memories came. Aching, longing, difficult memories. Reminders of all the moments. Those strippings of life, of hopes, of dreams, of security, of security feigned. I looked back on all the years, years stolen by drought and famine. By pain and loneliness. By disease. By fear. I looked back at those memories. At looked at the cups He poured now. It had to be Him. It had to be Him! I cried. Tears fell. I poured out into those cups. My aches, my pains, my fears. Never before had I realized. Never before had I seen what I really longed for. Never before did I know. But I now knew. Now I saw. In the multitude of this famine, this drought of the soul, this drought of my life. No job, no car, nothing. No thing. No security, tangible and sure. Just aches, just pains. No insurance, no remedy. No remedy? A husband. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find. A remedy. A husband. Even in saying it I slowed my breath, I slowed my heart. And question turned to confidence. My eyes and mind focused together. It had to be Him. With realization I looked up and I saw, I saw the cups He placed before me with new eyes.

It is the lie of the enemy. Self sufficiency. Independence. The American dream. It is the lie of the enemy. I do not need anyone else, I can do this on my own. Provider? Protector? I can do it. I can make it. It is the lie of the enemy. And we fall so easily. We let it coat our souls like oil lathering skin. We sit in it. We get comfortable in it. Yes, this feels good. And so we settle in. We believe. We get up and go to work, we earn our money, we watch our bank accounts fill. We gather our manna. We eat our fill. We think, “I have gathered. I have done this. Look at what I have done.” And we forget our Husband. The one who gave. The one who provided. The one who filled. It is the lie of the enemy. I see with new eyes.

“It has to be you,” I say. Once again, I look across the table, past the cups and into the eyes that have never moved. “It has to be you.”

I pick up the cup. “Drink this in remembrance of Me,” He says. I drink. I drink from the cup. I accept the covenant gladly. “With this ring, I thee wed.” I drink. Because it has to be Him. It has to be Him. He is my husband. He is my protector. He is my provider. And were it not all stripped from me, would I have seen it? I look around my kitchen, I look at these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. And then I see the sun, dripping down these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. He is in it. He is in it all, and yet I hardly see. Not until today. It has to be Him. I want no other. No other husband. I only want Him. And so I drink. Hearty, mouth gulping, pouring down my chin, drink. The new covenant of His blood. Covenant. He and I. My greatest and only Love. I drink, and with each drink, I know. I have found the One my soul loves.

Drink this cup in remembrance of me.

I drink. And I remember. And with grateful gulps I remember. I remember what He has done. I remember what He does. I remember what He will do. For my maker is my Husband, whose name is the Lord of hosts; And my Redeemer is the Holy one of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. My Maker is my Husband. It had to be Him. It was always Him. With this ring I thee wed. With this cup I thee wed. I drink. And I am loved.
It was always Him. It was always Jesus. 

 

Luke 22:42 | I Corinthians 11:25-26 | Song of Songs 3:4 | Isaiah 54:5

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He is good, Holy Moments

Where My Soul is Certain

Its snowing again. I think we’ve had snow for 10 days straight. That’s an oddity for us southerners. But I don’t mind it. I know several who are annoyed. I know several who don’t like it. But for me, snow is always a reminder. It’s never a snow day. It’s always a grace day. And so as I look out the window to white stuff making my window look more and more like a snow globe, I write.

Audrey Assad sings of how He came into this world like snow. She sings of how He came soft. How He came quiet. How He came slow. And as I watch the snow fall it is just that: soft, quiet, slow. It is easy. It falls so easy. Laying down without a hint of sound. It falls and relaxes onto the earth, or maybe the earth relaxes to the snow. It falls piece by piece and moment by moment and as it does it ushers in peace. Peace by Peace, moment by moment. And suddenly it is here and suddenly it is everywhere. Piece by piece. Moment by moment. And there is peace. Peace is here. Peace is everywhere. And I remember.

I remember Job’s friend, Elihu. It was probably the only wise thing he said. He reminded his friend of the power of our God. Of our great God. He reminded Job of how the God of everything says to the snow, Fall on the earth. And then it falls. For He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.

I love this verse. I love how it reminds me with each falling snowflake of His strength. I love how I can watch the snow fall without a sound and peace covers my soul. I love how my neighborhood becomes white and suddenly I am certain. Certain of my God. Certain that He is able. Certain that I am not without, because I am with Him. That is where the peace comes from. It isn’t from the method of the snow. Its pattern and rhythm. It isn’t from its quiet that seems to overtake and silence all around. It is from the certainty of Him. He is constant. He is strong. He is unchanging and sovereign. He said to the snow fall on the earth. He says fall, and it falls. Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He says fall and it falls. Even the winds and storms obey. And with that there is peace.  Because as He says fall, His strength is revealed. And as His strength is revealed, my soul is certain.

With each graceful snowflake another place of life is covered. Another angst. Another fear. Another worry.

And as His strength is revealed, my soul is certain.

Job 37:6

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Holy Moments, life making

The Sending

I let my life get the best of me. I let my life do the living rather than myself. I forgot what I was called to. I forgot who I was made to be. I forgot what really mattered. I gave into life, and by doing so lost the very thing I was trying to gain.

It is so easy to do, is it not? Life swarms and flurries all around us, and soon we are so thick in life that we cannot see the life around us. Look around you. Look and see the life around you. Not the life you are so busily working to plump up. Not the life that has rushed in so strong and taken over by storm. Look around you.Look at the life around you. Look at the hearts that beat all around. Some faster than others, some heavier than others, but all pulse blood through and around. Catching breath in their lungs and looking. Looking ahead, looking behind, looking for purpose, for value, for more than what they have. For more than what they are. They are calling out. They want to know. They want to know why and how. Why they are who they are and how they would ever be of any value.  They are lives of so much more value than the ordinary things we seek for in our day to day.  And yet, we seek a life of this, a life of that, rather than looking past our little front yard and into the vast wilderness that lies ahead of us. We fall prey to the very thing that traps them. Only we know better, because we know the why and how. Why we are who we are and how we have any value. And yet we choose to stay here, in this life, seeking our own, rather than looking up and out, into the world of lost lives. The world that is calling out to an answer that we have. An answer that we have.

And so, that is where I want to be. That is where I want to live. Not in this culture of hustle and bustle. This culture that screams for me and my wants, for my prosperity above all others. I want to be out there, with them. With those who have yet to know, to learn, to see Who it is that loves them most.

I want to go. I want to be willing to go. Not where the winds take me. Not where the whims take me. But where He takes me. The Lover of my soul, The Lover of their souls. The One who changes, who transforms. I want to go for Him. I am tired of taking steps that lead nowhere. I am tired of seeking my own. I am tired of thinking that the only steps that matter are the steps of great distance. Here I am, Lord. Send me. Only let me not forget that a sending into the very place I already am is just as paramount. Send me to greater places than distance could ever take me. Send me to deeper waters. Send me to the ones you have called me to. Send me to the holy moments. Wherever it may be. Send me here, Let me see the life around me. The life that is here. Let me take steps toward them. Remind me every day is my mission field. Everyday I am to go out, to preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptizing them in your great name. Remind me everyday of my mission. Remind me everyday is my mission. My mission is for the life around me. Wherever I may be, there they are. For life is all around me. Hearts are beating all around. Some faster than others. Some heavier than others, but all pulse blood through and around. Catching breath in their lungs and looking. Looking ahead, looking behind, looking for purpose, for value, for more than what they have. For more than what they are.

So send me. Send me to greater places than distance could ever take me. Send me to deeper waters. Send me to the ones you have called me to. Send me to the holy moments. Wherever it may be. Send me here. Send me. Here I am, Lord. Send me.

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A New Day, Holy Moments, life making

The Lost Silence

I lost the silence. I lost it somewhere between Monday and the Mundane. How do I do that? How do we do that? You start out focused. Life is good. Life is great. You am running in stride and it feels good. You can hear the cheering around you. You can hear the cheering behind you. And then you get caught in the rhythm of the run. You get caught in the pat, pat, pat of feet on pavement and before you know it there is no focus, there is only blur. And what seemed like movement becomes dragging.

Dragging.

Dragging.

Dragging.

Can you feel the pull. Can you feel the burden? Can you feel the weight. It drags. It slows. It blurs. Life is no longer movement. I am not moving forward. Or am I ? I cannot tell. Because this needs done and that needs tending to. And this one called and that one emailed, and all there is to do has not been done. And I see piles. I see piles all around. And what was day is now night and nothing has been done, nothing has been accomplished. And all is ever before me, ever present. And I run. I run and run and yet there is no movement. There is no progress. Because it is and it is and it is. The road becomes dark. The road becomes sparse. The sky is gray and all I can do is try to keep up, but keep up with what I want to know. Because this is not what I was called to. This is not what I was made for. I was made for life. For life abundant. He came to me for life abundant. But this is not life abundant. This is work abundant. This is tired abundant. This is weight abundant. This is heavy abundant.  Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.

 

Rest. What is that? Because I go to bed every night, but there is no rest. Because dreams become work. Work of the next day, work that is forgotten, work from all this stress. There is no rest.  There is stress. There is laying down and waking up, but where is the rest. where? Because the silence is gone and in its place is noise. Noise from evrywhwere and everything. Noise of friends, noise of culture, noise of media, noise of life. And I cannot make the noise stop and I cannot make the running stop. I cannot see through the blur. I cannot drag enough. It is all there and all here and all everywhere. And I cannot make it stop. I cannot make it slow. I cannot make it hush. Oh let it hush. And let me stop. And let there be silence. I only want silence. I had the silence. I lost the silence. I only want there to be silence. Where is that silence?

But He said, Come to me. Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Come to me. That is all He says. He does not say run. He does not say do. He does not say drag. He says come. Have you come to him? Have you sat at the feet of the One who loves you most? Have you come to talk to the One who listens? The One who wants to hear you? Have you come to sit in the glory of the King? Have you come to the cross of the One to which your life was ransomed? Have you come that you may find the silence through the song of your heart? Have you come?


He only says come. We must only come. And the running stops. And the blurs fade. And the dragging releases.

We must only come.

John 10:10 | Matthew 11:28

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Holy Moments, life making

Take Time

I have been thinking a lot about time this morning. How time can corrupt into busyness. How busyness corrupts all the more, stealing more and more of life until we have run amuck into action, without one opportunity for intention. Busyness is not a bad thing. But like all things, how easily does it turn into something bad. It throws us into thought, into need to’s and should be’s. It pulls the wool over our eyes and takes away our ability to sense. When we heed to busyness we give up on presence.

I lay here in bed on this cloudy morning thinking it over. Jesus was busy. Jesus went from morning to evening, through the masses, with the masses, always doing. He had to get into a boat just to get time away for Himself. But then I think again. Yes, Jesus was busy. But He knew how to take time. He always took time. Always made time. In spite of the busyness, He took the time for intention, for presence.

He took time with the Father. He took time with the disciples. He took time for the woman who pulled at His cloak. He took time for the one dropped through the roof. He took time for the children. Let the children come, He said. Yes, He took time. Even in the busyness, He stopped to be intentional, to be in the moment. He took time.

Every Thursday my friend wears a shirt to exercise class. “Practice Presence.” She wears it to help her remember. She wears it to help us all remember. Just breathe. She says. This is fun. She says. It does not feel fun. Every move makes my muscles burn and shake. I watch the clock as if it is my only ticket out. I anxiously watch the minutes pass by. Just let it be over, just make it be over. I do not take time, I push time. I want time to move on. I want time to be gone. Practice Presence. Even in the pain, even in the uncomfortable, practice presence. I want to be like Tara. She is like Jesus. She learned this well from Jesus. I want to be like Jesus.

I want to take time. I want to make time. I want to be intentional. To practice presence. Oh let me be in the moment. In the moment with my Father. I want to go off in the moonlight and sit in the garden. I want to be with Him at dawn, as mists rise from the earth. I want to tell Him all my heart and hurts and walk through it with him. I want to take time with my father.

I want to be about my Fathers business. My Fathers busyness. If I am to have busyness let it be of my Father. I want to take time.

Luke 2:49

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Holy Moments, life making

Such a Time as This

Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before.

 

We met downtown for a friendly game of catch up. Two friends whose lives had gotten a bit too crazy. Two friends who hadn’t seen each other for too many months. I told her all the recent news. I shared all of my happy, all of my heart. And she likewise. And then Priscilla asked if she could take me somewhere. “I think God wants me to drive you around Knoxville, is that weird?”  It might have been, but I’ve learned not to ignore any prompts from God. So I agreed and out to the car we went.

She took me in her car, onto a route she walked every week. A prayer route. But as she started it, even she wasn’t sure where exactly we were going.

We drove through the Old City, through Downtown Knoxville, and then down through Worlds Fair Park. And as she drove I saw streets and buildings that I have loved over and over. There is something about this city. Something I will never grow tired of. I love the way even the ugly grit of Knoxville creates a character I can’t help but adore. And on those streets and in those buildings, there were people. People of every shape and size. College people, and homeless people, and taking a walk at night people. There were business people and hanging out with friends people. There were so many people for a not so special Tuesday night. And just like the streets and buildings, there was something in those people that made me adore every one. I will never grow tired of people. And that is exactly what I was thinking when He spoke to me.

Have you ever thought about how much you love this city? Have you ever thought about how the others you know don’t see Knoxville quite like you do?

A brainstorm of thought swirled into my mind. Over and over, I remembered all my friends, all my sweet friends who have said time and time again how Knoxville is a special kind of something for me. “Knoxville is great, don’t get me wrong. I just think you see it differently than most of us.”

It was true. Knoxville is my Narnia. Its like I walked through that wardrobe several years ago and have seen nothing but wonder ever since.

But then I remembered more. Because that phrase, that I had heard so many times over, well it sparked something else, something I had heard years ago, only in a different context. “I just think you see it differently than most of us.” I could see her face but I couldn’t remember her name. But she had said it. Almost those exact words. Almost 10 years ago. “I just think you see people differently than most of us. Even the ugly are beautiful to you.”  I remember when she said it. I remember sitting in the dorm rooms on her peach quilted bed, staring at homework but listening to her, I remember being confused when she said it. I remember thinking she didn’t know what she was saying. And then in this moment, here, in the car, on the streets, with these people I remembered. And as I did, He spoke again.

“That is Me in you.”

It was a holy moment. I don’t know why five words would shake a person like those did. But they did.

And then Priscilla took a left  into a parking garage.  “This is my favorite place in Knoxville. I just want you to see it.”

Up and around we drove. Up and around ten times, until we were at the top of that garage. And as I got out, I looked around to see one of the most beautiful views Knoxville had to offer. I saw all of downtown. I looked from the Sun Sphere, to Campus to Chesapeakes Restaurant to Henley Street Bridge. Lights were flashing, people were walking, life was happening. In a city I loved, in a city that held so much speciality, life was happening.

I have called you for such a time as this.

He spoke into a moment of equal stillness and anticipation. And with those words I saw a floodgate of thought. For I saw how moments had worked together linking up in order to place me exactly in that moment. Twenty-eight years of moments. Twenty-eight years of life. Twenty-eight years of things happening outside of how I wanted them to go. Years of confusion, years of insight, years of learning,  years of struggle, years of blessing. Twenty-eight years of Him calling me to such a time as this. I’m not saying it makes sense now. I’m just saying, it makes more sense. Because I would never be where I am now, had I not been where I was. And this, this is where He wanted me. This is where He wants me. In my Knoxville. And in that moment, it was the only place I wanted to be. It is, now, the only place I want to be. I want to be in such a time as this.

I looked over the city again. Onto a place I always knew I loved but never realized why. It was no longer just my city. It was my Knoxville. It was such a place as this, for such a time as this. I don’t know what is happening here, in this city. But I know He has called me to it.

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place…

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

 

Esther 4:14

Who knows. Who knows what we have been called to. Who knows whether we have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. We have been called. We have been called to the Kingdom. We have been called to further the Kingdom. We have been called for such a time as this. And winds from the east and mists coming in. Like something is brewing and about to begin. Such a time as this. We have been called to the Kingdom. Can’t put my finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before. Its Mary Poppins weather. Its an Esther Moment. It is what is calling you and me at such a time as this. It is the Kingdom, and you and I are apart of it. We have been called. Together. To our own. To His purpose. We have been called. And I have no idea where these winds will take me. I have no idea what Narnia has in store. But I know I have been called. To a people I love with a heart that is not my own. To a city that has become more than just my own. I have been called. And so have you.

Knoxville is my Narnia. And I look around with anticipation at this Kingdom.

For Aslan is on the move.

 

Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before.¹

 

¹Sherman, Robert B. & Richard M. Sherman, Chim Chim Cheree. Mary Poppins. 1964.

She took me through the Old City, Downtown Knoxville, around Worlds Fair Park. We drove and I listened to the music. I didn’t know what I was listening for. In fact, I was a little nervous. What if He didn’t say anything.

 

But as surely as my thoughts of doubt came, so did His voice. He spoke to me, bringing together things I never thought were connected. Reminding me how I see Knoxville. Because if you don’t know, I love this city. I think it is the most beautiful city in our country. I am never without something to do here. The people, well, they are uncomparable. The scenery is fantastic. And every time I leave, no matter where I go, I find no city to match it.  In fact, I’ve been told if I were in the business of selling Knoxville I’d be a rich woman. I guess I just see this city differently. And when I realized that, He brought another thought to my mind. Or rather, He brought a memory. Of a friend long ago, who said to me, “I think God has given you the ability to see beauty in all things and in all people. You see everything as beautiful, no matter how much everyone else may see it as ugly.” Could it be, I saw Knoxville, through a different lens. Could it be I saw Knoxville with God given lenses. A heart for a city, I never knew I had. These were the questions I threw up at Him. God, is this what you are trying to tell me?

 

We drove through streets, and I saw the people. And I saw them in ways I never realized before. I saw hearts. I saw mission. I saw opportunity. I saw life.

 

And then He said this: Remember such a time as this.

 

I went back to the scriptures to read more. And isn’t it funny how you think you remember a scripture one way, but when you read it again, straight from the source you find so much more. Eyes went wide as I read. For a verse with only so many words, said so much more than I ever could have imagined.


For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your fathers house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this

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