Friday, May 01, 2015


I have really been enjoying Matt Maher's new album, Saints and Sinners.  My current favorite song is "Everything is Grace."  (You can listen to it here.)  With all the changes and upheaval in my life lately, the lyrics really speak to me.

Especially this line:  "My portion, the only thing I know, You are enough."  This echoes the Psalmist, who repeatedly affirms the sufficiency of God in our life.  I've heard this over and over and repeated it without really thinking about what it means.

I began meditating on the concept recently and realized that I've been looking at God like I look at food.  I've struggled with my weight throughout my adult life and I'm constantly refusing treats or second portions.  The kids will give me sweets or encourage me to eat fattening foods and I refuse, saying that I'm satisfied with the healthy things I've chosen.  Which is a lie, because Cookie Butter is delicious and so is bread.  But I stick to the party line, trying to convince myself that I am satisfied with the healthy option.  The word "portion" itself speaks of deprivation and sacrifice because it seems small and whittled.

So when I think of God as my portion, it seems like sacrifice as well.  As if He is the tiny bit of healthy food I allow myself when I am sticking to my diet.  I mouth the words that He is enough, while still pining for the world in my heart.  As if I'm being "good" by pretending to be satisfied with Him.

I was praying at Mass before the Eucharist a couple weeks ago and as I stared at the crucifix above the altar, the real sufficiency of God as my portion hit my like a load of bricks.  He is not diet food. He is the feast.  The God who spun the world into existence with a word is my allotment.  Mind-boggling, yes?  I get excited when I work a little extra and get a larger paycheck, or when I splurge and make a delicious "cheat" meal.  And yet I act like a pious beggar when declaring the sufficiency of the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe as my portion, as if I'm somehow holier for being satisfied with less.  As if He is less.  And something is wrong here.  I've unknowingly gulped satan's lie that God wants to deprive us.

Do you struggle with this? Does satisfaction in the Lord seem like the false satisfaction of a salad instead of a cheeseburger?  I challenge you to meditate on what His sufficiency really means.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Ps 73:26

Saturday, April 04, 2015


I usually give up Diet Coke for Lent.  It's good to get it out of my system and rewire my tastebuds when drinking Diet Coke gets habitual.  But this year I decided to try something a bit harder.  I gave up Facebook (for the most part, though I did post a prayer request and look up some recipes).

And it has been hard.  Surprisingly hard.  I hadn't realized how often I check in on FB.  I compulsively reach for the phone as soon as my alarm goes off and scroll through my feed as I get ready to start the day.  I scan it while helping Nate with school, while waiting in line at the grocery store, while sitting at stoplights, etc.  I am always on.  And I am always distracted from dealing with the empty spots in my life.

I have holes in my life that need to be filled with Christ.  I have feelings that need to be dealt with and destructive thought patterns that need addressing.  But when I'm constantly distracting myself with social media I can avoid the hard work of facing my loneliness head on.  I can find solace in online friendships and avoid seeking interaction with friends here in Texas.  I can pretend to be in community while isolating myself in real life.

But most importantly, I can avoid the soul-searching, life-changing encounters that Christ wants to have with me.  I desperately need to be still and let Him reveal things to me about my life and my heart,  But that is uncomfortable, and I crave comfort.  So I slap on the balm of mindless entertainment, and I ignore the anxiety and fear and despair that He wants to heal.  I pretend to be too busy to pray, when in reality I am too frightened to allow Him real intimacy.  I gladly trade intimacy with Him for amusement with the masses.  And I wonder why I still feel empty and anxious at the end of the day.

I'm not saying FB is bad or that I won't continue to use social media.  But like anything else, it can become an idol for me.  A substitute for what I really need and what I was really created for.  I seek comfort when I really need the Comforter.  So I'm coming out of Lent determined to use social media rightly.  As a tool, not as an idol.  And I pray God grants me the grace to bravely seek Him, even when it is uncomfortable to see what my heart really looks like.

What idols are in your life?  What substitutes have you been using to avoid intimacy with Christ?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just enough

So it's been almost two years since my back surgery, and it's still a struggle.  Most days, even if I wake up without pain, I'm in pain by lunchtime and limp to bed in the evening.  The constant, nagging ache and burn drags on me.  Anyone who has known chronic pain knows the despair that creeps in.  The unrelenting discomfort of long nights tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. The invites that are refused from fatigue and weariness.  The isolation that closes in like draperies that block all light and joy.  The fear that this present pain, this ever-present pain, is all that awaits this side of eternity...

And I feel crushed.

Weighed down.

Like I can't crawl from beneath the covers and face another day dragging myself through the motions and fighting like mad to keep my cool when my body wants to fail.  Like I will never be the mom or wife I want to be, because I just can't.  I have challenging children and a demanding job and I can't slow down.

But I can't keep up.

And I'm crippled by fear of the future.

I was reading The Screwtape Letters earlier this week and was pierced by one of the things Lewis wrote.  In the book, Screwtape exhorts his underling to get his patient fixated on the future, saying that if the patient focuses on the future he will become so overwhelmed by what could be, either good or bad, that he will be open to sin (pride, fear, etc) because of his hopes or fears for the future.

And I realized I have fallen so far into this trap.  So far into the pit of trying to bear up under what I perceive to be my lot.  I have been trying to muster the strength and virtue to somehow endure the pain with cheerfulness until death.  Today.  Which is ridiculous.  I don't know what the future holds. God willing, I will wake up tomorrow healed.  Or not. Either way, His grace will be enough.

Either my God will deliver me, or He will give me grace to bear my cross.  And I must, must stop trying to hoard grace to meet my fears.  His hands are safe and His provision is abundant.  Just as the children of Israel were impotent to gather tomorrow's manna today, I cannot and indeed need not gather today what He promises tomorrow,   His promises can be trusted and I can rest in the perfect assurance that He will be the same tomorrow as He has been today.

How is God meeting you in your present ambiguities?  How is His grace enough for you today?