Be Loved.

There is some serious potency in the first fourteen verses of Ephesians.  A wealth of promises and blessings that are mine – yours – to claim.

I made a list this morning, straight from the text, of the blessings and promises he has bestowed on me.

(Please read these with yourself in mind.)

God gives grace and peace.
Any peace I feel at any given moment is a gift from him.  When I am not afraid, when my heart is still, these are God’s gifts to me.

Even before he made the world, he chose me.

He chose me to be perfect and without fault in his eyes.  No matter what anyone else may ever say about me.

He decided to adopt me into his family.
Adoption is no small decision.

He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.  I don’t even know what this means, really.  But it sounds so promising.  Like I don’t want to miss it.

He has united me with Christ.
The same spirit that is alive in Jesus is also alive in me.

He loves me.  He chose me because he wanted to.  It gave him great pleasure.

I have received an inheritance.

He makes everything work out according to his plan.
Even these years, this season, as my children pray for their new daddy, God is at work, according to his plan.  Something great is coming our way.

I can praise God for the glorious grace he poured out on me, because I belong to him.

He will bring everything together under his authority.  Everything on heaven and on earth.  Nothing will exist that doesn’t belong to him.

He is rich in kindness.

He is rich in grace.

He brought me to him through Christ Jesus.

He purchased me and my freedom.

He forgave my sins.

He showers me with his kindness, wisdom, and understanding.
I wonder… when I see kindness, wisdom and understanding in the world around me, are these gifts from him?  When I see kindness, wisdom and understanding in my own spirit, are these gifts from him.  I have to conclude yes.  He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

He has given me the Spirit as a guarantee of his inheritance.

The grace and peace I feel within my spirit, His spirit in me, these are his whispers to me: Hey, babe.  There’s more where that came from.  I promise.  Guaranteed.

He did this so I may praise and glorify him.

Reading this list, how could I not?

* * *

“Be Loved.”

Have you ever let yourself be loved
by the one that made you?
Have you ever told your soul to believe
that his heart is on your side?
You could even try to run away,
but there is nothing you can do.
So just be loved.
Be loved.
He loves you.

Have you ever let yourself be held
by the one who holds this world?
Have you ever told your soul to rejoice
that his arms are open wide?
You could even try to run away,
but he’d come running after you.

So just be held.
Be held.
He holds you.

Just be held.
Be held.
He holds you.

We didn’t earn it, he just chose to give it,
and its in our resting that we rise up singing, rejoicing.

You are loved.
Be loved.
He loves you.

~ c. nockels

Convey the Truth – In Any Way you Choose

What’s the deal with Christian art? Why is some of it – most of it – so boring, so two-dimensional? Who delights in two dimensions? Who delights in black and white when we could see with brilliant color?

Are we afraid we’ll misrepresent God with an angry poem? A story without a happy ending? A dark painting? A song that doesn’t clearly evoke the message of The Gospel?

Whatever. That’s boring to me. Life is too short to be anything but real.

Grace is real and messy and dark and light. And it makes great art.

Christian art is by no means always religious art, or art which deals with religious themes.

Francis Schaeffer, in “A Christian Philosphy of Literature,” wrote this goodness:

God’s creation — the mountains, the trees, the birds, and the birds’ songs — are non-religious art. Think about that. If God made the flowers, they are worth painting and writing about. If God made the birds, they are worth painting. If God made the sky, the sky is worth painting. If God made the ocean, indeed, it’s worth writing poetry about. It is worth man’s while to create works upon the basis of the great works God has already created.

If you are a Christian artist, therefore, you must not freeze up just because you can’t do everything at once. Don’t be afraid to write a love poem simply because you cannot put into it everything of the Christian message.

Everything that is true about you, your worldview, and your belief system cannot be conveyed on one piece of work. It can be conveyed over a lifetime, a series of pieces, a collection of works. So, fellow artists, settle in. Create. Create anything you want.

Convey the truth, and do it in any way you choose.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll write a love poem.

* * *

There are no prescriptions for subject matter. There is no need for a Christian to illustrate biblical stories or biblical truth, though he may of course choose to do so. An artist has the right to choose a subject that he thinks worthwhile.

~ H. R. Roomaaker, “Letter to a Christian Artist”

If You Met Me

“Hi.  I should introduce myself.  We’re actually really good friends,” she says as we pass each other on the sidewalk.  “You just haven’t met me yet.  But I read your stuff every day.  We have coffee together.”

I love when this happens.  When the cyber world around me comes closer.  When I meet the people behind my computer screen.

Or this happened too.

“Tricia?  Tricia.  Hi.  We thought it was you over there.  We wanted to say hi, but then we thought maybe that wouldn’t be a bloggable encounter.  So we thought about spilling our water on you, or, you know, something.”

Thank you for saying hello.  Introducing yourself.  You’re the other half of this equation, you know.

I’ve had more than one conversation about this question:

The girl who writes… does she match the girl you are?

Well, here’s the long or short answer, depending on how much you really wanted to know.

Does the writer match who I am?  If you met me, would you recognize the girl over the coffee cup?  Yes.

Do I write everything I think and have you discovered all there is to know by reading my daily musings?  No.

If you met me, you would find that the words I write match the words I speak.  You’d find that I do all the things I tell you I do… talk with my hands, doodle in my margins, drink coffee obsessively.  You’d find that I write how I talk.  You’d find that the personality matches the persona.

If you met me, you might get bored.  I don’t spill with stories, metaphors, wit and wisdom all hours of the day, or even any hour of the day, given the day.  I don’t talk very much.  I’m kind of quiet.  I don’t get lonely very often, and I share space well with people who are okay with quiet space, gray noise, dead airtime.

Those who love me well know that there’s almost always something brewing in my mind, I don’t necessarily give it away, and there’s usually more where that came from.

If you met me, I think you would say, “She’s just like I thought she would be.”

And I think you would say, “There’s so much more to her than I thought.”

If you and I cross paths, please say hello.  And no need to go pouring your water in my lap.

Simply meeting you is bloggable.

I promise.

Capture the Awkwardness

“Tuck?  Ty?  Could one of you grab my phone a take a picture of this?”

My parents and I were crowded together in a pyramid that would have impressed the Broncos Cheerleaders.  We were balancing the TV, cable box, Wii, and 47 attached chords, all in an effort to find the power strip so I could turn the whole thing off, count to 30, and turn it back on to get the DVR to work in response to the remote and not act as if it’s 87 years old.

A reboot, if you will.

“Can I see?”
“What’s happening?”

They prod with questions.

“I’m… Um, I’m…” I’m trying to fix our viewing options, but the cable box is smashing my mom’s face and my forearm is nearly flattened by the TV.

My mom said, “There’s nothing to see, buddy.  She just wants you to take a picture of the awkwardness.  This is just part of life with your mother.”

It’s true.  Nora Ephron wrote, “Everything’s copy.”

Somebody else said, “A writer is living life and taking notes.”

I usually say, “Oh, my great day.  Bloggable.”

(Oddly, I do this in a semiconscious state, too.  Too many of my friends and family have pictures of me in the ER, nearly comatose, because I could muster the few words: “Take a picture.”)

So, along with the smashing and flattening, add a smattering of laughter that was definitely worthy of peeing my pants.

By the way, while I was back there, I found a deflated bounce balloon, an inflated Diego ball, and 7 Nerf bullets.  The whistling kind.

Aren’t you glad my sons know the passcode to my iPhone?