Monday, 27 August 2012

A Little Thanks... His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His steadfast love endures forever;
to Him who alone does great wonders, for His steadfast love endures forever;
to Him who by understanding made the heavens, for His steadfast love endures forever;
to Him who spread out the earth above the waters, for His steadfast love endures forever;
to Him who made the great lights, for His steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day, for His steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night, for His steadfast love endures forever; Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His steadfast love endures forever...

It is He who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes, for His steadfast love endures forever;
He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 136

Gratitude to God:

143. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

144. Coming to tears of gratitude and praise to God as I memorize familier Scripture, verses I have heard and read since I was a child.

145. Galatians 2:20 penetrating my heart, the Holy Spirit applying it to my life today, opening my heart to soak in the truth of this verse.

146. Thanking God for writing His Word on my heart today

147. A birthday full of love, being surrounded and strengthened by loved ones

148. My church family, who are used by God so beautifully and profoundly in my life; how God reveals, lavishes, and pours out Himself through them in love and grace. Being continually supported and strengthened by the gift of the Body of Christ.

149. My children bursting out of the pantry closet exclaiming, "Surprise!!!! Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!" on the morning of my birthday, exploding with hugs, kisses, and artwork made by each of them just for me. (Michaela made a special pop-up card for me with her declarations of love and affection all over it, Brook drew a picture of a rocket flying out of the atmosphere with our whole family cozy and smiling inside, Silas drew a colorful rocket for me too and a dinosaur, his first drawings like these that I know of!, and Sol colored an entire picture pink, calling it "Pink Smoke".)

150. My little boys singing "Happy Birthday" to me as I tuck them in for bedtime

151. Receiving gifts in person and in the mail:
- a bike from my husband! The million ways he spoils me and cares for me.
- the incredible love of family sent across the miles
- packages from my sisters, a few of my favorite things, their words always speaking straight into my soul...
- a homemade cookie cake made by the dearest of friends! The treasure of her friendship and affection
- birthday greetings on Facebook, the odd blessing Facebook can be sometimes... (smile)
- the pleasure of my birthday falling on a Sunday, worshipping with my church family, thinking deeply on Christ with them, soaking in the preaching of the Word together, meditating on the Gospel and responding to it corporately, what joy!!
- enjoying the presence and company of so many beloved friends on my birthday

152. My heart bursting and melting in thanksgiving before God, knowing I bring nothing good to the table, He is all goodness, I am undeserving of it, yet He lavishes His goodness upon me.

153. Though sinking into mild depression, God sustaining me through His Word and through my family in Christ

154. That God allows the sinking of my heart to remind me that I am empty and lost without Him, so that I can drink Him in more deeply, and then pour out my heart to others from a place of deep gratitude to God

155. God's pursuing commitment to complete the work He has begun in me

156. God setting His affection on me through the gift of His Son

157. How God sets His affection upon His Beloved, the Church, His Body, and cares for her tenderly, patiently, diligently, passionately

158. Today, knowing in the depths of me that I am cherished in the depths of God's heart

159. Being loved- by God, by my family, by God's people

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Longing for... Home

  I dry my hair after a shower, standing in one corner of my room, finding myself glancing over at my Bible and journal on the other side of the room, as if they are old close friends I have neglected and am trying to avoid, and I actually feel guilt. I laugh at myself for this, trying to push away that empty, gnawing feeling I've had for the past couple weeks.
  Without effort, my thoughts delve into the deep, searching this ache in me, asking God to awaken something in me that I feel like is dying.

  What are you longing for, Danae?

  ...this question cuts... it both comforts and disturbs me to answer it. So I start slow and simple. NOT allowing my heart to bleed.

  Creativity. Just the ability to create.

  What do you want to create?

  Not a clue.


  Ah!! I want to write!!

  What do you want to say?

  (Crickets chirping) ...Silence.

  Hollow ache in my stomach.


  Well, if I could just have enough QUIET time to think, to process, I could come up with something! SOME kind of healthy, productive outlet!! Something creative to do, something colorful and outside of the lines of the daily grind for me to do alone, or with my kids...or alone... or anything, I'll take ANYTHING!!!! Because I know this is the root of what I'm feeling... this sad, weird, restlessness is me needing something to latch on to, find identity in, something that expresses ME. That IS what is wrong with me right?? This is what I need to make this ache go away, right...?

  The restlessness is churning now, buzzing in my head.

  Go CLEAN something, Danae!! Hurry!! Before you snap!! Go play your guitar, play with the kids, e-mail someone, organize something...

  Too late. My heart is bleeding now. That unsettling question is beating hard in my chest, I try desperately to keep down the lump rising in my throat...

  "What are you longing for, Danae?"

  My heart struggles with this longing I can't quite put into words. It nags at me, it really bothers me, because I feel that there isn't much I can do about it. It is a deep restlessness that scares me sometimes because I don't know what to do with it. It makes me miss loved ones I can't see for long months on end, it makes me impatient to grow in the friendships that will grow only from time and sacrifice, it makes me frustrated at my slow growth, leaving me yearning for a glorious day when I will be wiser, mature, full of grace... less ridiculous, melodramatic, and selfish... I dream... (pitiful sigh)

  This is not a happy place, to be sure, a place I have been time and time again. I go for days, weeks, denying that I am discontent with the routine of life, because I KNOW I have everything I need and more, and I want to be thankful for every blessed and sacred moment.
  I deny that I get mad that I can't seem to be creative, mad that I can't seem to do something/be in control of something more than laundry, 3 meals a day, avoiding summer heat, trying to keep me and the kids from going crazy in the house, to playdate or not to playdate... the circumstances I get claustrophobic in vary with the changing seasons. But this familier place is, well, just that- familier, whatever the season of life.

 Yet, in all this mess, these are the Days that remind me of what I am really, truly, always longing for.

  I am longing for Home.

  I am longing for Jesus.

  My bleeding heart is a hardened one, content to lick its wounds, and it rejects this. It says no, no Danae, your problem is that YOU are not fulfilled. What will make you happy now, right now...? Be practical. Think 5 senses, see, touch, hear, taste, smell... Food? Blogging? Being entertained by music, something funny to watch with the kids? What can I do, see, hear, touch, taste, smell...? So many options... think! So many things to do... so many things so limited... so lacking what my shriveled heart desires... so many distractions... so many things to keep me ignoring what's really going on inside of me... My idol of self-fulfillment trembles.


  I AM longing for Jesus.

  It is here my heart is pricked by the scalpel of the Holy Spirit's conviction, its edge presses in with precision... it is here Truth resonates in the deep parts of me, here that my idol of self-fulfillment crumbles. I know that even if I receive self-fulfillment from all the things I think will fill this aching deep... I will still only have grasped a passing, temporal fulfillment that will soon fade, and I will be left with only the option to consume more, to conquer my soul's unquenched thirst yet again with what does not satisfy... It is NOT merely my own self-fulfillment needing to be satisfied that is my problem here. Self-fulfillment, in whatever form, in its "purest" form, will not satisfy me, and when I ride its short-lived highs, I inevitably experience its intense, brutal lows- I experience something that cannot be put into words... a fathomless grief that I cannot be satisfied with anything in this life, in this world... a raging thirst to be lost in the wonder of something beyond this life, beyond this world... a ravenous hunger for every breath to be saturated in wonder, depth, and beauty...

   I am longing for Home.

  I am longing for Jesus.

  I am longing to be with the One my heart loves... because He first loved me. To be with my Creator, the only One in whom there is no end to Beauty and Life, the One in whose hands all things are made new. I breathe in the truth of His unchanging character and it fills that desperate thirst to be lost in the wonder of something beyond this world.

  Only HE fills that void.

  THIS is my longing, the deep ache I have... for my corruption to be no more, to be eternally consumed in the presence of my God and my Redeemer. I long for Home.

   Do I long for creativity? Yes. Passion? Yes. Inspiration? Sure. Depth? Most definitely. Anything else that is lovely, that breathes fresh wonder into our souls, shows us how beautiful life is, and makes us come ALIVE somewhere deep inside- YES. But I am so good at trying to find fulfillment in these things in themselves, forgetting Who has given them and Who is pointing me to Himself...

  He is patient, and He is kind, He allows me those days of coming to the end, the scraping of the bottom of the bowl, a place where the emptiness hurts, and we feel the pangs of starvation... it is here He reveals that I am starving for HIM. I am longing for every moment to be saturated in the wonder, depth, and beauty of Christ.

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

John 4:13,14

As the deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1,2

O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary,
beholding Your power and glory.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise You.
...My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
And my mouth will praise You will joyful lips...
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in His temple.
... You have said, "Seek My face."
My heart says to You,
"Your face, Lord, do I seek."

Psalm 27:4, 8

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
And my portion

Psalm 73:25,26

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him" -
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9,10

Gratitude to God:

June 23, 2012

101. The cool of the morning

102. A chorus of birds, greeting a new day

103. Morning mist, dew on the grass

104. A cup of hazelnut coffee

105. Rising early, time to pray, read, and write to my leisure

106. Coming home to my kids, excited to see me

107. The sweetness of my kids when they first wake up

July 4, 2012

108. Pleasantly tired and slightly sunburned from swimming with the kids

109. Brook and Si beside themselves at learning to swim today

110. Witnessing so many tender moments in my kids’ lives, being a part of these moments

111.The kids staying up late, wrapped in blankets outside, marveling and shouting and constantly commenting on the fireworks overhead

112. Celebrating the independence of a nation in which there is religious freedom for Christians

113. Freedom to share the Gospel

114. Freedom in Christ; being a citizen of heaven, storing incorruptible treasures in heaven in Christ. By the mercy and grace of God, not being consumed by temporal and earthly cares that will pass away.

July 9, 2012

115. A basket of fresh fruit piled high

116. The way my kids love apples, their favorite snack

117. Reflecting on time spent with dear friends and loved ones in the past couple of weeks, so thankful for these people placed by God’s loving hand into our lives!

118. Growth, maturing

119. Turning from fear, letting go of fear- embracing love, seeing through God’s love, not my own fear

120. Talking with my dad on the phone for awhile, really catching up, never a dull moment- what a blessing!

121. Relating to my parents as an adult, how it makes me feel closer to them than ever- I feel like I know them better now then I ever did as a child or young adult; and I realize this knowing can and will grow as the years go by- looking forward to that

122. Pacing myself, taking days “off” to make the most of days with nothing planned, just me and the kids at home

123. How blasting music while I clean or cook centers me and the kids, and they enjoy the loud music with me, while they play and draw or make crafts at the table

124. All of us singing loudly with the artist serenading us on cd

125. Cuddling with my kids

126. My daughters’ soft, golden hair, my sons’ dark tanned skin

127. Michaela and Silas’ green eyes that they got from their Daddy; how much they are both like him and each other

128. Brooklynn’s light brown eyes, Solomon’s dark brown eyes and their round cheeks that they got from me; how much they are like me and each other

129. Cooking dinner for my family and everyone eating together- eating well and happy

130. Reading Charlotte’s Web with Michaela

131. Enjoying “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as much as my kids do! Enjoying teaching and reading from this book when I teach the children at church in Sunday school

132. Bonding with my friends’ children- getting to know these cute and hilarious kids my own children know and love as their best of friends

133. Painting my daughters’ nails and toenails with their choice of vibrant fuchsia nail polish

134. Making paper airplanes for my boys

135. My soft, warm bed, welcoming me in to be still and enjoy the quiet of the evening

136. Not knowing how to stop adding to this list whenever I sit down to add more

July 18, 2012

137. Thinking over the last week or two, so thankful to be a part of so many lives

138. Celebrating the birth of a brand new little boy, the son of dear friends; being a part of the excitement of the day he came, the blessing this family is to our lives

139. Going out of town for two days with the women of my church to a women’s conference that blessed our lives; soaking in the Word and teaching and each other’s company

140. The relationships God continues to build and bless at Redeemer Church, the work He is doing among us

141. Absorbing “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Pink and “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer, praising God for how books like this impact me deeply on every level

142. How solid teaching and books stir my hunger and thirst for Christ, for the Word of God! How this strong, deep, passion humbles me before God, knowing it only comes from Him, because I am absolutely aware of all the time that passes when I do not have this strong desire to drink Him in and soak in the Word… and it makes me so thankful, SO THANKFUL that He gives us eyes to see, ears to hear Him… broken and contrite hearts to know Him.