Drinking Deep

When it comes to coffee drinking, I’m a lightweight.  Between a temperamental stomach and nerves that kickback 12 hours post-sip, it’s better that coffee and I enjoy each other in small installments.  Costa Rica produces some of the best liquid caffeine in the world, though.  So I feel obligated do my part and drink in the delicious culture.

At the local Chinese import store, I found some sweet little cups that are a great fit for my dainty joe capacity.  But filled with compassion for friends who come over for cafecito, I also bought an extra-grande mug—the kind you instinctively hold with two hands.

Seeing them hang side by side like David and Goliath makes me smile.  And gets me thinking.  For some things, small cups can be a blessing.  It’s good to have limits on what can turn from a blessing into a curse if taken in the wrong quantities.  Cheetos, for example.  Or television.  Perhaps shopping purchases.  Fill in your own blank.  Small cups can help us keep things in perspective.

But what size cup do I have offered up to the Lord?  I confess that sometimes in this busy season I feel full with a shot of devotion reading before classes, a squirt of bible time during lunch, and a measure of family prayers at bedtime.  Or maybe it’s just my day that feels full.  My heart definitely isn’t.  The schedule holds out a dainty espresso cup while my spirit sighs over the slosh in the bottom of the empty decanter.

And I’m reminded again that if I get everything done, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Flawless Spanish + Balanced Checkbook + Clean House – Love = 0.  I don’t know how to walk this out perfectly, but I’m going to keep trying.  I’m going to pay attention to my empty places and invite the Lord in to fill them.  I’m going to make space to be with Him and trust for His grace over the rest of the To Do List.

I stand before you, busted by my own sentences.  One of the fullest weeks yet has just drawn to a close.  We did all kinds of assignments, spent half a day in the bureaucratic jungle to get our Costa Rican driver’s licenses, and shared a bible story (with a minimum of 23 required grammar elements) in 20 minutes of Spanish for a language exam.  Lots of boxes successfully checked.  But even as I chatted about idiomatic phrases with the friendly faces on my language route, I knew I was running on empty.

2014-02-07 cups 004Thank goodness for the new mercy of this morning.  Praise God that He is a well that never runs dry.  I hold up my cup again, and He is ready to fill it.  When it comes to relationship with Jesus, I want the extra-grande.

This is what the Sovereign Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
    and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.”  Isaiah 30: 15a

Lopping Off Heads

They probably meant well.  They must have been feeling pretty good about themselves, coming to David in the wilderness with what seemed like great tidings.  O King, your enemies are dead!  We’ve killed them for you!  One pair even had the head of Saul’s son to present him as a trophy.  Reading through the account the last few days, one thought has struck me:

They didn’t know David very well.

What they did to please him was the last thing he wanted.  Their news set off a wave of grief, instead of rejoicing.  In the end, they received death sentences for their actions against the Lord’s anointed leaders, rather than the riches or reward they expected.

And so I wonder, how is it with me?  I’ve been lopping off my share of heads lately, with respect to our launch to-do list.  A new update letter prayed over, composed, and sent out with affection.  Cleaning, sorting, chucking, donating, and staging our house onto the market last week.  More events to share what the Lord is doing with our family put on the calendar.  Another round of language school apps completed.  Learning my camera’s instruction manual and photography tutorials to capture the beauty of life around us and share with others.  I’m caught up on my bible reading, but have been running short on peace.  Honestly, “be still and know” isn’t usually my best suit.

The restlessness is a gift, a reminder that my efforts alone do not satisfy.  Yes, they have good value as we walk out this calling that the Lord has for our family.  Like David at Araunah’s threshing floor, I will not offer the Lord a sacrifice that has cost me nothing.  I am glad to give my talents and time to serve Him, thankful that He would want them.

Let my soul be at rest again.

But sometimes His dearest wish—and my deepest need—is for me to release the curly tress of the task I’m wrestling with and come rest in His presence, to open up my heart and hear His words for me.  I want to bring offerings sanctified by relationship.  I want to know my Lord well.

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.  Psalm 116:7

Remembering to Breathe

I’ve been flopping around like a fish on the sand the last few weeks.  Motivationally bipolar, I’ve alternated between feverish bouts of productivity and crawling into a mental hidey-hole with a good book and better chocolate.  There’s been a lot to celebrate.  About two-thirds of our house interior was treated to a hip new shade of paint thanks to a slew of hard work and helpers.  Two trunk loads were surrendered to Goodwill along with my best intentions to hold a garage sale.  An entire van load (seats removed) of treasure was packaged and priced for a kids’ consignment sale.  Ezekiel’s 4th birthday was ushered in with much rejoicing, brownie sundaes, and the humorously needful instructions, “Swallow your spit before you blow out the candles, sweetheart.”  But my spirit has been stifled for want of water and fresh air.

There’s no excuse for it, really.  Bibles outnumber the people in our household by at least 3 to 1, a different translation available for every day of the week.  My iPod is loaded with anointed worship waiting for me to push play.  I have a full stable of my favorite blue Papermates and open country in my journal.

Why do I make time to sort out the laundry but neglect my heart?  Then why am I surprised when my attitude becomes brittle and my downtime fails to refresh?  I know better.  So why do I suffocate myself, thinking that my to-do list enables me to defy spiritual gravity until I find myself gasping and coated with sand again?

My mother-in-law showed me her name engraved in silver the other day, eyes lit up with new-bible excitement.  I caught a whiff of something sweet in the air:  my first love.  I remembered the joy of opening the word and diving into His promises, His love for me in histories, His presence hovering over phrases.

I knew it was time to put the schedule back in God’s capable hands and gaze upon His beauty.  Time to take Jesus up on His offer to be rest for my soul when I’m weary and burdened.  Time to soak off the sand in living water and inhale the fragrance of His grace, to quit pushing out leaves and let Him grow some blossoms within me.

IMG_3451

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.  Psalm 62:5,6

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8