Tag Archives: God

All the Feels

As a pensive observer and possessor of an empathetic heart, I frequently feel all the feels.

An acquaintance’s daughter died of cancer. Felt the feels.
A friend’s nephew died in a drowning accident. Felt the feels.
I watched my niece’s joy-filled reaction as she devoured ice cream. Felt the feels.
I had one of a treasured many heart-to-heart conversations with a cherished friend who bared her faith and fear. Felt the feels.

I will tell you — and those closest to me will confirm — that I often walk around as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Why would that be? I walk closely with the Savior of my soul. I have a fire-tested, unceasing faith in God. I believe in miracles and have seen many transpire. I have a loving family. I have amazingly supportive and hilarious friends. I have a fabulous job that I love. I own my home. I drive a reliable vehicle. I have money. I have my health.

I have access to joy unspeakable and yet I’m morose.

Just yesterday, I spent a good bit of time trying to crack this conundrum. As a result, I’ve a revelation.

I’m an intercessor.

You may wonder what that is. Well, it’s a person who intervenes on behalf of others, especially by prayer.

Knowing I’m an intercessor is not a new reality. I’ve known it for years. At times, I intercede in prayer as much as I should. At times, I don’t. When I say I’ll pray for you, I really will. And sometimes I’ll even make you stop what you’re doing, ask you sit with me, ask you to let me hold your hand, and ask you to let me pray for you then and there.

Most of the time, I’m not all that bothered by the fact that I don’t exercise my prayer muscle as I should. I know I need to pray more than I do. And I just don’t. I feel bad for awhile and then go along with life. However, lately, the atrophy of that powerful tool has been eating at me.

I’m quite convinced that I will not be able to proceed through these dark days for the joy set before me if I do not remedy this atrophy. The weight of observing the world crashing around me will crush me. The sadness of watching those I know and those I love endure pain will consume me. I can mourn with those who mourn to the nth degree, but I must do more than that.

It’s time for me to fight. It’s time for me to take back the ground that has been casually captured over time. It’s time to take action against the apathetic and make strides against the struggle.

I have an identity in Christ and part of that identity is to intercede for others (and myself, of course). I must acknowledge and contend with all the feels and take those feelings and turn them into prayers of faith, thanksgiving, warfare and breakthrough.

I was given a heightened sense and observation for a reason. And that reason is to pray. The old adage remains true: Prayer changes things. And if I’m exceedingly frustrated with life as we know it (and I am) then I can be the change I wish to see in the world one word, one prayer, one intercession, one choice to believe, one more ask-seek-knock at a time.

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For all the times Switchfoot got it right

I love the band Switchfoot. My high school friends can attest to this. My college peeps would agree. My post-grad compadres would likewise vouch for the validity of my claim.

I can’t count the number of times in my life that a Switchfoot song was the sweet balm of musical understanding I craved in a particular situation.

I can get lost for hours in the vocal stylings of Jon Foreman. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the band numerous times. They are chill Diego-rock dudes.

Like I said. I love Switchfoot.

Their lyrics continually cycle through my mind and I apply them liberally.

Take today, for example. One of my Facebook friends posted a delightfully true article about why Generation Y Yuppies are unhappy. It’s a long read, but it’s a good read, so check it out. Naturally, given what I just said, the word “yuppie” in the title made me think of the Switchfoot song “Happy Is A Yuppie Word.” So, of course, thus commenced a session of listening to Switchfoot.

A few lyrics from “Happy Is A Yuppie Word”:

Lookin for a bridge I can’t burn down

I don’t believe the emptiness

I’m looking for the Kingdom coming now

Everything is meaningless

I want more than simple cash can buy

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie…

Nothing is sound

Nothing is sound

After enjoying the greatness of that song, my playlist moved on to “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” and “The Blues.” And those are just a few gems on the “Nothing Is Sound” album. My list of stellar Switchfoot tunes includes so many more than these three.

A few lyrics from “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine”:

My heart is darker than these oceans

My heart is frozen underneath

We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight

Dry eyes in the pouring rain well

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways

Hold fast till the break of daylight where

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Oh, Lord, why did You forsake me

Oh, Lord, don’t be far away, away

Storm clouds gathering beside me

Please, Lord, don’t look the other way

I’m a crooked soul trying to stay up straight

Dry eyes in the pouring rain when

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways

Hold fast till the break of daylight when

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Yeah, yeah, shine on me

And lyrics from “The Blues”:

Is this the new year or just another night

Is this the new fear or just another fright

Is this the new tear or just another desperation

Is this finger or just another fist

Is the Kingdom or just a hit and miss

I miss direction most in all this desperation

Is this what they call freedom

Is this what you call pain

Is this what they call discontented fame

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

I’m singing this one like a broken piece of glass

For broken hearts and broken noses in the back

Is this the new year or just another desperation

You push until you’re shoving

You bend until you break

Do you stand on the broken fields where your fathers lay

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

Is nothing here worth saving

Is no one here at all

Is there any net left that can break our fall

It’ll be a day like this one when the sky falls down

And the hungry and poor and deserted are found

Are you discontented

Have you been pushing hard

Have you been throwing down this broken house of cards

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in 

Is there nothing left now

Nothing left to sing

Are there any left who haven’t kissed the enemy

Is this the new year or just another desperation

Does justice ever find you

Do the wicked never lose

Is there any other song to sing besides these blues

And nothing is ok until the world caves in

Until the world caves in

Until the world caves in

God bless the timeless music and the people who make the timeless music that feeds my soul. This post is for all the times Switchfoot got it right. Of course, the music and lyrics referenced on this post belong to Switchfoot. The copyright is theirs.

A Cozy, Connected Home

Last you read, I was taking the long way home. No longer was I putting down roots in Tennessee. Instead, I was returning to my Nebraska roots.

Here I sit, in my cozy, connected home in Lincoln, Nebraska. A die-hard Cornhusker fan, I have the pleasure of driving by Memorial Stadium multiple times per week when I drive through the capital city. I love it.

In my last post, I proclaimed my belief that a community of people would be waiting for me in Nebraska. I’m pleased to report I found that community. I have taken up rightful residence in the Lindsay-shaped hole in Lincoln.

God is faithful to deliver on His promises. I am living proof. Since moving back to Nebraska, I’ve paid off my credit card debt, paid off my second-to-last student loan and purchased a house. It’s amazing what a stable income and financial determination can do.

And what pays the bills? Good question. I have returned to one of my life’s greatest passions. I have a full-time career as a writer. As a bonus, I can add photographer to my resume, because I take photographs on the regular, too.

To read samples of some of my work, please visit my Writing Samples page.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindsayletters

Follow me on Instagram: @lindsayletters

There Will Be a New Water Tower Man on the Horizon

Murfreesboro water towerA few weeks ago, I took a walk on the Stones River Greenway during my lunch break. I work in downtown Murfreesboro, so I was actually able to walk from the office down to the Greenway. Walking to the Greenway makes me look a whole lot healthier than merely driving to the Greenway. It gives me at least 15 more exercise bonus points. And in this imaginary land where every exercise is made up and the points don’t matter, I totally won that day.

*pauses*

Wow, this blog is a whole lot sillier than I ever thought it would be! My attempt is to make a serious point about something very sacred and hallowed and revered…

…and often despised and wanted-escaped-from and cursed-at…

Singleness. Seemingly never-ending singleness. No-man, nothin-on-the-horizon singlehood. Reverse widowhood–the losing of a husband before he is ever discovered in the first place. Whoa! Sounds serious!

I’ve got to be honest, it appears that there is no man on my horizon. And what am I to see, anyway? As the one to be pursued. As the lady in waiting. As the outwardly (while inwardly fighting to be) content, confident, rolling-up-on-thirty woman.

I know the godly, correct answers to those nagging questions. I am to see Jesus Christ. I am to see Jesus as my husband. I am to see me as His Bride. I am to remember that people aren’t even married in heaven anyway. I am to see my season as a gift. I am to treasure my time of singleness. I am to know that I am still single for a very important reason. I am to trust that I am most effective in my ministry in this current time as a single woman. I am to be a lot of things. And I am those things. Usually…

This blog isn’t a complaint-riddled rant. No, no. It is an epistle of revelation about one of my favorite things: water towers.

I grew up in a small, small town. For much of my time there, we didn’t even have a water tower! We were the only town in that area that didn’t have a water tower! So, naturally, as a girl deprived of this fantastic marvel of modern humanity, I became fascinated with the city landmark that we didn’t have. Every town I went to, I searched for the water tower. I memorized what each one said. I planned special driving routes just to make sure I’d get the best scope of the water pressure wonder.

At some point in my childhood, my town finally got a water tower. It is situated just behind the hospital where my mom works.  I remember walking or biking up to visit my mom while she was at work. But also to visit the water tower. Just to look at it. To watch how it was made. To continually comment how it looked like a golf ball tee upside down with a golf ball situated on it. My animated mind always imagined that the water tower golf ball would eventually fall off balance and crush the buildings beneath it and flood the surrounding area.

Oh, yes, the Greenway. I was walking on the Greenway. Allow me to return to my story. As I was exercising my left and right foot down the asphalt path, I found myself thinking about water towers again because Murfreesboro just built a new one. We have so many already, but now we have another. I’ve watched the different phases of construction in the last several weeks. I’ve driven down Broad Street for the sole purpose of getting a better look at the water tower.

Greenway water tower

That day, as I was walking and praying along the Greenway, I had a revelation. Crossing over the bridge and turning the corner toward the Manson Pike trailhead, the new water tower came in to full view in front of me.

I realized that the horizon in front of me had changed. Every other time I had walked down that path, all I saw was trees. Now, the water tower is there. And it fits right in, as if it’s been there forever.

Before the bridge, I was praying for one of my friends. After I crossed the bridge and saw the water tower, I began praying for my future husband. Not purposefully. My prayers just flowed into that next subject.

In those moments, God spoke to me. He said, “Your future husband will be like this water tower. You don’t see him right now, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not building him up. He’s not on your horizon, but he could be in a few months. Just like this water tower. He’ll stand tall. He’ll be a carrier of pure, living water. He will bring life and vitality to this city. Don’t get discouraged that you don’t see him yet. Things can happen quickly. Don’t fear that you’ll have to go through a long process to become comfortable with him being in your life. Like the water tower, it will seem natural and familiar.”

God can change landscapes. He can build water towers.

I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t have to feel like I’m behind if I’m not already some guy’s friend. It’s much better for me not to be pining after someone that I interact with on a regular basis. Maybe I am already the friend of my future husband and I just don’t know it yet.

Shortly after this awesome revelation, I had to turn around and head back to the office. I set a timer on my phone so it would alert me halfway through so I could get back just in time. Well, actually, I turned around a few minutes early because I didn’t want to walk through a muddy spot on the path. It had rained the few days prior to this walk.

Almost seconds after I turned around, I heard the train whistle blowing. One can never be sure how long a train will take to go through an intersection. And I had to walk over the train tracks to get over to the other part of the path. But I didn’t mind. Nope. I was actually excited. Because I also like trains. I was enamored as I watched the train pass by so close to me. And I got to see an invigorating site. train on the Murfreesboro Greenway

The train was stacked with two cars on top of each other. I’d seen this a few times before. But never had I seen the two-stacked-train pass under a bridge. It was surprisingly dramatic to watch the cars pass just beneath the bottom of the bridge. They didn’t slow down. They rattled on. This visualization was a continuation of the previous revelation.

Once again, God used what I saw in front of me as a point of encouragement. “You see the cars?” He said.

“Yes, I do. Very interesting! I’m grateful that I got to see this!”

“The train’s locomotive engineer knows that the train will pass under the bridge,” He said. “He knows that there won’t be a collision. He trusts that each town has made sure the bridge is high enough. And he trusts that there is enough room for the train to clear the bridge.”

“Uh huh,” I replied, eager to hear more.

“You’ve got to trust that I’m the locomotive engineer. You have to know that I see the bridges ahead of you. You won’t collide into something and crash. There is clearance to pass through the track you’re on. You don’t have to slow down at each intersection. You don’t have to look at what’s in front of you and worry that you won’t make it through.”

Not only can God change landscapes, He’s also a magnificent locomotive engineer.

*smiles*

I really enjoyed that day. And I’m quite thrilled that I can share this story with whoever it is that reads this.

I am not entirely sure who is in my reading audience. Some of you may be familiar with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. What happened to me on that day probably won’t seem odd to you.

And there may be others who think that I’m crazy because I said that God spoke to me.

If any one of you has questions, please post a comment. If you want to discuss any of this, I’m up for it.

Writing a War

I wish I could write a war

And win it with a word

My pen alone cannot prevail

But prayer can

Move heaven

And shake the earth

Until all the silt is sifted away

You can depend on me

To pen and pray these prayers

And fiercely fight

With every word I write

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Crappyness

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an epidemic!

Satan–the enemy of our souls–has silenced too many Christians.

I have been a silent one.
I have been convinced that what I have to say does not matter.
I’ve been duped that I have nothing to contribute.

During my season of silencing, I thought I was being reflective and pensive. It was just part of life. I had the liberty to process. It led to a lot of crappyness in the Kingdom.

Satan’s life is throwing me death.
Satan’s liberty is to torment me.
Satan’s fruit is the pursuit of crappyness.

The lie is I have nothing to say. The truth is that I have more to share than ever before. The lie is that my life is inconsequential and not worth mentioning. The truth is I’ve got the Truth in me and He needs to be shared.

My aim is to advance the Great Commission. When I am too silent, I miss the mark. And missing the mark is the definition of sin. If the Holy Spirit has put something in me and I don’t share it, then I’m grieving Him.

What are you doing with your life? Sitting around watching television, trying to solve the world’s problems from your couch?

What liberties are you living for? The liberty to do whatever you want, whenever you want?

Are you in the pursuit of crappyness?

Assess where you are and ask the Lord what you can improve in your life. Ask Him to show you where you’ve been silent. You may be surprised by what you hear.

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

In September of 2009, I started an Immersion Discipleship Training (IDT) program. Now, a year later, I have much to reflect on.

This week, I started my second year of my IDT student internship at New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s safe to say that I’ve been effectively discipled in this last year. I am more proficient in the Word and Spirit. I walk in more power and authority. I also have a lot less free time on my hands.

Biblical discipleship is not that common of a thing. Few churches and Christian communities invest the time in the upcoming generations.

The current trend is quite opposite of what I’m experiencing at New Song. Most leaders today hoard their positions, grasping them with a greedy death grip. New Song’s leaders don’t do that.

Discipleship is expensive! But not necessarily in the monetary sense. Sure books and materials for Bible classes cost money. Yes, the cost of food to feed students is consequential. But the greatest cost of biblical discipleship is time.

Time, talent and treasure. God asks us to sow all of those things into His Kingdom. These triad T’s are being sown into me.

Time
Want to show somebody you love them and care about their future? Invest time in them. Give them the thing that cannot be repaid. Give them the ticking seconds on your life’s clock.

The staff at New Song Christian Fellowship believes in pouring into the next generation and they do it very well.

Talent
Each person is created by God with a unique set of gifts. These gifts are not meant to be exploited for personal gain. Rather, they are designed to be shared. We are created to bless and complement each other. We are meant to work together. We’re weak in some areas so others can be strong and help us with them. Too, we are strong in particular practices so we can practically provide for others. Daily I am strengthened in my weak areas because the staff at New Song share their talents with me and help me refine the talents God gave me.

Treasure
I admit it. Money is important. But money doesn’t make the world go ’round. The earth spins because Jesus holds all of the universe together. We can’t serve two masters, God and money. We have to instead master our money and use it for God’s Kingdom. Numerous people have sown financially into me. I live in a host home rent-free. I’ve received anonymous financial gifts. I’ve gotten gift cards to buy food. My high school mascot was a Pirate. As a Pirate, I really love treasure. 😀

My hope for every person reading this is that you have an opportunity to be discipled. Know Christ better. Grow in your knowledge of the Word. Know that the Bible is not this obscure, impossible to understand book. Realize Christ is alive. Life a life of dynamic power and movement.

If you’re not plugged into a dynamic community of believers, don’t despair. There’s hope for you.

The Lord has impressed it upon the hearts of the New Song leadership to create a resource called Disciple’s Handbook. This way anybody who wants to can be effectively discipled. The Great Commission is carried out through this resource. We’re currently in the process of writing the pilot edition of Disciple’s Handbook. It’s not perfect. There may be a typo or thirty. But we know that it’s God-inspired and Holy Spirit directed. The end result of Disciple’s Handbook will be three editions with 12 lessons. Right now we’re up to lesson seven in edition one. We’re working on writing lesson 11 right now. However, the rest of the book and editions haven’t even been written yet! That’s how fresh this is.

Go to New Song’s website to download the lessons for Disciple’s Handbook. Post a comment and let me know what you think of it!

Pastor Dale Evrist, Senior Pastor of New Song Nashville does a daily Old Testament podcast on iTunes. If you want to grow in understanding the Old Testament and how it applies to you today, listen to his free podcast. It’s full of great truth and life lessons. Download iTunes if you don’t already have it. Here’s a link to his Walking Through the Word Podcast on iTunes.

Consider yourself resourced! I am going to warn you, though. Laying down your life in obedience to Christ is costly. But it’s absolutely worth the investment!