Dear Readers - it is me, your fearless Writer. Today, I abdicate my throne of blogship and hand control over to my dear friend Lindsay. By the time you read this, I will probably be flying somewhere over your head, on my way to a much needed vacation.
I am leave you in very dry, very capable hands.
Let's get aquainted.
Lindsay is my southern sister. She has dry hands, long eyelashes and a huge heart. She owns a massive collection of scarves and faints easily, much like a goat. She works with teenage girls for a living and I hope she continues to do so until I have a teenage daughter to hand over to her because, wow, does she love these girls. She teaches them to be passionate and intentional and bold, simply by being herself. As they're at an age where girls often fumble for identity, she takes her students by their faces and looks them in their eyes and tells them YOU ARE BELOVED. THAT'S WHO YOU ARE.
I love the way that Lindsay writes, because it reminds me of the way she lives and talks: with obvious - often hilarious - intensity. She is the fastest talker (and rapper) I know and her sentences often leapfrog, because she is so excited to get them out. Her intensity makes its way into her discipline, which is where she teaches me the most. This girl is hardcore and I'm so excited to unleash her upon you.
Lindsay blogs over at http://www.singingmysongwithgrace.blogspot.com/ so if you like what you see, head over there and follow her too. I promise it will be worthwhile.
i'm having a really hard time writing this.
i look back over my recent journey, over the last 3/4ths of 2012 and ponder and wonder and literally stand, mouth agape, at my life and at where He's led me. i couldn't begin to describe the heartache but the joy, the confusion but the peace, the uncertainty but the knowing God is God.
i've always been confused by jacob. he's a biblical character i haven't always understood. i think he's greedy and sneaky and selfish and prideful and his story is weird, isn't it? but then. that's who God loves to use. jacob always seemed like a wild card who didn't fit anybody's mold, a troublemaker that God was pursuing like crazy.
but then the man responds by asking him what his name is. "i'm jacob," he says. and the man says, "your name is no longer jacob, but ISRAEL, for you have striven with God and man and have prevailed." and then jacob is blessed by God. and jacob says, "i have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."
i've been so intrigued by this exchange lately, this leg of jacob's journey. he wrestles, he doesn't let go, he's given a NEW name, he's blessed. i fear that if this had been me and if the man (God) had said let me go, i would have dropped the fight immediately. but he kept going. ann voskamp writes in her book "one thousand gifts" - "wrestle with God and beg to see the blessings."
and i think that's my biggest takeaway from crazy jacob. we can approach God and we can be real and we can say no! help me! blessings!? and we can cry out loudly. because we can believe that. He promises to be a God who not only hears our cries, but delivers and restores. i think this exchange can mean a lot of things. it means we can believe that God is a God who gives us blessings. and it's God that's in every wrestling - even and especially with people - and where there's God, there's good. how we respond to people is how we respond to the Lord.
we've striven with God. not against, but with. we're wrestling with God to find the 'what for, for what' of the brokenness we face. we're made new, given new names, and we're made more in the reflection of Jesus.
and the story continues. the next day, jacob meets his brother esau. esau runs up to jacob and embraces him and kisses him and they weep together. and in their exchange, jacob remarks, "God has dealt graciously with me." isn't that so good? the wrestling is grace.
so keep going. keep going. keep going. keep wrestling, keep fighting, keep honestly, boldly coming before God each and every day. He's not a friend who will gossip about what you've said, He's not someone you have to explain how you're feeling, He's not neutral about your existence. He loves you with a fiercely passionate love and He's good, He's really, really good. And it's your journey, your story - He's perfectly ordained it. He's gone before, He's right beside you, and He hems you in as you go.
blessed journey! may you wrestle and see all the many blessings of yours.