Friday, February 28, 2014

It really is.

It's the small things in life.

The sound of rain on the window pane.
The flickering light of a fire.

Lunch at the local diner with your wife.
Phone calls with family.

Small things.

They don't make life exciting.
But they do make life beautiful.

I've been trying to be more appreciate of these things.
Because it's the small things in life.

It really is.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

empty assurance

It was garbage day and the trucks had already been by. I was rolling our trash cans from the curbside back to the garage when I heard a clatter down by my feet. I looked down to see that my inhaler had fallen from my pocket onto the pavement. I quickly snatched it up and stowed it back into my pocket before parking the trash cans in their designated spot, then I hopped into my car to drive to work.

I was about halfway to my destination when I started to feel a little wheezy. Now, I don't know about other asthmatics, but for me, this feeling is usually accompanied by a twinge of anxiety. But as I looked at the passenger-side seat where my inhaler now sat, I instantly felt a sense of reassurance.

That anxiety, the sense of urgency and panic, all abated with the sight of a bright red canister. But as I lifted the mouthpiece to take that first glorious hit, I realized this beautiful bright red canister was... just a canister. As I bewilderedly riffled through the console, cup holders, and floor boards of my car, the cartridge was no where to be seen...

All I had was empty assurance. I slowly realized that the cartridge had fallen out of the canister when I dropped it on the pavement earlier.

Fortunately, I wasn't too winded and I made it to work safely where the nurse had a spare inhaler in the office I could use. Everything was fine, but what a frightening feeling that was to have so much confidence in something, just to realize it was completely useless! But isn't that how we live our lives? Don't we seek reassurance from empty things; healthcare coverage, money, personal belongings, indulgences, psychology and self-help? I don't believe that there's anything wrong with these things, but it's important to remember that these things are hollow shells. There is no life in them, and they will not sustain us alone. It's in the way we receive these things that truly brings reassurance; when we see beyond the gifts to look into the face of the Giver.

I don't want to be the kind of person that gets a sense of relief from the sight of bright red plastic. Instead, I want to be the kind of person that gets a sense of relief in knowing that I serve and am loved by a big, all-powerful God who heals and comforts us, and inspires earthly physicians to create miraculous things like Albuteral inhalers. I long to develop a faith so powerful that every time I remember my God, I instantly feel peace. 

I want to live in true assurance. 
Every. Single. Day. 
And why shouldn't I?

"13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." -Colossians 2:13-15

Snapshot 021814 1300 PST

Today, Mr. Isaiah and I had quite the adventure.

We ate Panda Express, rode the train to Oceanside, walked the pier, saw some wildlife, hit the playground, played tag, drew pictures in the sand, asked Siri all the random questions you could think to ask an iPhone, split a Diet Coke, used excessive rhyming just for the fun of it, chased sea gulls, talked about vomit, survived a sock incident (sometimes your sock just doesn't feel quite right, and thats never okay), bought cheese, watered the herb garden, and just had an all around good time.

That's about it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

from the mouth of babes

Kid: I made this for you!
Me: Thanks! What is it?
Kid: A gun to kill people with.
Me: I don't think I want to kill people.
Kid: Then just use it on those that break your heart.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the challenge of peace

"Do you think that's just a way to make life easy?" she asked. I had never really considered it that way before, and had I been asked by someone else, I may have been offended. There was something sharp in her tone, but it wasn't contempt; it was more like a longing for understanding, an unsettledness.

She wanted answers to all the hard questions, the "what-about's" and "how-come's."

And she wanted to know how I reconcile all these within myself; unanswered questions, occasional doubts, personal struggles, true belief and acceptance, and difficulty understanding. "I do have those moments," I said, "And I think all believers do from time to time. When I struggle with understanding or am having a hard time accepting something, I pray for peace over it. I'm learning to accept I won't always understand."

"Peace?" she was nearly exasperated. That's when she asked if this so-called "peace" was really just an easy way of escaping life's toughest questions.

The truth is, peace requires daily surrender. It's so freely given, yet not easily accepted. It not only seems to go against our human nature, it clashes fiercely with the cultural climate of this Information Era where "knowledge" is power, science reins, truth is proved through measurable means, and morals are subjective. Praying for peace is acknowledging there are some things in life that are just beyond you're grasp.

Peace is a choice made over and over again. It's a gift from God, an answered prayer, and yes, it does make life easier.  But accepting this peace, living in it, surrendering to it and choosing it daily, may be one of the most difficult feats in life. Yet this peace transcends all things; the questions and doubts, the anxieties, even the ridicule you'll receive for openly admitting you're in need of it.

Life is hard. God wants you to have peace.
He's waiting to give it to you; that's the easy part.

Accepting it is the challenge.

"6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7

Saturday, February 8, 2014

from the mouth of babes 020813

Kid: You good at math?
Me: Nope.
Kid: Science?
Me: Nope.
Kid: Did you go to college?
Me: I did. I studied people. I'm finishing my Master's degree in counseling psychology this summer.
Kid: Oh, then you should work for CPS. You'll get a lot of money, and all you have to do is take kids away from their moms and dads.
Me: Sounds sad.
Kid: Only for the kids, and sometimes the moms. The dads usually don't care though, and the workers never do. So it wouldn't be sad for you.
Me: Oh.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;" 

-Isaiah 61:1, 2 ESV