Friday, March 29, 2013

Precious Is The Flow: Good Friday

Has there ever been anything in your life that is so wonderful and so cherished that you are just dying to tell everyone, but at the same time it's so personal and so deep that you know that you could never do it justice? That's where I'm at with this Good Friday post. This year it is just hitting me in a real sacred, inner deep deep heart kind of way--clearly I can't really describe it. All I can manage is this:

Precious Precious Precious
Sacred and Holy is the blood that was spilled...for me.
In the last moments, He forgave me.
Who am I that I should be so deeply loved?
How great our God to be capable of such complete and full forgiveness even while enduring torture and mockery at my hand.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seize the [Palm Sun]day!

Today is the first day of Passion Week. If you have followed my blog, you know that I love and I mean LOVE Easter. It's my favorite holiday.

Every year on Palm Sunday I find myself admiring the very first followers of Christ, those who were there to welcome Jesus by waving palms and shouting "Hosanna!" They believed that this man from Galilee would be their king. They believed he was worth worshipping unashamedly. They seized the moment to praise him and show him honor. I'm sure that some people looked at the crowd greeting Jesus as a bunch of crazies. I'm sure that it wasn't popular to praise the name of Jesus. But those who knew of his works and his teachings and choose to follow him, they participated in an act of worship that we still recognize today. They seized the moment and praised his name. Can you imagine it? And just to think...they didn't even know the half of what he would do. In the moment of their worship He had not yet died and been resurrected as the substitute for all of mankind. The best was yet to come. I would hope that I would have been one of the believers in that moment. I would hope that knowing what the scriptures taught and recognizing the greatness of the humble man of Jesus would have been enough to captivate my attention, heart, and life.

Many of them expected him to rise as a military and political leader and king. The stage was set; expectations were in place. Something great was going to happen in a matter of days. No one knew it then, but their expectations would be shaken and very far exceeded. And to think it was all just around the corner.

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey's colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:12-19, ESV)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Seriously, where is spring?!

If you live anywhere from the midwest through the northeast, chances are you woke up to the worst weather report ever this morning. This first day of spring will be followed by 1-2 more weeks of blistery winter weather. If you are like me, your mad. Like real mad. Come on dude! I wish it was possible to punch the cold air, cause that is all I want to do right now! As totally and completely annoyed as I am...I also find myself thankful.

In past winters (especially winter of 2011 after my miscarriage) I wanted needed spring to come outside because in my heart I was enduring a vicious winter season. I was desperate to see the little buds discreetly appear on the trees outside our windows and then waited expectantly for them to produce even the tiniest bloom. When the soul endures winter, it's so painful and so long and so lingering. I needed to tangibly watch the earth transition into something warmer and welcoming and pretty. I needed to see it in front of me because I needed to be certain that God could do this for me too. God did move me from that place and out of that season I took with me so much richness and so much closeness to Him, that I wouldn't trade for a million spring days.

However, I'm very thankful that today it is spring in my heart even though it is winter outside. I'm so thankful for the joy and happiness and love and gladness that are present every day in my heart and in my home. This morning while I was reading I caught myself skimming the "sad" verses. I discounted their value, but then I remembered how vital those scriptures were to me in my hour of need. I clung with everything I had to David's psalms of languish and heartbreak. It meant so much to me that these verses were included in the psalms. Because it meant that God cared about all of me. God cares about each season I'm in. He isn't looking for me to be happy and perfect. He's listening in the praise and in the weeping. So I'll leave you with two totally opposite scriptures that are the same in their beauty for the one who needs them.

[9] O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
[10] My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
(Psalm 38:9-10 ESV)

[8] I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
[9] Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
[10] For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
[11] You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:8-11 ESV)

Friday, March 15, 2013

When God Opens Doors

In my mind today begins springtime. I had a glorious night of sleep, and woke up happily (which doesn't ever happen) and today the high is 50. So even though it will be cold again in a day or two, and even though I probably won't be sleeping through the night again for a while, I'm going to embrace it today! 

This morning as I was reading through Acts (more like re-reading what I read through far too quickly to catch up with my bible study at church), something really small stuck out to me in a really big way. I was reading Acts 12, which is largely centered on Peter’s imprisonment and escape/rescue. I’ve read this before; it was not a new story to me. But verse 10 held my attention this time.

            [10] When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.
(Acts 12:10 ESV)

The iron gate opened of its own accord. This ­ made me think of when people talk about God opening doors in their life. This seems like where that analogy must have started. But before the gate opened an angel came and gave Peter VERY specific instructions.
1.   Get up quickly
2. Dress yourself
3. Wrap your cloak around you and follow me
4. Then the gate opened for Peter

Applied to my life, I think this would look like…
1.   Be ready. Whether sleeping or awake, always be ready.
2.  Arm yourself, equip yourself with the necessities: A relationship with             Christ, sensitivity to Holy Spirit, knowledge of God’s word.
3.   Do what you need to do to be able to follow well so that you don’t have to worry. Like a cloak, wrap yourself in God’s protection so that you don’t have to worry when the time comes.

This escape from prison struck me especially because an open door doesn’t always indicate God’s will in your life, as it did for Peter here. Later in Acts 16 we see another set of prison doors miraculously opened for Paul and Silas. It would have been so easy for them to take that miracle as God’s will and provision for them to escape. After all, the earthquake that shook open the doors happened while Paul and Silas were in the middle of prayer and worship. But instead—but instead it was God’s will for them to stay and persevere and sacrifice so that the jailer would come to know the Truth and be saved. It was God’s will for those doors to open, but it was equally God’s will for them to stay and not walk through those open doors. Later they were released, but not nearly as dramatically or supernaturally (so it seems).
So how did Paul and Silas know that they should stay put?
1. They knew the Lord intimately.
2.  They did not receive instructions to leave.
3. Leaving would have brought harm to their guard.
4.   Staying meant seizing the opportunity to share the gospel with the guard and his entire household. It meant making the most of the relationships in their lives at that moment.

But for Peter—he was just sleeping. It would be simpler to believe that God was rewarding the ones who stayed up worshiping and praying. It doesn’t really make sense that Peter gets rescued, but the others don’t. But God isn’t simple. He doesn’t work the way we work. 
How did Peter know it was God’s will to escape?
1.   He received specific instructions.
2.    He wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not, but choose to follow God’s instruction regardless. He followed one step at a time. Once he awoke and had in fact been rescued from prison, he said “Now I am sure…the Lord rescued me” (v11)

 When it comes down to it, there is no easy answer or formula for knowing what God’s will is for your life. God doesn’t open doors based on what it seems like we deserve. God is not limited to the simplicity of our minds. We can’t discern God’s will based on what we would do if we were Him. We can only discern God’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word and familiarity with His character. At a moment’s notice we may be called to go or we may have to make a split second decision to stay. Just because a door is open in front of us, doesn’t mean that walking through that door is what we are being called to.

The bottom line is this: Am I equally ready? Ready to make an escape? Ready to stay put?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Where Do I Put My Hands?

Baby number 3 is born! Fletcher Colby Tullos was welcomed into our lives at 12:09am Tuesday, February 19th weighing 6lbs 12oz and 20 inches long. The last three weeks have been wonderful. Fletcher is the most perfect chill baby. And for all the people who say that bringing the third one home is the easiest, they were totally right. Austin and I are both secure about who we are as parents and that has made all the difference in bringing home a newborn. But regardless of how wonderful the past three weeks have been, there have still been some major adjustments.

First of all--lets just address this with a little humor shall we? I'm sure we can all think up like a million things that are harder or more chaotic about life with three. Let's just let all of that go without saying.

1. Where do I put my hands now? I was just at a wedding and while I was standing there catching up with friends I had a super awkward moment when I felt like my hands had morphed into huge Mickey Mouse cartoon glove hands...and I had no where to put them. Minus three months, I had been pregnant for almost two years! No matter how tiny your belly is, when pregnant, your hands get to rest on your belly, or rub it, or hold your lower back for extra support. It's one of the perks of pregnancy (which still does not make up for the fact that you can't have any sushi for nine months). Not having a baby in the ole uterus is forcing me to retrain my whole posture and learn how to stand and talk like a normal adult again.

2. How much caffeine is too much caffeine? I don't know. When I stop and ask myself this question, I have a cup of coffee and think it over. Then I decide that was a stupid question.

3. What day is it?

4. I have got to stop forgetting when I am watching a recorded show on my DVR during a late night feeding. When the weather man says "Several more inches of snow expected tomorrow!"...that doesn't really mean actual tomorrow. Calm down.

5. The biggest adjustment I've had to make since bringing Fletch home is a mental and emotional one. I was so totally unprepared for all the joy and all the love and all the goodness. And yep, it's harder and crazier and busier--but all the joy and all the good stuff just overshadows it all so much. It's just not a thing. I's a thing and it's real....but come one who has lived it would trade it and there is a reason. I know I'm only three weeks in, but what I'm lacking in experience can be counteracted by what I'm lacking in sleep. So I think I have ground to stand on when I say I really do actually love our crazy 3 under 3 life.

Now excuse daughter is licking the hinge on our back to run!