Monday, February 25, 2013

Be careful little mouth what you say.

     "How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness... With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing." -James 3: 5 and 9-10

Everyone has heard the phrase "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." And while I understand the point that it is trying to make, I don't want to teach my kids that. I want to teach my kids that if they can't say anything nice, they better check their hearts. I want to understand myself that if I can't say anything nice, it's probably not because the person or situation is hopeless but because my heart is too hard to see any good or too lazy to do anything to help.

I want you to know that this post is absolutely directed at myself. But something that has really bothered my lately is how easy it is to slip into this mindset where we think we can say whatever we want. I think about 1 Corinthians 14:26 ("...let all you do be done for building up.") everyday. How much of what I say can fall into the category of encouragement? What is it about our culture that makes us have to tell a better story or a funnier joke? What is it about me that makes me immediately text my roommate when someone says or does something stupid or embarrassing?
Particularly, I think we better be more aware of what we say to those we are close to. I constantly find myself thinking "Yeah, I probably shouldn't say this... but I'm only saying it to _____ so it's fine. They know what I mean by it." When does Jesus say it's okay to slander as long as the victim doesn't find out? Where in Scripture does it tell us not to spread rumors... as long as you clarify it by saying "now, I'm only telling you this..."?

When I was in kindergarten, if we told our teacher something that another kid did, she would literally pin this humiliating costume tail on the back of our pants and we had to wear it the rest of the day; everyone knew you were a tattle-tale.  Obviously, that's a little drastic and I'm still recovering from some emotional scars that caused. But for crying out loud, if I had a tail for every time I told a friend someone else's sin or made someone else look bad,  I'd have a pretty impressive tail. And not even as drastic as someone else's sin but just these nagging, petty little criticisms of other people that I just had to say.

I pray that I start seeing my own failures more clearly. I pray that I give other people a stinkin'  break.   I pray that everything I say will be for building up. I pray that God will close my mouth and open my heart.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Give us this Bread always.

What a week it's been already. What a month- what a year, really. So many blessings in the past few days and so much to be thankful for. So many struggles in the past year, some new and some that have clung to me for years. My twenty first birthday was two days ago. Weird. I remember being excited about turning eleven because I was too old to show my age with my fingers. How sweet to dwell on who it is that has been with me for all those years. He has known every thought, every deed. He was with me when I didn't care about Him. He watched me blow candles year after year just as swiftly as I blew opportunities for His love and forgiveness. 
Oh, to grace how great a debtor.  

I guess I should tell you why I named this blog Bread and Water. I've been reading through John the past week or so and I have been struck by how Jesus describes Himself. Bread, Living Water, Truth, the Light. What do all those things have in common with Jesus? They are absolute necessities. If you don't have Jesus, you don't have Bread or Water. Without Jesus, you have nothing. Anything that you desire that is outside of Christ is death. I hope to spend my time here in a constant pursuit of Life.

In John 6:34, when Jesus compares Himself to life giving bread, the people say "Sir, give us this bread always." But they aren't really asking for Jesus. They're asking for a free lunch. Jesus had just miraculously fed a large crowd and now they're hooked. They're thinking they could get used to following this guy around who hands out free food. But Jesus, though free, is expensive. He demands all of you and He's going to put you through some tests to weed out who the true followers are. But He is rooting for you. Think about that. The all good, all knowing God is pulling for you.

Here's something that I've had to learn the hard way: God doesn't promise us good things on this earth. Not in a family-of-four, white-picket-fence kind of way. But I am here to tell you that the white picket fence doesn't compare to the broken body of Jesus. My plan is hard to let go of. What I want for my life here may not happen but if I trust Him regardless and follow Him in humble obedience, I am promised a Life far greater than what I can imagine.

In a roundabout sort of way, I want this blog to be a reminder to you (and me) that Jesus is absolutely necessary and that whatever it is you think you want besides Him is absolutely not. I would say I can't imagine my life without Him but I can. For a shameful amount of time, though I still went to church and sang and still spent time with other Christians, I saw the love Jesus had for me and flat out chose something else. Because I was still seeking my free lunch.

I hope you pray that Jesus will "give this Bread always" with a heart that is not seeking bread that will mold and be useless in a couple of weeks but with a heart that wants Him and nothing more.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

the Carpenter's daughter

I will just go ahead and tell you: these posts will be few and far between. Aside from my hesitancy about this whole public diary thing, I have this really annoying habit where I get obsessed with something for about a month and then I just kind of forget about it. The days I don't post, I assure you, you're not missing out on much. If there were to be something new under the sun, it won't be found here. This blog will merely be the musings of a broke and broken college girl trying to find myself and my Savior. 

My dad is a carpenter by trade. He owns a cabinet shop and has smelled of sawdust and cigarette smoke for as long as I can remember. His hands are calloused from hard work and his beard is gray from wanting to work hard when there was no work to be done. I am ten hours away from my dad but I know what he is doing right this second- he is in "his chair" watching FOX news, ranting to my mother about taxes and democrats. 
Growing up in the outskirts of Birmingham, I learned pretty fast what's important: God, Alabama football, and sweet tea. Turns out only two of those things matter. Tough financial times for my family has actually become one of my biggest blessings. Isn't it funny how God does that? I'm down here stressed and panicked and He just says over and over "Shh. Be still. Wait." And I never believe it but then I wake up one day and I think "Wow." 

I want to live in a way that people will eventually not see me but see Christ living in me. I want to know Him and His word so well that I can't help but bring it up in conversation. I want Him to not just be part of me, but all of me. Why do I want that? Because He is a Carpenter by trade. It doesn't make sense but He doesn't throw me out with the scraps. He sees all of the rotten and splintered wood that I offer and He knows what He could make of me. Undeservedly, He calls me His child. I am a Carpenter's daughter. His nails are what hold me together. 

"You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things out of us."