Fields of Faith

 ship in harbor

I’m in a season of some hard things right now.  Big things…hitting my closest group of friends.  We’re dealing with a lot of loss, a lot of tossing waves, a lot of hard questions.  It’s not an easy time in my personal close sphere.  But I am so thankful for this group of people that I do life with.  They are exactly who I’d choose to have around me to weather storms.

Thankfully also, I know God is a bigger picture kind of guy.  So I’m doing what I can to stay close to his heart …to hopefully, eventually, peer through the periscope that has a fuller view of the world above the waves.

I keep thinking on something that the Lord showed me when I was in Bangladesh via a word for a friend.

One day in a village with the Food for the Hungry staff, we did a devotion and read these verses in Matthew 8.

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” 

My friend, Daniel, and I talked afterwards and he said how he loved that in these verses this time, the Lord showed him that our faith will bring about peace and calm.

My response… “and the good news is that for us, it only takes a mustard seed of faith to even move mountains.”

“I want more faith,” he said.

“Yeah, so do I.”

And along a walk back from meeting my sponsored child with Food for the Hungry, we came across a field of green plants with beautiful yellow flowers.

mustard field

“What kinds of flowers are those?” I asked our translator.

“Oh those?  Those are just mustard plants.”

I ran over to a plant and broke off a pod.  I’ve never seen mustard growing before.  Surely these pods are where the seeds are?  Is this even the kind of mustard I’m thinking of?  The kind we grind into paste and eventually mix with vinegar to put on a hot dog at home?  The same kind that reminds us that just one tiny seed is all the faith we need to move entire mountains?  Or is Bangladeshi mustard something different?

mustard hand

I opened the pod to find probably 30 tiny seeds.  Just one pod with 30 seeds?!

If all it takes is 1 seed to move mountains, then here we stood with a pod of 30 seeds in our hands.  And before us spanned a field with tens of thousands of pods on thousands of mustard plants.

It wasn’t lost on me that we’d just asked the Lord for more faith just a few hours before.  And here we stood with fields full of faith stretched before us.

I emailed Daniel later and said, “All it takes is one mustard seed, but today God gave you a whole field.  I think that whatever mountains in your life you’re wanting to move, you’re going to be able to move them.”

And I find myself thinking on the same thing now as the seas of this life are rough, and I need the faith to see them calmed.

“Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

Afterall, the Lord let me see that field too.

The truth is, he has fields of his faithfulness around the bend for all of us.  I wonder though, are we looking for them?  Are we recognizing them for what they are when we stumble across them?

Open our Eyes Father to see with your eyes.  Open our eyes to see above the storms, and through the waves, to the beauty that you have for us.  Give us greater faith, but let us not be discouraged that our grain of faith may seem small to us…afterall, you pack a lot of punch in one tiny grain.  We love you Jesus, and we want more of you.

**What storms has the Lord calmed for you lately?  When has he increased your faith to see them calmed?  And when was the last time you asked the Lord for something and instead of just giving you even the blessing of a double portion, he unveiled a whole field of his goodness before you?  Share with the community in the comments below?  We’d love to hear how he’s calming storms and moving mountains in your life.

Ship Printable Source, Photographs by Daniel C. White

 

Logan

Logan is the Executive Director of Allume and an infrequent blogger. Daughter of a most extravagant and hospitable King, wife to Jeremy, and mother to 2 wild and inquisitive little boys, her days are filled with a combination of routine and plenty of the unexpected. No stranger to broken dreams, she has found that a curious following of the Ultimate Creative, Jesus, has led her into a faith that is fuller and a life that is more exciting. Stay-at-home-mom and interior decorator, turned writer and Allume owner and host, Logan consistently finds that God doesn’t necessarily call the equipped, but he will always equip the called. Logan is currently in process writing her first book due to come out whenever she finishes it and someone decides to publish it. In the meantime, you can find her musings at her blog LoganWolfram.com.

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Get Real….

Well friends, I’ve done it again…I’ve bitten off more than I should chew at once!  I mean, I’m chewing on all the life that I have stuffed in my mouth right now, but it’s one of those kind of bites where there’s too much meat, so you chew and chew and chew…like a cow regurgitating it’s cud because one time down just isn’t thorough enough.

Amidst planning Allume 2013, hosting over 100 people at my home this past Friday for a Christmas party, preparing to head to Bangladesh with Food for the Hungry in a month, and being wife and mommy (which alone are a mouthful to chew), we’ve just put our house on the market in hopes of moving just 2 doors down.  It’s a lot…and it’s all during this holiday season full of general hustle and bustle anyhow.

But you know what is interesting to me in the mess of all this craziness?….Somehow in all the chaos, I actually haven’t lost sight of my Jesus.  And the fact that he came as a teeny tiny baby and landed in the midst of a world full of more chaos, has brought me peace in the moments that I steal away.

I’ve been wondering what it is that has kept all of these distractions in my life from actually truly distracting me from the Lord lately.  And I think that I’ve realized that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m just in such constant communication with my heavenly daddy, that I just haven’t lost sight of him.  He’s just here. He’s just real.  And, I remember Ann Voskamp said, in a wonderful illustration at Allume, that we’ll know we’ve gone too far when we can no longer hear his voice.  He’s the reason that all this stuff in my life is happening anyhow, so I guess I find myself talking it through with him on a regular basis.  His voice is right here beside me.  

And lately, I’ve found myself lingering on and enjoying the thoughts of my Jesus as that tiny baby in a manger, and the hard journey that his mom and dad had to make, on a donkey, to a far away land, just to be counted.  

Isn’t it true that we all often embark on journeys in life sometimes just to be counted?  But what if, like with Mary and Joseph, in the midst of heading on our way to make our mark in the world, the God of heaven shows up to us in the fullness of gentleness and purity…in an unexpected place?  What if, on our way to matter, on our way to count, the King of heaven and earth descends and is born to us in new ways?  What if in this time and place….he goes from being the God of heaven…to the in-the-flesh, prince of the earth in our own lives?  What if… on our journey to matter, instead of seeing a God who’s high up in the sky…we meet the real Jesus?

“What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. 

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

There’s beauty in what is real.  There’s beauty found in a dirty stable with smelly animals and a tiny soft baby in a manger.  There’s beauty there because it’s real.  Most of us can’t relate to the lavish life of a prince or princess.  But we can relate to the dirt and muck of real life.  And it’s that real life that our Savior chose to invade.  He entered this world in the harsh reality of a cave full of animals, and it’s STILL true of him that he intersects with us in the midst of our muck.  Once he’s real to us….He can’t become unreal again.  And once we’re real with him, we begin to see that we can’t be ugly to him because he understands.  And…it lasts for always.

“It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real”

What if friends, this Christmas season more than ever, we let Jesus become real to us?  And what if, we allow ourselves to become real  with him as well?

 *Image credit: The Velveteen Rabbit

Logan

Logan is the Executive Director of Allume and an infrequent blogger. Daughter of a most extravagant and hospitable King, wife to Jeremy, and mother to 2 wild and inquisitive little boys, her days are filled with a combination of routine and plenty of the unexpected. No stranger to broken dreams, she has found that a curious following of the Ultimate Creative, Jesus, has led her into a faith that is fuller and a life that is more exciting. Stay-at-home-mom and interior decorator, turned writer and Allume owner and host, Logan consistently finds that God doesn’t necessarily call the equipped, but he will always equip the called. Logan is currently in process writing her first book due to come out whenever she finishes it and someone decides to publish it. In the meantime, you can find her musings at her blog LoganWolfram.com.

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Go Fish

So, Allume has passed, and I’m still finding myself pondering some of the same things that the Lord has had me pondering for months now. Much of it, I shared in my session at Allume on Blogging as Discipleship.  I’m going to share a few snippits from that session below, but if you want the full on thing (complete with Monty Python impersonation) then you can download my session, along with the whole bundle of almost 30 other incredible speaker sessions HERE!

*          *          *

I’ve always been a people person. I am an extrovert if there ever was one, but I think the proverbial “lights came on” in my mind when I realized something years ago about myself.

I love a good party. I love to plan them to the enth degree….to decorate…to create atmospheres and environments where people can just come and have a good time.

Christmas Decor

I’ve been decorating for Christmas, as I’m sure many of you have been as well.  We’ll host a Christmas party this year at my home again, and so the decorating gets amped up a notch.  It’s even more fun to go to great lengths when you get to share it with others.  But… as much as I love to create and prepare, in the end…none of that matters to me as much as the people who walk into my home. When the first person walks through my door, worrying about the environment is done…and the people are what’s important to me.

And my blog needs to be the same way….

The blog has to be about the people reading. And whether we have 50 followers of 500,000, we ALL have the opportunity to impact lives.

When we blog, most of us all have little buttons on the side somewhere for all the myriad ways that people can follow us. They can follow us on Pinterest and see what we think is beautiful or interesting. They can follow us on Twitter for little snippits or links to what is going on with us in 140 characters or less. They can follow on Facebook, or subscribe to receive our posts in their email. We welcome “followers,” and sometimes it can even be easy to get hung up on if we have enough of them or not.  A disciple is by definition “a follower…a pupil of a teacher.”  But my question to you, and to myself is, “What are we asking people to follow?”

Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” So if we’re following Jesus, wouldn’t it be fair to assume that our blogs would reflect that somehow?

I’m not saying that means we should all write devotional or spiritual blogs all the time either. Some people are gifted to be able to do that all the time, but some of us are called to make disciples other ways too.  

They say that people are the happiest when they’re giving themselves away. So I want to encourage you to give of yourself from your areas of giftedness. Give of your talents, and your passions, your wisdom, and your struggle….give them all to the glory of the King. Invite people into your journey…into your creativity….into your elements. Chances are if you’re blogging, you’ve got a few followers….and whether you realize it or not, you are making disciples.  We have the privilege of sharing our journeys, our daily living, the funny, the mundane, the beautiful, and even the hard….all to the glory of our King.

Our lives tell our stories, and I believe that the world needs to see what authentic journeys with a loving God look like. The journey is the guts of a story and what makes the testimony in the end hold weight.  It’s following one story that starts in the hard of here and ends in the peace of there. And the thing I’ve realized is that what God does in one life…in one journey, he can do in thousands.

We write. And we have a voice that has the capacity to reach farther than voices have been able to travel in all of history.  And, there are hungry people out there. People are hungry for authenticity, but not just a boldness without a filter….people are hungry for what is real. People are hungry for a journey that leads them to peace and truth in the end.  

Jesus himself said “Follow me..and I will make you fishers of men.” People are following….so the question then is “Where are we leading them?”  And if somehow in the end, they don’t catch a glimpse of what it means to be discipled….to be led in love….then what are we doing?

My dear friend Kristen Schell said to me in a conversation before Allume when we were talking about fishing for men, that “the call is to be fishers…the Lord will provide the catch.” We are simply a conduit ya’ll. The glory is to the Lord and so is the haul.   The question is, will we drop our nets?  

Fishing boat

 

Image Sources: 1)My living room from www.LifeforDessert.com, 2) Fishing Boat on Flickr

Logan

Logan is the Executive Director of Allume and an infrequent blogger. Daughter of a most extravagant and hospitable King, wife to Jeremy, and mother to 2 wild and inquisitive little boys, her days are filled with a combination of routine and plenty of the unexpected. No stranger to broken dreams, she has found that a curious following of the Ultimate Creative, Jesus, has led her into a faith that is fuller and a life that is more exciting. Stay-at-home-mom and interior decorator, turned writer and Allume owner and host, Logan consistently finds that God doesn’t necessarily call the equipped, but he will always equip the called. Logan is currently in process writing her first book due to come out whenever she finishes it and someone decides to publish it. In the meantime, you can find her musings at her blog LoganWolfram.com.

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