God’s Promises Everywhere

“Look at the bathroom lights, Mom! There are rainbows everywhere!”

She gazes up at the light sporting cardboard glasses from a Mad Science camp that look like a cross between old school 3-D glasses and those cooky looking shades you get when the optometrist dilates your eyes.They’re refracting glasses and they break the light into millions of tiny rainbows.  She rocks her head from shoulder to shoulder and giggles with glee as the rainbows dance through the room.

“Mom, I never knew there were rainbows everywhere! They were here all along! I just had to look through the right glasses!”

Like my promisesGod whispers. Revelation sweeps over me and sucks the air from my lungs.

Oh! How I’ve forgotten.  Forgotten to live my life seeing the rainbows everywhere. Forgotten how God’s promises sparkle on the walls of my home, and dance through the air of my church, and surround my children’s heads like halos.

‘Cause they are, you know?  Everywhere- it’s just a matter of taking off my worldy human glasses and putting on my God lenses.

I’m sorry, Lord. Sorry for overlooking the promises you’ve fulfilled all around me.  Sorry for not believing in Your plan and your promise to prosper me. Sorry for putting on the world’s glasses and seeing this life as something not steeped in  Your light. I’m sorry for forgetting about the rainbows, Lord. Thanks for the reminder.

 

I'm linking up (a little late) with Duane Scott over at Scribing the Journey- would you join us?

Releasing Control

“Cari, what would happen if instead of controlling the breath, you just released it? What would that feel like?”

My inner teenager rolls her eyes and begins again sliding notes off heavy tongue while rolling my head around like a rag doll.  My vocal coach plays through ascending scales and murmurs encouragement in a slight German accent.  My voice feels strange and loosey-goosey and free all at the same time.

He stops for water and while I sip, he explains.

“Music is the vehicle to release all the emotions God has created in us:  happiness, sadness, anger….passion.”  The last word curls slowly off his tongue in his foreign way as it’s emphasized, pounding his fist on his heart so hard I could feel it in the chambers of my own.  “But we try to control everything about it– our breath, the muscles around our throat, the tone of the note, the pitch, and a million other elements when we sing. Trying to control creates tension. Tension creates pressure, and pressure kills everything it touches, especially the song within us.”

I nod with the truth of it…but I don’t know how to just release…..well, ANYTHING. 

Not my breath or voice. Not my dreams or life. Jesus, can I really learn this? It seems so far away. 

Maybe this is why God sent me here to this tiny German task master who yells contradiction while I sing the equivalent of a basketball line drill.

“Vun, Dwo, Tree, Four….just relax de tongue…Vun, Dwo, Tree, Four…free the voooiicccee!”  I feel like I am in Olympic training and I am tired from all the releasing at the end of our hour together.

I listen to this slight, middle aged man sing a favorite- “I Surrender All.” I watch him as he closes his eyes and releases breath filled with notes and I envy the way his voice floats and soars in the space between us.  I can sense the difference….feel the way the air changes and I feel hope rise that maybe this is a skill I can learn.

Maybe by learning to release breath I will learn to release other things too.  I will learn that being in control is not a prized character trait, but a limiting behavior that keeps me bound to a life locked away from God.  Maybe by setting my voice free I will unlock the cage of control that I bind myself in.

I close my eyes and listen….

“All to Jesus, I surrender. All to thee I freely give.”

and I sing while I  pray the words in my heart….please let it be, Lord….let it be.

Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of an Abundant Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Today, do something playful. Maybe even a little crazy. And smile, radiant smiles spreading all over this world. 

The prompt is challenging me today.  Right now in this time of gift buying, and family visiting and house decorating and work and preparation….right now in the midst of all the “I shoulda oughtas”—to stop and play? Duane, you’re killing me with this offer of life in the midst of the mundane…the everyday…in the midst of a slow, worldy death.

And yet,  Jesus said—I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Did you hear that? TO THE FULL!

So in this moment, when I am taking myself so seriously, an angel prompts me with a challenge….to play….to smile…to live. It’s so hard to shift gears, so I start with a smile…with a laugh at my daughters silly jokes…with a little game of foot ninja (this game has a much more interesting name that I can’t remember or spell) with my son…with a few moments to drink in the heavenly sound of my children laughing belly laughs that roll until the need to draw breath overtakes them.

This is life to the full….this is the promise of the abundant life.

 

Today’s promise can be downloaded by clicking here.  Thank you all so much for continuing this Advent journey with us.

Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of Rest

This post is part of the Unwrapping His Promises series we’re doing this Advent season with Duane Scott over at Scribing the Journey.  If you’d like to join us, you can download today’s Promise here

The Promise of Rest

Seeking Solitude

I came here seeking solitude,

And found I like the quiet,

But am afraid of the alone.

I came here spent and desiring rest,

And found bounding energy

Yearning for outlet.

Busy energy-

Worldy energy.

“Rest,” You said, “Be still.”

But I find myself restless

And in perpetual motion.

In obedience and with discipline of will,

I sit.

Quiet.

Unmoving.

Eyes closed and thoughts clearing.

And finally,

I sink into Your grace.

-Cari Kaufman

Written on retreat at St Scholastica, 2/25/2011

Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of Every Need Met

Do I believe this?

If  my actions speak to my beliefs and I look hard at how I act, do my actions say I believe that He will meet my every need?

I’ve worked hard today. I’ve been productive. I’ve called calls and written blogs. I’ve worked up budgets and hobbed and knobbed with potential ministry partners. I’ve knocked things off my to do list that I’ve been “meaning to” get to for weeks.

And yet….

It’s not finished. Not done. The cute little boxes are not all checked off.

There are clean clothes on the bed unfolded and dishes in the sink unwashed and chapters God asked me to write unwritten.

There are hugs unhugged and kisses unkissed, prayers unprayed and love unsaid.

I NEED more time. More energy. More motivation. More hands.

And if I truly believe that God has promised every need will be met, why do I feel so desperately overwhelmed by it all when I look around?

As I work today on the budget for a women’s conference we are hosting next fall, I laughed at the numbers.  I feel like I’m playing with monopoly money as I look at a budget that BEGINS thousands of dollars from reality is daunting.  And the question that rattles around is do I really believe God will provide?

EVERY NEED

That’s the promise.

Today I have to settle for claiming this promise- because today, well, frankly, belief is coming so readily.  God and I have spent a lot of time chatting about this today and He’s made other promises of need fulfilled.

“Lord, help my unbelief.”

Another need. One he’ll meet. Like all the others.

Unwrapping His Promises- The Promise of His Presence

But the afternoon passes without even waving and tomorrow morphs into yesterday without anyone noticing. ” He writes…my friend who blogs about love and life and what it means to be both.  He weaves a tale of busyness, of Christmas normal, and then of Christ’s love, of Christ’s choice, of Christ’s promises.  I was full of tears and hope when he writes: “Will you not sit with me as we unwrap these promises together?” 

Why yes, Duane Scott, yes I will.  

You can, too, you know…he’s created a beautiful downloadable printable with a writing prompt for each day between now and Christmas.  Share your words with us, here or through email. These are the best gifts of the season….don’t keep them to yourself.

The Promise of His Presence

The alarm clock sounded early this morning—well it seemed early—this morning it was actually set an hour later than normal.  Seems as if the alarm sounds earlier and earlier these past few days. We’ve battled a stomach virus in our house since last week—it brought with it a bone-weariness I haven’t experienced since my children were bassinet-bound babes.

I rolled over and snuggled into the warmth of my husband and began my morning prayers.

“Jesus, come….I invite you here. I love you.”

Heart full to bursting–gratitude spills over the edges of my early morning quiet.

“Thank you for this man, Lord.”

Happy tears sneak past the rims of closed eyes.

“Thank you for our family…for these kids…for this dog…for this house…for this life, Lord.”

This is how each of my days begins.  Ann Voskamp calls this love that flows from thankfulness “eucharisteo”…this life-filling gratitude.  It is the practice that keeps me centered…that keeps me focused…that reminds me of the beauty of all that God has given me.

This morning as I pray, I sense something more.  Something deep wells up.  Something bubbly and exciting.

Something called Joy. Unexplainable…Not for any earthly reason….just a love song from my Lord.

And as I open my eyes, a song plays in my head….

“and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”