oh, to be whole

Wholeness. To be restored to fullness. To be altogether complete. To be healed.

Our culture longs for wholeness. We seek to fill in the gaps. We strive to lack nothing. We search for supernatural strength. What do we fill? How do we strive? Where do we search?

Oh, to be whole.

Over the past month, they have been on a journey together. A journey that she geeks out about, he groans over, and a journey that brought to the surface more than they bargained for a New Year’s eating plan.

She set out on the journey to seek wholeness, to be restored from unhealthy patterns and habits, to reset her body to a way of eating it was intended for, and to see if this plan would prove a diagnosis for her man’s migraines. He, the supportive husband of a strong willed woman, complied, and together they submitted themselves to what is commonly known as, the Whole30.

30 days: real food, whole food: meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, some fruit, good fats all while avoiding gluten, grains, dairy, legumes and sugars.

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To be restored to fullness. The first week of their Whole30 adventure sounded a lot like the Rolling Stones hit, “No Satisfaction”. When deprived of what they normally sought to satisfy, their bodies proved captive to their addictions. Her generous squeeze of honey per morning coffee, his popcorn and Shiner beer, her cheese, crackers and Chardonnay, their quick Chick lunch, peanut butter ‘n chocolate chips before bed and pizza Friday, OH pizza Friday…

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They were not satisfied without. He left most meals she prepared feeling hungry, grumpy and craving. She packed up leftovers each night discouraged, depressed and thirsty for his approval. He spent most days enduring a chronic headache. Poorly motivated, she hunted for work to make up for the extra money she had spent at the grocery store. He wanted to be filled. She wanted to be enough. They were needy, fatigued and cranky. They had trained their bodies to find fullness by way of filling in the gaps with what they thought would satisfy. Deprived of these fleshly desires, they felt empty and depleted. So, she doubled his portions and added carb dense veggies, and he made an effort to affirm her time planning, work preparing and creativity in presenting each meal. He chased after memories his taste buds delighted in that left him lacking. She craved his accolades and appreciation. They longed to be satisfied, to be filled. To be restored to fullness.

To be altogether, complete. About two weeks in, their bodies adjusted, energy increased and benefits became obvious. She no longer waited until the last minute to force herself to the gym for the last work out of the day, but took every opportunity to be outside, active and in relationship with those around her. He could sit in front of and resist a basket of tortilla chips, and crave a burrito bowl. She became motivated and inspired in ways to bring in extra money. His headaches subsided. She experienced a new found confidence, and he rarely grumbled about not feeling full. They had both noticed a difference and sang praises about the plan.

Even so, they still longed for completion of the 30 days. Him, for the freedom of choice, to satiate his cravings with the morsels they’d been without. Her, to see results so dramatic that she would repel gluten and dairy like she did the stomach virus. He wanted to be finished. She wanted to be whole.

IMG_0646.JPGTheir hope was in the last day; him, to no longer resist, her, to experience revelation. So, they remained faithful to the plan through dinners out with family, celebrating with friends, life on the road and yes, even watching the SuperBowl. They fixed their eyes on the finish line. To be lacking nothing, altogether complete.

To be wholly healed. The end came fast, Day30, it. is. finished! He lost 15 pounds, dropped more inches than he needed to and proved to his competitive self that he could do almost anything he sets his mind to, even if it means no bread for 30 days. She comfortably fit into most of her clothes, had blemish free skin for the first time without prescription meds, and felt as if every minute was pumped with adrenaline. He no longer had to resist, and the results surpassed her expectations. They were feelin’ good.

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Their first lunch out on Day31 uncovered opposing expectations of life after the Whole30. In one single sandwich he reintroduced all food groups he had eliminated without regard to the work he had done to clean them out of his system. She deliberated with great tension over informing his decisions or giving him full freedom to make his own choice. He became frustrated with the ambiguity of the program rules of life after the Whole30. She abandoned the rigid reintroduction plan so as not to further inconvenience or trouble him or those around her. And by Day 35 he had lost all form of Whole30, slopping up potato salad and BBQ sauce by piece of bread. And that girl, after a handful of popcorn, a pinch of cotton candy and half a chocolate chip cookie, she also had reincorporated all of the ‘never again’ food groups. The car ride home Sunday night was tension filled and tainted by his headache, her tummy pains and a facial breakout that pointed to the obvious, their bodies were not tolerating the foods they had so carelessly indulged in once more. In bed by 8:45, they lay there, her, doubled over in stomach pain, him, seeking to sleep off the split in his head.  They had obeyed the desires of their flesh and were broken, longing to be healed. He wanted to buy in, to discover the trigger of his headaches, and while the evidence was promising, he wasn’t willing to commit his lifestyle to heal by way of Whole30. She too, wanted to sell out on the gluten-dairy-sugar free way. It was evident her body flourished under these restrictions. However, her fear of being misunderstood, or offending others with her way of eating held her back from confidence walking forward. They long to be healed, of ailments like headaches, acne, and a sensitive gut, but even more so of their sinfulness, of their obedience to the flesh and insecurity. They long to be unbroken, wholly healed.

They long. They long to be fulfilled. They long to be complete. They long to be wholly restored. They fill up on social media, sports statistics and fantasizing about the future. They set their hope in the way they influence and are adored. They are weary from running, from fighting, from suffering in this world. They want to be finished, to be free, to be victorious. They medicate with happy hour, a shopping spree and half priced baked goods on Saturday night. Oh, to be full. Oh, to be complete. Oh, to be healed.

They long for wholeness. They were created for it. The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it this way, “… And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid. God looked at everything he had made. ‘Perfect!’ he said. And it was.” Perfection. Completion. Wholeness. It was what they were created for, and then things went wrong. They doubted God’s love for them, and they ran far away from him. They separated themselves from His perfection, from a life that was whole. They broke down, fell apart, and had no way of attaining wholeness on their own. They needed a rescuer, a Savior. And God so loved them, that He sent Jesus. Jesus brought healing to those who were broken. He brought hope to those in despair. He lived perfectly with God. And though He was perfect, He was put to death unjustly to bear the separation from wholeness that they deserve. Yet, death had no hold on Him, and rose from the grave to restore a way back to wholeness. And whoever shall believe in Him, will not perish in separation, but will walk in newness, in completion, in healing, in wholeness.

He has fulfilled. He has finished. He has healed.

They are whole.

One Whole30 down, and a long joy filled journey to go, ‘They fix their eyes on their creator, and seek Him who began a good work in them promising to bring it to completion. They submit unto the author and perfecter of their faith, the one who proves them faithful, perfect and complete, lacking nothing. They trust he will supply their every need, restore their health and heal their wounds. In him, their strength is sufficient. They hope in The Day, in the revelation of Christ Jesus when they meet his face in freedom, and He is pleased. In him, they are whole.’ [Phil 1:6, 4:19, 1 Peter 1:7, James 1:4, Jeremiah 30:7, 2 Cor. 12:9]

And from that reality, they will continue to gracefully strive towards practically living out of their wholeness in this broken world, putting the One who makes them whole on display in all the decisions they make, even in simple, everyday practices like eating and drinking.

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in their longing // oh, to be…

Looking back on 2014, they’re overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness. Abundantly and exceedingly more than they could have asked or imagined, He has provided down to the detail beyond their wildest dreams. And grateful, they are. Yet, still, somehow, in their longing, they want more.

She longs to make a home their own. He longs to be financially secure. She longs to nurture. He longs to be great at what he does. She longs to create something original. He longs to have answers. She longs to go back to school. He longs to be free from temptation. She longs to be fit and healthy. He longs for control. She longs to connect with others. He longs to testify what is true. She longs to be funny. He longs to be right. She longs to be valued. He longs to be without fault.

O, to be home.
O, to be nurturer.
O, to be unique.
O, to be smart.
O, to be whole.
O, to be known.
O, to be enjoyed.
O, to be cherished.
Then, then… she would be loved.
She longs to be loved.

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O, to be secure.
O, to be great.
O, to be wise.
O, to be free.
O, to be mighty.
O, to be heard.
O, to be strong.
O, to be right.
Then, then…. he would be enough.
He longs to be enough.

O, to be loved
O, to be enough.
O, to be.

O, but, you are.

God created them and said, ‘This is my beloved daughter and my beloved son, in whom I’m well pleased, they are very good.’ Created by love, to love and for love, they are beloved, and their Father is pleased, they are enough. Their desire to know and be known and to love and be loved flows from the very heart of God. We were made to and for love.

If she’s beloved, why does she long for love? And him, he is good. His father is pleased. Why does he long to be more?

Something is not right. The reality of who God is, and who they are as His, has fallen far from what is believed to be true. In this abandonment of faith, even by the ounce, a chase after counterfeit gods of this world begins. And, year, after year, they are left longing. Security. Success. Fame. Acceptance. Riches. Perfection. Image… and the list goes on.

Longing to be loved, longing to be enough. They long to return to the undistracted reality of their belovedness, to be wholly known and utterly loved.

Paul’s letter to Rome reminds them that they are not alone, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (8:20-25)

Created to and for love, but fallen from it, they wait. With eager longing, they wait. And as they wait, they hold on to the hope of their salvation. Though they have fallen from love, there is One who saves them by, to and for love. He will bring them to glory. He has redeemed their belovedness. He has satisfied their longings. In him, she is loved. In him, he is enough.

O, to be. O, but, you are.

And longings combined, they have created a shop. 02Bloved, an expression, reminder, inspirer, teacher and revealer that in our longing, we have hope secure in Jesus Christ.

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Stay tuned to catch more of their heart and vision for 02B!

in her weakness

she is limited.

Recently, I’ve encountered the reality that I am not perfect.

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My physical body is dying and will return to dust. I have stretch marks, wrinkles and cellulite. My memory is splotchy, and my intellect is narrow. I forget my mom’s birthday every year, and it took me 3 semesters to pass college calculus. My gifts and talents are few. I am not the best at anything. Teach me a rhythmic dance, and laugh. My personality is it’s own. I feel deeply and process slowly. Pinch me, and I’ll probably cry. Ask me to solve a problem efficiently, and breed panic. My time is running out. I can’t do it all. There will be goals unmet and dreams unlived. I won’t be an astronaut, have thirteen kids or climb Mt. Everest. My work is hard. It remains thorns and thistles, and I am unfulfilled. Even if I got paid to bask beneath the sun on a tropical island, I would still find a way to complain. My material possessions will be destroyed. My iPhone and iPad will soon be outdated, and eventually, those Anthropologie dresses will be eaten by moths or stolen. My relationships are infected, every single one of them. I hurt people. People hurt me. My understanding is confused. I don’t get it. Who God really is is beyond my comprehension.

I am limited.

I am not God.

And it kinda sucks.

As I come to embrace these limitations, I am grieved. I suffer loss. I experience death. Real death.

in her weakness.

So to keep her from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given her in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass her, to keep her from becoming conceited. Three times she pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave her. But he said to her, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore she will boast all the more gladly of her weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon her. For the sake of Christ, then, she is content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when she is weak, then she is strong. [2 Corinthians 12:7-10]

That damn thorn. It’s pestering lies from my enemy. The way that it threateningly stalks. The sting, suffocation and irritation at the slightest bump, twist or turn. What it kills. Where it limits. How it confuses. It’s sensitivity to infection. It’s decieving whispers. It’s ability to pierce my side in the midst of a dead sprint, leaving me stumbling, keeling over and falling to my knees. Owwwieee. GET IT OUT!!! “Please, Father, wouldn’t you take it from me? Don’t you see how it disables me? It tears away at me. It rips at my side. I hate it! I long to be rid of it. Can you numb it? Will you remove it? Pleeease! I beg of you!”

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“Beloved daughter, I am enough for you. For through this thorn, you have come to me, you have heard me, you know me and you follow me. In your desperation, you have tasted and seen that I am good. In your disability, I have carried you. In your pain, you seek me, and you find me. In it’s lies, you search for truth. In it’s attack, you run to refuge in my arms. In your limits, I am limitless. In your destruction, I will restore. Darling daughter, through this thorn I have captivated you. I have wooed you into the reality of my loving kindness. Here, where you are nothing, where you are limited, where you need, is where I am perfected, and it’s where my grace and power are perfecting my image in you. Trust me. Follow me. I am sovereign, and I love you.”

she is wooed.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and maker the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. [Hosea 2:14-15]

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The wilderness is a place of exile. It is where I meet weakness. It is where I am limited. It is death. It is the human way of life. It’s always a test, and it’s always confusing, but it’s a good place to be. In the desert is where God woos me to Himself. I don’t merely survive when weak, but it is in my weakness, in the desert, where I flourish. In my limitations, I learn to let go of my little kingdoms and discover a nobler King than myself. I die to my false self that could never enter the kingdom of God. Here, in death, dependence on God is essential and independence from Him as absolutely lethal. I own emptiness here, and encounter the inability of created things to satisfy. Here, is where the bonds of captivity are stripped, and the hope for deliverance is restored. In this desperation is where God reveals Himself as trustworthy, sovereign and worth following.

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from death to life.

Deep in the desert, where limitations are revealed, weakness is encountered and death is real, I am prompted to trust the living God. I look to Jesus on the Mount of Olives as He faced the reality of death, proclaiming, ‘Father, not my will, but yours, be done.’ What followed this surrender to the Father was grief, suffering, betrayal, abandonment, mockery, accusation, striping, bruising, beating, piercing and ultimately death. Real death. Death that I’ll never encounter. Death that I was saved from, because Jesus died this death for me. But this death wasn’t the end. The truth is, He rose from the grave, and He is alive!

In His death, He rose again, and in His resurrection, there is hope. But resurrection requires death. Real death. Where there is death, there is resurrection. And where there is resurrection, there is transformation and restoration. Therefore, in my weakness, in limitations and in death, there is hope. I delight in my dying and rejoice in my weaknesses, because here, He brings me to life. Here, His power is perfecting me.

For, in her weakness, she is strong.

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Weakness 

O Spirit of God

Help my infirmities;

When I am pressed down with a load of sorrow,

                perplexed and knowing not what to do,

                slandered and persecuted,

                made to feel the weight of the cross,

                                help me, I pray thee.

If thou seest in me any wrong thing encouraged,

                any evil desire cherished,

                any delight that is not thy delight,

                any habit that grieves thee,

                any nest of sin in my heart,

                                then grant me the kiss of thy forgiveness,

                and teach my feet to walk the way of thy commandments.

Deliver me from carking care,

                and make me a happy, holy person;

Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step,

                and to wrestle successfully against weakness;

Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,

                with the music of heaven,

And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude to thee.
I do not crouch at thy feet as a slave before a tyrant,

                but exult before thee as a son with a father.

Give me power to live as thy child in all my actions,

                and to exercise sonship by conquering self.

Preserve me from the intoxication that comes of prosperity;

Sober me when I am glad with a joy that comes not from thee..

Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,

                not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.

I request only to see the face of him I love,

                to be content with bread to eat,

                                with raiment to put on,

if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

(p. 103) Valley of Vision

A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

the anchors of her soul

When she forgets…

As a prone wanderer and one so forgetful of how specific and significant God’s promises are, melt downs, slips, spirals and tail spins are familiar reactions for this deep-feeling, over-thinking little lady.

But, they don’t have to be.

Over the course of the past year, thought provoking conversations have left me with hopeful and victorious alternatives in side stepping these pitfalls. Challenged by the voices of a few beloved friends, I’ve been encouraged to-

  • Identify anchors.  When I feel myself begin to slip, what is it that I can throw into the side of a cliff for anchoring to prevent a landslide? (Katelyn Farrar)
  • Consider David as a deep feeler. Where did He go for anchoring? (Jennifer Crouse)
  • Create a list of the top 35 things that bring me to life. (Kortni Wright)
  • Do what I love, bring people with me, and meet people along the way. (Diana Christenson)

Frequently, when lies are loud, hurt is real and pain is deep, a culmination of these truth bearing exhortations have awakened action to discover what it means for me to draw near, come to and seek Jesus. In all of my pursuit, He is relentlessly faithful in meeting me. Always, He is found.  Always, He draws near. Always, He provides rest. It is in these places, in the anchors of my soul, where He reminds me of His promises, relentless, covenanted and specific and significant for me.

Whether the onset of spring, the 80 degree Austin weather, the highways lined of wildflowers or my recent discovery of the incredible hiking terrain within miles of my apartment, His reminders have been overwhelmingly lavish in the past few weeks, and I. am. captivated. Here is a glimpse of where He has met me lately to remind me of how great and precious His promises are.

The Anchors of Her Soul

 The warmth of the radiating sun.

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The scrutiny of written words.

The endless dirt road in the distance.

The vast rolling hill country view.

The unknown adventure ahead.

The freedom felt in nylon Nike shorts.
The deep connecting in conversation.
The chilled water trickling over my feet.

The streaking of tears down my cheek.
 The warm twinge of tea to my lips.

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 The first taste of a dry, crisp white wine.

The combination of flavors on my pallet.

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The cursive ink trail following my pen’s movement.
The first colorful stroke on a white canvas.

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The clop scooting of cowboy boots on city sidewalks.
The picking strum on a six string acoustic.
The giggle of a beloved two-year-old red head.

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The burn of weary muscles.
The scenting flavor of cedar in my lungs.
The blossom of a budding blue bonnett.

The twang of Texas country music to my ears.

 The spinning on a wooden rustic dance floor.

The colors painting the dusk sky.

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Here, You catch my gaze. I feel Your embrace. I remember.
You see into me. You know me. You love me.
Specifically. Significantly.
I am yours.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” –James 4:6

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

“Seek and you will find.” –Matthew 7:7

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me, hears my words, and puts them into practice.” –Luke 6:46-4