please pardon my dust

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh." (2 Cor. 5:16)

In the beginning, God

He created from dust
in His image, in
His own likeness.

He breathed His Life, putting
Word in empty mouth so that

He could have conversations.

"Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer." (2 Cor. 5:16)

In the beginning, God

He created from dust
One in His image, in
very nature God.

He breathed His Life, putting
Word on silent Cross so that

He could have conversations.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor.17-19)

In the beginning, God

He created from stone
a new soft heart, to
fill with His Spirit.

He breathed His Life, pulling
Word from empty tomb so that

He could have conversations.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
(Rev. 21:1-5)

In the beginning, God

He created new dust for
heaven and earth to
fill with His presence.

He brought His Life, sending
Word to reap the old so that

He could dwell with man and
have conversations.

The air was heavy most of the day here. Thickened with tension, fraught with child cries and voices that I know are not in the air but in my head.

Cries that carried need. Voices that carried shame.

I stepped silent around them, breathing hard, breathing deep, swallowing cries and frustration and the internal screams not meant for air.

I planned and re-planned and worked and re-worked and accomplished absolutely nothing at all because I was too distraught to move beyond necessity today, because my back ached and my head ached and my eyes ached from the unshed tears behind them, tears held back by confused anger. Anger held in, stopped up by fear.


"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Gal. 5:1)

Stand fast...

The words catch on the fear in my throat, choking me. How dare I think that I should stand fast?

I know this Gospel. I know this grace. I know what redemption is. I know what it means that I am reconciled to God.

Yet I hold Him at arm's length. Close enough to keep an eye on what He is doing, far enough to keep Him from tearing my heart open. I want to give my all to Him - really, I do - but the fear that thickens the air, that holds back the tears, the fear traps me. I utter the words on repeat, "I don't want to..." because I don't know what else to say.

Everything is "Christ, but..." in my head today. I feel that the Cross is not enough. That His coming was nothing, really.

But everything that is not of Him must be stripped away.

Even the good I mean to do.


The words spin and scatter and gather and fly now. They come with tears as I begin to pour my heart into the air that is heavy. They spill out and speak desire that is good, fear that is caging, wild hope that is true.

"You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Gal. 5:7)

Yes. I ran well. I know I have lived this Truth, that in Christ I live and move and have my being.

My being that is too small for this great God. My being that is dying to dress up a little more, deliver a little more, surrender a little more before I come before Him. Oh, I do not want to need His mercy this time! I want to like the me I bring to Him.

So He lets me stew and watches me fall, waiting to catch my frightened heart.

"You ran well..."

"Stand fast."

I gather my courage. More words spill before Him, and before my husband who came early to hold me, to listen to me breathe hard and fast and hurt and scared. Words about prayer, about inviting God into our house, about doing only the things He has set before me now instead of preparing for China and martyrdom in thirty years when I just know He will require it of me.


My testimony is this: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This is the grace, the Gospel, the mercy, the Redemption I own.

Here, I am not trapped. Jesus despised the shame He bore - MY shame - and He does not impute it to me.

I am not what I want to be. I am what I am, by the grace of God.

And what I am is a mess. What I am does not take the photos I want to take. What I am does not (and cannot most times) do the housework I want to do. What I am is too often afraid to love. What I am does not stop the words when they should be stopped, does not speak them when they should be spoken.

What I am is dust. Dust, and a broken heart.


"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.
(2 Cor. 5:1-7)

If you read my blog and think I am something, know this the truth: I am nothing.

I have spent much of the past weeks soul-searching - as much as one can soul-search beneath the constant hue and cry of my two - and I know that what I give and what I do and what I write will not be what I am hoping to give and do and write.

Because you see, I have been patterning my nothing after others who have done what I wish to do, and in the end it comes to nothing without Jesus for me, and my yoke of bondage is my own misplaced desire to be like them and not like me who God created and re-created and called good. If we all say the same thing, we become shadows of one another, and the best and brightest shadow is still a shadow - when we are really earthen vessels filled with the weight of a glory that is not meant to be earthbound.

He is so much There, and does not seem to be here at all. Yet the things that my heart knows call me to walk into what my eyes do not see, and my mess is propelled forward by faith into a Life I dare not seek in my own strength - who am I to know what Holy and Righteous is?

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)


I cannot live the future now.

God asks this of me today (and I have been afraid to listen): to draw near to Him. To look at Him. To open my heart to an intimacy to take me beyond the limits of my imagination so that I will know that whether I live or die, I will be in Him.

There is a question that has been niggling at me recently, an inane question that offers more direction than I thought I needed: "Am I a blogger who writes or a writer who blogs?"

Tonight, as the words come, I know the answer.

I am a writer who blogs, and it is time for me to step back into my place - MY place - and write again, instead of trying the "blogging" thing.

Several months ago, I went searching for a community who knows God - and I found it. I found you. And you and you and you. And I have been deepened and encouraged, and I hope it will continue.

But I may not be commenting so much on other blogs as I have. I may not reply to every email or track my stats or link up elsewhere or follow too many prompts or Tweet endless links as I have.

I suspect the nature of my posts will change a bit too - when I write, I write for me; I write what is deep; I write what is Him in my dust. I have nothing else.

The voices tell me that is "self-centered," but I am feeling stronger this evening, more ready to stand, more ready to claim the free that is mine in Jesus so I may bow at the throne of Grace - instead of ducking my head, anticipating the blow.


What does it mean, that God destroyed the gap between Heaven and earth when Jesus became man and died and rose again?

Death, where is your victory?

I breathe out slow now. Long, and slow. A sigh, but not a sigh. An acknowledgment. That God created me the way He meant. That He does not mean to crush me, but to guard me, to hold me safe in His love. That the being I have in Christ is so much glory and not so much dust.

My flesh and my heart fail.

The groaning is a given.

My spirit is waiting for that face-to-face conversation. The one where I see Him. The one where I become like Him.

God, that's gonna be so good...

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)


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