Living Room Liturgy: Third Week of November

Psalm 37

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him…

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, 

and his tongue speaks justice. 

The law of his God is in his heart, 

his steps do not slip.” 

Today, Lord, make me still before you.

In a world that rushes to do violence and to repay violence, may my heart hush still before you, eager for your wisdom.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him.

When my heart is tempted to worry and to preoccupation with the ache of our world, steady it with your wisdom.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

When all my heart can muster is fretful longing, fill it with the delight of the Lord.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

When the world creaks with sin’s ugly brokenness, remind me that sin is always first an offense against a Holy God.

Be still before the Lord.

When I come upon injustice in the world, in my home, in my community, be my voice.

Wait patiently before him.

When I choose complacency and convenience over justice and mercy, lead me in the way of righteousness.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

When this world’s brokenness and wickedness and injustice tempts me to close up, help me to open up the very same way your son did.

Mark my life by the generosity of the cross.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

Whatever interruption shakes the world, my country, my community, my family today, may I be found stubbornly trusting in your Lordship.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

Though all I have fall aside, though wickedness prospers, You, Lord, uphold my life. You are the keeper of my soul. 

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

As you daily teach this truth to my heart, may it move me to a place of fearless righteousness and resolute mercy.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him. 

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Golden Birthday Wishes

As I have mentioned previously, I love my birthday.

This year my birthday is extra special. And golden.

As a kid, I remember thinking that my golden birthday would automatically be special, and being so, so bummed that I would have to wait SO LONG for it.  Wehhhllll, here it comes.

Every year I say that I’m going to make a wish list and every year when people ask me what I want for my birthday I say “uhhhh…. surprise me?” Not this year. It’s the year of the Fin15h List. And that means that I have actually compiled a wish list well in advance of my birthday!  I’m actually feeling so great about this, that I think I won’t even care whether I get any of these gifts or not. In fact, if someone just wanted to frame my completed birthday wish list, I might be okay with that…maybe.  Not you, David.

Lindsey’s Golden Birthday Wishes (or, Cool Stuff You Might Like Too!) :

Shutter Clicker: YES, I want to take better selfies. Actually, this is motivated by the fact that I want to be in more pictures with my kiddos. Also, I think Ellie will get a kick out of being able to take pictures with it. Also, I am a family pictures Junkie. Get ready, family. Get ready.

Psalms by Sandra McCracken.  I am IN LOVE with Sandra McCracken’s new Psalms CD. Seriously. I just wrote her a thank you note, I love it so much. It is fantastic. It’s streaming free on Relevant right now, and you can download it from Amazon, iTunes, or Bandcamp.

Oh, look at that! The last 3 things are books. What can I say? I live with David.

Out of Sorts: There are no words for my love for Sarah Bessey. It grows with every piece of her writing I read. My obsession started with Jesus Feminist, and I can’t wait to read her new book.

The Pastor’s Wife: After hours of research googling, I have come to the conclusion that it’s difficult to find really good resources for pastor’s wives. I’ll admit: I’m being pretty picky, but for good reason, I think. Nonetheless, I almost cried when I saw the cover of this book a few months ago, and I can’t wait for it to come out/to read it/etc.

Women of the Word: I know almost nothing about this book. I just read a blog post by the author this week and I loved it. The humor, the seriousness. I just feel like she might be my people. Also, I am just loving digging into the word with the ladies in my Bible study, and when we take a break this summer, I’d like to have something else to do. Fun fact: this is also the only one of these three books that is actually out right now.

Blue Apron Box: Since this is a wish list, I thought I’d go ahead and include this. The idea of getting food and new recipes shipped to my house, even just once, makes me do this awkward squeal/giggle thing. I love getting mail. I also love subscription boxes. Really, any gift that involves me getting fun mail, I’m pretty on board with.

Also, as long as we’re wishing here…a massage and a weekend away to read all those books would be nice, too.

What about you?  Will any of these make it on your wish list? Do you have any other ideas for me?

too much, not enough

“Alarm. Alarm. It is 7:25 am.” Oh is THAT what my phone’s voice sounds like? Apparently Eliana has somehow permanently changed my phone so that it talks to me now. Like I might be sitting in my Bible study and it might say something like, “YOU have a TEXT MESsage from…” I roll out of bed and pad down the hall to the bathroom. And I feel…tired? sad? upset? I can’t put my finger on it, so I try to push it out of my mind. That’s when the words start swirling around in my head. Ones that were spoken to me weeks ago, but are just as fresh as if they were spoken yesterday. Words my heart knows well. They aren’t pretty words. They’re ugly. And they don’t paint a pretty picture. On good days, I know that the picture they paint looks nothing like me. But on days like today…

I squint at my reflection in the mirror. My lips are chapped. There’s that pimple on my chin. My bangs are too long. I need a haircut. It’s true, I think. I am a mess. Not just my personality, but the way I look, too. I bend down and shove my hair dryer back into a dark corner of the cabinet and shut the door a little harder than usual, wishing that I could shove those thoughts in there, too.  I hastily start raking a comb and straightener through my bedhead.

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with being too much and not enough all at the same time. Too tall. Too loud. Too intimidating. Too enthusiastic. Too intense. Too emotional. Not relaxed enough. Not outgoing enough. Not happy enough. Not flexible enough. Not intelligent enough. Not spiritual enough. Not organized enough.

I don’t know where this stuff came from. Probably a combo of my own pride and perfectionism and the horrible belief I caught as a teenager that if I do the best, God will love me best.  I’m not really thinking about that now, though. It’s repeating in my head like a chant. too much. not enough. too much, not enough. 

My two year old comes into the bathroom, “Hi Momma. You seen my letters?” I nod, motioning to the box where her foam bath letters are and muster up a smile. At least she has no idea what a mess her momma is, I think.

I fumble my way through the rest of the morning routine. Stuffing breakfast into my mouth while I try to feed Phoebe, absentmindedly handing pieces to the little girl who said, “Momma, you share that scone with me?” We finally make it to the car, and Ellie starts singing along to T-Swift. Normally, I’m in love (who isn’t), but I just can’t with her today. I rifle through pile of CD’s, one eye on the road, and a neon green disc falls into my lap. I swap “1989” for “Not a F Up?” and tearfully beg the protesting toddler to “give momma some grace today, please.”

“Not a F Up?” is, perhaps surprisingly, a collection of songs, most of them about Jesus, designed by my best friend to remind me that I am not, in fact, an F-up, even on my worst days. We made these CDs for one another right after college, when we kind of thought swearing made us cooler Christians, and we were just generally angry about… most things, really. It’s got a bunch of songs by Caedmon’s Call and other bands that you tell people you like so that they know you’re a Christian, but like a cool Christian. So, basically, what I’m saying is we rebelled by writing “F” (literally, because we wouldn’t actually write the whole word) on burned CD’s full of songs about Jesus in an effort to sort out all the feelings we were having. Oh, man I am awesome. Clearly.

I laugh and make a mental note to ask her if I’m remembering things right when I hear the familiar opening guitar strums of one of my favorite tracks on the CD and turn it up.

“And maybe all that I’ve to do
Was done a long time ago.”

Ugh. I honestly can’t cry right now. It’s just not conducive to driving.

“Because there was life before my life,
Was provision before my need,
Was redemption before my sin.
For the sake of the world, I thank the Lord
That the truth’s not contingent on me.”*

Despite my best efforts, a tear slips down my face. And those words that have been swirling in my head? For a moment, they’re quiet. And my heart is quiet. Where condemnation has been spoken, peace is spoken.

And it’s not because I quit thinking about those ugly words long enough that I forget. It’s not because I got distracted by a good episode of TV or because I am now paying attention to keeping my girls from peril. It’s not because I thought up enough nice things about myself to even out the scale.

It’s because of Jesus. It’s because the Truth spoken over my life isn’t “you’ll show them.” Or “once you’ve been walking with the Lord long enough, you’ll figure it out.” The Truth is Jesus. Here before me. Strong before my weakness. Redeeming me before my sin. It’s because when I am weak, then I am strong.

I sigh and look out the window as the song continues. The peace in my heart is refreshing. But it’s not permanent. Later on in the day, I will raise my voice with my daughter. not patient enough. I will forget to start making dinner until 6pm. not organized enough. Tomorrow, I will find that I’m holding a grudge against someone while trying forgive. not spiritual enough.  I will be frantic about my to-do list. not flexible enough. 

I don’t know how long those words are going to swirl around in my head. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last time I’ll hear them. But for now I take a deep breath and anchor my heart in the Truth, whispering this Psalm to the chapped-lipped, tired momma who looks back at me from the mirror.

“But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared…

Hope in the Lord!

For with the Lord there is steadfast love,

and with him is plentiful redemption.” 

*I hope someone enjoys the vintage Derek Webb in this awesome 90’s video as much as I did. YouTube is the greatest.