Monday, July 28, 2008

back in the saddle...or seat

Due to a lot of travel (posts on Alaska and Michigan to come) and a whole lot of heat in Colorado Springs, I haven't gotten much time on my bike this summer. Poor Pedro (and new road bike, Rosie) have had a little exercise, but not the major outings that summer usually brings. What's a girl to do when it's 90 degrees out?

However, I am writing tonight from Leadville, where I came to spend a couple days with my mom. Leadville is one of the highest towns on the continent, situated at about 10,200 feet above sea level. Anyone who has hiked around high elevation knows that 90 degrees is a pretty unlikely temperature up here! And indeed, to my delight the highs are just in the 70's this week.

That glorious temperature drop meant that Pedro and I got to hit the trail today. After getting directions (and a pump adapter, which I promptly lost) from the guys at the local bike shop, I drove out to a trailhead right next to Leadville's Turquoise Lake. The trail is beautiful, following the pristine shoreline for several miles. Of course, Colorado weather being the unpredictable entity that it is, I spent time in sunshine, rain and hail within just a couple hours. The latter two made for some splendid mud puddles, which in turn made for a happy me.

I had forgotten how much the lessons I learn biking keep me centered. Not quitting, taking on challenges that look scary, smiling at the adventure of it all. Looks like I need to get Pedro out some more in the coming months, even if it does feel like riding in a convection oven sometimes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

the glory of grace

I have never had an easy relationship with grace. I have been told that I extend it well at times, but recieving it has always been a great battle for me. I put pressure on myself for every little thing--down to the silliest and most insignificant decisions and actions--constantly living as if under the threat of judgment, disapproval, and failure. It's ridiculous, really. But we all know that we fail to see how ridiculous our own delusions are most of the time.

This aspect of struggle can be crippling at times for me. It's the voice inside my head telling me that everything I do is wrong, that I am not enough--not beautiful enough, not selfless enough, not disciplined enough. It is not the voice of truth, but it shouts loudly all the same. As a woman who wants desperately to live a life that in every way proclaims the truth of a gospel of freedom, it is an often uphill battle.

Recently, I read through the Psalms of Asaph, one of the more prominent names attached to these wonderful poems. As I read Psalm 79, a Psalm that mourns sin and destruction and loss, I was struck by the ninth verse: Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.

As I read this, I found myself reminded--and newly astounded--by a deep truth: it is to God's glory for him to show me grace. I often feel that it is my behavior and perfection that will bring him glory, and I chastise myself severly when I think I have failed. How can it be to his glory to recieve grace for such failure? Yet there it is in writing. There it is in the middle of the Word of God; he gets glory when he forgives us and helps us as our Great God of Salvation.

I pray more and more that I will learn to recieve that with humility, and even more, with JOY! Yes, I want to live a holy life, and I will seek it with all my heart. But I also want to live a life that expresses this great truth: his grace when I fail can still be used to bring my Father glory.