This Is Not A House For Birds

devotion covering ugly parts of us

This birdhouse has a purpose and it is not to house birds, or to feed birds, or to do anything related to birds at all.

Its purpose is to kill wasps and to look pretty doing it. The wasp traps are disguised because this little space is being turned into a beautiful garden.

Ugly eyesores, like these traps, get hidden in parks and pretty gardens - they get cleverly disguised as pretty things so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb amid the creations of a green thumb.

But, you guys, we are not parks. We are not gardens. We don’t need to cover up and hide bits of ourselves to protect an aesthetic. We are something beautiful and we’re being made into something even more beautiful, but not by hiding what’s broken, disguising what’s ugly, or building up pretty walls to protect our image. We don’t have an image to protect!

We are works in progress - there are bound to be wasp traps hanging around.

“Whoever loves his life loses, and whoever hates his life in the world will keep it for eternity.”

- John 12:25

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

- 2 Corinthians 12:9

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We Weren’t Made To Fit In; We Were Made To Fit Together

Together in Christ there is room at the table

Let me tell you something, human person. 

You fit. 

But you don’t fit into some sort of scary Stepford mold - you are a nuanced human person.

You’re a living being made in the image of a living God.

You’re not a lego trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle or a round peg trying to squeeze into a square hole. 

You don’t have to sand yourself down, or suck it in, or conceal your wounds, or cover up to belong here. 

You weren’t made to fit in somewhere - you were made to fit together with someones. 

Pull up a chair and open your mouth and I’ll bet everything I have that we’ll find a source of connection, of togetherness.

Bring yourself, as you are. 

And if you’ve envisioned the table of Jesus Christ as a place for the put-together, for the ones wearing a certain type of clothes, having certain talents, being married, being parents, being ones who don’t make big mistakes, or ones who know the Bible - I want you to imagine Jesus flipping that table over.

The table where we gather has room for everyone. 

The table where we gather is one where you belong.

You.

You don’t have to change your clothes, 

Or your mannerisms,

Or your language,

Or even your beliefs

To find a seat here. 

Sit down. Let me tell you about Jesus, who knows you and loves you and carved out a place for you at this table before you ever knew His name.

I’m scooting over for you right now because there is always room at His table.

Do Through The Doubt

do through the doubt.jpg

I have moments, hours, days where I feel so empty of hope and disillusioned with this world that I want to quit. 

Moments where I wonder if God is there, if He hears me, if He is ignoring or rolling His eyes or punishing or toying with me. I am not one to question His existence, but I often question His goodness. 

I question whether I heard Him correctly, whether I am walking the right path, whether the things I’m pouring myself into are really from Him, will really have eternal weight. 

Sometimes I can barely breathe from the weight of it.

Sometimes I want to shake and pace and scream with frustration over being stuck here where I’ve never felt I was meant to be. 

And while it is comforting to repeat truths to myself – to remind myself God is awesome, to remind myself life is short, to remind myself this isn’t home, to remind myself of all the times He has provided and loved and come through for me – sometimes what my heart needs is to leak or pour or gush out the things weighing it down.

I need to lament. And because I am a writer who tends toward the poetic, these little lamentations come out of me. I’ve decided to put them here in this book because much like the ones in scripture, and many of the Psalms, I think it can be a comfort to recognize your own pain and suffering and frustration in the lamentations of another.

My wish for these is that one or more would leave you feeling less alone, less isolated, and in such a state you might look up and find the one who loves you most has been there all along, unchanging, unwavering.

He is good. I cannot ever hope to understand Him, but I can become more and more convinced He is good. I cannot figure out why He does what He does and doesn’t do things I think He should, but I can fall more and more in love with Him. 

And I don’t have to hide the things in my heart – the sorrows and the doubts and the anger – because He knows them already and He has already loved me through it and He wants me laid bare before Him. 


*This is an excerpt from my book “Capturing Thoughts", which includes a section of laments. I am printing all preordered books + 50 extra copies in July. Preorder on Kickstarter by July 10th*

I Do What I Want

I do what I want www.stevieswift.com

Years ago, I took a last minute trip to Iraq. It was two weeks away from my two year-old and it was traveling to a country perceived as dangerous, which made the trip selfish in the eyes of some.

In hindsight, it is easy to see God’s hand in the entire process, but in the middle, as I prepared to leave, I worried whether I was doing the right thing and acting with the right motives. 

I wanted to go.  I wanted it badly. 

I wanted to travel back to the country I last saw as a soldier. I wanted to be a part of something positive there.  I wanted to meet the people under different circumstances. I also wanted adventure.  I wanted to get on an airplane and do something exciting. I wanted to do this thing – go to this place.

I told a friend what I was feeling, how I was scared this was a selfish act, a selfish decision. He responded, “How many people do you know who ‘want’ to do this?”  

And something clicked for me.  A big something.

A life-giving, freedom-giving something.

Wanting to do a thing, wanting to be a thing, wanting to go to a place – these do not poison an action.  They are a part of every poisonous action, which is why I was confused, but wanting is not the poison.

If I am walking with God, abiding in Him, listening to the Holy Spirit – if I am ready and willing to stop when He says to stop, to go when He says to go, to stay when He says to stay – I don’t need to be afraid of my own desires.

If I am seeing Him for who He is, if I am daily giving my life to Him, I don’t need to stress, to strive, to stumble over every decision.  

For six years, I have been doing more and more of what I want to do. Mostly, I avoid doing things because I think I should. Mostly, I avoid doing things because other people think I should.  

I do what makes sense based on my circumstances, my strengths, my weaknesses. I walk closely with my God, so that my desires align with Him and I do the things I want to do.  

I am a servant, but I am a servant to a freedom-giving God. I’m not a slave to my own expectations, nor a slave to the expectations of others. I’m not a slave to God’s expectations either – I could never meet them, they’ve already been met for me, and there is new grace and mercy for me every single day. 

And for you, too.

You are free. Are you living free?