Monday, March 24, 2014

Silent Song

"I can't sing that song without crying,"he says.
"Really?  Which part," she asks as she tries to remember.
"The part that says,  
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I fly to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee,
"
he answers.
She draws a breath and asks, "Why?"
"Lung cancer, fleeting breath, flying, too many memories of our friend yet still too fresh."

 There is something about true friendship, the kind that kindles the faith, asks the hard questions, and still trusts a God who cares in the midst of sorrow. We live, and love people who like ourselves are mortal.  And yet, the left behind here on the earth cannot but miss those who go, who fly before us.  Oh hide us, Rock, hide us.  In You we find our eternal hope.  

So he stands quiet while silent tears fill his eyes.

After the Flames

From this fire
Left from the embers that glow within
You blow and kindle crimson flame
That eats the wood with ravenous hunger
And leaves grey ashes and blackened logs that crumble 
After the flames go up

2014 LLB

Friday, February 28, 2014

For When the Heart Doesn't Want to Be Generous

I'm linking up today with Lisa for Five-Minute Friday.  Come join this community for five minutes of writing with no editing! ;)
 
I John 3:18-"Little children, let us not love in word and talk, but in deed and truth."

It's quiet in the still and I roll over trying to rest my eyes and calm my tense neck muscles.  The pounding continues.  
My husband stirs, turns, and looks at me.
"What do you think of having our friend over today?"  
I look at him like he's crazy.  
"Honey, I have a sinus headache this morning and I'm not feeling great."
From the other room, I hear our son start to stir.
"Mommmmy!! Mommy! Help!"
I stand up, slip my fuzzy Cabela's house shoes on, get on my warm robe (because the house is frigid), and go scoop up our son and bring him back to our bed.
He squirms beneath our covers as we make him a tent, and snuggle with him.  
I look back at my husband and say, "Yes, we should invite our friend over today."
I'd gone through the week schedule mentally, and today would be a good day.
We get up, make breakfast, and start our day.  

I could have said no.  I could have chosen to say no.  Sometimes the heart doesn't want to be bothered; but for all the wrong reasons.  When it is in my power to do good to another brother, do I choose to do so?  It isn't always convenient to serve; but it is always right to love.  This choice is a direct act of the will on days when I don't feel like loving or doing but instead making up excuses of why it isn't convenient for me.  But when?  When will convenient, or organized come to my house?  Will I let my mountain of laundry become my excuse?  Will I ever be less busy?  

He comes, we share, we eat and we are blessed.  Not because my house was perfect, or my day convenient but because we chose to love in the everyday.  It's good to have a heart check like this.  (And for the record, after an hour the headache went away.) I'm glad I said yes.  I'm glad I chose to say yes.

How do you chose to serve when you don't feel like it?  What helps you get the motivation to love others when it is not convenient?  


Friday, February 21, 2014

Being Real in the Small

I'm joining up with Lisa Jo today for  Five Minute Friday.  If you want to join in...write five minutes without editing or backtracking. ;)


I've never been small (I'm 5 foot 8 1/2 inches), but I've always wished to blend in.  Sometimes into a surrounding corner, other times to become the flowery part of the wall paper.  One can imagine, then, my own surprise and frustration when I lived in a country where I'm nearly a foot taller than many of the women (but not all), about the same size as the men, and if that weren't all, my tawny brown hair and sky blue eyes set me apart from the locals.  If one wasn't careful, it was easy to develop an almost Ingrid Bergman attitude about being set aside for beauty when asked by several of the locals if one would star in a television ad as a model, or do a promotional for the school.  But I know better.  

Just because I can be chosen from a crowd of many because of my pronounced differences doesn't make me special.  I know enough to know that the smallest kindnesses are what really show what a person is.  That outside stuff---is just that.  In fact, some of the most beautiful people do extraordinary things...it's not what they look like, it's WHO THEY ARE.

They do things like...
Wipe noses.
Champion noble causes.
Give up their seat on the bus for the elderly.
Change the toddlers clothes for the second time during the day while running late.  (Don't you wish toddlers could whisk into a different outfit in a Superman phone booth?)
Spend time caring for others while they are flat on their back hoping their bodies will heal.
Ask about the real life, the hard things, the struggles and don't shrink back after you've told them the truth.
Bring a meal.
Take courage to take small steps to change in the midst of great pain.  

It doesn't take a cape to be a superhero, it just takes time, love, and a good dose of being real in the small, the mundane.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Undoing

I was raised in a culture of doing, of pulling-up-by-the-bootstraps duty obedience, of making sure everything looks squeaky clean, of proving by your works your good name.
And this.  This is my undoing, the love of God.
We'd sit in judgment of what was right and good.  Those 'other' Christians, well, maybe they weren't Christians because they had the liberty to wear what they wanted, listen to what they wanted, and to eat and drink what they wanted.
And this, this is my undoing, the love of God.
I'd pray, desperate that God would accept me and that my salvation was real because some days it didn't feel real.  I had trouble with the 'rules'.   I'd fall into self condemnation and comparison of my own inadequacies to others to either prove I was okay(my own pride), or condemnation of others (also pride) so that I could prove I was better.
And this, this is my undoing, the love of God.
Is it possible one can live with the wrong heart attitude for such a huge portion of their life?
Is obedience, yes, is the very best way to show that we believe?  
I dare not say that obedience is not proof of belief unless there is a heart motivation that backs up that obedience.  A love that burns fire, and sears love for the neighbor, and love for God on the life.  Obedience can be duty, but it is so much more than that.  
And this, this is my undoing, the love of God.
For those who think 'they have it right' and 'they've got a corner on what is good and true' and 'this kind of music is the only kind of music acceptable to a believer', I no longer can claim any of this.
The old tradition has no power to save.  It speaks no peace or rest over the life of someone that sees life as perfunctory 'rules'.  
And this, this is my undoing, the love of God. 
 I've been given a life that God sees through the lens of His Son.  He doesn't see 'Lisa, who just lost her temper', or 'Lisa, who is a helpless sinner'.  He sees Lisa who He has put in His family, loved, given a name, given a place.  Lisa, who is welcomed and given an inheritance.  He doesn't despise this Lisa because He doesn't see His Son as despised.  
And this, this is my undoing, this love of God.
And for the love of God, I will be undone and changed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Behind the Times

I started blogging in 2002 when blog and blogging were both relatively new words to the dictionary.  My purpose for blogging then was to chronicle the life I was living overseas away from family, and how the Father was working in my life.  I continued to write on that blog until 2007 when I moved back to the states.  After the move back, I struggled and so I stopped writing on such a public forum.  This is the way my life works--my writing works--I have to step back to process.  It doesn't mean that I'm not writing, it just means I'm not writing on the blog.  

I picked up blogging again in 2009 when my husband and I moved overseas. The blog I started in 2002 was erased, so I had to start at a totally new one.  And then.  I didn't know what to write about.  The first time one goes overseas, everything is so new and fresh.  The second time?  Not so much.  My husband was experiencing culture shock of the extreme kind---"Why do bikes ride on sidewalks, and run the people over?"  and "Where is the personal space for me on this bus?" and "Bleck, he just spit on the sidewalk in front of me?"  and "Oh wow, that public toilet stinks."  And the second year was better, but the first year we worked on surviving and learning how to go places.  That blog still has it's own space that is separate from this one.  

In 2011, we returned to the states, and I started this space.  But I noticed something---the trends in blogs were changing, and people changed their blog space frequently to represent themselves and sometimes the company they had started.  I've had several blogs that I've continued to frequent through the years, some written by friends and others written by people I've never met.  Some written so beautifully well that one cannot help but awe at the talent God blesses friends with, and other chronicling a life story and journey.  Both types I find encouraging because I know I'm on a journey, in the midst of my own story.  Sometimes just trying to survive, sometimes rejoicing in hope, but always looking for the thread of redemption that runs through the story.  For the hope.  For the truth of the gospel that runs deep.

Now I see a new trend in blogging to use one's own name to label the blog, the works, the books.  And I rejoice with the dear sisters who have made it big in the blogging world.  They have worked and given and learned.  

My own lack of time contrast greatly with the days when I used to post something every.single.day.  My header, good grief, is still from when I was pregnant with my son.  And my most popular post of all time is how to make homemade baby wipe solution.  (I had to giggle when I saw it pinned on pinterest....because I don't know how to use pinterest nor how to use twitter.)  So yes, I'm behind, but I'm okay with that most of the time, and when I'm not I have to adjust my attitude.  

2013 came and went, and I can't say I made any resolutions for 2014.  I've picked the 'one word' in the past, but this year two words came to mind, one was held and one was healing.  And that's where I'm at. I've been at this blogging thing for awhile but find that my real life right now is taking much more time and energy to live and so even though there is much to process, the blogging kind of goes by the wayside.

So here are some things I've started again in 2014:

Organizing.  Nothing like a move to make one purge and organize.  (We moved mid-December.)

Scrapbooking.  Now that I have space for it, I've been putting my pictures in order.

Reading.  Presently working on Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country for the second time. 
My hope to read list includes:  (but I'm kind of slow)
  • Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker
  • Quiet by Susan Cain
  • Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
  • A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
  • 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
  • The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis (for the 8th time...)
  • How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer
Cooking.  We're trying a few new recipes every week here at our house in hopes of finding a new favorites and also to prevent taste bud boredom.

Resting and naps.  It's good for the body to get to bed a little earlier than night owl time, and to sneak a nap during the day.  I suppose running after a 20 month old helps to tire one out.

How long have you been blogging?  Why do you blog?  
 
Me first.  ;)  I've been blogging for almost twelve years.  It helps me to process my world.  I've met some of the neatest people through the platform of blogging, some of them I consider my 'virtual sisters'.  ;)

 





Friday, January 24, 2014

Held


Psalms 119:50
This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me."

Grief, sorrow, hope and pain all mingled into one utter gut groan with no words but many tears.  Grief sometimes seems to swallow one up, and overwhelmingly cloak one in a heavy garment.  I can understand why C.S. Lewis equates grief to something like fear.

"You are mine, I hold you," I heard a voice speak to my spirit.
I turned over, bumped my husband and said, "God just spoke to me."
"What did he say?"
"He said that I was His, and He holds me.  I know you are sceptical about these kinds of things, but I know it was God.  Those words couldn't have come from me,"
"You're probably right," he said.  He knew the days and the nights I'd had.
"He reminded you of His words, of His promises," he tells me.
"Yes."  I turned on my side, cried, and slept folded in peace for the first night in several weeks.
 He came in the quiet, and spoke His words to my soul. 
God with me.  God for me.  God loves me.
And yet in pain I doubt His goodness, His love.  

I need this God-who-loves-me.  Not another set of rules telling me how I need to behave or a set of codes to heed to so that I can be considered a Christian.
Because isn't being a Christian about 'being' in Christ?
The work He has done for me is final; it obliterates my need to prove myself or to show others that I am worthy of position or love.
His love should drive me to rest in Him. 



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