Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Beautiful Dead

In the quiet of this winter morning I was struck by the thought of "the beautiful dead".  The lonesome corpse laying quiet behind the stone. The whole thing seemed so deeply grim from their view, but to mine it is tenderly different. 

John 19:40
40 Together, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in linens soaked in essential oils and spices, according to Jewish burial customs.

It was a dismal tragedy upon all of their hopes and understanding, and a tragedy of their love for Him!  

His skin torn by a cruelly placed thorn crown, His wounded side now hidden beneath grave clothes, and His hands;  the hands that will forever point the "eyes of the willing to see" to His magnificent and willing surrender.   I hold my face in awe of this.  How can this be?

Romans 5:7-8 Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.

Yet beyond the tenderly wrapped up arms and legs that did no harm....just beyond that cloth-wrapped head and his once walking feet, He flew into the "mystery-land" to the Father's side.   "It is finished!  Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit!"  Just then, in an exhale, on past His tortured, manly frame, He flew.   

What has He done?!  What has He done?!  It is finished!

And when that magnificent life-swell plunged back into that privileged, lifeless dust again it must have fairly PULSED with "heaven's sweetest" once again!!!!!! Once as the sweetest baby boy in Bethlehem, and now conquering God-man-King in Israel and of ALL.  Hallelujah!  Our God made a way!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Laughing Out Loud

The air is cold out, the cabin is warm and peaceful this morning.  My heart is full listening to Jason Gray's song again (for the "many-eth" time).  I know this is good for me.  The lyrics are kindly on his video..though you don't need lyrics to laugh ......Have a listen! Joy is contagious.  

And some laughing lyrics written by my overflowing heart on this January 14th:    (maybe you'll write some, too!)

Laughing in the light of Him...Standing in the joy-field----surrounded and held tight. 
Laying in layers of unloaded love upon me and you.
Whatever you do, don't miss this
Don't let a day go without standing in these love rays warming your skin
Look up, don't miss this...don't miss this

Loose your control, gain amazing grace
Loose face and gain his integrity
Loose yourself and gain all of Him
Don't miss this, not today

Laughing in the freedom, looking up ahead...nothing but sure steps and all being lead
Turning from the old ways and running with the new
Whatever you do, don't miss this
Not for a day, don't miss standing in these love rays warming your skin
Whatever you do, don't miss this.


And I will leave you with Jason's words:  

"When you find you've been forgiven laughter will arise like a holy kind of praise."   LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

If Our Hearts Awaken ♥♥♥

If our hearts awaken to the nearness of God, then we know that He Himself, His amazing, wonderful self is at work in us.  If we wonder about Him, we can know that He is holding the other end of that priceless strand of thought with His own hands because, as Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them." We have been thoughtfully "drawn" into this place, we did not arrive here on our own.   When we wonder of God, we are being wooed of God.  Isn't that amazing?  And we know that when we presently seek Him, He is found by us...our hearts awaken to His nearness.......our hearts feel the explosive wonder of HIM ♥♥♥

  An early morning "explosion" left a rubble of words in my diary; a teeny-weeny attempt to submit a pile of meager vocabulary to render a glimpse of who He is on January 6, 2015 to me.    You are welcome to add some of your own--  lofty adjectives and all!

Who Jesus is to me today! Some words may be home-made. :)

 Darkness Lifter

Veil Tear-er !  {The one who tore the veil (Matthew 27:51)}

 Dungeon Crasher !

Joy Exploder

Soul Liberator

Heart Chaser -Heart Finder - Heart Lover

Kind Watchman over we, His flock

He is Laugh Bubbler

Name Caller---  He calls us beloved

He takes all of life and composts our days and experiences (good and bad) into rich, dark soil that He can plant and harvest in.  Nothing is wasted!  He is Farmer Extraordinaire

He is Eye Opener

Great and Gentle Leader

Faith Author and Faith Finisher

He is Lord over Details

He is the Un-muddler of Minds

Un-tangler of epic life tangles

He is  Hand Holder

Sin Forgiver

Mind Changer 

Mind Easer

Joy Stirer

Dream Author

Enemy Stumbler

Grief Lifter

Future Holder

Freedom Flavor

As our hearts awaken, He is seen for who He is:  Everything to Us.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Severe Simplicity; Could It Really Be?

Is it that severely simple (?);  cut off from complication, exempt from misunderstanding,  the truth about love;  His love???  (John 3: 6) 

 He put His love on full display.  

And what a display it was--and what a love.  The betrayal, the beating, the lies, the trial, that struggle to the cross and His haunting silhouette hanging there, it has been discussed, mocked, studied, told, foretold, hated and marveled at by countless humanity.  It has been explained and rebutted.  It is so very large, yet so strikingly simple.


And I was remembering how in the garden when it all went down that day, how they remembered His words from before:  ".........if you eat of the fruit of this tree you will surely die", but they ate it anyway.   And I wondered at His use of the pronoun "you" shall surely......."  because, as my heart beats quicker, I embrace again with both horror and glee that at that moment of decision and consumption the clock began to tick and tock for a day when He, too, would surely die----for us.   What love! 

And it has taken such a long, long time, it seems, to "see it" more clearly.  Like a child who doesn't realize, until too much later, how much their parents loved them, I find myself moving into these last hours of 2014 with wonder over His true love........ and hope for mine.

And among my fondest hopes for 2015, this is the one that is catching my imagination and desire more than any other;  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  (John 3:34)  and then this;   By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, IF you love one another. 

To be known as His own, what an idea...what a hope!  And if all of my life came to a screeching halt and 2015 wasn't mine after all, would I leave joy drowned in the knowledge that He loves me?  And would the loftiest new goal in my small life be accomplished this far; to love as He loves me?  Have I loved well?  Can I love truer and better, like HIM?  

His love Is too good to be true, yet it is true.   My hope for 2015 is Love.


Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Etchings in Contrast; Some Things I Couldn't Say Just Yet

2014 will forever be etched in my mind with images of this mesmerizing contrast:

It was the year when 3, powerful little whirlwinds blew through our hearts and home on their way to...... I'm not sure where.  I thought that they would stay here. We all did.  But, as some would say,  "It was not to be".  

 I had never had girls, and I found that they liked to wear my high healed shoes, fix my hair, and wear my clothes and what little jewelry I had. Before long they had me buying giant pickles and hot cheetos.  I began making a lot of deviled eggs and pancakes, oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins and home made bread.   My mom said girls would add something wonderful to my life.  I didn't understand, but now I understand a lot more.

 Along the way, we met a young lady who drove almost an hour to come to our house and spend an entire day working some kind of magic on dark, short hair.   She would do this every 6 weeks; washing, combing, conditioning, drying, and then braiding and braiding and adding length and brightly colored beads, spending no less than 6 hours on each.   The beads always went "clickity- click" when a girl does just about anything, and they don't mind at all.  They just love feeling pretty.  And they are.  

And like some miracle, in 2014, I was also mom to another son who loved justice and kindness and, I think, could charm his way into the hardest of hearts.  He was funny and full of life in an intense and marvelous way.  He asked questions and questions and questions.  He wrestled and wondered, and woke up really early in the morning.  He sang and clapped real loud and danced with his sisters whenever something good was playing.....or just when anything was playing at all.

  By  now, I expected that they would share our home and our last names.  But instead they had to go forward into their journeys without us.  I can't explain it to you in print and paper or white computer screen.  It is their lives too, after all.  Some things I can share if I see you sometime, or if we talk on the phone.  And if you wonder--- I am not so tempted to ask why it had to be this way.  I trust in His plan for them and for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  But I do flounder at the task of processing the feelings and taking it all in now that we are a giant 3 less.   I have lived awhile and know it's o.k. not to kick against this God-current and it's o.k. to wait to see where it is taking me without a map of my own.  I imagine that most of the questions will be answered without my asking and the next path will open up without my pushing on the gate. 

It is true that sorrow, pain and this hard work are not wasted around God's kind kingdom and it serves to bring deep hues and contrast concerning this life--the one where He walks with us and the ones who love Him, and never leaves us for a second.  (Matthew 28:20)  A year like 2014 seems to only serve up the contrasts of joy and sorrow in the brightest hues imaginable.  I am learning among the contrasts that when you live in the pages of a story that God is writing with you and for you, there are twists and turns and sometimes the endings aren't what you had assumed that they would be based on the beginnings.  I am learning to carefully hold back my assuming of what the pages will hold next, and instead just intently "follow along".  I learned that these surprises and "seeming" plot changes are not necessarily mistakes made that have changed my intended outcome, but they are stories; our stories to be lived in and remembered, and sometimes told.  I learned that even these short brushes of lives against other lives (people brushing up against people) are powerful events.  They are powerful enough to last a life time and have invaluable worth.  They have been in mine.

And the illumination and learning is only beginning to arrive for me in glances and shorts, and seems to always emerge from the mist rising off the settling grief of the unexpected ending--the story that wasn't what I expected.

 Of course, it wasn't really an ending, but a chapter that I had not anticipated and my role in it all is not what I had been gearing up for. Their story continues and as it does we go with them in a different way.  Instead of washing their clothes and teaching them new things, I pray for them like a woman possessed with a new mission.  For now we are able to send our "love reminders" on birthdays, and this week, with Christmas gifts.  Some day that role may change again, but I am not trying to read ahead.............. ♥♥♥

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Look inside my kitchen window where the daily rhythms pulse.  It's warm against the other side of the white window and it probably smells of some love potion brewing on the stove or out from the oven like warm trays of rolls and soft chocolate chip cookies, roasts, and Italian vegetable soup;  my love language. 

Before the cold blew in, things looked more like this.

 And even though I knew it couldn't really be true, it seemed like the zinnias would last forever and ever.

               It seemed the window sill would always be filled with them.

         And the morning glories would keep meeting me early.

Life and times have a way of seeming invincible and sure.  The frost came and tapped my shoulder, shaking me from my sweet delusion to remind that everything changes-- that there is a time and a season for every activity under the heavens.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  May we have the grace and dignity to let go at the appropriate times and to hang on when we know that we should.  And may we have the wisdom to recognize one from the other. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do As I Have Done For You ♥

This is the tale of some friends, and friends to be, gathered together one late summer weekend, and our experience with John 13.   He said to "do as I have done for you."  Here is what that looked like for me and for some of my friends. ♥


She began to read the verses and to shuffle our hearts into order.  She brought our readiness and refreshed us with images of a holy scene.  

 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  John 13:3-4

She lead and we followed her there as she read.  

  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  John 13:5

Outside and under the evening sky,  the kettle brimmed with water for our washing and a clean towel for our drying, but I still wasn't sure I wanted anyone to have to touch my feet.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  John 13:6-7

And she gently pressed on,  and somewhere between her words my heart lurched, letting the HOLY seep over my awkwardness into willingness.  

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”  John 13:8-9

We took our seat, one by one, and put our feet down for the water--for the washing.  Music played as we slipped each off, our shoes, and the resistance.  We slipped down into each other's hearts, too.  

And those with prophetic gifts sat their hands onto our shoulders, but somehow reached all the way into our hearts; reached to post love notes there and leave gifts just right for each.  For some, they lifted heavy burdens, and for others, wrapped robes of joy and mirth around ready shoulders.  I heard their laughter ring out right there with wet feet and an "AMEN" sealing the moment.  Some stood up expectant with their gift in hand, some stood healed, some rose on ready feet and others with permission to rest.  I saw that what was needed was given for each, one by one.

 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  John 13:12-15

 As the voices wafted into the night air and music softly played, we sat undone by the washing and undone by love.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Notes on The Kind Kingdom

In this kind kingdom our most kind and kingly Father walks us through splintered heart cries and powerful plunges into pain.  One could describe His abiding gaze as rays of sweet sunshine illuminating the gloom and sopping up the pooling sorrow.  He steps gently with our steps.  He unfolds the dimensions of His care for His own as the hours of each day stretch out.

In the kind kingdom where our gentle Father reigns, the house of sorrow draws throngs of friends equipped with loving kindness.  Here pain cues rescue and cries cue prayer, struggles cue rising warrior brothers and sisters who put aside dish towels and lawn mowers to hold spirit swords in brave hands to do battle for beloved hurting ones in their reach.  In this kingdom no one fights alone and no one celebrates alone.

Galatians 6:2  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.