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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mists and Miracles

The mist was rising mystical and beautiful over Gar Creek, early, as I drove past.  It captures our gazes from behind the rolled up windows every time.  And now the steam rising from the silver pot of Italian vegetable soup on the stove;  always, always I pause and think of it and how to explain it to the kids....those vapors rising. 

And I smile wide this morning.  I smile and I sob, too, because I remember HIS word saying this in the book of James:  

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes................

And my very small mind reaches for this...........reaches hard to comprehend a few things like: 

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together--Job 10:11)
..........within a vapor

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future--Jeremiah 29:11.

..........within a vapor

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalms 48:14
..........within a vapor

Somewhere within the wisps you and I have come.  In the mist I have ran in fields and scaled those giant round bales of hay.  I have had puppies and written papers, had break ups and enjoyed brownies.  I have felt conviction of my sins then later was "joy drowned" when they were washed away from me.   I have felt compassion and hatred, have seen my babies born on hospital beds and the smile of my husband as he sees them, too.  In the vapors I have pondered bird songs and bought groceries, have prayed for a friend and asked for advice.  I have tried really hard and later, understood grace.  It suddenly seems so amazing that all of this, HE calls a vapor?

And I breath out the miracle of my breath and His plans for me and us, and consider that if all of this is just a vapor to Him, then what more does he have in store? 

And then He reminds me,

 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."


Friday, April 4, 2014

Make My Love an Ocean; Make My Peace as the Sea

When you are in the middle of the sea, you can't see beginning or end of it, and your feet can't touch the depths of the bottom.  And His love is an ocean and His peace like the sea.

 Perfect love casts out all fear.  Are those "words", or are those
 r. e. a. l. i. t. y?  Are they real for me and you?

But I was afraid, or very anxious, at least, and I wanted to do it right this time.  I wanted to walk in peace in the midst of trial.

 "I will keep in perfect peace, he who's mind is steadfast because he TRUSTS in You."♥ Isaiah 26:3

And I see it like a tiny one with chubby, short legs and fat little feet taking a step forward towards momma, who is cheering steps into existence. 

"Go, baby! Go, baby! Go! Go! Go!"

 I feel HIM cheering. Imagining peace, imagining worshiping before Jesus in the midst of a fearful moment.  Focus, step, focus, step...arms out...Jesus catches us in motion.   We can do it.  Lock your eyes on Jesus and take the steps onward

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tweed Recliners, Wonder and Adoption

Sitting in the brown, tweed recliner that was such a good trade of a $50 bill, I find a good place to seek Him.  In a little while, He says to me, "You are Mine."  I say back, "You are mine, too."  I open the small devotional that my Auntie bought for me awhile back.  It starts off, "I want you to be MINE."

.......Can you feel the wonder of it??...... I cry.

He is here;  heaven bends to sit with me.  He may be everywhere on the earth and in heaven, but He sits with me in a used, tweed recliner on a little farm, on a gravel road. It's not a cabin fit for a King, as He is, but He doesn't seem to notice at all.   And do you wonder where to find Him over at your place, or where at your office, or where in your sick bed, or where in your head?  Wonder no more, because He inhabits hearts and heads.  He does.  Where ever you are, He would be, too.  Can you see it?  You must open your heart and "He" will fill it;  He will come to you and never leave you.  He went to great lengths to make a way for this to be, and it amazingly happened through a Lamb (John 1:29).

I was remembering something that I read and never really understood.  This part in that book that we all own somewhere on the shelf.  Jesus said, "I only do what I see my Father doing." (John 5:19-20) And for me, today, I saw something that He does. 

He says, "You are Mine"..................   I want to do that, too.  I look at their picture in the frame.  It's the one I printed off from the website that has many pictures as you scroll down the page; hundreds.  The little faces are all smiling, yet I'm not sure that they are all happy. 

They are beautiful, the ones in the picture that I printed, the ones that we visited last week, those ones who took my breath away when I saw them for the first time, and then the second.  I can say, "You are mine", and I will when HE lets me, because I see what He does and it is so good.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Open the Doors!

I walked down the hall just now in our little cabin and paused for a minute near the end.  The hallway has taken on 11 extra feet and where there once was a small den- turned library, there is now a freshly painted, crisp white wall.  Near the end of the new wall is something that I am mesmerized the end of the wall is a doorway.

But this isn't the first new doorway I've encountered, lately....there have been a few.  And the other day, while I sat in the recliner in the early morning hours and prayed, I saw, in my mind's eye, a tiny scaled picture of what has been going on around here concerning........doorways.

I was standing in view of a row of doors.  My initial feeling was to leave them alone.  My vantage point was cozy, comfy, and "known".  I thought I 'd like to stay where I was. Those doors seemed to hold mystery beyond the twist of the handle.  Mystery, maybe change, and situations that could be out of my control are not the most appealing for me; or least have not been.  But, I am changing.  He is changing me.

 But why open those doors?  Why not stay here where it is good-- and familiar?

In my prayer I drew into a new perspective and could see that I was standing in a hallway;   it. wasn't. even. a. room.....  And it came to me  that although the hallway was nice, I was beginning to be drawn into opening those doors and walking through those doorways.   And the epiphany came slowly that there was a great reason to open them, no matter what was on the other side.  You see, I believed that opening them was a lot like opening a doorway to Jesus's heart....and HE himself would  be there with his great pleasure, his hand, and his presence in full measure on the other side of the door --to walk with  me through whatever I encountered there. 

Now there is a reason to open the door!

And back to our house and the hall that got a little longer;   we just keep walking down it and through the "doorway" and into that new room that we built for a small boy who we want to make our own.  All of us do.  We stand and stare at it, the new little bunk bed, the walls and windows.  We look at each other, and we look at the room it's some sort of cathedral or shrine. We are in awe and still discovering all of the dimensions to this "room beyond the door" ---the door we opened a while back....the one called ADOPTION......But, I can tell you that it is corner to corner, and  floor to ceiling full of Jesus and the grace from God.  You and I can open our doors with confidence....He is there.