Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When All of Your Fires Become ONE

stovetop
Stirring swiftly to the left and right I shuffle through the kitchen of my life.   Smells intermingle in a glorious explosion.  Mind racing for spices, oils, anything to put the “perfect touch” on each concoction.  Dancing about all seems well. 
I shift my focus to the rice that needs a little more time to absorb.  Open the stove door and peek in on the roasting chicken and sweet potatoes.  Vegetables are steaming.  Pre-dinner commotion increases as little ones crawl too close to hot stove.  Bathroom runs to aid ‘big boy’ learners send my feet scurrying away from readying food.
The dance stops and the clamor begins. 
The rice has begun to burn and there is no more water to steam the vegetables. The chicken and sweet potatoes are too hot for little hungry ones to eat. 
Frustration wells up and peace evades. 
As pots of food remain suitable for consumption, even cooked well, the fires of competing allegiances battle within.  I slam the pot of perfection closed and burn my finger on its edge in my rash move.  The soup of balance boils over scalding my other hand as I race to clean its mess. The vegetables of a sound mind are jerked off the heat to avoid a burn (out).  The meat of love pierces my already hurting hands as I rush to unpack it’s aluminum shell.  The side of grace waits patiently as I remove it to cool.
Weary soul a hurting mess crumples to the ground. 
Where did I go wrong? 
“Too many pans in the fire AND too many fires in you dear one…this ONE THING IS NEEDFUL…”
I hear as my spirit opens to waiting arms of Grace. 
“Oh Lord Jesus, teach me anew how to sit at Your feet.  That in the tended pots and pans, the cooking fires of Your Grace.  Your Mercy.  Your Everlasting Love would become the ONE needful for all of my life.”
(AWA 10/26/10)
I will connect this to focus on “Scripture Memorization” at A Holy Experience (my favorite blog and blogger) and write out from memory some of my favorite passages that speak to the above.
“Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and lowly of heart and you WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30
“Trust in the Lord and do good.  Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to Him.  Trust in Him and He will do it.” Psalms 37:3-5 (hoping to memorize this entire Psalm soon!)
“But whatever gain I had I count it as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed I count everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish—that I may gain Christ and be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes from faith—the righteousness from God that comes through faith.  That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering, becoming like him in his death so that by any means possible I may somehow attain the resurrection of the dead.”  Philippians 3:7-11
“Cast all of your cares upon him, because He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“I have loved you with an Everlasting Love, I have drawn you with loving kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions they never fail—his mercies are new every morning. Great is Your Faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23
“Perfect love casts out all fear.” I John 4:?
Tips for Scripture Memorization:
-I was blessed to learn many of these as a child which, if you’re older, isn’t as helpful now—but TEACH THEM TO YOUR CHILDREN! and learn them with them!!!
-I have spoken the Scripture to myself at many points over the years and learned that ‘pure Scripture’ is what I need when the flaming arrows of the Enemy of my Soul are coming hard against me.
-The longer passage in Philippians, my husband and I learned together.  It was his idea to regularly pick passages to memorize together…Romans 8 we did in the summer of 2009—he got the first chunk memorized and I was able to memorize the whole thing (will write this out in a future post).  We say it back and forth to each other as we are memorizing it—and we need to begin PSALMS 37…our next passage!
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Why I Write

parker_pen_and_paper
I’ve been finding great joy in a personal revival of …writing!  And yet, I realize that even something that is so life-giving can become so easily misguided.  I have been struggling for proper perspective and in this asking the question “Why do I write?”
I do not write to become a ‘famous writer’…this would be a gross distortion of a God-given gift meant for something far greater.
I do not write to find friends that I don’t have—I have many blessed friendships in family, present and distant community—people who I love and who fill my heart at every connection.
I do not write because I have ‘earth-shattering’ words that are unique to me or thoughts so grand no one else could have come up with them.  Now, that just sounds ‘silly’ to even write.
I do not write because there is no one to listen—my husband, for one, is an amazing listener who at any moment I could approach with the need ‘to talk’ and he would very gladly embrace that. (yes, he is rare and beautiful:)
So, Why Do I Write?
I write as ‘an act of worship’. 
 defined here as:
‘extreme devotion or intense love or admiration of any kind’
The words I seek are meant to reflect the Glory and Great Love of the One who says, “YOU are wonderfully made”.  The One who knit me together and placed within me a heart to seek Him passionately and to express what that seeking in all of its struggle and triumph looks like—to ‘paint’ this journey, dimly reflected and aptly called a “veil (valley) of tears”, in words…words that flow from my heart and interact with a page, or in these days, a computer, to create an offering of praise to the God who IS.  He IS in me.  He IS working.  His Spirit speaks to my heart and is closer than my next breath.
As these humble offerings spill out, my prayer and hope is that what they ‘paint’ and the emotions that they evoke in the meeting of the Spirit in another will bring Glory to Him who works and lives in every open heart. 
Writing is passion for me.  Words spring up and become ‘hope deferred’ that make my heart sick if they are not somehow clarified and poured out…for many, a journal for theirs and their Lord’s eyes alone is enough.  For me, these words are something that only becomes ‘words of life’ for myself and whoever they might fall upon if they are shared.  “Blessed to be a blessing”…the ‘sharing of life’ that speaks to the Triune God who exists in community and calls us to love and know one another as He loves and knows us.
And “I know as I am fully known.”  Writing is a reflection of His beautiful knowledge of me where He guides my heart into waters that are nonsense without Him.  And into this mess He speaks with clarity that is unique to the One alone who brings Redemption. Salvation. Everlasting Love and Life…Jesus Christ—Son of God.
There is great freedom in “writing as worship”it says, “I bare my heart in all of its doubts, fears, prickly places, confusions…the complete and utter humanity of it and I lay it down as an act of worship to the One who sees me, pursues me and loves me in an absolutely complete and perfect way.” 
Writing in this way wages war against the King of Lies who would ‘hem me in on all sides’ and point the condemning finger at the pain of my fallen heart declaring it ‘ugly’ and a ‘disgrace’.  Writing in this way is a weapon that brings peace and calm to quell the waves of doubt and fear.
Writing in this way is my 'dancing in the streets’ of this broken world and declaring boldly Who and Whose I am. 
It is my heartfelt prayer that I will find some co-journeyers who know this same passion and whose words bring further clarity, hope, peace, grace and fellowship of the broken ones who shine His light.  It is also my prayer that those who struggle for their own words will find a home for them in the ins and outs of my own written journey—reminding us all that we are born into the same humanity and redeemed for the same glory.
(I had already written the majority of this post before I read Ann Voskamp (my favorite blogger) at ‘a holy experience’ today…it was a fitting reminder that my own words are not unique, but what a joy to find in this crazy self-seeking blogosphere a fellow ‘upside down kingdom blogger’)

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Thanks bound in Family

(#196-255)
for hearts that know they are meant to be shared
for warmth one to another that breaks through every form of modern communication
for love that sings in sun and storm
for the growing up years
-cars that broke down and taught us to pray
-sibling spats that were only ripples of love
-mom’s frustration that created the funniest sayings
-identical twins’ unique personalities that could be seen early
-a farm to work and learn what that is as wee ones
-a togetherness bound in a shared livelihood
-‘vacations’ at the county 4-H fair sleeping on the straw
-saturday morning wagons of hay to unload together
-forts in the hay loft
-a pasture to roam (with the cows;)
-tractors to ride
-big back yards to play family badmitton and softball games
-wild growing mint for mint tea
-hopscotch sidewalks
-long driveways to ride bike
-a creative farmer daddy who made up games for us to play
-a twin who was always there—making “us”
for the time since we left the farm
-hard years where love grew stronger
-perseverance as necessity for us all
-plenty of sports to play and keep busy
-another big yard to ‘throw lacrosse’ as sisters
-gorgeous sunsets woven through dark years
-homemade baked goods that need little for an expert baker, mama, to ‘bring to life’
-wednesday ‘sketti’ dinners with milk
-four sister slumber parties in ONE full-sized bed!
-one bathroom to learn how to share;)
-drafty houses that require snuggles and blankets
-late night twin talks after the lights were out
-lots of laughter and lots of love even with nothing else
for college and beyond
-two hands to hold in the front seat on the first trip to college
-sisters who wrote LETTERS to me all through
-phone calls to stationary college dorm room phones
-packages that i got a special key to get them
-summers home and sharing life again
-graduation parties—even shared by three
-‘welcome home’ dinners even for a weekend visit
-late night feel good movies and snuggles
-sisters becoming the only ‘real’ best friends
-weekly cards from mom—boxes hold them now
-4 sisters in 4 states and stronger love still
-precious vacation time taken to visit a sister
-precious vacation time to visit a daughter
-nieces galore…nephews soon too!
-Christmases that grew and the love and joy too!
-cell phones that have made family calling easier
- sister texting as greatest modern invention
-SKYPE with ‘new’ family…husband’s
the more I go away,
the more beautiful home becomes…
thank you LORD for family that
binds my life together
sisters by blood and faith forever
mama in Heaven whose love and laughter remain
papa who prays us all through this life
YOU ARE GOOD…YOUR NAME I PROCLAIM!!!!
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

‘But a Vapor’

Dad & Marie, Fall Retreat, etc 291
 
A mist of water rising from a roaring ocean
All of the sum of your years
Can be described as this.
Depressing Thought? or a Centering, life-giving one?
How many things of meaning can mist hold?
Little things that cause anxiety, stress or fear?
How can they possibly have weight?
Reflection upon most thoughts and emotions filled with self
Vanish as that mist of life
And letting go becomes the only sane choice.
What is left of my life, then, and yours?
Is it worth the effort to live?
Lies scream that it is not—how can there be things of meaning?
But, oh friend, there can be.
Because beyond the mist of meaningless multitude of cares
Lies an ocean that is not the sum of all vapors
But rather the power of all that has ever held meaning.
The transcendent, eternal ‘weight of glory’
Asks to claim you as its Very Own.
That in your lostness you will be found.
Eternal Arms that author all Meaning
Call to your spiritual senses
Revealing the apparent clamored fullness of what is but passing
And stand spread over time and space.
Love that is born because it dies
And considers all others above its own desires.
A body of life that rushes through all you are
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Everyday Gifts

Linked with Home Sanctuary

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23
For every morning that bears Your Great Love
And the Great Love that it bears.
For the promise of not being consumed
that the ferociousness of life that bares down heavily upon us is a small thing to You.
For Your Compassions—Divine Compassions that are infinitely deep
And that they never fail-they are not ‘good thoughts’ or 'wishes',
but realities that our bloodied souls can cling to with every torn and raw fiber.
For a faithfulness from Everlasting to Everlasting.
So perfectly complete, infinitely true that compels us
to proclaim from the depths of our souls upon its recognition
“Great is Your Faithfulness”
My Lord, My God, My Everything.
In Worshipful Thanks I lay before you these Everyday Gifts
born out of Your Great Love
manifested in compassions
and wrapped in faithfulness:
Your crisp fall mornings with breezes and promise of later warmth—Florida style
Friendships that walk with me in every season
For the ‘big’ friends and the ‘little’ ones who round out life
For trusting hearts that enjoy sweet kisses and tickles
For divinely infused patience melded in the folds of a husband’s heart
For the call to pray and the promise of provision
For opportunities to trust in things unseen
For a hole in my heart that aches for God alone
For the sweetness of humanity that can grasp their own hole at tender ages
For dirt to dig in and pools of water for a crawling girl to find
For pee accidents born out of joy in playing
For sweet, sweet memories
For the preciousness of each day of life and it’s fleeting reminders in children who GROW quickly
For hearts intertwined who learn to talk, play and love together
For expectations to release
And joy at the spontaneous to embrace
For the simplest things made adorable by young speech
For the awkward miscues as three year-olds rehearse
For the creative, new thing made in an instant
For nursery rhymes and parts remembered and forgotten
For jeans on chubby one year-old legs
And little shoes that dangle off a stroller edge as scrumptious as an ice cream sundae
For an eager heart to learn to ride a bike
For a patient teacher I call husband and friend
For a will to do it
For the need to learn perseverance
For the need to teach it in how I live
For the heart’s sponge that soaks up encouragement
For a love of Mommy and Daddy that makes him want to love what we love
For a God whose Great Love bears deepest upon us
For His Faithfulness that fills up each day with promise
For Compassions that turn our tortured breaths into deep and peaceful grace
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(#121-195)

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sun Rising

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

Proverbs 4:18

sunriseatthebeach2

You are beckoning

Beyond the noise and sheer commotion

of freedom to pick a million useful things.

You are calling

into the weariness that seeks a physical answer

believing it will come.

You are singing

A clear and radiant song so beautiful

and ancient…first song speaking into existence.

And I come

Smooth, cool sand squishing between my toes

Anticipation of a promise that began with the first light.

I wait

Clouds covering first bright glimmer

Excitement growing for what will surely become.

My soul sings

At first just specks of brilliant red and orange hues

Alive, young and powerful they grow stronger.

My heart rejoices

A force so unrelenting pushes forth

Past grayness of night and first affront of cloudy cover.

My life is renewed

As rays break through to combat the shadows of the night

A light whose hands raise high in worship

You are true

Breaking forth in morning glory

Running across shimmering waters to reach me.

You are lovely

A gift so ordinary and yet divine

That ushers in each new day with promise.

You are mine

With gorgeous beauty beheld I remember in wonder

the God of my youth who ever beckons, calls, leads and guides.



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