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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unexpected Grace….

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

Unexpected Grace….

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

More stuff to do than time or resources to get it done the way I wanted/planned/expected.  It has to get done--nobody cares.  Welcome to life.  Today was supposed to be one of those days; it’s the way I envisioned the week.  I won’t complain.  I won’t complain because I know that there, just beyond my grasp or line of sight, is just enough mercy to do everything necessary to satisfy God’s plan.  And that should be the lesson, right?

That is the lesson, but it’s not the only one.  God is so much bigger than our imaginings, and that lesson alone gives me one more reason to Praise Him.

I assess the day, offering praise that “it is what it is.”  I have shown up, and for all those who laid down last night and did not rise to face another day, I offer my thanks.  Rouse the husband, wake the kids, start the day.  I can do it, even if I’m not certain how.  I am assured that it will happen, not on wishes, but on Faith.

Gotta replace an essential that the boy must have today, and I really could use twice as much in my wallet as I have right now.  It’s still gotta get replaced.  Off to the best bargain spot I know, and sure enough, God was already there.  Not only was it there in his size, the item was on sale.  I reached for two, my regular habit, but drew back my hand.  I only need one, and that’s all I have to spend.  I’m walking to the checkout lane when it hits me-I have a gift card.

Here’s the thing about grace, it moves quietly.  If you’re not paying attention, you miss it all together.  “I almost forgot …” That’s Grace.  “Why didn’t I see that before….” That’s Grace.  “Really, I couldn’t, are you sure….” That’s Grace.  “Whew, just when I needed it most…” That’s Grace. “Thank you for the compliment, I didn’t realize anyone was paying attention….” Grace.

Unexpected Grace, like you’d appreciate Grace as much if you knew it was just around the corner.  Which it always is, though we never seem to remember.  Unexpected Grace. Evidence of abundance unlimited.  So I will take my limited resources, and all my Grace, and walk with my head held high.  Being thankful.  Walking not like my pockets are full, but walking assured that my Father’s overflow.  Further evidence that God is Good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mind my heart and bind my tongue…

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

Mind my heart and bind my tongue….


Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Proverbs 21:23

For those who know me well, it will come as no surprise that I’m working on keeping a civil or silent, tongue in my head,   It's not that I'm mean, just prone to be snarky.  I didn’t have the best day yesterday, so rather than succumbing to frustration and the guilt associated with failing (again), I walked the dog.  He’s cheaper than therapy, and keeps all my secrets.  I also use the quiet time (since my dog’s not really a chatterbox) to pray, be still, and try to hear the answer to problems I’m facing.
Yesterday’s sermon was about scheduling time with God.  Multi-tasking wasn’t first on the list, but as it increases the amount of time I assign to prayer and devotion, it’s not a bad start.  I discovered a new mantra as the dog and I found our walking rhythm, “mind my heart and bind my tongue.” It was a prayer.  It is my prayer.
There are so many times when, not thinking, we wound with words.  I explained to my daughter that those wounds are like pricking a balloon with a pin.  If the balloon’s not full of air, the damage can’t be seen.  However, when you try to blow it up, the balloon doesn't inflate, and you find yourself dealing with very real consequences of actions previously taken without much thought.  Is it really worth it to have the last word? Get in that quip that seemed so witty in your head? To chime in just to hear the sound of your own voice?

Today’s already a better day than yesterday, partly because I continued repeating my mantra as we walked this morning, my spiritual guide and me.  Who knew that walking my dog could carry me closer to Grace? Just another reminder, there is abundance in my life I haven’t even seen yet….my dog, seriously? On a Monday, when you need it, just further evidence that God is Good.

Monday, April 4, 2011

An empty and transparent vessel….

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

An empty and transparent vessel….

I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.
William Blake

Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:21 NIV

During morning yoga, I realized I want to be a glass vase.  I promise I haven’t lost my mind.  It was actually my prayer, “Lord, let me be a clear and transparent vessel.” 

One of the personal advantages of working out is that I use the time to worship.  I don’t make enough time for prayer and study, so I have given myself permission, during yoga, dance warm ups and cool downs, and all of my runs, to pray and be open. During a particularly intense yoga phrase (where I often find myself praying, even if it’s only “Oh, Lord, help me hold it….) as I sought to master my body and still myself, I asked God, repeatedly, to make me empty and transparent.  The image was a vase.  Not crystal, not cut or colored glass, but a simple, empty container for His use, to confirm to any who might see that I am nothing. 

I have no self-esteem problem.  When I say “I am nothing”, it is a celebration.  It is a release.  I have learned, through every trial and challenge, that the most powerful action I can take is surrender.  Reading a couple days ago, I came across William Blake’s powerful acknowledgement, “I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.”  That’s it.  The best I can do is to get out of the way, at least to the extent that I feel any need to be in control.  I myself do nothing.  Doing nothing? What would that really mean?

It means that I will work on being that vessel.  The one with no decoration, which does not obscure the beauty of that which it holds.  The one who virtually disappears, to avoid being ugly or garish, unkind or distracting.  The one who fervently prays to be deemed serviceable, so that whether or not I am planning, whether or not I have prepared in any special way, I can be pressed into service. 

Imagine being used by God. Would you be ready? Here’s the lesson.  Anyone can be that vessel.  You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to be anything, but available.  Are you available? I’m going to try to be.  I already know I won’t consistently be good at it, but I pledge to try.  It should be easy, right? Do nothing, present yourself? Okay, God, I’m leaving this to you.  I have done what I could; I’m promising to show up.  The rest is up to You. And while there is so much at which I feel less than prepared, I may excel at this by doing nothing. That I can do. Nothing? What a blessing.  Further evidence that God is Good. 

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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