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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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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's not his fault…

 If there was ever a
time to count my blessings,
this is it. 

I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in.
Philippians 4:11 (GW)

I want to be angry but I can't. I'm in the basement at my in-laws house babysitting my extremely spoiled and jittery puppy. (okay, so he's two, but he'll always be my baby.) It's not his fault. He's way out of his comfort zone. Maybe we should've brought his crate. Maybe we should have let him stay at home alone. Maybe if Sandy hadn't hit us so hard we wouldn't have lost power, wouldn't be 'fugeeing  across town and I wouldn't be folded onto a sofa in the basement trying to convince myself this is not my life.

It is what it is. This is where we are. It could be worse, but Thank God it is not. We are safe. We are warm. We are secure. We have loving family nearby expecting us to come to them in times of distress. They are lovely (truly). We are grateful (deeply). If there was ever a time to count my blessings, this is it. 

It could be worse. It is not. God is still in control, and even here, on a dusty old sofa, in the basement of someone else's home, at nearly midnight when I certainly should be asleep instead of babysitting a dog nearly big enough to saddle up and ride, I declare my life is a feast, a table spread abundantly with blessings overflowing from the Almighty. Even here, I proclaim contentment, in this state. Even now, I say with blessed assurance, God is good.

That is the end of my rant. 

Good night.

On Wednesdays, I pray and and play with friends here...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm going through…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

I don't think I write about my daddy much (I'll have to check; maybe I do. ) His ministry informs my writing, and certainly my approach to God. It was he that made me a seeker, teaching me that God and His Word were up to my questioning. That a belief I couldn't test wasn't worth giving my life over to…(but that is something I will write about another day).

while there may be fear and tears,
according to my dad, we do not
weep like those who have no hope.
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One of my dad's favorite hymns was "I'm Going Through" by Herbert Buffam. I close my eyes and can see and hear him singing it in my memory. I was chatting online with a girlfriend today about the storm. It was an interesting progression. We began by lamenting the slow moving nature of the storm; this friend is one who has braved hurricanes, tornados,  and tropical storms. She is also a member of the liturgical dance ensemble I've danced in for nearly 10 years, and we have danced (prayed) to and through great joys and great sorrows. (yeah, she was with me when I danced my prayers last week) 

We then moved to the practical considerations, falling trees, the potential for damage to property (they just did a major renovation on their beautiful home), and finally to whether or not we'd lose power. We experienced Hurricane Irene last year, and were both fortunate to not lost power and suffer only minimal damage.

We next moved to encouragement. Never did we discuss not dealing with the storm. It was always when, whether, and how. We started trading Psalms. Me, the 34th, her 16, particularly 16:8…
                I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 

I was again reminded, that while we might experience fear, we do not experience it alone. He is at our right hand. He is with us wherever we go. And, with a smile and a nod to my dad, I am not worried. There will be storms, but I'm going through. And while there may be fear and tears, according to my dad, we do not weep like those who have no hope. So, going through with the Almighty at our right hand, I am not confused this journey with the destination to which He is leading me.   As the saying goes, " Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine."  And the notion of sunshine, as Hurricane Sandy's winds and rains beat down upon us, is today's reminder that God is Good.  

  1. I'm Going Through
  2. by Herbert Buffam
  3. arranged by Thoro Harris 1914

  4. Lord, I have started to walk in the light
    That shines on my pathway so clearly, so bright;
    I’ve bade the world and its follies adieu,
    And now with my Savior I mean to go through.
    • Refrain:
      I’m going through, I’m going through,
      I’ll pay the price, whatever others do;
      I’ll take the way with the Lord’s despised few;
      I’m going through, Jesus, I’m going through.
  5. Many once started to run in this race,
    But with our Redeemer they could not keep pace;
    Others accepted because it was new,
    But not very many seem bound to go through.
  6. Let me but follow my Lord all alone,
    And have for my pillow, like Jacob, a stone,
    Rather than vain worldly pleasures pursue,
    Than turn from this pathway and fail to go through.
  7. Come then, my comrades, and walk in this way
    That leads to the kingdom of unending day;
    Turn from your idols and join with the few,
    Start in with your Savior, and keep going through.

Monday, October 29, 2012

He is our shelter…

LORD, you are my God; 
   I will exalt You and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness
   you have done wonderful things,
   things planned long ago
You have been a refuge for the poor,
   a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. 
Isaiah 25:1 and 4 (NIV)

I've been cooking the better part of the day. Sandy's on her way.
Hurricane-force wind warnings have been issued for the coastal waters of seven states as Hurricane Sandy appears destined to enter the history books as one of the most exceptional -- and potentially destructive -- storms to strike the Northeast in modern history.
(I'm not going to complain that nobody invited Sandy anyway and she's still coming, how rude…)

Yesterday, a little unexpectedly, I learned to live with my fears, knowing they are born of my humanity, knowing that He will deliver me from them, and I found my peace. Now I'm seeking shelter.

Not shelter from the storm, that we have. The storm is on its way, that is God's Will. We prepared as best we could, all we need do now is hide ourselves in Him. He is our shelter. We put things away; put things in order, it is now time to be still.   

Despite our humanness, we pray to now for Shelter, Lord, knowing that Your Goodness and Mercy are and have always been sufficient to meet our needs. Faith reminds us that fear is unnecessary; out of step with faith. 

Storms make great noise, but like so many things in life, to little or no effect. He is our Shelter, our refuge, our shade from the heat. We are covered.

So Sandy, come and do what you must. Whatever happens is God's Will. And by the way, uninvited guest or not, I shall not be moved. I have Shelter in the time of Storms.  When storms come, I have the blessed assurance that good comes soon after. And that assurance reminds me that my cup is never empty. I am reminded that God is good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Though I am afraid…

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalms 34:4 (KJV)

In life, it is easy to be afraid. Fear is, according to dictionary.com,
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined;  

When we experience fear, Christians often seek the guidance of 2 Timothy, where we are reminded that
We experience fear, 

but never alone, 
and our fear has never 
been the end of the story. 
… God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV) 

In  Making a choice to rejoice…, I acknowledged that we have power.
I write often about making choices. If you accept the notion of free will, we always have it within us to choose (yes, God knows the choices we will make, but He allows us to make them).
We experience fear, but never alone, and our fear has never been the end of the story. David had sufficient reason to be afraid when he wrote Psalms 34. 
Did you know (I didn’t) that Psalms 34 is the precise definition of “Praise Him, Anyhow? Here’s the story…David had a price on his head when he departed Israel.  King Saul, pursuing him as he fled, intended to kill David. David ran straight to a Philistine city (you can imagine how that would work out), and schemed his way into the protection of the Gath King, Abimelech, not because Abimelech loved David, but because David pretended to be crazy. It’s bad luck to kill crazy people, so the King spared his life.   
What I find comforting about this Psalm, at least lately, is not that it dismisses my fear, but that it is not only acknowledged as big and well, scary, but moreover that it is something from while I will be delivered. God will get me through it.  Though I am afraid, that is not the end of my story. I seek Him in my fear, and we overcome it together.

The 23rd Psalms says we need not fear evil, because we do not face it alone. He is with us, comforting, leading, guiding. And though I am afraid, I can praise Him through my fear. Because fear is not where I will land; fear is only the path I travel between where I am and where I will go.

Though I am afraid, I can choose to rejoice. Though I am afraid, yet will I praise Him. Despite my very humanity, that I am flawed and frail and ever so beautifully human, I am able still able to say that God is good.
On Sundays, I pray and play with On Sundays, I fellowship with Salina, the crew at Spiritual Sundays and Jumping Tandem

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Keeping my sister…

 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don
't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Genesis 4:9 (NIV)

I do not know her, really. We have been gathered together in online fellowship, writing about our faith, supporting each other, living far more transparently in this sacred space than perhaps we do elsewhere. We know only what we choose to share about one another, and we can only rely on each other's veracity…there is no reason not to do otherwise.

She is very hard on herself, and I recognize that in some form from the person I used to be. Older, clearer now, I forgive myself more easily; giving myself the benefit of every doubt because the kindness I show myself becomes the kindness I show everyone else. It has become my way. 

God knows you better and
guides you in your blindness.
Just follow in your darkness knowing
The Hand that holds you is trustworthy.
This morning, my sisterfriend told me something I did not know about her; a practice we share. But in the same breath, she said she wasn't very good at it, and I couldn't understand why. When I encouraged her for taking uncommon risks (the ones not everyone takes) and asked her into to speak such negativity into her life, her next comment was that she probably just needed "a whap on the head." She then confessed that she wasn't even aware of her negative tone.

How comfortable have we become with negative self-talk? Are we so accustomed to beating ourselves up that we're not even paying attention anymore? According to ChristianAffirmations.com,
It is estimated that over 80% of the average person’s Self Talk is negative.
How are we caring for our sisters and brothers if we let this happen? We cannot constantly monitor one another's internal monologues, but we can pay attention to what people are saying when we listen (do we really listen?) What about what we say to ourselves?

At that moment, I determined to take her on. Because when you know better, you must do better. It wasn't like I had a choice, I simply had a calling about it.

I then remembered one of my favorite quotes from William Blake, who wrote “I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me. This reminded me that I walk with a purpose, though not one of my own making. Ultimately, I realized that I am my sister's keeper. She represents some part of the me that once was, but not who I am anymore.  I have learned…the kindness I show myself becomes the kindness I show everyone else. It has become my way. I was to give that path to her. I am responsible. I am my sister's keeper.

So, little sister, you are worthy, no matter what wrong messages you hear or repeat.
The last time I was feeling weary, a very good friend, one who laughs with (and at) me, prays with me, prays for me, and helps me see things, showed me something my mirror couldn't tell me...
despite the many times that your mind tells you different, know that God knows you better than you know yourself and is guiding you in your "blindness". Just follow in your darkness and know that the hand that holds you is trustworthy. 

I'm on your side. I see just ahead of where you are to where you're going, and you can do this.  The kindness you show yourself becomes the kindness you will show everyone else. It can, it will become your way. Please be brave enough to take this path. I am my sister's keeper, as you will be for the sister than comes after you. We are responsible. We have been gathered together for a reason, writing about our faith, supporting each other, glorifying God in all we do. Our fellowship is a blessing, and more than that, our sisterhood is a reminder that God is good.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Voice (Five Minute Friday)

So, a bunch of my girls are hanging at Allume and all I got was a writing prompt (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Welcome to Five Minute Friday.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking (harder than it sounds)
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Visit the person who linked up before 
you & encourage them in their comments.
OK, are you ready? Come on and join the fun!

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)



Writing helped me find mine. Not the one I use, but the one I didn't know I had. That voice is different than the one I use to work. Hers is clearer. There is patience and discernment in that voice. There is depth, a kind of eternal wisdom in that voice. Had my life not turned on its head, I doubt I'd have ever let her out.

Sometimes, God takes away all your other options to focus you; to make you pay attention to Him. The smart people get it right the first time. I, however, need multiple reminders. Now that I (We) have let that voice speak, she doesn't want to stop talking. She's noisy, even inside my head. She talks to me a lot. When I let her get in front of a keyboard, she'll talk to anyone who'll listen. Sometimes she doesn't listen to me. She's listening to God, and since His Plans and His Words are better than mine, she sets her voice on things above.

I love listening to her. She is the wise I want to be. She is my gift…the unintended consequence of a life well-lived, but in need of repositioning. I am repositioned. She is my GPS (global, not Godly).

And we're done. 

On Fridays, I pray and play with LisaJo and Laura, and the Christian Mommy Bloggers

God doesn’t require much. Only everything…

O LORD, I give my life to you. 
I trust in You, my God!
Psalms 25:1-2 (NLT)

Yesterday, I felt God telling me to be still, to settle down, to let Him do. Looking back on it, I could've gotten the message sooner rather than later, but that's not really my style. I usually need a little help.

Let's talk a little bit about obedience and surrender. In the 25th Psalms, David affirms that all of our confidence belongs in God. As humans, we try our own ways, relying upon our own supposed strength, wisdom, and might, but ultimately, we are nothing without him.

Could you really trust Him? Trust as in relying upon Him for all of it? Could you really surrender, as in yielding everything to Him? According to author Jack Zavada,
When we submit ourselves to the will of God…the Holy Spirit  works through                   us. His power is  magnified through our obedience so we become an instrument in the hands of the Great Physician…
It's a remarkable aspiration, but do you really have what it takes to let go? To believe in something you may not, you may never understand? However, to be found worthy to be used by the Holy Spirit…isn't that worth everything?  

So today, with a clear heart and a clear mind, knowing I do not, knowing I need not understand, I give it all to You again, Lord. I trust You, more than anything. You've never forsaken me, never failed me; I am grateful for your Grace. You don't require much, only everything, and I surrender gladly, knowing You are good.
On Thursdays, I pray and and play with friends here...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Seek peace…

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalms 34:14 (KJV)

I should have known. When the message from my Gayle this morning was "lost my voice overnight…am going radio silent…since I usually talk your head off you will have to rest your ears…" I should have known it was a day to seek peace and quiet. When I talked to my BFF, and she was on a tear about someone saying one thing and then doing the opposite, I told her to "seek peace; to be quiet." I should have listened. 

The power went out, not once, but twice, within the same hour less than 60 minutes later. The first time, after the power company confirmed that there was a local blackout, in a panic, I mentally packed my bag and my laptop and headed for a Starbucks, hoping the outage did not extend that far. The lights came back on. When it happened for a second time, I did nothing. I felt no sudden urge to flee. I silenced my body and my mind. I rested. I was still. I'd been headed upstairs to wash my hair, but decided to lay calmly on the sofa, just above where the dog slept, snoring peacefully on the floor. I was still. I rested, finally.
How can I hear You if there is always noise?
I will learn to be quiet, so I might hear.
I will learn to be still, so I might feel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sacred, Intuitive, Nurturing (and liberally laced with laughter)…

 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 
Romans 12:10 (ESV)

Brothers, schmothers, this is about sisterhood! I asked some girlfriends recently about their besties, and one of my wise women described her best relationships as "sacred, intuitive, and nurturing." That description was so powerful that I asked her permission to write about it. Who knew that today it would be my Gayle and my BFF who reminded me about the richness of our bond, and that particular description.

We've learned to let go together, because
once you've acknowledged that there's
absolutely nothing more to be done
on your own, you might as well let it go
 and fall back into the arms of Grace.
Hopefully, your landing will be soft.
When it isn't, my girls are there to
dust me off and laugh, just like I'd do for them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joy in your now…

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry
Mark 6:28-31 (ESV)

Are you happy? Does everything in your life feel good right now? Really? Or, like someone I just talked to, are you beaten down by the weight of it all? If you let your arms fall, just for a second, and the entire world DID NOT COME CRASHING DOWN, after a minute, would you put your arms back up? No you wouldn’t. NO, you wouldn’t. 

an you imagine harnessing the power of joy in your now? Everything is not perfect, and even as you look at someone else’s situation, it’s not perfect either. There are problems; you just don’t know them. “Joy in your now” is about perspective. Let me tell you a story…

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