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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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Friday, June 28, 2013

In between (Back to Five Minute Fridays)

I'm getting a little too old to easily stay up until midnight to hand with my favorite Thursday/Friday playgroup, but Thank God for mornings. I love the discipline of FMF.  Happy Friday, y'all, I'm ready to flex my writing chops again, it's been too long. Wanna play along? Read/write/join another Five Minute Friday with us.   

1. Write for 5 minutes flat (to the bell, that is), no editing, over thinking (it's harder than you think)
2. Link back here and invite others to join the fun.
3. Visit the the brave soul who linked up before you, and a few others that catch your eye to encourage them in their comments.
Ready? Set? Go!

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:39 (NIV)


I’m living in the in between. Between the years I spent working on my career and trying (Lord, I really am trying) to patiently await the next thing. I am in transition.

In transition. It is the gentle term we often use to describe our meantimes. In transition sounds better than “unemployed,” “foreclosed upon,” “separated.” Why do we care so much about the labels?

Just yesterday, a wise friend shared something with me that I’d never heard before….we are human beings not human doings, so why do we so obsess with what we do?

Who we are, like the nature of God, changes not. We are redeemed. We are fragile. We desire love. We might be in between jobs, cities, accomplishments, but the essential nature of who we are remains. We are human. We are children of the Most High King. We belong.

I might be on my way somewhere, on my way to do something, preparing to accomplish something, but I carry the same me with me when I start, as I proceed, when I arrive. I carry a piece of the Divine. In me. And, when it comes to God, I want nothing in between us. My prayer? That nothing will ever separate me from the Love of God. Nothing will ever get in between… 


I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and with Laura at Missional Women

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The opposite of up...

 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Psalms 121:1 (NKJV)

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.
~Soren Kierkegaard

Lately things have not been easy. I know how to coach myself through difficult times, though. Instead of focusing on how things are not easy for me, how miserable I am, how unfair life is (stop me any time), I remember Psalms 121, and then, I do what it doesn’t say. What I do is the opposite of up.

this is my worship.
There is sweet comfort and
release in the opposite of up
…I let go and let God.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In Service...

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)

...Sometimes the oddest things
can be acts of worship. 
God knew I’d be a handful, so instead of one bestie to pray for me, counsel me, talk me off ledges, He gave me two (He knows). In every way I am able, each time I view an opportunity to serve, I lean in.  This weekend, I had an opportunity to be in service. My Gayle needed me, and I did what I do. I write.

When I spoke to her on Saturday, she was still upset. Apparently a careless teacher discarded every single poem, worksheet, exercise, project, etc., that her firstborn (my godson) created this year in second grace. Without thought. Without apparent remorse. Without apology.  More than 24 hours after it occurred, I could hear the sobs catching in her throat. I had to do something.
When we are wronged, we take a stand. We allow ourselves to be angry, but seek to move productively through anger to action. Usually that takes time, and in the meantime we vent, scream, sob, laugh, and joke about where we’d bury  the bodies. She didn’t have time.

When she called me Saturday morning, she’d sent a sad, sorry emailed paragraph that clearly conveyed her pain, but just wouldn’t do. I knew that she wanted to speak beyond her own bitter disappointment, de-personalizing where possible in order to frame a teachable moment. This was my opportunity to serve.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today I'm at There's Something Different

Today I have the good fortune to be posting over at There’s Something Different with my word-sister Alecia Simersky.  We found each other through Holley Gerth’s God-Sized Dream Team project, and she’s become an important part of my life. She was kind enough to ask me to share my words on her site, and I humbly obliged. Please go show her some love, and stay for a while. This girl loves to share her heart, and paints word pictures as beautiful as her smile and her soul. Go!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beyond fear…

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)

I find it fascinating (as are the many Ways of God) that I seem to be moving away from fear. So many things that once caused me great angst just don’t bother me anymore. Like teaching my teenager to drive.

Teaching my teenager to drive was never my plan (someday I’ll learn. God cares nothing for my plans…His are always better.) That was a daddy job I joyfully ceded; I felt no sense of competition or loss…it was all good. God cares nothing for my plans. I remind myself that He speaks in many voices, and remember a lesson I learned not so long ago…
According to a Buddhist proverb, if you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep walking. I am starting to understand, Lord. You are my point of orientation, my magnetic North. Once I commit to surrender, I’m walking towards You.

If I face the Throne of Grace,
I am always moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Your Comfort Zone?? God Cares Not…

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Him, and He shall diProverbs 3:5-6 KJV

(GB, this is for you, and I bet I can write it in like 12 minutes…)

God’s been dealing with my fears. I don't like it. He doesn't care. He cares about me, but not at all about my fears, as long as they do not prevent me from seeking His Face. He also cares not at all about my comfort zone.

Today God blessed me to catch up with a dear friend who is about to step out in faith in a big way in pursuing her God-Sized Dream. She wanted some advice. Laughing, I warned her not to take anything I advised all that seriously…that I was not nearly as brave as she might think. I took no big steps forward towards Grace. I took no deep breath before diving into the “deep end.” Nope, that’s not my story. For me, it was far more a case of stumbling into the pool, butt first. 
Belonging to the Lord…that’s our comfort zone.
All the rest needs refining, sometimes by fire.

God placed within her a vision (which I’m happy to support, but more about that in a minute), and she is, in good Godly order, putting all the resources in place to move it forward. (That’s how it’s supposed to be done). I must admit, I wasn't really on board in the beginning. Here I am thinking I have a poker face (I usually do), and she caught that twitch I was trying so hard to suppress. Her perspective on this issue is as far from mine …“as far as the east is from the west...” Psalms 103:12 (NIV). Way out of my comfort zone. And there it is…. Your Comfort Zone?? God Cares Not…

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kitchen stove as pulpit (a simple lesson in Grace)

to put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

I walked past my fruit bowl looking guiltily at the pears. They sat on the sideboard forgotten and once beautiful. The last time I ate one my system was a little off. I hadn’t been back and they ‘d quickly moved well past prime. I just didn’t want to throw them away. Purposefully, I walked them into the kitchen.  Truthfully, I walked the bowl into the kitchen. I intended to use it for something else. Lesson One…we often pray (wish/hope/beg) when we feel we have nothing else. Sometimes we return to worship, return to God as part of a bargain. I don’t think He cares. He is expert at taking broken, misshapen, mistakenly deployed resources and putting them to right use. It’s what He does. He is God. 
sermon preached at my kitchen stove?
"let go and believe." there is nothing we can
do to become something new
and better without God’s Grace.

Monday, June 10, 2013

It’s not that time….Elegy for a murdered son...

(The man accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin goes on trial today. It still stuns me that mothering a young black man in America means I may have given birth to a gravely endangered species. This is written  from the mother of one young black man to another; for mothers and sons, for those who love mothers and sons; for those who pray for mothers, sons, and America.) 

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4(NKJV)

Sybrina, I cannot imagine your pain at sending a son to eternal rest; saying goodbye rather than saying goodnight.  I cannot fathom the hole in your heart, but this I know; “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to be born and a time to die,”… this cannot be that time. 

“...I pray your death will not be in vain. We will stand for you and 
see that justice is served in your senseless murder.
 Rest in peace, dear son...rest in peace." JC

Friday, June 7, 2013

I’m not leaving the Feast, but I am calling a new place home...

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. 
Psalsm 133:1 (KJV)

I’m not leaving the Feast, but I am calling a new place home. I’ve been invited to contribute regularly to Circles of Faith and join “friends on a mission to foster community among Christian women of all faith traditions and backgrounds through the exchange of stories and articles, blogs, events, and ministry information.” I couldn’t be happier. I asked the Lord to enlarge my territory, and He’s opening doors. I didn’t know how desperately I needed community until I fell into one; women seeking God through words, music, shared experiences. I’m just praying to be faithful, to write His Words, to challenge hearts to be still and know…
Fellowship has become my new sacrament.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Build, Pray, Keep.

 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in Gods love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joyto the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 1:20-22;24-25

This isn’t the story I thought I’d write. This weekend, I planned to attend a gallery showing honoring artists whose work helped them overcome personal challenges. Since writing saved my life, since learning to write myself through and out of scary places by lighting my own candles in the darkness, I wanted to participate in the many ways God places beauty in the hands and hearts of fellow sojourners to carry them through their personal storms. That was the story I planned, but that wasn’t God’s plan. (Remember “man appoints, God disappoints?)

My day was full and busy, but, as is often the case when we are wanting to see God’s Hand in our plan, things kept falling in line. I’m already in trouble with no malicious intent, because I am suffering the dangerous effects of a faulty premise. About this,  author L. Vincent Poupard writes,
God does answer every prayer...
just not always the way that we want.
Build, Pray, Keep. 

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

C'mon. Follow along. Please?