Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Moving From "Why?" to "I Accept"


Do you stop to think about maturing? I don't mean getting an invitation to join AARP (which came in the mail the week before my 50th birthday, harumph!). I am talking about the growing up part of maturing.

We spend the better part of our childhood and adolescence asking "Why?" of those adults in our lives. Sometimes we receive thoughtful responses and sometimes just the "Because I said so" kinds of responses. At some mystical point of maturity we stop asking "Why?" Maybe it comes when we are living away from our family of origin and out on our own, but often we assume we have all the answers or the questions we have don't have answers. Either way, we seem to stop asking "Why?" out loud, that is until something in our world gets rocked. Then the question "Why?" takes on a different tone and it's directed at God.

Sometimes we receive a plausible answer to a "Why?" question that we ask God. Sometimes we receive silence. In a needy time, silence seems so cold and distant. But really, the silence may not mean uncaring, but rather, come closer. God's silence may in fact be His invitation to sit with Him in our frustration of not knowing "Why?" God's silence is not God's absence. He is a very present help in time of trouble (see Ps. 46) Sometimes sitting alone with God slows us down enough to let go of needing to know the answer to "Why?" and we end up comforted with the knowledge that God knows and that is enough.

Do you know and trust God enough to move from "Why?" to "I accept"? Would you like to?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Legacy


A noteworthy quote on the importance of prayer:

"See to it, night and day, that you pray for your children. Then you will leave them a great legacy of prayer, which will follow them all the days of their life. Then you may calmly and with good conscience depart from them, even though you may not leave them a great deal of material wealth." O. Hallesby

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Henri Nouwen wrote my prayer!

Today I read the prayer of another and it could not have expressed my heart's cry any better.

Be blessed!

The following is from A Cry for Mercy by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

O Lord, who else or what else can I desire but you? You are my Lord, Lord of my heart, mind, and soul. You know me through and through. In and through you everything that is finds its origin and goal. You embrace all that exists and care for it with divine love and compassion. Why, then, do I keep expecting happiness and satisfaction outside of you? Why do I keep relating to you as one of my many relationships, instead of my only relationship, in which all other ones are grounded? Why do I keep looking for popularity, respect from others, success, acclaim, and sensual pleasures? Why, Lord, is it so hard for me to make you the only one? Why do I keep hesitating to surrender myself totally to you?

Help me, O Lord, to let my old self die, to let die the thousand big and small ways in which I am still building up my false self and trying to cling to my false desires. Let me be reborn in you and see through you the world in the right way, so that all my actions, words, and thought can become a hymn of praise to you.

I need your loving grace to travel on the hard road that leads to the death of my old self and to a new life in and for you. I know and trust that this is the road to freedom.

Lord, dispel my mistrust and help be become a trusting friend.

Amen

Monday, April 12, 2010

Notes about who I am...

I have spent time on our Spring Break reflecting. I am not the same person. I am definitely different. What's changed?

Focus. Priorities. Commitments. Mindset. Time allocation. Motivation.

How did all these changes happen? Brokenness--lost my mom to illness; my dad to suicide; my mentally ill brother disowned me and the rest of my family and all within 9 months. A little Job like actually.

Was it painful? Devastatingly painful. Fetal position sobbing and wailing hours at a time painful. Life as I knew it had changed. Forever. The apple cart of my life was turned upside down and all the apples were dumped out.

How have I moved forward? One step at a time as Light was revealing my path.

How have you navigated big changes in your life?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Good Morning!


"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul."

David, Psalm 143:8

What a terrific way to say Good Morning!
So packed with love! So full of energy when I am often not in the morning! David lays out for us five actions: four that belong to us and one that belongs to God. Hear, Trust, Walk and Lift are our actions. Teach belongs to God in this passage.

How do we "hear" God? There are many ways. Here are three:
Reading His Word.
Being outdoors in creation. Paul writes to the Roman believers "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,..."
Inviting His Spirit to speak to your spirit as you sit in contemplative silence. (What you will hear will NEVER contradict Scripture)

How do we "trust"? That's an action that is like faith: it gets stronger the more we use it. It means we are willing to take God at His word. Trust is so intertwined with faith that it is difficult to isolate. But it is our action item.

How do we "walk"? To walk here means our way of life; how we move through our day making decisions, taking actions, resting, whatever. If this action is dependent on God "teaching" us then it sounds like we need to spend time with God in order to know how to "walk". Hmmm

How do we "lift" up our soul? This action is referring to another action: prayer. Through prayer we can give ourselves to God; to surrender our day, our family, our plans to Him. Our surrender of being in control of how things go or turn out is also linked back to the action of trust....

What is "lovingkindness" anyway? That isn't a word we speak to one another in this compound form any more. Lovingkindness is a synonym for mercy or compassion. So God's mercy is new to us every morning (See Lamentations 3:22-23). He desires us to know Him, trust Him, walk with Him, and give ourselves to Him.


One verse of poetry.
Five actions.
One compound word that is outside our cultural vernacular: lovingkindness

It all equals a lot of comfort and encouragement if you allow it in!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Way of Life

I have been reading a terrific but challenging little book titled Simplicity by Mindy Caliguire. One of her points is that we need to be in community; a community where people are living AWOL. A Way of Life that follows Christ.

That's really what walking with Christ is: A Way of Life

Our path is full of
Choices
Obstacles
Dark woods
Open spaces
Smooth sections where life is easy
Rocky sections when things are tough
Storms that can overwhelm us
Sunny Days so pleasant that a storm is unimaginable

All of these varying circumstances we encounter on the Way. Not just times of rest, but times of struggle. Beautiful vistas and rotten refuse.

All mixed in. All with Christ constantly defending and encouraging us

Along the Way

Where are you along the Way? Curious? Just starting out? Years of journeying? Discouraged? Sidetracked? Overwhelmed?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why is Good Friday good?

When I was growing up the church we attended followed the Liturgical Calendar. This meant that annually we would reflect on the Last Supper on the Thursday before Easter and take communion. That made sense to me. But I wondered why Good Friday was called "good" when Jesus died?

Now decades later I come to Good Friday humbled by the knowledge of all that transpired. Please take time to watch the following video. It will be hard to watch, but not as hard as it was to endure.



Why is Good Friday good? You and I are now FREE! Tell me what that means to you....
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