“Is”ness

“I am because of your goodness, which preceded all that You made me to be, and all out of which You made me.” – St. Augustine

Again, so much here.  St. Augustine’s words are always chewy.

 God is good, He always was good, even before I knew His goodness.

He made me out of this goodness.  Seems simple, but it is huge.  

Niel-Quisaba_8600_750
by Neil Quisaba

He is eternal…but different than eternal.  He just is.  He stands outside of time – (especially since He created it).  Through His “is”ness,

He has always been good, and merciful, and just.

And, yet, He took time to mold me.  He knows me and loves me.
It just boggles my mind sometimes.

  • S

Sometimes We Need to Be Told to STOP

I’m reading a book about Living a Hands Free Life (by Rachel Macy Stafford). It’s good.

But how do I implicate the ideals into MY life. Baby on both hips, one in the belly, cup of coffee in hand, two binkies in tow, don’t forget the silkies, or a snack, or my phone.

But-  live in the moment with hands free to grasp the remarkable. Relish the sweet.

Sometimes life is simply relish. Great on a hotdog at a picnic, but a nuisance the rest of the time.

Sometimes we need to complain. And be tired.

And sometimes we need to be told to stop. Just stop complaining. Just shut up and hold your babies- forget the rest.

Feel the wind on the cold days and smile for the crisp breath. Bask in the sunshine and shade on the sweltering and smell the sunscreen kissed skin.

Savor the sweet in the moments. Even the picnic relish moments.

There were nine steps listed for hands free living. I took one. Set the phone down photo(ironically I’m typing this on my phone. But both kids are asleep, one in my lap, so cut me a break).

But it’s true, my world is over saturated and I feel compelled to share every great moment. Maybe for you, probably more for me.

A moment isn’t less good if solely consumed by myself. If Facebook doesn’t tell me how “liked” it is, I get to decide for myself.

The crickets are chirping outside. And I love it. Lots of people do, that’s why a lot of money has been made on nature recordings. So we can decide when we want nature to interrupt and equalize our internal turmoil.

And then nature shows up unplugged and it’s a nuisance. We didn’t decide or initiate the album.

We are control freaks, it’s time to slow down. Set down. Enjoy the moments alone as they come. Forget about the rest. At least while they’re happening.

Teach my kids the beauty of the un-announced. And the joys of right now with them. Not right now with them shared with the world. Just them.

They are the world.

  • J

Will of Steel

“Please help me to know the will of my Father – not a scrupulous nervousness, nor yet a lax presumption, but a clear, reasonable knowledge; and after this give me a strong will to be able to bend it to the will of the Father.” – Flannery O’Connor in A Prayer Journal

I love this quote.  It is so thick and hard to digest.  My favorite part is the last line…

give me a STRONG will to be able to BEND it to the will of the Father…

crooked-forest2
Epitome of strong enough to bend? (Crooked forest in Poland.. picture from http://unusualplaces.org/crooked-forest/

So interesting because usually we think of strong wills as unbendable.

But she’s right.  It takes a very strong will to bend to the will of the Father.  On good days it can be hard – let alone the days where it is difficult and even seems illogical (especially to earthly standards).

So, here’s to working on a will strong enough to bend.

-S

X Marks the Spot

“and the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reasons os many cannot see the red x that marks the spot is because we are standing on it…All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need.  The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.” – Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World

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from http://www.timvandevall.com/

Wow.  I have been so guilty of this – assuming God’s plan to use me fully must require distance.  I have operated on the idea that the treasure map of faith was leading to an X far away – surely it couldn’t be here.

However, the truth of the matter is that the X that marks the spot of God’s mission field is ALWAYS right beneath our feet.

“The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”

Oh, how I struggle with this- in almost every possible connotation.  I struggle with being just me, just where I am.  I am always looking forward, planning, hoping, fearing.  It is something I really need to work  – consent to being where I am.  There is a balance in finding this consent (and contentedness) and stagnation.  I always try so hard to avoid the stagnation, I sometimes forget just to exist where I am, when I am.

So, here’s to trying to just be.  God loves us where we are and for who we are.  He wants to use us now as we are and where we are…We just have to pull on our pirate gear and get to work being His hands and feet…right now, right where are.

-S

Shattering Blazes

St. Augustine
from http://defining-beauty.blogspot.com/2011/04/st-augustine-of-hippo.html

“You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness.  You have blazed forth with light, and have shone upon me, and you have put my blindness to flight.” – St. Augustine.

I’m reading Confession of St. Augustine.  And I’ll admit, at times it feels more tedious than insightful.

BUT then I come across a gem like this that keeps me going.

The passion that St. Augustine uses to describe his relationship with God is almost palpable.

When you actively seek God, you find that he has been seeking you all along.  God has been calling to me, He cries to my heart, He shines His light upon me.

When you know God (as opposed to knowing of Him), your world does change.  It shifts on its axis enough o where you do see things more clearly.  you can hear God’s silent whisper – the silent still of His will CAN shatter your deafness and open your blind eyes to see.

This is the mighty God we serve.

This is the mighty God who loves us and wants us.

This is the mighty God who uses His strength to call our souls gently to seek Him.

If we will build this relationship and continue to seek Him, we will find we can never have enough.

“I hunger and thirst for you.  You have touched me and I burn for your peace.”

-S

Bubbles and Sheep

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Chinese New Year Illustration of a Sheep by Alice Feaver

“Pour yourself out.  Don’t testify about how much you love me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, ‘just feed my sheep”’ – My Utmost for HIs Highest (about John 21:17)

First, I can note the irony that I am using this verse in a blog that does testify my love for him, revelations I am uncovering, struggles I lean on Him for deliverance (or some semblance of understanding).  However, I believe Oswald Chambers’ and Jesus’ point is that Christianity can never just be about words.  

Our love for Christ means nothing without fruit.  Jesus also said that we will be known by the fruit we bear. (Matt. 7:16).  

So, words, this blog, are not enough.  My actions show Christ my love.  My willingness to feed His sheep.  This means feeding those who are unknown and unlike me.  This means reaching out of my comfort zone.  This means feeding and living life alongside the least of these.

Valais Blacknose sheep
The cutest sheep I’ve ever seen (Valais Blacknose Sheep)

It is easy to say and much harder to do, which I think is His point.  True love results in selfless action.  That’s why Jesus died for us.  It’s why we are called upon to do the difficult and uncomfortable task of giving too much, loving more than is comfortable, stepping out of the comfortable bubble we can make for ourselves to be His hands and feet to those who see it least (and often need it most.)

As much as I feel the calling to serve others, I love my comfort bubble.  So, it is a good reminder that God has no place for comfort in a radical relationship with Him.

-S

Here and Now of Life

It’s time to start again, a life intentionally based on thanksgiving, thanks-living.

 

2 ½ years ago I started keeping track, physically numbering my thanks, listing His graces numerically and forgetting oh so many.

 

2015 felt long. I’m excited for this new year. I’m done looking ahead though. This right here, this now, this is life, and it’s where I live.

 

And it’s hard and messy and I’m trying desperately to obey my God. To be willing and open to anything. And I’ve never been here before. This open, this devoted, this yearning.

 

tongue tamingBut it starts with the heart, it starts with relationships, I’m finding most things God directed start with relationships. And so it starts with my tone.

 

So I’m re-reading 1000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp). I’m reorienting my heart alongside my head.

 

Redirecting my focus and repeating my prayer, “Let my tone reflect my heart, not my circumstances”

 

Keeping my mantra of perspective in mind.

 

I need all the help I can get. The tongue is not my master and yet all too often I let it rule.

  • J