Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
How often have I set off boldly, made a sharp left, cruised a bit and then headed to the right ("Hey, I'm going in a new direction!")only to end up right back where I started. The figure eight is a peaceful pattern, smooth and almost hypnotic. Endless. Pointless.
Our days are finite and as life passes I more frequently stop to gasp at just how fast they slip by. I want to make them count. Each grain of sand should add value to someone's experience.
and to walk humbly with my [your] God. (Micah 6:8)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Right now I really don't want to move forward. I want to stand still or maybe retreat a bit...
Engaging, being present, doing more, moving toward conflict and things that are challenging, abstaining from self even a tiny bit - all feel like that first run after months of inactivity. And the second and third run. Pain and no gain. Not that I can begin to remember the soreness after a run...it's been that long.
In the midst of seeking to calmly expand my margins I do find a center of peace from which to trudge forward. Marathon thinking.
I'm grateful that I've learned to be content while not "getting" what it is that God is doing or where He's taking me....next step is to learn to be content and less cranky.
In China, the pistachio is known as the “happy nut” because they look like they’re smiling(clearly having been up since 4 am I should not be posting such pithy stuff)
Moving forward. Slowly but surely.
In His Grip.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Bind my wandering heart to thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Hebrews 6:19-20 (NIV)
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
This is Kervens. He is 15 years old and is a resident at the Haiti Home for Children. I wanted to put a face and a name to the reality that children all over the world go to bed hungry. Kids like Kervens can't count on a college education like most of ours do. His future is limited.
I feel inadequate to really make a difference because the needs are so great. It's hard to see what good the few dollars I save by not having meat one meal per week can do...but perhaps these small steps do have value. If each and every one of us made a small sacrifice we could change the future for kids like Kervens.
What small sacrifice can you make during Lent? For the remainder of 2011? For the rest of your life?
To learn more about this organization, how to sponsor a child or how to help raise funds to staff the hospital please click here.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
The great Christian insight is that we come from God and we return to God. At points in between we sometimes wander. Spiritual wandering is often understood as a circle in which we ultimately return to the important relationships that sustain us, give us life, and give us meaning. Give yourself time to wander about in your faith today.Copied from the d365 Journey to the Cross online devotional for March 21. (Hint, be sure your speakers are on - wonderful music there too!)
As I wander in the shadow of the cross it reminds me of God's limitless love for me even when I don't or won't raise my eyes to see the cross itself. The shadow of the cross is a place for me to safely reflect and rest, shaded and protected. Lent itself seems to be a season of shadow leading to darkness. When the cross falls the light returns in full glory.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”
Abram went as the Lord directed him.
Why is that so hard for me. The sand reminds me today of Abram's journey, and of my own.
Sand, so yielding and movable. Move me Oh Lord.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
It's hard to build a road in the sand. It won't stay where you put it. It blows back over the path. It caves in and takes everything with it. It's ever changing, shifting and sculpting...
It's hard to follow a path through the desert. The road, made of sand, is useless. There are few or no landmarks. The sun is high overhead and the nights are long and cold. But when God said to Abraham "Go", he didn't get a map from AAA or turn on his GPS. He just went.
For today Lord, I'll let you mark my path.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Prayer, fasting, alms-giving - disciplines of abstinence and engagement - pushing away distractions in order to make room for deeper communion with God - for me, the tension between being (with God) and doing (for God) have led me this year to commit to:
Drastically reducing my time spent on the internet - while significantly increasing my dedicated time of prayer, retreat, and reading.
Disciplining my thoughts into this online journal of sorts on a regular basis. Hopefully as I pray and reflect and then actively communicate the thoughts I'll absorb more of what God is saying to me.
Fasting from meat once weekly. No, I don't expect that this small sacrifice to my taste buds will result in any dramatic revelation. But this practice was modeled to me many years ago by a good friend who taught her daughters to set aside the money that would have been spent on a "regular" dinner and send it to an orphanage - and so this year I want to incorporate that as my "alms-giving" effort for Lent. The difference will be sent to that same orphanage, The Haiti Home for Children, where those two dear children lived until they were adopted and brought to the United States.
Observing the sabbath more fully. No media, no "work", just time with God and family.
Finally, saying "yes" to giving myself more fully to work.
As you step away from the world and move toward the cross this season what is being revealed to you in the changing rhythms?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Does thanks-giving come more freely when we are in the midst of a crisis?
Today, and each day in Lent, I intend to be a thankful woman with eyes searching for the blessing in each and every circumstance of each and every day.
For more on finding your way to thanks-giving check the page "The Practice of Thanksgiving" at the top of this blog.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
to listen, to harken
of one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter)
to harken to a command
to obey, be obedient to, submit to
Fast forward one week from Ash Wednesday and I find my self content to be listening and waiting in a posture of willingness. I'm grateful for the storehouse of faith I have which makes it easy to trust God in spite of the obvious practical difficulties I face in giving up my easy routine. I know I can't wait much longer, for even the waiting can be disobedience. Hupakouo is a verb. It is a verb which refers to absolute and direct obedience.
How remarkable that I should turn over and over a simple moment of obedience, even as I am considering Christ's obedience during this season of repentance and reflection.
For today Lord, I want to be quiet and to hear.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Ah Romper Room...Do Bee...do.be.more
What does it mean for me to state the intention that I will "be more and do more" in Lent as a part of the sacrifice of "yes"?
The -be more- looks like time marked specifically for the practice of being. Small commitments of time on work days, large blocks set aside on non-ministry/work days, devoted to praying, reading, retreating from distractions, simply being. It looks like attention to being present throughout my waking hours in a place of gratitude and praise. It means lose hands on the reins. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
The -do more- looks like adding (crazy I know) work and ministry hours to an already crowded schedule as an act of faith in God's provision. It looks like adding spiritual practices that are different - fasting from meat on Fridays, trimming internet time to a minimum, even adding the effort of writing these blog posts. It means being productive and active when I'd rather rest or hang out with God or my cyber friends. Just do it. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
For today, Lord be with me and do through me.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I just love this video of a little girl finding joy in everything in her life. I want to be as positive as she is...and I want to approach my days and my lists and my struggles with her same "I LIKE" attitude.
As you walk through the days of Lent what are you grateful for? Write those things down and let them imprint on your soul. Practice the discipline of thanksgiving and be watchful for the subtle change in your view of the world and for the softening of your heart.
"Thanksgiving is the oil of gladness that anoints and heals the saddened heart. Thanksgiving is the solemn rebuke of the wayward energy of our anger."
From "To Guard the Heart", Fr. Stephen
(full text of "To Guard the Heart" found here)
For today Lord, I will embrace gratitude, I will soak in contentment. I will like everything you trust me with.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Coffee on Saturdays has been a bookend for my week for nearly a dozen years.
Bob and I set aside a few minutes on Saturdays to connect over a cup of coffee before moving into the busyness of a typical weekend. Lent is a similar bookend for me - defining the space that brings the cross into focus for me each year.
What traditions mark time in your life? Which ones have value as you change your heart's pace to match the rhythm of Lent?
Move your clocks forward one hour tonight!
For today Lord, may my pace be set to yours and not the other way around.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I'm a woman on a journey. It hasn't all been hard and it hasn't all been easy. Sort of like walking on the sand. Sometimes the sand is firm and cool beneath your feet and your stride is sure. Sometimes the sand is deep and soft and your calves burn and your thighs and lungs ache as you trudge along. Sometimes you get stuck in the sand and sometimes it blows in your face. But when God said to Abraham "Go", there was no discourse about the sand. He just went.
Just in case you wanted to know - "Walking on sand requires 2.1–2.7 times more energy expenditure than does walking on a hard surface at the same speed;" from - MECHANICS AND ENERGETICS OF HUMAN LOCOMOTION ON SAND, T. M. LEJEUNE, P. A. WILLEMS AND N. C. HEGLUND*Université catholique de Louvain, Place P. de Coubertin, 1 B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Accepted 17 April; published on WWW 11 June 1998
No wonder I'm tired.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
My theme for 2011 is "do less, more fully" yet despite my intention to focus on fewer activities, ministries, people, and to go deeper and become more thoroughly connected in each area, I find myself continually called to do more - with the result that my daily life looks more like "do more, less fully". Lent provides me a designated time for re prioritizing. It would seem that this holy season would point to a renewed effort to take on less. Or does it?
In the familiar story of Mary and Martha we see Jesus encouraging Martha to do less and to fully engage with him. He does not indicate that Martha's service is wrong, merely that she needs to listen and hear first and foremost. Active service flows naturally from a place of connection God. The "heed" comes from the hearing and processing of His call. In discipleship we move from the pose of silently waiting to the place of receiving instruction and lavish love from the Savior, and then we move to our feet and begin to offer our very selves in service. We first must simply "be" and then we are empowered to "do".
"Listening without doing becomes a mockery of the Word. Doing without listening degenerates into busyness of no purpose. There is a time to go and do; there is a time to listen and reflect. Knowing which and when is a matter of spiritual discernment." The Difference, CARY G. SPEAKER
Perhaps my desire to do less more fully has less to do with the number of activities I am involved in and more to do with the order in which I place them. Could it be that investing in my relationship with God would result in the capacity to actually do more? To say "yes" to God in an even more grand scale?
For today, Lord help me to simply be. more.
And then for faith to trust that you will supply all that I need as I respond to you with "yes" and do. more.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
For many Lent is a time of establishing a practice of sacrifice, of saying "no", as a means of making room for more of God in their lives. This Lent I choose to say "yes". Yes to being more, yes to doing more, yes to God's call in the face of the wisdom of no. I think "yes" will stretch me further than "no" ever could.
For today, Lord lead me to listen more, hear clearly, and heed joyfully.