Coming Out

I have a confession to make. IMG_5353

This past weekend I stepped out of my comfort zone. Want to know what I did? It really isn’t very interesting, but for me it felt like a very large step in a direction  I have been being pushed into.

(Yes, pushed. Kinda like being told that you have to swim when you don’t really know how.)

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This weekend, I walked up to a red-brick building edged with snowball hydrangea bushes, my eyes wide and my heart a little nervous. The scurry of all the people around me only made me wonder why I was there; I felt unworthy really. I decided I would be a passive listener – and that is exactly what I did. I doodled what I thought was important to me during each session of the day:

These are the things that will stick.
Now, you can zoom in and notice all my imperfections – you can really see up close that I’m no expert or artist. You can scrutinize my words on this blog and find faulty sentence flow. I know you can – like I said, I don’t really know how to swim. I lack confidence. But I am going to try.

At the Northwestern Writer’s Conference (Yes! THAT is my confession – I boldly went –  Eeeeee!!) and was reminded to try. I was encouraged that in the Body of Christ we all are different. We are all imperfect. We are all unique.
Yet
(glorious, yet)
GOD works in and through each of us to touch others – maybe even just one person – in ways that no one personality or even a few could. NONE of us should sit on the edge of the dock in fear thinking we aren’t good enough, or that I don’t swim like the person on my right, or I should wait until I have it more together. (Ha! That would be never for me.)

“For it is God who works in you both to desire and to do of His good pleasure.”

SO that is all. Be bold. Be you…..IN Him. He IS safe – jump in and swim!

 

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What make you unique? What is it that others have told you you should do because it shines out of you? What makes you light up when the subject comes up?

I’d love to hear about it. And this newbie would also love any writing advice.

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That Still Small Voice

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”~ Seuss


IMG_5251      “For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

I want to live with His light shining truth upon my circumstances.

But I often lay bare in my cowardly refusal – because of a fear of rejection and ridicule – to live from my true self, who is clothed in the resurrected Christ. I often choose that love of self (unto the forgetfulness of God) when I am faced with another person who is difficult to love. This is a tomb-like place to be. There I stand irritated, distant, unloving and ungracious – all of the things HE is teaching me that

HE is not.

I want to rise above.

But HOW?

I often ask that harder questions, and am never satisfied with cliches of truth like: “Trust the Lord”. Facts are facts, but standing alone they do not give life.     IMG_5247

 

 

The living answer is simple. He draws me to Himself, the Person, Who yearns for a heart relationship. A relationship that reaches deeply through those important facts that can simply fill the head.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life”

He desires that I see HIM so I can see all things through His eyes.
One way He helps me accomplish this is that He has made many “picture books” for His “little one” –  in creation and in scripture – so I can see and understand the deeper things of God.
I imagine myself crawling in His lap as He opens one of those books and begins to read it to me.
He shows me the sun:
Just as it is a simple fact that the sun rises, so is it a deeper truth that the sun gives life, movement, health, warmth, and a vast array of relationships. The sun brings the interconnected dance of life and without it all would be dead – a picture He created so we could see that…..IMG_5254

The Son being alive FOR US,  wants His presence to bring true life, healthy spiritual movement, kind warmth and rich inviting relationships. The facts leave the page and become the Person.
He makes our lives an artistic masterpiece, a dance of spiritual life.

Soak Him in.

“We are His poetry piece♥♥ created in Christ Jesus…”

With that picture in mind can I take you back in time to the morning when Jesus arose? Very early in the morning just after sunrise (no coincidence in that timing), along comes Mary. She talks to Him, not knowing with whom she is talking, and in sadness asks if He knew where the beloved body of Jesus lay. The grave was empty. She is distressed.
It is then He breathes with familiarity her name – which often she had heard before.

She knew that voice….
and collapsed in joy and victory into an embrace. Can you imagine being there at that moment?! Moreover, can you imagine being her?

Yet in a way, we are.
“Living in an awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves.”

I often think of Jesus saying my name.

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He says my name as I stand shackled to myself, events and people around me that are negative. He reminds me there is another way. He reminds me to become more and more familiar with His voice, with HIS promptings in my heart; so I too can RISE and collapse in Him with joy and victory; so I, and you, can have a vision of those same dark things through His light – and reflect that beauty outward. img_5256.jpg
My broken hallelujah: “Help thou my unbelief”

May you and I hear His “still small voice” call our names out of those places where we lay bare. The circumstance may remain, but we will KNOW WHO surrounds us, and we can REST IN HIS LIFE AND LIGHT.

We can live a resurrected life;
therefore, in His glorious name,

 

 RISE.

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“….that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and

what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,
according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ
when he raised him from the dead…”


Ephesians 5: 14; John 5:39,40; Ephesians 1:17-20
also see, Romans 8:11 and Acts 2:24

♥♥The word “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 is from the Greek word “Poiema”, meaning poem/God’s creative work – just as He created “the things that are made {Poiema}” in creation (Romans 1:20).

Where is the Music?

“Every sound perceived by the acute ear in the rhythm of the world about us can be represented musically. Some people wish above all to conform to the rules, I wish only to render what I can hear.” ~ Debussy

Waves

I was going to post an entirely different thing this morning, but circumstances have steered my mind on a different road…..or a different tune. So here I am on this road of familiar scenery, this song of the all too familiar sound: failure.

I woke up to in-your-face-13-year-old emotion…….
and (That is a very short word, but a lot can happen or not happen in those 3 letters)…….
I let all of that annoyance enter my skin and seep into my mind. Allowing it to enter caused a physiological response called “fight or flight”: my blood pressure rose; my heart started to beat faster; and my potential responses, stemming from rule and law, piled up quickly against the doors of my mouth, ready to burst them open.
(Here comes that word again) and,
I reacted.

The way I reacted was to raise my voice and harshly counter her tone with a consequence. That may not sound too bad, but harshness and quick reaction did not demonstrate my love for her in the correction. In fact, it demonstrated a back-in-your-face-48-year-old emotional response……..
(and here comes that word again)…and…….
my daughter allowed that annoyance to seep into her skin and mind.
So, you can guess what happened: frustration given, brewed frustration; sin given out, created more sin.

She went in her room. I felt the conviction of my Father.
Things could have been different.
I could have not let the noise take over the music.

God’s convictions in my heart have never been harsh or reactionary. They have never been given to me out of a posture of authority. They fall on my mind like sadness, like something is wounded or dying. He knows what it means to speak the truth IN love – and He never fails at it.

Today, when His conviction came, I could have merely heard it and went on my way simply breathing an “I am sorry” to my daughter, but I knew doing so (by the wonder of experience) that I needed to go deeper. Times like this are times to be still……….
and (that beautiful word of rest)…………
really listen. These are times to learn. These are times to understand HOW all the facts we learn, are implemented and woven into the fabric of our lives.

Listening is not easy though. It is an exercise or labor of sorts. I calmed my mind before Him, but, and here is the labor, I felt immediately unworthy to be with Him. I did not feel like I could call Him Abba or Dad. I was shamed by my failure to obey the laws and the rules. But thanks be to Him, He has unlocked those prison gates – my mind does not need to stay there.

I knew those “locked” gates of condemnation were from my human nature and not His nature, because sin and our nature will always block His voice. They will put up walls and veils so we cannot really SEE or HEAR what He has DONE and completed for us in Christ.
He wants me to see and hear that the same Spirit of His that is grieved when I do the wrong thing is also telling me to cry, “Abba, Father!” He does not EVER distance Himself or turn His back on me (us) in times of sin. He already forgave all my sin, past, present and future. His love is unwavering. His love has no limits. His love fulfills all laws.
Blessed thoughts! He has sealed the victory over sin and the law, death and the grave. His love is steady, sure, and faithful.

I am reminded of this after His convictions, and my thoughts fall back onto Him.
All fears and guilt leave………
(and here it is again, the rest note) and……..

Whole note and rest on a staff.

I am THEN able to hear His Spirit teach me. I am able to allow His resurrection life to bring victory over failures. There are no walls. There are no veils. I am able to be taught. I am able to learn.

I am learning.
Today I am reminded to treat my daughter exactly like He treats me.
I need to listen to His voice when I am faced with the harsher notes of life……….
and (rest and listen)……..
so I will not let the sin of others get in the way of my seeing Him in their life… even IN their moments of failure;
so I will not let my sin get in the way of my seeing Him IN all things, working the moments of life into His full song.
I am learning to keep close to Him, and be close to His children – everything else can resolve in the midst of that
love relationship.

Rest.

That vital note in the music of our days.
That pause of allowing the entrance of His love and life, instead of sin and shame.
That pause of knowing that His love for my daughter is deeper, broader, and wider than her sin…..and mine.
That pause and rest that says, I do not need to let failure pass fear, or guilt, or shame in me or on others I relate with.
He is bigger than this moment……He has fought and won the battle, and therefore,
our relationship is bigger than one note.
We do not need to fight what He has already won.

I desire to live in His place of resurrection, victory, and steadfast love.
It is only There that the effects of failures lose their power.
It is There that the noise fades……….
and…..(that vital pause)…….
He makes true music of our days.

Where is the music?
Listen to Him.
He is making it. He is continually working all things together for good.
The music is found “in the space between the notes.”

And………that He is.

The Composer

(Ephesians 4: 2,15; 5:2; 4:30; Galatians 4:6; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58; 1 John 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3: 6-18; Philippians 2:7-9; Hebrews 10: 1-23; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 4)

Through Another’s Lens ~ T.A. Sparks

Hubble snaps NGC 5189

Hubble snaps NGC 5189 (Photo credit: Hubble Space Telescope / ESA)

He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45 

“As we contemplate the state of things in the world today, we are very deeply impressed and oppressed with the prevailing malady of spiritual blindness. It is the root malady of the time. We should not be far wrong if we said that most, if not all, of the troubles from which the world is suffering, are traceable to that root, namely, blindness. The masses are blind; there is no doubt about that. In a day which is supposed to be a day of unequaled enlightenment, the masses are blind…. The leaders are blind, blind leaders of the blind. But in a very large measure, the same is true of the Lord’s people. Speaking quite generally, Christians are today very blind.

Every bit of new seeing is a work from heaven. It is not something done fully once for all. It is possible for us to go on seeing and seeing, and yet more fully seeing, but with every fresh fragment of truth, this work, which is not in our power to do, has to be done. Spiritual Life is not only a miracle in its inception; it is a continuous miracle in this matter right on to the last…. We do not seek for new revelation, and we do not say or suggest or hint that you may have anything extra to the Word of God, but we do claim that there is a vast amount in the Word of God that we have never seen, which we may see. Surely everybody agrees with that: and it is just that – to see, and the more you see, really see, the more overwhelmed you feel about the whole thing, because you know that you have come to the borders of the land of far distances, lying far beyond a short lifetime’s power of experience. The Lord make us all to be of those wh o have eyes opened.”

Abba, Father, give us ears to hear every nuance of your voice. May we then feel every nudge to “go”and every press of grieving or conviction you give…..may we be channels of all that you are….alone.