Mind-Numbing Ruminations

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest….”

Several years back, I was standing on the precipice of an immense life change, carrying a weight of confusion and multiple emotions.  Our entire social network was pulled out from under us, and almost everything we believed was henceforth put on the table for questioning.  My thoughts did not know where to stop or start.

During that time we “got away” to a vacation on Banderas Bay, a beautiful alcove surrounded by the Pacific. One morning, I was walking on the beach, picking up rocks, and ruminating on the same heavy thoughts. I was mentally worn.

While in wordless prayer, God brought to my mind this well-known verse and used my surroundings for a perfect word-picture:

“Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.”

…..So there was little me, at the edge of the big-wide ocean with a rock that I had been looking at intently and carefully massaging in my hand. Casting…….
“What does it mean to cast?,” I thought as I looked at the stone weighing down my hand.
……I wound up a pitch…..Followed through, and released……….

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When I cast it into the ocean, the feel of it leaving my hand
And the sight of it dropping into the vast waters….
The satisfying sound of its fall……
The disappearing……………………
That wonderful disappearing…………
Where I could no longer carry it or feel it anymore….
Where I could no longer SEE its lines and colors…….
helped me then, and in days to come,

to release the actual stones weighing down my mind;

to release them into HIM, where their weight is rightly measured and beautifully hidden;

to release them upon His vast character and consuming love…… for me, for you, and for those we need to forgive.

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May we live the blessing of a life that is light and free.

“….Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Jesus

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References: Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG); Psalm 54:22; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 27:13,14; Philippians 4:6

Definition of “Casting”: from Strong’s 1997 = epiriptó:  to throw upon, place upon, to throw away, throw off to cast upon, give up to, God.

 

Fitting quote: “If I must seek an identity outside of myself, then the accumulation of wealth, power, and honors allures me. Or I may find my center of gravity in interpersonal relationships. Ironically, the church itself [and other relationships] can stroke [the sin nature] by conferring, and withholding honors, offering pride of place based on performance, and creating an illusion of status by rank and pecking order. When belonging to an elite group eclipses the love of God, when I draw life and meaning from any source other than my belovedness, I am spiritually dead. When God gets relegated to second place behind any bauble or trinket, I have swapped the pearl of great price for painted fragments of glass.” – Manning

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When Your Life Has Lost Color

Coffee cup and leaves

“Time is the brush of God, as he paints his masterpiece on the heart of humanity.”
~ R. Zacharias

Fall is a beautiful season and {I strongly believe} it should last in full color through November. But it doesn’t. Ever.

Just maybe, however,  it’s quick passage is meant to remind us that we also do “fade as leaf.” That time is very, very precious – and it’s beautiful offerings are to be carefully taken in as though our season is also very short.

How easily I forget this. Yesterday He graciously reminded me to Let. Him. In.
……to let Him into the innermost chamber of His temple and to let Him “search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts.” He reminded me to be There, in the Holiest of Holies, *with Him* unafraid, unashamed. 

His call was refreshment. His call brought color to what was beginning to feel –  even without me noticing – a dull black and white, a blur of sorts, instead of a slow thoughtful passage.

Let’s open our doors to Christ – just like we ‘take in” a beautiful scene in nature. Let’s *join Him* in the blessed process of His painting His masterpiece upon our hearts – as we sit at His feet, behold His glory, hear His words, and move at His call.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.” ~ Rev. 3:20

When You Feel A Bit Shabby

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This morning I was feeling ugly. This is not too uncommon for me because I have Bells Palsy. I have had it for 16 years, but now things are exacerbated with age. So today when a quote from The Velveteen Rabbit came across my path, I soaked it in like a welcomed beam of light……and immediately felt rooted and grounded.

I hope, friends, it does the same for you:

“‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Let’s remind ourselves today how long, and how far, and how deep the love of Christ comes after us. He is relentless in His care and will never let us go. He will love us, like a favorite, even when worn and falling apart. Now I can find a lot of beauty in that.🍁

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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).