October 26, 2012

THE ROCK FROM WHICH YOU'RE CUT (on life calling)

"Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn..."     Isaiah 51:1

The rock.
That sacred place you sensed The Call.
The granite altar where you said Yes.
It's the time & place you put down a stake that marked a change of direction -
and a piercing change of heart.

Through the years you've had to return there.
Sometimes with glad recognition & gratitude.
Sometimes with a heavy heart that is counting the cost.
Sometimes with desperate grasping for something solid to stand on
in the midst of deep questions & doubt.

But the rock is there.
Gaze on it often.  Ponder its meaning.
Consider its significance for today.
Gain strength & perspective from it.

And if there comes a desperate day
when you look back & cannot see it -
You must go away for a while with The Caller and listen.
Listen & watch.
Let Him paint the picture again,
whisper into your heart's memory,
remind you of the promise-words He gave you.

He will patiently revisit the quarry with you
and show you the place you were cut.
It will be a poignant visit.
It will be more sacred, more intimate than ever.
Because now you understand the cost.
Now you understand more about the price He paid for obedience.
Now you receive & live the rock's meaning with maturity.

The rock.
That hallowed place where you receive & renew your Call.
Let it give depth & security to today.
Treasure it.  Gain from it.

It's not just any rock.
It's your rock.
Live out your life as such.

Photo by: mikealten

October 19, 2012


Are you adjusting to some kind of "new normal" in your life?

I am.  And  so at first when I found myself crying about the stupidest things this week I was really questioning my sanity (I hadn't really put it all together yet).

The first time I caught myself crying was seeing my first futbol game of the season and seeing "my" team's new coach and it hit me:  Pep Guardiola (the old coach) is gone!  He is no longer our coach!  And this actually produced tears!  This is almost as bad as crying during a commercial when you're pregnant.

Yesterday in the pharmacy I was buying a medicine for my son who was home with the croup.  I explained the kind of cough and the pharmacist rather gruffly corrected my explanation (as Spaniards do; I should be used to this) and as he left to go get what I needed behind the counter I had to fight the tears back and say a mantra to myself:  "You will NOT cry about that.  You will NOT cry about that."

At the grocery store I was able to buy my favorite yogurt after not having it all summer (we were in the US).  Yes, there were tears as I put that yogurt in my cart.  It was yogurt, people!  This is NOT ok.  It was pathetic and tomorrow I am going to have myself committed.

It took dinner last night to have my "aha moment".

Last night as I served dinner to the guests at our house who are here for some local training, I looked around the table and was both overwhelmed & grateful for the craziness of my life.  There were 4 Italians, 1 Argentine, 1 Greek, 2 Africans, an American and the three of us battling out understanding in 4 languages.  Because these "United Nations moments" at my house are fairly regular and because my friends and my kids'  friends laugh at us, (simultaneously perplexed & awed that we have this kind of life), that's when it hit me:  my girls would love to be here this week.  And the tears came.  The difference was, this time I understood their source.

My "new normal" of no girls at home anymore (both are now stateside in college) has meant many things, but this week I've been subconsciously missing them simply as my "companions".  They are companions in many areas but this week I realized how much I missed their companionship in the kitchen.  Those conversations as you chop together, the instant understanding about what each should do next as we get a meal ready for guests, the crazy songs they burst into that make us all laugh, the inside jokes as we work in joyful chaos together.  I realized this week in the kitchen (in spite of generous help from the guests) that I felt disorganized, behind and that I was struggling to "get it together".  And it dawned on me:  I usually have extra hands that make my load light & more fun.  And my heart ached I missed them so much.

There are many other things that stir up longing for them:  photos, skype calls, prayers, e-mails full of their personality, empty rooms, hearing a song they love, friends asking about them and much more.  But sometimes you underestimate the little things you will miss & there are unexpected moments that almost take your breath away when the longing pierces you afresh.

My "new normal"  will take some getting used to.  In the meanwhile, I am making a list of all the wonderful things we are going to concoct in the kitchen together at Christmas!

Photo by: SketchyK

October 15, 2012

HEART-ENCOUNTER (on superficiality)

Let me be startled by Your vastness,
Hungry for Your profoundness,
Settled into your depths,
Grounded in your wideness.

For this superficiality around me
Has no meaning.
It is a painful & powerful barricade.
It has no soul or relational nutrition.
It is a filler of space.

Everyone runs from place to place,
Encounter to encounter,
Relationship to relationship,
Saying words but really saying nothing at all.
It is emptiness. It is insecurity.  It is fear.
It is all some have ever been shown or known.

Instead of trying to find that deep person
Let me be that deep person
And call it out in others.
Give me this privilege & skill, Lord.

Let me live from such a place of depth with You
That others are invited to the deeper side -
A place that is vast yet safe,
Wide yet intimate,
Open yet sheltering.
Let it be irresistibly wooing in me.

Let me be one to bring out others’
best reflections,
deepest ponderings,
intimate self-revelations,
in a place of heart-encounter
that You & I create.

I like that it’s You & I.
I like knowing this secret that deep & intimate relationships
Were Your idea, they are Your intention for mankind.
You modeled this.  You sacrificed for this.
And I love that I have experienced this with You.

Create now,
From Your vastness,
With & through me,
A place for heart-encounter.

October 8, 2012

HARBOUR TIME (on soul care)

The little boat
had seen many days at sea.
There was still colour in her paint but her clip had slowed visibly.
The freshness, the eagerness, the vitality had waned.
These days it felt difficult to be a boat -
not natural but laborious.
Things that previously brought joy & life
seemed to painfully elude her.

She needs this harbour time.
Time to dock.
Time to bob in one place & see the same quiet things for a while.
Time to be attended to & not to attend.
A time of harbour rest, of safeness & sameness,
of warming sun, of staring at gulls,
of smelling salty air,
of taking in the gentle clanging & bobbing of other boats,
the occasional sound of a motor, the lines clinking against the masts.

The harbour is where I want to sit.
It's where I need to sit after an especially busy, intense season.
My soul yearns for a harbour experience of calming sights, smells & sounds.
All my senses need to feel her healing balm.
And all of me needs to know that:
Stillness is progress,
Quiet is impetus,
Solitude is movement.
Soul care is breakthrough.

One day soon I will look past the harbour onto the horizon.
First I will just notice it.
As time passes, I will appreciate anew its grandeur, its vision, its call.
And eventually I will yearn again to travel there on open seas.
For now, Harbour Time is where I renew those soulful yearnings.

"Others went out on the sea in ships...
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep...
and he guided them to their desired haven."

Psalm 107:23, 24, 30

Photo by:  goodiegeorgia

October 2, 2012


(for the warriors who have had to leave the field they love)

Sacred Parentheses.
Divine.  Directed.  Thoughtful.
Purpose-Driven and Spirit-Filled.
God of History altering your walk –
The walk you thought was His intention forever.

This parting is a “sweet sorrow”
As was written long ago
Of two lovers´ supposed destiny & their ensuing separation.
A romance cut short.  A destiny stifled.
The knight in you rises up to protest -
But you hold your tongue
And kiss the hand of your King.
For He has spoken.

All the undone and unseen and unmet
Rise up before you
They contrive to steal your focus,
Dash your heart,
and wound you in your God- journey.

But your Royal Leader,
The Captain of your life and times,
And He defends you from their onslaught.
And he turns to you to gently remind:
“All results are Mine – and I am not finished yet.”

“In the lands you love,
I am still there.
In the unfinished dreams
I am still wooing and accomplishing
I just need a little time -
Only a parenthesis,
To weave your dreams into My history.”

Sacred parentheses.
Sent like an archer´s arrow
Into your heart & life.
Take the cup.
For you cannot yet see
The intentions of the God of history
Nor the purpose-injected destiny
He is unravelling for you.

Photo by:  CarbonNYC

October 1, 2012

HELP MY UNLOVE! (on aging parents)

It's probably fair to say that one of the most-prayed prayers of all time is:

"Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief!"

This has often passed my lips as I struggle to understand matters of life and faith.

But these days I have a new, consistent petition:

"Lord, I do love; help my unlove!"

You see, I especially need this prayer answered in me right now - and for someone I love very much.

I need it to love aging parents, these dear ones who are grandparents to my children.  The ones who carved out a Christian legacy, pinched pennies, walked in faithfulness all their lives, hiked mountains, showed their devotion to family by driving across the country every summer, who recorded family history in books & journals, who worked tirelessly in caregiving (and still do) and who diligently passed on Christian values, a strong work ethic, a love for the outdoors & a sense of adventure to their two children - one of whom is my husband.  Did I mention that they have lived sacrificially all these years we have been overseas, releasing us and their only grandchildren to follow our call?

Today age & disease is obscuring all this for me and I struggle to help them in ways they deserve.  It's not that I am not eager to help them.  It has just come as a shock to me that the elderly would not want help.  That was not on my radar.  And the denial!  I had heard all these funny "senior" jokes throughout the years that make light of all the aging issues.  But it turns out not to be so funny.  There has been denial about memory, abilities, judgement, the doctor's diagnosis, you name it.  No jokes, just plain, hard reality that everyone around them sees clearly - except them - and through their blindness I hear their frustration as they struggle to accept their stage in life.

Must it be so painful to grow old?  Is our only hope that the Lord will return and rapture us from out of this season?  Or what could Jesus be saying to all of our dear, aging folks?  What will He say to me when I get there?

Might He be saying:

"I am with you....even in this unknown, uninvited season of life."
"I hold your days - and your years - very tenderly and intentionally in My hands."
"I have beautiful plans to use you in new & different ways if you'll let me coach you."
"I have people ready to bless you if you will let them...and you will see Me revealed in new ways through them."

As these beautiful people struggle to process their realities & limitations, God help me to love them, to honor them in ways that they can receive and respect them in ways that will bless them.

"Lord, I DO love them; help my unlove!"

Photo by:  Homecaregivers

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