August 29, 2013

WRITING IN THE RAWNESS (AND FINDING HIM THERE)



In gratitude, for LC


Some of you have noticed a silence in my writing for a while.  I have been processing some heavy things that have happened in the last year.  That process took me through some dark moments.  Sometimes I felt very far away from the real me - or from God.  This particular season had a lot of "rawness" to it.  But you know what really surprised me?  The amazing reality of His presence even in the dark & faraway places we sometimes find ourselves in.  

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast."

Psalm 139:7-10

I know most of us "know" this.  But how many of us have really experienced Him in darkness? I'm not talking about nighttime darkness...I'm talking about deep, dark, lonely places that somehow we have been pushed into, fallen into, deceived into, sinned into...and found Him there, really there.  Found that He's not afraid or embarrassed to be there with you nor is He loathe to rescue you from there (again!).  He is with you - to redeem, accompany, guide and hold fast safely while you stumble through this dark time.

I was often surprised to discover Him in places of struggle, confusion, unbearable waiting, in places of not understanding, in places of longing, in places of sin and even deep bondage.  He was there in the complexity of body-soul-spirit healing intricacies, in the tug-of-war of decisions, in the depth of emotions.  He appeared in my blindness & denial, guided me through resentment & forgiveness, showed up in my envy when I couldn't understand the apparent resilience of others around me.  They seemed to possess a secret armour I don't have to cruise through difficulties in life.  He held me fast through all of it,  courageous and compassionate, tenacious and tender, Counselor and Warrior in all of the darkness and in all the faraway places.

A friend who was helping me process these things urged me to not stop writing.  I told her that no one would want to read what I had to write then. She counseled me, "Write in the rawness of it.  Even if it's not for the public, try to give words to this season for yourself.  He has given you writing as an outlet for talking to Him, and giving depth & colour & expression to life as you see and experience it.  Write in the rawness."  And so I have.  There is some of it that may show up later in various pieces in this venue, giving words to that season.  But for now, it was between He and I.

What has He given you to give words to the difficult seasons of life?  Is it music or dance, an art form or a sport or journaling?  What is your tool, given by the Shepherd, to help usher you through the valleys?  I encourage you to pull it out and use it when you need to - even in the rawness. No, especially in the rawness.

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You."

Psalm 139:11,12





Photo by:  Palo





August 18, 2013

BIRTHDAY OFFERING (IN A FARAWAY LAND)


For my dearest firstborn experiencing life far away from home.



Today I bring You an offering...
I carry it in trembling hands
and with a heart of mixed emotions.
Finally my will & my love for You triumph
and I place it at the altar.

For love of You, Jesus,
My Beloved, My Savior, my Best Friend
I give You my birthday offering
In this faraway land.

It has always meant a celebration to me -
Family, friends, surprises, greetings.
My various cultures have bred in me
the belief that birthdays mean nearness
to ones who know & love me.

Yet this morning I read,
"The nearness of God is my good."*
And so I decided to celebrate that truth
with the One who loved me first,
with the One who dances over me with joy,
with the One who has greeted  and surprised me
and showered on and celebrated me every day of my life.

He has celebrated me -
and I have celebrated Him
on four continents these 22 years.
And today we will celebrate again...
with love & laughter sweeter than any cake
with memories more colorful than balloons & ribbons
He will dance with me and stay up as late as I like -
to share secrets & cups of tea.

It will be a wonderful birthday after all!
In this new, faraway land.
A sacrifice of praise and a celebration of love
with the very One who had the idea of me.
Who crafted me in the womb,
and who decided on my birth day,
and my destiny,
and this, my calling, to faraway places.

He has known me -
and knows me still.
"His nearness is my good."
on my birthday - and every day
in this faraway land.



*Psalm 73:28


Photo by:  Johannes Jansson

August 2, 2013

FULLY PRESENT




I am eager to find you today, to be with You.
Eager to get to my special place with You,
to pour out the longing, the needs, to sense You there.
And You are there.

With anxiety still clinging to my heart,
I start to quiet, to drop things, to notice
And I sense Your quiet delight to be here,
I sense Your peaceful, holistic attention - to me.
You are completely unhurried & unruffled as a leader.
You govern the affairs of the universe, yet right now
You are all mine, You are all here.

How do you do that?

How do You meet me with Your complete attention?
How can You be so undistracted as the Leader of the world?
How is it You never make me feel You need to go,
or that this time is a sacrifice or a burden to You
or that You are preoccupied about other things or people dear to You?
You are always fully present to me.

I long to learn this Love-Skill from You,
to imitate "fully present" to those in my life.
I know I am not omnipresent...
but I am dreadfully self-centered!
This morning it has caught in my throat,
this obsession when under fire to complete tasks
and I become prisoner to a List.
It screams demandingly at me for attention,
ignites adrenalin & focus and is given over to momentum.
It is so hard for me to stop that speed, that roaring, driven velocity.
I need Your holy help - for perspective, for choosing well,
for knowing Your mind about where - and whom - to give myself to.

Help me, dear Savior, to be saved from myself in this;
To be Holy Spirit trained to discern Your interruptions.
Whether the interruptions are physical - a knock at the door,
a ringing phone, a request to Skype...
Or mental - a prompting, a thought about someone who needs a friend,
a word, an ear or even important information.

Lord, let me be unhurried with these precious ones.
The ones You clearly put in my day, in my path.
Give me Your discernment through this time with You now,
as I hear You speak to me, let me speak
as I observe Your attentive listening to me, let me listen
as You give me gentle feedback, wise counsel, let me depend on You for that for others.

Let me be fully present to them -
As You are to me.

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