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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still

Heart breaking under all this burden. 

I'm not ready.  I'm not healed, whole enough for this. 

And it all comes crashing; the timing, as they say, impeccable. 

I'm Moses, stuttering; David, with a past.  Lacking the courage of Caleb, the assertiveness of any Malachi call.

This is all true.  My own words falter, the years before condemn.  I, too full of fear, shy to a fault.  Hesitant. 

But still.  Still.  Still. 

We are here, He and I, in this argument, which I can't help but worry He's getting tired of.  

He wins every time.  Because for all the resistance I've put up, He has proven able to cover me in all my shortcomings. 

Really, intercession hurts.  It's hard to be willing.  To not be overcome.  To be prayed up. 

What it takes to love.

 But we can't help but love when it's love which has saved us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Calling Now

"Humility is such an illusive virtue, isn’t it? As soon as you think you’ve got it, you don’t. That’s part of the problem: When I finally achieve humility, I get proud of myself. My humility cries out for recognition. Humility is terribly fragile."

-Kenneth Boa

What am I doing, God?  What do You want from me?

 I feel like I've screamed this out so many times. 

I want to be called apart, I want to be used by God, I want to be different. 

But I continue to enter into the ways of the world. 

Basically, at the core of me, the very thing I hate, I want.  I'm the teenage girl, hopelessly attracted to the bad boy. 

Here's the deal:  I'm on a high horse of humility; a pedestal of piety.  Leave out the oxy and it's just moronical.

Here's the confession:  I'm never quite sure if I'm burying my talents under some false guise of humility or rightly waiting on God's timing.  
 
 I want simplicity but envy complexity.  I want anonymity but still to be heard.  I want heavenly reward but earthly treasure too. 
 
So God has to lay me low.  And perhaps this is His greatest gift to me.  This is tender protection.
 
And my calling now, to listen for the baby, to calm the wild child, to bring up a godly man, to cherish the sweetest of hearts, to have a chaste and reverent spirit, to write when led and pray, pray, pray for others.  Because my words are nothing unless they lead to the Word who became flesh.  And I cannot lead where I have not been.  And I persevere but it's not a competition. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm struggling today, God, with all these recurrent human ailments; frustration, impatience, worry, judgment.
 
The list long, these sins.

And I'm heavy with other's burdens, fighting You on them, because I don't want them.

I want to be away with You, forgetting that You want that too but that what You desire is that I come away and lay these burdens down. 

Maybe, I'm making it all about me. 

And You bring me to Galations 6.  And I know that every word there, I'm to be reading.  I'm to be humbly, bearing the burdens.  I should not grow weary in doing good.

 And I know now why this healing hurts.

I am brought back to the place of my own burdens and the pain of what I had sown.  And so now, the opportunity to do this good by prayer and bearing and sharing.

  Faced with other's sins, I can make a choice.  I can bear and pray and restore.  Or I can recoil for fear of revisiting.

I come here and so often, I write, delete, write, delete, because I'm too afraid of sharing or facing my own hidden, long ago pain.  I hear Your voice and I hide like Adam in the garden, out of fear.  

I know I've been called and I'm willing....so long as.  So long as, I can guard these certain things.  So long as what I'm called to share isn't too risky.  So long as, it's easy. 

But You never said it would be easy.

And then I go to A Holy Experience and You challenge again.  Always, challenging.  And Ann Voskamp says she too has recoiled and speaks of vulnerability.  And her words challenge. 

She asks if You are leading me to serve

So I manage to come here and offer this confession of how I want to serve but how fearful I feel. 

And You know. 

Lord, I do not know all You want to do with me and through me.  I just want to be willing and able.  And perfect love casts out fear.

I pray, too, for all the women You are amazingly using to write Your words.  And for the She Speaks Conference for women like me with stories from You. 



 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do we know the Truth?

Or are we Plato’s cave dwellers, watching shadows dance across the wall, mistaking them for what is real?

Chained to a life of uncertainty.

Outside; the sun, the Son, the Absolute, the Truth.

But our cave of relativism we prefer because the Absolute is bright. It hurts the eyes.

We cannot speak with authority if we do not know the Authority. We cannot speak a declaration if we do not know Him who declared His love by way of cross.

We have turned away from God and instead toward government for help. We read newspapers for the answers instead of the Word. Television entertains us but we know not the one Who gives true joy. We seek comfort from Social Networking rather than from the Son of Man.

We speak in questions because we do not know the Truth.

The Truth who is Man, who is Word, who is God.

The Truth says, “Seek through prayer, not Google.” The Truth says, “I AM your portion. Do not distract yourselves with false appearances and Facebook.” The Truth says, “Humble yourselves.” But we want platforms instead of Peace.

The Truth warns of suffering and self-denial and separation from the world.

 But we’d rather watch shadows dance across the wall.

It’s all relative, we say.

The shadows make sounds and we strain to hear them when what we really need is to silent them, so we might hear the small, still voice.

To know, to hear, to see the Truth is a responsibility we do not want.

“Is it really true?” the serpent asked and we’ve been questioning ever since.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Confessions of Contradictions

I'm hunting through my copy of Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle, hoping to locate some great quote or backing for a paper due soon on the relationship between Plato's Allegory of the Cave and the continuing disintegration of language in our culture, my mind stimulated but overwhelmed, and instead I run across an ear-marked page, stating:

"It is interesting to note how many artists have had physical problems to overcome, deformities, lameness, terrible loneliness....It is chastening to realize that those who have no physical flaw, who move through life in step with their peers, who are bright and beautiful, seldom become artists.  The unending paradox is that we do learn through pain."  

And so I quiet;  reminded and encouraged. Revitalized to pursue the gift of what I even fear to call such.    This pain, is useful.  This; one path of healing, a reason why, suffering the chronic affliction of humanness,  I come to this place, which both alleviates and produces so much frustration and confusion. 

This writing is not a platform.  Thank God. 

This writing is how I heal. 

Of course, here in this place, where I write to share, I come up against my own sin nature.  Berdyav says that ".. creativeness is distorted and debased by sin.  Hence the ethics of creativeness deal with the agonizing struggle of the human spirit. Creativeness needs purification, needs the purifying fire." 

So, I come here looking for fire, and sometimes I feel that heat of flame and other times, I just sit here, with all that struggle of refusal, tripping up on all the honesty required.  The honesty in admitting that like all, I am full of contradiction.  Because I want humility, but am arrogant.  I want peace but am distracted and I am enticed and tempted every day by some aspect of this world's false promises.  

So here's one confession of a contradiction:   I have a very like-hate relationship with Facebook.   I think it robs us of genuiness.  And time.  And real life.  And that it is such a great example of the shadows in the Allegory of the Cave.  And I do not want at all to cast shadows.  I want to cast the light of the one I am hidden in.  And I don't want to sacrifice the humility I so desperately need, and so I rock like an old woman in her chair, preaching against the way things are going, fearing any platform, fearing any gift, fearing any usage of what the world adopts, but, hating it all the while, I find myself keeping step with the progression.

 But if there's one thing I can do here, it's keep 'confessing'.  I can use my little 'platform' to do a one-man show on what it's really like to muddle through grace and acceptance and real life.

I can say, come see me here.  Click away from the pictures of us all smiling and read about what it's really like.  There's no perfection here. Sure, we have joy and laughter and good times but we also have pain and doubt and bad days.  We don't always smile, like those pictures show.  I'm just stumbling through life like anyone else trying to figure it all out.  But I've got God on my side and if here is one place I can shout that out, I will. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Endlessly

I understand more and more, the pain of this pilgrimage and the gravity of choices. 

  And God, relentless, weaves themes endlessly through my life forcing learning, stretching.

  I tell Him that I want to, "rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy" but that it is not something I am so familiar with, this joy. 

  And so, I seek the new.

Maybe the stealing of my joy lays somewhere tangible.  So, I make offerings of silence, deliberation, attention.   Because I want to live for Christ.  I want to follow Christ. 

So, I say.

 And then, I complain when I suffer, when I know nothing of true suffering.  And isn't suffering a guarantee, no secret in the Bible?

  So I pray, more unceasingly every day and I think I master silence.  But then the thoughts invade.  And I'm convicted anew that yes, even my thoughts must come captive.  Must be laid down at the cross. 

I see again, that I see nothing from God's eyes. I look at people through so much human glare and how can I ever learn to see, love like He does? To look inside a man?  To eradicate judgment and say as Christ did, "I do not condemn you," to the woman at the well? 

Yes, I see my lack of compassion, my heart of condemnation and then the weaving in of God's trust of me.  Trust, which I feel so undeserving of.  So much is left undone, untaught, unlearned every day.  And still He says, "I will use you.  You will be used."

Even as I'm wracked with anger, letting the sun set on it, telling Him, "No, I don't know how to not go to bed angry.  I'm sorry.  But I can't."  And He answers,  "I'll take it.  I'll transform your anger."  And He does.  I wake and everything is different and I'm humbled by His morning mercies. 

I give my writing to Him and stay stuck, silent, wavering, because it's not Him I don't trust, it's me. 


And He weaves again, the concept of words, into my learning, and in class, we talk of using words ethically, telling the truth, and I know that this is what He requires of me but my truth is so ugly.  And I, so tormented by wavering and confusion and disturbances and hypocrisy. 

So, I say, once more, "Then I will only say what You would have me.  Nothing else, Lord." 

"Communicating with others requires that individuals become consciously aware of the power of their words. Seeing other people as created in the image of God, as unique people worthy of respect, is a practical way toward more authentic relationships and communication. In addition, when an individual sees himself or herself in that same light, it increases self-esteem and improves intrapersonal communication." (from a lecture)



Too many times, my flesh dictates my thoughts and words.  I cringe, craving crucifixion, again, of this fated flesh.  Why is it so hard to see myself and others as in the image of God? 

Why do I say, think these things God would never utter against one of His beloved?  And in all my wrong, I have the nerve to argue with Him.   I say "boundaries" and He says "long-suffering" and I ask, "how long?" and He says "Endlessly".

Endlessly, I'll be giving it all up, Endlessly He will forgive, Endlessly I will be learning.  Endlessly, His love endures. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Expression of All Sorts

By breakfast time, my new perspective has dissipated.

 I wake an hour earlier than usual, nauseous with exhaustion and try to remain steady amongst the sonance of chaos in the house.  Oh, the noise.  The boy who seems to have a passion for making the girls scream, the girls who have an equal passion for the screaming, the aggravating sound of Tom and Jerry (which may be the most brain numbing cartoon ever and how have I become so crazed that I've resorted to turning it on?)  By the time I hear Monday's weekly tornado warning testing, I feel joining in with my own loud wail. 

Where is the perspective I need? 

I  go online and read my favorite blogs.    Kisses from Katie.  I think she is a modern day Mother Theresa.  Talk about gaining perspective.  And Ann Voskamp.  Beautiful as ever. 

And then, on the next screech, I forget.  It seems always to be disaster control around here and these are the days I wonder why all my children are at home and have no doubt why it used to be that children were to be seen and not heard. 

I have to make a choice.  I can loose the battle, head right into that bad day as a willing participant or I can just do what's right in front of me.  It is damage control sometimes.  It is minute by minute.  I can say "thank you, for expression, God, of all sorts."

I take a break and struggle through a poem I'm working on for Faithwriters, the topic Minutes.  My spin;  how quickly these minutes pass and how soon upon us, children gone.  Sometimes to survive, I have to wax poetic.  Flowing words, too, bring perspective, insight.  I have to write to remember. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let it Snow

The snow is coming down again but this time, I bear witness, seeing with new perspective.

I asked for this, in a way.  Freshly, fallen.  Make me white as.  This has been my prayer so constant and so now, I have to smile.  I might never be able to look at snow the way I used to, with such disdain. 

Even snowy, Sunday's are my favorite day.  Brett is home, there's church, the best nap of the week and usually nothing to do but be with family.

Church was so good. It was about perspective.

 And I hadn't want to go.  My legs were aching, exhaustion winning, I was tempted to climb back in bed, let everyone else go. 

I am always so grateful when I go.  I need this.  I need to worship like that every day.  I want to feel that healing that I feel on Sunday mornings, singing "I need you Jesus come to my rescue, where else can I go?"   "I will go where you go, I will stay where you stay, I will follow you.  Let me love who you love, let me serve how you serve."

Worship changes perspective.

The pastor spoke of having an eternal perspective and I thought how I'd heard recently that this life is a pilgrimage.  

Last night, studying for my Ethics class, I read about St. Augustine and his autobiographical work entitled, Confessions, I am happy to be an "average housewife" sharing confessions as well, in the company of one who wrote,
"You have made us for Yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in You."

Confession gives us new perspective.

As I was trying to sleep last night, I kept hearing God remind me that when I know who He is, I will know who I am. 

I need this every day, every hour, this release, this worship, this new perspective. 

Let it snow, let it snow.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Beginning of Freedom

Where is the balance between waiting for that surety that I'm being God-inspired in my writing and the notion that one must write every day, to increase skill? 

Uninspired, I'm here today to fulfill the habit.  And my devotions are about priority right now.  Should this be a priority?

Purpose again?  Point?  I'm so silly about things like this.  About always having to have a clear cut, tidy answer to questions I just make up randomly.  The wrapped up answer which would be correct, is simply that I want to glorify God.  It's just that I worry too often that I'm getting in the way. 

Where is the freedom in this?

Why can't my blog just be?

Why do I have to add worry to every thing in my life?  It's like a person who just mandatory adds salt to every meal out of habit.  I seem to salt all aspects of my life with worry and self-doubt and hyper self-examination.

 I was encouraged to read in The Pursuit of God, Tozer's words, ""...only persons who have made such a committal (true repentance and a full committal to the life of God) will have read this far." 

Anyone reading this book, will of course come across these words but when I read them, they seemed highlighted for me.  I felt like God planned to have Tozer write that down to remind me, personally, that He sees my commitment level. 

I spend all this time worrying about not being perfect about daily devotions, the direction my blog is going, how much time I spend on fruitless endeavors, but God in a simple sentence says to me..."I see your commitment level and you're there." 

Yeah, there's always room for improvement, but God acknowledges what I am doing. He knows my heart.   He knows that my thoughts are on Him constantly, that I take Him into account on everything, that I'm  in love with Him.

 I don't have to have everything figured out this minute.  I just have to be moving forward.

That's the beginning of freedom.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Process of Examination

"But when we pray, 'Hallowed be thy name,' if there is any degree whatsoever of sincerity or openness, or honestness, we are really praying, 'Lord, I open to you every closet; I am taking every skeleton out for you to examine.  Hallowed be thy name.'"

-From Jesus Teaches on Prayer by Ray C. Stedman

So, painful though it is, I must be on the right track, saying, as the Psalmist did, "Search me O God and know my heart."(Psalm 139)

 And things are cropping up.  My attitudes are being shown to me for what they are.  Yes, as the hardness is thawing, I'm finding weeds overgrown which need to be pulled. 

When anger is my first reaction, God's digging deeper, telling me, "No, your anger is masking fear.  Your anger is covering up the fact that your feelings were hurt." 

I haven't wanted to see that.  Because it all comes back to pride.  Pride is the emotion that protects me, or so I seem to believe.  Because it takes guts to admit to fear, to hurt feelings.  It risks embarrassment.   How much easier to leap straight to anger, justifying it by finding fault in the recipient.

But I have to do this.  I have to continue, in courage, this process of examination, of being seen.  Tozer says in The Pursuit of God, "...the man seeking mercy looks straight at the God of mercy and never takes his eyes away from Him till He grants mercy." 

Every inclination, every motive, every thought process, must go straight to God. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Acceptance

Healing hurts.  I must have anticipated this.  This must be why I've put it off. 

But I can swallow either pain or medicine.

To look those days, finally, square in the eye, when I've been so used to averting my gaze, I have to believe will cause sight.

 Have I been trying to lead these little ones, thinking I was in the light, when really I had moved out of the darkness and only into the dim?

So last night, in bed, not knowing whether I'd slept yet or not, words come to voice those painful memories and I write them down today, because I've asked for this.  Knowing it's been needed.

But is there anyway to word these things?  Can I write them with poetry, story, simply as fact, can I even say them, speak of deeds, names, times?

Do we have to reopen a wound, assess the slashing of our own making in order to work out wholeness? 

But that's the problem.  I can't work it out.  I can't walk it off. 

I had felt new for so long, but lately I've noticed residue, sticky.  Baggage packed full of mismanaged damage.

I've said out loud that I've been delivered. 

And I don't even know that girl I was anymore.  I thought I didn't need to.  I'd left her so far behind. Years behind.  But I've begun to recognize that leaving her as such, I'd left the good as well as bad.  In my determination to become new, I became less.  That's not what God intended.  So maybe, it was not God's work which was done but my own.  Maybe I delivered self, or so I thought, and the work that really needs to be done involves revisiting, acknowledging, repenting, rather than burying and ignoring. 

I want it to be completed. 

"In order, therefore, to enter into a realized experience of the interior life, the soul must be in a receptive attitude, fully recognizing the fact that it is to be God's gift in Jesus Christ, and that it cannot be gained by any efforts or works of our own.  This will simplify the matter exceedingly...it is to be received by faith."

-From The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith