Friday, May 2, 2014

Weighty Words

Heavy,

Shifting to and fro in the vast expanse of our planet and beyond.

Burdened with weight,

Firm foundations of strength built on an idea.

Words that explain how that idea becomes a reality, or

The ravaging of dreams in a single blow

One.

Solitary.

Word.

Power beyond what we'd think or imagine -

Our power only ordained by a Mighty Creator who holds all of this together and a

Responsibility we can't comprehend because one mustard seed of faith spoken to a mighty hill could move a mountain and yet...

No mountains I've seen have ever transported themselves to the seas.

And little do we think that what we say will matter.

But mountains crumble,

Buildings fall,

Dreams perish.

Love sprouts,

Hope blossoms,

Life breaks forth!

This all because of the rhythmic oscillation of these

Weighty Words.

Heavy,

Shifting to and fro in the vast expanse of our planet and beyond.

Friday, January 24, 2014

To do list...

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I think it's wonderful to have programs, methods, and equations to solving and fulfilling exacting needs in a workforce, school, and business.  Sometimes there's a reason why things are done the way they are.  I get that.  But, I used to categorize myself as "type A".  I don't know that I'd do that today. In fact, it's been a long time since I've kept a detailed hourly schedule for my day.  You know what I mean... those 6:00 - 6:15 breakfast, 6:15 - 6:45 workout, 6:45 - 7:30 shower, etc.  Don't act like you type As don't know what I'm talking about.  Oh, I get it.  I need structure in my life. Trust me.

I used to have a laundry day.  The kids would know that if they didn't have it clean on Thursday, they wouldn't have it folded and in their rooms until Tuesday.  Not that I always met the deadline or never had that extra basket of laundry that never seems to be emptied, but overall if it was on a schedule, a calendar, a white board, or a list; it'd be done in a fairly timely manner.

I used to get such a rush ticking a little box or scratching through a whole line of things that were done. Check!

But not now.

Don't get me wrong.  I meet deadlines at work.  My floors are clean, well... for the most part.  My family is fed home-cooked meals, and my kids do their own laundry half the time because they like to. But my to-do lists aren't feeling heavy lately.

I took a little hiatus of sorts from it all.  Why?  Well, I don't know.  Many reasons, I guess.  But mainly because I started to have an I-think-I-might-hyperventilate-if-I-add-another-thing reaction when I'd read a well-written blogger explain the 10 things that worked best for her.  Or a board on Pinterest with a gazillion cool ideas I wasn't doing. Because I just couldn't meet the running lists I had already, and I couldn't even think of adding to them another thing I wasn't going to be able to accomplish perfectly.

If you have ever had that little nagging complex of Why-in-the-world-should-I-pretend-to-be-perfect-when-clearly-I'm-not in your life, then maybe you'll understand just a little. Maybe a lot.

So here are ten steps to getting over that complex.

Just kidding. :)

You see, I can't tell you how to get there in a number of steps.  Or that you even should do it.  I am okay with type As! I hope it works well for you, and I totally understand you!  But I'm not okay with the whole perfection thing any more.

I want things done well.  I want them done my way.  The reason for the disclaimer at the top of the post is because my kids read my blog and they need no ammo to come at me for the "reason the putting away of the dishes should be left to interpretation is mom's blog post on individuality".  Nope.  My house, my way.  If it annoys me when the white cups are stacked on the green ones, that's my business. But that's not the right way to do it, that's my way to do it.

There's a difference.

I used to think that so many lists of things were the right way when really they were only a way of doing things.  And that whole idea of perfection?  Nonexistent.  Because no one's perfect!

So, you know what I did?

I threw out the lists.

Entirely.

Some people might have thought I was crazy.

Or that I wasn't going about this the right way.

Maybe it was too drastic for some and surely it was painful at times, but it's true.  I threw out every list I'd ever made.  Lists on what I believe. What my goals in life were.  Prayer lists. My home.  My job. My kids.

I decided that I'd come with nothing.

Because I wondered if my lists for all of that - for them - for me - were nothing more than what I expected and wanted rather than what purpose they were created for.

I haven't filled any pages.  But the amazing thing is that when I came to God with nothing but a blank page, He began to fill it.

Not so much with things.

With love.
With understanding.
With... dare I say it? Patience.
With satisfaction.
With peace.

And I'm not saying that you should chuck the lists you have, just that I did.

Because I've. Got. Nothing.

And He. IS. Everything.

What's on my pressing spiritual to-do list today?

Nothing.

And I can't wait to see what He fills it with!  Because really it's only then when all of those other actual responsibilities that I have to do - you know, like drive the kids to school and pick them up on time? Deadline for the brochure at work?  Those things. They are getting done with joy.  And if something else pops up, like wanting to take a little time and blog about my feelings?

Looks like there's an empty spot for that!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Get over it!

I haven't blogged in a long time.  A very long time, in fact. One year, four months, and one day. I checked.

The truth is, I've been uninspired.  Unmotivated.  Kind of blasé about many things over the last year and a half.  Some would tell me to "snap out of it" (and they have).  Some would say to simply "get over it".  Again, they have - don't you fret!

But I've been pondering a lot lately.  Get over what, exactly?  What is it that motivates us?  Or causes us to pause in our lack of motivation?  If we do indeed just get over stuff, do we learn anything?  Is anything we've gone through even worth "getting over", or do we need to treasure even the dark moments and stay there for a while?

I've battled depression.  There's no denying that.  Just take a look at why I started my blog!  I'm not saying to wallow in self-pity or that it's healthy to crawl into a dark pit and not get through your problems... but isn't that the key?  You know me - I don't give a lot of answers; I just ask a lot of questions.  And I haven't changed in that regard.  But maybe that is an answer.... getting through, not over.

Life is a process of mourning and rejoicing.  Laughing and grieving, jubilation and despair, ups and downs. And when we are up, there's no thought of down. And when we're down, there's no thought of that mountain-top victory.  But what if?

What if we did think of the ups when we're down?  Or even the downs when we're up?

I used to think I was a little bit crazy.

I lost my dad two and a half years ago.  But I began grieving him long before that.  Not entirely.  Don't get me wrong.  I would ever-so-seldom think of a day that I'd be an ocean away and get a phone call that he was gone.  That day came.  I grieved.  Deeply.  I had half-way convinced myself that I was morbid and crazy to think that I was doomed to get such horrible news, and that I needed to get over my fears.

But I didn't. It was like I was prepared.  Just a little.

I grieve him still.  And no one has ever told me to "get over it".

When someone dies, we all know that there's a place - a gaping hole that person left behind that can never, ever be filled by anyone else.  And we don't get over it.  We're not expected to.  They meant something to us and we carry the memory in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

And that's what I've been pondering lately.  That every loss we suffer; we mourn.  The loss of a job, a friendship, a home, a routine, a marriage, an idea, a dream, an item, a person.  Maybe some are more drastic than others.  Maybe more losses come at once.  But isn't everyone mourning something?  And why should we get over it?

Maybe we should just be more gracious.  Not expecting anyone to just "get over" anything. From the "small" to the rocking-of-their-world kind of loss.  And maybe as we get through our mourning we can walk with others through theirs. Together.

That'd be cool.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Silence

Silence is golden, so it's been said.
Better than saying what you have on your mind is to keep things quite, undisturbed.
I do not speak.

As others wield their tongues, and spread what words they may,
Inflicting wounds on others who silently sit,
Body's soul bearing lacerations left by jabs of careless banter -
I cannot speak.

From fear, or dread, necessity or uncertainty
My very being questioned by those who shout aloud as well as those still silent.
Frozen by habits of old, gripped by obligation or responsibility.
I dare not speak.

Provoked by lies or assumptions
Motives called into question - no one questions me.
Will this break her, maybe?
I will not speak.

As I search within myself for what good may come of this silence so long lauded,
I find a voice which has been whispering all along.
Not quite silenced, but stifled.
The day may come when chains are broken, and the truth unspoken will find its day.
And I may speak.

Oh, day I wish for, come but quickly!
Time may be against us.
No claim to perfection, just claims for truth - however it may look.
Soon I shall speak.






Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Come unto me

I am in love with my husband.  Have I said that here before? It's true.  It's not that we don't have our share of misunderstandings, but I inevitably find myself in the arms of a man who wants to understand me, even if he doesn't always succeed. I love that.  And Sunday night, I couldn't have been happier with my choice in a life partner.  I kind of wanted to stand and just ask the congregation "Do you even understand what he's saying?!"  Just because I was SO excited about this truth I have never heard explained before!  Ever.

Now, if you don't know me, let me tell you that I am a daughter of a preacher, the wife of one, and a frequent church-goer since I was in my mother's womb. And still - maybe I wasn't always paying attention - but I had never seen or heard explained what my husband explained from the Scriptures Sunday night.  I don't think I can do it as well as he did, but allow me to try to explain his take on things.  I am too excited about this not to share it, and can only pray that it be taken for what it's worth and not misunderstood.

Matthew 19.  The topic is divorce.  Not a popular one for pastors to take on from the pulpit - easier to avoid.  Well, the Pharisees knew that too. You see, if you look at Matthew chapter 19 you will see that there was a whole multitude of people surrounding Jesus.  He was healing them.  Then the Pharisees came along and thought they'd hit him with a usually avoided subject.  Divorce for any reason, what did Jesus think of that?

Jesus of course responds with his "two become one" statement.  In my wedding, my father, who performed the ceremony, even used Jesus' words from verse 6 "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."  I can almost hear him saying the words.  

Man should not divorce, in other words.  Ha!  The Pharisees got him, then, right?  They asked why Moses would have then given the whole idea of divorce if it wasn't allowed?  What did he have to say about that?

Jesus then replied by saying that it wasn't meant to be that way in the beginning, but Moses saw the hardness of their hearts, and implemented the practice of divorce.  Then he says something that most people will use as a reason for divorce.  Sexual immorality, as some translations will say.  But if you study the words used by Jesus, he calls it "fornication".  Sexual sin of one not married.

There is something essential that we must remember here.  Jesus had not yet been crucified.  These people knew nothing but the law.  So, Jesus refers to the law.  In Deuteronomy 22, the law talks about how a newly married woman is accused of not being a virgin on her wedding night.  If she is found guilty of fornication before marriage, the practice was that she would be stoned.  Woah.  Extreme.

Jesus was starting to get his point across.  He knew that divorce for any reason was common. He knew that the practice of stoning had long been forgotten.  He was essentially saying, "Wanna talk law?  Let's talk law!"  The man who marries a woman who fornicated becomes a widower upon proof of his accusation.  And actually, since you don't practice stoning any more, you all become adulterers since you marry, divorce and remarry!  It's been said that he's giving them at least one excuse, but he actually leaves room for none, according to the law. No grace in that.  

And the next reply comes from the disciples.  "Well, then, it's just better if no one marries," they said. And Jesus told them that it's hard to receive this teaching - the letter of the law.  Here come the parts I had never understood.

He starts talking about eunuchs.  What?  Maybe I never even thought enough to delve into the meaning before, but once explained, I saw it so clearly.

Eunuchs were those who were castrated, impotent, or in this case, celibate.  What Jesus says in the next verse (#12) is that some will divorce, that is true.  And it will be natural for them to remain alone(eunuchs), make that choice of celibacy and not struggle with it.  There will be some who divorce and are made eunuchs of men - people will tell them they must remain alone forever because of their transgression, and they will never remarry.  There will be some who decide to remain single because they want to pour their lives into the ministry they feel God has called them to do.  And then he reiterates the fact that this is for those who are able to receive it.  Knowing that, in fact, most weren't.

Jesus understood.  There was a multitude there.  Surely, there were "divorcees for any and every reason" around him. There were fornicators.  There were married and remarried people and their children.  Each and every person had heard a staunch and hard interpretation of the law.  No excuses.  I believe the people felt so dejected and guilty at this point that they cried in despair, because the scenario doesn't end there.  

In my Bible, and even in the passage I looked up on line, there is a division between verses. But the next two verses are included in the whole scene. Jesus doesn't leave until the the end of those verses!  So what happened?

The people, realizing they were guilty of breaking the Judaic law, cried out and asked Jesus to at least bless their children. The fruit of their immorality in many cases.  

What did the disciples do?  What we do so many times.  They rebuked them.  

Maybe they said something to the effect of  "Hello!?  Did you not hear what Jesus just said?!  Step back, adulterer!"

But what does Jesus say?

Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them and departed.

Jesus was saying that this is what the kingdom of heaven is about, guys!  Don't you understand by now that no one can keep the whole law?  You need a Savior; you need my grace!  This is what the kingdom of heaven looks like!  The fruit of sin - redeemed - covered in my love and grace!

Oh to be filled with the grace of Jesus!

Oh to say from the pulpit to the casual conversation, "Grace covers all"!  All is such a big little word, isn't it?

All is grace.

When rebuked and reviled by others, come to Jesus -  nothing is too big a wrong for him to handle.  

Come to his amazing grace!