All in

There are two water partings in the Bible.  Most people know about #1, but not #2.

#1 was the Red Sea.  Egyptians chasing Israelites, who you’ll remember had escaped from Egypt…finally. The sea parted so the Israelites could safely cross, but the Egyptians could not.

#2 was many many many years later.  Relatives of the original Israelites, plus some of the original group, are  poised to take possession of the promised land.  As a matter of fact, they can see it, but there is water in the way.  Again.  This time it’s the River Jordan, at flood stage.  God instructs the leaders of the group to put their feet into the raging flood waters.  Really, it had to be at flood stage? Note to readers:  when they do, He will part the waters so they can cross.  

If I reallly want something, what am I willing to do to get it?   If I am absolutely, utterly convinced of God’s direction for my life, am I willing to do what is necessary to take possession it?  Flood waters?  Leaving where I live? Feeling chased?

I’ve known for awhile something quite personal that won’t be shared in blog-land.  I know it, my head knows it, my heart knows it.

I’m unwilling to settle for less than what I know is to be.  Because of that, I am willing to make hard decisions.  I am willing to get into the water, if that’s what it takes.

I want the promised land.

Savoring

Jeff Deyo’s song You are Good might very well be my personal life’s testimony in song.

Some would say that You cannot be found

Some would say that You are far away

But I know you’re the God who lives in me and I know You will always have my heart.

 You are good and your love endures forever.

You are good, You are good.

You are the only One. Jesus.

You are the only One. Jesus.

You are good and Your love endures forever.

You are good.

I saw a simple sign recently that said: Savor. I just had the hardest time looking away from that sign. What am I supposed to savor?

This morning as I write, I’m thinking about this week. A dear friend lost her dad.  Another dear friend had surgery. A young woman I love is in turmoil. A man I know lost his job. My dad turned 82.  My sister and nephews are here visiting.

People are sick, people are joyful. Life is easy, life is hard.

Savoring…I’m going to listen to Jeff sing again.

Wild…thing

Oh…I have a headache today because it’s like 140 degrees outside.

Admission….slight exaggeration:-)  It isn’t really 140, but I do have a headache, and it IS hot.  Georgia in July is Georgia in July. Like none other.  It must be required or something to ripen peaches and whiten cotton.

I wear a sweater at work because it’s a fridge in my office.  The stark contrast of the 10 feet between me and the outside is hilarious.  I actually shiver. While i’m shivering, I have an intellectual understanding of the heat outside, but it’ hard to overcome teeth chattering:-)

At this time every year, I start getting pretty excited about seasons changing.  I know Fall is coming, and I start dreaming about things like pumpkins, cool nights, and coffee on the front porch when the morning is cool and I’m wearing slippers.  Honestly?  I even started Christmas shopping last week, which is truly the weirdest thing I’ve ever done related to Christmas shopping.  It feels really smart, but I’m never ever that smart.

The grass in my front yard is dead, the bushes need trimming, and my house needs painting, not to mention that the back yard has become some sort of wild…thing…forest.  But,  Fall is coming, and the humidity will not always frizz my hair:-)  This I know.

This Fall, when my hair has stopped curling, I’m going to paint my house.  I have faith that my grass will turn green again, and that the neighbor boy will trim the shrubs.

The forest in the back yard?  Nature preserve.

A weathered hymnal rack

I looked around this morning.

Same room, same spot for journaling, reading and prayer. Outside the front window is my favorite tree, protecting us like it has for 15 years.  So faithful, that tree. It’s all just the same.

Behind my spot, hanging on the wall is one of my precious things.  One of those things I would try to grab if the house was burning. There aren’t many of these things, but this is one.  It’s an oak hymnal rack from our church in Minneapolis, a precious memory of countless hours spent in worship there. That sanctuary space yielded graciously to new space, so one of the  racks hangs on my wall now…as others do in the homes of my dearest friends from those days. More than a memento. So much more. For those of us with these, we so get it.  Just a glance, and we get it.

I don’t love new.  I love worn. Broken-in. Weathered. Sifted. Maybe even…repaired.

And once again, I listen for the lesson.

Fleeting

It happens every single summer, but only here in Georgia.  I never saw it up north.

The first time I saw it was just after we re-located to the South years ago.  I was driving somewhere and had a moment…one of those …moments…where you just see or realize or feel something, and your heart just sort of wells up like it might cry.

It was the mist.  It clings here.  It dangles. Hides.  Peeks. Delicately hugs the leaves and the grass.  A gift given in the hot, humid part of the summer that we otherwise detest.  A present if we have eyes to see.

I’m not sure why I like it so much, but I do.  It seems precious somehow to me.  Fleeting.

Fleeting things just sort of whisper by, don’t they. A moment that drifts by, an awakening or thought that comes and goes, a note in a song that you wish would never end but it must…and does.

I saw the mist again this morning.  It must be a different mist, after all these years, yet “it” returns summer after summer.

The eyes to see have returned as well.

Clearing the Stage

Ross King’s song stung this morning.  Stung.  Like a bee sting or worse.  The kind of ouch that brings tears behind your eyes.  Except that it was behind mine.

I heard this song months ago when I was driving.  I nearly drove off the road.  It was THAT meaningful.

The message I heard was that I need to do whatever it takes to be able to hear, and that means clearing the clutter.  Taking a hard, brutal, crushing look at what’s on the stage in my life. What is in my way of real worship.  What am I putting in the way? What am I choosing to worship rather than the Authentic One?

I realize how little time  I put into waiting for God to whisper.  If I want my soul stirred, rocked and broken, then what must I exchange for the time it takes to beg for that…and wait.

It takes the humility of a beggar to beg.  That may be what I really need.

Anticipating

Hmmmm.  “I’ve lived through a thousand tragedies, none of which have actually happened.”

I heard that somewhere, and obviously remembered it. It seems to strike a chord in me, a recognition or a kinship, because I’ve done that.

I’ve paid attention to dire threats, from without and from within.  We affectionately call it “stress”, as though it’s a friend of sorts, when in reality these fears disrupt our sleep, damage our relationships, threaten our equilibrium, and cause havoc with our serenity.

I do not want to make friends with stress.  I do want to embrace breathing.  In…out…peace…steadiness…clear thinking…focused prayer.

I’ve often thought, in the midst of chaos of my own making (I have some experience in this area, I might add) that my very best thinking got me where I am at that very moment. Wow, that is some realization.

Fretful thinking, best brought out by stress, usually results in chaotic solutions to complex problems.  For example, if I don’t take time to carefully think and pray through a situation that is causing me pain , the likelihood is that I will make the decision that will alleviate the pain in the fastest way possible.  Avoiding pain, even when it involves those I love,  isn’t always God’s way.  At least it hasn’t been for me. Sometimes…the absolute ONLY way out is through.

I don’t really like that any more than you do.  It’s the thought of the unknown that truly unnerves us. What will happen, what could happen, what if? And then, I look back at the swamp I have either just waded through or blessedly avoided, and realize that I am the sum of those experiences, my actual experiences.  What I remember is not what I avoided but what I lived through, and whether I was able to use my faith to take one step after another through that experience.  The challenge for me is learning to live in steady grace.

Jut keep breathing. It’s astounding how wise that seems.