After freeing himself from enslavers, he returned to them, bringing Freedom.
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
It isn’t too late.
You can still return to me
with all your heart.
Start crying and mourning!
… turn back to me
with broken hearts.
I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don’t easily lose my temper,
and I don’t like to punish.
Joel 2:12-13 (CEV)
My husband is out of town this Valentines Day. I’m not worried, though.
Even though I’ll miss Rich, I’ll be fine.
You see, I’ve another lover.
Tucked inside a bedside book reside his letters.
They kindle my fire, deepen my desire…
You’ve captured my heart, dear friend.
You looked at me, and I fell in love.
One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!
How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend…
The kisses of your lips are honey, my love,
every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor.
The sweet, fragrant curves of your body,
the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I stay
until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.
…you’re a secret garden,
a private and pure fountain.
Body and soul, you are paradise…
You’re so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful…
As night arrives on Valentines, I’ll make flame, place icons and play chant.
As I wait, I will rise and sway, and whisper His name.
Open and ready, I will hear “Jodi,” then see His face, His eyes full of love.
My Lover, my Bridegroom will come.
Swaying softly in his embrace, we will become one. Forever we are one…
Although I’ll miss Rich this Valentines Day, I am looking forward to One-on-one time with Jesus, the Lover of my soul.
*Italicized text is taken from Song of Solomon (The Message version).
(By and large, the Church sees the Song of Solomon as an allegory of the love between God and His people, Christ and His church and Christ and the soul).
Take the high road.
I thought only death, broken appliances and bad news came in threes.
First off, last week Looking for God made a short list at the online Christian magazine and community, The High Calling. Along with nine other posts, my Why I Like Blue Jeans made it into Great Posts from Around the High Calling Network. This is a big honor and one I keep jumping around the house about! The High Calling community consists of 1,800 bloggers, an editorial staff and top-notch articles and resources for Christians looking for God in their “work, family and broader culture.” Pop in, be blessed and if you blog, do join.
Secondly, I’ve been invited to work temporarily for a previous employer, First Presbyterian of Maple Plain. I served almost three years there as an administrative assistant and am looking forward to serving again. Clerical skills brush-up, great staff moments and serving God’s people with pencil-in-hand are some of the things I’m most excited about.
Most recently, I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Jonathan at 237blessed. I am thrilled and honored to receive this peer-to-peer nomination! Jonathan “loves the spirit” of Looking for God and says it has “something truly important to declare concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.” It doesn’t get any better than that! Thank you so much, Jonathan!
At 237blessed, Jonathan brings hope and blessing through his use of Scripture, spiritual insight and sensitivity to the Spirit. If you desire a blessing or want to hear from God, visit 237blessed. Grateful I get to be your Sister, Jonathan, and your blog friend.
Of course, with nominations there are rules…
THE RULES TO FOLLOW FOR THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:
1. Add a picture of the award to your blog post.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
3. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other Bloggers and inform those 15 they have been nominated.
Seven random facts about me
1. Cemeteries are cool.
2. I read, write and never spit.
3. Some people call me charismatic, others contemplative.
4. I say “Woosh” too often, people wonder.
5. My 1992 Honda has 223,000 miles on it.
6. I suffer most when I can’t find Jesus.
7. Migraines come and go, but God is forever.
The nominees are, in no particular order:
1.Quirky, compelling and insightful, Nori takes you into her life and lets you sit awhile at Rambling on Regardless. Lucky me, I’ve slogged through bogs, danced in a kitchen and savored raspberry chocolate with Eleanor. She’s a keeper I call friend.
2. Joyce at Joyce de Vivre has a knack for creating Christian community and has created Featured Scribbles to foster Christian blog community. Tireless and passionate, she reminds me to stay rooted and reach high.
3. A-Musing is a newly birthed blog written by an old family friend. Jim shares his heart and always points to Jesus. Glad I get to share him here with you.
4. Bernie at Daily Light uses Scripture, practical insight and prayers to bless his readers. His devotions help me lean a little longer on my Lord. I’ve studied, prayed and joked with Bernie. He’s a Brother I call friend.
5. Brother James came to Looking for God with encouragement and profound presence. When he’s around I breathe easier. His site, Domini Canes, is beautiful and his words never fail to make me pause and reflect. A new blog friend I sense kinship with.
6. A dear old blog friend who once spent hours interpreting one of my dreams, Cindy at Anyone’s Guess write wonderful poetry and prose and is soon to have a baby. Her heart is fixed on Jesus, and that means everything.
7. Another long-time blog friend who nominated me for the Sweet Friend Award, blogs at So Much, So Little Time. Kate is, among a few dozen other things, a devoted Catholic, a prolific writer and a published author. Oh, and she just gave birth to her fourth child.
8. Dan at The-Fatalistic-Smile writes deep, mythic poetry that rattles your unconscious and steals your heart. Back in 2010 he guest blogged here, at Looking for God: Into the forest he wanders. He’s a wise soul who has been known to climb rock walls, even with me.
9. Claire is a stay-at-home-mother and blogger from New Zealand. Her One Passion One Devotion says it all. She’s all about one thing and one thing only. More times than not, I leave her site lifted, closer to God.
10. Lizy, at Follow Lizy, is on adventure in Glasgow. She’s a brilliant writer who takes you with her and makes you smile. For a sure-to-delight-you peek into Scottish university life from the perspective of a college student from my home church, stop in and stay a spell.
11. New to the blog scene and fresh to my world, forthefrustratedchristian give me encouragement and helps realign me when I’m ready to scream. Thank you and welcome Sid!
12. Estherlou at Estherlou’s Blog has been around the block and is refreshingly herself. She also runs a bakery and sometimes posts photos that makes mouths water. As a new blog friend, I look forward to getting to know her better.
13. Antigone’s Clamor is well written, often takes a stand and makes you think. Sometimes I find myself cheering. Lara has a way with words and loves her Lord. Visit and see.
14. Jocelyn at Celine is a Filipino living in the U.S. who is sold out for Christ. She’s a bright light in a dark world and helps keep my head where it belongs, in the heart of God. She’s a blog friend who gives great encouragement.
15. Jessica at booshy makes the mundane delightful and humorous. She’s got dogs, runs marathons, oh and she’s about to give birth to her first child. Never a dull moment by a gifted writer. Glad to call her a long-time blog friend.
Those are my three and they all happened in one week! As I look for God, I see Him everywhere! Thanks for your presence, prayers and praise. May God bless you because…
Maybe you hoard and you don’t even know it…
Recently, I watched show on pack rats or hoarders. It was an intervention show, the kind where either the court or loved ones see a problem and intervene to help the person deal with their “issue.”
I’m not a pack rat, so was mesmerized by the hold “stuff” had on these poor souls.
The first image I remember seeing was a woman winding her way through her home to get to the front door to let the professional organizer in. Her path was flanked by waist-high piles of boxes, newspapers, clothing and trash. It was hard to imagine anyone actually “living” in that home, for there were no open areas, no available places to sit or sleep. She pointed out where she sat to watch TV and the couch was covered high with “stuff.”
One of the show’s two interventions was prompted by a court order–a woman’s husband had to leave the house for health reasons until it was habitable. The other was prompted by loving family members. In both instances the professional organizers weren’t there to toss, organize and clean, they were there to help the hoarder release their grip on their stuff. Nothing was thrown without permission, nothing was boxed unless the pack rat gave a nod.
The hoarders struggled with releasing simple things like newspaper comics and outdated, blank calendars. Tears flowed at the thought of parting with items acquired at garage sales and newsstands, items that had no monetary worth. The process of editing was slow and painstaking. Each was losing something dear to them, something that held their affection and each “yes” to the dumpster or give away pile was heart wrenching. Their hearts were fed by the acquisition of “stuff” yet they were never satisfied, they were always grasping for more.
While watching, I felt my jaw drop. I could not imagine being so sentimental about so much stuff. I could not imagine surrounding myself with piles of this and that. I could not see how living like that would be life-giving.
Then it hit me–we all do it. In one way or another we fill our inner “homes,” our inner lives with “stuff.” Instead of hoarding piles in our physical home, we shove our calendar chock full of “stuff to do.” Instead of acquiring unneeded socks, hangers and dishes, we stock our mind with worry, shopping lists, carpool calendars, work meetings, obsessive thoughts, church committee agendas. In doing so we create an inner cacophony that deafens us to the Voice of God, to what really needs our attention, to what is actually life-giving. We create an inner space that cannot be maneuvered, that is paralyzing and consuming.
One lady in the show said, with desperation in her voice, something like this: “If I don’t get rid of it, it will consume me.” I think she was on to something: that whatever is filling our lives will consume us. Eventually it’ll take over and make our life unmanageable. Soon we’ll be managed by our stuff, instead of managing our stuff.
I think I need to double check what is filling my heart and mind. I need to look and see what I bring home and plop down in my inner living room. Does it create room for God or does it crowd God out? Does it have eternal merit? Does it bring life to others? Does it glorify Christ?
Maybe I’m a hoarder of the internal kind, maybe I cling to things unseen. Maybe I grasp at ideas instead of Jesus, maybe I fill the day’s agenda without asking Him for His agenda, maybe I crowd out time with Him for time with everyone else. Something to pray about, something to ponder…
Thanks to blog friend, David Rupert, and his insightful post Cluttered places, cluttered minds, for the inspiration to revise and re-publish this post.
So, did you do it? Did you make a New Year’s resolution?
Our final Christmas celebration brought us into New Year’s Eve, so I’m running behind, only beginning to ponder to resolve. Today’s Christmas bin packing is forcing a calendar check-in. No waving Santa or blinking lights to keep me in denial, 2012 is days into being. I need to accept and move on.
In years past I’ve resolved to get in shape, eat better, lose weight. I know, predictable and boring. Although there is nothing wrong with these and a lot that is good, I just think, at my age, it is time to resolve something a bit more…well…substantial, something less about me and how I look and feel. Something less…vain.
Shoving the mirror aside, many things come to mind: clip coupons, get organized, write letters, be nicer. At my age, though, I should be more serious than this. I should resolve to do for others: shovel driveways, start Bible studies, visit nursing homes. For me, “should” is a tricky word, though. At its mere mention desire disappears, resentment builds. My eyes narrow, teeth clench and people flee. It ain’t pretty. People may get helped, but likely regret that I helped them. I do my duty and we all suffer…
If “should” kills desire, then maybe I’m better off avoiding this death-dealing collection of letters and stay with desire.
Desire. What do I desire?
Ahh, clarity. No gym membership, no coupon crown, no nursing home for me. I want relationship, deep, intimate relationship with my Jesus. The kind of relationship that kindles love for Him, for others. The kind that fosters faith and leaves me sleeping soundly in His arms each night. The kind makes me desire to shovel driveways, start Bible studies, visit nursing homes…
Okay, clear enough. But how to resolve?
Coming to mind is being with, being present, being attentive. Listen, speak, listen. Be grateful, be for, take delight. Look, see and don’t look away.
Prayer puts me there, sometimes. Lectio Divina, sometimes. Bible study, worship, singing, sometimes. Dancing, sometimes.
Okay. Got my resolution: to help promote intimacy with God I resolve, in 2012, to pray, read, reflect, worship, sing, dance and anything else He brings to mind.
Suddenly I’m smiling, really smiling.
Wait. What am I waiting for? January is well underway.
Jesus is here.
Time to turn out the lights, crawl in His arms and pray.
An ending approaches… As 2011 fades, a memory forms…
Looking back over the year, the joys and pains occupied different planes. Most years the two hold hands and nibble each others ears, this year they never met. One never touched the other, either there was joy or there was pain.
Pain is universal, we all know it and all need less of it. I’ll spare you the details, for no one likes pain on a page.
Joys I will share, for I need to remember and maybe, in remembering, you’ll smile with me.
This summary of my year is taken from our family’s Christmas letter, which was written by my twenty-one year old son. To add detail, I’ve added a few links and photos.
Materfamilias (Mom, for short): Being a mother is tough. Being a mother of Charlie? Well, let’s just say that this amazing woman embraces the challenge! I could elaborate on the demanding nature of her regular telephone counseling sessions with her son, but will, instead (in an attempt to keep you awake), shed some light on Mom’s fascinating lifestyle. She advanced her freelance writing venture—titled “Word by Word”—via many hours of writing, editing, entrepreneurial work, and networking; she was published several times*, posted her 500th blog post, and has gathered a variety of subscribers including a monk, an almost-doctor, an Australian stay-at-home-mom, and an ex-convict. In the spring, she traveled to Iona, Scotland for nine weeks, where she became part of a tight-knit spiritual community and learned how to speak cow and bake scones using the metric system. After returning from this British adventure, she celebrated a 25thwedding anniversary (on the same day as my dad! Quite a rarity these days!). She is currently pursuing employment at a seminary and planning to take theology classes in 2012, but is also considering just writing a suspense/thriller novel based on the lives of her “crazy family and friends” (watch out!). Don’t worry. I will ensure a just distribution of profits…
Grateful for the smiles you bring, and you bring them often, blog friends. You’re a huge part of my year, my years. I love to hear from you, read your comments and know that you here, with me, now.
Every December 21st daylight begins to edge out darkness. This year was unique, though. We’ve never seen it like this.
If you cannot view, visit: http://youtu.be/aoZIwtgEqKY
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.*
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
Malachi prophesying about Jesus in Malachi 4:2
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Jesus in John 12:46
*excerpt from Hark! the Herald Angels Sing