Sunday, January 6, 2008

A movement towards grace

Often times when we feel insecure or we've been wounded, our natural tendency is to recoil, retreat, put up our arms to protect ourselves and then hide away until we feel it's safe to venture out again.

As natural an impulse as this is, I believe that as Christians, we are to actually take a step closer - move towards the pain - seek to reconcile and forgive. Seek to embrace a new way to relate to the individual, finding a new way to love them.

Sometimes in our vulnerable and weak state we have more grace than we are aware of. This grace can be offered to the one who has hurt us and this simple act of humility can prevent walls from going up and separating us from our Christian brothers and sisters.

Where to find Peace

Here is another passage from Henri J. M. Nouwen's Book, "Finding My Way Home, from the chapter The Path of Peace.

"Where is his peace to be found? The answer is surprising but it is clear. In weakness. Few people are telling us this truth, but there is peace to be found in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid. Why there? Because in our weakness our familiar ways of controlling and manipulating our world are being stripped away and we are forced to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are most vulnerable, the peace that is not of this world is mysteriously hidden."

"Peace is a gift of God, often hidden from the wise and the wealthy, and revealed to those who feel empty, inarticulate, and poor."

An Africa Meditation

When I was in Africa I read several books that were life giving to me. One such book was a devotional by Henri J. M. Nouwen, "Finding My Way Home". It so moved me and challenged me in my spiritual journey. Following is one of several passages that was of particular benefit to me.

"In this world when you are chosen, you know that somebody else is not chosen. When you are the best, you know that somebody is not the best. When you win and receive a prize, you know there is somebody who lost. But this is not so in the heart of God. If you are chosen in the heart of God, you have eyes to see the chosenness of others. If the love of God blesses you, you have eyes to see the blessedness of others."

My prayer Lord is that my eyes may catch a glimpse of how you see others, how you look beyond the exterior, the personality, the facades, to the very heart of the individual. You see the pain and you see the promise. Help me to see like you.

My New Years Thoughts

I love the beginning of a new year. I love starting fresh with new projects, goals, and dreams.

This year my new years aspirations have to do with developing relationships, passionate relationships.

The first desire of my heart is to "fall deeply" in love with my Saviour, pursuing a relationship with my Creator and Friend that will change me and make me more like him.

Secondly, I desire to fall more in love with my husband, my best friend. To discover more ways about him that make me love him in a new way.

And thirdly, I want to love myself more. There is healing for me when I love who God made me to be and accept his "design" for me. It is in loving myself that I can love others more purely and sincerely.