Thursday, December 31, 2009

Because He Exists....

I'm reluctant at times to blog. Sometimes I wonder why I do it at all. I express myself better through written words than I do through speech - I process my thoughts, feelings, and emotions much easier by getting them out on paper. Yet, once they are out, there is a sense that I have exposed a part of my soul - the deep part of me that I long to protect and hide. There is fear that I may not be able to survive the criticism. There is an uncomfortableness that too many people know "too much" of me.

Not sure why that is. Wondering still, at my age, why my impulse, my reaction is to put my arms up in a defensive position. I keep sacred, a part of me that only God and few close friends know - and even then, a part that only God and I share and talk about.

But I feel compelled to write. And I keep hearing this quiet voice whisper in my ear - "write"...

So because I long to please the one that whispers softly to me, I will continue to share the thoughts and insights that come to me.

Today I was reading "The Essential Henri Nouwen" and was challenged by some of his ideas.

Last year, I would often say to myself, "it doesn't matter, it just doesn't matter.... it is the way it is..." and somehow this enabled me to accept the circumstances or consequences that I would find myself in. In a sense, it was a relinquishing of the possibility of change ever happening. But now I realize it was still "self focused". It was not really "surrendering" but rather saying, "there is no hope, it is the way it is...." a response derived from self-pity rather than a belief that God is bigger than my disappointments.

Reading today from Nouwen, his devotional talked about that very thought ..."Instead of saying 'Nothing matters any more, since I know that God exists,' the converted person says, 'All is now clothed in divine light and therefore nothing can be unimportant.' " - so everything matters.

Clothing the naked, offering a cup of water to the thirsty, expressing kindness,... everything matters....

Then he goes on to say "The 'nothing matters' and the 'everything matters', should never be separated. What brings them together is the unceasing cry coming from the heart: 'God exists.' "

This changes everything. Everything that "is", happens in God. The meaning of all that I am comes from God existing. My understanding of this changes then how I view my circumstances, my future, my dreams, my relationships, ... everything I set my hand and heart to has to come from the premise that I believe there is a supreme sovereign God that cares for me, loves me and bottom line .... exists.

His existence changes my existence, ... therefore, everything matters....everything is important. Thank God, God exists.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hold our Speech

I read recently the Daily Celtic Prayer for December 27 and it reinforced in my mind the caution we must take over our speech.
"Words of complaint can be so destructive", that this should be our rule: "Silence, unless the reason for speech will bear the searchlight of Eternity."

It is far too easy to let our opinions be known, our judgments expressed and our emotions elevate to a point that wounding takes place. This could be wounding and deliberate attack on others we feel the need to put down, or it could even be self-inflicted wounding that destroys the inner person that God made us to be.

As much as possible we need to keep a watch over our lips - guarding the gates lest something slips out without notice.

Christ, the Living Word must be the source of our spoken words. As we seek to become more like him, our tendency to speak without hesitation and consideration of what comes out of our mouth is diminished. Our hearts are softened. Our words are few and selective. Our intent is to build up, edify, correct in love and honor one another.

The thought of restraining our speech until it bears the searchlight of Eternity is a daunting task.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

It's almost time to head off to bed and say goodnight to Christmas 2009. It was a happy day but I missed having my oldest daughter and her husband and my little granddaughter here for Christmas with us. They are in South Africa for this Christmas season visiting his relatives there and celebrating his grandfolks anniversary.

So, their presence was greatly missed.

I managed to get out for a walk during the day and use it as my prayer time. Trying to understand the complexity of God becoming human will baffle me forever, but forever I will be grateful. I serve a God who is able to understand and feel the tension and sorrow that I feel and the joy and delight that I also experience. He is a God who is familiar with pain and suffering, temptation and distraction. And yet, he did not sin.

My hesitation to come close to a God who is so divine that he is unapproachable, somehow disappears when I think of him as a fellow human of flesh and blood, dirt and grime, and full of emotion. It is then that I draw him close to me - or perhaps, he draws himself close to me. Whatever the case, his presence is felt as a real live human being standing next to me - or so it seems. Suddenly, he enters my world. Experiences and feels what I feel and experience. Limits himself to the "smallness" of a human, then proceeds to embrace authentic crucifixion and death so I don't have to and all of this, to offer me the gift of salvation, a hope of eternal life, and a relationship with a God who will never abandon me.

There just isn't enough time to think this all through and understand the significance of the incarnation. But I must try. I must try, for it is in seeing God as "human", that I see him as "Divine".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This Moment

This moment right now is all I have. So I must choose how I wish to live it.

Perhaps with grace and love, kindness and affection.

Maybe with discipline, courage and perseverance.

I can't make decisions too far in the moments I may never have, but right now, I have this one

And it is so important that I choose carefully, to live it for you.

Grant me the ability to take one moment at a time and make it count

and then take the next one and make it do the same

Hold me back from living in the future, today. And from living in the past tomorrow.

For today, for this moment, right now,

Help me to live fully alive embracing all that it contains

And to be grateful that I've lived yet another one.

Holy Potter, I am Wholly Thine

Longing to be ever more pliable in your tender, gentle hands, Holy Potter, I wholly give myself to you.

Surrendering, once again, my will to come into alignment with yours.

Push, twist, shape and hold me, till I resemble once again your image for me.

Fill me, equip me, and adapt me to be all I need be, to do the task you have set before me.

And when I am broken and shattered, dirty and worn down, ....

I give myself wholly to you, again, for your retooling and remaking of this lump of clay.

A Snowy Wintery Night

I ventured out for a walk this evening. Just needed to get outside for some fresh air and exercise and time alone to think and pray. What a beautiful night that spread it's beauty before me. The air was crisp and somewhat cold, but manageable for a winter's night walk.

The snow was gently falling, straight down - no wind to blow it around. It fell quietly, silently. Each bit of snow adding to the layer beneath it. And as it fell, it glistened and sparkled. The street lights aided in the sparkling. It seemed like I was treading on paths of radiant diamonds. I smiled within my soul and expressed it on my face. There is just something about falling snow that reminds me of God's great love for the world, for me. The snow diamonds are so vast, they spread a covering of white everywhere. All the unsightly views are covered over and everything is made new and beautiful. That's what God's love does - it covers our sins, and makes us new again.

The beauty of the season reminds me too, that in the cold and dark times, there is hope, and there is a promise that life will burst forth again, the sun will melt the snow, the earth will warm and cause the soil to be a womb for new growth. And the cycle will continue. Life, death, life again...

In every stage, season, event, circumstance and predicament, God is there. Watching it all unfold. Whispering hope, and instilling courage.

Thank you God for being a God who is involved in our most treasured and most difficult moments of life. Without you, there can be no life. No hope.

You are the Hope-Giver.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Longing for Truth

Truth, I long for truth
No more fooled by random persuasion
No more deceived by by old habits
No more camouflaged by things not authentic
I long to live in truth

Guide me into ways of truth
Grant me discernment in webs of deceit
Give me clarity when obscurity is all I know
Surround me with good friends and godly counsel

I long to walk in truth,
About me
About others
About Christ
I long to live in truth

While I Sleep

Come Father, while I sleep tonight
Sneak into my hidden thoughts, my unformed, raw and sometimes carnal dreams
Speak deeply into my unconscious state -
Place divine secrets within my heart to give me hope
Fill up my empty cisterns with the warmth of your love
Tune my ears to hear the sounds of your love in ways I've
never heard before

Rest my weary muscles, my aching head
Relax the tension in my neck and shoulders from unnecessary worry
Watch over me with care and keep me safe
Keep away the dark shadows that wake me in the wee hours

As I lay down my body, my thoughts, my identity
Breathe on me oh breath of God
And fill me once again, this hallowed night
With your healing love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Invisible King

God, in his great love, allows us to build relationships and connections with others, that over time shape and form us more into the likeness of Christ. How significant and wonderful the body of Christ fits together. How precious the bonding of our hearts to one another.

God's presence surrounds us - envelopes us and holds us when we can't see him, can't feel him and can't call out to him. He is still there. Invisibly there. But there.

Oh that my eyes could see the invisible. Oh that my heart could love like his. Oh that my thoughts and my mind could understand him, this invisible friend that is faithful to the end. There is no place he cannot find me, no sin too terrible that he will not forgive, no brokenness that he cannot mend.

Oh, this Saviour, Healer, Redeemer and Friend of mine. How can I grow to love you more? How can I follow you when I can't see you? Open my eyes, open them widely, and let them behold you in all your glory.

You are my King and I long to worship and serve you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Time sets us straight

It's been such a long time since I last wrote on my blog. A lot of internalizing and soul searching, a lot of musing thoughts with the Father, and a lot of times of tears and pain.

Questioning my purpose, direction, calling, accomplishments - all those things which we tend to think about more seriously when middle age comes round the corner.

Everything is evaluated differently. Time seems to move by faster, and yet it seems we move more slowly. It takes longer to recover from a restless night than when we were younger. The ability to over extend our physical, mental and emotional state comes at a higher price now...the reserves are just not there like they used to be.

You notice things around you differently. You spend more time observing people, nature and contemplating the purpose and significance of your surroundings. An appreciation of the "simple things" takes on more relevance. For me, every fall seems to be more spectacular than the previous year; the friendship of close friends, seems dearer; the hugs from family members seem more satisfying; the time it takes to say "goodnight" to your loved one, more intimate.

The meaning of ordinary tasks just seem to be more wonderful when you realize how little time there is in all the moments of our lifetime.

Middle age, for the most part is another great adventure. Our bodies remind us we are not invincible.... our wisdom gained from past lessons and experiences give us an equity when asked our opinion. We do KNOW some things!! Life has been a great teacher. Some lessons we are still having to learn again.

I'm learning to "let things go"... "choose my battles"... "redeem the day"... don't sweat the "small things"... and to live life with a more grateful heart each day.

When it's all said and done,... our attitude will speak the loudest.... how we have journeyed through life, embraced difficulties and treated others will be our score card.

It's not too late to begin again.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Sometimes I am the ointment that is applied to the gaping wound

Sometimes I am the wind that fills the sails of the ship lost at sea

Sometimes I am the elevator that takes people one floor higher

Sometimes I am the warm blanket that is placed over those who are cold and lonely

Sometimes I am the canvas God paints

Sometimes I am the training wheels to support young riders

Sometimes I am the fragrance of beauty

Sometimes I am the chalice that holds the wine for the Eucharist

Sometimes I am the bread that is broken and multiplied

Sometimes I am the ears of God

Sometimes I am the smile of God

Sometimes I am the tears of God

Sometimes I am the one who nailed my Lord to the Cross

Sometimes I am the one casting lots for his clothes

Sometimes I am the one who breaks his heart

Always, I am the one forgiven

Always, I am the one loved

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Shrink

A recurring phrase has lodged itself within my mind for the last few weeks now. Simply stated, this is it - "don't shrink".The more expanded thought encourages me to not play small, but rise up and become what God destined me to become. Aware somewhat of what that might be, I gather courage and a stiff upper lip and attempt the difficult task.

How easy it is for me to step back and disappear among the crowds, preferring to remain "unnoticed", "plain", "insignificant". It requires less courage, less energy, and less risk of failure. After all, who wants to fail?

I never seek the spotlight. I avoid it (not that it is looking for me anyway). And yet, there are times I find myself there, not by my own choosing, but because somehow along the way, I've been invited to it.

I believe that God wants to do more in us and through us than we ever dared to imagine. Somehow, we are limited in our finite minds as to the endless possibilities of living wholly surrendered, wholly committed lives, whatever the cost. Who really knows what a life completely yielded to Christ looks like? It's in this journey of becoming like him, that we resolve, one way or another, to "not shrink", but take up our cross and follow him. And, it looks different for each one of us.

There are certain events that need to unfold by our mere participation in the role we are called to play. We must rise up, on cue, for the production to continue. We have an important part to act out that needs our specific gift and talent that we've been handed and it takes great faith to deliver what we are unsure we have been given.

So rise up, don't play small - a whole cast needs you to do your best and contribute to the ongoing building of a huge spiritual body, a living, holy organism.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Commentary on Elizabeth Gilbert - "A Different Way to Think About Creative Genius"

A reflection assignment for Ministry Module March 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the international bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love" which has launched her into literary success. This has challenged her to think differently about creative genius. She refers to the anguish creative people go through to continue to produce or create another work of inspiration, particularly after a successful accomplishment.

"Why do creative ventures make us afraid?" "Why is it that anyone should be afraid of the work that they were put on this earth to do?" "Why do we fear we cannot repeat success?" These are some of the difficult questions she poses.

"Why are people who are creative genius undone by their gift?" "We accept the notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and artistry in the end will ultimately lead to anguish."

Gilbert thinks this assumption is dangerous and it should not be perpetuated. She says we need to encourage our great creative minds to live.

Her question as to how this can be done is legitimate. How do we create safety for the artist from the onslaught of criticism and negative reactions? How do we protect the artist? For her protection she creates a psychological construct between her and the anxiety towards her writing.

Another poignant question she raises is how do we help creative people manage the risks of creativity?

Gilbert refers to the history of the Ancient Greeks and Romans and their belief that creativity did not come from within themselves but instead from a divine attendant spirit that came to humans from outside somewhere, as magical, divine entities or disembodied spirits. These spirits would help with the creative process and collaborate with the work of the artist. Then, if the work was a success or a failure, the results could be attributed to the genius and their part in the creative process. This in a sense, protected the artist from the expectation and the pressure to deliver other successful work.

Gilbert suggests this inspiration is not a part of our being but rather is a genius on loan from some unimaginable source that will be passed along to someone else when they are finished with you.

I agree that there is an element of creativity that does not always come from within us. Mastery and skill of ones craft can produce amazing work, but I believe there is an influence from a "divine" being that comes when least expected and inspires us to create in a way that is above our natural abilities and beyond our realm of creative expression. The artist never knows when this will happen so the discipline of continuing to create is necessary.

There is a point in our creative expressions that if we can forget our limitations and become like little children and believe anything is possible, then our art takes on a heightened perspective. Something happens when we begin to create. Something is released in us that was there from the beginning of our created lives. Beauty erupts, through endless ways of expression – art, music, dance, prose, and more, and we find ways to speak the language of our Creator. And this all happens because we fulfill the reason for which we were created.

I believe this sanctity happens, this holy space emerges, even if we do not know the Creator personally. His influence is within and throughout our very beings and we can not help but allow it to come forth at some point.

As created beings, we have this inherent desire to want to create. The expectation and pressure we sometimes feel about our personal work can distract and harm our ability to create freely.

Gilbert insists that we not be afraid or daunted, but continue to do our job, continue to show up for our part and if we are fortunate, our genius may show up and leave some sort of wonderment for all our efforts. "And if this happens", she says, "then 'Ole`' and if not, then 'Ole`' to you for the sheer stubbornness of showing up."

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009

God is my refuge, my hiding place. He walks beside me, goes before me and lives within me.
How can I ever escape his presence? He is with me all the time.
Why would I ever want him to leave?

Father, embrace this child of yours and hold her tightly. Protect and shield her from the storm. Strengthen the weak parts.
Then send her out again to be all that you created her to be.