Sabbath

I woke up at five this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. By six I knew that it was going to be a long day. By six-thirty I had snuck down into my work area and knew that everything would be o.k. as long as I stayed right where I was.

Down here in the quiet, surrounded by my artsy-craftsy chaos I am peaceful. I should probably let my friends know that for the next week and a half I have zero intention of poking my head out of my basement, that every waking moment during every sleeping moment of my little mister will be spent right here, at my desk, on my chair creating something, anything and everything I can think of.

I am an introvert but loneliness has prompted me to strive for extrovertedness. Yes I know that is really not a word. I have been trying to meet with people and be mindful that others have needs for face to face relationship. I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and pursue people more. But my introvertedness ( yeah I know ) always ends up winning out and I am exhausted.

I love what I do every day and would never give up taking care of my little sweetie, and I love my friends and don’t want to give them up either, but I also love quietly creating things that make my heart happy. I love seeing a blank piece of paper become a card. And in the moments that I am satisfied with my creation…….then I finally find rest for my soul.

Maybe that is what God means about the Sabbath. Maybe we are all supposed to be doing something, anything that is creative and productive and then resting in it. We make it a day of the week, we make it a religious rule or law, we make it our “day off” or whatever….but I am beginning to think that in part observing the Sabbath is also a state of our mind and heart.

I feel joined to God when I am creating something. Or when I move my furniture around and I love the new look my room has, or even just putting together a new look for my bed. Creatively productive. Because God put that in me. The need and the ability to be creative and productive. It is rest for my soul.

So this morning, so exhausted after a long week of caring for my little mister, rearranging all my furniture, giving my bed a new look, I came downstairs and reveled in the chaos of my work area and rested in having been creatively productive. Thank You God for making me remember you in all I do.

Like a Tidal Wave

I am just sitting in my kitchen after a decent day with the usual amount of fatigue and stress……eating my sunflower seeds playing some mind numbing game…….and right in the middle of it like a tidal wave grief sweeps in and breaks my heart. Again.

Grief is like that you know, it strikes when you least expect it. It hides when you think it should come out and it always engulfs my whole being when it comes. Like a tidal wave.

I miss my friend today more than I have since the day she died. I don’t know why, today was nothing special. I didn’t go anywhere we had been or spent time, or done anything that we planned to do together.

But grief is like that. It comes when it wants to and it leaves when it wants to.

I have spent a lot of time picturing her with that smile that lights up a room, running through heaven and sitting and debating with Jesus, always with the joy that was such an inherent gift to her. It has always softened the edges of grief to picture that. I would never want to take heaven from her.

But not so much today. Today I want to ask why she can’t be here And be healed? I want to say That God SHOULD have healed her here. I wasn’t ready for this yet. And neither was she. Or maybe she was. But again, why didn’t God just heal her? Best of both worlds ….. at least in my book.

Grief is like that too. It tries to make bargains when all the bargaining is done. It tries to box with shadows, it makes you want to scream into the wind and try to catch the air. That is what it feels like when grief comes with the finality of death.

And so you brush it away, the anger, the questions, the…… ? …… I don’t even know what to call it, but whatever it is I brush it aside like the bangs that get in my eyes…. and it works sometimes.

But then one day it doesn’t work and grief comes, and hurt over your loss, and endless questioning. Forever questioning and doubting that you did enough or too much. That you said enough or too much. Shouldacouldawoulda DID I? because I think that knowing that would somehow lessen the grief. But that is a lie.

Grief is like that, it makes you question ……. and doesn’t always give you the answer.

Grief is like a big, fat, wet, all consuming tidal wave.

And then it is gone, just gone. The beach is once more calm and bright and sunny with a light breeze of remembrance of joyful friend.

It is like that, like a tidal wave, it comes and then it goes again.

Tomorrow will be better and I know my grief will be lessened. But for today, I honor my friend by missing her, by wishing she was here and by loving her enough to let grief be grief and joy be joy when that comes too.

And The Wars Wage On

It never ends anymore does it? I mean all of our little wars, they never really end. If it is not one thing in our lives it is another or another…

When I was a kid we didn’t have any of the technology that is available too us today. We had a newspaper and encyclopedias for information. We had gossip and word of mouth if we wanted to get the dirt. We had the radio and the nightly news if we wanted to know anything important. Other than that though our days were blissfully ignorant. If we wanted to know something or spread something you had to work to get it done.

Not anymore, we can now twitter or tweet ( whatever you call it ) we can instagram, blog ( like me ) and of course there is facebook. Everything we want is at our fingertips.

And the beautiful thing about these new technologies is not just that you can find any information you are looking for but you can wage war against anything or anyone that you would like and never have to confront it or them. And you don’t even have to get dressed to do it. You can hide behind a phone or computer screen and get front row seats to families and friends waging a war or you can wage your own and give all your “friends” and “family” front row seats to your battle.

Let me be honest. I have done my share of fighting a silent war on facebook. I have posted my little “messages” and aired things that didn’t need aired. Thankfully I don’t have a phone capable of twittering or you can be sure I would have hung some nasty zingers out to dry on that too. We all do it or have done it to some degree or another, it is after all in our nature to want to be in the know and for others to know that we are.

But lately I have wanted better than that. I don’t mind sharing anothers burdens or struggles on public media. It gives me a chance to stop, read and pray for a friend who has just lost a loved one, or is going through a divorce or just had a stressful day. Public media gives me the chance to know a 2nd cousin I have never met in real life….roots…. I love that.

But it also gives me a chance to gossip, to harbor bitterness, to get fuel for my fire. It gives me a chance to be a hater. Every post that I read that I know is a secret code for jabbing someone lets me sit in the seat of judgement a little to comfortably……which when you think about it really I am trying to sit on the throne of the Most High because He is the only one with the right to judge.

It feels that everything now a days is in your face, in your face, IN YOUR FACE, demanding that you pay attention to it. And I do pay attention to it even when I know I shouldn’t.

Everyone believes that their version of the truth is the real version and they must get their message out so that they can poke holes in the truth of the other versions, so they can be patted on the back for confronting lies……..or tearing down the walls of the enemy. We only end up tearing each other down in the end.

Really there is only one version of the truth that matters and it is not ours. It is God’s. Maybe we ( I ) should be seeking God’s view of the truth before we spew ours. Maybe we ( I ) should keep our wars as private wars a bit more instead of dragging everyone we “know” to the arena.

I am not saying that there is not a legitimate need to confront sin or that God doesn’t want sin exposed for what it is. What I am saying is that maybe we should be led by the Holy Spirit on the how and the when rather than sitting behind a computer screen shooting helpful zingers that are really aimed at proving our point to the other parties.

I raise my hand and I say I am guilty of this. And truthfully right now I want to be guilty of it again. I want to have my say. But my heart is kind of weary of seeing it from others, of knowing situations and watching a silent but very real war waged in public. I think to myself…..do I want to be a part of that? Do I want to be part of something that pollutes and discourages others hearts?

Or do I want to use this wonderful public media to encourage? I would rather be an encourager. Like I said, I don’t mind seeing peoples hurts and frustrations and I don’t mind putting some of mine out there. But when it comes to waging silent wars on public media…..I just think wow I am so tired of being used as a bat to hurt others or using others as my bat to dish out hurt. Because isn’t that what we do when we pull innocent bystanders into our battles? we get so busy flinging mud that we don’t realize or we don’t care that the mud has only hit the people who have nothing to do with any of it.

Philippians 4:8
The Message (MSG)
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Grabbing for the Glory

Over the last two weeks I have found myself angry and questioning again. Mad because it seems that every single time that something beautiful and Godly and wonderful begins to happen along comes a man to ruin it.

That is as far as I let my mind get but sometimes that thought gets pretty close the edge of judgment and pride. And I really, really, really don’t want to jump off that cliff today.

I have watched to many times as God begins to live and breathe in a place, as people begin to get free and to move in grace, God’s oh so wonderful creation man just has to get in there and make a grab and stab for the glory of God. Grabbing the glory for themselves what should only be given to God and stabbing the people around him in the process.

This time is no different. But I can’t let myself think to much on it. I can’t let those thoughts plant seeds of anger with deep roots of bitterness. I have already done that and I think I will be digging out those particular roots for the rest of my life!

But another thought occurs to me……Isn’t that what all men do? Don’t we all go around with a grab and stab instinct? Trying to grab the glory for ourselves and stabbing our friends in the process? And doesn’t that make us as much a part of the problem as anyone?

I don’t say that to make it easier for the grabber/stabber. My sin does not justify your sin and we all need to be held accountable for what we do. After all, none of us gets to drag our peers before the throne and say “he made me do it”.

I don’t know how God continues to put up with us. All of us. He creates something divine and we the un-divine do our best to take credit for it and then when we ruin it we have no problem casting the blame of the ruin on others.

We’ve all done it.

I am so disappointed in my church closing, in the how and the why it happened. I am disappointed because it initially was a place of healing for our family. And it hurts to see something so beautiful get so twisted. but somehow it gives me a greater picture of God’s grace. Because I know that I am guilty of muddying the beauty of what God has created. Because I know I am part of the problem and His true beauty and grace shines the brightest in the middle of my darkest.

And if He can shine through me? He can shine through grabbing and stabbing of this circumstance also. So I think I will just wait to see Him shine through this disappointment .