We know that God whispers…the whisper of a baby born in a stable on a quiet December night…the whisper of a resurrected Lord appearing to a couple of women and a small group of disciples. And we know that our God is a God of surprises, speaking to us when we least expect it. Elijah listened in all the mighty places for the voice of God, never imagining it would come as a gentle whisper. And it’s been my experience that if we’re faithful to our time spent in sacred silence—through prayer, meditation, or anything that helps us shut out the noisy world—we’ll start to be surprised by God, too. Continue reading
Last week’s post, What Does it Really Mean to Trust God, came at a perfect time for me. Tomorrow I send my twin boys off to their first day of high school. Four more years before they strike out on their own, to see what the world and our God holds in store for them. The ticking of the clock is deafening. And so I wrote this prayer to help me remember what I have always known.
The day draws nearer
when my children will fly out into the world.
To discover, to fall, to grow, to cry
To choose, to lose their way, to find it again.
Fear grips my heart with icy fingers
What if…they choose wrong?
What if…they fall hard?
What if…they do not find their way?
I want to hold them back,
gripping them with my own icy fingers
Hands that used to let go all the time
Taking first steps, riding a bike, getting on the school bus
Why is it so hard this time?
Have I done enough?
Have I prepared them…enough?
Have I taught them…enough?
Will I ever be ready…enough?
I sigh a little
And cry a little
And pray a lot.
And then one thought echoes in my frightened, restless mind.
“Do not be afraid.”
And I remember
What I have always known.
They are in YOUR hands
And that is enough.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
In a culture that values self-reliance and individual freedom, trusting God can be a huge challenge. In a world that has the potential to throw us any number of curveballs, sending our lives into a tailspin in an instant, trusting God takes a lot of effort.
Yet, every once in awhile, you come across one of those people who doesn’t seem to be plagued by these worries. They put their full trust in God. I trust that God will handle this situation. For so many years, I never understood these people, or their unflappable belief that all would be well. Why aren’t you worrying about this?!? Their calm statements that God would provide often felt like platitudes to me. Just something people say. They couldn’t possibly mean it all the time.
What if God doesn’t provide? What if all won’t be well? Continue reading
As a follow up to my last post, Broken and Beautiful, I offer you this simple and lovely parable about a flawed pot. Take some time today to think about how your flaws might be working toward a special purpose.
A Water Bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one-and-a-half pots of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes my water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, we would not have such beauty.”
Divine Creator, you are the Water Bearer, cleansing us with mercy and forgiveness. Your water refreshes us like newly fallen rain.
Heavenly God, your amazing love has the power to set us free and make us whole. May we always turn to You for forgiveness and healing.
God of Love, bless our “cracked-pot” days, when we cannot see past our brokenness and flaws. May each crack become a place where your grace may enter.
A few years ago, a very dear friend showed me a page from her journal. It was a letter she had written. “Dear God,” it read. “Please help me fix the following things about myself.” And it went on for two pages, listing 20 or 30 things she felt were wrong about her. It broke my heart. If only she could see what I saw. A devoted friend, wife, and mother. A funny, warm, enthusiastic person who cared so much about others. I wanted to shout at her, “Rip up that list!!”
Like so many of us, my friend saw herself as something broken. A cracked pot. But what I also saw in my friend was longing. A longing to be better. To become some perfect ideal of herself, before she felt truly loved and accepted by God. Waiting until she was whole. Continue reading
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon him while he is near.
Would you consider yourself a seeker?
Do you find yourself always on the lookout for God, longing to know more about Him, longing to find Him and to hear His voice? Celtic Christianity has a wonderful concept called “thin places.” According to this belief, a “thin place” is one where “the veil between heaven and earth is lifted.” God’s presence is so strongly felt, that the human and the divine are only separated by a very thin space. Because Ireland is full of such beautiful natural landscape, many of these “thin places” were believed to be sacred places in nature. The cliffs, the ocean, the rocky landscape.
But thin places can be found anywhere—a comfy chair on your back porch, a hidden path through the woods, a busy city street. And thin places can also be found in moments of time: the birth of a child, a family celebration, a moving liturgy, a beautiful song, or an experience helping someone in need. The important thing is that when you encounter one of these thin places, you experience an encounter with God. My husband has always said he feels closest to God among the mountains of Vermont, with their green brilliance and lofty peaks. Continue reading
Be still and know that I am God
Mighty God, all I need to do is look at your marvelous and audacious act of creation to know that you are God. Light and day. Land and sky. Seed and stars. Bird and lion. You created us from dust and breathed life into us. In your image you created us. Help me always remember this first and ancient moment of connection with you, my Divine Creator.
Be still and know that I am…
Loving God, when Moses approached your glory at the burning bush, he asked for your name. You responded simply “I AM.” Isn’t that just like you! Giving Moses a name that is not really a name. Be with me during those times that you are mysterious and hard to know. Do not remain a hidden God. Draw me close to you in intimacy and companionship.
Be still and know…
Infinite God, I know that my human brain cannot begin to comprehend all that you are. Help me to know you. Reveal yourself to me in your Word, in those around me, and in all of creation. Infuse me with the spark of realization that you are All in All.
Patient God, being still is not easy for me. I have no problems stilling my body, but my mind is another story. Racing thoughts about what must be done, what must be worried over, what must be controlled and managed. Help me sink into the quiet, like a green meadow or a peaceful stream. Let the stillness become a new way for me to hear you. Whispering to me. Calling my name. Singing me a love song.
You breathed life in me so many years ago so I could BE. Not do, or accomplish, or fret, or undertake, or organize, or control. Just BE. Give me a glimpse of your heavenly dream for me. Help me be according to your will.
What is the most tired you’ve ever been?
This question is very easy for me to answer… because I am the mother of twins. My boys are fourteen years old now, but it seems like just yesterday that I brought them home as infants. I remember a lot of joy from their first year of life. Quite honestly there’s a lot I think I blocked out! But one thing I remember with crystal clarity is how tired I was. Eight feedings a day times two. Endless diaper changes. Mounds of laundry. Plus all the anxiety and fear that comes along with being a brand new mother. For me, it gave new meaning to the word exhaustion – a tiredness that went straight through to the very marrow of my bones. I remember when the boys were about six weeks old, I had to have a very small surgical procedure to have an atypical skin blemish removed from my leg. It was out-patient surgery with general anesthesia. The nurses wondered why I was so excited to be put to under. “Just let me sleep as long as you possibly can!” The kind of rest I needed in those days was rest for my body. The meeting of a biological need with very clear physical symptoms. Continue reading