October Blue

scenic view of beach

Photo by Pixabay 

 

All of the tourists have gone away

there is no more t-shirts for sale today

The rest of the locals are raising a toast

back to the quiet and the pull of the moon

No footprints in the sand, no hurrying to do

 

 

There is no other sky like October blue

the deep green waves call out to you

My heart is captured by the lure of the Sea

that autumn wind still carries me

I want to walk o n the beach in my old sweatshirt

Just looking for shells and listening to the surf

Joy Without Distortion…an invitation

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography

Photo by Artem Bali

 

I grew up in church. My Dad was a pastor and a brilliant Bible preacher/teacher. He was a man who knew he was flawed and he taught me about God’s Grace. I am so thankful for my parents lives and examples. However…

From the Church in general I received two conflicting messages. One message is that God has saved me by his precious shed blood, death and resurrection through Jesus. That God has redeemed me. The other and opposite message is that in my sin I could ultimately be disappointing to God and somehow left outside of his love.

This left me with a heart shredded in doubt, and lack of trust. I didn’t really know if God is good or angry.

The writer Hud McWilliams says it this way, “if we accept that God exists but we can’t embrace his goodness as an “absolute” then we will remain stuck developmentally. If we believer there is a God and we need to be in relationship with him, yet because he is a mystery and Old Testament stories often portray him as violent, we are left with the grinding puzzlement over just how he can be trusted, instead of the basis for living with the God-being who is pure love and kindness, we are afraid of messing up and being punished. This is the deadly mixture of good with enough distortion that we lose the ability to access the freeing power of TRUTH. God does not change; we simply have twisted messages so that we are no longer getting at the truth.”

Our behavior, for me anyway, became the litmus test of my Christianity. Did I read my Bible and pray everyday? Did I join the choir? Did I attend enough church to be “all in?” These “works” were somehow to appease an angry God? All of this left me believing that God is not “absolutely” good but my story does not end here…

I found that God does not play games with me. His love is not based on human performance. The question of God’s goodness gets to the core of “how we think about Him.” If we want to talk about God and his goodness and love, we have to start with Jesus.

Jesus is the complete understanding of God in all of his fullness! Jesus taught that he was God. Contrary to today’s post-modern Pluralism we don’t get to decide what Truth is. We are not arbiters of truth. God’s goodness is not based on our personal views and thoughts. Jesus recognized no such basis for truth. He in fact states multiple times in scripture “I am the Truth.”

Jesus also said and the Apostle John affirmed in all of his writings that He (John and many more people) were “eye witnesses” that “God is love, Jesus is the light of the world, and that there is NO darkness in him at all.”

So, I found my answer in the relationship He (Jesus) invited me and invites you into with himself and God the Father and God the Spirit. God in not against us. He invites us to joy without distortion. God has nothing to do with evil. He does not cause evil he redeems it. His Holiness and love only exalts his goodness. His righteousness cannot diminish because of evil. His goodness always overcomes!

God’s absolute goodness gives me permission to be human and he has shown nothing but grace and mercy toward my human state. The Good God that I now trust completely has allowed me to understand my guilt of sin and relieves me of my toxic shame. This goodness is found in the midst of illness, job loss, divorce, loss of love or loss of a loved one. In the midst of suffering his Goodness never changes. His goodness is the source of life and joy.

God forgives us not because we “do” something nor does he ever withhold his forgiveness. His goodness toward us exists because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That is the truth. Truth is a person. His name is Jesus. He is the good shepherd who will always go after the one stray sheep among the ninety-nine.

I invite you to join me in the fullness of Joy in God’s goodness without distortion. Truth stands alone but He welcomes all who will believe.

 

to read more of Hud McWilliams get his book… “Discipline of Disturbance (Stop waiting for Life to Be Easy)!!!

Are not the scars part of the beauty?

flight landscape nature sky

Photo on Pexels.com

The ocean’s wind catches each regret, each sin, and sorrow throwing it into the eternity of a perfect God to be forever forgotten.  In the light of the moon a young woman, who thought the stars would stop shining above her found the Maker of the stars and the freedom and love and the lullaby He sang washing over her in waves. So now I am drifting, sailing free in the light of summer love and I know that I am saved. I  know that I was lost and you came to find me.

On that day when the sun tipped over the edge of the earth and spilled colors like buckets of orange, pink, and violet as a reminder of the power of Holy light. The young woman once ravaged and scarred by guilt and shame found joy in the warmth of The Son. Lifted from the darkness you came for me .  I was lost and you lifted me in your arms and by your own wounds, scars, and stripes you healed me.

It is always worth mending that which is broken. This is the heartbeat of God’s love. The fractures, wounds, and scars are remarkably purified like gold after the pain of repentance has done its work making every broken piece precious in His sight transforming those that are broken into the Holy wholeness of the Holy One whose image we bear.

In the end are not the scars part of the beauty? Oh yes! I think Jesus, when we meet him will show us his perfectly mended scars in his human-ness  even though He is now glorified. He is always perfect. I think he will say “yes, these scars represent each of you and they are beautiful.”

 

No Darkness at All…

art blur bright burn

Photo by George Becker

If you have lived any part of your life without receiving the love of Christ then you have known the dark places that lie at the heart of what may or may not appear to be light. Like many Christians before me I am compelled and pushed toward this light driven somewhat to the point of desire for perfect love, which cast out all fear. In the book of first John he states, “this is the message, in Him there is no darkness

I hope in these words daily. What an astounding profound statement and fact. I want this person, Jesus, who is the Light. I want to bathe in it, live in it, and roam the halls of eternity in His warming light.

 This marvelous, scandalous love of the God/man Jesus intrigues me so.
Although love has the component of something sweet that makes me “feel” good most of that time it is only a fraction of the Wholeness in Him.
REAL LOVE it dawns on me is dangerous, not safe. Love is risky. It will get hold of you from the inside out and its grip is so tight that if we could stand the squeeze we find ourselves willing to do anything for its sake. In the words of the warrior-child Lucy in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicle of Narnia I am reminded over and over of the fact that God is absolutely GOOD but He is not safe.
He is the one who says, “I’ll risk myself and come down to you because I choose you and so you may find me and be amazed at my pure light of love and glory. It will do you Good for Good is who I am.”

the subject of suffering is a hot bed of emotions in the human realm.

selective focus photography of tree leaves

Photo by Egor Kamelev 

 

I have been “leaning into” the book called The Gospel According to Job or about three years…the subject of suffering is a hot bed of emotions in the human realm. The one million light bulbs that go off in my head like some crazy paparazzi event when I contemplate truly suffering usually sends me into an endorphin crisis. Some have said to me “well, if you had more faith…blah blah blah…” ( God is the one who gives faith and I Love that. He will measure out to me the Faith and Grace and Mercy I need from his very own hand he gives it to me).
I am seeing more clearly what is the heart of Job. He has become a friend to me. He is what is called a “type” of Jesus (foretold in the Ancient Testament). Job had unmerited suffering put upon him. It was allowed by God. (This right here will upset many of you but I believe God can allow whatever he sees best to befall anyone. I believe this because I know that God is more Good and more wild and transcendent and more terrifyingly wonderful than I have ever even begun to know!!!) Job was a man who pleased God yet lost all his family and home. All of his children in one day…cannot even go there!
Anyway I am saying all of that to say the story of Job is not about suffering in the way I always use to think, even though suffering is well displayed in its pages. The story of Job is that for him the worst thing that could ever happen was that he might lose his Peace with God…think about that.

Coffee and antiseptic…I was young and new at loss…

architecture daylight door entrance

Photo by Erkan Utu

 

Coffee and antiseptic is the smell of the hospital to me. That smell is as familiar as coming home and while I know for  many people   this odd combination of fragrance carries a myriad of meanings and feelings.

What began as a life long journey for this  twenty-two year old  woman of such an innocence has in the last forty years become one of the most essential teachers of Wisdom on my road map of life.

Forty years ago I was young and new at Loss. Not a master of loss as I am now…

I learned that while “science/medicine/technology” gives a perception of control it simply cannot ultimately answer the deep questions of life. Science can achieve many wondrous feats but it is powerless in its outcome alone.

Once you see a patient’s eye shine with gratitude or you hold a total stranger in your arms as their life tumbles down around them one of two things will happen. Either your heart will break (which is okay and mine often has) or your blood will cringe and you will not be able to stay.

In the halls, rooms, and waiting rooms of this place that smells like coffee and antiseptic I have learned that as driven as we are to present our lives as if full and orderly the soul of a human and the meaning of life cannot be answered by mere science and knowledge.

The stuff life is made of goes on outside of these walls…Normal stuff…pushing your baby on a swing…normal stuff…listening to your clothes dryer hum all night long because you never get all the laundry done…on and on this list could go…normal stuff.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

 

 

Slow dancing home…

person in blue shirt on sunflower field photo shot

Photo by Rhiannon Stone

 

Sun flowers turn their face toward the sun everyday of summer…

The ocean is pulled and pushed by the tide without missing a beat…

With each succeeding step I take in this slow dance I see less brambles and thorns and more rich colored roses…

I see bright green leaves of trees and the glorious redness of an apple… 

The high meadow mountain where the four rivers flow is getting closer and closer…

The lushness of Eden beckons and sings with the swaying pines…

The scent of jasmine and wisteria mingle through the air…

There is a warm wind that brings the warmth of summer yet I can see the harvest of fall and the daffodils and green of spring all at the same time…

The song of the rivers sing a Holy melody and I dance slowly on…

And oh such music, I can hear it so clearly in the laughter of children and the cries of the hurting…

Each step of this slow dance feels exactly right and I know I am dancing home…

 

 

 

Next Generation of The Church…

pexels-photo-247195.jpeg

 

I truly love my daughter’s generation (thirty somethings), well I don’t love all of their music (I can’t believe I am my parents)…I have enormous respect for their mantra…”I don’t have all the answers and neither do you.” I love how they can smell a “fake of any kind” within seconds! They live in a culture that isn’t buying into Christian consumerism, they are not for sale. They do not want to be entertained at Church (God knows there is enough entertainment in social media). They want to know God, experience His real presence and find worship in their own hearts that is not manufactured for one day a week on a stage. I just love that! I will say it absolutely terrifies me as well. The shift in our world to “postmodernism” makes me feel like I am floating in slow motion in water through a world I recognized but it is slipping away. Part of this exhilarates me and part of it so uncomfortable that my heart races, I am anxious, and will wake in the middle of the night and pray. I pray that they won’t throw the baby out with the bath water in some kind of reverse Dogma.
This tension is a must in the relationships of life. The relationship with the God who made us right down to the people who love us for better or worse. The thing is Jesus and “tension” go hand in hand. If we study his life we will see that His “absolutes” were few but man were they TENSE! So simple yet so “in your face”…”hear the word of the Father and do it and love others and forgive everyone else”…are you kidding me?
God intensely loves my children’s generation. No one wants more for our kids than God does! I believe that. For me it is evident in the women my girls have become in spite of me. Their grace and graciousness continue to astound me.
So when I feel alien in a postmodern world I look at them. At the Jesus in them and I take a deep breath and I know that Jesus made a way for every generation to find Him, to come to Him, and that through Him they will find the presence of God’s peace. So when I am not panicking or praying I am cheering them on with all my heart, my love, and my being to “press on” to love Jesus, love others and forgive all.

Reversing Thunder

lightning on the sky

Photo by Ayu Shaky

 

You were fascinated by my  turnings

Women chatter in the market place

I’ve now  gone further than your worries

See the lines upon my face?

 

I need solitude to  write I said

I’m lacking the academic brain

It’s so hard not to steal the moments

before they fly off into space.

 

I speak your promises back to you oh God

Reversing Thunder by your Holy Word!

There is no other Truth to stand on

this sums up all I’ve learned!