My Autumn Doxology (revised edition one)

nature red forest leaves

Photo by Pixabay

In the autumn of my life I am walking purposefully and briskly until winter comes. I gladly release the past more often now.  Sources of shame that I have carried too far are easily shed. I exhale slowly, mindful of silence in its fullness. I cherish Hope in all of its color that now paints my days and nights. I smile when I hear the church bells chime on each hour as if to remind me of all the people who have come before. That great cloud of witnesses from Adam’s first breath to mine…

In moments of stillness I do not despair rather I find peace in the untended vine and the helter skelter of a long-standing fence whose boundaries it marked long forgotten…there are no more sad funerals only more seasons…

I am invigorated to finish my life well. I take in each moment with my family and find unspeakable Joy in them. The unconditional pure love for my children and grandchildren is inexhaustible. I watch my grandchildren playing. They dash by me and run and shriek with innocent laughter. How free they are. They have never betrayed anyone or themselves. I am humbled to know them…

Dusk comes early in autumn. Wood smoke scents the air. The light of the fire nurtures my ragged bones and sooth them with new energy.  I know that the Heavenly Host will soon sing along with me the Doxology that is the Autumn of my life and I will be called from this world  and I will gladly go…Eden has not gone. It still is there in the ancient fertile crescent where the four rivers dance down from the Holy mount pouring out the water of life. The tree of life still stands in the center its leaves twirl and twinkle in the milky pure golden light that has no beginning and no end…and again the Doxology of the Holy will  endlessly rise in awe and sweetness to the King of Glory…

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

This post is dedicated to the writer of The Ragged Edge of Night by the talented artist Olivia Hawker. She knows why and what she did for me. She helped me not compromise the writer that I want to be…like her. Read her book. You will be inspired in wherever your path takes you.

 

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 on  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.