First Steps…

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Eve picSuddenly, the Breath entered and the darkness became Light…

Her eyes had not quite adjusted to this Light, and she covered them.  Slowly, she stood. She felt strangely secure.  As she removed her hand shading her eyes, she noticed her surroundings.  Everything was of such exquisite beauty. The lushness of the trees and grasses. The flowers were vibrant in color and scent. The sky was painted a hundred shades of blue and when the breezes came; the sky would shift like pages of a book and the color of rainbows came into view.

She began to feel her surroundings. The cool dirt beneath her bare feet, the coolness of the breeze ruffling through her hair.  What was this? Where was she, who was she?

These were questions only The Creator could answer.

When she took her first step, it was as if lightning went through her.  The dust of the ground began to give way when Someone took her hand.

Her senses were coming to life.  She heard whispers and felt the wind on her skin.  She heard rushing water.  She smelled honeysuckle and lilac. She saw foundations of sapphire, emerald, and chrysolite. Maybe the Light was emanating from there…

How did she know these things, these smells, these sounds…these colors…?

This Light;  it could be blinding if she looked at it straight on, but if she tilted her head just slightly, then she could see a form…

Oh, yes…this Form, this Someone was holding her hand.

All at once, her eyes were opened to the Light;  she could behold it and her eyes did not burn. But something was ignited  in her heart.  She could not look away…

As she beheld Him, she felt the flame begin to burn. Deep within her, love was awakened just as planned.

She became acutely aware that this Someone created her. This Someone loved her. This Someone knew her…

She couldn’t help it.  She had to ask because she had to know…

“Do you have a name?”

No words were spoken at that moment for the Light began to envelop her. It swirled in the air as spun gold and it wrapped itself around her as a robe. She looked as if she was clothed with the sun. Wisdom and Knowledge made themselves known; fully known…

Deep within her, she heard Thunder. She looked and the Form was no longer there; it was a Tree.  As she fixed her eyes, this Tree began to sway and move as if it had life. It was as if this Tree had words to say…

Then it began. The leaves of the Tree whispered wisdom and knowledge to her soul. It was if they had the ability to speak all things…things of the unknown past, and things of the unknown future…but that part she didn’t hear. There were some things left hidden to her ear only to be revealed by future decisions..

She only heard about the Ancient of Days.  How from the foundation of the earth it was written. It all was written, from beginning to end; before any of it came to be; it was to be done.

How long this took, she did not know; time was not measured here.

Finally, the answer to her question came.

My name is “I AM”.

And with that, it all became clear.

He was everything she needed. He was not only her Creator, but He was her God, her Protector, Teacher, and Friend.

He was the Lover of her soul.  He loved everything about her; she knew it. She didn’t have to ask Him, she knew it deep within her.

And she also knew this;

She loved Him…and no matter what would happen; neither of those things would change.

And within the security of that knowledge; Woman took her first step into the Garden…

CITIZEN by Rob Peabody… a book review

Rob Pecitizenabody is getting it right. I knew that within the first few pages of his book, CITIZEN.  He is a “reformed” western pastor. I write this with a smile…the words, reformed western pastor, they leave a few butterflies in my belly. Why? Because Rob Peabody gives me hope. Hope that there is a chance I may learn to live this life as a christian in a western world of religion where we need authenticity, and please, not another tee-shirt.

Do you understand what I am saying? I wrote about it in my review of Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker.

Relationships. Authenticity. Servanthood. Slave.

In a world where WWJD is used mostly as an idolized mantra, where being a “christian” is the cherry on top of a “sunday”, ( there’s a play on words here, did you get it?) :) In a world being run over by the religion of tolerance in place of true-hearted love and grace, some of us are a little weary and need some authenticity.

Rob Peabody brings  it. Full on.

“Religion and sin taint and confuse the message and person of Jesus”. pg. 155

We can’t mix it intentionally; religion and sin. We can’t think we can be religious and even get into the Kingdom of Heaven. See Matthew 7. They all thought they were doing it just fine, prophesying, casting out demons, doing miraculous signs…yet they were ousted. Why?

Relationship. There wasn’t a real one with Jesus.

We can’t change a world with wearing crosses around our necks, tattooing them on our wrists or wearing one more of our Monday thru Friday religious tee shirts. In fact, pagans bellied up to the bangles and beads and tattoos…Jesus said we are to clothe ourselves in righteousness…His, not ours.

We need to start wearing our wedding clothes. Jesus talks about this too in Matthew…

Now it sounds as if I’m against all of what I just wrote. Nope. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I love signs and wonders, the gifts of the Spirit, I wear a cross around my neck, an arm load of bangles and leather, would love a tattoo and every once in awhile you can see me with a Jesus shirt on. What I’m saying is, it pretty much doesn’t change the world as a whole. It may be an open door, or maybe I should pause and use that in the past tense,…used to be an open door. Now, I feel it is becoming a door that is slammed in our faces. Again, why?

Authenticity.

We are so afraid of being real. Or, we maybe we just don’t have any idea who we really are; as an individual or a body…Rob Peabody addresses this in CITIZEN.

So if you are having an identity crisis…Read it.

If your church is founded on sand…Read it.

If you are tired of a His Kingdom being fractured by religion…Read it.

If you are ready to see a different side of the Kingdom…Read it.

You simply will not be disappointed. In fact, you may find yourself planting your feet with a little more force, with a little more boldness, with a little more grace, and a lot more love.

Thank you Rob Peabody for sending me your book and the opportunity not only to read it, but to hopefully plug it just a bit!

Life Among the Pagans…

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Ancient_church_ruins_near_TigranakertYes, I was warned, but so were they, that was obvious; at least from the beginning…someone new was coming and there were those that weren’t happy about it.  In fact, the response was; “you are sending me a (expletive) Bible beater”!!??  As you can tell, I wasn’t the most desirable addition to the Little House on Willow.  But, this was my assignment, and like it or not, the table was set and there were two empty chairs.

 And one was to be filled by me.

This Little House was filled with…pagans. Yes, I said; pagans.

They were self-absorbed, self-reliant, strong-willed, and very demanding.  They could be ruthless to anyone who crossed their path.  Yet, in spite of that, tenderness was just beneath the surface.  They bruised easily.

 After all, they were flesh and blood…

The days and weeks passed and I suddenly found myself in a very precarious situation.  I found myself enjoying life with the pagans.  Moreover, they appeared to enjoy me…how?  Why?  I was the “misfit”; I didn’t fit in.

 After all, I was the Bible beater of the House…

According to what I was taught in church, I wasn’t to mix with the pagans. Oh, it was fine to go and witness, or evangelize; that was acceptable.  In fact, I should, it made me look good to God and increased church value.  But to live among the pagans, well, that was simply a cause for alarm…

What if I stumbled and fell?  What happened if they somehow rubbed off on me?  Or worse yet, what if I became like them???

The next three years changed my life.

Did I stumble? Yes, but I don’t need the pagans to do that. I am perfectly capable of on my own.

Did they rub off on me?  Absolutely.

Did I become like them?  My answer to that is this; I hope so…

This Little House, this wonderful heathen filled house lived...and they lived transparent lives. They were real.  They never hid behind masks and truth was never far from their lips.  All of the good and all of the bad sat right there in front of you; take it – or – leave it.  It made no difference to them.

These people endured difficult times.  They endured drugs, divorce, infidelity, and death.  Yet these ugly demons could not penetrate the House. They could not take anyone down to the depths…Why?

We were rooted and grounded in love.  And when one part of the House suffered; we all suffered.

There were no religious rules in the Little House.  We all sat and ate from the same table. We were all equals.  No doctrines of men could be found in this Little House.

This was the purest form of church I had ever experienced. Respect and submission mingled with servanthood and love.

And although at the time, many in the House did not know it or understand it~

we were bound by a cord of three strands…

This Little House was contrary to the mainstream church.  It is not acceptable to be vulnerable or weak.  It is not acceptable to be transparent; to show all the good along with all the bad.  And it is certainly not acceptable to enjoy the pagans.

We are to point out their sin and convert them by condemnation.

Jesus chose to live with sinners.  In fact, He chose twelve rejects of the mainstream church as His closest friends.

Twelve men, turned away from the mainstream church, chosen by Jesus, the Son of God, to change history.

This group of thirteen men were the church.  In fact, they were the first church; functioning as intended; Jesus as the Head, and those with Him learning and attempting to live it out.  Not always perfect; but always seeking the right thing and seeking to please the heart of Jesus.

Jesus was a friend to sinners; He was kind and gentle. Always giving them the Truth, but never rejecting them as people. He embraced those that were “unfit”; the woman with the issue of blood; Jesus took time with one that was a cast off from society.  He ate many a meal with tax collectors, and allowed a prostitute to wash His feet with her hair…

The religious people were stunned at such a life. They didn’t know how to handle One who would give Himself over to “living among the pagans”…

It stirred their emotions to the point of murder.

“He who is without sin, cast the first stone”…

One day while at the Little House on Willow, I realized I wasn’t living among the pagans. No, I was living out the Kingdom; the Kingdom that Jesus talked about; the one He taught about.

The Kingdom that He lived out.

I was tied to these people.  It was a cord of three strands….when one stumbled there were many who were there to help him stand again.  Free of judgement, free of shame.

We realized we weren’t defined by our iniquities. We were defined by our Head and the life we lived; together in unity, as one body…

Each one as different as the hand and foot…

This is what happens when Love comes down.  Unconditional love…Merciful love…

This is what happens when judgement is put aside.

This is what happens when you stop talking and just listen.

This is what happens when you remove yourself from the head of the table...

Love comes down to dwell.  And when Love dwells; things change.  Lives change.

So my time at the Little House was coming to an end and I had wondered if I had been able to leave a mark of Truth, a mark of Jesus inside those walls.

So, what happened to those pagans?

Well, they were woven into the very fabric of God.

Some were baptized, some were healed, some recommitted themselves to their spouse, some held a Bible study in their home, some brought light to a dark place, and some just simply found what they had been looking for; Jesus…all of this was simply Jesus.

But in all of this, what was more important was what happened to me; the Bible beater.

I found that I could be transparent too.

I could stumble and they wouldn’t flinch.

I could fall on my face and my faith not be questioned.

I was never judged for my beliefs; they just accepted me; all of me…and that included Jesus.

So, today, my heart longs for the Little House on Willow…because of them I was forever marked for Kingdom living. I was forever ruined for the mainstream church.

For I would much rather Kingdom live as Jesus; among the pagans.

Oh, and that other empty chair…It was filled by Jesus. The true Head of the Little House on Willow.

Today, I’m linking up here...

INTERRUPTED, by Jen Hatmaker…

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So, way back in July, I did this thing. I was way late, but just thought I would enter in this give-away by Jen Hatmaker and Tyndale Publishing.

“Book give-away to first two hundred and fifty active bloggers who will write a review prior to the release of her newly revised edition of”…

Interrupted…when Jesus wrecks your comfortable Christianity

I made the two- fifty, got the book, opened the package with great expectation and intentions, and then, well, I opened the book. That is where all came to a halt.

There was no way I could review this book in less than thirty days! It was taking me a day to read one small chapter…

This book, it wrote my soul.

You see, reading this book was like eating a sixty- eight course meal in the company of great friends. It had to be done slowly; enjoying the individual flavors and fragrance of the words written. Then came the digestion… it had to be course by course, and bite by bite. In essence, one did not want to become too full too fast, or one said reviewer would blow a gut gasket! (friendly tip, keep the Tums handy, and your knees ready)

Would I recommend this book? Only if you are ready for a dose of reality. Only if you are full-up of western christianity. Only if you want to know Jesus and not religion.

If you are comfortable where you are in your church, if you like living on the comfy words of religion, or if you are comfortable with being surrounded by only the righteous, then don’t even. Don’t even think about it…

That my friends would be to your detriment.

This book touched the very essence of what I’ve been wondering. Why do I like being with the “pagans”…I mean really. Why do I have so much fun with them? Why would I rather be with them than many “church people”?

It comes down to living at the bottom of the ladder. That’s where life takes place, and it’s the home of Jesus. I’ve been weary of keeping up with the religious Jones’s. It wears me out, trying to be the spiritual one…not that I am not, I just sincerely want to be me and guess what…I’m not spiritual twenty-four- seven. I’m just not. I’m being sanctified twenty-four-seven, but that’s it.

I want to make a difference, but I also want to live life with people…just live. I want to do good works. And, give me a little credit, I know good works won’t get me to heaven, but I surely was created to do them. I want to love people better than I do. I don’t want to judge their heart. Because as, Jen Hatmaker states:

“Theology very naturally follows belief, but belief rarely follows judgment”.

Paul told the Corinthians, “I want to be your slave, even though I am a free man”, very loosely translated from 1 Corinthians 9:19.

So, what do you think? Tell me, what is your struggle, if you have one? Do you think we get it right with people? Do you think we can present the gospel in a better manner? Can we desire to be a slave on behalf of others?

This day, I begin to pray, Lord Jesus, give me the desire to be a slave…join me please?

*my apologies to Jen Hatmaker and Tyndale Publishing for my tremendously late book review
*Bravo to Jen Hatmaker for a great book

Take a Deep Breath…and read….

 

 

atlas girl picIt’s taken me awhile to get here. To write. To post a book review. I thought it would be easy, I love to read, and can whip through books in no time…

But this one was different.

Atlas Girl by Emily T. Wierenga

I had no idea what I was getting in to when I signed up to read this memoir and then write a little post about it…nor did I realize how long it would take me to read 278 pages.

Let me write that out…Two-hundred and seventy-eight pages of raw, uninhibited truth. It is the gut of a life lived as a pastor’s daughter turned anorexic, looking for love and finding guilt in the illness of her mother…

In between all of this, she travels the world looking for a balm to heal her savage wound of insecurity and feeling unloved.

It’s a memoir of finding love, that is storybook true…Jesus sent him to her…

Isn’t it strange how we christian girls feel we should have it all together? Emily felt she should be happy and life should be good because, after all, she was serving Jesus. And she was doing it well.  And a good God with a life-giving Son doesn’t deal out a bad life. And They don’t. God deals out what we need and provides all that we need to be healed, to fulfilled, to be loved, to be a beautiful human made out of dust. We have to choose it. There is a choice involved. There is action on our part…and even when we lay things down, find it hard to pray, and question the One who created us, it all comes down to this:

“Lord, fill up my day, not my will, but yours”.

This was Emily’s prayer. This was her answer:

Suddenly, a phone call.  Mum is on the other line, asking me to come for tea, not five minutes after my uttered prayer.

So simple. This, Lord? Is this what you want from us? Even as we wait, to serve; embrace moments such as these. Moments spent drinking tea. Moments spent hugging. Moments spent touching feet and laughing.

So what about you? How are you? Are you waiting? Are you waiting on your call? Are you waiting on a prophecy to be fulfilled?  Are you stumbling around just wondering what in the world you are supposed to do with your life?

Take heart dear friend, we all do, and most of us still are. We are all the same. We all want to be happy and fulfill the call on our lives, but while we are waiting…let’s drink some tea, maybe pass out a few hugs, and laugh…

for this is joy.

Atlas Girl is not an easy read, but a most beautiful life put down on paper with the full spectrum of emotion running through each word, each tear, and each breath…

So do me a favor, read…read…read Atlas Girl, and when you do…

Take a deep breath…

 

Adjusting your stride…

 

Bert trail race

It’s been close to a year now; the day I laid down everything.

I was running pretty much a full on marathon pace. I was set, focused and steady. My breathing was good and my head was clear.  I had set my sights on the long haul, when out of the blue I was sidelined.

I didn’t see it coming. I felt good, strong and comfortable. Every stride was perfect, I felt like a machine ready to tackle this race.

Of course there were stones that were scattered and thrown. Twisted roots in the dirt rising to make me stumble. You know,  those things that are meant for harm, yet are waved off and roll right off your back.  I felt like a million bucks.

I knew how to run this race and I was good, or so I thought, at adjusting my stride.

But apparently this time I failed. I kept running head on and I failed to adjust my stride and found myself lying on the sidelines…gasping for air.

This- was totally new.  There was only one other time I remembered sitting on the sideline trying to catch my breath and pick myself up to finish the race…One. I had consistently trained…daily. But that was not enough; or at least that was my thought.

Maybe it was me.  Maybe I was not enough. It’s amazing what begins to sweep through your mind to find a home.

What takes place when you believe you are not enough? What happens when you’ve trained and pushed and did everything exactly by the Book, yet something still tears. What happens when you fall out of the race because you failed to adjust your stride?

What happens when others wonder about you…about the deep down you that loves Jesus…what happens to the mind, soul and spirit?

A crisis of faith, that is what happens. And it is not so much a crisis against God, it is a crisis against yourself. Suddenly, you no longer believe you know Him. Suddenly you question your ears and your heart; you wonder if you ever heard Him.  You wonder if what you and He had was really a relationship….maybe it was all a fake. Maybe you are a fake…

And then, there is no stride to be adjusted…you are sidelined.

So there you sit on the perimeter of the track and you lay everything down. EVERYTHING.

You lay down your church, your bible, your devotions, your prayers; you lay down your faith.  You put it away to try to find what is real. And finding what is real means you have to get off the sidelines.  Real is never found on the perimeter.

But first, you must sit under the broom tree for a while. You must question the One who probably sidelined you. You must complain and remove yourself from the mainstream for there is no one left…you thought you were on the right track, but that asphalt digs deep in your skin when you fail to adjust your stride; when you are running a blind race.

One year later, yes one… you get up.  You pray. You read. You test your heart. You test your head. You see if your ears can hear.

And then, if you feel safe…if the road is clear… you begin to walk.

Not run, walk.

For if you are going to get back in the race, you cannot run blind as you used to. You know to be very mindful, informed, and wise, if you are going to run this thing. You learn to be acutely aware of the other runners; the proximity to you, will they make you stumble, will they leave you behind because all they want is to get ahead of you…or will they adjust their stride too?  Will they run with you?

You learn to listen to the sound of your footfall on the pavement. Does it sound right…does the clap of your shoe sound harsh or does it sound light? You focus on your breathing…is it too fast and shallow, or are you steady, sure, and rhythmic; breathing in time with your stride?  You become alerted to your arm swing.  Are they loose and not tight? Are your hands unclenched?  Are they held close to your body, or are they flailing in haphazard motion causing more harm than good?

We are called to run the race; our own race not someone else’s. We are called to run with our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors.  We are called to be an encourager and not a stumbling block.  We are called to be humble and not proud.  We are called to give drink to those thirsty. We are called to stay in the race and persevere to the end. We are called not to lose hope or faith.

And sometimes, we are called to lay everything down, and to search out what to pick up again. We are called to weed out the tares in our own life and faith, search the scriptures and call out to the One who knows our name and our inmost being. We are to be ready in season and out of season…

And we are called to play by the rules…to run as if only one will receive the crown.

We are called to adjust our stride so we may finish the race marked out for us, so when that Day comes, we may hear…

Well done…

And The Heart Swells…

carry me scriptureA few years ago, I became a grandmother. gasp! Could it be…how could it be? I surely was not near old enough! But I was…

So in all of the excitement and expectation of becoming a grandmother for the first time, one of the most distressing parts was name picking. And not for the baby, for me…what in the world was I to be called? My mother was already Nana, so that was out. I simply refused the word…grandma; in fact, I couldn’t even get that to roll off my tongue.

My daughter would choose my name…

It was to be Bebe.  It was a good name. It held class, and would be simple to say.  And there were no Bebe’s in the family. So Bebe it would be.  And it was so; until he began to speak, or utter, or just make noise.

At some point, he refused.

“Bubba”!

“What? No, Bebe”…

“Bubba”!

So unashamed, I am Bubba.  I take the name quite seriously. It holds clout. It holds love. It holds faithfulness. And, somehow, without doubt, there is a steadiness in the name, Bubba. In fact…

It makes my heart swell.

It was a very hot afternoon, and my daughter and I arrived at a sporting goods store. My grandson was three…  I lean in to get him out of the car and he grabs on. We are ready to take our first step, when I hear this; “he can walk”…  but he holds tight.  Then, as all good momma’s do, she says again with love and kindness, “Mom, he is a big boy and he can walk”…

He holds tighter; and quite frankly, so do I. :)

I responded in the typical grandparent way; “I know he can, but I want to carry him”.

It was at that moment he looked at me and I said this promise, “I will carry you til you are thirty-five”…

We smiled and treasured those things in our hearts…

Today, he is almost six, and being almost six is big stuff. Hugs are still allowed, but no kisses. And little did I know, I would be held to that promise.

Do I carry him? Why, yes…if he lets me. But only to the car. He is almost six you know.

But to let you in on a small secret, that valuable moment between Bubba and grandson three years ago, has turned into a private treasure.

“Bubba, will you carry me,…you said you’d carry me til I was fifty…Bubba, will you carry me…you said you’d carry me til I was sixty-five.  Bubba, will you carry me…you said you’d carry me til I was ninety-eight…”

Each time I’m asked, the age of carrying increases by at least fifteen years!  I always respond with a wild, “Do you know how old I’ll be when you are sixty-five! Do you know how old I’ll be when you are ninety – eight!  He always smiles, and remarks…”You said you would”.

It makes my heart swell…

I love being held to my promises.

The transition from parenting to grand parenting is a marvelous thing. It is, without a doubt Divine.  There is a love that takes place which is indescribable.  Suddenly, you find the ease of it all. For instance, jumping on the couch is always acceptable, as are handprints on windows and stainless steel refrigerators.  Your “good things” being used as weapons and targets… and of course, there is always dessert first.  You simply find the simplicity of life, the lessened value of material things, and of course, a love that overrides all things…

This reminds me of Someone.  It reminds me of words and promises.  It reminds me of faithfulness and steadiness…It reminds me of Jesus…things that He said He would do; promises He said He would keep…

Jesus said He would carry us.  Jesus said He would carry our sins and diseases. He said He would never leave us or forsake us? He said there is a love that covers a multitude of sins. Jesus not only said He would lay down His life to save us, He did. He loves being held to His promises.

All through my younger years parenting, I heard it preached from the pulpit, and I read it in my Bible.  Did I believe it? I did.  I did as much as I could. But to try to understand that kind of love was daunting, and it was too deep and big and wide and far above my understanding. My heart was too young and weak to know it and experience it. I could only recite what I read, not my experience.

Today is a different story. My story and recitation are now one from experience.  I understand that love as much as any human on earth is able.  Why?

Grand children.  They make your heart swell with a river, no an ocean of love that is daunting, deep, big and wide; far above what you considered humanly possible.

But not only do I understand, I believe.  I do not doubt there is a love that covers a multitude of sins.  There is One who will never leave me nor forsake me. There is One who keeps His promises. There is One who loves me for me, and there is One who will carry me until I am ninety-eight and beyond…

That my friends, makes my heart swell… 

“Listen to me, O’ house of Jacob, all of you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you”. Isaiah 46: 3-4

Feel carried today… 

Will you give me a drink…?

kissingthedust:

Changing it up a bit…

Originally posted on kissingthedust:

rubberboots With this question, the table was set for the outcast.  She was taken off her guard. For we know she was always on guard. She had only a tiny piece of herself left; she knew it, at least she hoped for it. Maybe it was only a molecule, but it was all she had left and she must guard it with her life.

It was  stunning moment…

“Will you give me a drink”?

This coming from the One who said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”…

With those few words, the table was turned and set for another; the outcast.

The Woman at the Well.

You’ve heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

She could be a byproduct of today’s generation.  Married several times. Living with someone who was not her husband. Maybe she had children; maybe they remained…

View original 592 more words

Will you give me a drink…?

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rubberboots With this question, the table was set for the outcast.  She was taken off her guard. For we know she was always on guard. She had only a tiny piece of herself left; she knew it, at least she hoped for it. Maybe it was only a molecule, but it was all she had left and she must guard it with her life.

It was  stunning moment…

“Will you give me a drink”?

This coming from the One who said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”…

With those few words, the table was turned and set for another; the outcast.

The Woman at the Well.

You’ve heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

She could be a byproduct of today’s generation.  Married several times. Living with someone who was not her husband. Maybe she had children; maybe they remained nameless and unclaimed. She was a broken woman, trying to be everything to everybody or maybe everything to just anybody…

She was a woman stuck in a circle of need.  Isn’t it obvious. Clamoring for love, affection, and attention, she did what she could to gain it.  She gave herself. It didn’t matter anymore.

Love.  Affection.  Attention.

These three words hold power and drive us to do whatever it is to gain it. They are almost our basic needs…

Like water…

“Will you give me a drink”…?

We will give, and give, and give until we are used up and dry.  We become an empty shell that sand begins to wash away with time, until there is no more “me”, or if we are lucky as her…a tiny molecule may remain, but buried deep within a guarded heart.

A cracked and empty cistern.  We become cracked, broken, and empty. Everything inside of us leaks out, rendering us useless to hold anything within. We hold on to each and every act of attention and try to fill our cracked vessel with useless words.

Then we find one day, we are like the Samaritan woman; an outcast. Everything about her appears useless. Five men didn’t want her and the sixth didn’t want to marry her. So, she walked daily to the well…

Was she hoping for something?  Or was it a mundane act that was required; that daily trip to the well?  Was she just doing what she was told, or was she secretly hoping that one day she would find what she needed; or what needed her.  Was she hoping to find herself again at the well, or hoping she would be found?  Was she hoping that one day, someone, or Someone would give her a drink?

Outcasts…we are all alike. No one wants to fool with us too long; we may require something; like a drink…

But then comes the day we trek to our well and someone new is there. And right off, we know we should not be associating. Why? He’s The Man, and we are the outcast. The Man does not associate with outcasts.  We tuck our heads beneath fear and dare not look. Not at The Man.

Then, suddenly He asks us…“Will you give me a drink”?

And we dare not look into the eyes of The Man, but answer…”How can you ask me for a drink? You are The Man, and I am the outcast”. You must not speak to me.  I am lowly, and You are too lofty for me to attain.

The Man, with great love and affection, gives us attention and says, “If you knew who it was that asks you, you would have asked him for a drink and he would have given you more.  The water I have wells up into a spring of eternal life”…

Jesus…The Man…Giver of life…Giver of love, affection and attention…

He binds the brokenhearted and molds us as clay and fills the cracks in our cistern. Our shell becomes washed with living water and our molecule begins to resemble something as a pearl.

All of this from The Man who sits and waits…and asks…

“Will you give me a drink”?

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”; John 7:37-38 NIV 

Oh dear outcast…won’t you come and drink?…

Repairing Tears and The Little Things…

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broken-heartIt was over a year ago, but some days it still feels fresh. I won’t lie, there are days when it still stings.  And there are days that I remain dumbfounded; but not ungrateful…

In view of the fact that it was all planned, how could I be?

At 11 o’clock, that cold, cold morning, I sustained a tear in my wineskin.

At first, I was shocked. It came from out of the blue and from someone quite unexpected. I can say this much; what transpired was not a rude awakening, but an eye opening experience that would yet have a full disclosure.

Allow me to explain.

Last Sunday, my husband and I went out for lunch.  We entered a popular restaurant and the “church crowd” had hit full force. People were bulldozing their way to the hostess stand, while others were grabbing vacated seats before they had a chance to turn cold.  You could cut the exasperation of those present, with a knife.  I more than noticed the tone of voice used by those receiving their beepers.  It was persistent and exceedingly demanding.  A very weighty question had been asked; “how long will I have to wait” they chimed in irritable unison…

The “church crowd” was ill-tempered, grouchy, and annoyed.

Waiting your turn is hard.

To all of this, I heard the hostess’ remark to her assistant:

“Yes, this is our church crowd”.

Oh, the little things we do…

What a fine example we set for others. What great servanthood we bring to the public arena.  Our humility, quite frankly,  is unmatched.

Our love goes undetected.  Our sincere compassion for those holding babies or parenting the toddler, is dismal at best.  That Sunday noon, it appeared that it never crossed anyone’s mind that someone else may need the chair.  Someone else may need to sit, perhaps for the first time that morning. But instead, those chairs went to no one but the “church crowd”.

This is what the public sees…

and…

This is what we are called;  a self-centered arrogant people.

It’s in the language we use daily.  Words and self-appointed titles such as, “revelation, intercessor, apostle, prophet, spiritual papa…”

Or a catch phrase as in; “fueling our intercession”.

Then there is the idea of contending and creating cultures and environments. We “contend” for everything and create cultures of fasting, honor, and prayer, all the while leavening the environment around us.

Then there are the acronyms; F.R.O.G. P.U.S.H. W.W.J.D.

Please don’t forget the bracelets and the t-shirts…they speak our beliefs, while buffering our less than christian actions.

Now before you comment and defend your position in all of this christian language and theatrics, you must know this, I get it. I really do.

But I don’t like it.

I think it mostly creates cultures of religious cliques and spiritual clichés.

It makes me separate myself and shy away from these spiritual word toting, and attitude holding people.

You see, I can say all of this because I’ve been there and done that, and I did it a lot. I ran after it. It was important to me. It was my religion. It made me look and feel really spiritual. It gave me security in my knowledge of God. I looked good for the public.  And when I was asked to speak or teach, I was ready.

I could wow the people.

With my words, my prayers, my titles, and my catch phrases…people would sit in awe…and then, the compliments would flow…

“Oh my, I’ve never heard that before”! “I want to have a relationship with Jesus just like yours”…”I could sit and listen to you for hours”…

I thought I was in the right place with Jesus. I thought I was exactly where I was supposed to be…

And I was; but for a totally different reason.

Hence, the tear. Hence, the little things...

Jesus needed a new wineskin. He needed to mend my garment.

It was the tear that brought sight to the eyes of my heart.

And then I saw, the little things

It’s the little things, like how we stand in line. The “church crowd” at the restaurant believed they were owed something since they were christians…after all, they did just sit through an hour service, lifted their hands during worship, and hit up the altar with a prayer request. That takes a lot out of you, people. It really does…all those theatrics…and choosing the right words, and fitting into the right culture…it’s mind boggling how hard it is to wear a spiritual yoke of “Saved”.

It’s the little things, like devotions.  It’s hard to wait steadily on your feet in a line for food. After all, you just gave the biggest revelation and word of knowledge the church had heard in the last six months.  People fell all over you, and the floor as you handed out spiritual food this morning. Forget devotions; those are just the crumbs…get to the meat of the matter please, and don’t waste my time. I’ve got some glory to glory to do.

It’s the little things like personal prayer time. Geez people, I need that chair! I’m an intercessor.  I’ve been standing on the street corner praying the biggest spiritual words one can imagine all the while fasting for twenty – one days…I’m hungry and tired dang it! Personal prayer time…people need to hear what I have to pray. Who knows; I may get another follower.

So, here I am.

I am done.

I’m tired, hungry, thirsty, brainmushed, humbled, and tongue-tied in a very small circle of people…

But…

I am stitched up and ready to go…do the Little Things

*written with a tender heart…

 

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