Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Look: To Gaze in Wonder or Surprise

We look for the Saviour. . .
(Philippians 3:20 KJV)

First Grade Photo of Moi

My mother told me that as a child, riding in the back of the car, I would point and say "See!" To this day, I love pointing out things that I notice. Like this phrase from Philippians, which popped up on my cell phone screen this morning.
How appropriate, as I leave for a few days to recharge and relax with some girlfriends in the country. I wonder how God will surprise us this week as "we look for the Saviour . . ."
Won't you look for the Saviour with me this week?
I would love to hear  about your encounters with God. Leave a comment later in the week and we will compare notes!
(I plan to post on Friday, Lord willing and the creek don't rise! Then I am committed to Ant Kamp. Who knows maybe the kids and I will send out dispatches once in awhile to let you know if we turn into vegetables or not!)
Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Attend: Be Present At

Take heed unto thyself . . .
(1 Timothy 4:16 KJV)
 
This above Scripture phrase caught my attention early last week. All week the phrase tumbled across my journal pages. And then, I looked up the meaning of heed.
 
Heed: To Pay Attention, To Give Consideration
 
To heed is to give careful thought to what you are doing. More definition searching reminded me that I need to be attentive. A person who is attentive is mindful, observant, solicitous, and heedful of the comfort of others. In other words she pays attention.
 
What does it mean to pay attention? I am learning to notice my limits. Embracing the fact that my energy levels aren't the same as they used to be. I can only give my attention to a few things at a time. I want to live at God's pace, not pushed by my own frenetic need to be in control.
 
You may have noticed I have not been giving much attention to the blog this past week. And I've noticed my absence, too.
 
I was attending to my house; actually spring cleaning. Being mindful that in a few short days my home will be dubbed "Ant Kamp" for the month of June. I've agreed to provide childcare for my sister's four kids, two girls and two boys. We have a lot of fun planned. We have field trip ideas and plenty of time to enjoy the local pools.
 
I am sure my expectations are high, and we may end up vegetables in front of Netflix, but my intentions are good. And my greatest desire is to be present with my nieces and nephews.
 
That said, my blogging will be slowing down to a trickle until July, when I plan to unveil the new business idea and its name.
 
I have enjoyed the journey thus far, and will still be visiting around the blogosphere to see how God is impacting your life and words.
 
Remember all that potential we talked about awhile back . . .a profusion of beauty arrived while I was cleaning . . .
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joie de Vivre: Keen Enjoyment of Life

 
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
(Psalm 16:11 NLT)
 

La Grande Dame

Moi





La Belle Damsel



















 
La Photographer

 
 
This past weekend was full of joy! Scrapbooking and sharing stories about our lives. Celebrating a friend's 25th anniversary with a yard attack (signs and balloons and poms).
 
 
 


Going to the anniversary party later, joining our friends as they rejoiced in their milestone. Laughing and telling more stories. The joy of discovering new things about old friends. And Sunday afternoon, attending a high school graduation party . Congratulations, Colleen!

Life buoys us up, when we experience plain, old fun together.

Mom, Gillian and I agreed to dress up in "twenties" outfits for our outing to The Great Gatsby. What joy and laughter, as we stepped out of our routines to recall another era. I think they outdid themselves.

Our friend, Kelly always shines with her whole being, and she made us feel special and honored and loved as she took our pictures before the movie. Thanks, Kelly!

I just had to post these beautiful faces today, because living life to the fullest brings me great joy. What happiness God provides when we celebrate life together.

I hope you smile today!
 
What joys or happiness did God grant you this weekend?
 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Idea: A Plan for Action; Design

 
"I have ideas I haven't thought of yet"
 
God spoke to Moses: “See what I’ve done; I’ve personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—
he’s an all-around craftsman.
(Exodus 31:1-3 The Message)
 
 
Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft. And he’s also made him a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.”
(Exodus 35:30-35 The Message)
 
 
 
I dare you to think about your God-created self. Look at all the wonderful ways He uniquely gifted you. And He fills us with His very Spirit, when we surrender our hearts, minds, souls and very beings to His love and salvation, demonstrated in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
 
And then He gives us work to do. To creatively use our skills, strengths and "know-hows" to serve and encourage others to "live out their God-created identities, generously and graciously, just like God lives towards us!" (Matthew 5:48 The Message)
 
God is on the move over here. He created me as an "ideas generator." And the ideas are flowing. He has opened a door for me to put one of my ideas into action. I want to inspire others to discover their God-created selves and express their creative desires.

Today, when I discovered that one meaning of an idea is "a plan of action," I smiled. God doesn't just give us ideas to dream about, He gives us ideas to live out!
 
I have found collage and art journaling to be a fun, safe place to discover truths about myself and to dream about God's design for my life.

And apparently, He is also making me a teacher. I will be teaching a collage workshop in July at a local art gallery. God dared me, and so here I go!

Please pray for me. I will  be sure to tell you more as the adventure unfolds. Next step: website and the unveiling of the awesome name and tagline God gave me for this "dream."
 
 
What plan of action has God inspired you to take this week?
 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Jeanie Kelley


Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.
(Matthew 7:7-8 The Message)

 
Please welcome my journaling and writing friend, Jeanie Kelley. Jeanie has a blog where she shares insights from life and the Bible studies that she enjoys online with Melissa Taylor and her Online Bible Studies.
 
Here's a recent post from Jeanie, where she shares about her cats and perservering prayer in Cats Alive and Begging:
 
Who does not love an animal especially a cat? In our marriage, we have had a total of four cats and they can do all the craziest things to make a person stop and think. What brings to my mind is how a cat can beg so sympathetically and eat the crumbs off the floor just like a dog. In a way, our cats are like dogs. They have quirks that make them act like a dog. Take for instance, when we have sat down to a meal. We see that the cats have came to call looking for that proverbial morsel on the floor. They lick them up and are waiting enthusiastically for more. It is kind of like Oliver Twist by Dickens where he says to the cook,”Please sir,I want some more.” That is what seems is happening with our fine feline friends. They keep saying I want some more.
Click here to read more . . .
 
 
And now introducing, Jeannie's current furried friends . . .  read more about them here.



Lupas


Tilq

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Potential: Expressing Possibiiity

 
 
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
(Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message)
 
 
"Living deep in God's "good" ness, I will seek to travel with others toward peace and deep joy while diligently tending to my own garden." (Juniper Gillian)
 
 
 
 
This week as I have been contemplating potential, exciting things have been expressing themselves in my soul. I cannot explain how the good news grows from a seedling of faith into a full blooming flower of joy. I have been on a journey with Jesus as my central love, sometimes ardent, sometimes wavering for more than four decades now. He never ceases to surprise me with joy and hope and peace and things sprouting and flourishing in my soul that I don't even remember being planted there.
 
Over the last twelve years, I have been dreaming about what I want to be when I "grow up." When our boys were in high school, my husband and I spent three days with a couple to look at our lives, to see where we had been and where we were going. Here is the statement, which I wrote about my personal significance in the summer of 2005:
 
Personal Significance is…
 
Minimum of a two year college degree
Written and published at least one book
Created and maintained a website for spiritual encouragement
 
In many ways, God has exceeded the desires of my heart. In December 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in English and we self-published a book of devotions, titled Defining Moments: Overflowing with Living Words. And since 2008, I have maintained this blog, Nourishment for the Soul: A Place to Feed on Words.
 
This journey has proved to me the value of writing down our dreams, capturing them in a visual medium and sharing them with others. Through learning to lean close into God's goodness everyday, He is leading me in ways I never thought possible.
 
And now, He is opening doors for me to experience more impossibilities. By the end of the summer, I plan to have a website that hosts the blog, promotes creative soul workshops and potentially the unveiling of spiritual adventures. Please pray for me as I branch out and take steps of faith to bring this possibility into actuality.
 
For now, I'm going to keep the name of this enterprise a surprise to unveil with the website. So stay tuned!
 
(Many others besides, Don and Sherie Zimmer, who we met with in 2005, have been influential in this dream becoming a reality including my husband, who defies enough superlatives to ever express my true heart towards him, our two sons who have grown up into renaissance men, my mom, who gave me life and confidence, my sisters, Juniper Gillian, Michelle and Dani, who love me and cheer me on, my Magnificent Friends (you know who you are),  my journaling friends and mentors, Lynn D. Morrissey and Mary Ann Kuechler, my writing friends and journaling friends (hugs) and my friend and life coach, Tracy Flori! And now I feel like I'm at the Oscars and I just know I've forgotten to thank someone...I am thankful for all the friends and teachers over the years who formed who I am today. Dreams take a lot of work and support and I so appreciate God bringing each one of you into my life.)
 
May God enable each of us to express our possibilities (and impossibilities) in order to create space for His goodness to flourish as we each, "Live out our God-created identities, living generously and graciously toward one another, as God lives toward us!" (Matthew 5:48 The Message)
 

When's the last time you recalled the good news alongside the goodness of God?
 
 
Linking up with...
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Potential: Capable of Development into Actuality


Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
(Ephesians 2: 7-10 The Message)
 
 
 
When I look at a blank canvas or a blank page or a blank screen, I see potential. It may look like nothing, but really it's a space waiting for expression. I love how God created us to be an expression of His salvation. He saves us. He showers us with grace and kindness. He invites us to join in His work. God gives us the capabilities, the energy and the creativity to do what we were formed to do. Each of us has a unique set of skills, strengths and experiences to offer. No two of us have the same role. Each one of us is honored to be here, now for His purposes.
 
 
As I look at the potential of the empty spaces in my life, I wonder what does God have in store. Where will He lead me next? Will he add a stroke of fiery orange or mellow yellow? Is there anything He needs to edit in my life? Does He look for a better synonym to describe who I am in order to communicate His love and grace? What reality am I missing out on because I am so consumed with my current troubles instead of gazing into His beautiful face?
 
 
What joy God must experience as He adds another layer of color to our life, a defining line and just the write word to finish our sentence. Let's live out our God-created identities, graciously and generously living with one another, just like God lives toward us! (Matthew 5:48 The Message) I keep repeating that refrain to myself and to you, so that it will become an actuality and second nature to love like God loves. To love others and ourselves in our wondrous uniqueness!
 
 
 
Will you ask God to give you
a word that describes you to Him?
 
( I would love it if you shared that word in the comments, so we can see what God thinks of His daughters and sons!)
 
 
Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Party
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Potential: Existing in Possibility



Jesus looked at them intently and said, 
"Humanly speaking, it is impossible. 
But not with God. Everything is possible with God."
(Mark 10:27 NLT)


Gardening offers many opportunities to observe potential. Like the other day, I noticed a rose pushing itself open, while myriad others appeared to be standing at attention awaiting their turn to bloom. Potential is beauty waiting to exist. Flowers don't really push themselves open or even stand at attention, but as a striving human being, I personify the beauty surrounding me, rather than just absorbing their lesson. Rose buds become roses in their Creator's perfect timing, wafting their sweet perfume across my secluded porch behind the rose-covered lattice.





Look at all that potential!



Gardens come in several varieties: the large family farm, the urban community plot or maybe a personal garden contained in various shaped pots. Being a suburbanite, my gardening feats happen around the yard and on the front porch. This year I had several options for my empty pots. I could plant flowers, herbs and even a few vegetables. My choices were as vast as the flora and fauna at our local plant nursery. The potential for combinations for the containers seemed infinite. I chose some vegetables, herbs and a few flowers. 

When I think of our human potential, especially as being created in the image of God, the options to impact this world appear infinite. I am a dreamer. So I like to dream and muse about what life would be like if we each had the time, energy and help to live out our God-created identities to the fullest, living generously and graciously toward each other, just as God lives toward us! (Matthew 5:48 The Message) This Scripture gives me a vision and informs my purpose as I understand the dream God is defining for this season of my life.

Last Friday, I made a vision board. Its inspiration came from the idea of plotting and marking off sections of a garden. I taped white strings across my piece of cardboard, wondering what God would inspire me to plant in each square. After the vision board was complete, I wrote some reflections:

I like to think of these vision boards as discovery collage. I gather images, some from my stash and others from a Better Homes and Garden magazine. I am drawn to the garden scenes in the magazine. Three phrases embody actions that speak to my dream: "a passion for planting," and "corralling creativity," and "pooling their resources." These phrases resonate with my desire to help others discover what they can plant in the small spaces of their lives that will flourish and nourish their souls. My dream is to plant ideas and encourage creative approaches to live life collaboratively with Jesus always in sight. I add two images of Jesus, one is the Good Shepherd and Jesus with Arms Open in Blessing. I want to listen for His voice. I long for Him to lead me out the gate into His blessings to share with others.




Both with dreams and gardens, one must remain attentive. After I planted the container garden, the squirrels arrived to dig and play in the dirt. For a couple days, I would reset the plants that the squirrels displaced with their digging. I found a roll of screening in our garage, so I formed little tents around the plants to keep the squirrels out, while allowing the plants a place to flourish in the sun and rain. Since I took those measures, I have been able to enjoy two fresh salads from my lettuce pot. And I look forward to the celery, beets and peas later in the season. 

My dream for you, my friends, is that you will measure off some time and space to cultivate your relationship with God. I know that at certain times of life this is so difficult. However, God wants this time as much as you and I do. In love, He inspires creative ways to make it happen.




What will you plant in a small space 
of your life today to nourish your soul?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Comfort: Contented Well-Being


You got me when I was an unformed youth,
God, and taught me everything I know.
Now I’m telling the world your wonders;
I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.


God, don’t walk off and leave me
until I get out the news
Of your strong right arm to this world,
news of your power to the world yet to come,
Your famous and righteous
ways, O God.
God, you’ve done it all!

    Who is quite like you?
You, who made me stare trouble in the face,
Turn me around;
Now let me look life in the face.

    I’ve been to the bottom;
Bring me up, streaming with honors;
turn to me, be tender to me,
And I’ll take up the lute [or fiddle] 
and thank you
to the tune of your faithfulness, God.


(Psalm 71: 17-22 The Message)




Comfort comes in the company of good people. Like today, my friend Kelly and I gathered on her screened porch with collage supplies. She invited me. I accepted her invitation. We made room for our magazines, glue and dreams.

Early in the week, she told me about the Facebook study hosted by the Winsome Woman. We are reading through and discussing You're Made For a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth. In the book, we were invited to make a vision board that visualizes our dream. (By the way, this is an open invitaion, click here to join the study.)




From the comfort of our chairs, with warm conversation and comfortable silences, we thumbed through magazines, ripped out images. One of us would say, "Look at this!" or "I think this fits your dream." Each of us looking out contentedly for the other's well-being. Wanting deeply to make sure we don't lose sight of God or his dreams.

We lingered all morning into lunch (Black bean and sweet potato burritos, apple slices and cornbread slathered with peach preserves--comfort food.)



Kel's Dream



Kelly's Dream


With visions of our dream before us, we poured over the images and words, asking each other what they meant. And the comfort of knowing we were together made the difference today. Gave us the courage to take one more step toward God's dream for each of us and for both of us.









Linking up with:



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey


O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)

What greater tribute can a child give their parent than heartfelt words penned to celebrate the parent's life and mourn his absence. Lynn, in her eloquent voice, does just this as she remembers her daddy.





Nearly six years ago, while my beloved father relinquished his mortal coil, God released his soul like a shooting star, arc-ing right through the galaxies straight to His heart. After a six-month odyssey of agony, a living death, Daddy was blessedly transformed—that quickly, that effortlessly, that mysteriously—in a breathtaking nanosecond, in the twinkling of an eye. Absent from the body, present with the Lord—absent from withering flesh to wondering felicity, from careworn burdens to contented bliss, from dark-glass knowing to face-to-face intimacy with the God he loved.
                                                           
Oh, without question, I was relieved that my father no longer suffered. After a treacherous fall that broke his neck, mercifully sans paralysis, my father lay tethered to a hospital bed by a tangle of tubes and needles, a plethora of pain and indignity. He suffered more than anyone I’ve ever known. And in ways impossible to convey, we suffered with him. We agonized over all he endured.

So how could I have possibly wanted that to continue? No, I was relieved that his suffering was over.

And yet, to let him go was excruciating. How could I let go the man I’d loved my whole life, my larger-than-life hero? How could I let go his bear-hug embrace, his mammoth hands that encompassed mine or playfully crushed the hands of my would-be suitors, his beautiful basso-profundo voice, his hardy laughter, impish humor and twinkling ice-blue eyes, his constant, but good-natured prodding: “Lynn, what are you writing today?”

People offered sincere comfort: “He’s no longer suffering. He’s in a better place. He’s with the Lord.” Yes, I knew that, and yes, I was comforted, but Daddy wasn’t with me, and I grieved his loss, his tangible, physical presence, his warmth, his strength. Someone encouraged, “But you’ll be with him soon.” I knew he meant well, but soon? If I lived a normal life span, I would live without my father for at least another twenty years.

Death had torn my father away, and it was tearing me apart. Death was never meant to be, and this ripping of body from soul was unnatural. It was not what God had originally intended. So despite that I could rejoice that my father was in heaven, I still longed for him here on earth. I missed him body and soul, missed all of him, all that he was.

Ten days after Daddy died, I attended a journaling retreat, where, ironically, I couldn’t journal about him. God had always used journaling as a means of deep catharsis in my life, but after grieving in writing for six months during my father’s prolonged hospitalization, I had nothing left to say. Looking back, I realize that God was protecting me. My grief was so cavernous, that had I spilled my soul into a blank journal, I would never have been able to stop writing. I would have plummeted into a grief gorge, unable to grope my way out.

But God knew that I still needed a way to release my pain. One day, without conscious thought, I started to scratch words on a tablet—words that I hadn’t intended to write, words about my father’s physical being, the actual man I missed so much. Without initially realizing it, I was writing a poem, a much smaller container to house my grief, a far more manageable vessel for holding despair. God used this amazingly simple form of writing as an important first step in a monumental healing process.

To Christians reading this post, I remind you that I know my father’s soul is absent from the grave. His true essence is with the Lord. And yet, God made us body and soul, and when we grieve it’s important not to disregard our incalculable loss of an actual, physical person. This is the sentiment I tried to convey in “The Box.”

Oh how I long for the day when God will reunite Daddy’s body and soul in the reality of resurrection. God promises that my father will live whole in His presence, in the new heaven and the new earth. And I long for that day, when I will join my Father and my father, never to be separated.

If you are experiencing a grief too deep to bear, despair that threatens to overwhelm, might you pick up your pen and write some small, one-line descriptions and remembrances of the person you loved so well? Write a short poem or psalm of lament. Let your pen lance your wound. Let your words heal your heart.



Lynn with her father, Bill Morrissey


The Box
For Daddy

Your favorite plaid shirt—well-worn, softened squares of red and blue—

was torn clean through at mid-sleeve,
and frayed—terribly frayed—where your angular elbows, roughened,
yet softened with time, thrust through.

Your dark denim overalls, homey, capacious,
deliciously splattered with rays of white paint,
like a midnight sky spattered with sprays of bright stars,
were your second skin.

Your big, black shoes (size thirteen)—you called them boats!—
anchored your once-six-foot frame to earth,
as you lumbered cumbersomely along,
your cold-steel cane flanking you, too.
You were no fashion plate.

But you had a beautiful box:
polished mahogany, smooth as silk,
filled with milk-white clouds and satin puffs,
stuffed like an elegant jewel case and adorned
with bright-brass Pieta replicas and shining panels of Lord’s-Supper reliefs.

I ran my hand along its handles, along its glistening, beveled edges,
reverently reveling in its richness,
gripping its resplendence.

And now, in grief,
in throat-stripping weeping,
we must grip ourselves.
We place our priceless treasure in the box,
carefully, oh so carefully.
We fluff the clouds, smooth the satin folds,
arrange your body like one arranges fragile flowers,
then close the lid.

And we lock it tight against the night.
We lock it hard for holding,
secure for safe, safe keeping.  



2013 Copyright. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey






Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

You may contact Lynn at words@brick.net.

Please feel free leave your comments for Lynn on this post.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gate: A Means of Entrance or Exit

I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
(John 10:9-10 The Message)



See the freedom Jesus has provided?
 To enter and exit
as He watches over you and me.

He is the gate from death unto life.
Cemeteries are for the dead.

Come and live the incredible life
that surpasses the grave.



This gate reminds me of the night Jennifer Dukes Lee bravely stood before us to share her dream journey, to bolster our courage in order to remove the obstacles of sin and fear from our path.

She said, "Gates are made to pass through." As I look back over my notes, I can't remember if the invitation to write our sins on the rock came before or after the gate illustration, but now it doesn't seem to matter. I just remember the hard struggle I had to identify my sin or at least the one I was willing to write on the rock. And as I struggled, I realized I had to write the word that was keeping me from passing through the gate or I would never get to those green, lush pastures that Jesus promised.

I didn't want to write my word because it didn't seem as important as other sins (comparison points out my sin).  I thought my sin was more difficult to overcome. Fear and self-doubt seemed easier to release in light of God's love. (I'm not saying that it is, it just felt that way to me in the moment.)

My struggle to even write the word on the rock indicated my sin. I was afraid I might get the wrong word or that I might make the wrong choice. Most of my life I have been afraid of getting it wrong. And in that moment, clear as the glass pebble, we would receieve Sunday morning, I knew I had to write PRIDE on my rock.

Both fear of failure and fear of success are rooted in pride, in the belief that I control my accomplishments and in the doubt that if I don't get it right, I somehow don't measure up to God's standards. Pride in my life has often worn two faces: self-sufficiency and self-pity. Two sides of the same sin.

Placing the rock in the basket was a simple, physical act that released a rush of joy into my soul. And to see Jennifer's daughters throw them into the bottom of the lake is a visual reminder of how God has triumphed over and over again in all of our struggles, and that we are not alone.



But I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is ABLE 
to keep that which I've committed
unto Him against that day.
(I Know Whom I Have Believed David Whittle, 1883)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Revisiting the Dream Retreat


In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
 
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
 
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work [the dream] of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.  (1 Corinthians 15:53-58  The Message)


 
 
As I strolled through the historic Key West cemetery, I was looking for some metaphor of life overcoming death. Mostly I saw rusted gates and concrete angels. Row upon row of family plots and cement boxes stacked on top of each other memoralizing lives now gone. Some were topped with crosses and others with plastic beads and silk flowers.
 
Then I came upon this plot, where the cement beds looked quite worn, the names of the deceased long eroded. Yet grass was growing up through the cracks. How can life flourish in the midst of death? That is the miracle of resurrection and Easter.
 
And that is the mystery of dreams.
 
Just about the time you believe your dream has died and been long buried, growth appears. An idea pushes up through the cracks.
 
I checked the church calendar today. It's the sixth week of Easter. Most of the candy is gone, the palm branch is drying out and the fancy clothes have been pushed to the back of the closet, but the pulsing life of Jesus still runs through my soul. It calls me to live and to dream big. To embrace the resurrection power. To claim a mind that is not daunted by fear, but filled with Spirit strength and love and sound thinking.
The dreamer's retreat has faded to the back of my mind, but I still pull out the notes I scribbled in my notebook, looking for those words that moved me and affirmed that I should keep moving ahead.
 
I appreciated how Holley Gerth  invited us to explore practical, tangible ways to handle our dreams: Write your dream on a card. Draw three intersecting circles and list your skills, your strengths and those people you want to serve. What connections do you discover?

I rediscovered that I am an encourager who loves to use words and creativity to draw out the beauty of our God-created identities, so together we can live generously and graciously toward one another, like God lives towards us. (See Matthew 5:48b The Message)
 
And that's the point. Holley said it well, "God is the point of the God-sized dream."