"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just a year ago.

When grudges are kept...when unmet needs are held close to you like your skin...when your hurts are transferred to those you love...when you haven't asked to be forgiven in reaction to being hurt by someone...These actions form a bottomless pit of dysfunction. You pretend everything is okay...you pretend nothing happened... you act like words weren't said... you pretend you weren't hurt and you truly believe you didn't hurt anyone.

You fill that depth with all kinds of activities, all types of 'entertainment'. You fill that fracture with sexual relationships, food, escaping into books, watching tv, condemnation of others, lies, half-truths ... anything you can do to pretend it's not there.

Sitting on my mother's bed she touched my face and in the words of a mother...too tired to hide her true feelings... she told me she loved me in a way that softened the callouses that had built up around my heart to protect it from being broken.

Something started to thaw. Emptiness was quickly being filled by a real truth. The abyss suddenly began to overflow with the raw awareness of a mother's love.

I remember walking out of the nursing home with the exposed emotions of a little girl. I had waited all my life for my mother to affirm me without the word "but". She only said a few words, but those words to me...for me... were raw, unabashed, unconditional and healing.

As I walked out of the nursing home...having to hold on to my own beloved daughter, I literally wailed and wept. I had so much darkness spilling itself out of me...darkness being filled by love's light. I was so afraid of losing the love I suddenly received I didn't want to breathe...I wanted to hold my breath and keep the love there forever.

Please...don't let life slip by before you give the unconditional lovingkindness someone is waiting for...

Just a year ago I learned this lesson.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lucky Lady

So Saturday, Sept. 19 Melissa and I drove to Williamsburg, Kentucky. My brother in law is the interim pastor at FBC in Williamsburg (my sister happens to be the ONLY assistant on staff at the same church.) Bob and Norma asked Melissa to sing the special music.

So Melissa and I start the trip and Melissa practices the song she's going to sing. "No Wonder They Call Him The Savior"... a song written by a local music director in South Carolina. I have missed hearing my daughter sing 'live and in person.'

So I began to pull songs out of her CD case and ask her to sing several songs. She sang "Adonai", "Mercy Seat", "I Surrender All" and others... then she pulled out her "Dairy of a Mad Black Woman" soundtrack and sang "Father Can you Hear me?" As I listened to Melissa sing all 4 parts I was reminiscing about the movie. this song was being sung as one little girl's hopes were being fulfilled by being able to sing a solo in church...and then suddenly people's lives were being changed...the hope that changes lives...God showed up... I know it's a fictional movie... but I think events like this happens every day, when we allow God to be God in our lives.

I asked my sister in church this morning "When was the last time you heard God's voice through the Holy Spirit?" I challenged myself to ponder the same question within my life.

I thought about the drive to Kentucky...listening to the songs...praising God through songs. My daughter and I had church as we drove I-75. As we drove I marveled at the clouds, mountains and birds flying in the sky. Did God speak to me? I think He did...through the beautiful songs my daughter was singing...and through His handiwork. I am one lucky lady.

Father can you hear me We need your love today
I know that you are listening you hear men everyday
Father please hear us and we will be OK
father we need you to heal families today

Father can you hear me I'm calling on your name
Not Buddha nor Mohammad but it's Jesus we cry out loud
Father just forgive us Hear us when we say
We'll give ya, give ya, give you everything our lives and souls today

Father you know we need it I've never seen so much pain
We have the faith for now Your victory we will gain
father you know we mean it there's no more heart of stone
were ready for your power now the sin is gone

Choir: Can you hear me now

Choir: He will say
Lead: He will say yes
Choir: yes, yes, yes, yes

Lead: say yes lord
Choir: yes, yes

Lead: yes to your will Jesus, yes to your will
Choir: yes, yes

Lead: come on say yes
Choir: yes, yes, yes, yes

Ooh Lord can you heal even me lord see I'm comin to you lord just as
I am I'm in need of the blood of the lamb oh my oh my soul say yes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Touching the Face of God

The airplane took off on time in Charlotte on August 29. The skies were clear, sun was shining and at 37,000 feet up in the air, I could still see the structure of earth. The plots between the roads...the grids of the city...and the smoothness of 'uncitified' land. I love the fact that it's all my colors when I get into the sky so high. The earth looks brown and green. Beautiful shades of all those colors. I love that the sky is so blue...different hues make one big sky.

My plane landed in Detroit and I thought about how close my grandchildren were and I couldn't see them. I had one hour before my next flight. Just enough time to run to the gate, eat lunch, take the next dramamine and board the plane.

It was rainy, cloudy and miserable on the ground. But once we got to 'cruising' altitude, we went above the clouds and the sun shone throughout the cabin. I looked down and the browns and greens were not there...hues of white and gray. I imagined when I painted a sky with my water colors how difficult it was to get the right tonal colors to make the shadows...but up here, above the clouds...above the storms... the Master had painted His Masterpiece once more. I envisioned the paintbrush sweeping a little silver here...some purple mixture over here...bright white and yellow were at the end of the sky.

I landed in Manchester New Hampshire in the rain. It had rained 29 of the last 30 days. (I might add, there was absolutely NO RAIN the 9 days I visited New England.)

Those 9 days were full of oohing and aahing about God's handiwork. The White mountains standing so rocky and erect. The sky meeting the mountains. Waterfalls, caves, whales, bear,... the trees right at the stage of changing into the beautiful colors that make autumn. Daily the color changed...maybe it was even hourly the colors of the trees changed. It was an amazing sight.

I rode my first zipline from the top of a mountain to a very abrupt stop at the bottom of the mountain. As I was zipping down so quickly, I held my arms out and allowed God's breath to fill my lungs with the cool crisp taste of perfection. I wanted to feel like that forever. But it was only a minute or two. But I will remember the complete freedom I felt as I let go of solid ground and 'flew' through the air.

The days passed quickly and it was time to go home. The day I left New Hampshire, it began to cloud up to rain. I boarded the plane with just a ginger chew and a prayer. Our plane had to rise above the clouds again. I was amazed at the puffiness of the clouds and the power they had over the riding stability of the plane. I'd see pieces of earth...but mostly just clouds. We landed at the Detroit Airport at 6:35 p.m....which was the same time my departing plane was loading on the other side of the airport. I ran to the moving sidewalks, walked fast down them and was the last person loaded onto the plane before they closed the doors.

There were thunderstorms in the area. And again, we cruised above the storms. But this time, the clouds were gray and ominous. Suddenly out of nowhere was a huge white cloud in the middle of all the grays. There was such peace, even as the plane rocked back and forth because of the wind, rain and storm. Tears overwhlemed me. In the middle of a storm He always shows Himself. I knew I had seen the face of God...

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
[Sir Francis Drake]