When Jason came in and told me that his surgery had been scheduled, I was speechless. Only for a minute! We had been talking, he told me he was getting a call, he came in, said it was scheduled, and I was speechless. It seemed in that moment that nothing had changed, and everything had changed.
Suddenly, our plans were thrown out and new ones made. Suddenly, we had the conversations that were anticipated but not so soon! Everything and nothing had changed.
Isn’t this the way it is with God? You have a new insight, a new understanding, a moment, and everything and nothing changed. Your life is still exactly the same and completely different.
It is the moment of the positive pregnancy test. It is the moment the phone rings and someone says, “Hello”. It is the moment you cannot go back to who you were just one minute before.
I have a handful of moments that have left me speechless. When I got my words back, they were not always prayerful, or even to God. Many time it is only after many words that I find myself talking to God. My hope and prayer is that as I continue to grow in my faith, that my first words are to God.
Praise. Lament. Wonder. Worry. Joy. Grief. Celebration. Loss. Love.
In all of those big moments, we are closer to God than we might even know. Let us grow so that we are ever more aware.
And, I might need to remember that sometimes words are not necessary. Silence is filled with more than words. It is true communion.
The storms continue to show up. We have measured over 5.5 inches of rain at our house since Sunday night. I love the occasional storm. It is kind of like a snow day. Everything slows down. Plans get moved or cancelled. A good cup of hot tea and a book are just what was needed.
4 Days of storms-now I am a little annoyed. The dogs don't know what to do with themselves. Have you seen my hair? This much humidity is not good for anyone. Doing anything requires extra thought. Plus, the windshield wiper situation is frustrating. Either it is not raining enough to keep them on at a steady pace or it is raining so hard they can't go fast enough.
Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.
When I first started praying, I had a printed-out prayer that I prayed, on my knees beside my bed, once a day. I so worried about doing it wrong that I thought this prayer would cover it all. As my prayer life has evolved, I have found that I spend less time asking God for anything. I spend more time listening and simply being present with Jesus.
Now, I receive what God has for me. It seems to be working out better for everyone. Now, I pray with a good cup of hot tea, a book, a journal, a song, or silence. Wherever and whenever. I discovered that I can pray anywhere any time and I will never cover it all. Thank God! It is a living breathing relationship.
The storms of life show up. Annoyingly so. So does Jesus.
As a young person and into my adulthood, I was scared to death of thunderstorms. I would call my mom to come get me when I was in high school and I had a car that I drove. It would be left in the parking lot until the storm was over. I worked in a day care when Jason and I first got married. I would call him to come hang out with me if it stormed and I was there alone. Many times he would show up because he knew I was scared. After all the children had gone home, I might have work to do and he would have to come and sit with me.
I live with a dog that is scared of storms. When the storms came through this week, I heard the loud rolling thunder, I got up immediately to go give him some medicine to calm him down. Before the thunder had ended, he was at my door, scratching. I talked to him as I made my way to the kitchen. I completely understand his fear. When he is outside, standing under this tree makes him feel safe. What a nerd. Even when it is not in bloom, he stands under it and thinks he is safe. Bless his heart.
But, I get it. I get the need to feel safe. To feel covered and if I do this the right way, storms will not do damage in my life.
We know this is not true. The storms come. They roll in when we least expect them. They roll in even when they are expected.
I had talk with myself about 15 years ago and said-Self, you are not longer afraid of storms. You will pay attention to them and do what is necessary to prepare. But, you will not be afraid. Respect them, yes. Scared, no.
Surprisingly enough, once I did that, I found that I could roll with them. Now! I enjoy a good thunderstorm. I also have my shoes and helmet ready if there are tornados.
When we walk with Jesus, the storms may roll in unexpectedly. I remind us all-that Jesus is not surprised. Jesus is with us and when we stay close to him, we can and do find our way through the storms.
I guess my question is: What do you do the makes you feel like you can control the unexpected storms in life? Is it truly working for you? Or do we need to look to the one who stills the storm and trust in Him?
I have a couple of plants I keep alive. Some of it is dumb luck and the rest is the plants will to survive. I know that it is time to replant them. They need new soil and I need to knock out some of the roots. They can get so bound up in their roots that they can't live.
Interesting. I talk about having shallow roots that are wide. I have moved my whole life. Some of you have hardly ever moved.
Both have their merits.
As I think about repotting these plants, it makes me think about the roots that I need to remove. Even in my shallow rootedness, I have things that hold me back. Things that won't let me flourish.
I also have some pretty shallow ones that I need to let grow and get a little deeper.
Plus, there is something about fresh dirt, good water, and a little love that even makes my plants happy!
I got to spend a little over 2 days with the people who are in the candidacy process. We are on interview teams and we meet with people every year as they make their way to ordination. It is hard holy work. I love it!
Do you know why? There are so many words! Written, spoken, sung, whispered, yelled, and all of it is holy. I love it!
The second best part is that we were together in person! It is so much better to be in the room with these people. Plus, the team gets to be together too. I love it!
Serving in this way fills me up even as I am emptied. It has been 2 years since I had to drive, get up earlier, get dressed, and be dressed all day. I even loved this!
It gives me such hope to be with people who love Jesus and are called to serve the church and God in this way. I love it!
It is my sweet spot! I love it!
Where do you find yourself filled even as you are being emptied?
I have had a couple of conversations this week about telling the truth. I know this topic comes up so often in politics, in telling someone if you like their new hair cut or not, in being brutally honest and hurting another. We tell the truth, people are set free, people are released from despair, and are able to move forward with this knowledge to make decisions. All of this is done in the name of truth.
Truth can be a weapon or a blessing. It depends on how this truth is used. Jesus told the truth to his disciples and the crowds, and many could not receive his truth. They simply could not or would not hear it. I have been there. I read in a book years ago about an alien that believed if he closed his eyes, no one could see him. I do this with truth that I don't want to hear.
When we lean into the truth of God, when we hear the truth of God's love for us, when we see God's love at work in the world, do we speak of this? Do we honor the holy work we have been called to be speaking truth?
Here is some truth we all need to hear: You are beloved. Wildly, Abundantly, Joyfully, Completely Beloved!
Now! Go live out that truth so that others might know as well.
This Friday note is brought to you by Gratitude.
I have had several interactions this week with people who are living into their best selves. It is so exciting to see this. To witness someone using their gifts to help others. To receive this gift from another is such a holy offering.
The joy that makes my heart sing, the light that is in the world in all of us ordinary people is almost to much to hold. People changing the world in everyday ways, living into their fulness, out of their love of God makes me turn to God and say-"Are you seeing this? It is amazing! How cool is that? Way to go God! Way to go Child of God!"
May we find gratitude in our everyday moments.
I was with a friend recently and she reminded me of this phrase: Curious and not judgmental. We were talking about hard conversations and how to stay engaged when there is conflict or different perspectives.
It seems to me that the tenor of conversations lately has not been curious and is very heavy on the judgmental side. We write people off when they believe or say something we do not agree with wholeheartedly.
Staying curious does not mean we have to agree. Staying curious means we are invested in the person and the relationship. We can listen and see their perspective. We can listen and completely disagree but not make a judgment call on their whole being.
It is much easier to disregard someone than it is to stay in relationship. My hope and prayer is that we will do that hard work. I know there is blessing for everyone. The connections we make, the things that we do agree on allow us to stay connected.
Where do you need to be more curious and less judgmental? I know my answer.
After 2 very long years, this extrovert got to go somewhere and be with friends! All the joy! The 4 of us gathered and worked, and visited, and talked. We Talked. So. Much. All of us are extroverts so someone was ready to have a conversation.
We laughed, we cried, we were serious, we ate, and most importantly, we were together. The support and holy conversations we had were a balm to my soul.
My soul is so nourished and happy!
What are you doing to make your soul happy? If you want to talk about it, you know I have all the words!