Tag Archives: broken

Seed Silent

I have been silent of late. Not the sulking, depressed, anti-social, need to be hidden kind of silent, but the seed kind of silent.  Surrender silent.  The way the seed falls into the cool, dark blackness of earth and gives up one identity for the promise of another. Expectant kind of silent. The promise of the hard outer shell of familiarity cracking under the pressure of the moisture and the weight of the soil.  Longing silent. The way the lover sun pulls on the tenderness of the sprout coaxing and wooing it to the surface with promises of union and purpose and destiny.

This has been my silence as I walked my  earth wet with tears and felt the weight of the reality of my dust.  I have learned a lot about my seed self.  I have experienced paradigms shifting in every facet of my being.  Who I thought I was as Child, Mother, Wife, Friend, Worshipper…all being touched by the Master Gardener’s hand each time with one question:  “Do you yield?”

Will I yield to the work of the silence and surrender? Or die, a hardened intact seed with all of my potential locked inside me?

I bow and stretch and embrace pain as escort.  For the first time I am learning what it really means to be alive.  The why behind each breath and heartbeat.  I want to live.  Live intentionally and purposefully.  I am done with existing. There is so much more to it than that.

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In The Empty Moments

Thinking tonight about the empty moments.   You know, those  time-scapes where you are truly alone with yourself. What we do with ourselves in those times are very telling.  Are they filled with accusation?  Shame? Guilt? I am watching those I love process a life lived full and yet, they sit in empty silence, and the echoes are driving them mad….I have often read and re-read this poem by Oriah called:  The Invitation.  Tonight I find myself wandering in the words again, as I am praying for my Dad who is losing touch with today, and stuck in the pain of past hurts and poor choices and soul woundings.  I ache to reach inside and help him out, all the while longing for the silver moon of my youth when I could stand in it’s light and shout” Yes” to the pale glow and know that I am ….and that is enough. I share these words with you tonight, perhaps you too are wandering.  May they bring you comfort and light, and a sense of being.  Thank you Oriah Mountain Dreamer, for penning these words and touching my soul with truth sparks for the darkness.

The Invitation by Oriahwoman-with-moon1
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

Sifted

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31-32 ESV

I have been sifted.  I know the Riddler’s voice in my head.

“You aren’t strong enough, brave enough, good enough, righteous enough, you aren’t enough.  No one sees, hears, knows, cares, loves you.  He doesn’t love you…He isn’t even real.  What if this is all a lie?  What if this is all there is?  What if they are right? What if you are alone? How could a good God-”

I know what it is to stare at a black canyon at midnight at 70 mph.  I know what it is to not believe the spark of life inside of me is worth fanning into flame. I know what it means to take my hands off the wheel and just quit.  I know the selfishness of self-absorption.

I know what it is to make grand declarations of allegiance to a Savior I wasn’t so sure I would die for.  I know what it is to wrestle with the whisper of “is this real” and “is there really a God who loves you anyway?”  I know what it is like to run away from the fellowship of hand warming when a babe questioned my walk. I know Peter, he is my brother.

“…but I have prayed for you”

Those words.  Some of the most powerful words to encounter my life became for me a living stone.  A God made flesh, incarnation of love in me reality.  A memorial of the way I was spoken back into existence and caused to stand upon feet firm and solid in faith.   He prayed for me.  My Intercessor asked for me to receive strength to not lose heart. To not give up. To find true faith. He made a way in me to Him in the middle of the dark forest of my wandering. Because he scattered crumbs from the table of his presence I did not die in my rebellion. When I was his enemy, he fed me. He prayed for me.

“and when you have turned again-“

I know what it is like to have sunlight pierce midnight.  To have words form inside of my spirit blast against darkness.  I know what it is like to hear the footsteps of love approach my wretchedness and  transform the hanging ropes of despair into ribbons of grace.  I know what it is to come groping into the light blindly waving my hands in front of my face to catch my stumbling steps, only to feel the steady grip of acceptance upon my shoulder.

“strengthen your brethren”

Can you really heal wounds if you yourself have never bled? Can you give hope when you know nothing of darkness or the pressure of the sieve? Can you lead anyone if you yourself have not turned resolutely to life? Can you teach anyone to pray, having not felt the posture of humility before the greatness of His love? Can you war, if you have never lost?

I know the sound of tempered steel.  I know what it is to be weighed on the proving grounds, and waged in battle.  I know now the treasure of  whom I have believed.  I know the way of narrowness and I have light for midnight. I know the fight of faith is a good one, a noble race run. I am at last able to say, I follow Christ because I know Him.  I know as I have been known.  He lives in me. I live in Him. I know the life I live is not my own, and I know he will finish what he has started in me.  Be of good cheer, He has overcome the world.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

peter-denial

“IF”

  “If

you love me,

you will keep

my commandments .

John 14:15 

Obedience is  agape proof. Love unto death proof.   Proof of a life dug down deep not living in shallows.  Proof of a stake driven straight painted blaze orange.  Here.  Here I am in the life of the ONE I love who holds all things.  Obedience is in the keeping.  The keeping close, holding tight, breathing after the heart of God.  

Obedience is knowing.  The way a kayaker knows the face of a river, which currents will take you through, which will smash you bloody and lifeless on the rocks. Obedience is knowing the path that is narrow when there is no light at midnight and souls are following you.  Knowing the way his steps feel to your bare feet resting in the imprints.

Obedience is choice.  Choice in the place I fix the gaze of my eyes- the gates of my soul.  I become what I behold.  I choose what I see.  How I see. Obedience is watching.  Expectant like the dawn birds for the first ray, coaxing the sunlight with hope.  Watching for him in the room.  Asking what he is accomplishing in the lives before me, and partnering with his actions in love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

Calvary love compels me to obey. When I gaze upon the loving well, and to the end, through the piercing, stripes and thorns, I see the battle against the greatest enemy, and my terror conquered on my behalf.  When I see, I know how he loved me-agape way-unto death.  Through death, out of death and into life. Life that leaped into me at my “yes I believe”. Life that lives to die to my will, and glorify the Father. Life that lives to abide.

“As I have loved you” -love laid down in a life offered freely. Not robbed, not demanded, not wasted-offered. Choice, obedience, faith.  If I obey, I love.

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Alabaster Life

Preaching without spiritual aroma is like a rose without fragrance.  We can only get the perfume by getting more of Christ. –A.B.Simpson

 

The devotional today is centered around a moment of pure worship, as Mary breaks the alabaster jar of her inheritance, and “wastes” it in one movement of extravagant, lavish affection. For this great act she is not lauded by the populace, she is despised and ridiculed.  All opinions in regards to her actions seem to be in agreement, except for one. The only One who really matters.

Jesus, the great Rabbi and benefactor of her affection demands she be left alone, and declares something truly radical- that the fullness of the gospel is not proclaimed unless her story is told right along with the Good News of Chris’ts birth, life, crucifixion,  burial, and resurrection.  Yet, how often have you heard her story?  Really heard her story?

Mar 14:6-9 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” ESV

I have wondered at the house of Bethany, the place where Jesus could be “himself”.  The place he frequented more than any other, the place of his friends.  Bethany means date house, or house of figs.  This rings of the symbolism of the nation of Israel which is often called a fig tree.  Perhaps here, he envisioned the true Israel.  A house of welcome for the Messiah, a place of friendship and easy graces. Laughter and study, and food.  True food.

The nation was turning it’s back upon him. Would declare him accursed and deliver him up in a short while, but here, here he was among friends and in that place a woman believed what the others had refused to hear.  He is going to die.  They are going to kill him. In that revelation, she longed to show kindness to him while he was still in her midst, and to give him everything she had, everything she could.  Her love as perfume filled the house where they were sitting and everyone was marked by the fragrance of her devotion, and the declaration of his death-and it made them mad!

Grumblings were heard, eyes were rolled, costs were tallied, some perhaps covered their nose to get away from the smell.  Judas felt his pockets tingle with the loss of such revenue, and they did what most do when they are uncomfortable with someones “over the top devotion”, they accuse her motives.

“Look at how selfish she was, that could have fed a whole village of lepers for a month! Such a shameful waste, such a loss!  Look at it there on the ground…they will never get the smell out of this house!”

Perhaps, that is what she wanted.  To never have the smell leave.  To step into the room and instantly remember where he sat, how he smiled, the words he spoke.  Smell is the greatest trigger of memory, and this moment would forever remind her of her love. It would remind him as well.

I can imagine the beautiful Son of God closing his eyes as the fragrance slowly rolled down his hair, the sides of his beard, onto his shoulders, to his hands, his feet.  Drenching his robe.  Was he in that moment remembering the fragrance of Heaven?  Did he feel the love of his Father in her actions, remember the glory he laid aside, and would take up again?  Did his heart fill with joy at the recognition of this little Eve, this little girl in the garden with her eyes open to the Tree of Life, choosing him, choosing love, choosing to worship in spirit and truth. Doing what she could with what she had?  Did he remember his words to the serpent, and his promise to the woman and know that at this moment enmity was at work, and the battle was raging towards the cross?

Leonard Sweet in his book:  Jesus:  A Theography, mentions this story and makes the statement that Jesus came into this world smelling stable dung and straw but left it smelling perfume.  The fragrance of that oil would have stayed with him through the long night in the garden, through the beating, the crown of thorns, the lashes, the crucifixion.  The aroma of love would still be on him, mingling with his sweat, his tears and his blood.

The question was asked:  “When have you allowed your love and devotion to Jesus to let you do things that other people wouldn’t understand, and might ridicule?  All for the love of Jesus?!”

I close my eyes and remember the fragrance of my devotion, the times when I have abandoned my heart to Him this way.  Intimate times when I have poured out my tears, and my words in longing love.  Delightful moments when I have whirled with childlike abandon in meadows of camas, and weak, humble times when I have lain prostrate before Him.

I remember the sweetness of just wanting to sit at His feet, know the tenderness of His love, hear Him speak to my heart in familiar tones, to just say my name and say his back to Him.  I have been ridiculed, and pushed away, corrected, and chastised for the way my heart is at times lavish in its expression.  It is this story that reminds me of my inheritance.  It will not be taken from me.  He receives my love even if others question my motive.  I remind myself when I find the stiff gazes of the cold religious fixed upon my face, that He is my audience of One.  I live for Him alone, unto Him alone.

My prayer oh Lord is that you break me open and pour me out. That, the devotion of my life would be lavished upon you as oil.  That you would remember me as the joy set before you as you delight in the fragrance of my worship.  Draw me, and let us run together!  Help me tell your story from the place of the fellowship of our hearts.  Make me a Bethany of your presence and may our love burn at the hearth a never ending flame that even death can not quench.

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