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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thank You, God

Thank You, God,
for eyes to see
the beauty of
Your artistry.

Thank You, God,
for ears to hear
the singing birds
which You hold dear.

Thank You, God,
for words to speak
and call upon You
when I'm weak.

Thank You, God,
for hands to write
of things that can't
be seen by sight.

Thank You, God,
for legs so strong,
a heart to sing
in endless song
Your promise of
unending love,
peace, joy and wisdom
from above.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Choice

He promises He will not quench
 a dimly burning wick
or leave me lone in my despair
so heavy, dark and thick.
He sets my feet back on the path,
 the Way of life and peace.
He takes my hand and leads me on
until the storm swells cease.
His tender touch brings quiet hope
and stills my racing thoughts.
His gentle presence strengthens me
and helps me pay the cost -
the cost of being given life,
to leave behind the wrong for right,
to move from darkness into light.
There always is the choice.
Lord, strengthen please
my feeble knees;
empower me to stand
strengthened by the hope I find
by clinging to Your hand.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Prayer for Strength

Golden limbs of autumn
sheltering the way
bringing joy back to my soul
proclaiming a new day.

Tender twists of memories
rest on the faded bench
reminding me of where I've been
this journey inch  by inch.

I sense the Spirit's presence near
in blazing brilliant swells
remembering God's mighty hand
that rescued me from hell

replaced the fear with life and health
infused me with new breath
bringing hope back to my heart
and silencing the death.

I pray now for the strength I need
to make the wisest choice
to set aside all worldly things
and listen for God's voice.

Lord, strengthen me
to do your will
to live a truthful life
to have the courage to believe
the will to pay the price.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hope

God of grace and glory
You are filling me with light.
The mourning dove
and sunny birdsong
chase away the night.
The looming questions dissipate
in sunlight's warming beams;
the pressing task of joyful hope
leads me toward a dream -
a dream I pray
that comes from You
and draws me
to Your side
where I can live and breathe
Your Love
which in all things abides.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love

Love is all
the law
the life
commandment given,
all that's right.
Instead we choose
to live by fear
wondering what
we're doing here
grasping, grabbing,
holding tight
to the things
that steal our life -
fighting, hating,
breaking hearts
as our families
fall apart.
Save us, Lord,
from blinded faith
thinking things
can stay this way.
Show our hearts
the truth you see
so that we
may be set free.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
                                                                  Matthew 22: 37-40

Monday, October 17, 2011

Imperfect Beauty

I was given a wonderful new gift today - a perfect spot beneath the shade of a crimson Dogwood tree.  I felt such a sense of quiet relief after the confusion and chaos of  yesterday's insecurity.  Bathed in dappled sunlight, the anxiety and confusion of the day before began to slowly melt away.

In the quiet stillness of the morning light, my thoughts began to slow as my eyes were drawn to the  surrounding beauty.  The whisper of the gentle autumn breeze calmed and comforted me.  The warm October sunlight began to melt the icy fear that had gripped my soul.

As I focused on some of the individual leaves above me, I gained a new appreciation for the uniqueness of each one. It occurred to me that each leaf was not beautiful because of its perfection but because of its variation and even imperfection.  There was a place reserved for each particular leaf on the tree.

Each leaf in the rainbow of reds was one of a kind.  Some were tinged with green; others blotched with dark spots of burgundy.  Some were worn with holes and tears left from a long season of harsh weather and hungry insects.  Still the humble beauty remained.

I thought of the blotches and lines on my own aging skin and prayed that I could see them through these same eyes of acceptance and peace.  Growing older is not something our society applauds.  Still there is a wisdom and a beauty that only deepens with increasing years and seasons - a beauty composed of scars and pain and imperfections.

Each leaf has its own individual story just as we do as human beings.  We each bring an important contribution to the world.  How often we judge our own place as damaged and worthless compared to those around us.   How often we feel that we fail to measure up to the sleek  media images that surround us.

But we each have a spot prepared just for us - a spot where we can grow to maturity and let our true gifts emerge.   These gifts may be small or large but they each contribute a critical offering to our world.  Each one, no matter how small, is significant.

I pray that we might have eyes to see the beauty that shines forth from each of us just as it does from each and every facet of creation.

The heavens declare the the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
                                                                                                      Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Letting Go

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.

                                                             Ecclesiastes 3:1


Letting go never seems to get any easier.  We've been practicing all our lives but we still cling to what is in our grasp.  Why is it so hard?

Maybe it's the sense of loss - knowing that what was can never be again.

With a jumble of emotions I watch as my boys both leave for college.  Along with the joy of their achievements and growth, I also feel a deep sense of sadness and loss as I realize that their childhoods are behind them - a once in a lifetime experience never to be repeated.  The delights and the heartbreaks, the trials and the triumphs, first words,  first steps, first days of school, first failures, first loss - these are all gathered together as memories like their  favorite outgrown toys packed safely away in the attic.

All of our days are really once in a lifetime experiences - precious time that has been given to us as sheer gift.  It can be so easy to lose sight of this as we go through the routines of our day without stopping to recognize the beauty around us.  We forget the fleeting nature of time and how quickly things change.  We forget that things will not always be as they are today.

As I write this the leaves on the Dogwoods are beginning to blush with autumn.  Each year as I watch the leaves fall,  a sadness descends over me and I long for them to stay.  But I know the leaves must fall to continue the ongoing cycle of the tree's growth.  They must make way for the vibrant new life of the coming spring.

We have our own cycles of loss and change in our growth as unique children of God.  We are being shaped and transformed by each experience on our journey.  Letting go, we are made ready to move on to our next stage.  Letting go, we are made ready for new life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Choices

My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.

                                                       John 15:21

A red light had stopped me at the bottom of an exit ramp when I saw him walking slowly in my direction.  I felt a familiar tightening in my stomach as a weathered and disheveled man trudged toward my car with his head hung low.  His tattered cardboard sign asking for work ended with the words "God bless you".

So what, I ask myself, is God asking me - the one with a profusion of undeserved blessings - to do in this moment?  That question never ceases to be an agonizing decision.

My immediate thought is that I should reach out to help the man but I think of how many different knowledgeable and caring people have told me that this is not a good idea.  Donate, they advise, to the Salvation Army, rescue missions, food pantries and other community organizations that support the homeless and the hungry.

Even though I know these are good and worthy suggestions, I still have the uncomfortable feeling that I am rationalizing  a comfortable cop-out.  What about this particular man?  How does he feel when he looks at me in my well-cared for car with eyes averted to avoid his?  Does he feel abandoned, discarded, worthless?

Although there are no easy answers,  the person before me is a real human being with the same basic needs to be loved, valued and noticed.  Who knows how or why he ended up in this sad forsaken spot?   I am not called to judge but to consider - consider how I can help make this world a better place, if only by a smile.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vulnerability

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.
                                                              Philippians 2:5-8 (NRSV)

One of the biggest challenges we face is accepting the reality of our vulnerability as human beings.

Vulnerability is not something we like to think about.  The world around us fights to eliminate all traces of anything that is seen as weakness.

We spend time building up our income, our education, our accomplishments, our social circle and our possessions in a vain attempt to ignore the truth of our vulnerability.  The world commends us for being strong and in control.

But Jesus gives us a different example to follow - a countercultural way of living in this world.

Unlike us, He did not attempt to gain power, wealth or popularity.  Instead, He gave up His total equality with God and took on the form of a servant.  He willingly gave away the very things we spend so much time desperately trying to acquire.  In the end, He made the ultimate sacrifice and gave away  His sinless life to redeem our selfish and sin-filled lives of ignorance.

Vulnerability may not always be easy or pleasant but it breaks down the barriers that divide us.  It reminds us that we are all human with the same basic need to be loved.  It strips away the pride that separates us from one another.  It reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

God, grant each of us in our blindness the courage and the strength to be vulnerable in Christ as we grow in Your love.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Callings

Walk worthy of your calling.
                             Ephesians 4:1

Where is God calling me in this second half of life that I am so blessed to have been given?  There are many who are not so lucky.

Both of my boys have now left home for college and I'm left wondering where their childhoods went.  The calling of motherhood never ends but the days of hands-on parenting and nonstop activity are past.

There are so many emotions that defy tidy labels and I am left speechless.  My days are different.  My life is forever changed.

But I know that God is good and even in the midst of excruciating pain He has always been there.  I have never been forsaken and that gives me courage to face the future - whatever it may hold.

This is a time for learning new things.  I have been jolted out of the rut of complacency and routine and I'm ready to begin even though I don't exactly know where I'm going.

God has promised that if we seek Him we will find Him and I intend to use this precious time to seek Him with all my heart.  He alone holds the answer that my heart needs.

I'd love for you to join me on this journey of faith and be my traveling companion.  There are so many blessings just waiting to be discovered and shared.