How Did I Get Here?

•April 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

As always there was a moment during Lent when it felt it would last forever. Now I am at the point when I can’t believe how little is left.

I had goals…they were good goals. They got upset and out of order, yet I rolled with the punches…for a bit. Then I fell out of the boat and God had to pick me up, set me back in, dry me off and point out that where I was headed was wrong. The boat got put on a new course.

I got put on a new course.

One not of my choosing.

But the course is so blatantly a “God thing” that I cannot argue. Oh, who am I kidding? I have been kicking and screaming very loudly. And still I know that His way is better and I should go with it and save a little energy for the journey.

Truthfully, I don’t think I got so far off course that it was screamingly obvious to a lot of people. But God knew it (He knows everything) and I did, too. I’ve been sorting through things and I’ve seen a lot of areas that have gotten dusty with neglect. Perhaps a new perspective will help my desire to polish.

I am at a pivotal time in my life. Wondering how this many years have passed and how I don’t feel this old. After nine years out of the work-force entirely and sixteen years out of a “career” it looks like I will be going back to doing what I did pretty well before children.

So as Lent ends, a chapter of my life will end and new one will begin. God’s timing is amazing.

Looking through that smudgy glass.

Feast vs. Fast

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

How are your Lenten fasts/goals holding up? Are you the person who endures more than the forty days? Does every day count as fast or do you allow the “mini-feast” of Sunday? There are merits to both approaches.

I’ve practiced both this year. There were a few Lenten fasts that I’ve allowed myself to break from on Sundays and a couple that I’ve held tight to everyday. Then, if I’m being honest, there’s one I’ve just not managed well.

The ones I’ve not allowed Sunday “breaks” are the one that seemed to me to control me in the area of time. They have the potential, I am sad to say, to consume my attention, to consume my better judgement. They are the ones that I am going to have to continue to wrestle with outside of Lent.

The fasts that I’ve broken on Sundays have been the ones that I felt I needed to see where I stood with. They are choices that I will probably continue to moderate during the year.

We live in such a rich and abundant society, I doubt we have to look very far to find something to “give up for Lent.” First world problems…

Looking through the dark glass,

Julie

Midway…

•March 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Midway through Lent. It seems to have flown. I would hazard a guess that ten days from now I will not be singing the same song.

Continue to have confidence, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

I thought I had a plan…well you know what God does sometimes with our plans…yes, He chuckles. I don’t feel like I’ve done wrong deviating from my plan, when I truly feel He put some things in my path that were important for me to do. It involved laying aside my intentions, something I’m not known to do well.

God has promised great things for those who serve Him. I know I don’t deserve them, but I am clinging to the promise that through Christ alone I will see the reward.

Enduring the view through the dark glass,

Julie

Hands and Feet

•March 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’m not one to use paraphrase or idiomatic Bible translations a lot, but sometimes they just really do get the meat of the matter.

My verse for today is from James. James is really the kind of guy I don’t want to sit next to on a long trip, because he is just so….just so….convicting! Many of my favorite verses come from other books in the Bible, but James just pokes and pokes until I get it through my thick head that I better get in gear and do! something.

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:26-27 The Message

This verse has been rolling around in my head quite a bit lately. James has been popping up in the readings often during Lent and it is really hard to ignore him. This is from the afternoon or “None” reading today. I don’t know that “like” is the word I want to use but I looked through different translations of this, and this is the one that “poked” the hardest.

Most translations use the words “widows and orphans” and while those are people we should minister to, I thought the words “homeless and loveless” were interesting. We all are homeless until we go “home” (see yesterday’s post) and without God’s love we are “loveless.” And here in our time on earth the way most of us feel God’s love is through someone else. Bringing me to James again…2:16–it’s not enough to say “be warm and well fed” unless we are going to warm and feed.

And here is where if we get too literal we will say, “Well obviously that person has money and food. I guess they don’t need us.” Well they may have a mansion on earth but they are still homeless until they go “home.” They may have “family” but they may still feel alone.

It is hard for me to remember that we are all “widows and orphans” and we are all “homeless and loveless.” And while we are here we I (poking at my chest) am His hands and His feet.

The Corporal Works of Mercy:
To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To cloth the naked.
To shelter the homeless
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned/To ransom the captive.
To bury the dead.

We are all hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick, captive and dead without the grace and mercy of God. Therefore every encounter is a chance to minister.

Looking through the dirty glass and talking to myself…

When We All Get to Heaven

•March 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

After a long four days, I am home. Home to my chair, my bed, my kitchen, my coffee mug. Home to my sweet guys who missed me. It’s not that where I was, was a bad place. It just wasn’t home.

HOME.

My earthly home brings comfort and relief from the wearying world. Can you imagine our real home? There is a deep and real longing in my heart for my my real home. My heavenly home.

Going to leave it at that. I’ve got some catching up to do.

Peering through that dark glass,

Julie

St. Patrick’s Day

•March 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

220px-Saint_Patrick_(window)Posting has been and will be limited for a few days. Traveling. Left the three “boys” at home: the big one, the bigger one and the old one. They seem to think it’s party time with me gone. Pondering how that makes me feel.

Today is St. Patrick’s day. A saint’s day turned Hallmark holiday and excuse for bad behavior in the United States.

The verse I am pondering on is from today’s Terce reading:

Lord, you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent. Yes, you love all that exists, you hold in abhorrence nothing of what you have made. Wisdom 11:23-24

Hope you have a lovely day and find a blessing!

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Not My Map

•March 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1: 27

Who are our “widows and orphans”? Sometimes I wonder if they don’t perhaps come to us clothed in just an average person in our daily life needing our help.

I had my plans for Lent…my “desert” that I envisioned. Somehow I am not where I thought I would be. Somehow my map got changed.

Life, it is called. Life does not follow my map, my plans, my Lent. Others needs, the needs of my family, the needs of others raise their voices and ask me to veer off my planned path. And selfishly, I sit and dig in my heels and consider not helping, not serving, not doing what I am capable of. I make others worry they have asked too much of me.

Then I realize if I don’t…it’s not that I’m spectacular or anything. I am just in the place at the time of need…I consider my prideful and selfish motivations. Humility is not a virtue I am good at. Oh, I make it seem like I am, but false humility is a pride. So now there’s more sin to contend with. Now that I’m weighing that, both options are in question.

Not exactly the same but, through my mind while I ponder…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

–Robert Frost

 
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