Religion


The decision to move from to Here from melted a slow, liquid process like ice caps.

The final call was time-lapse photography worthy of PBS Nature episode. Nature programs always make me think of my grandfather, who was hypnotically fascinated by snakes. If a during a segment a snake began to hunt, he expected total silence in the room, an homage not only to the chase, but to the fallen.

Whether or not the snake ate well that night, the hunt stirred reminders like a gust of wind conducts fall leaves to waltz in an arbor.

Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return
I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Though our resolve unfolded slowly, its execution was swift.

Eight weeks from driveway to driveway.

In that single interval, I learned more about the strength of the Body of Christ than I had ever known.

Our church family carried us.

They tended our children
and wiped our tears.

They tagged items for the moving sale
and showed up at 5:00 a.m. to peddle them,
(and restrain me from dousing a smoker with my Diet Coke).

They drove us 400 miles to pick-up our babies
from grandmother’s haven
and carried us home again the next day
because they knew how much it would
cost me to travel alone.

They insisted we just go.
Just go.
And repaired walls,
spot cleaned carpets,
vacuumed,
changed light bulbs,
emptied refrigerators,
and cleaned,
and cleaned,
and cleaned some more.

They held us
and prayed for us,
Jeremiah 29:11,
over and again,
For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

They put us first
at the risk of their own hearts,
paid forward labor and
toils that were rightly
ours to bear alone,
read my posts
and folded us into prayer.

They carried plates
and t-shirts,
took memorial flowers
and shared testimonies,
they showed up
and they genuinely cared.

They surprised us with visits,
even on the last morning
and showed up-
bearing Starbucks
and hand-stitched pillows
and sparkling pretties
and books for the heart,
and disco soap for hands
and timid, walking-it-out feet.

All this without judgment
or complaint.
Meeting us where we were,
loving us right as we were,
serving us as we were,
individually and as a family.

My heart floods with gratitude today for those many, precious kindnesses.

The Body was the hands and feet that made our transition Viable.

Because of The Body, I left with a Song of Praise on my lips,
and not a bitter heart.

As my feet sink into the shells Here, I realize I owe so many thank-you notes to the red-clayed kicks There.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

You kept me safe as I began this journey. You knew the road would include much dying to self before I would pick up my head all the way again, yet you never uttered a discouraging word.

You made it so I feared no evil,
Showed me He was with me,
and with sweetest mercies were such
wholly, Holy comfort.

You know what you did
as you did so intentionally.
Trust I know it too;
and am forever changed by the agape love
of every single moment still.

How you taught by example;
what we do matters.

God bless you always.

I love you forever.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

I bathed in loving responses to Mistress Silence yesterday.

Thank you precious ones.

Used with permission, I post the one that wrapped my heart in a hand-stitched quilt and my response.

These words from my gifted Sister in Christ warm me like hot chocolate on a snow day after sledding.

To use her own words, may they bless you, “…If our lives can be poured out like a drink offering for the sake of others, then it is worth it.”

Dear Jael,

…Yes, please feel free to share on your blog.  If our lives can be poured out like a drink offering for the sake of others, than it is worth it…

Oh how your words have resonated deep within.

The alluring silence is that indeed.

I know that temptation and have given in to it myself.

Trying to seek the Lord apart from praise is like trying to drive a car without fuel, or trying to drive in three feet of snow without four wheel drive…spinning the wheels, but going nowhere.  I have forgotten my First Love and have gone through the motions of a marriage…loveless or at least numb on my part.

I … <had an opportunity>…yesterday.  Much time and energy was put into prayer, thought, calculating and communicating… and ultimately gearing up to take that leap of faith…only to have the opportunity snatched away like a dangling carrot…

Yet…God is still faithful.  Still loving.  Still steadfast.  Still the same…

He sang to me in the ice cream shop this evening in the form of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way you Are”. Then, a short while later, He caught me off guard before the display of onions in Kroger in the form of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”

I know God doesn’t play games, but it sure does feel like it sometimes.  Was yesterday’s move God’s or Him just sitting as the enemy moved his chess piece?  I may never know.  But when He sang to me in the shops, I knew, once again, that He is for me.  And when I read your entry, I knew you’d understand.

We cannot diminish His love for us no matter what we do or don’t do.

Be encouraged, dear Jael.  His mercies are new every day.  His faithfulness is great.  His plan is perfect, so matter what our eyes can see, our hearts perceive or our feelings think they dictate.

The Lord be with you, sister….

Much love to you,

Mononomous

xo

 

Dearest Mononomous

I read Yesterday
a wonderful idea
I contemplated
for good use today
to seed Tomorrow.

Its gist was that fallen we,
sons of Adam
and daughters of Eve
view the world
as a dense globe,
a massive ball of rock
spinning,
(…all but out of control…)
twirling,
(too fast,
too fast,
I think I might puke…)
and orbiting the sun.

God, however,
sees the world as a glass bowl.
events to His
Face of Love
gleam Transparent,
Clear,
Ordered,
and Perfectly Perceived.

He pours in
amid
among
and out over us
from The Well of Life.

I share your Faith that God doesn’t play games.

I also take deep comfort
in the assurance that though
you may not understand why your leap was deferred_

Not yet,
not yet, my sweetling,
not yet, baby girl,
child mine,
not yet.
_He knows for certain.

And His plan for your life is
a good and marvelous one,
a perfect plan,
not easy every minute,
but good.

Love you so…
xoxoxo

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

As a tutor, I challenge students to vet the facts to themselves and prove their calculations correct whether in algebraic expressions or Miltonian interpretations.

I am also a big fan of looking things up.
Google is our friend.
I have said more often to children to,
“Look it up,” than
“Clean the litter box.”

This is not only true because I can not order students to clean our litter box, but what is possible to know has never been so much larger than the human capacity to comprehend.

The data delta out scores cat poop by more than a million percent.

At least at my pay grade, Math problems yield more indisputable answers than literature.

The concrete nature of Math builds comfort for some.

Math has a side as soft as Shakespeare, however, when the quotient is experience.

The Husband and I chatted about our Family Math tonight.

The last several weeks have presented more challenges than usual.

I have to pull my fingers off the keyboard in midsentence to keep from slapping down a colon to catalogue a list in a fit of woeful, blogger Tourettes.

What is the ultimate Truth I have to vet here?

More than ever,
as ever,
I need to Trust Him.

I will give Him my every worry,
and He will give me
one heart
and a new Spirit:
He will take from me
my heart of stone
and give me a tender
heart of love
for our God.

There are times when it is important to look up the right answer.

Other times, the right answer is to look Up.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

One of my children’s favorite biblical stories from Children’s Church is about how Joshua fought the battle at Jericho.

Their excitement to retell Joshua: 6:1-23 and chronicle his incredible tale, complete with fun ditty and hand motions remains palpable.

Come on, I know you’re humming it right now,
“Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

It’s an epic quest that resonates with the imagination of youth and their elastic creativity.

There’s much for children to mine from the narrative about obedience. Joshua did exactly what God asked him to do and how He asked him to do it. Joshua listened carefully and because he followed directions, God blessed him with victory and opens the walls of Jericho.

Can’t you almost smell the sweet, corn scent of Bugles that the kids nibbled during the lesson, too many mini trumpet blasts to count!

Of course, the verses invite the grown-ups to peel back more layers of meaning from the Living Word like layers of an onion.

One of the ideas that captivates me centers around the tension the story creates between natural and Supernatural tensions.

In the natural, Joshua is our Arnold Swarchenegger figure. He’s a warrior, man. We expect to see him all suited up and go all, “Astalavista, Baby,” on Jericho. I mean that is how battles are won! Shoot ’em up cowboy and get me some Jericho.

In the Supernatural, however, God has a completely different plan.

Joshua’s army would march around the city along with seven priests and God’s holy box one time every day for six days.
Priests would blow their trumpets.
The people would be quiet
On the seventh day, they would march around the city wall seven times with sevens priests and God’s holy box and the priests would blow one, long trumpet blast and the people would cry out.

Imagine Joshua with his previous military training and experience. In the natural order of a warrior, God’s strategy for taking the city was at best uncommon to Joshua and bordering on wholly unorthodox, Batman.

At first blush, the plan must not have made much sense to the young, shield-toting, sword-wielding Joshua.

God called Joshua to trust Him through uncommon obedience.
God asked Joshua to set aside his strategy and lay it all on the line to obey God’s plan.

Can’t you almost hear the tension of a rope being yanked during a tug-of-war, the taut pull between natural and Supernatural tensions?

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23 (KJV)

Joshua obeyed.
Joshua obeyed God’s uncommon and extraordinary plan to open the walls of Jericho.
Joshua laid it all the line to obey God: his life, the life of his men, the battle, and his reputation as a leader, not to mention Rehad and her family.
The plan did not make sense to Joshua, but he chose to trust with uncommon obedience.

Most of us know how the story ends.

Just as God instructed, Joshua marched with his army, seven priests and God’s holy box around the city for six days.
The priests blew their trumpets, but everyone else was quiet.
On day seventh day, the ensemble marched around the city seven times.
Then the trumpets blew a long blast and the people shouted!
Suddenly, everyone heard rumbling; the walls of Jericho fell.
God opened the city walls!
God’s army took the city.
Rahab and her family were saved.

In his youth, Joshua modeled uncommon obedience. God called Joshua to trust him in an uncommon way to seed in him leadership that surmounted natural tensions to honor Supernatural trust.

It is this Joshua soldier that many picture when they hear his name: young, strong, warrior, obedient, victor.

Seventeen short chapers later, however, Joshua is senior citizen: After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man,” (Joshua 23:1).

Just has God presented Joshau an uncommon invitation to serve Him in his youth, Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem to present them with an uncommon call to serve the Lord.

Joshua asked the people to make a choice, “<C>hoose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” (Joshua 24:15).

Tomorrow we will peel back that choice and examine how our Faith journey is a noncompartmentallized continuum wherein every choice we make draws us closer or further away from becoming more like Christ.

Talk about the natural versus the Supernatural tension!

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

 

Dear God,

The Husband and I agreed tonight that You are one maestro for the details.

For over a half of a year you’ve had us swim in the promise of Jeremiah 29:11.

Once you finally dragged my reluctant carcass on the righteous side of obedience, not to mention marriage, and staked our claim Here for now, I have tried to put aside every complaint or question or doubt I could wrestle.

You are the One who gives and takes away.
You made my path clear enough.
We are Here and we are yours.

So, when my heart wants to stray, I remember that You have a plan to prosper and not to harm me.

And when I hold one of the babies in my arms as they sob their grief, I remember you have a plan.

When The Boy was certain that he wasn’t good enough for the soccer team Here, and not only makes the team, but plays the majority of every game, I recall Your plan to prosper us.

As The Baby sings her own songs to simulate the Chapel she so dearly misses because she wants to pray with her friends, I hold your promises.

If I get too deep or open on the phone with someone There, I hang up fast before my own tears flow, because I trust Your plan.

When The Husband wakes me with morning coffee to begin our day together, and he has already worked out and is eager to go to work, I sense the power of Your plan.

If The Oldest Girl believes she’s able to run for class VP, I imagine You might see her elected or teach us something along the campaign.

And that The Middle Girl, precious peace-pop-o-licious, and I were never more close makes me consider that You Hand-stitch hearts like Mammaw once did her quilts.

So I plod this path You’ve placed us on,
a good hike, if not an easy climb,
ironic as it is so mind-numbingly flat,
and by Grace almost every day
can muster a mustard seek of Faith.
I haven’t seen that mountain bunny-hop yet,
but do believe one gave me a wink.

The recent impact of relational stress,
financial challenge
mystery rash
and illnesses
have engraved another invitation
to accept or decline
Your gracious offer of a Plan.

Up until this afternoon, I heard Your call to stand firm in Psalm 21,

They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

and accepted that if some days that’s all I had to bring, it was sufficient through Your Strength.

That is what makes today such pure honey,
rendering extremities amber
with extreme sweet
.

You had to give that deck one good,
long,
deep,
forward-Seeing shuffle
to land me in a classroom as a guest-teacher today
like a hot table Blackjack in Vegas
lit up Holy.

It was not lost on me that you allowed me the opportunity to teach on a Wednesday Here as The Well meets There to drink Your Word.

Oh, Father!
How brilliant are those kids?!
Smart enough to build a machine of unity,
know what a broken build is
and have the vision
to repair it
anew.

I simply forgot the
hummmmmmmmmmmm-
buzzzzzzzzzzzz-
jazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy
blaze
of the highschool mind!

Invincible Seniors!
Sweet Father, their fire!
You make them so iridescent
like soap bubble
butterfly wings!

Thank you for such an unexpected treat today.

It took my breath
and reminded me how deeply
my lungs can draw
Hope.

I will bank today.
I will record the Interest.
And I will hold it as my Treasure
another certain assurance
that You have a plan,
I can trust You,
and I don’t need to know
Your whats or whens.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts, (Isaiah 55:8-9).

You are The Father of Details,
The Ultimate Party Planner,
and The Giver of Gifts
and my sacred Portion Deliverer.

Father, thank you for today.

I love you.

xoxox

And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

Baby Girl:  (Huge smile, sweet, open and eager squeal) MAMMA! I! WROTE! MY! FIRST! PRAISE! SONG! DOYOUWANTMETO SINGITTOYOU!!???????!!!!!

The Mamma: (Morning grimace, mutters, while making breakfast and slurping coffee like its O2 dropped from the over head compartment of a distressed plane) Sure, Baby.

Baby Girl: (Innocent and wide open) The title is, NoBudes Prfikt and I am NoBude.

NoBoDes prfikt and I am noBode.
Cume now is The time to rest
Cume now is the time to Bring
your heat. Come just as God
said thank you for
Bing such good frenas
all of you Thak you Thak
you Thak you But
remebr NoButes
Prikt evin you.

The Mamma: (Moist words, softly cries and hugs Baby Girl tightly) Amen, Baby Girl.

Hallelujah!

 

 

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

Coincidence or God-Incident that the very next day after God nudged me to consider a couple of defensive maneuvers from Paul’s Playbook, He pummeled me in practice? Coach Father ran me like a Lou Campaneilli press,”Always acknowledge hustle plays in practice.”

I hustled alright.

Like the first days Here, Friday was a day that there was struggle and victory just to stand and hold space.

Our God is an awesome, generous God, and He gifted me not only with extra practice, but also an interactive, fundementals skills clinic. He ran me hard from before breakfast to after dinner. I was continually pommelled with opportunities to Sack Thoughts and execute Thought Interceptions.

I was exhausted by lunch.
By the kids’ bedtime, my calves charley-horsed and my arms quivered.
By the time The Husband got home, my abs were so tight
I didn’t know whether to heave
or curl into a fetal position and suck my own great toe.

Throughout, I learned another play from Paul’s book. It’s called Hold The Line.

Like the Thought Sack and Thought Interception, Hold the Line references football. The line is the imaginary crossbeam that traverses the field’s width, beyond which a team cannot trespass until the next play has begun. This is where the ball sits at the start of each play, beyond which each team attempts to block its opponent’s progress. Also called the Line of Scrimmage, it is the line the defense attempts to hold and the wall the offense tries to penetrate.

Given what we know about Paul’s life and journey of transformation, I have to believe that he experienced days like my Friday.

I’m no Paul or Peyton Manning, but I am smart enough to hear when an audible’s been called on the field and interpret the posture of my opponent.

Friday wanted me to slam me to the turf so hard I’d pee green for a month.

I shoved thoughts back,
I pushed negative ideas behind me,
I grunted with exertion to intercept passes,
I charged down errant worries,
yet despite my individual attempts to
maintain position,
I flailed.

There simply wasn’t enough Me to make a team or hold the line.

Chuck Dlay observed, “Defense doesn’t break down on the help, it breaks down on the recovery.

Self-reliance is only a virtue when it is Faithful, not a reckless, relapse reflex of a lost child relying on her own strength.

AGAIN

That is, of course, because no one Me can make a team, not even in an individual sport.

We are His Team.
We are eachothers’ team.
We are His Body,
His robe of righteousness
our colors.

So I looked Up.
I called up.
I called out.
I called a friend Here.
I called a friend There.
I looked for a way to serve another.
I got to my knees.
When that wasn’t low enough,
I got on my face.

Guess what?
From the vantage point of berber carpet,
Here and There look amazingly similar.

I used my gifts to Hold the Line.
I leveraged your talents to Hold the Line.
I ministered others to Hold the Line.
I held as a stewart,
fed Faithfully by the Faithful.

And then, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work,” (Ephesians 4:16), and the line held.

If we live in the world, we are in constant, competitive contention against a loathsome opponent.

Good teams become great teams when they surrender the Me for the We.

Friday my victory was that I called out for help to hold the line.

Paul was one of the twelve and learned from Jesus himself that,

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

I can be overpowered.
You helped me defend myself.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

A plait tween Thee, Here and There Holds the line well.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content, (Philippians 4:11).

As previously posted, the promise that I can learn what Paul grasped through Christ’s strength
 and be glad in every condition stokes my GO! fire.

If interested, you may check out the entire post about my recent infatuation with Paul here.

My thoughts continue to dwell upon Paul and the masterpiece of transformation God crafted with his willing soul.

Paul proffered the young church a godly Where-Our-Thoughts-Should-Dwell-Punch-List in his thank you note to the Philippians for their ready aid when he was in the clink in Rome:

Finally, brothers,
whatever is

  • ______ true
  • ______ noble,
  • ______ right,
  • ______ pure,
  • ______ lovely,
  • ______ admirable
  • ______ if anything is excellent
  • ______ praiseworthy

think about such things, (Philippians, 4:8).

<Aside: That’s exactly how I see this verse in my head.
For me,
it uploads as a check-list,
not a sentence
or benediction.>

I would benefit from this being tattooed on the front of my right forearm where I could not fail to see it before taking action into my own hands.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Dove, Paul equips believers with the spiritual equivalent of a pilot’s preflight check-list.

Just as pilots must file a flight plan to ground control before take off, Paul challenges us to record a metacognitive, quality plan prior to thought habitation.

In other words, Paul directly warns us to responsibly plant what thoughts we allow residence in our minds as they not only germinate expectations, but self-fulfilling outcomes that directly enhance or impede our Joy.

Paul’s assurance to the Philippians that through Christ that strengthens him (representative model) he has learned how to be happy despite his circumstance (and therefore we can too) resonates with his admonishment to manage the soundtracks in our own heads.

Don’t you want that lesson plan?
Don’t you wonder
how that fleshy guy,
formerly known as Saul,
accessed such a feat of Grace?

I do!
I want Paul’s Playbook!
I wear His colors.
Put me in Coach,
I’m ready to play!
I’m ready to burn it up for You.

I imagine one of Paul’s signature plays is the Thought Sack.

I expect Paul clipped thoughts he did not want to live in his mind at the knees like a hot quarterback that needed to be shut down.

A more aggressive maneuver could be called the Thought Interception.

Such a call would be important were an unwelcome thought already in play, and one needed to catch it and run it down the other side of the field.

Here’s a sample of what such Thought Interceptions might look like:

Thought: Grr! I have to drive my son to soccer practice again!
Thought Interception: My son made the team!

Thought: Hmmph! I have to figure out what to make for dinner.
Thought Interception: We have more than enough to eat. Let’s double-batch tonight. Who can we carry a meal to tomorrow?

Thought: Snarg! I am drowning in a vile sea of filthy laundry and, if my kids throw any more clean clothes in the hamper, they can go to school naked.
Thought Interception: My washer and dryer is right here in the house, not a laundromat across town.

Thought: Spit! This bathroom sink is full of toothpaste and cereal slobber.
Thought Interception: My kid brushed his own teeth before school without a reminder.

Thought: Snarl! My kids have too much homework! Don’t those teachers respect our family time?
Thought Interception: My children love their school and want to be successful.

Thought: Huff! All they do is eat! We are out of milk and Cheerios AGAIN!
Thought Interception: My child is home, not in a PICU ward on intravenous fluids.

Thought: Ack! My husband brings his work home! He’s constantly checking his flipping iphone.
Thought Interception: In this economy, where 1 in 10 are out of work, my husband has a job he loves.

Thought: $$$! The family budget kicked us in arrears again.
Thought Interception: The only eternal currency is Relationship.

Thought: Yawn! Not tonight. I’m tired.
Thought Interception: Meow! (Kegel, Kegel, Kegel.) May you never weary of doing good nor want another.

I don’t see a way we can be like Paul and learn how to be content in all situations unless we pray for the Direction, Self-Control and Faith to reset our internal monologues. Paul’s challege to critcally manage and map our cognitive process streams is in it’s own way, like fishing:

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. (John 21:6)

As for me, I’m going to toss back every discontent idea I net.
I’m only gonna fry the fish fit to feast with Thanksgiving.
Grace & Chips.

I’ve told the truth,
I didn’t come to fool you

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

 

Faith in Christ makes us more than new creations.

It grafts us into the Tree of Life and maxmmizes our every relationship.

It invites unique indentity in The Body;
It makes human beings of human doings;
It heals brokeness.

It is relational roots
mighty like an oak.

 

 

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

 

Like a good zone workout, to read two books in tandem sharpens a reader’s perception muscles about the content of each like steel against steel.

Two titles I presently drink are John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, given to me for rediscovery by a beloved Mommy friend as we departed There, and Ann Voskamp’s one thousand gifts, another send-off present that has blessed me 1,000+ times already. I binge-read both individually like a First Year gobbles a box of Spudnut donuts, and now savor them together, so that like tea, the ideas sweat, mingle, seep to diffuse me.

One of the Irving quotes that wags its finger at me like only my Beauty could is, “—and when however small a measure of jealousy is mixed with misunderstanding, there is going to be trouble,” (45). It partners Voskamp’s observation like a prom date, “(t)he liar defiantly scrawls his graffiti across God’s glory, and I heave to enjoy God… and Satan strangles, and I whiten knuckles to grasp real Truth and fix that beast to the floor,” (90).

Discovery gasps from the back of my throat like the first time I went to the Farmer’s Market in Boston.

So many bushels of fruit!

Fireworks burst behind my eyes as my synapses pop, Pop, POP!

The verb heave grunts Glory as it archives visceral memories of creation,

I heave to crown precious baby heads
all gush
and moist
with dark, wet hair
to Cocreate life.

I heave to press weight
up and down
breath in and out
hard like a locomotion
to Cocreate muscle.

I heave salty sobs
to wash despair
like bleach on
shower tiles
to Cocreate healing.

I heave
white-knuckled
warning to my girls
to focus their
worth lens
ever inward
as they etch
quality pictures
of beauty
to Cocreate esteem.

I heave,
Sojouner,
like you-
push,
grunt,
struggle,
pant,
press Up,
press Into,
and sometimes
pee my own pants
through sheer exertion
as my struggle
fixes the beast to
the floor.

Glory be to God!

The beast is a liar with many names. He shadows his presence through masks of despair, self-doubt, jealousy, so venal vanity clouds clarity and blurs my connection to our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.

Jealousy heaves heavier than kettle bells and is twice as slippery. Jealousy’s rancid core goes deeper than, “I want what you have,” and includes

“I want what I had,
I want what I expect,
I want ________ (fill in vice of choice)
I want _________ (fill in virtue desired devoid of personal behaviors that align)
I want it now!”

Going back to Irving’s quote: “–and when however small a measure of jealousy is mixed with misunderstanding, there is going to be trouble,” (45).

Jealousy can do more than maim our relationships with each other and self, it can amputate communion with our great God.

When we put our timing
expectations,
demands,
self-righteousness,
greedy-voracious,
selfish self-interest
before God,
do we not
operate with a small
measure of jealousy
mixed with misunderstanding?

How often have you heard a loved one opine, “That’s not the way I’d do it if I were in Charge.”

And that’s in Charge with a Capital C, Captain of all Creation Command.

We are not in Charge.
Thank God, we are not in Charge.
We confuse what we want
with what we need
to prosper.
I must entrust
my heart
to the Father.

 

I don’t have a Batphone. I am not a prophet. I am merely a Seeker.

My very heart’s desire is to see the Face of God.

That hope assigns me as much moral and behavioral responsibilities as this one life might muster. I am plenty busy doing my job as I am a fleshy, inconsistent, spiritual sterwart. I must not only be still and know He is God, I must hallow His Work in my life.

The sweet wine,
the bitter cup,
both His to draft
and mine to drink
as I Praise His name.

Yet we are born with a gag reflex.
Bitter tastes bad!
The tonge recoils
like a window shade,
as it stains the throat
with splatter paint
angst of acrid
after taste
more vile
than fish burps.

Our feelings get so big like air freight carriers on the high sea that we forget to be critical of them as they too often are real, but not true.

Oh, Lord, if it’s one relationship I need to get right, it’s my connect with You. Disconnect with You taints the supply I bring every interaction as you are my Portion Deliverer.

Psalm 121: 5-8 promises that You stand guard over my comings and goings

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I hold on to hope and the promise that You bring.
There will be a day Love wipes away all jealousy
and Hallelujah hails
the only things we heave.

That will be a day.

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

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