Floating

Last week my stomach ached–too much to do and not enough time.  Its the curse of all ambitious people, isn’t it?  It finally got to a point where I was in such pain that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t do the dishes, couldn’t get to that list of things I wanted to get done after work on Wednesday night.

So conceding a small victory was done to me, I took my water with lemon and went and sat out on the porch. I don’t know if its where I grew up or if all people are like this, but I always seek out solitude with nature when I am troubled.  Maybe its that I believe I can hear God better when I’m in a place that’s more organically his than inside a man-made house?  Or maybe its that the birds chirping and squirrels running up and down our trees makes me smile and more optimistic?  Whatever the reason, the porch is my #1 favorite place in/around our house.

I sat down and sipped my water.
I was still troubled….grumbling to myself….and then I saw it.

A tiny puff from a tree shedding its seeds amongst what appears to be a clump of feathers but I know better to be more like cotton once closer up.  The night is just starting to invade so the puff is perfectly lit with a soft dusky light.  It is almost suspended in the air–no wind or movement harasses it.

It floats to the right every so slightly.

It floats upward and then downward as if it had just breathed.

Left.

Right.

I sit there and watch this graceful puff move ever so slightly for a good 15 minutes.  Why can’t I be like that puff?  It has no where to go, and nothing to do except float until it is landed.

And that’s when I realized my stomach ache was gone.  I had been so intent on studying this puff and where it was headed, I had completely forgotten about my “To Do” list waiting for me inside.

I closed my eyes.  I breathed in deeply and opened my eyes again.
God, you sent this puff to me didn’t you? Thank you for being there even when I refuse to acknowledge that I need you.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul.

Give me rest and give me peace, oh my God.
And like that puff that I am so very sure you sent me, please help me to float upon your will for me today and everyday.
Amen.

Just say the word

Deliverance can sometimes be such a long road. Whether your journey is to just get through the day or its one that last years or a lifetime, faith can sometimes be hard to find. Even harder to realize is that all our Lord asks is that we have faith that he will deliver us.

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Matthew 8:5–13

Did you catch that? In a time when so many didn’t even believe Jesus was the Messiah, the centurion had enough faith in Christ to believe that he could heal without even setting eyes on the sick. Even Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith!

At times I forget how quickly deliverance can happen. A few days ago as I was reading Matthew I came across this passage and was revived. My deliverance hasn’t happened in an instant and still we wait, but it is refreshing to know that if you’re praying for God’s will, he will give it in the exact moment he is ready, whether that is just a breath away or years away.

Faith of a mustard seed is all you need to get through this day. Tomorrow you can work on tomorrow, but today your mustard seed is all you need.

Lord, increase my faith.

A one-way ticket to faith

I am that person–the overly organized, the anal-retentive, the high-strung planner–that’s me.  God formed me this way, and most of the time I think this is a positive attribute to my life.  Last week for the first time since I became a commuter, I lost my train pass.  When such instances occur, I almost don’t know how to behave.  What does one do when one loses something that’s so incredibly important?  The ticket isn’t purchased cheaply and I could hear the dollar signs draining from my bank account.  I gave it up in hopes of having a carefree Easter weekend, and so I did!

As with most families, we tracked out to my father-in-law’s house for Easter lunch.  Going home is such a bittersweet time for me–beautiful and sweet because it is the place I love the most and the place I feel the most comfortable at. But trips are also not so sweet because they remind me of the thing that is not in God’s timing for us to have right now–a 15 minute trip to my parents, an older sister I can visit for all of my beauty woes whenever I need her, and my favorite vintage clothing store right around the corner.  Home is more than beauty tips from my sister and clothes, but these are some of the things that make “home” my home to me.

This morning when I awoke it wasn’t moving that was on my mind, it was that train ticket I had allowed myself to forget last week that I was concerned about.  All morning I carried it with me as I did a load of laundry and got ready for my day.  Finally as I was about ready to leave our house and checking to make sure I actually had cash with me for the purchase of a one-way train ticket, I did something I should have done on Friday when I found my ticket missing…..
I stopped, closed my eyes, and bowed my head to my creator and God.
God, you are in control.  If anyone can make this train ticket show up, its you!

5 hours later, my train ticket shows up at a train station.

Today’s story isn’t about the money I was able to keep in our bank account, its about the faith yet again.  (Its always about that with this little mustard seed!)
God showed me in one quick weekend that he is in control.  He can take away, and he can provide.  He is there–always there–and he gave me back my train ticket in His time.

I long to move home, to feel at ease with the people in the place I love so much, but it isn’t yet time.  Just as God could deliver me from my moment of unorganized train ticket insanity, so he can remove me from this place I can only call my temporary home.

Take me home, O Lord.  I await your answer….

Reading the Bible…ALL of it

Today I find myself a few chapters into the book of Nehemiah, just a little under 2 books away from being done reading the entire Bible.  Its been a long track and I certainly marvel at those people who can do it in a year.  God called me to read the Bible, but apparently he wasn’t on the same timeframe as I had so boldly assumed.  What’s new?

Along the way I have been more enlightened than I could have ever imagined.  I can now tell you what books are my favorite, why they are my favorite, and which are my least treasured (Judges….not to name any!).  I can also give you a list of Biblical heroes and heroines I now look up to.  This has probably been one of my more life changing things in this calling–turning my eyes from contemporary heroes to true prophets and prophetesses, as the case may be.  My  parents are and will always be one of the firsts on my list of people I admire and strive to be like, but I’ve added such people as David, Elijah, John (the apostle) and of course–the Virgin Mary.

At moments some of these people have brought me to my knees in tears at the remarkable lives they lead and the faith that I can only wish I understood.  They give me a great desire to reach even higher than I’ve reached before and through which I hope will lead me to become a better person, and ultimately maybe one day hearing my Lord Jesus called me his “beloved”  too.

“What’s next?” you  might ask?  I too wait daily for that answer, which only time will apparently reveal.  Until then, I will finish reading Nehemiah and then find myself in Revelations, which I’ve dreaded reading since I started this calling.  I have faith that even something seemingly as small as to what I am to study next will be revealed to me in His time.

He knows….He always knows, and so I wait.
“Oh have faith, my little seed” I can just hear Him saying…

Be strong and courageous…

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”
I Chronicles 28:20

Caravaggio’s great talent

It’s much larger than I thought it’d be…I muse to myself as I stand in front of the Caravaggio painting.  I can feel myself relax as I start to break it apart and truly study the painting.
What a great gift God gave him to be able to paint like this…

Many times in my  life I’ve wondered why I’m not gifted at many things.  Singing, bowling, drawing…  Oh what a life to be a famous artist or to swim like a super fish like Michael Phelps!  But then I look in the mirror and believe that maybe God doesn’t see the ordinary girl in front of him that I see staring back.  He DID know me before I was created in my mother’s womb, so maybe this very average woman who can’t really paint, isn’t very smart, and can’t volley a tennis ball to save her life is just as important to God as the super fishes and Caravaggios of the world.

I think today of an average woman named Mary who became the mother of our Lord.  I don’t know if Mary could bowl or if her dark hair was absolutely ordinary like mine, but I do hope that if an angel ever wants to appear to me someday, I can take what God HAS given me and offer it up to glorify his name.  Its not about what I don’t have, its about using what I DO have.

I turn away from the Caravaggio and head back to my desk to grab my running shoes and mp3 player.  I may not be able to paint like Caravaggio, but I bet I could beat him at running.  Maybe someday when I get to heaven I’ll have to challenge him…
On your mark, get set…..

Hope

I am that demanding child.
The one who looks to the Father and waits for him to respond and tell me where to go and what to do.
I am the one who can’t walk into a dark room, I need Him to be with me and guide me to the otherside where a door with light awaits me.
I am not patient.  I want Him to answer me when I think I need an answer.
I want all of Him.  I want my adonai to sit with me and hold my  hand when I am afraid, when I am weary, when I feel alone.

These last few months have been hard.  I read of deliverance in the Bible and I knew immediately that it was a promise from God himself.  The sun was out, the grass was green, and with all of this beautiful life around me, my hope was shooting far beyond anything I could have imagined.
But then the sky turned grey, the grass died, and the snow endlessly blows across our yard. I look out the window and wonder when my hope will be restored—when will He usher us into the promised land?  I cried. I admit it.  This mustard seed lacked hope, which means I lack faith.  Its in these moments that I must drop to my knees and with tears streaming down my face in embarrassment, and cry to my God to forgive me.

I am demanding but I am also a mustard seed.  I need to gain more faith so I can persevere through this so I can be delivered.  Our promised land is right around the corner.

I have hope.  I have faith.  I know that I am not alone and that someday when that deliverance comes and I fall to my knees with tears streaming down my face, it will be from pure joy and not from the embarrassment and sin.

Renew me, oh Lord. Give this mustard seed the faith to move mountains.

Glittering Whispers

Its dark and the snow is falling—glittering everywhere really.  All I can hear is the rhythm of my feet hitting the snow and my deep breaths.  My breath moves out in front of me, and the snow falls silently down.
Almost there….

I finish running around the corner and begin to walk.  There in front of me is the only street light on this road, the symbol of my finish line.  It glows in the early morning darkness.

But today its not just my symbol of the end, today it invites me into its spotlight of life.  For there beneath it are snowflakes dancing, twinkling, and glittering.  I am the only one here to see it.  The life of movement and beauty unravels as if just for me.
I go and stand in the middle of it.  I stop.  Then I smile, close my eyes, and lift my face and arms to the sky.  The snowflakes gently settle on my face and I whisper back “Thank you, God.  I hear you.”

Today as I was reading I Kings 19, I was struck by Elijah waiting upon the Lord. You probably know this story.  After Jezebel had threatened Elijah with his life, he ran into the desert.  After two angels had appeared to him, the Lord came to him and tells him to go up to the mountain, for he is about to pass by there and he wants Elijah to be there.  A mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire all came to the mountain and Elijah stayed in the cave waiting for the Lord.  And then….just as if its such a simple thing, the Lord whispers to Elijah and he covers his face with his cloak and goes out and stands at the mouth of the cave in the Lord’s presence.

A whisper. This was not one of those times that God had to drag his people by the hair to see his mighty acts. No, Elijah—one of the greatest prophets of the Bible—hears the whisper and follows.

So many days I fail.  I wait for the mighty gusts of wind and the fires to pass by my way.  I wait for the knock on the door to call me to volunteer.  I don’t open the door for the woman behind me entering the store, and I snarl at the Pontiac who cut in front of me.  So many days I forget that my Adonai doesn’t come in the loudest ways possible.  I long to follow Elijah’s example and wait for the whisper so I can cover my face and hear my Lord say “What are you doing here…?” (I Kings 19:13) so that I can answer back in humble obedience.

Every time I run around that corner I will hope that He is waiting for me. Whisper to me, oh Adonai.  I am waiting…

Ameyn, Amen!

First let me begin with the blog title. My journey with God has most recently taken a stronger course in learning patience and love. I’ve always been interested in other languages, so learning words from Jesus’ native tongue intrigues me. “Ameyn” is Aramaic and is closely tied to the word “faith”. It is in fact a word of power, and an affirming “this is the ground of connection with Unity from which my actions will come.” (selfhealingexpressions.com) So today I say “Ameyn”. Today I grasp at the mustard seed that I am and hope to one day grow into something more than just a seed. I want to be bigger, stronger, more in unity with my Christ. I desperately long to have the faith that the Virgin Mary had when she said “yes” to Gabrielle and started on one of the most fascinating journeys of all time. I long to have the love of Christ towards others that always without question allows me to turn the other cheek and offer my robe and my open arms in an embrace. It is a journey, like Paul, I know I will never achieve, but will continue to run towards every day of my life until I breathe my last breath. Amen.

I’ve been blogging for quite awhile, since about 2005. Most of them—much like my artwork—are random in nature, but always have some correlation to my life. I recently also started a photoblog, which is more visual in nature. I’ve decided to come out from hiding and start a real blog here. I will keep up with my photoblog, but the thoughts that seem to spew themselves at lightening speed from my brain that require no visual relationship to photos, I will post here.

I don’t know what thoughts may appear here. I don’t know how much my faith and growth in Christ may increase over the years that follow, but I always have hope. I may completely veer off course and we may find ourselves amidst my musings on making homemade cat food and the desperation we all feel when we long for the lilacs to bloom, but find them covered by snow one more time. I may babble about my anger at slouchy socks, or I may contemplate my devotionals for the day.

One thing is always certain though—I hold on tightly to the mustard seed I have. For I am that seed…
Lord please let my faith increase. Amen with Ameyn.