Tag Archive | God

be of good cheer.

The hay is swaying in the breeze through the old porch windows centered between peeling paint.

The ceiling fan hums, an occasional bird sings, the dog sighs.

Sweet paprika and thyme begins to permeate from the oven while the carrots, turnip, onion, and parsnips are waiting.

Tears well up in my eyes now and then.

There’s this. And then there’s that.

All the thoughts of what is not just, what is not right, and just plain why – tumble around in my head.

They’ve been there for quite some time.

I guess today, it was time for them to come forward.

An over used scripture (if there is such a thing) will not do.

A chin up! or this too shall pass, will not suffice.

Only God will do.

But wait. Isn’t scripture God? Isn’t faith and patience and perseverance God?

Maybe we’ve confused one for the other.

When you’ve walked through the darkest place on earth, and do not come out with shouts of praise and hallelujahs, people are strangely silent.

But they don’t know what to say she said.

And the words poured caustically into my bleeding heart.

I thought God spoke through his people. I thought we would do greater things than Jesus.

No one knows what to say?

Instead, they move along at an intentional pace.

To the early Christian, trusting God meant more than a teary-eyed testimony about the time I came to trust the Lord. It meant believing that even if obedience to God entailed great suffering, God was trustworthy to bring a person through it.

No time to sit and be silent and know.

No time to ask, what did you see in that valley? Was God there? What did he say?

But no one asked.

God tells you secrets. And I will tell you what to share and not to share.

But no one listened.

If you can’t speak to your own, how will you speak to the world?

wild iris

In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

the brokenhearted.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

-The Bible

I wonder what God thinks ..

I wonder how God feels ..

When someone is overwhelmed by disappointment, sorrow or grief.

When someone’s spirit is crushed.

He is close to them.

I wonder what God thinks ..

I wonder how God feels ..

When someone does those things to another.

And does not acknowledge.

And does not admit.

And does not apologize ..

knowing the disappointment, sorrow or grief

they caused.

I wonder what God thinks ..

I wonder how God feels ..

When it happens in his Church.

And the brokenhearted continue to diligently watch over their hearts ..

forgiving

shunning bitterness

over and over

and over.

I know what God thinks ..

I know how God feels ..

He is close to them ..

since He knows all things.

Just a lonely heart...:))

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the silent ones.

They watch.

They listen.

They see.

They speak, but are not heard.

They wait for the Lord to take up their cause.

Please make it right.

They find the courage to speak but are put in their place.

There is nothing to see here.

They go back to silence.

But God, it hurts so much.

God sees.

God knows.

In His Church.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

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God is not American.

Maybe you’re a Christian.

Maybe you’re not.

If you are the latter, I hope you can glean something from this writing today.

Western world thinking is not the same as Eastern world thinking.

I think being a Christian in America may have some ideas that need adjustment. That’s because I am a Christian in America and I am aware of my ongoing need!

We are a very productive, goal-oriented society. Input – output. Do this, get that.

So when things do not go as planned or what you worked hard for, well, some of us fall apart. It shows up with anger, frustration, self-pity, and/or depression.

Consider this excerpt from an article taken from the NY Times:

Western culture …  conditions people to think of themselves as highly independent entities. And when looking at scenes, Westerners tend to focus on central objects more than on their surroundings.

I came to terms with this some time ago. Over the course of 30 years, my perfectionist and ambitious temperament latched on to the scriptures that talked about doing. Prayer, commitment, service, dedication, and did I mention prayer?

You can imagine when things did not go well after I worked so hard at covering all the bases. Especially when pro-active faith is front and center in your church experience.

Our strengths can be our weaknesses. I am motivated, detailed oriented, and a perfectionist. I thought this was a good thing and they are certainly qualities conducive to good character as outlined in the Bible.

But those things eventually became weaknesses when anything got out of my control. Gradually, as I learned to acknowledge and trust God with each situation, I became less and less irritated.

Hmm. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It’s a huge struggle. But it’s worth it in the end.

Because God is not an American, he doesn’t only teach us through a central object but through our surroundings (see above quote).

Long ago, I was introduced to a few books written by Watchman Nee, a Chinese church leader and teacher during the 20th century.

I was also introduced to not thinking like an American.

Nee saw through a different lens. He saw God working from the inside out through using our every day experiences to shape us and really, to free us from our strengths becoming our weaknesses.

Americans are geared for learning from the outside in. Give me a book. Give me a list. Give me a class. Attend a conference. Then apply (or not).

There is nothing wrong with this. Yet, at best, it doesn’t always last.

When God does something in us, it lasts. Even if we forget and fall back, he reminds us, and builds upon what he began in us.

There’s the small irritations like the time I planted tulips and they didn’t come up.

Then there’s the really big things like divorce, a child’s death, or a serious illness.

Big or small, God wants us to have peace, joy, contentment, strength, and so much more – no matter what we are going through. When we accept our situations instead of resisting with anger, frustration or self-pity, we are allowing God to work within us.

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but how you carry it.

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.” So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled –
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

—Mary Oliver

woman's fall woman girl

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shadows.

God has a way of hiding in the shadows.

We have a way of stumbling along in the dark until He steps out of them.

It happens in a moment. But when it does, when He steps out and again declares “Let there be light,” the clouds part and our souls’ dark alleys and cluttered corners glow with understanding, hope, and faith. In that moment, if only for that moment, we can see.

And we realize that He’s been there all along.

It’s just that we will see Him in a different light.

shadows

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on track.

We are in the process of building a small herd of beef cattle. Herefords.

Last week, 2 heifer calves were born.

Here is one with her mother.

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Life unfolds in mysterious ways, mostly without our contribution.

It makes us pause, doesn’t it?

Yes, life can be gravely sorrowful.

But thankfully, we still see good, too.

It keeps us on track, knowing God is over it all. He alone has the answers.

Rest in that today.

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