Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Pleasures = Haiku

Days like we are having, loaded with spring's unique bounty, are awe-inspiring.
Haiku material, for sure!

White catches the light
On a rain darkened morning.
Dogwood blossom shine.

Still, your quality.
Gentle nourishment falling,
Drowning seeds to life.

The girls spent a couple days mothering a wild baby bunny. Such a precious little creature... I never saw it close it's eyes. Damaris said she saw it blink once.

Some bunny loves some bunny...

I love the expression in the hands... a picture really is worth a thousand words!

I love morning. Since living in our house, where we have big windows up at tree level, I have been made aware of the life in the trees I have been living sheltered under, all this time.

Every morning You
Practice the art of stillness.
Leaves are evidence.

You start with quiet.
Orchestrated crescendo
Is the day You make.

Bird in flight, cheerful
Example of freedom's yoke,
Shout your song to me.

I give you freedom.
'Tis a weighty thing to give,
Paid with blood, sweat, tears.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Working From The Right Premise

Well... by these pictures one might assume that we made it to the ocean on our recent trip.
You would be correct.
You would be "working from the right premise".
premise: a basis, stated or assumed, on which reasoning proceeds
:to set forth beforehand, as by way of introduction or explanation
The other day I was listening to a song by Rich Mullins. It is one I have always liked. It was interesting to me to note the way I felt differently about it, than I remember I used to...
The song goes:
"You who live in heaven, hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth,
Who are afraid of being left by those we love and who get hardened by the hurt.
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well, I memorized every word You said, still I'm so scared I'm holdin' my breath
While You're up there just playin' hard to get.
You who live in radiance, hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin.
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was, still we do love now and then.
Did You ever know loneliness? Did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You are barely holdin' on and Your friends fall asleep, and don't see the blood that's runnin' in Your sweat...
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted?...while You're up there just playin' hard to get.
I know You bore our sorrows, and I know You feel our pain.
And I know it would not hurt any less even if it could be explained.
And I know that I am only lashing out at the One who loves me most
And after I have figured this, somehow, all I really need to know...
Is if You who live in eternity hear the prayers of those of us who live in time?
We can't see what's ahead and we cannot get free of what we've left behind.
I'm reelin' from the voices that keep screaming in my ears.
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret.
I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
To be lost enough to let myself be led.
And so You've been here all along, I guess...
It's just Your ways and You, are just plain hard to get."
Hearing this song again took me back to whenever I last listened to it. I remember feeling so familiar with the feelings it expresses...
But not so much anymore... He doesn't feel so hard to get... which set me to thinking and wondering... what's changed?
That's when the phrase "working from the wrong (or) right premise" crept into my mind.
Which stirred the question... "What is the "right" premise?
I mulled it over a bit... love? God is love. The 2 greatest commandments... Everything works together for the good... His thoughts towards us are good...
Lots of thoughts flickered in and out.
Suddenly, clearly, I had my answer...
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY!"
This is the premise, from which all our wonderings and reasonings should proceed. This is the end He is working toward. If we can believe this, His ways are no longer so hard to get.
This premise is His promise to us.
Choose life!
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Monday, April 5, 2010

The Power of the Period

For some reason lately, I have been noticing that when I am writing something, anything, I seem to be choosing to use a period where once I would have used an exclamation mark.
One might think that maybe it's because I'm growing old and dull, but I really don't feel that way...
Rather, it feels like I am getting more of a foundation under what I think and feel. I feel more comfortable with stating something. It might be that I am learning some things with my heart, that I have believed with my mind for a long time.
I really do enjoy words. They are like puzzle pieces, to take up and consider and ponder, before one decides which one fits the best... which one is the best vehicle to carry the thought, that I am struggling to capture adequately in words. It's funny to think how once a puzzle is put together, it's not a "puzzle" any more. :) A word fitly spoken, to me is a thing of beauty.
Punctuation has always seemed pretty basic to me, just a necessity. I am coming to appreciate the power of the period.
I recently read a quote (by F. F. Bruce) that really stuck with me.
"God's peace is joy resting.
His joy is peace dancing."
An exclamation mark is what we would expect to use to transmit our joy, excitement, or happiness.
As I am learning what "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" means, I am finding that that liberty is very close kin with the true Sabbath rest. True joy and peace, which seem like opposites, are in fact not. They are bound up in each other. So is the justice that God loves and His tender mercy. The one does not drain the other, it only adds to.
Using a period does not deny the joy, in a statement. It sometimes takes it deeper. It puts an "I mean it" to the statement.
I am intrigued to see what all of God's "periods" say to me, as I begin to take note of them. Where they might take me in my journey.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


When I was 10 years old, my Grandma gave us each journals for Christmas. I remember she was quite pleased that she had come up with a title for each one's book, and an accompanying verse. She felt like God had helped her with it.

As you can see, mine was titled "Janelle's Journey" and the verse was Numbers 10:29.
She told us we should write in it about the important things in our lives...
I have written some in mine, but I am thinking at this point, for me, the journal gift is more about God's words to me, than about what I might put in it's pages. What He puts in the pages of my life, my "journey", far out-weighs what I could ever jot down on these pages. (Same thing goes for this blog!)
At the age of 10, I had no clue as to what this verse meant. I thought it was clever of Grandma to come up with "Janelle's Journey, Path's Of Paula, etc.
So far this book only holds my account, written to Abe, of how God brought me to the place of being certain that he was the one for me to marry. At some point, while writing in it, it seemed very uncertain that our marriage would come about, due to the testings that were coming against our relationship. It was the first time in my life that I encountered the perplexing dichotomy, that most of Christian life is about. Namely, having faith, and having all on the altar at the same time. God is so faithful to continue perplexing us, to get us intrigued enough to inquire into things, to begin seeking. What is this impossible position we are called to live in? Believing... and yet not leaning to our own understanding...
When our wedding plans were in the making, I had a strong feeling that there was a verse that God would have be "our" verse, that we would use on our invitations. I have no memory of how I landed on this one, I just remember it felt right to me, and Abe felt the same way.
Psalm 37:5
I know this post is not the continued story of our recent trip... actually it is the prologue.
Key words being "journey" and "it"...
I'll never forget, at a real crossroads time in my life, how the Lord spoke to me through a book I was reading. Here is what I heard:
(The setting was the wedding in Cana and Mary instructing the servants...)
""Whatever He says to you, that do." No more, and no less.
Mine is the doing, when He says the word.
HIS, is the bringing to pass."
I will always remember how I felt when suddenly I recalled our wedding invitation verse.
This whole thought and way of living has been revolutionary for me. It has changed my outlook on almost everything, especially what being a Christian is about.

At another time, during another crisis, I was driving along with my girls and an Annie Herring CD was playing...
"It is the journey that we walk in, that makes us more like us, or more like Him."
What I walk in, that's what decides who I become like. It does not matter how anyone else is walking, or what they are choosing. It is a very empowering feeling to really get it, that no one stands between me and God. No one has the power (or authority) to bar the way. I am not stuck because of anyone else's choices. Saying yes to God in my own heart WILL make me more like Him.
At some point, I remembered the journal from Grandma, stuck away in my trunk.
I am blown away by it all.
I am learning... that it's not the destination that makes the journey worthwhile. Michael Card sings, "There is a joy in the journey. There's a light we can love on the way. There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey"
As the journey becomes a thing of wonder and joy to me, the destination dims, only to discover that God delights in destining us. The "it's" along the way surpass our unnamed hopes. It is truly the Father's GOOD pleasure to give us the kingdom. Since He knows us better than we know ourselves, in fact formed us, is it any wonder that He can give us what we never even knew we needed?
I am in the midst of discovering that God is too big for me. I was made in His image. He was not made in mine. He is too lavish for my liking. I wonder if the problem is, such lavishness calls forth an adequate response.
I am glad we are called to walk humbly with Him. There isn't any other way.
This arrangement if full of tokens that remind me of God's faithfulness and His intimate knowlege of me... of how He can take a journey, that feels like pilgrim's progress, and turn it into a vacation.
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