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Archive for April, 2010

You have to understand that I’m really not the kind of person to ask for specific signs. And though I see connections “everywhere” I don’t flippantly put a whole bunch of stock into it – making mountains out of mole hills.

I remember well the story of the man who decided he would do God’s will as pointed out to him in the Bible and his method was to close his eyes, let the Bible fall open and put his finger down and simply read and do that verse. Of course, the first verse he got was “and Judas went out and hung himself.” The second was “Go and do likewise.” and the third was “what Thou doest, doest quickly.” Oops.
But every once in awhile through prayer and/or through His people, God brings connections and thoughts and events in to my mind and heart that truly are His way of speaking to me (or sometimes, kinda like today, of providing a way for me to speak to Him)!
I was leaving work and heading for a meeting and I wanted to pray about it and wanted to have God’s thoughts in my head. And by that I mean that I intentionally chose a playlist on my iPhone which I call “Truth Songs” and which contains songs that clearly speak God’s truth (or even have touched me indirectly – though just as clearly – with God’s truth). And as I went I began to make the songs themselves prayers…
And most of you know that I have been struggling with being at a crossroads (see previous posting). I’ve also been praying for some friends of mine and this morning a specific song came to mind when praying for them – so when that song came on as I was driving, it wasn’t a huge surprise. So I sang along, praying for them at first and then realizing the song was applicable to me currently as well. So I sang:
“It’s time for healing time to move on, It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long;
Time to make right what has been wrong, It’s time to find my way to where I belong”
(…where do I belong, God? Which way shall I go from this crossroads…)
“There’s a wave that’s crashing over me, And all I can do is surrender”
(…help me to surrender to you, God...)
“Whatever You’re doing inside of me, It feels like chaos but somehow there’s peace;
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see, but I’m giving in to something Heavenly.
Time for a milestone, Time to begin again;”
(…shall I set up a marker this time as I begin again from this crossroads?…)
“Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?”
(…have I been wandering aimlessly instead of holding onto You and fighting when you want me to?…)
“So show me what it is You want from me, I give everything I surrender”
(…show me, Lord, and help me to surrender… I need You… )
“Whatever You’re doing inside of me, It feels like chaos but now I can see:
This is something bigger than me, Larger than life,”
(… Larger than Life, Lord? Did the song really just say that? Oh, God, you’re the best!...)
“something Heavenly, Something Heavenly
It’s time to face up, Clean this old house, Time to breathe in and let everything out”
An aside: It might be important here to note that “Larger than Life” was one of the mime pieces we did on the ECMT 2008. Which was one of the most clear times that I heard God speak and knew that I was doing exactly what He had called me to do at that time. And in light of my current crossroads dilemma, it actually made me laugh. Because that time, as with pretty much every other time I have felt distinctly that I was doing what God wanted of me, it had something to do with mime and/or teaching! Not to mention that during that missions trip this “Whatever You’re Doing” song had sort of been my theme…
And that, “I need you” was a recurring and my last thought as the song ended and the next one began. And what was the next song, you may ask? None other than “I need You” by Jars of Clay…
“Strangely out of place, There’s a light filling this room, Where none would follow before
I can’t deny it burns me up inside, I fan the flames to melt Away my pride”
(… and here is where I remind everyone that pride is something God’s been dealing with me as of late…)
“Do I want shelter from the rain, Or the rain to wash me way?”
(…and here is where I mention that it was raining as I drove…)
“I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you,
I need you, I need you, You’re all I’m living for!
I might sound like a fool But I think I felt you moving Closer to me
Face to the ground, To hide the fatal cut, I fight the weight, I feel you lift me up
You are the shelter from the rain, And the rain to wash me away!”
During this song images were also brought to mind of that dream I had some 8 years ago – of a river of fire and being purified by God. Too long to fully explain here, but the whole burning of my pride and oxymoron of God being both shelter from the rain and the rain that washes brought up that dream and it’s initial and continued impact on my life. In wanting God to clean, transform and use me…
And to top it all off, back during “Whatever You’re Doing” with all the mime connections it had crossed my mind that it would be funny if BarlowGirl’s “Never Alone” came on. Mostly because that is a song that God has used to speak to me before – about trusting Him and having and trusting my future husband (and the possibility of my dream of having a husband willing to mime with me – including to that song as I see it in my head… so guess what the next song was?
Yup.
“Never Alone.”
God is good! And I want nothing more than to surrender to His will and take the road He has chosen… which keeps being confirmed in various little ways…

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“They came to the tomb when the sun had risen.” (Mark 16:2)

Hearers of this passage (in English) would have a hint at what was coming – the sun had risen and the Son had risen!
I found it weird that this (very English) thought would be the one to stick out to me during my lectio divina this morning. For while we here currently in America have been accustomed to thinking about the “Son-rise” and “Son-shine” and “Son-light” as a play on words in reference to Jesus, Mark’s original readers and hearers would have made no such connection (sun and son are not homophones in Greek).
At least they wouldn’t have directly…
… there is, after all, another passage in scripture about a sun rising with which they could have (would have?) been familiar. A verse out of Malachi. A prophecy.
“The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
The sun had risen.
The Son had risen.
Praise God!

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At a crossroads…

I wonder if I am lost? This territory seems vaguely familiar. As though I’ve been here before. This path, these trees. Are those faded footprints up ahead? They look just like mine!

They are mine.
I have been here before.
I remember this place.
Standing at a crossroads. Just a little path in the woods that diverges into a few.
Much less poetic than Frost’s….
But here I am. Again.
*sigh*
How did I get back here? I think I know, actually. I got a glimpse the other day of a friend living out a dream. A dream remarkably similar to mine. The one I’m not living out.
Now don’t get me wrong, here. I don’t really think I’m jealous or envious. I am not angry or bitter towards this person (or the dozens I’ve come across prior). In fact, I am exceedingly happy for the blessings that have come! And it’s not that I want what this person has, per se, for my own dream is different. Though similar. And so the question went through my head how all these friends and acquaintances of mine could be “living the dream” (in quotes because it hasn’t been a quick or easy road for any of them and they’re not even ‘out of the woods’ yet). But when will it be my turn?
And at that I realized I was back at this all too familiar place.
This crossroads.
So I began to ponder a bit. Had I taken the wrong road last time? Had I chosen the wrong road and so God, in his mercy, had curved it around so that I would end up here with a chance to choose the right road this time? That thought process holds some credence considering it’s pretty much the same road I have always chosen (when I’ve sat and considered my choices) and somehow I still end up coming back to the same place at the crossroads…
So throughout the past few days I’ve spent some time thinking and praying about this. Asking God if I made the right choice and how I ended up here again…
And then another possibility occurred to me. What if I had, indeed, chosen the right road. What if I had every time? And what if each time I started down that road I somehow got distracted or weary or simply wandered off that path? Perhaps there were rocks in the way, or steep hills or thistles and thorns? My health issues reared their ugly heads. My inability to control my time caused me problems. My own doubts and fears caused me to question and then mistake what was the path and what was not…
Or maybe I saw another path, an off-shoot with similar terrain and pretty flowers and a bit of a more gentle slope or sod that was easier on the feet? And I thought it was still the right path. So I volunteered for good things (rather than the best things). I spent my time on good projects (but not the best projects).
Or maybe I simply stopped paying attention to where I was going?
And so that off-shoot, again by the grace of God, brought me back here. To this crossroads. This place of choice.
When I did the “Beginning Again” book in January one of the dreams I realized I had to let go of was going to Innovo (mime college) full time. (Or even, at this point anyhow, having a full time job or doing mime/teaching full time.)
But as I had thought and prayed about it, I knew that I wasn’t to give up mime and this “creative arts consultant” stuff totally. After all, throughout the past 15 or so years whenever God has spoken most clearly and provided most thoroughly (financially, with strength, energy, health, creatively and in other ways) it has been in relation to mime and “arts theology” stuff. I had come to a point where I was willing (though a struggle it would still be) to give it all up if God had asked. But He hadn’t asked.
Which is why I have always chosen the path most directly ahead. That exciting, inviting path of which I’ve long dreamed, though it is also a difficult, narrow, steep, rocky path.
I realized by the end of 2007 that I had gotten distracted with too many things that were similar but not directly on the path. So I tried to refocus. But by the time 2009 rolled around I knew I hadn’t done as good of a job as I had hoped to in that area. And with my devotions and the like at the beginning of this year I came to the same conclusion.
I think I get distracted and off the path for two main reasons:
1. I have so many similar (yet tangential) thoughts and ideas that are good and wonderful and things I would love to do! Getting more involved at church (in not directly related areas) and more writing projects or design ideas or other ways of helping… I have this bad habit of wanting to learn and do it all! But I can’t. And when so many things pluck at my heartstrings, it is so hard to choose and focus on what is God’s best.
2. That, and I second guess myself. A lot. And I’m not sure if that leads to or comes from this lack of “fighting for” my dream – but I’ve come to realize that I haven’t fought for this dream, this path, very much at all. Am I scared to fail? Do I feel inadequate? Like it’s too far, too hard? Is it those doubts and questions? Or am I simply too tired (too tired from doing too many other things)? Why won’t I fight?
So here I stand.
At the crossroads.
How did I end up here? Was I on the wrong road or did I simply wander off the right one?
Shall I take the road I’ve taken before, and strive to fight for it this time?
Or should I take the other one this time around?
God, grant me the serenity to let go of the dreams you would have me release, the courage and strength to fight for the ones you would have me hold onto and the wisdom to know the difference!
(In case you’re wondering which path I took out of the crossroads, you can find it here.)

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“and they took the money and did as they had been instructed.” (Matthew 28:15)

Why?
They had felt the earthquake. Seen the angel (and been so terrified it knocked them out). Seen the empty tomb. They would have surely realized this was supernatural – beyond humans. And surely they had heard the rumor’s of Jesus’ claims…
How?
How did they simply take the money and walk away? Were they that greedy? Fearful? Disbelieving – like the dwarves who refused to be taken in?
I know there are people out there who can plainly see God’s truth and still walk away.
But I don’t really get how.

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“Come and see,” the angel said.

It was an invitation. “I know what you’re looking for…”
They were seeking.
They were seeking what they thought they knew.
Then the angel told them the greater truth, “He is not here. He is risen, just as He said.”
In other words, “It’s true. It’s real. Him. Jesus. His claims.”
And then the invitation, “Come and see” for yourself.
Why don’t you come and see?
(ref. Matthew 28:1-8)

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