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Archive for the ‘Talks with God’ Category

The coolest thing just happened.

I sat down to do my lectio (devotions) and it’s pretty late in the day. Typically a morning person, today’s late rising and crazy heat pushed me out the door for errands before my time with God and when I returned I was so drained from the heat that I feared falling asleep if I sat down then.

Now I did talk with God this morning. I was praying from almost the time I got up. It was that informal chat-type prayer as I went about getting ready and eating breakfast and starting laundry…

So when I sat down late this afternoon, not wanting to rush but starting to feel guilty for not “praying”, God reminded of my morning prayers.

“Yeah…” I replied, my disappointment still there. “But I wanted to keep that going longer, through my errands. It sorta dropped off… Shouldn’t I have continued?”

And there was a pause. I could almost feel God giving me one of those raised-eyebrow looks. As though I should know something. As though it was right there.

And it was.

I had just said it.

My “I want to” came before the “I should.”

Somewhere along the way God’s work in my heart and life has produced this change. This swap. This flip flop. My desire to continually acknowledge God’s presence and be in constant communication with my Lord has increased. Increased so much that it comes before my perfectionistic “shoulds.”

I smiled.

God smiled.

As my mei mei would say: This is happy.

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This is from a letter I wrote to God yesterday and it describes the basket imagery which has become important in my walk and to which I’ll likely refer back to from time to time. So here is what it means:

So Tuesday morning was rough. Well, every morning has been. But as I returned to bed to rest my poor body, my thoughts turned to you again. Oh, Monday night was so lovely! It was late and I was disappointed in the time but as I reviewed what led me to that late time I realized I had no regrets over those things! None! And I had this random chat with you as I was falling asleep… and that is what continued Tuesday morning there in bed. And as I struggled with anxiety for my day and all that needed done in it (and knew my mind needed calmed to get more rest), you took my hand and gave me an image:

We were walking along in a field. And there, scattered about like rocks, were all the things I needed to do or wanted to do or hoped to do. And the field was endless (and neither of us were surprised at that). And in my hand I had a basket and the basket was labeled “today”. I decided to ask you before putting any of those rocks into my basket. I wanted to know if you approved of how I was filling my day. And I thought things were going quite well. (How come I always think that before you do something even better or more profound? It seems I constantly short-change myself… and you.) And then we came to this one rock. It was larger and I looked to you, wondering if it was something I should attempt or wait. And it seemed to me like I wanted to hold on to it just in case it would fit in before we were done. And you held out your hand and I thought you were going to hold on to it for me, and I was so grateful! And I handed you the rock, quite excited by all this, and you took it, but you just kept looking at me with that sorta-smile on your face. And I knew there was something more. So I actually stopped. Stopped and looked at you so that I could listen. And you said, “actually, I was going to carry the basket for you.” For my yolk is easy and my burden is light. Oh! Wow! You want to carry the whole basket? This heavy basket I’ve been loading down while feeling so proud of myself to include you in on what I put in it? Hmm…!

So I handed over the basket and realized that you could hand me each task as its time came and I wouldn’t have to worry so much. Not stress over the whole load. Not be anxious…

On Wednesday I was again thinking of the field and the basket. And on yesterday also. Yesterday as I was trying to exercise, walking at a too-fast pace and you were laughing at me – with me – listening to that funky electronic cardio station… I thought of the basket again. And how you hand me the rocks as I need them. And I realized then how that image flows with what you’ve been teaching me from the one thousand gifts book and list! About having open hands and taking what you give. We accept the bread with thanks. Even the manna unknown – when we don’t know what it is – we accept. We have open hands. And this is something you ask of me every day. You carry the basket and I accept from you whatever you put in my hands. My open hands.

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chastised…

“Don’t even go there,” he said.

I opened my mouth to defend myself but the solemn look in his eyes caused me to shut it again.

“I know,” he continued. “I know there is much on your mind. I know you want to be writing right now. And, yes, it is something to which I have called you. I know – believe me, I know! I made you, remember? – that you needed the extra sleep. I gave it to you. And I know you were up late working on that dream  to which I have called you. But don’t start pushing me out, short-changing me, brushing off our special times because you feel rushed to get it all done. It will come.  Remember, I have given you everything you need: strength, skill, passion, creativity and, yes, even time.  I have and will continue to give everything you need to do what I ask of you. So you do your job and allow me to do mine. And for that to happen you can’t start neglecting our time. Make it a priority now, in the beginning, at the start. Create good habits, not bad ones.”

“Yes, Lord,” was my instant reply, “I’m sorry.”  Then I looked back up to him with a sheepish grin. “Thank you.”

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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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It’s early morning. Only she and her daddy are awake. It’s father-daughter time. She dresses up. Long skirt, soft shoes, hair up. A little girl, she plays the part of a princess…

These mornings have become precious to her. There with her father. She can see the delight in his eyes and feel the smile on his face. She is almost giddy herself.

Taking the ends of her skirt, she curtsies to her father, “may I have this dance?” And so she begins. She moves solemnly and she moves playfully. Lifting, sweeping, swirling, twirling, bowing, raising, leaping… There is laughter and joy and delight. She is in the presence of her father!

She tries to remember the steps she was taught. Foot position, balance, movement. She tries to dance gracefully. But she is just a child and her movements are more often awkward and clumsy. Yet she is graceful in the eyes of her father, who watches with a father’s love. It was never her grace anyway. It was always his. A gift. And in grace and through grace and, eventually, with grace she dances. Delighted. Delighting. In the presence of her daddy.

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