Sunday, May 29, 2011

Touch of Angel Wings

Years ago I read a book called, "The Touch of Angel Wings" written by Charlie Shedd. The book is about those gentle or sometimes not so gentle nudges from the LORD, like nudges to go and visit someone or turn down some unfamiliar street and step into an unfamiliar shop or strike up a conversation with someone you have never seen before.

Charlie Shedd made a deal with God. He would give himself permission to miss or even ignore a nudge twice but on the third nudge he would go... period. The book, "The Touch of Angel Wings" gives an account of some of the things that have happened when he followed God's nudges.

The idea made sense to me and I have tried to do the same. Talk about a faith builder! It's amazing to have someone answer the phone and say, "I bet you have no idea why you called me did you?" or to arrive at a home just in time to prevent an unconscious friend from choking to death. It is amazing what God would do in us if we will listen and follow.

It feels like we as Christians have lost the art of being led by the LORD. I think of Acts 8:26-27a "Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went." How exactly did the angel speak to Philip? It doesn't say that the angel appeared to Philip. He just spoke to him. The end result was an encounter and conversion with the Ethiopian Eunuch. The story sounds very similar to the stories described in Charlie Shedd's book or my own experience.

If we were in tune, listening, and choosing to be led by the spirit, like Philip... what would happen?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I went to see a friend this evening. She has always lived a very active life but now is unable to walk. One wrong step and everything came to an abrupt halt. It makes you wonder if you have your own priorities in order. My days right now are busy-- but busy with what? Her days are full of what she can see from a chair. I have been there. It was a time of awakening for me. George Mac Donald's (an amazing author from the 1800's) books often have an illness element. You can see in his books how much he connects illness with spiritual awakening. Is that God's intention for aging? Or is it just an effect of the fall? Is it a time when we must slow down. Perhaps aging is yet another way that God gives opportunity for us to turn our eyes towards Him

I remember a time in my life when I spent my days watching the seasons change. My world shrank until it was a tight circle around my bed. I couldn't see the ever increasing number of dust bunnies in the corners. I couldn't see the thick layer of dust on the furniture. But I could see what still remains important to me today--my family, my friends. and my God

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunshine, a reflection of God's delight

I have been in a rainstorm for maybe a week straight. We were traveling and everywhere we went it was raining or snowing. But today, today the sun is out, the humidity has dropped to a comfortable level, and I can almost hear my plants growing in the garden. :) It reminds me of Psalms 30:5b "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning." Joy, life, peace somehow those things are in the smell that comes after the rain. I'm sure more storms are coming, but today the birds are obviously happy with what God has served up for us and I agree.

Today I am filled with a sense of God's delight. Sometimes I see Him resting, like he did on the seventh day, sitting back and taking in all that He has made. I see Him delighted in the sound of the birds singing, feeling the wind tickling His back and drinking in the sweet smell of lilacs (which are in full bloom at my house). I see Him looking over at me pulling at the fledgeling weeds in my garden enjoying the sun and fresh air.

If God is light, then the sun is merely a reflection of Him and today I am warmed in His reflection and comforted by His marvelous creation and feeling His delight.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holy Growning

Romans 8:22 says, "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."

Do you ever hear the earth groaning in pain? Sometimes I think I do when the air is full of fumes and there is trash in heaps in otherwise beautiful places. What has happened to our respect of all things created? What has happened to our respect for one another?

Later in verse 23 it says, " And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."

I have had many suggest that the passage in Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing;" meant we were to pretty much live in a constant state of contentment, as if content is the common emotion of truly holy people. But in Romans 8:23 I get a totally different picture. Sometimes groaning is an act of holiness. Sometimes Godly people have no other response but to groan...

Holy groaning isn't in itself a groaning about the food, or lack there of, it isn't about what we have or don't have... It is about our deep, deep longing for more, for justice, for peace and for God's creation to be brought back to His original intent.

Monday, May 16, 2011

You SHOULD be there. When are you leaving?

It's been a long few days. I spent some time with people that send this very subtle message "So glad to see you, when are you leaving?" It is confusing and sad. Like a split message, "You SHOULD be there, Your not welcome!" It makes me feel like I'm moving in molasses. I feel shell shocked and maybe a little lost. There was a time when I didn't believe I belonged anywhere. Ever been there?

So today I am taking the time to recover. I am starving to see delight in the eyes of my Abba. It is hard for me to find Him in the clamor of confusing and conflicting messages about my identity. Am I His delight, or am I their disdain? Am I sloppy, stringy and immature? Or am I unpretentious and full of grace? (listening) Hmmm perhaps sometimes I am both. If I chose life, I will smell like death to those who do not. It's a law of physics. If I passionately cling to the welcome my God offers me. Other doors are slammed in my face. Ouch! If I chose not to hide behind masks that make me look more together than I really am, some will find me offensive.

That doesn't give permission of arrogance but it does give me a place of acceptance even because I am not accepted if that makes sense. I am not willing to work for acceptance anymore. I just want to be accepted. (listening) Hmmm Ephesians 1:3-6 comes to mind, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. "

It is He that made us "accepted in the Beloved" what a wonderful place to be.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dancing with the Star

I enjoy swing dancing, as long as you don't throw me around too much! The cool thing about swing dancing is I don't have to do the thinking. There is the follower (the girl) and there is the lead (the guy). Basically the girl doesn't need to know much except how to follow the lead. On one side that makes life easy and on the other it is WAY hard to be the follower... it means you can't lead. I tend to want to tell the lead how and when to make a move... it makes the whole dance look wobbly not to mention a toe stepping hazard!

To follow the lead, you must learn to respond to very slight and subtle cues. It really is a lesson in trust or submission or something like that. You can't second guess the lead, it's supposed to look smooth and fluid, like a dance not a tug of war. Dancing is the art of moving as He leads.

Dancing has become a metaphor of my wobbly walk with Christ. When I try to take the lead, I trip, fall, and step on toes but I am learning. My hope and passion is to learn to move as He moves. I want to recognize every gentle nudge and tap, lean this way, now that, spin and dip and do it all with beautiful grace.

The I get at following my lead, the more I love this dance. The ultimate in dancing with my star, my Lord and gracious lead

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

chickens and pot handles

I wandered into the kitchen this morning knowing that I "had" to cook an egg for breakfast. It started out last night as I gathered in more eggs than would fit in my bucket (that's not so many really it was a small bucket). I dropped one which shattered and oozed. You have to scoop the goo up right away lest your chickens figure out what is inside these things they lay and develop a taste for them (yuck!). So as I was scooping the goo of one, another egg rolled and cracked inside my pail. (remember me if you have small children to gather your eggs for you... stuff happens, it's nobody's fault.) One down and one injured. That said, I knew that I "had" to have eggs for breakfast this morning.

Actually I decided on pancakes, a little less eggy of a breakfast but utilizing my cracked egg just the same. I got the pan hot and greased and started to pour in the batter all of which I have done countless times. My stove is not quite level. It takes a bit to keep the oil from congregating on one side. As I manipulated the pan, I realized that though my children now are all grown I still make sure the pan handle is not hanging out off the stove.

When did I start doing that? How has it become so ingrained. I remember my mother taught me that. "Be sure to keep the handle out of reach." Out of reach? I was the youngest in the family and our dog was not the robbing type. It seemed dumb at the time. What was the point? But when my own children were born I understood the hazard. Now I like my mother NEVER leave the handle out where small hands can grab and pull the hot contents over themselves.

Children changed my perspective on just about everything. I went from feeling pretty confident to totally confused. I wishchildren came with a manuals. Something with a huge chapter on trouble shooting! But the one thing I got loud and clear was that it wasn't about me. I don't really care about pot handle positions but I care about how a pot handle might effect someone else.

How do we make the switch? It is logical and obviously worth the effort to change my behavior to protect a child... especially MY child. But what about others? I'm still learning to take others into account when I consider my actions. For instance, I used to take produce back to the grocery store when it turned out to be rotten on the inside. That works (or seems to work) in the big cities where many people buy and few return. But the first time I headed out the door of our new small town home to return a rotten melon my husband asked me what the effect would be if I returned that melon? Who did I think would be paying for the melon? Well, I never considered the effect on others, I just wanted what I paid for, a piece of edible fruit. But the grocer was a personal friend, and barely making ends meet. Wow, I never thought of that!

Our conversation opened up a huge window into a world where other people existed beside me. I'm embarrassed to admit that. I understood being attentive to my own children's needs but now I was seeing the needs of others as well.

I used to go to garage sales to get bragging rights on the "big deal" I got. I was the queen of dickering and proud of it. Now I try to measure whether the people having this garage sale are getting rid of junk or selling possessions in order to eat. Sometimes now I am willing to pay more than a thing is worth to offer a hand up. I have a long way to go. I long for the day when think about that pot handle in connection with a way bigger circle than myself and my family.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Time, God and Travel

I'm taking stock again. My life feels out of control, too much, too fast. How do people get through every day? I have been knocked around on all sides this last 2 weeks and I am overwhelmed and tired. So I was thinking about that this morning and asking God to take over my day. It felt like He was saying, "oh, yay, finally I get to help!" oops :}

So how long has it been since I took time to ask God what to do that day? Where did my business meetings with God go? It didn't take long. Actually I have been traveling and I get lost when I travel. God what about that? (listening) It feels like He's saying, "you have a choice". Do I? Sometimes it feels like just that fact that I am traveling takes that choice away. I mean, I have a plane ticket, it tells me when I am to get up and where I am supposed to be at a given time. It consumes my whole day to travel... really? (listening) I hear again you do have a choice.

Ok God so what is my choice? (listening) It feels like I do have a choice, I can chose to go or stay but I can also chose to make more time. Get the the airport early, taking into account my time with Him. Finding time to ask Him what He wants with my day. Sometimes I will miss a flight, sometimes there might be someone on the plane He wants me to talk to, sometimes He will want the time with me.

Ok, God, I have missed your help that's for sure!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


So, I bought that book "Margins" over a month ago with great interest and desire to read it. It is about making time in your life and not filling every minute up with stuff to do. I have not had the time to crack the cover... that must say something eh?

I keep trying to slow down but my life will not cooperate! Lately all my time has been swallowed up. I haven't had time to really process the parade of days full of chaos. I'm frustrated and tired today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are we different?

I know,
I know that Osama Bin Laden was brutal and ruthless. I know that we couldn't have done any different... "Those that live by the sword will die by the sword." But I don't think this is a time to rejoice.

I work with women who have been hurt. Sometimes I help them walk through a divorce. Many times they are divorcing a tyrant, a boar of a man who is brutal to them and divorce is their very best choice. But a divorce is never a thing to celebrate. It is a time to grieve. It is a loss of huge proportions even if it is the loss of a dream. A marriage has crumbled at the hands of the enemy and he is giddy with the holy thing he has destroyed. This is no place to celebrate. Many heave a sign of relief, like Jesus on the cross they can finally say, "It is finished" but that is all.

The shooting of Bin Laden is time to grieve. Time to grieve the loss of what could have been. One human being chose a life of brutality and hate. He could have used his influence for so much good! I grieve his choice. And the loss of what could have been if he had made a different one.

I know many are heaving a sigh of relief. Many have lost husbands, children, wives and friends at Osoma Bin Laden's hand. I get that. I grieved too at the twin tower catastrophe and at the cruel celebration of those who thought it a victory in the name of "god". I too hope the loss of their leader will scatter the members of this terrorist group. But I can still grieve the loss. One more death, one more bloody coo.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hidden contempt

I've been thinking about hidden contempt and the power it has to level me at times. I am not really phased by overt disgust towards me but I am still hooked sometimes by hidden contempt. People, who say with their mouths that they care but really, push come to shove, they don't like me at all. That twists my truth all over the map. Like me. or hate me but tell it like it is. Hmmm maybe it's more than that. It's the whole idea of being judged that hurts me deeply.

God placed in the garden of Eden two trees whose fruits were forbidden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Were these trees opposites? The knowledge of good and evil has given man the power to judge... but the fruit was forbidden. We have the power to judge but not the right. Those that take up that "right" have over stepped their authority and in the process wounded someone deeply.

But let's face it. We have all stood and judges. I long for the day when I am free of the damage I have caused in that regard. I want to be different, a giver of grace... it is taking time just to break old habits and I think it is hard as you age not to become cynical.

I talked in another blog about being forgiven once for things I would NEVER do. It hurts. But the thing that hurts more is to be treated so unlovingly (being defined without being seen) and yet be told it is love. When ever anyone does in the name of love or in the name of God what God would never do it twists our view of God and makes Him suspect. It places a stumbling block in our path to God.

This is just a jumble of thoughts,
I covet your input

Monday, May 2, 2011

The accusation wedge

I’m thinking again about accusations and how they can kill relationship. The word “Satan” means “the accuser”. More accurately it is one who uses accusation as a wedge to divide. That makes total sense to me because accusations do just that. They drive a wedge between two people or between a person and their God. Accusations destroy intimacy… period. Once spoken, they are terribly hard to intercept and destroy.

Think about it. Suppose someone accused you of being a chatterbox, would you be willing to talk freely in their presence? What if someone accused you of lying? Would you ever trust that person to know your heart? The fact is accusations drive a permanent wedge, relationship can not be repaired unless the accusation is addressed. You can not mend the relationship by ignoring the accusation… you can only fake it.

Sometimes accusations are framed in scary ways. I once had a friend forgive me for terrible acts of treachery that I would never do. She was very sincere but the premise was a horrible accusation. Her “forgiveness” meant nothing to me… except as a knife to stab and twist at my heart. I trusted her as a friend to know me… Her accusation still stands between us. I can’t begin to explain the pain that one act of “forgiveness” brought me. She now relates only to the picture she has painted of me… and I am not what she sees.

As I think of accusations I am reminded of Romans 2:1 “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” I think we imagine in another what we would do in the same situation. So we accuse people of what we ourselves would do. Accusations are warning signs to bring intersection. Listen to what you say… search for the source.