Thursday, February 4, 2016

Glasses

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
-John 6:35

"Do you like glasses?"

I had gotten up late this morning, and instead of showering I made breakfast for the kids, stuffed my nightgown into yoga pants, put a hat over my crazy bedhead, threw on my winter coat and walked them down to the bus stop bespectacled instead of wearing my usual contacts.

I was unprepared for the vulnerable question from the young girl sporting new, black, thick rimmed glasses with leopard print on the side.

I flashed back to my own beginnings with vision problems: moving up to the front of the classroom in second grade, then my nose inches from the chalkboard in order to see the math problem of the day.  Huge, pink glasses with very thick frames followed and have been my companion in ever changing styles ever since.  My eye doctor at my annual check up always gasps and says, "My dear, your eyes are horrible!  Bring your kids in when they turn four!"

Such is the blessing of genetic nearsightedness.

I knew that the girl wasn't really asking if I literally liked glasses.  She was asking, "Am I going to be ok?  Am I going to be too different from the kids in my class?  Will I adjust to this?"

Am I enough?

The human experience.  We all have a void, a hole in our heart asking that question.  We seek to fill it with perfectionism, performance, conformity...you name it.  If we aren't perfect,  if we don't feel whole, then where can we turn?

In my own struggle with this question I printed off Scripture verses to cut out and frame for the windowsill over my sink later this morning.  John 6:35 beckoned, and made it's way into the frame.

"Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, shall never thirst."

In my own fragmented state, my search for meaning, my search for enough, I let these words wash over my soul.

I also thanked God for helping me see the vulnerability in the girl with glasses at the bus stop.  I thanked Him for filling me enough with compassionate words to speak to her.

"Yes," I had replied.  "I do like glasses.  I've been wearing them for a long time.  I really like yours.  The leopard print on the side is really cute." 

"Thanks," she said as the bus pulled up.

Am I enough?  That question had been temporarily answered for myself and for the girl with glasses.  But what if we need to know the "yes" of that question again, at our deepest heart level?

 "I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
-Psalm 81:10




 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Pursued

"And they heard the sound of the Lord God in walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'"
-Genesis 3:8-9

"The Lord God said to the serpent...'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.'"
-Genesis 3:14-15

"And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God."
Revelation 12:10


Early in the morning, my alarm rings.
I hit the snooze a few times, then pick up my phone to read from The Book of Common Prayer groggily.
The theme, the line, the heart of God throbbing in the (randomly?) selected readings opens wide the eyes of my mind and heart.
I am stirred.
"Where are you?"
God never stops looking for me.
"He shall bruise his head."
Jesus-the One who came to defeat death and Satan brings life to my soul.
"The accuser of our brothers has been thrown down."
One day, the evil that touches my life will be no more.
The Lord, the Lord,
Strong in battle, My Deliverer, "The authority of his Christ has come,"
His grand story of chasing after those he loves is before me in these verses.
My story.
He will never stop pursuing me or fighting for me.
I smile in the morning darkness.
My heart sings.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What I'm Reading


Happy New Year!  If you're like me, you're still basking in the newness and glow of your resolutions.  Mine have included working out regularly again, consistently reading the Bible to my kids, and writing more.  I've already failed at a few of them, but I was prepared for that this year better than I have been previous years.  When you fall, pick yourself back up and keep going, right?

Anyway, here are a few books I've been reading while on a break from my classes that I would recommend:

The Whole Brain Child:  My sister got this for me for Christmas.  It is a great book full of easy to understand scientific concepts concerning children's developing brains.  The authors include not only tips for parenting in a way that helps kids integrate all parts of their mind, but also comics for kids that parents can read to them to help them understand how their brain functions.  I've really enjoyed it for the science, for the tender, non-condemning voice of the authors, and for the strategies it supplies that have helped me build a better relationship with my kids while helping them have healthy minds.

Keep Your Love On:  We've been studying this book for the Mom's group I meet with twice a month.  Although I have serious reservations about the theology (the little of it) presented in this book and feel it would've been a better read without the spiritual angle, the communication and relationship tips included in this book are great and very practical.  I would recommend it for anyone looking to show love and also establish healthy individual boundaries.  Next on my list is the parenting version of this book.

What Child is This?: I read this over Christmas and it is a story that will haunt me for a while.  It's fictional account of youth in the foster care system and a teen's girl's struggle for meaning in the midst of her parents' affluent, but  meaningless lifestyle.  A great, quick read that will introduce you the inner world of children in the foster system and their struggle to relate with others.

I start my last class on social issues in child advocacy for my graduate certificate in a couple of weeks and will be reading quite a few books on poverty, inequality and child trafficking.  The idealist in me is chomping at the bit!  I will share the list of those books and my thoughts on them soon.

Happy reading, friends!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Slowing the Torrent

"Time is a relentless river.  It rages on, a respecter of no one.  And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here.  I can slow the torrent by being all here.  I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment."
-Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts"


I started my list of one thousand thanks last night.  I dug an old journal out of the nightstand drawer by my bed and began numbering the things that made me smile that day. 

I am not one to live in the moment.  I am a planner.  I live in the future.  The future is a happier mirage-it is where I am most productive, confident, the get-things-done kind of person.

But I realize I am missing out on so much of life in the present when I'm constantly thinking ahead.

So this listing for me is helping me to slow down and see the moments of joy God is giving.  I'm hoping it makes me less of a worrier, of a pusher, of one who just constantly go-go-goes until the end of life and finds I got things done, but have no richness in my relationships because of that.

Lying in bed this morning, I stared up at the ceiling fan and told God, "I don't want to do this to feel good.  I want to do this to know you."

And in that moment I felt the sweetness of His presence.  I'm inviting Him in with all this thanks.  I'm slowing down the fast pace of life.

Or am I really just seeing Him there for the first time?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 31: Scripture for the Weekend

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
-John 11:25-26

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30: Nouwen on the Inner Life

“The man who articulate the movements of his inner life, who can give names to his varied experiences, need no longer be a victim of himself, but is able slowly and consistently to remove the obstacles that prevent the spirit from entering. He is able to create space for Him who heart is greater than his, whose eyes see more than his, and whose hands can heal more than his.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen,
"The Wounded Healer"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 29: What's Next?

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course. I have kept the faith."
-2 Timothy 4:7

In a few short days, my 31 day series on my spiritual journey will be over.

Unlike, Paul, I have not arrived at my destination.  I am still fighting, I am still running the course, and I am still struggling to stay faithful every day.

What strikes me the most about this is that the spiritual life is an ongoing process.  And like a fight and a race, it's a messy, hard, endurance-building process.  Sometimes I will take two steps backwards after one step forward.

But like Paul, at the end of my life I want to be able to say that I kept my faith.

So what's next in my journey?  In November, I'm planning on reading through One Thousand Gifts and starting my own list of gifts, posting it on my other blog by the end of the year.  I'll be updating this blog hopefully at least once a week, but I can't make any promises with the craziness of the holidays coming.

Thank you, readers, for sticking with me through this challenge.  I hope in some ways my imperfect journey has encouraged you and inspired you to pursue God.  He may meet you in unexpected, but always sweet ways.