Sunday, May 19, 2013

Longing For More

The books or the music in which we thought ‘the beauty’ was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing…For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…Do what they will, then, we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy.
 C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, Theology (1941) 3-4

The trunk was full. Coming back from the local seed and garden company, I had succumbed to buying more plants and seeds than I had planned for. The buckets, flats and packets held promise of turning into beautiful buds and pods.My mouth watered anticipating the flavorful dishes I would cook with pizazz from the little start of savory leaves I would attach to the soil prepared for planting. 

My garden plot will give them a home where they can flourish and grow. I can provide water and protection from herbivorous animals, but the Creator will awaken the life within each seed and cause it to mature into what He has designed it to be. I can feel the longing as I finger the dirt. It will be there when I see the new young shoots pop through the ground. And I will feel the awe when I harvest the handsome fruit and taste its freshness. This is what gives beauty now; what will it be like to see the Creator's hands and what he's prepared that no eye or ear has ever seen before?

How quickly satisfaction from natural happiness can slide into disappointment as we experience losses or others prove unfaithful! Without the eternal perspective we are left making the most of what we have left, and sinking further into doubt and cynicism.  A friend shared sadly, how 'the beauty' in an exciting new life's experience was being stretched and pulled into directions that felt threatening and destructive. It was a good reminder, he concluded, that no matter how satisfying is the thing that brings us natural happiness, happiness doesn't come from others, or our circumstances, but from within and knowing Who our identity is with. As believers, we have hope that can never be taken away and the promise of a perfect future where the longing will become reality and the happiness won't fade or spoil.

I listened to a sermon by Lysa TerKeurst this week that encourages believers to keep our thoughts on what our Creator says about us and not let our insecurities define us.  We are new creatures, heaven bound and Spirit enabled.
Listen to what she says.

I felt the longing this week listening to worship music; someday I'll be singing with angels. Nursing a cold in my unhealthy body and feeling the crown of a tooth pop off in my mouth; someday I'll have a new body never sick or decaying. Reading the good report from a missionary in another country; I'm wanting now to be about my Father's business and seeing his kingdom come on earth. 

While reading in Luke this week, I noticed the numerous times Jesus drew aside to pray, or prayed all night. If he needed that to stay connected to his father, how much more do we need to be with our father in prayer? We will long more, the more we taste of and draw near to the Lover of our souls.

What makes you aware of that longing? That nothing in this world is satisfying enough? That we were made for so much more? May we hear those whispers, feel his jealous longing for our love, and allow the disappointments and sorrows of this life to be reminders of our temporary stay, and where our final destination lies. 

Finally Home
By Don Wyrtzen

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day Thoughts


 Mother's Day! Do you look forward to it or dread it? I've found the day to be:  Joyful. Disappointing. Sad. Inspiring. Challenging. Honoring. Lonely. Uncertain. Depressing. Satisfying... depending on the year, the circumstances, what the Mom relationship was like on that certain day in May, my to all those mothers who wonder what this mother's day will hold, I share the following tribute to mothers I found embed in a blog somewhere, and find it so encompassing and encouraging. I have identified with more than one of these categories of mothers, as life changes and seasons pass.

Don't miss the thanks I express at the end of this post to those who are connected to me through motherhood. 

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.


To my Mom -
Thank you for living your authentic, God- fearing life with courage and passion, teaching me that a mother's love continues, no matter what children do or don't do. You taught me to trust in the God you knew personally, and were desperately dependent on. When I see you again, on the other side, I have more to thank you for as my appreciation for you grows, and I have better ways to say it, as I wasn't always good at that when you were here. Thank you for praying for me! I love you.

To Mom Doris-
You were the mother-in-law who lived close by, mentored me with your wisdom, deposited Godliness and love of life into my kids, and even though you've moved out of town and the stroke impairs our phone conversations, I feel your love and prayers and will always be grateful for our years together. You were a passionate learner and teacher; I have been privileged to be your student. Thank you for praying for me! I love you.

To Mom Elaine-
You are the mother-in-law, you shows me acceptance, hospitality, family togetherness and a passion to share the Good News with those you love. Your love to me is unconditional. Thank you for welcoming me into your family. Thank you for praying for me! My love for you is growing.

To Mom Lena-
As step mom, you have given me care, friendliness and the assurance that my Dad is well cared for and flourishing in your love. Residing 300+ miles apart, we don't see each other very often, but when we're together, your warm hospitality and some common interests and hobbies have strengthened our connection. You fit into our family ways with quiet grace and support. Thank you for praying for me! My love for you is growing.

Thank you, Josh, Jodi and Austin for loving me, and showing me forgiveness, friendship, and fun times when we're together. You've embraced the God of your fathers and have become so much more than I could have planned or imagined for you. Your lives are precious gifts to me and nothing else on earth compares to being your mom and having you in my life. I am proud to be your mom.  I love you so much!  Thank you for multiplying the love through your sweet, sweet children and your wonderful mates.

Thank you, Dan and Amanda, for expanding my blessing of children to love and share life with.  You have always been gracious and respectful and I appreciate the times we share together.  Your friendship, along with your mates, is special. I am rich with the grandchildren you've added to our family. I love you.

Father, thank you for creating family. Thank you for the wonderful plan that allows woman to birth new life. You teach us how to love and what it means to belong. Thank you for the blessings I've received through mothers and through being a mother. You have done all things well. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Random Things

bits and pieces of my week...

we're trying to sell a car,
the ad produced lots of emails,
a few calls, sudden interest,
the ignition of hopes,
the brakes of 'no thanks',
the new owner still waits to come forward

i had a fleeting thought of how increased contact,
could produce a feeling of importance or popularity,
how someone in the limelight of fanfare,
might forget the fickleness of human desire.

so i prayed for those Christians, well known, who
seek to honor their Creator
as their creation is lauded and accepted.

Maybe this ties in a bit with the speech given by
Daniel Charles, food and agricultural correspondent for National Public Radio,
at graduation at the college i work for,
listen to what he says about authenticity...

"...And you know what? Most of the time, when somebody tells me that they heard me on the radio, the next thing they say is, they can’t actually remember what I was talking about. If we were talking face to face, I think they would remember.

This is what technology does. The radio or the Internet magnifies my voice incredibly, but it also changes the quality of the communication and you completely lose any sense of a personal relationship.
Now think about conversations that happen by means of your favorite screen: Your cell phone or your iPad or whatever. How authentic are those conversations or the relationships that you create through that form of communication? What are those relationships like?

How much of you gets communicated through text messages? To put it another way, how real is the version of the world that you encounter through that screen?

These are tricky questions, and I’m not even going to try to answer them today. I will just leave you with a few ideas to stimulate your own thinking.

I’m part of a church that’s small enough that we’ve never needed an amplifier. We call it House Church, even though we don’t meet in each other’s living rooms anymore. But we stick with the name, in part, I think because we want to act like we’re still meeting in houses.

I think it does make a difference that we don’t speak through loudspeakers. I have a feeling – I can’t prove it – that when we’re talking in our normal voices, the way you would around the dinner table, we’re a little less likely to say things because that’s what we’re expected to say in church. I think we’re a little more likely to say what we really think, to be authentic.

Or think about music. It’s a totally different experience, when someone is standing here singing, or there’s an orchestra playing, compared to when we’re listening to a recording. From a recording, we expect unnatural perfection; there’s no drama, no uncertainty about what might happen next.

I’m not saying stop listening to iPods or the radio. I’m not saying stop going to any church with a microphone and loudspeakers or stop looking up things on your iPad. Technology is amazing and wonderful and useful.
What I am saying is: Don’t use it to replace actual life with something that’s endlessly entertaining and always at our fingertips, but less authentic.

What I wish for you is the same as what my parents wished for me. This authenticity I’m talking about is connected to values that they treasured – values that also are at the heart of the religious tradition that built this college: humility, honesty, community.

Those are values to live by, even today – especially today.
So cook a meal. Have your neighbors over for dinner. In fact, make that dinner a regular tradition. Plant a garden. Make it a community garden. Sing a song. Play an instrument. Paint.  Use that iPad to make your own movie. Build a life that’s true and real."


passing a few Canadian geese on the side of the road,
not too exciting until,
they decide to step into my path,
wanting to avoid a fowl collision
i brake hard and just miss the back end of
an ascending bird above my windshield,
as well as miss his companions who
change course just in time to miss my car wheel

i praise in thankfulness that it is was just
a close encounter

making a doodle picture with a grandson
hanging his rendition of a
super bunny on
my refrigerator door

inspiration for the week...
readings in the gospel of Luke,

this video clip found on Randy Alcorn's blog,
a 77 year old man returns to witness the
ongoing harvest of seeds he sowed as a missionary
years earlier
The Peace Child Still Lives!

praying on the courthouse lawn
of my hometown
with other believers on
National Day of Prayer

i am grateful for God's goodness and faithfulness.

get ready, get set, it's a new week
there are works prepared for us to do,
people to love on and pray for
and always His presence to comfort,
teach, forgive, and provide...