Monday, December 30, 2013

Reclaimed Sanctuaries

And so it begins.  There is an engineer here to measure our space, we are actually leaving our home.   So much has happened here, in many ways it makes me a little sad.  My daughter and her husband met each other and lived here a while after they were married.  I met Dave while I lived here, and he moved here and we were married.  We got our little pup, so many memories here, so many of Josh.  I can see him walking to and from the back bedroom to the front door to go out and smoke, or swagger in after a night out.  Birthdays celebrated and laughter filling the rooms.  A little baby arriving home from just being born and all that followed.  Lives lived.  And so while it is difficult, it is is time.

For my Lectio Divina, my phrase is "springs forth", and I am eagerly waiting to get to Vancouver, to join Dave and begin our life there.  I look forward to attending a thriving church, whether it is the mega-church we suspect will be our new church home, or another of the Lord's choosing.  So many possibilities to serve and become part of a body again. 

The thing is, it is time to leave this space, regardless.  The Lord has begun a new thing.  It can be scary to launch forward not knowing exactly where you'll land, but the Lord knows and prepares the way.

Isaiah 43:18-19,
“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;   
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert."

I am taking this quite literally and believe we are not to cling to this place, to consider how the past 7 years have gone.  And for this "monk in the world", who finds such comfort in the familiar, some days are harder than others in being able to be at peace with the swirling changes around me.

The desire to have a deeper walk with the Lord is present and strong.  I am almost daily seeking, knocking.  There has to be a peace that is unruffled by outward circumstances.  We know this to be true as Christians, but honestly, I have always had to work to maintain that through my Christian walk.  I want it to be my constant state, a state of total trust.  When I think of it, it seems unattainable to me, but yet the Lord said again and again not to worry, in Him we would have peace.

So the journey continues, outward and inward.  For today, the sanctuary of this apartment in downtown Grants Pass, in what used to be doctor's offices back in the day, the new has come and invaded our safe haven.  Reminding me that nothing stays the same forever...but One.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lectio Divina

"The phrase lectio divina, difficult to translate adequately, is the Latin for “sacred reading.” Personally, I like to translate it as reading which is sacred. Ordinarily lectio is confined to the slow perusal of sacred Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments; it is undertaken not with the intention of gaining information but of using the texts as an aide to contact the living God. Basic to this practice is a union with God in faith which, in turn, is sustained by further reading. There is no special program or technique to lectio. Even more importantly, one must resist the temptation of covering a given amount of material within a prescribed time frame, a particularly modern temptation. This is more difficult to sustain than first meets the eye, and one will run up against it sooner than anticipated. A person is well advised to linger over a single word or phrase for an indefinite period of time, trusting that it will lead to further texts. Such is one of the most attractive features to  lectio divina, for it is open-ended and subject to continuous growth."

In Lectio Divina this morning, I believe my words to dwell on are "springs forth" from Isaiah 43:18-19,
“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert."

Dave & I have been in the desert for so long, always cared for, always provided for.  Now comes the time for contemplation regarding that time, now comes the time for a "new thing."  Not just financial security, but also ability to help others, as we were helped, to encourage others going through similar struggles. 

I look forward to attending a new church, free of all the drama and pain of the past 2 years.  A "new thing", getting involved and seeing what the Lord has in store.

My phrase for the coming year is "springs forth."  I love it, my heart rests in it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lessons from Creation

Today's Monk in the World was on creation.  While walking Sadie this morning in town, there is a creek that runs through town to the river.  We pass over it going and coming back.  Going, there's not much to see, it's pretty, because a creek is always pretty, but we go on our way.  Coming home, we cross over and the creek is smaller there and lower.  I always look because water calls to me, always.  Rivers, creeks, falls, the ocean, something about water is life-affirming.  This morning, I looked down on our way back and had to stop and back up.  Scratching and standing right up to the water were two chickens.  There is housing all around here, so i'm sure they belonged to someone.  But how lovely for these creatures, they were beautiful, orange and white, healthy and plump, very, very pretty.  A hen and her rooster looking for tidbits at creeks edge, I imagine getting a drink from time to time.  They were not bothered at my and Sadie's presence, but rather experiencing their own moment, unconcerned about what might be a danger around them, or what might threaten their very life, simply at peace, doing what chickens do.

I need to learn this.  To just be, in the moment, doing what the Lord has given me to do and casting every anxiety upon Him, because He cares.  What peace should come with that, and yet I allow my mind to race off to dark, scary places, when all He has called me to do right now is be. 

I notice on walks that I see water, geese flying overhead in formation, or huddled on the ball fields in the cold morning fog, beauty surrounds me.  But occasionally, though I know it is present always, death presents itself in the form of a fallen bird, or half-eaten one.  The leaves themselves making such a beautiful carpet at the onset of Autumn, soon become darkened rubble beneath my feet. 

To observe it all, take it all in and accept it, in its beauty and in its ugliness, that is the goal. 

There are injustices to rage against, causes to take up, but the ebb and flow of life are not those.  God holds me and my days are in His hands, the good and the not so good.  I must come to a place of constant peace, fully believing this and trusting.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Day 4 of Dave having left for WA.  Oh my gosh, to say I miss him is to grace those words with more meaning than they imply.  He indeed is my other half and i'm walking around handicapped.  In practical ways, running errands, taking care of the hound, just generally over-seeing, his solitude-loving wife is forced out and I appreciate anew his taking care of us and allowing me to indulge in solitude.  

But his presence, his physical presence missing, I am finding intolerable.  Naturally, I will get over it to a degree as this becomes the norm for a season.  And God will help me.  But right now he almost seems like a specter, a ghost, not real.  Those that are married know how familiar the "other" is.  The feel of their skin, the smell of it, his gentle breathing in and out beside me in the night.  And for certain moments....moments like this....when I am struggling, hurting, he comes to me, sometimes instinctively, and soothes, comforts, gives hope, takes the sting away.  I miss his dirty renditions of Christmas songs that always make me laugh, the way his eyes sparkle when he's feeling mischievous.  

I truly have never known a man with a kinder heart.  He's got his faults like anybody else, but his tender heart, money-where-his-mouth-is way of being endears him to me.  During this time apart, especially, I think back to when we first met and what impressed me so much about him.  He liked me and accepted me "as is."  Most men wouldn't.  He loved me for me, and always makes me feel beautiful, tells me I am.  

I prayed for 18 years for him.  As i've said, he was well worth the wait.  It was and is a fairytale come true.  I never thought I would ever be in love like this, and as the years have passed, and the hardship, it only grows stronger.  The love, the trust, the passion, the "oneness."

And the very best part, his faith in God.  He has a trust that is child-like and he wants to know more and more of Him.  He leads our home with love and understanding and prays.  So many have abused the "head of the house" thing, I am blessed to say that he "gets it" and my feelings and thoughts are always considered heavily when decisions are being made.  And I have comfort and peace knowing that the final decision rests in his loving hands, just like my heavenly Father.

I know this isn't forever, but tonight, i'm missing the soul closest to my own very much.  Needless to say, Sadie feels the same way.♥  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On Being A Woman

I've spent the morning online mostly, reviewing different articles and such and many of them were about women.  Some great, some mediocre and some lousy.  There is much ado about the female gender.

After perusing the last one, going over once again how badly we view our bodies, how we use them for power, how we are still fighting to get out from under a male-dominated society, I am so thankful for 1) belonging to Christ and finding my identity in Him alone, and 2) being 59 and less concerned with my body, other than health.

I am finding with the years comes an even more tender heart.  I simply cannot stand to see abuse of any kind, cruelty, injustice.  As these are inescapable, there are days when my heart is broke.  I witnessed an incident last night, and I came back inside with tears.  How many children endure so much worse, in how many homes in the world.  And all the cruelty to animals, specially those who are betrayed by those they trust.

Now, then there's family.  My son who still doesn't "get it."  He may be on his way to doing so, but not arrived yet.  Inextricable is defined:   1. a. So intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible.  That's my Josh, my memories of him when he was little are inextricably tied to my emotions about the man.  And while my heart breaks for the part of him that truly just can't understand, I can no longer be played.  That ended a few years ago, and i'm certainly not going back to it.

So, my point is that being a woman lends itself to hurting for those in pain, wanting to do something to help, but having the wisdom that only comes with age, to know that you can't help those that won't help themselves, no matter how much you love them.

The urgency of youth dissipates from the knowledge experience brings.  Very little in the past was truly time sensitive, was really more about impatience and self-centeredness.  

In all of this, there is Christ.  Being a woman of God can be very different.  As maturity comes, we lose people around us, people disappoint us, etc., that comes for everyone.  But when it comes to the Godly woman, there is One who knows, who helps, who bandages the wounds and carries us through.  

I come to know that it's really been all about Him and how I demonstrate(d) His love.  I am keenly aware of my failure to do so accurately many times, if at all.  Thankfully, this tender-heartedness that has come, also helps me see with His eyes, hear with His ears and long to ease pain.  

Let me be the kind of woman that helps when she can, loves always and is uncompromising when the choice is less than His calling.