Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My guys having their beach time sun and fun......

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Looks Like God Built Ya a Pond Momma"

One year ago I had a simple wish of making a very small landscaping pond on our property. I actually wanted to do this as a home school project a few years back and was not able to. Life gets busy. We never built that pond, but to the back of our acre we’ve got endless untamed land and to the side stretches out more miles that has a wet, marshy area.

I’m in the habit of walking the perimeter of our property daily and choose that so that I can hear the birds in the thicket. It’s not unusual to see various critters along the way, tree frogs being one of them, but recently it seems to the side of our yard I was hearing a chorus of frogs with their deep thrill answering one another. I casually mentioned this to one of our kids and they said, “Oh, that’s the pond God built ya, Momma.”

The first thing that came to my mind was that the marshy area was increasingly saturated from recent rains, and was probably a stagnant mess filled with mosquitoes. Walking off the property along the back trail, sure enough for a variety of reasons, the area became damned on one side and formed a pond-like area and most of the wet land area seems to have disappeared. Still skeptical, I looked closer and certainly this little body of water was stirring with life–full of frogs, skater bugs and little minnow fish and grasses growing up in areas surrounding it as if to define it a bit. I caught myself continuing on with one of those ceaseless prayer whispers telling the Lord it was a whole lot bigger than I originally had in mind and chuckling to myself.....

It could be just one of those things that was bound to happen. But the natural progression of the wetland area or not, my child and I experienced it as a God thing, a little surprise, a delightful show of grace along the way.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Meeting for Worship in Cyberspace--Is It Authentic?

As the clocks in time zones change all over the world, Friends are getting ready for Meeting for Worship. Some are entering traditional stone Meetinghouses, with wide wood floors and worn benches, apparent simplicity all around. Others are filing into newer buildings or even homes, all having one goal in common. They have gathered to be still and listen; to seek the Light together and what may be revealed to them as individuals and collectively as a body. Over the past two years, I have pondered and experimented weekly with the idea that if Friends seek this Light and meet anywhere, could one meet this way in cyberspace?

Who is to say what in what context worship is authentic and where it is not. There are many aspects of meeting, worship and fellowship to consider. I am grateful for the Light’s guidance in my life. Yet, I certainly do not presume to be an authority on the Quaker faith and of it’s many changes and dimensions, but attempt only to share my evolving experience and how the Holy Spirit is leading in my life; how I have found others to share this worth while spiritual journey with.

Some may say the cyberworld is too complex and odd a medium to recreate Quaker fellowship in. Truth be told, I don’t think it replaces a local, physical meeting, but may help meet some of the needs of isolated Friends, those home due to chronic illness, seekers and those just wiling to experiment outside of the box, so to speak. There are differences in that one lacks the visual, voice, those innuendoes that help one identify and connect with ease. Internationally, there are language barriers to overcome and thus room for potential misunderstandings. Some have said that one does not truly ever get to know who one is communicating with and that there is no accountability or ability for this to work. To all this, I offer my experience to date and George Fox’s well known words, “Let us see what love can do.”

Quaker Faith and Fellowship as a internet entity is paving the way by joining hands with other providers, starting with offering Meeting for Worship 7 days per week. There is ability to schedule Meetings for specific times as well to ensure others will gather and seek unprogramed worship together. Much fellowship is offered through “tea and coffee” chat and the forum. There is plenty of discussion, connections and bonding to experience and knowledge to be shared. Individuals are encouraged to speak of their concerns to the community and to hold one another in the Light.

This process is unfolding similarly to physical meeting and members may look forward to emulating it through aspects as they are led. We have MfW in two locations, and I prefer to continue to participate in this experience, not with the differences in mind, but with the commonality and similarities as well as the uniqueness as it unfolds. I desire to live it with an open hand and heart. After all, “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20)

I challenge all to consider this verse and the freedom it represents to us to experiment with varying mediums we have within our ability now and in the future, that may meet the needs of some Friends and as outreach capabilities and not to divide, but rather to unite Quaker internet entities. The Spirit will guide us across international lines and time zones. This awesome and powerful Light within will show us the way if we allow it to. So, I conclude with gratitude for all members, welcomed visitors and future members to come, to grab hold of this authenticity, embrace it and continue on in our sharing and our spiritual journeys at and all other Friends sites, as we are one society. All are welcome.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Freedom in God's Love

About 5 years ago, I began a journey of freeing myself from the past and allowing myself space and time for God to work his way a bit differently in me. I am often times not where I long to be and recognize my faults. But the more I allow myself this grace over discipline, the more my yearnings for the Living God become satisfied.

My mind keeps ruminating on the externals of discipline versus internal transformation. I genuinely believe God is ready to do a work in us when we offer all we are back to him; when we realize that it is his Spirit doing work in us and through us.

The past year with eye pain has conveyed to me that I need to lessen my amount of reading time. I have to care for my eyes scrupulously by putting drops in and compresses on them every hour. Without this experience, I don’t think I would have allowed myself the depth of unstructured days that I do now. All this means I have to be so particular with what I read, but it has also pushed me a bit further down this path of trust, that I am ok to worship directly with my Father. So I have once again been reminded to focus on the truth that the Holy Spirit has come to teach his people today. I am learning in a way I never dreamed I’d have to. I take time out to read scriptures, books, pray and keep silent time, I vary this daily according to my leadings and eye pain. Some days I must simply rest in the Spirit. I am striving to do away with any lingering old tapes of lists of "do's and don'ts". It is an amazing thing to think about that Christ has already done a work in us and will continue to. I can relax a lot more. As Richard Foster says in several of his books, these external disciplines are simply a means of allowing the Spirit to meet us more intimately and directly. I am feeling more and more the freedom of this grace in a new way.

This grace is not about measuring up, but rather the LIFE that the Spirit offers. The Spirit ALWAYS gives life, and life abundant. I was reading one of my newsletters last evening, and it's interesting how my thoughts, discussion studies and readings keep tying together. Within it were a few verses from John which I found renewing. I normally read KJV, but have picked up The Message out of shear curiosity and shock value this past year and it just so happened to be in that. It reads:

"But the time is coming--it has, in fact, come--when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself--Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. " John 4:23-26.

The freedom and the grace is the gift-- the Spirit connected to our spirit; our hearts joined directly in one. This love keeps me thirsting and coming back for more.