Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friends That Thirst

Many people of faith speak about dry or dark times. Even Mother Theresa was found to refer to what was called the "dark night of the soul." I often wonder about these times as Friends where there seems no vocal ministry to be found, no leadings and difficulty discerning abounds. They are the times where we find ourselves waiting and hoping to hear any voice from God.

About three years ago or so now, I found myself desperately seeking any potential sparks of light. I’ve come to believe for myself after experiencing such, that throughout these extended dry times God remains the same and is always with us. That unchanging Spirit is the root we must step back and cling to with patience and devotion. God is love, not a mean God that turns on us, but rather a loving father who often works things mystically in our lives. He uses these times to draw us unto him and to thirst for him until we are experientially one. It felt quite barren at the time though.

I do not believe he intends to burden us further, but to eventually, in his perfect timing give us even greater Light. It is a preparation time of storing up greater strength and deeper knowledge to be used for his kingdom. Isaac Pennington wrote, "There is a time to want as well as a time to abound while we are in this world. And the times of wanting, as well as abounding are greatly advantageous to us."

Perhaps the most difficult to deal with is the feeling of abandonment. It feels like God has definitely gone MIA, missing in action. In reality it is really just a lonely, silent time–a place that is fertile ground to begin to rely less on feelings and more on trust and promises. Isn’t that faith–that we trust even when every single outward reality tells us there is absolutely no reason to. I felt for an entire year that I simply must in the end be obedient and blindly trust God through the darkness. It taught me how to wait. I am still learning to wait, but isn’t that what us Friends do?

None of us truly knows the mind of God, unless the Holy Spirit shows us. This has become a tenet of my faith. I believe the Holy Spirit has come to teach his people today and this is not to say it is an ending but a mere beginning. We must be open to continue to love, trust, obey and wait no matter how long his silences last.

In hindsight, I can see that I was granted protection, and renewed spiritual growth and intimacy that I lacked prior to this time though I have far to go. I can now see some fruits, though at the time I cried out like David did in the Psalms to God to please not hide his face from me. It was a comfort to me to know David complained too and that the Truth was that God hadn’t left him, in fact He said, I will never leave or forsake you repeatedly. I knew objectively that God was with me, but did not feel that mercy that is new every morning or answers to prayers. Certainly Job felt some of this dryness too, yet all the while remaining faithful. I think it’s quite biblical and I think it is important that these times are spoken about so that others can know that the light may dim, but will never ever go out. It’s often through such a time of hardship that one may be given more understanding of that which is Eternal.

"Light arises in the darkness... He is gracious and compassionate and righteous." Psalm 112:4

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Photo

It sits on the dusty shelf by our dining table all year long....
May your every day be blessed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Autumn Blessings

I pray, I give thanks and count. It’s another day aching in and I pull the covers up for a few more minutes. I don’t know any other way to combat this–the tears and fears that some times accompany chronic illness, that illness that will never ever go away. S-j-o-g-r-e-n-‘s. I actually have to spell it for some of my doctors.

Mornings have been a beast lately. I awake with the relentless pain from the night before and it greets me loudly. My eyes must be ever so delicately opened enough to put in the first drops of the day, a swallow of water washes down the first set of meds through my swollen throat. I burn. My stomach up to my throat, tongue, nose and eyes all burn and seem to over-ride the body pain these days. I wish I did not have to get up so soon.

Some days I wish I didn’t have to continue on.

Mothers aren’t supposed to think this way. Married wives are not to have these thoughts and certainly not the Christ-followers, or do we–are we simply human too?

I pray, wait for eyes to focus a bit and swallow the first words of the day as well. Then I pick up my pen and give thanks for.....

baskets of apples
autumn pictures made by my girls
long brown hair and pig tails
walking the dog at dusk
a listening ear
faithful friends from the past
a secret journal that is not secret from God
the scent of pies a faithful husband has made
the sound of walking through the leaves
family still willing to sit around my table
sheer white curtains
darkness so that I might greater appreciate the light
favorite verses
gentle reminders to live today

I know that God never promised his friends there would be no suffering, but he did speak a lot on fear. The much loved verses come to my mind in the early hours of silence and I cling.

"I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)

And so I get up and face the gift of a new day and some how the words come alive for me. Young ones are waiting on me for circle and schooling time and they teach me much about how to pray, give thanks and keep counting all the blessings.

"I know that today's discouragement will be replaced by tomorrow's joy."
Isaiah 51:11

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

From the end of the earth I will cry to you. When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2
Photos From "Fleeting Fall" Bowman's Wildflower Preserve

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Love and Pain

" To love at all is to be vunerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxeries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." ~CS Lewis

She is wearing the locket with her memory of her old horse in it. The one she bravely comforted as she waited for the injection to work it’s way. Her days are now spent tending and caring for our two new horses. It’s a splendid sight to see as I peer out the kitchen window. It wasn’t that long ago she dipped into disinterest and put a guard on her heart about the decision to purchase and try once again. She didn’t want the pain.

"Love those horses and you are just gonna hurt," little one said.

"Don’t I know it girl."

Taking her tiny hand in mine, it is difficult at best, but I try to explain that love and hurt are unavoidable and that it’s all worth it still. This sensitive one, already coping with my illness and loss for a time here, looks up at me with her pale little face. I go on blabbering some thing to the effect that love is the greatest, as even when the pain comes-and it will-the pain cannot steal the joy. It hurts terribly at times, but it can’t snatch away all the memories loving brings.

I’m not sure the kid fully comprehends.

I ponder at times if adults fully comprehend. Can we tolerate being loved? Can we allow God to love us and reciprocate? I mean really count the blessings and live all loved?

For me, it is a courageous act, to exercise that trust muscle, to constantly live it and model it in front of children daily. It’s a humble task to be entrusted with, but every single step is a brave step, to risk love and to be loved as God gifts us with such joy. It does my heart good to see the little one leap back into the journey. She is out there now every free minute she has caring, training, and falling head over heels in love with those two little horses.