teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

living with open hands...

Oh the truth in this statement… although living in the reality of this truth just doesn’t come naturally for most. Losing something we value isn’t easy. We are a people who live with clenched fists, holding tightly to what we deem is ours, protecting what we think should be. We don’t easily let go.

Learning to live with open hands is counter-intuitive… but then again, isn’t most of our spiritual life? Our instincts say make a plan, take control- but Jesus says to be still and trust in the unknown. Everything in us screams to try harder and earn approval- but Jesus says his yoke is easy, his burden is light and his love is complete.

Living with open hands makes us vulnerable to losing things, letting good slip through our fingers… but it’s a heart that trusts in God’s goodness that is able to say, “It’s ok, a better blessing is coming to fill my hands again.” CS Lewis understood this, but I have to say, I have a hard time with this sometimes...

We read that every good and perfect gift is from above… and that the Lord wants to prosper us, not harm us… and that in all things He’s working for our good. Sometimes I fear, though, that claiming these promises for myself means I’m buying into a prosperity gospel that values health, wealth, and happiness above true communion with our Lord. I never want to be in a place of choosing the gift over the Giver of the gift.

I'm learning that in the context of these promises, we need to redefine blessing, favor, prosperity, gifts… shatter what our world has made them to mean, and see them through the lens of how God intends them. Blessings don’t always come easy. Sometimes the blessing is in the struggle, the loss, the season of waiting, the act of surrender. We live in an instant gratification society- we want something so we go get it or we make it happen. But when I look at my life, the most meaningful things that come to mind are the things where there has been tension of some sort, or things that have emerged only when I allowed God to have His way rather than trying to do things my way…

When I’ve chosen to live with open hands and a heart of trust. These are the times I’ve learned that when I lose one blessing, another is just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

let us love...

I’m not a writer, nor do I pretend to be… but I do have an appreciation for words. Words have a way of stirring the soul and putting a voice to what is brewing within. Words have power. And every once in a while I come across words that strike deep… words I want to never forget… words I want to adopt & tattoo on my heart…

That happened the other day.

I don’t even remember how I got there, but I stumbled across a website and found this poem… a prayer, really, for us women… to live lives marked by the Lord’s authentic and genuine love. So, I’m sharing in hopes that others will be encouraged with me…

Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.
Let us be women who Love.

 Let us be women who make room.
Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.
Let us be women who carry each other.
Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things,
the unexpected things and the necessary things.
Let us be women who live for Peace.
Let us be women who breathe Hope.
Let us be women who create beauty.
Let us be women who Love.

Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.
Let us be a garden for tender souls.
Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.
Let us be a womb for Life to grow.
Let us be women who Love.

Let us RISE to the questions of our time.
Let us SPEAK to the injustices in our world.
Let us MOVE the mountains of fear and intimidation.
Let us SHOUT down the walls that separate and divide.
Let us FILL the earth with the fragrance of Love.
Let us be women who Love.

Let us LISTEN for those who have been silenced.
Let us HONOR those who have been devalued.
Let us SAY ENOUGH with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.
Let us not rest until every person is FREE and EQUAL.
Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.
Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.
Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.
Let us be women who say YES to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.
Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.
Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.
Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.
Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.
Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.
Let us be women who Love.

My soul screams amen as I read this… seriously, every line has a challenge and an encouragement in it… could you imagine how radically different the world would be if we lived this out? How radically different the Church would be? The part that really gets me is the part about singing the songs in our hearts, saying yes to the unique purpose God has planted within each of us, and then inviting others to do the same.

I’m realizing, especially as I’ve recently started a new chapter in life and ministry and friendships, that I often get excited for the song in other people’s hearts- for celebrating and believing in their callings, their gifts, their dreams… all the while turning the volume down on my own song, avoiding the process of discerning the unique purposes God has intended for me. And I love being a cheerleader for everyone else- my heart wants nothing more than to encourage others in their spiritual journey. But I’m realizing that one of the best ways I can boost and inspire others, is by living a passionate life in tune with the “beautiful, unique purposes seeded in [my own] soul.”

So… to whoever might read this… which line speaks to you?

May you find boldness and power to let it be so… and together, may we as sisters in Christ learn to be women who love like this.