Saturday, May 30, 2015

All my bags are packed.

Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, 'Peace be with you,' and, after saying this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and He said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.' John 20:19-22

How good it is to sing praises to our God! How pleasant it is to honor Him with praise! He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; there is no limit to His wisdom. Psalm 147:1-4

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hosea 6:3

I am feeling very sent.

And if I follow on to know the LORD then He shall come unto me as the rain. As the rain upon the earth, soaking and healing and producing fruit.

And Dre sent me a poem yesterday.
Camino, by David Whyte
The way forward, the way between things,
the way already walked before you,
the path disappearing and re-appearing even
as the ground gave way beneath you,
the grief apparent only in the moment
of forgetting, then the river, the mountain,
the lifting song of the Sky Lark inviting
you over the rain filled pass when your legs
had given up, and after,
it would be dusk and the half-lit villages
in evening light; other people's homes
glimpsed through lighted windows
and inside, other people's lives; your own home
you had left crowding your memory
as you looked to see a child playing
or a mother moving from one side of
a room to another, your eyes wet
with the keen cold wind of Navarre.

But your loss brought you here to walk
under one name and one name only,
and to find the guise under which all loss can live;
remember you were given that name every day
along the way, remember you were greeted as such,
and you needed no other name, other people
seemed to know you even before you gave up
being a shadow on the road and came into the light,
even before you sat down with them,
broke bread and drank wine,
wiped the wind-tears from your eyes;
pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.

Which led me to spend a lot of time with Mr. Whyte this morning. And Ten Questions that Should Never Go Away is now tucked neatly onto my iPhone.

And being reminded by Ann Voskamp yesterday, I am taking 31 days of A.W. Tozer with me as well: The continuous and unembarrassed interchanged of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion. 

Last night at community group Scott Thompson told a story of being called upon unexpectedly to preach in Kenya or somewhere, and he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a Our Daily Bread and added a few sincere embellishments, and it was just fine.

And likewise I remember one time when I was asked to be the main speaker at a women’s retreat, and my dad was a little puzzled as to what I would say, and his advise was to just read A.W. Tozer and to teach that. So all summer I carried around The Pursuit of God and what a rich summer it was indeed. I can exactly remember the light on Pamela and Jon’s back porch as I drank down his wisdom, along with glass after glass of minted iced tea. And here I am at yet another summer and I will once again tuck The Pursuit of God into my red shoulder bag, and when it is all done, I hope to find myself once again on that back porch in Vermont celebrating Pamela’s new citizenship with lots of fireworks.

Time is a river indeed.

But most of all, as I finish up the to do lists today, the getting a second key for the car, the packing of the bike box, and the borrowing of Everette for my last visit with Uncle Jim because she is the  darling of all of the Saturday lunch crowd at the senior living complex, most of all are the words of my beloved Savior.

And He said to them again, Peace be with you.
And As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow, it empties today of strength. -Corrie ten Boom

Let your loving-kindness, O LORD, be upon us, as we have put our trust in You. Psalm 33:22

The mountains are beautiful. I think that there was particular joy in watching Emily, Chuyi’s mom enjoys the sunlit towering pines for the first time. The freshness, the scrambling birds, the little fish-filled stream were so beyond her expectations as she nestled down into the curtain-drapy cushion thing Nicole had arranged for her. Things are pretty dry and crusty as one starts heading up the Catalina Highway. There is no way to know what lies beyond all of those curvy roads.

And I was pretty fussy as Nicole urged me down down down some of those hills. Because I knew that they involved correlating and quite daunting uphills. And she kept laughing about the beautiful views while I sort of grumbled. But you know, of course, the uphills were not that scary, once I started. Which yet again is a true reminder of the futility of worry and fear. They both only suck the joy out of the moment. Of the bright blue skies overlooking glowing cliffs in all directions. And whatever the future brings, it is outside of our imagination. That is His promise. Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. And don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

Maybe that is why God says over and over, in every possible voice and circumstance: Fear not, for I the LORD am with you.

Just maybe.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A cut and paste prayer...

I love fixed prayers. The big picture. Without all of the swirling gnats of fret and worry. And here is a cut and pasted prayer for the Camino as I step into the last week of preparation. Brandon has had his countdown of hours, minutes and seconds until we board that plane going for over a month.

Oh Lord, my God of grace and truth, I'm here to meet with You! To know and deeply sense your nearness in such a real, sweet, and tender way. To be overjoyed and full of peace in Your Presence on this trail. To see You more fully in the lovely people I meet, and in the beauty of Your Creation. To be challenged and transformed more noticeably into the image of Christ. To be a fragrance of your Spirit to all I meet. To serve and be served, to love and be loved. And to profoundly know Your glorious strength and unfathomable grace in the areas of my pain and weakness on the trail. I'm here Lord to respond and submit to the life and love you're calling me to on this trail and in all the days that follow! Amen.

So be it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So what if Time’s got hands on a clock — it’s God who has His Hands on the universe.

Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of Your law. Psalm 119:18

And Ann Voskomf’s story for yesterday opened up with one arrow. A yellow arrow on a signpost pointing to Hope. And it is a good story, with lots of bold-faced truths. But the Big Thing is that He holds Hope in His hand. Who believes in unseen things, in impossible things, in the things you can’t measure and control and deduce and reduce and wrap up in a reasonably neat and timely package and who in this cynical world remembers how to find Hope?  And it is not my job to measure and control and deduce and reduce and wrap up in a reasonably neat and timely package.

My job is to say, “Lead and I will follow.” One arrow at a time.

And the cool thing about taking Everette on long walks through the desert to the park is that her eyes are open. And she notices every tiny thing and she constantly opens up her arms and mouth in awe.

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”  [Kuyper]
Joys are always on their way to us,” writes Amy Carmichael. “They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming.”
Because there is never a night where joys are not coming to us, there is never a road that can’t arrive at Hope. Circumstances can go ahead and run out of time — but the courageous refuse to run out of hope.
We can always hope because there is always joy traveling to us down the unexpected roads.
And because the thing is: Hope always has a cost and hope is always worth it, because who wants the cheap and deadened alternative?
And I rode right up A Mountain this morning with a pretty loaded pack. And gold gilt duct-taped sunflowers from Nicole. And I am so very curious. But peaceful. Because over and over again I learned on last summer’s trip that I was absolutely clueless about what lie ahead of the next curve.  Except for being completely enveloped in God’s unconditional love. His tightly knit, wrap around love. And Nicole and I kept whispering, “This is amazing.”
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.