Tuesday, August 20, 2019
As I stepped out of my Ford Escape last week to gas up before heading out of town, there was a small car next to me doing the same. But what I noticed most was the young woman in the back seat glued to her phone, filling the entire space with her body. It grieves me so to admit that my mental judgment was swift and severe.
I made my way around to the gas pump and, thankfully, it only took seconds before I recalled some of my recent readings and certainly the most current prayer of my heart. One doesn’t have to get very far in the Scriptures to come upon that verse that reads, “God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). IN HIS IMAGE. As George MacDonald interprets that, “We are created, not out of nothing ... but out of God’s own endless glory.” And according to Philip Newell, if God’s essence was extracted from our life, we would cease to exist. So why would I look at that young woman and see flesh? And worse yet, pass judgment on one who bears the image of God?
As I finished filling my tank and was walking into the store to retrieve my receipt, I looked at her again, and there she continued to sit looking at her phone waiting for her male companion to return. But this time I saw her as one made in the image of God; one who carried His essence. And my heart shifted. I was also reminded of the prayer that has become my mantra of these last weeks and months: I want to love people. All people.
As I returned to my car, I took one more look. This time she was looking up from her phone and directly at me. And with the grandest smile one could imagine, she raised her hand and gave me a gleeful wave. How could my own heart not be full as I smiled and waved back with the same joy? I pulled away having sensed a holy encounter and sacred moment.
Maybe one day my first reaction will be love. Of early recognition. How I pray that day will come soon. But for now, I rest in His grace of slow transformation.
Just an ordinary moment...
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
I wish I could say that I am a faithful gym goer. I try, but any old excuse has the potential to keep me away. My neighbor asked me last week if I enjoyed going to the gym, and my answer was a quick and emphatic, “No!” However, I did commit to walking 50 Miles in March and I succeeded with 10 extra miles to spare. I also committed with Anytime Fitness to 100 Days in 2019, and thus far have completed 83 of them. Surely I can get those 17 in before the New Year.
Yet there is a walk I take every morning from my Keurig in the kitchen to the sofa in the sunroom. I have been doing it so long now that even if my head hurts or my heart is too heavy to mouth the words, I know the rhythm of it and I believe God sees my prayer even when it is not spoken aloud. It looks like this.
With coffee in hand, I open the squeaky dining room door, walk to the window and twist the blind. Looking toward the east, the sky is beginning to show its hope of a new day. I slip off my flip flops and let my knees and elbows touch the carpet.
Praise be to the Father,
Praise be to the Son,
Praise be to the Spirit,
The Three in One.
I rise, slip on my shoes, and looking out the window, sing:
I say to this day you are blessed,
And I declare I serve a mighty God
Who today will do exceedingly abundantly more
Than I could ever ask or think.
I say You are a good, good God,
And I eagerly anticipate Your goodness today.
I make my way to the foyer where I turn on the first lamp.
I kindle my lamps this morning
in the presence of the Holy Trinity.
I open the blinds on each side of the front door.
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without resentment or anger,
I switch on the lamp on the other side of the door.
Without fear, without terror of any living thing under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.
I step into the den and light the lamp on my husband’s grandmother’s secretary.
God, kindle within my heart a flame of love
To my neighbor, to my foe, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall.
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all,
Kindle within my heart a flame of love.
And then as I walk across the den, there are 9 intentional steps as I bless my house with
I step into the sunroom and beseech the Spirit for His
I raise the window just a bit so I can hear creation waking, and I pray:
Open the windows of heaven, O God,
And pour out Your blessing upon us.
It’s my morning walk. An exercise of the heart.
Just an ordinary moment...
Sunday, February 24, 2019
It came quickly — the wind behind the weather system that pushed its way through early this morning. I could hear its approach through the neighbors’ trees. I could see its arrival as our own pines and oaks began to dance and bend and bow. Seemingly oblivious to the swing and sway, the birds hung tightly to the feeders. The chimes hanging from the eave played to match the strength of this invisible force. I opened my windows to be nearer to this element called wind. I opened my soul to be nearer to a God I cannot predict — yet Who comes.
The wind died as quickly as it came. All that was left was the slow rise and fall of my own chest — and the quiet sense of God’s abiding presence.
AN ODE TO THE WIND
You are invisible
but make all else come alive
You were at creation
brooding over the waters
You are air in motion
measured only by movement
the bowing of branches
the billowing of sails
the rise and fall of a baby’s chest
You are the medium of sound
of thunder, music, and sweet whispers of love
You are the current
supporting a bird’s flight
You are the metaphor of understanding God —
as life, as breath
as inspiration, as enlivened
as directional guide, as powerful force
Therefore, “come, wind, you that awaken love
and blow upon my garden.”*
Everything You have made will praise You,
fulfilling its purpose.
And all Your godly lovers will be found
bowing before you.
Psalm 145:10 (TPT)
Just an ordinary moment...
* Quote from St John of the Cross