Monthly Archives: January 2013

Far be it for you…

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To my ABQ Dwelling Ladies: Who would have had a knowing smile and eyes that said “Just let her talk.” for the ladies in my BSF group tonight. 

Genesis 18:22-25
Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it?  Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The question on my BSF homework lesson said:
     “Since God already knew the number of righteous men in Sodom, why do you think He let Abraham continue in his prayers?” 

My written answer said:
     “God is in relationship with Abraham and they spoke as friends.” 

Really Leah? That’s all you’ve got?

Yes. It is. At the time that I was doing the lesson I once again did mental gymnastics over the omniscience of God. So in response I wrote down the simplest answer hoping I wouldn’t be called on.

So you know what happened right? You guessed it…I was called on for my answer. And wouldn’t you know it…right in the middle of my doubt, the Holy Spirit moved. I opened my mouth and that written answer did not come out that way it was on my paper. Instead the ladies in our group were witnesses to what happens when the Holy Spirit needs to get my attention…and does so in a public way.

My verbal answer went something like this…

*****

Well, God is in relationship with Abraham and that they are friends. <deep breath> But the question says “Since GOD already knew….” And yes…GOD already knew. But God also knew that Abraham didn’t already know. So God let Abraham talk. He let Abraham bring what he needed to bring. He let Abraham speak his fear and his doubt and his concern.

I think God does that with us sometimes.

This passage reminds me of Exodus 32 & 33 where Moses and God are talking about the sin of the people. God has declared that He will give them the promised land but that He will not go with them. And Moses questions God about His decision.

In Genesis 18 Abraham says “Shall not the judge of all the world do right?” But Abraham knew…OF COURSE HE WILL.
In Exodus 33 Moses says “How will folks know that your people and I have found grace in your sight if you won’t go with us??” But Moses knew…OF COURSE HE’S GOING WITH US.

But the conversation isn’t FOR God. The conversation is for God’s friend.

God says “What do you think about My plan?”
And we cry “WHY GOD WHY?”
God says “Keep talking.”
And we cry “FAR BE IT FOR YOU GOD TO <fill in the blank>!!!”‘
God motions sweetly and says “Keep talking friend.”

And before we even know it, like Abraham or Moses, we are reminding God of who He is.

“God you are ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgressions and sin…” (And yes…I miraculously rattled off a passage of scripture from Ex 34:6-7 that I have never memorized!)

Ultimately the conversation isn’t for Him. He sure as heck doesn’t need to be reminded of His own nature. Right? The conversation is for us. He walks us through our doubt, back to the place where we can remember what it is we know about Him.

Then we finally say “I still don’t know why God. But I still know YOU, God. Do what you came to do.”  

********

I finished the last 3 lines holding back my ugly cry. And when I finally shut up the ladies all looked at me with varying degrees of wonder. As in “I wonder if she’s off her meds.”  Or “I wonder if she knows she just talked 100 miles an hour?”  Or “I wonder how she fit all that in the 1/2 space on our paper to write our answers.  🙂

Here’s what I know for sure.

Not a word of that was for those ladies. If they got something from it…terrific. But that was all for me.

God and I have been in a season for quite some time. I’m still God’s friend. We still talk a lot. But I have been saying “WHY GOD WHY?” about a lot of things and God’s answer has been “Keep talking.” God is walking me through my doubts, fears, and concerns. He’s not ready to give me details of the plan. But God is ready to remind me of who He is and what I know…again.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by name; 
You are Mine. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, 
Nor shall the flame scorch you. 
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy one of Israel,
Your Savior” 
Isaiah 43:1-2

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.
He will be with you, 
He will not leave you nor forsake you; 
do not fear or be dismayed.” 
Deuteronomy 31:8

“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; 
you are my people and I am your God.”
says the Lord God.” 
Ezekiel 34:31

“You are my hiding place; 
You shall preserve me from trouble; 
You shall deliver me with songs of deliverance.” 
Psalm 32:7

“Therefore I will look to the Lord; 
I will wait for the God of my salvation; 
My God will hear me.” 
Micah 7:7

 

 

 

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Redecorating the Tabernacle

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My friend Amanda and I are doing the “30 Days of Wonder” challenge in the back of Margaret Feinberg’s book Wonderstruck. Today’s topic was Stillness. The idea was to get still and…

“Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment–aware of your hands, your feet, your spine, every aspect of your body’s position. In this place of pausing, talk to God. Tell him what’s really on your heart and mind. Share with him things you’ve been afraid to say aloud. Give yourself wholly and fully to God in prayer and experience the wonder.” 

So I did. Because…well…I’ve become pretty excellent at stillness and getting quiet before the Creator of the Universe for a few minutes a day. I didn’t think much about it being any different than any other day. Anyone who knows me well also knows that I’m not the kind to hold back on God and I mostly let fly with what I’m thinking. But I thought “Hmmmm…what have I not said because I’m afraid to say it aloud.” images (13)

From somewhere..deep called to deep…floodgates opened…and I said some things that needed saying.

I shared old hurts that I haven’t been able to let go of even though I really want to. I shared pain that I thought I’d been dealing with pretty well. I gave God a dream that I’d thus far been unwilling to turn loose of. I told God that I couldn’t pretend that I love or understand where she has brought me to. And I said aloud the things I am most afraid of.

I wept.

And I whispered a “thank you” for all of it. Every bit of that hurt, fear, lost hope, and honesty has and is growing me. I am who I am because of it. I am becoming who I am becoming because of it. And oddly enough…in speaking it all I didn’t suddenly fall into a depression or feel like I wasn’t honoring of my attempts to live more positively and speak good things into my life.

Instead God said “Will you give it all back to me now? I’d be happy to hold on to it.”

And so I wrote each thing out and then lit each paper on fire…a smoke offering…sweet incense…the smell of hurt, regret, loss and hope mingled as they released to the heavens.

In the place where I used to keep those things, I now have a hole. A space. Some room.

God has asked me to really FEEL the empty space for a little while. To hear the hollowness of the empty spots. To wander around in that open and drafty room.

I think the Divine wants to fill this tabernacle…this Holy of Holies…with different shaped things. Things made of lighter and more flexible materials.

Joy
Peace
Love
Faith
Hope

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering–Psalm 141:2

Embracing Quirky…

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Over the past few weeks (okay…maybe months) I’ve been noticing more and more than I am quirky in my spirituality, introversion, style, and humor. Quirkier than some…less quirky than others.

The funny part of this is that I’ve always had interesting friends but thought of myself as the vanilla friend. Don’t get me wrong…not cheap uninteresting vanilla…but the good stuff…vanilla bean or something. Maybe vanilla with a little touch of caramel running through the middle. More likely vanilla with some nuts infused. 😉

Perhaps my quirky is more evident in Seattle than it was in Denver or New Mexico because I am a Southwesterner through and through and there is a 62839357270363982_aEtrdtso_bmarked difference in culture here. In New Mexico EVERYONE is a little quirky. It isn’t called the land of manana for nothing. People move at their own pace, wear what they want, and are pretty open communicators. I grew up in New Mexico. I know…I LITERALLY grew up in California. But after some sheltered years in my family home and then in Tennessee, I went to New Mexico as a kid (21) and left (with much dismay) as a grown up (35).

And now I find myself in Seattle. A place where the Nordic and Asian cultural norms run deep. There is a strong sense of family and community…but getting into the walls of those families and communities is difficult. There is even a term for the difficulty one finds in making friends or fitting in upon moving to Seattle. The Seattle Freeze… http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Seattle%20Freeze

NOTE: The above paragraph does not in any way mean that I don’t LIKE Seattle. It means that I, with my quirkitude, am struggling and grateful that I’m not the only one! 😉

So back to my quirkiness…
Here…I sometimes say something and then watch the faces of those around me as if they are wondering if I’m serious about whatever thing I’ve just said. I noticed that this week at work when I hung my vision board it received a few odd ball looks and a couple very pointed “What is that?” questions. Or when I mentioned I’d bought a Living Social coupon to try out a Isolation Tank…blank stares. Nothing gets more oddball looks than when I say “I go to a Bible study on Monday nights.”

On the other hand my online community hasn’t been that much more accepting. I have many friends from college  or other very religious friends who’s gasps are practically audible when I talk about Yoga or use the word meditation or drop a swearword in my blog or status update.

Here’s what I know…I’m a quirky, spiritual, nutty, honest, relational yet deeply wounded individual who has determined to be herself…come hell or high water. I am an open book and try very hard to be genuine and transparent about what I believe and what I have doubts about and what I do to celebrate life.

No one…and that includes you dear reader…has to like me. And even if they do…and that again includes you dear reader…they sure as shit don’t have to understand me. Some days I barely understand me.
I’m evolving.
Changing.
Growing.

I want so much to be in community with people…but not at the expense of my personal integrity or my unique voice. And not enough to allow another human soul to criticize, harm, or attempt to step into the intimacy I share with God and cast .

I love people with every bit of myself…and I am learning to love myself each and every day. I will continue to be quirky. I will continue to try things that make you all look at me like I’m nuts. I will continue to surprise even myself with the inappropriateness of a joke, crying at the “wrong” time, or doing something unexpected. Enjoy the ride with me. Enjoy watching the ride. Or change the channel.

Either way I send you blessings of peace, love, and hope that you look up in wonder at God stepping into the mess of your life. 🙂

Always,
Queen of the Quirk

Our Family Intentions and Resolutions 2013

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photo (8)Below you will find the resolutions and intentions we’ve set for 2013 in our house. Enjoy!

Malcolm

  • I’m going to try to take off a few ounces. Rose says I could lose a couple POUNDS but I think she’s just what the ladies of The View (one of my favorite daytime shows) call a “skinny bitch”.
  • I’m going to cuddle with Mom more. I don’t think 3 or 4 times a day is enough for her. And just in case anyone thinks otherwise, I do it for HER not me.
  • I’m going to try to get more organized. I can’t count how many times I’ve lost my favorite pink mouse this year because I don’t put it back in its place at night. This year I’m going to do better.
  • This year I will volunteer more. I’ll volunteer to finish Rose’s food, to lick her ears, to warm Mom’s lap. Well…I already do those things. But I’ll try to think of more…
  • This year I hope to have less paparazzi. I’m starting to feel like people on Facebook watch my every move. Can I help it if I’m adorable? No! Should I be followed everywhere with a camera? Yes…but I should really give the other kits of America a chance.

Rose

  • I’m going to try to use less 4 letter words. I say “HISS” to Mal a lot and my mom says it is a sign of an inability to communicate.
  • I’m going to stop calling Mom “Thumbs” in my head. She can apparently see it in my eyes and it hurts her feelings. Let’s face it…she’s the only one of us with thumbs…but I could try to be more patient.
  • I’m going to let Mom hold me more. I like it but I don’t really want her to know or to start thinking I want to cuddle 3 times a day like Mal.
  • I’m going to do more yoga. I’m also going to ask for my own mat. Mom sometimes doesn’t leave enough room for me and I like to be in the very middle hers when she’s doing yoga.
  • This year I’m going to learn to speak a foreign language. I am fluent in North American kitty and I can understand human English. But I think it would be helpful if I was able to speak. I wonder if there is a Rosetta Stone for that?

Leah

  • I will still my mind with the practices of prayer, meditation, and gratitude each day.
  • I will live in peace and freedom in my body. I will take care of it with exercise, yoga, regular massages, and sleep. I will protect the Divine in me by making good choices, getting therapy if needed, and by trying any healthy alternatives to take care of the body I live in.
  • Every month I will go to 2 non-work related events and be open to making friends. I will lead and follow in more balanced measure.
  • Money will be a tool but not in charge of my life. I will be generous and giving to those in need. I will find one new charity a month to give financially to in addition to Bridgetown and World Vision. And I will volunteer at least 6 times next year at various charities.
  • I will have a sabbath from all electronics and social media one day a week to center myself and get calm.
  • I will write.