Comfort: (FMF Link-Up)

This post is part of Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday Link-Up community:

Image result for comfort in grief

Comfort in the wake of a loss that rocked my world,

Comfort not through words but actions,

Hold my hand in this journey through grief.

Please just sit in silence with me; cry with me.

Words aren’t needed to comfort my weeping heart.

Your presence is comfort to my soul.

Comfort in the soft nuzzle of my horse and the kisses of my dog.

Comfort in the routine of life when grief claims the joy of a new day.

Comfort in the memories of the loved one I lost.

Comfort in the arms of Abba Father:

“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.”

Comfort in the midst of my grief.

 

The Day of Waiting

His friends had just witnessed his brutal death.

Their visions of greatness in his earthly kingdom sealed in a tomb of stone.

Three years of faithful discipleship and they’re all alone.

They left the comforts of family and business

And for what?  To get ridiculed in the end?

Against the majority, they believed in his cause.

They all agreed he was the Messiah.

But that was then.

It was easy to declare sworn allegiance to the cause

When he was walking on the water and visiting with celebrities on the mountain.

Now in the emptiness of grief and loss

The life of before beckoned as comfortable and predictable.

Even though it meant eking out a living on smelly fish.

But anything was better than sitting and waiting on stirrings of the heart.

The boats with their tangled nets beckoned.

The call to the safe comfort in the mundane of daily action

Action that would squelch the holy call to follow the heart of the Father.

Monotonous work that he had called them away from,

Called them to a higher cause, filled them with a burning desire.

But that was then.

Here in the now, in the dark of the waiting

The questions quench the fiery zeal of mission.

The doubts drown out the call of their Master.

The hours drag on, the day grows long and still they wait.

They sit in their grief and the pain of hopes dashed.

The sun sets on their tear-stained faces.

The dark sorrow of the night shows no promise of joy in the new day.

This day of waiting, day of abandonment, it visits us all.

And in the in-between space we wait with heavy hearts.

The questions, the doubts, the tears hang low over our souls.

The loneliness of sorrow erases the Presence of our Master.

The day of dark sorrow leaves us feeling betrayed.

We thought we knew the plan of the Kingdom

But suddenly our Master is gone from our presence.

God is silent and we have nowhere to go.

We left another life behind to follow his call

But the call goes silent and the former life beckons.

The life that was predictable and comfortable, it seems like the only recourse.

In the waiting, our hearts yearn for the silence to cease.

In the waiting, our tears course hot down our cheeks.

Tears of confusion, grief, possibly even tears of the anger of abandonment.

In the waiting, the heart is haunted by the doubts.

Doubts of is God really who he says he is?

Doubts of have we really been following the real Messiah?

In the waiting, the questions threaten our hope.

In the waiting, the questions drown out the still small voice.

The voice of our Master.

The voice we thought we knew.

The voice that used to bring us comfort and direction.

In the waiting, our souls despair

And yet the darkness of the night brings the promise of the dawn.

The dawn of a new day.

A day in which we hear his voice once again.

A day in which he reveals himself once again to us.

A day in which he calls us to an even deeper discipleship.

In the waiting, may our souls find peace.

In the waiting, may our hearts grasp onto hope.

And in the waiting, may we sense the Presence of the Master.

 

Wholeness for All

brokenness

“I cry to the Source of all life, to the Eternal One whose Plan is Wholeness for all…Help me to live the Oneness we are eternally with Love Consciousness.”  –from Psalm 57 in Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill.

Wholeness when brokenness is all I feel;

When shards of regret cut to the quick;

When bad choices of the past shatter the good intentions of the present.

Wholeness, when who I thought I am is in pieces all around me.

Broken walls of the soul scattered on the ground

Exposing the brokenness of a life being worked over by God.

How long until the pieces are crafted into a beautiful mosaic?

How long will I sit here holding the fragments left by surrender?

How long until I feel this wholeness promised by the Master Artisan?

How long, O Love Eternal, till the wounds of brokenness become beautiful scars of the warrior?

How does the soul in shards live the Oneness of Love Eternal?

Who around me will display their brokenness being made whole?

Who will offer to hold the pieces of my brokenness?

Where is the community of broken souls being pieced together into one with the Trinity?

In the midst of grieving the broken pieces can I sense Love Consciousness?

Can I welcome the promises of wholeness even though I don’t understand?

Can I welcome the Presence of the Healer even through the fog of pain?

Through my tears of pain I see the broken body of Jesus embodying wholeness.

I see my broken soul, he sees my beauty.

I feel the sharp pain of the pieces, he feels the pliancy of surrender.

I sense the silent cries for relief, he hears the desire for healing, the longing for wholeness.

Surrounded by the pieces, I invite isolation but he offers the invitation of Oneness.

Love Consciousness pushes away the dust of the pieces to reveal the beautiful mosaic of a broken soul being made whole.

“Help me to live the Oneness we are eternally with Love Consciousness.”

 

 

Where is Heaven?

On days when heaven seems too far to find,

On days when grief shrouds the sun

On days when not even the clouds will cry for you,

Where is God?

On days when the battle is too hard,

On days when lust overpowers love,

On days when doubt crowds out belief,

Where is Freedom?

On days when exhaustion rules over zeal,

On days when the soul aches,

On days when loneliness floods the heart,

Where is the Comforter?

On days when addiction sucks you dry,

On days when your drug of choice seems the only way to cope,

On days when temptation surrounds the way of escape,

Where is the Savior?

On days when loss of a loved one cuts to the core,

On days when the honest truth exposes the heart for all to see,

On days when past mistakes slice open the wounds once hidden,

Where is the Healer?

When heaven seems to far away to find,

When God seems to have hidden his face,

When Freedom seems to slip your grasp,

When the Comforter seems to disappear,

When the Savior seems to forget how to rescue,

When the Healer seems to have lost his healing touch,

Lift up your head; raise your eyes to see Love.

Open your clenched fists; reach for Hope.

Find your voice; cry out for Peace.

Get up off those knees and stand to your feet.

Stand to receive Grace and Mercy.

Step from the arena of hell into the chapel of heaven,

The Savior and the Comforter illuminating the path to the presence of God.

 

Kept Taut by Hope

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I was reading from Colossians 1 in the Message yesterday when these words gripped me:  “The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.”

Am I alone in feeling like sometimes those lines of purpose in my life are so taut I’m holding my breath waiting for them to snap, the ends zinging past my ear?

Am I alone in feeling like sometimes they are taut and yet I feel like I’m walking a tightrope that’s about to go slack preceding the inevitable fatal plunge?

What does it mean to believe that the lines of purpose never go slack, but they stay just the right amount of taut measured by hope?  I don’t know about you but I have to go back a step further.

To look at the words “lines of purpose in your lives”.  When I think of lines, I think of order, of boundaries, of clear linear definitions.  When I think of taut ropes, I think of the thick ropes tying a boat fast to the dock, the cable pulled taut when the anchor reaches the bottom, or the belay rope as a tight safety mechanism for the mountain climber.

But what do I do with the dichotomy in my life?  To be told I have lines of purpose in my life that don’t grow slack and yet to feel tangled and chaotic.  To feel as though the rope slipped off the dock tie, leaving me unmoored at sea.  To feel as though the anchor never reached bottom.  To feel as though my belay buddy has left go of my safety rope as a I climb my way up this cliff called life.

How do you follow the boundaries of lines guiding you when all you see is the chaotic tangle of doubts?  How do you follow the clear definitions of purpose when you’re wandering in the darkness of doubts?

How do you believe in the safety of heaven’s belay rope when you don’t feel the tightly tied future?  How do you moor yourself with the anchor of hope when you don’t see the cable you tossed out grow taut?

How do I abandon my fears to walk the tightrope of Purpose kept taut by the Hope of my future in heaven?

Silence Louder than Chaos

be-still

There’s a quote that hangs in my sunroom:

“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God”.

But what of those times when you are silent and yet there is no whisper of God to be heard? What of the sense of betrayal your heart feels?  What of the desperation and despair your heart is left to sink into?  What of the awful inner voices unleashed in the presence of the silence?  What of the turmoil that knocks you off your feet while you’re standing on holy ground?  What of the heaviness of your sins that weighs you down, pressing your knees even further into the floor as you gaze up at the figure of Jesus hanging there on the cross in the pain that you inflicted on him?  What of the silence that cuts your heart open more than the chaos of daily living?

I attended a silent retreat last weekend.  I went with great anticipation of a peaceful rejuvenating experience.  But as I left, peace eluded me and yet gratefulness for the experience washed over my soul.

I entered the hushed halls of the spiritual retreat and my soul breathed a sigh of relief on that Friday night.  Peace was there to be found but not an ocean of peace like I had expected.  Instead peace came in fragments, just enough to keep me searching, keep me present in the silence.

I pleaded with God for just a breath of His presence to enfold me if even for a brief moment.  When my heart woke me at 0400 each morning, was it my inner restlessness or was it the invitation of the Spirit moving over me in my room?  When leaves danced in front of me as I walked in silence, might it have been the passing of the breath of God?  When the wind sighed through the pines, was it God moving through nature telling me he was here?  When the sun shone bright on my face, was it the presence of God inviting my soul into his warmth?

As the turmoil increased in the wake of the silence I entered into, my instinct response was anger with God.  How dare he be silent when I had intentionally put aside time wherein to seek his face?  Where was he now that I was sitting in silence asking him to reveal himself to me?  Was he not interested in me and the desires of my heart?  Didn’t his heart ache for me and the pain I was feeling ever increasingly while in the silence?  If he couldn’t honor my silence, would he react to my anger that dared him to reveal himself to me?  Where was his promise to remember me as a mother remembers her child?

The question was asked, “what is it that you are so afraid of?”.  And in that moment I heard a voice say, “Come”.  “Come sit with Me.  Come and learn of my grace.  Come and be, just be in My presence.”

I recoiled in fear. “I can’t come and sit in Your presence, Jesus.  I am too unworthy.  I am too unlovable.  I have rejected You too often; You can’t possibly want to get to know me!”

At the close of the weekend, I sat in silence and listened to the prayer of Psalm 46 be read over me in blessing, in Lectio Divina.  And once again, the word “Come” gripped me and something within my reluctant heart broke in response to the gentle, relentless invitation.

Again another question was asked of me, “If you were in a season of being able to pray and converse with God, what is that you most desire of him; what is it that you would ask of him?”  My answer from the heart was instant – “Peace even amid this turmoil, this season of pain I am in presently”.  The peace that comes of knowing that he is patient with me. He won’t disown me in this time of my anger at him, my reluctance to draw near to him in intimacy.  The kind of peace that invades the questions and doubts ripping my soul wide open.  Peace that flows through me like a river in this desert time of wandering.  Peace that enfolds me tenderly in the struggle.

The silence of the weekend seemed to unleash the turmoil of the soul typically kept at bay through the chaos of daily living.  And in the shouts of that silence, I felt betrayed by the One whose face I seek.  But yet in gratitude I look upon that time of silence as a way of awakening within me a need to practice the spiritual discipline of expectant silence in the Presence of God.  For the Intimate One of my soul cannot break his promise of being found by those who are sincere in seeking his Presence.

To Know and Be Known

“Know me and you’ll know the Father,” Jesus said.

“Know the truth and the truth will set you free”

“My sheep know My voice and they follow Me.”

What does it mean to know in my heart, not just in my head???

Like the woman at the well, all my sins and secrets Jesus can tell.

Like the woman dragged to Him, Jesus says my soul He doesn’t condemn.

My jaded heart, it says I dare not trust. “Keep your guard up,” it insists.

I don’t know how to just be;

I think I need to do, do, do but it’s never enough for my Father to love me.

He’s so holy and perfect and just,

I can never be enough.

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“Come to Me and I will give you rest,” Jesus says.

But I don’t know how to lean on Him and rest.

On high alert I’m always ready to run

“Protect yourself,” my head demands.

But my heart way down deep yearns

To stay and rest.  Learn to love and be loved.

To talk to my Father, not in stilted fear

But freely speak as best of friends.

Like a Lover, my God pursues.

His Mercy, His Love, they never run out.

My name is engraved on the palm of His hands.

With compassionate arms open wide He stands

Ready to delight in me, to sing His love song over me.

PEACE – that’s what it means to KNOW in my HEART, not just in my head.

Photo credits: Google Images

A Modern Day Psalm of Lament

I’m down on my knees

Trying to believe God sees

Past the clenched fists to the sobbing heart

Past the clenched jaw to the words that tear me apart

Words that won’t let go.

They dig their claws into the sides of my throat

Stacking up on each other till I’m sure I’m going to blow.

Feelings all locked up with unspoken words on guard

Making the softening heart turn hard.

The mocking voices hissing in my head

Telling me to give it up.

God doesn’t want to hear me so just STOP –

Stop trying to get close to God.

He’s never going to want me too near.

He’s not interested in my tears.

Silent sobs drowning out the words

Words that finally come but sound so empty.

God, why do You look away from me?

Where are You, God?

I’m sinking fast don’t You see?

I’m lost and all alone

Screams trapped inside me

Satan’s minions circling

Teeth bared, eyes gleaming

Ready to tie me up and carry me off

Off to a hell of my own making

Off to a place so dark I’ll never see the light of day

Off to a place so far from You I fear I’ll never find my voice.

God I need You now more than ever, can’t You tell?

My soul’s weary of being Satan’s easy sell.

God, please stoop down and make Yourself known.

Reach Your hand into mine and tell me You’ve heard my heart all along.

When an Arc of Vomit Is God’s Miracle

In the belly of a fish…

How much lower can I sink?

Acid swirling round; the fish or my soul – which has the most stink?

Gastric contents churning, burning my flesh, stinging my eyes.

Anger, pride, fear, hopelessness  mock me amidst all my whys.

Hours creep by, there is no rescue in sight.

No distress call to humans possible, no hope for respite.

Agonizing minutes tick slowly by

As I look my inevitable death in the eye.

But then God…

God whispers to me amidst the gurgling sounds of death by slow digestion.

He comes to me with gentle question.

“Why, Jonah, why did you run from Me?

I love you and I have dreams for you, don’t you see?

I never meant for you to be in agony of disobedience, in the throes of indigestion.

My plans for you are commands not mere suggestion.

Cry out to me, bend your knees and repent.

My rescue and mercy I’ve already sent.”

I looked around and all I could see is entrapment.

Trapped in my choices, my pride, my resentment.

But at last I bent my knees and I prayed.

Prayed for God to do whatever it takes to get me out.

And suddenly I’m arcing through the air, dripping with fishy stomach contents.

Stinky, smelly, soaked in juices I didn’t even want to think about.

But there I lay on dry land, redeemed.

Granted a second chance I didn’t deserve.

Three long days drowning in the acid of hell

And finally I understood God’s love in a way I could truly tell.

 

The Instrument of the Cross

Modern-Cross-Website-Banner

Intro: I found this draft from the week following Easter sitting here still waiting to be finished.  And since I’m in a season of searching for the full purport of Easter I think I shall pick up where I left off.

It was Easter Sunday and I was still in the throes of the black death of Friday. Because sometimes life seems to suck us into the vortex of visions of freedom hanging on the cross and we forget to revel in the sunrise of Easter morning.  When all we believe in seems like it’s meeting a devastating end; we lock ourselves in a room just like the disciples did.  And we tremble with fear of the unknown, fear of the repercussions of believing, of following our hearts.  Just like the disciples, we forget the many promises that God has a plan, God has triumphed over sin and over death.

I was sitting in church Sunday morning, searching in myself to find the joy of Easter. Had I lost it because of life’s circumstances or had I lost it because I didn’t have a grasp on what it means to me?  Is it possible to get so burnt out on life that we forget where we would be, who we would be without the risen Jesus of Easter?  As I sat there my mind was interrogating my soul and asking me what the Cross is and what it means to me but much more so, what does Easter morning mean to me?  The pastor said something that really stuck out to me and I’m still mulling it over.  He said that the Cross is the intersection of God’s will versus Jesus’ will.

This led me to question what my cross is.  Jesus said that his followers were to pick up their cross and bear it daily.  Where/how does my will intersect with God’s?  Am I ready for it to be as painful and as humiliating as Jesus’ cross was for him?

I’m guessing that those three days felt like an eternity to the disciples hunkering down in a house mourning the loss of their beloved Teacher and Leader.  Dare they hope that his puzzling words about three days and he would rise again were more than just strange Jesus-isms for which he had become famous?  What would it mean for them if he didn’t?  Could they integrate themselves into their former lives without too much ridicule?  Could they live their fanaticism down if it all was futile?  If they were anything like me, they probably hashed and re-hashed every thing that everyone could remember from the last 3 years.  And I’m willing to bet that there was some finger pointing and heated accusations going on as well.

When my will intersects with God’s, am I willing to surrender to His plan no matter how outrageous it seems?  Am I willing to be shamed by the public?  Am I willing to stick it out even when it feels like God’s turned his face away from me?  Will I believe in the hope of Easter morning?  Will I trust him that after the darkness, grief, and abandonment, the Risen Savior will meet me on my journey and “cause my heart to burn within me”?