Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 6: Bullies

I have been too angry to write.  Hence, the real truth for the sporadic Lenten writings thus far.

The thing I gave up for Lent last year has all but consumed my Lent this year.

And all the anger started on Ash Wednesday.

I have felt very much attacked by Satan.

So, today, I chose to read from my devotional bible in the hopes that I could find something to give me perspective on bullies.  Because it is bullies in various forms that have stoked my anger.  Bullying that is completely unjust and unfair and yet still allowed to continue that has caused me to fester with indignation.

Therefore, today, finally, I needed to know. 

How does God deal with bullies?

Please, God, tell me you can't stand bullies.

And this is what I found:

Nahum - Just the whole darn book

I could summarize it here for you, but it really is such a good read.  And humbling too.  Makes me take stock that I can put my trust in Him.  Makes me realize how long I have taken to turn to Him in all of this...

Nahum 1:3 

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.

You really need to get out your bible and read the rest.

It's good stuff, I tell you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 5

It is Monday night, and I have writer's block.  So, tonight, I just pray for each of us, that we sleep well in God's hands and wake to do His work.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 4: Wading in the Water

Two days ago I posted the words of an old spiritual.

Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

I feel like I have been walking alongside the river bank, thinking for a long time about jumping in that water.  I've been looking and thinking and looking again.  I keep trying to figure the best way to get in that water.  Do I jump in?  Do I tiptoe?  Do I go get friends to walk in with me or do I get in when no one's looking?  How on Earth do I get in that river safely?  And am I walking between two rivers and need to choose one, or is all the water in just one river?  What if I get in, and God troublin' the water means a current too strong for me?  If I get in, can I get back out?  And is wading meaning just gettin' in up to my knees or do I need the proper suit for all this wading?  I am at a point of crisis in my inability to get wet.  

And, in the meantime, God's gettin' all worked up.  So much so that He's just decided to start shaking the ground beneath my feet.  Just shake me right into that water.  And here I am, still standing on the edge, looking at my reflection in that water, trying to keep my balance til I figure out how to get in.  How to get in and introduce myself to the reflection looking back at me. 

So today, I pray that God will go easy on me.  Show me the way into that water.  Clothe me in the proper suit for such an adventure.  Give me the strength to survive the current.  Help me find the joy in gettin' wet.  Love me enough to keep shakin' that ground...  Protect me when I eventually just fall on in...


Day 3: Journey

I need to apologize to all for not writing yesterday.  I have several very good excuses for not writing, but in the end, I did not write.  And I promised to write.  And so, I am sorry.

However, this Lenten exercise is a journey.  Christ knows we will fail in our attempts to be like Him.  It is the whole reason He himself journeyed to the cross.  For our failures. 

So, instead of giving up on day three because I did not follow through on my promise, I am here.  Asking for forgiveness, recognizing my struggles, and moving forward. 

I continue on....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 2

Wade in the water.
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

Wade in the water.
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

See that band all dressed in white, God's goin' trouble the water,
the leader looks like the Israelites, God's goin' trouble the water.

See that band all dressed in red, God's goin' trouble the water;
looks like the band that Moses led, God's goin' trouble the water.

 - an old spiritual

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012: Day 1

Luckily, this year I did not give up anger.  If that had happened, I would have already failed miserably at Lent.  Instead, I took up praying - which, between cursing under my breath, I have made half ditch efforts to do today - and writing.

With this shoot bang start to Lent, I declare the word work for the day is abundance.  Friendships do not need be either or.  Christ offers His grace to us all - even our enemies.  Love does not have to be only when it's easy.  Christ loves us - even when we don't follow His rules.  Forgiveness is not a finite number.  He forgives us over and over and over again.  And so, His abundance should overflow out of us and into this world.  Should.  It's just that sometimes this abundance smells a bit like responsibility, and we tend to shy away from such odors.  And in our selfishness and our inability to let our cup run over, we cause hurt and loneliness and anger.  We become unable to see the abundance constantly shed on us.  We become blind.

So today, I am reminding myself that God is abundant.  Abundant enough to give us His son.  Abundant enough to love us when we loved Him.  Abundant enough to love us when we hated Him.  Abundant enough to keep forgiving us no matter what.  Abundant enough to grace us with blessings through all of it.  Abundant enough to be enough.  Just enough.  More than enough.  Enough to flow over.  Overflowing abundance.


And the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the foremost.  But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost,Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to beleive in him for eternal life.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

I Timothy 1:14-17

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's that time again: Lenten planning

Lent is coming.  It's a time for contemplation and sacrifice.  It's a time of patience.  It's that time in the dreary days of the end of winter when the cold weather is no longer a novelty and overcast days just make a person care that much less about wearing pajamas in public.  Everything feels gray and gray seems to have no ending.  Any snow on the ground is brown.  That is when Lent, a time of penitence, rolls in. 

Wierdly, it is usually my favorite time of the church calendar, because there are many deeply enriching traditions in my faith that go with the season.  Pancake suppers, ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead, sacrifice, devotionals, Wednesday soup dinners, Bible study, palms branches and singing, stripping of the Cross, foot washings, Seder meals, stations of the Cross, candlelight mass, a break the fast party, and then glorious Easter Sunday.  All that crammed into forty six days.

However, this year I am not feeling it.  We are a soccer family, and soccer games keep falling on Sunday.  We are emptying ourselves and struggling to fill ourselves back up.  I frankly feel a bit unmotivated and a bit downtrodden trying to be Christ like when I'm not even going to church to get reminded again why I need to behave like Christ.  Which makes me realize that this year more than ever, I need Lent.

Last year, we gave up anger and shopping, and I wrote here for forty days.  This year I don't feel strong enough to give up anger and shopping, and though yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, I'm still not up to it.

So here's this year's plan:

1.  We will have nightly devotionals as a family.
2.  I will again share daily on my blog for forty days.  (This means Sunday is still a day of rest.)
3.  I will pray.
4.  We will give up meat on Fridays.  Sushi is just considered bait in York County, SC, so we might have some on the occasional Friday....

***Please feel free to join us in any or all of our journey this year.***

Cupcakes - The good ones

Last week I got to substitute in a third grade class.  And it was a birthday day.  And the kid whose birthday day it was had the kind of mom that brings cupcakes from the special bakery to school with the good juice boxes and little plates and napkins and even a balloon for the birthday boy.  And we all got to participate.  And the birthday boy got to stand up in the middle of the lunch room while we all sang the birthday song. 

The cupcakes were delicious.  The birthday boy - pleased as punch with all of the attention.  The other kids - excited to get the good cupcakes with lots of icing.  The parents of the birthday boy - sweet as could be and beaming proudly at their son.  Me - thrilled to be included.

And then comes the best, bitter sweet moment of the whole scene.  The class lines up to go back to class, and as we are walking away, I hear this child lean forward and say to the birthday boy, "You know the only reason your mom did all of that for you is because you are an only.  If you had brothers or sisters, she wouldn't do all that.  She wouldn't have time."

And the birthday boy, a bit surprised, said back, "Yes she would.  Why wouldn't she?  She'd love them just like she does me."

And the other one, "Nope.  Once there's more than one, your parents don't do all that.  It's too much to do."

And I thought, he's right.  What he states is true.  It is too much for us to accomplish when we have to spread ourselves around.  There's only so much of us and only so much time.

But God, well, this is what makes Him so incredible.  He can do it all for all of us, and He can do it abundantly.  And that just makes me smile.