We Awaken In Christ’s Body

We awaken in Christ’s body
As Christ awakens our bodies,
And my poor hand is Christ, He enters
My foot, and is infinitely me.
I move my hand, and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(For God is indivisibly
Whole, seamless in His Godhood).
I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous?—Then
Open your heart to Him
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where all our body, all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
As He makes us, utterly, real,
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably
Damaged, is in Him transformed
And recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His life
We awaken as the Beloved
In every last part of our body.

St. Symeon the New Theologian

Meditation on a Jar of H1Bs

It’s in the pencils
that I find you today
God, tucked between the points
and the possibilities. You smell
like wood and things pressed too long
between heavy objects
to be anything other than hard.

Today I will give
away the permission to cry
out to myself, to others
mothers, children, men and miseries
each aching to express something
of what it means to find ourselves
between the pointed barrels
hoping what you’re going to write
is something other than
lead, hoping the violence
against us will stop, today,
and we will find what is being written
by the sharp edges of lives
is love, and that there is softness
enough at the other end of our questions
that they will be (we will be?)
rubbed smooth by grace.

What I’m Into (September 2013)

September, it’s not you—it’s me. (Or maybe it was you.)

Normally, September, you and I have a thing. It’s be a really steady thing, dependable, and I’ve just come to expect it out of you. Maybe it was me, getting lazy, or maybe it was that I was so focused on other things.

We started off on the right foot, and you had some amazing highlights, don’t get me wrong.

First of all, you pulled out your usual: the beginning of Autumn. You know just how to catch my heart, September, with your cooling days and your crisp nights. There were a few great nights on the porch with our new neighbors, talking about life and listening to the darkness. (But that black widow spider you threw in? Were you trying to be funny? Death-dealing arachnids aren’t cool at all, September.)

You played host to some awesome guest posts I got to write this month, too. This post on being a monk in the world at the Abbey of the Arts in advance of some upcoming work Christine and I are going to do together? That was awesome. And I also wrote for A Beautiful Mess about celebrating that big thing that happened during you, September.

That big thing was finishing up the first draft of my book manuscript. I know you didn’t do that, but you made that possible, September, and I’m so very grateful. It’s been a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl, and you made space for the Holy Spirit to hover over, and for these words to come to life:

2013-09-07 22.10.05

Good on ya, September.

Then there was that Soul Care Day up at Potter’s Inn. I know you share that honor with all the other months, but I needed it just when it came around, and your timing didn’t fail.

You pulled out all the stops at the end of the month. I mean, what can beat a new niece being born? Really, now, just look at that face:

IMG_20131003_103311

You hosted that party of cuteness, September. And I thank you for it.

But you did rain on your own parade quite a bit. And by quite a bit, I mean way too much. Really, the 500-year flood in Colorado, September? Haven’t we had enough natural disasters in Colorado this year? The whole flooding thing cancelled a retreat I was set to speak at, not to mention wrecking a whole lot of people’s lives.

And then there was the working all the time, and the deadlines. There was the stress-test, and the There were the great books (some of them advanced copies by friends, September, c’mon!) I didn’t have time to read, the movies and TV shows that I couldn’t get around to and the really rough stories you played host to, September. Haven’t you learned that you need to be a little more fun? Stop hanging around with Destruction and Despair, September, I don’t like what they’re doing to you. When you rolled around it used to be all bright colors and pumpkins, and this year you’ve been wearing black and talking about how pointless it all is. Quit it, September. You’re my favorite month.

I know you tried to pull it together at the end there, with my birthday and that great dinner out, but the damage had already been done for this season. I’m not going to dethrone you from your place atop my calendar favorites, but let’s try to hold it together a bit better next year, okay, September? Because this year, I just wasn’t that into you.

So, how about you? How was your September? Were you more into it than I was?

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

I’m linking up with the wordsmistress Leigh Kramer. Join us, if you’re so inclined!

Book Giveaway Winners and a Quote for Monday

Congratulations to our two Eyes of the Heart Book Giveaway Winners:

eyeoftheheart

 

Erin Miller
&
Victoria Shepherd

 

 

If you haven’t taken a look at all the beautiful images that were posted in the group, please have a look! They are stunning.

And, to round out your Monday, here’s a quote from Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is celebrated today, April 29:

“He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely.”

Catherine of Siena

 

Let Me Tell You About Her

While I love all the men in my life and spiritual direction practice, I thought I would share a small glimpse into hearts of the women of valor that I have the privilege of sitting with every day.

Let me tell you about her.*

Let me tell you how she was at the end of her rope, ready to give up on it all. All the talk, all the bumper stickers, all the happy-clappy Jesus-is-the-reason platitudes that made her want to throw up had pushed her right to the edges of faith. Let me tell you how she was so done, but she knew, deep inside of her, that she needed to give God another chance, one more opportunity to disappoint her.

Let me tell you how she showed up at my office, walls up. How she looked at me like she looked at all the other people who professed to have some answers, sideways, waiting for me to disappoint her. Let me tell you about the courage that kept her shields up, and, as the silence lengthened, let her drop them.

Let me tell you how she showed up the next time. Maybe a little more hopeful. And how she showed up the next time. Unsure. And how she kept showing up. Again. And again. And again.

Let me tell you about how she fumbled her way back to faith, knowing that she’d never really left.

Let me tell you how you’ll never know her story, or how much courage it really took to make it, but how you’ll feel the impact of her hungonthroughthehardtimes faith in everything she does.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you about how she just wanted me to give her the right answers to the questions. How she’s spent her whole life figuring out how to do it well, pass the test, impress the judges. Let me tell you how tired she was, how broken, but how she was holding on with everything in her.

Let me tell you how she fought me with everything in her when I invited her to live in the questions. How she knew herself well enough to know that she would fall apart. Let me tell you how her spirit rose, how she showed her strength by standing stubbornly for the way she’d always done it.

Let me tell you how that strength was made perfect in weakness, and how her busy plans to scale that wall she’d been running up against became a resting in the arms of the One who was whispering to her to stop, just stop for now, beloved.

Let me tell you how all the doing it right fell away, how her sense of peace allowed her to enter any room knowing that the God of the Universe wasn’t interested in her passing a test, but living loved.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you how she sat on my couch broken in spirit and bruised in body. Let me tell you how she knew that she couldn’t go back to him, but she couldn’t go to another Christian counselor who would lecture her about the sanctity of marriage.

Let me tell you about the way she trembled, the haunting of a love lost forcing her back into the cushions, the shame curling her body into a cup of despair.

Let me tell you how the Spirit spoke, and she began to believe. How she heard her Jesus call her name, and she turned from the open grave toward the face of a gardener who was inviting her back to an Eden she never knew possible.

Let me tell you how she wept, the grieving a birthing, and the travail in that childbirth brought forth a new life, a one washed clean by Christ, not because she was dirty was sin, but because He makes all things new.

Let me tell you how she gathered up the shards of her soul and made something beautiful out of the shattered pieces, His love the light that shone through into the brilliance of those who have suffered and still sing of His mercy.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you about how she opened her hands to let her husband, her partner, her boyfriend step into spiritual direction with another woman. How she knew that he needed companionship as he felt blindly into place his life with God had become, not really believing that He was really there at all.

Let me tell you how she trusted another woman with the contours of the faith of the man she loved, knowing that she was too close to speak words that he could hear. Let me tell you how she held him in prayer, a silent warrior who wrapped each small moment, each wrestling in the kind of hope that only love can produce.

Let me tell you how she stood, and stood, and stood, as he wandered and wondered. How she worked, how she served, how she kept herself before her God. Let me tell you how she wove letting go into the tapestry of their lives together, and how she rejoiced when he returned, just a little more whole, just a little more able to turn toward the One who had been weeping, watching and waiting with her.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you how she came exhausted, more in need of an hour’s sleep than an hour with me. Let me tell you how she arranged for a sitter, same time every two weeks, and had to wrestle the details to the ground each time anyway, a screaming child on each leg.

Let me tell you how desperate she was for God, how her alabaster jar was filled with the tears of she wept for her children as they fought their first feverish night, their first struggle with words, their first broken bone. Let me tell you how she tenderly wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair, her face to the ground as we held together the messy mixture of desire and duty, parenting and prayer.

Let me tell you how she began to practice the Presence in the laundry, and laugh at the days to come. How the daily became the holy, and both her desperation and desire didn’t diminish, but grew. How she found peace in the process, and home in the journey.

Let me tell you how she thinks no one ever sees, but knows that He does. How that’s often, not always, but often enough, and how she waits with Him for the dreams unrealized, the hopes to come, patience in the face of tomorrow.

Let me tell you about her.

As we sit together, she shows me what it is to be a woman of God, even as she searches for her identity in Him.

She is the reason I get up in the morning, the subject of my prayers, the reason I weep in gratitude for every moment I spend as a spiritual director.

She is my patron saint, she is my spiritual midwife.

 

patronsaintsmidwivessynchroblog

 

*For the purposes of confidentiality, all descriptions are composites. Any reference to specific stories have been removed and any congruence with the stories of those I journey with currently or in the past is purely coincidental.

Busyness As Violence

“If busyness can become a kind of violence, we do not have to stretch our perception very far to see that Sabbath time – effortless, nourishing rest – can invite a healing of this violence. When we consecrate a time to listen to the still, small voices, we remember the root of inner wisdom that makes work fruitful. We remember from where we are most deeply nourished, and see more clearly the shape and texture of the people and things before us.”
― Wayne MullerSabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives

Vincent van Gogh’s “Rest Work”

 

 

One Word 2013 – SPACE

Last year, the word that chose me was “passion.” I remember where I was when I heard God say it, kneeling in the basement beside the washer and dryer, crouched over my laundry as if it would save me.

 

I didn’t want that word. The only definition that I could think of off the top of my head referred to Christ’s passion, His suffering and dying. I was tired, deeply so, and the idea of further suffering had me on my knees. I don’t remember if I asked God to take it away (I probably did), but I do remember that the word passion simply wouldn’t leave me. I was stuck with it.

 

So, I did what any word nerd would do. I looked it up. Dictionary, Hebrew, Greek. Old friends that usually hid treasures away in the folds of their definitions. Something for me to feel excited about, something for me to believe. Unfortunately, Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster’s definitions didn’t help me out much. I moved on to the Hebrew and Greek, but the original languages didn’t soothe me, either.

 

Passion Page

Discouraged, I wrote the word in the front of my journal. I looked at it every day, at least until my writing habit had me opening to the middle or later pages and ignoring the cover page altogether. I half-memorized a poem by Philip Schultz called “Pumpernickel” that referred to the “raw recipe of our passion”.

 

Looking back, I’m sad that I missed the more obvious invitation that passion had for me. I’m fairly passionate by nature; I believe that God was whispering something about myself that He saw, that He wanted to delight in further in 2012. I know that I missed unexpected adventures and the God-sized encounters that living in passion could have engendered.

 

And I know why I chickened out on “passion.” I chickened out because I allowed 2011 to drain me dry. Passion is wet and hot and full of life. Passion, the absolute opposite of what I was feeling. In my limited vision, I just couldn’t see how passion would be a guiding force for my year.

 

And I let it fade out of view.

 

My word for the year, my One Word for 2013, is space. It’s another word I didn’t particularly want. Idelette’s words of calling, purpose and vision at SheLoves Magazine roused me to something grand, something meaningful. “Space” just didn’t seem to fit.

 

It’s ironic, isn’t it? A spiritual director turned off by the word “space”. I’m glad I can laugh at myself.

 

This year, I knew I needed to give ear to my resistance, but also choose to move past it. I booked a silent day at a nearby retreat center to get away from my favorite distractions and spend some time really paying attention to what God might be inviting me into. (It didn’t escape me that I was already stepping into some “space”.)

 

I’m so glad that I did.

 

space

 

He brought me out into a spacious place;

He rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

 

Light, space, zest—that’s GOD!

So, with Him on my side I’m fearless,

afraid of no one and nothing.

Psalm 27:1 (The Message)

 

Don’t dump me, GOD;

my God, don’t stand me up.

Hurry and help me;

I want some wide open space in my life!

Psalm 38:21 (The Message)

 

When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;

he brought me into a spacious place.

Psalm 118:5 (NIV)

 

I’m looking forward to what God’s going to do with the space that I’m giving Him, and the space that I’m finding in my own life. I’m looking forward to leaning into the definitions of space:

• the distance from other people or things that a person needs in order to remain comfortable

• the opportunity to assert or experience one’s identity or needs freely

• large or magnificent in scale: expansive

• the number of lines of printed or written matter.

 

space

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that my One Word is going to transform 2013.

 

What You Look For, You Will Find In This World

Rob Bell has a new video about rediscovering wonder, finding the Kingdom again, being surprised out of cynicism.

Watch it here…

What do you think?

What stopped you in awe today?

A Good Thought For Mondays

 

 

 

 

 

“Compassion directed toward oneself is true humility.” 

— Simone Weil

Offering Hope

Click below to see the full image.