Cracked Pot (it’s not about the outside)

This afternoon I grabbed a composition book off the coffee table. When I sat down I found that it was the graph paper one in which I sketch my ideas for a new kitchen. As I started to write anyway {because the idea struck}, I found myself thinking on these lines.

The squares on the page march on across. Stick straight. Up, down. Right, left. They cover the page. They remind me of cookie-cutter people; each one predictable within the confines of the lines. The ones who fit in with society’s expectations, the ones who look like and behave like everyone else. I don’t fit. I never could color inside the lines.

I stick out like a sore thumb.

Well, ok, not really- I conform on the outside, to my chagrin. I wear acceptable clothes and my hair is its own color. But, I am not a cookie cutter – on the inside. If I did not care whether I stood out or not, I’d be wearing steam punk black and red; and my hair would be stark black with a black cherry rinse on it. {Why, yes, yes I have thought about what it would mean to take personal external expression to the extreme and embarrass my grandchildren at the same time.} What people do not see on casual observation or quick glance is the me that I am. The invisible me.

Truth is, I want to be loud, outrageous and draw attention all right- to The One who lives within. Not to myself; but to Him, THE ONE. The Author, Creator, The One who holds it all together by a Word. Who takes me as I am. Because I took Him at His Word; because He is The Word.

I am a broken vessel, a cracked pot. I am one whose contents dribble out of those cracks. I am one whose cracks reveal Him and what He has done for me on The Cross. You see, I carry around The Living Water and though I may not stand out, it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I want Him to be seen. Not me.

I am what He designed me to be and it’s just fine with me that I look like one of the crowd on first glance; but He knows better. I am His and I am loved. He calls me by my name.

 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  John 10:2-3

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

 

Five Minute Friday: Write

Haven’t done this in a while- but today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday from Lisa-Jo Baker, was the impetus I needed.

WRITE she said.

 

So I click on the big blue W and open a doc and I write. To write is to live through written expression of one’s thoughts, emotions and beliefs. For some of us it is almost the breath of life itself. We are compelled to string these letters together to attempt to make some sort of sense to others who read. 

 John opens his Gospel with an introduction to THE WORD.  The Word was there in the beginning when it all started, this great big story that is bigger than life, stranger than fiction, full of guts and glory, love and betrayal, death and new life. It is our story, the one we are grafted into. 

Where our stranger than fiction lives begin to make sense to us. When we connect to The Word. What makes that connection is all those letters strung across time and space that make sense together. How? You say- It’s all about the Who- The Word made flesh, taken out of time and space to walk in this place with us one step and one word at a time. 

And we speak through these words on the page strung together to offer you a Lifeline to be connected to THE WORD as we are. 

 

We write. 

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-14

 

As Fall gives way

It’s been quite a bit quiet around here recently. Family life has been occupying most of my time. I’m writing today to say that I think, I hope, I’m back. I’ve been working on some changes on this site as well and maybe just maybe it will look better. I’m also working on developing a newsletter; a challenge at best. 

Autumn is here and the colors are splendid….

lordoftheharvestweb1

and one leaf demands our attention…

fallenleafweb

Christmas is coming-what are you doing to brush away what’s left of autumn to prepare to celebrate?

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” Luke 2:10

Restless

Restless

Yes, that is what I am.

I’m looking for You. 

Yes, You. 

The God Whose face I dream to dare to touch. Whose eyes look into mine, looking deep into the depths of me and Who alone knows me for who I am.

Like the writers in the Psalms- I search, I wait, I have sleepless nights, I feel despair, I feel elation, I feel justification, I feel abandonment. I want peace, I want vengeance, I want justice, I want righteousness, I want to prosper, I want to win, I want You to defend me, I want joy, I want rest, I want to be in Your presence.

I want You.

Sometimes, You are close, God.       And then, You’re not.

Sometimes I know You are here.

Sometimes I hear You speak.

Sometimes I hear You respond to me. 

Yet, You don’t even have to give me a twinkle of a thought. 

That scares me.

A little.

A lot.

Yet, Lord, I still want more of You. I hunger for Your Word.

Your Word–

Sometimes it crushes me.

Sometimes it breaks me.

Sometimes it molds me.

Sometimes I am held in the cleft of the rock by it.

Sometimes the right word at the right time makes me come alive.

I wish I was more- a better mother, a better grandmother, a better wife, a better me.

One that doesn’t trip from guilt to guilt over what I have or haven’t done. 

One that wishes she was understood. 

One that wishes she understood. 

But, the want-to and the doing are so far apart in reality.  How can I ever be who I am in You and be content?  How can I stand up and say I’ve run the race, I’ve completed the course, I’ve persevered and pressed on and endured for You when I don’t even know what I don’t know?

This sounds so… so – like I’m rambling or ranting as one on the brink of insanity. And maybe I am.

Maybe we all are?  All of us who follow a Carpenter who left all for nothing and got a mountain of rejection and a nightmare taste of hell just so we could become His siblings and call You Abba and live forever in Your presence.

  “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ ” Acts 17:24-28

 

Just a Word, His Word

It’s here in the silence, after the Christmas celebration; after the food is eaten; after they’ve all gone home; in the spaces, between the dotted “I”s and the crossed “T”s.

He meets me. The overflowing. The meaning of it all.

Love.

His love is real, as tangible as the sound of the snow falling. As warm as the blanket I’m wrapped in. I know He loves me.

The true meaning of the celebration of Christmas some years gets lost in the food, the fun, the surprise of the presents, the hugs, the egg nog. Yet the very reason that we celebrate is the ultimate gift of Love.

His Love come to us.

To the shepherds, the kings, the Simeons, the Annas, the wedding party, the woman who touched Him, to Jairus, to the centurion, to Peter, James and John, to all who followed Him, to Lazarus, to Martha and Mary, to Mary Magdalene, to Paul, to Timothy.

To us. The broken, the dysfunctional, the wounded beyond repair, the sick, the dying, the liars and the cheats, the get along pretty well on our own. We all of us are the object of His Love.

He came to us, for us, because of us, because of our friends, our families, our parents, our siblings, our children, our frenemies, our enemies.

Us.

Why? Because we can’t do this by ourselves. This living and dying. He designed us. We broke us, and only He can fix us. 

Not one of us can do that. Only Love. His Love. LOVE.

Do you hear it? The whisper in the silence, the still small voice passing by reminding us why we just celebrated? 

God so loved the world (you, me, everyone who has lived, is living or ever will live) that He gave His one and only Son (just One for all) that whoever (each one of us) believes in Him (has faith, looks to and hopes in the Son) will not perish (no everlasting death) but have eternal life (complete and whole as we were designed to be).

LOVE

{The} Story or Particular, Peculiar Words- Part 2

{The} Story, {His} Story, gives substance to our existence.

Because of it, every thought, every communication is connected with and woven through THE WORD. It’s how we all connect. Words. Written. Spoken. Unspoken. Shouted. Whispered. 

Words show life is real, broken, full of emotion, love, hate, sorrow, joy, obedience, disobedience, blessings, curses, judgement, trials, glory, grace, mercy, forgiveness,  repentance and redemption.

In {His} Story, the beginning of the story of us all, we witness: the moment man set his mind and his foot to disobedience; the anger, envy and self-pity that drove Cain to kill his brother; the building of the ark and the rising of the waters until the only souls living were captive on a wooden boat till the water left them high and dry; the impact of the words of Moses on Pharaoh; the manna that fell from Heaven-what in the world?; the parting of the waters of the Red Sea and their rushing return devouring Pharoah’s soldiers; the tears of Hannah in the gut-wrenching heartache of barrenness; the guilt David suddenly faced when Nathan confronts him on the murder of Uriah and the taking of Bathsheba; Jonah’s disobedience and experience in the fish for 3 days, his subsequent obedience, God’s mercy and Jonah’s self-pity;  the stand taken by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the walk in the flames with the fourth man; the moment God set His plan of redemption in the world with the encounter Mary has with Gabriel; the desperation of Peter as he steps out of the boat onto the water and suddenly clings to Jesus in fear and doubt; the moment blind Bartimaeus can see-really see Jesus, Son of David, who did have mercy on him and Jesus’ command to “Go” he instantly disobeys as he follows the one who gave him sight; the joy on Mary Magdalene’s face as she realizes that Jesus is alive and standing in front of her; the sudden blindness and clarity of understanding after the encounter of Saul with Jesus on the road to Damascus; John’s vision as it is revealed to him by the angel in his old age and so much more.

The Words that tell and teach and comfort and warn; that reach out to tell us just how much He loves us; that give us our history to show us there will be messes, there will be despair, there will be defeat. But there will also be joy and dancing in the streets.

Our words tell our part of the story. They tell our moments, our days, every breath, every heartbeat. Our part of the story reveals our love, loss, despair, hope, faith. And, in my particular, peculiar part, the path I walk on this journey of life. 

How do I tell you the words in the right order lest the meaning be changed altogether to something else entirely? How do I tell you when I look at words strung together like a strand of pearls it gives me hope or takes it away? How do I tell you the power of a word and where and how it is used is important? That some words, spoken, even whispered, have so much significance and so much power I hesitate to speak some things aloud? That words written and spoken can be used for evil as well as for good? How do I tell you that I share in the hope that you will see your part in {His} story?

Yet, here am I, still pounding away on the keyboard trying to get you to see what I see.

It is in the concept His Words hold where we understand the incredible completeness of all creation. Because of these words, full of the Glory of God in humanity and the incredible imperfections in the people in His Story, we can identify and come to grips with our own part of the story. Confident, knowing the end of{The} Story,  {His} Story, is yet to come. 

Sometimes, our part is not pretty. Rough drafts rarely are. But oh, the finished story….

A voice says, “Cry out.”And I said, “What shall I cry?” Isaiah 40:6

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? Isaiah 40:21 

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord—with the first of them and with the last—I am he.” Isaiah 41:4 

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:9-10

“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare;
before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42: 8-9

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand.  When I act, who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:10-13 

Go.

Live.

Tell. 

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10b-11