Saturday, November 29, 2014

just reflections

I had sweet company in my kitchen yesterday. . . How can I help? Let me wash and dry and organize, stir and pour, arrange and put out! They kept offering- I kept saying, "of course." I love fellowship in the kitchen!

 "Ladies, I  get  kind of bossy in my kitchen when I'm hosting a crowd. . . not like yelling, but my voice gets this staccato edge- have you noticed?"
Ahh, how we laughed amid my kitchen chaos. They know the bossy temptation too.

I'd brought my soul and my temptations to God before dawn that morning, "Lord, I'm gonna be tempted. Produce your fruit in my life today, gentleness, patience, self control, I can't do this alone!"

And Lord, give me your joy. . .

It's Friday and I'm picking up- but not too much. I'm slow, enjoying pie for breakfast, reflecting on yesterday-  I'm thankful for sweet fellowship, some deep conversation over dishes and whipping cream, a new friend, a diverse group around 2 tables, yet another Thanksgiving at my house, and my Redeemer, faithful, ever faithful to love and change me.

And this morning I'm winding some beautiful yarn for a special project. Lovely fibers with names like: Au NaturalCharcoal, Paper, Calligraphy, Gravity. . .
I like the monotony of the winding rhythm--round and around, loosely winding. I'm thinking about my friend, Pam, who taught me how to wind yarn years ago. Even insignificant tasks have a technique, right?

I loop the hank around a chair back, winding, winding. . . I pray for my dear friend.

Friday, November 21, 2014

to hope continually

The weekend rolls around and I take stock of the flying days . . .

Last week was crowded with listening and responding, praying and weeping- remembering that God is good and does good, that He is King, always.
I  cooked dinner once last week. . .  some days you just have to make do (or as my husband says, "there's always eggs!")
One morning before leaving for school, John prayed with me- you see, the weight of pain seemed overwhelming. But then I'm thinking. . . how to understand the paradox of sweet and bitter, sorrow and peace all wrapped up together? It's there, totally there, and God reminds me that He's very present in it all.

Friday night at Bible study I prayed with 4 young women. They each shared- then I shared,
"Ladies,  I'm in a different season of life. . .and this week the burdens are so heavy; please pray that I'll rest, that I can trust God. . ."

Then I knew that Christ's body is beautiful. . . women in different seasons, overwhelmed and burdened by vastly different circumstances; we love the same King who never changes. . .I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

I will hope continually. . . my mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come.
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
Psalm 71:15-16

Thursday, November 13, 2014

to choose a worthy quote

My dear friend, Lisa, invited me to join a quote club and with barely a blink, I responded, "I'm in!"
I love a good quote- succinct, memorable, worthy of conversation. . .
Our goal is to learn 52 quotes in 52 weeks!  Every 6 weeks my turn comes around to share a quote. I'll need to post my quote and its context by noon on that Friday.

 I wanted my first quote to come from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer--but how to choose??

These days God keeps nudging and convicting me to love more by listening more. I'm a pretty eager talker, you know. . . I especially notice the talking trap when I'm on a long distance phone conversation, catching up with dear ones, sometimes counseling, and when I can't catch facial cues, I just jump in and continue the talk! (have you noticed?)
With all that in mind, I decided to choose a quote from the section of Life Together titled "The ministry of listening".
And I'm looking hard at my own heart while remembering Bonhoeffer's encouragement to listen long and patiently to others, not listening with just "half an ear that presumes to know what the other person has to say."
So-I chose to share a quote with a warning last Friday, my first quote week.

"He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either;
he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too."
                                                                                                             Dietrich Bonhoeffer

( The first line of the quote is impactful enough, but I added the second line because the idea of "prattling in the presence of God" is a frightful prospect!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

to bear her burden

Wednesday evening I stood in the luggage line at the airport- back home in America.  Next I waited in the customs line; my cell phone beeped- a call from a sweet friend.
So, once on the curb, luggage in tow, I returned my friend's call as I waited for John to come swooping by for me. It was one of those moments then. . . when the pain of a dear one takes your breath away,  pain that feels so real it's like choking.

The next morning I called my friend, "I didn't sleep much, feeling kind of dizzy with a cranky ear this morning, I'd better not drive over to your house--but I'm here, you know."

Then as an afterthought I texted her. . .

"I almost didn't tell you that I lost sleep over your suffering last night because I know you don't want to be the cause of my sleeplessness! But I decided to tell you anyway because I'm learning that God wants us to nurture a culture of mutual burdensomeness within the church. I bear your burden not because it's a duty but because I love you and because Jesus bore it all. . ."

The brother is a burden to the Christian precisely because he is a Christian.
For the pagan the other person never becomes a burden at all.
He simply sidesteps every burden that others may impose on him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together)