Monthly Archives: December 2012

Eyes Open

This is a bit scary to write after a couple weeks ago writing about Mary’s faith and Mary’s acceptance of what had been given her, to be honest.  I feel like God might be trying to tell me something.  But who knows.  I might be off the hook.  He might be telling YOU something!  Ha!

So, it’s almost New Years.  A time when people vow to lose weight, or to make more money, or to spend more time doing the thing they’ve always wanted to do, but life has gotten in the way.  And then two minutes, or days, or weeks, or sometimes even months later, they go back to living how they had been before, and forget those new resolutions.   And, to be honest, I think that’s what happens when we try to do things in our own strength.  Our desires to change are good desires, but when we try to do it in our own strength – we fail.

12.10.27 Morning railroadAnd I’m not saying not to have those resolutions…especially if those resolutions are something you’re passionate about.  If you’re talking with God on a regular basis, and you have passions buried deep within your heart, those passions are probably from Him.  So, on Monday night, on New Year’s Eve this year, search your heart for your passions.  Ask God which one He wants to play with this year, and then give it to Him.

AND THEN, hold on for the ride of your life.  He’ll ask you to do something about it, probably.  And it might be something small, like writing a blog, or it might be something huge, like going to Africa.  But have the courage to obey.  Because obeying God always takes courage.  Obey, do as He asks.  Get out of your seat and go do whatever He asks.  And then do the same for the next step, and the next.

But know, our God is a God of quiet whispers.  He doesn’t usually write emails about what’s next.  I’ve only heard Him writing in neon on a wall once (well, maybe not in NEON).  I’ve found, in my life, that usually He works through my heart.  I’ll have a gentle (or not so gentle) welling within me of what’s next.  I don’t hear an audible voice.  I don’t get some prophetic word.  I don’t hear a vision.  If I’m lucky, I know that I know that I know that this next step is next. That’s happened maybe five times in my life.  Usually it’s more of a, “Well, this makes sense, and God’s not shutting this door, and it’s something I’m pretty passionate about, so, here goes!”

11.7 - Ecuador bridge

So, pursue those passions.  Get up out of your safe comfy chair and start pursuing them.  If they’re in your heart, I don’t care how old you are, pursue them.  God’ll give you a way.

There is a song by NeedToBreathe that I love and is incredibly inspiring to me.  Go download it, and as you listen to it, read these lyrics:

“Keep Your Eyes Open”

If you could soldier on
Headstrong into the storm
I’ll be here waiting on the other side
Don’t look back
The road is long
The first days of the war are gone
Take back your former throne and turn the tide

Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You’ll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love
So tell me you’re strong, tell me you see
I need to hear it, can you promise me to
Keep your eyes open, my love

Just past the circumstance
The first light, a second chance
No child could ever dance the way you do, oh
Tear down the prison walls
Don’t start the curtain call
Your chains will never fall until you do

Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You’ll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love
So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I’ll never let you fall apart if you
Keep your eyes open, my love

Open up
Open up
Open up your eyes
The weight is unbroken
Open up
Open up
Open up your eyes
Keep your eyes open

Don’t let the night become the day
Don’t take the darkness to the grave
I know pain is just a place
The will has been broken
Don’t let the fear become the hate
Don’t take the sadness to the grave
I know the fight is on the way
When the sides have been chosen

Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You’ll never make it to the great unknown
Open up your eyes
Keep your eyes open
So tell me you’re strong, tell me you see
I need to hear it, can you promise me to
Keep your eyes open, my love
So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I’ll never let you fall apart if you
Keep your eyes open, my love

Keep your eyes (Keep your eyes open)

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Angel

For your entertainment this weekend before Christmas, a monologue I wrote from an Angel’s perspective two years ago:

 

(ANGEL comes in carrying a mug of hot water, and a messenger bag that holds a bag of small marshmallows, a spoon, and a packet of hot chocolate.  ANGEL looks slightly hassled.)

Phew.  Glad that’s over.

(Takes a deep breath.  Realizes there’s an audience.)

What?  Perhaps you expected an angel to show up with a long white bed sheet and a gold tinsel halo?  Not to mention tissue paper wings?  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

We don’t wear that stuff.  Honestly, where did you come up with that idea?  It’s not like none of you have never seen us before.  At the very least your pictures could be accurate.  But you humans, your memories are so short.  Appear to you one afternoon, and within a week you’re doubting you ever saw us, and within the month you’ve practically forgotten.  That’s probably why your ideas of us angels are nuts.  Seriously.  Nuts!!!  Why in heaven would we wear bed sheets?  You ever try wearing bed sheets?  Not very practical, and very cold. Very, very cold.   You try floatin’ in air, in the middle of the night, singing at the top of your lungs because Gabriel demands it, and you’re his secretary, so you have to set a good example.  It’s cold up there.  I’m talking snot freezing in your nose, hair becoming an icicle and breaking off in chunks, fingers turning blue, then white, and then being unable to feel anything – cold.  Believe me, we do NOT wear white bed sheets.  I’d LOVE to see you try.  It’s COLD up there I tell you.  COLD.

Speaking of which, give me a moment will you?  My water’s getting cool, and we all know that you can’t have hot chocolate if it’s cold, now can you?

(ANGEL  prepares cup of hot chocolate.)

Mmmm – that’s good.  You guys might forget stuff, but you do make some good hot chocolate.  Anyway, it was cold.  Crazy shepherds.  When Gabriel told me to gather the Heavenly Host because we were going to do a little mid-night serenading, I got kinda excited.  With all the messages being sent from Heaven to Earth recently I thought maybe we might be singing at the birth of The Son. You know, give Mary a little encouragement while she’s in labor, ease her pain – that kinda stuff.  Yeah.  Not so much.  We didn’t even get to witness the blessed event.  We had to go serenade some shepherds who were out in the middle of nowhere, hanging with their sheep.  I’m gonna be honest with you – I was a bit frustrated with this.  I mean, I did my job.  I made sure Gabriel’s mic was on, that the stars were sparkling just right, and that Heavenly Host of angels that I had to assemble were revealed to the shepherds at exactly the right moment.  But I was angry none-the-less.

I mean, seriously.  You guys have horrible memories.  We shouldn’t have been singing for a few mangy shepherds.  We should’ve appeared before the entire town of Bethlehem – and Jerusalem. Not to mention Rome.  We should’ve sung for Herod himself.  We should’ve sung for all the Teachers in the temple, for all the travelers on the road, for…for…for every wife cooking beside her fire, for every daughter fetching water at the town well, for every working son and husband.  But no – we only sing for a few smelly shepherds.  It just….  Gah!  If we had sung for everyone – then no one would have forgotten just who arrived on your small planet tonight.  No one.  People would’ve been talking about our heavenly visitation for the rest of human history.  But as it is, the memory, the knowledge, that the King of Kings has come has been solely entrusted to a few shepherds, a couple travelling kings, and Mary and Joseph themselves.

I mean, what’s going to happen if they forget?  If the rest of you don’t believe?  I might be only a secretary angel, but I know enough about how humans think, and about how God works to know that the two don’t usually coincide.  God’s all about the big plan, and love, and doing things gently when possible.  You guys are all about war, and results right now.  The two ways of life don’t exactly mix well.  If, just sayin’, if you forget that the small baby born tonight is the one and only son of His Holiness, and that you need to do what He says, you’re gonna kill him.  I mean, I know – I KNOW that He left Paradise to come save you guys.  And God knows you need saving.  And I have no idea how in Heaven He plans on saving you, but if you forget He’s God, and you kill him….  What’s gonna happen to you then?  Huh?  What’s going to happen to all of us then?

Don’t forget, okay?  Please, please, don’t forget He’s the Son of God.  Give him your respect, your love, you time, your honor.  But mostly, don’t forget.  Please, please, don’t forget.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Shepherd’s gift

Have you considered recently how much God loves you?  Little, insignificant, slightly quirky, not-at-all-perfect, YOU?

I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise Thursday morning.  Vibrant oranges, soul-deep purples, swirling blues, and hints of glowing, golden yellow.  It was breath-taking.  Especially since I consider each and every sunrise and sunset a love letter from Him.  Yes, I know – everyone can see the sunrise and sunset.  It’s not all that personal.  Except… except that every time I see one (breath-takingly brilliant or not) a very deep quiet fills my soul and I know that I know that I know that I am loved.  It’s almost as if I can feel His strong, muscular arms hugging me from behind while we watch His handiwork together.  And that is intensely personal.

And so mornings like Thursday, when I can practically feel God’s strong arms around me, make me think.  How many other sunrises that I didn’t quite get out of bed early enough to watch, am I missing?  How many other little gifts has He left for me throughout the day that I overlook, or worse, taken for granted?  And maybe, even worse than that, how many gifts has He offered me that I’ve thought weren’t really mine?  I thought I wasn’t good enough for; or that they were too good for me; I didn’t deserve them (as if any one of us can actually deserve anything God gives us).  How many things is He telling me that I just need to accept and start living a life that reflects what He tells me; what He thinks about me?

For instance, what if the shepherds hadn’t believed the angels that night?  What if those smelly, tired, more than slightly awkward shepherds thought that God couldn’t have meant that for them; or that they were imagining things.  Or that they needed to go take a bath before hunting down the Messiah.

But no, they didn’t.  They accepted the crazy gift God gave them, and then, in faith, went looking for it.  God hadn’t talked to His people in something like 400 years.  That’s crazy.  And then to be a lowly shepherd and actually believe that the glowy, singing host hovering in the sky above you really is a large choir of angels telling you about the Messiah, and not just you finally going crazy after hanging with the sheep too long, is a HUGE step of faith.

I want to live like that.  I want to live like Mary and the Shepherds.  I want to live a life of accepting (and pursuing) the gifts God has given me.  I want to live a life in search of the small ones He’s tucked away in the grumpy or busy minutes of my day.  I want to be like the shepherds and leave everything behind to go find what the angels are singing about.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bethlehem spots

Have you ever been in a spot you didn’t want to be?  Whether it was geographically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally? I know I have been for each of the above more than once.  I was in another state when a friend got married, another time a friend was having a baby, and there was the time I didn’t get to be home for a holiday.  I’ve not been able to get a thought out of my mind, and because of that, dwelled on it until that thought ruined everything else around me.  I’ve left God at home, in between the dusty covers of my Bible.  I’ve cried everyday for over a month and not known what to do with myself.  Yes, I’ve been in many spots I didn’t want to be.

Kinda like Mary and Joseph, when they found themselves in Bethlehem.  It was the last place they wanted to be – far from home, far from the people they loved (even if the people they loved were a bit, um, “miffed” at them at the moment), far from the town they knew and loved.  And here they were, pregnant, surrounded by masses of people just as uncomfortable and irritable as they were, not exactly in slipping-through-crowds-with-ease shape, and alone.  Oh yeah, AND GIVING BIRTH!!!!!

And yet, for some crazy reason, that’s exactly where God wanted them.  I think He wanted them there because it makes for a more dramatic story (maybe I’m giving God too many human characteristics, but I honestly think He loves a good story with fun twists and turns).  Somehow, Mary and Joseph being in Bethlehem not only fulfilled prophecy, but it also brought God more glory than if Jesus had been born quietly, in the corner of the house Mary grew up in, with everyone looking the other way, and the neighbors muttering things about loose women and stoning.  Plus, if they hadn’t been in Bethlehem, who knows whether or not they could’ve ever escaped to Egypt, or if the wisemen would have found them, and those poor shepherds never would have been able to see the Christ.

I don’t know what it is about uncomfortable moments and uncomfortable places, but sometimes, (only SOMETIMES mind you), God purposefully puts us there.  Sometimes our bad choices put us in places we don’t want to be.  But sometimes God puts us there.  Whether it’s to bring Him glory, or to teach us a lesson, or to shake us up so we pay Him more attention, or He’s simply using us to reach other people, I think He alone (and maybe you) know.

No matter what the reason is though, when you find yourself in those places – take notice!  God’s probably working in your life!  He has lessons to teach you, if you’re willing to learn.  He has His glory to show through you, if you’re willing.  He has blessings to wash you with, if you’re willing and attentive.  And, the highest honor of all, He has other people to reach through you! IF you’re willing to notice (and embrace) the uncomfortable, unwanted spots.

So, this holiday season, notice when you are in an uncomfortable spot.  Notice when you seem to be in Bethlehem and an animal-infested stable.  And then ask God, “So, what did You have in mind?”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized