I see them when I wake up and it is his voice I hear. I see it when I switch the pen caps and laugh. I see it when someone talks to me while I stand alone. I see it when I get a question right. I see it when I don’t fight. I see it when I spell something right I thought I would get wrong. I see you whenever you talk to me. I see you when you laugh with me. I see you when you smile at me from a far leading people over. I see you in the crowd unmistakable to miss standing right there a foot, a mile, a state away and I know you are coming you will always be there waiting to laugh with me, waiting to smile, waiting to talk, waiting to help, and waiting to listen. I will only catch some, but each one matters each one I will wait for each one I will look for. Because I know you are waiting too.
I loved the movie The NeverEnding Story when I was younger. I watched it recently with my girls and it was not as good as I remembered, but there is a depth to this movie that I still love.
So often we think of never-ending, the infinite, in terms of numbers going on forever. We rarely tie it back to anything we experience in our daily lives unless we are studying mathematics or the universe. I think this is one of the reasons why I loved this movie so much. It opened my eyes to the perspective of my life being part of a bigger story, to the idea of a living story, and it brought the infinite into my finite world.
As a child I wondered where the book of my story sat and how the pages were magically added every day, but as I have grown I see that for a story to truly be living and never-ending, the depth is found within a finite number of pages, hidden between the lines where infinite new meanings, insights, and inspirations are waiting to be discovered every time it is read. Just as the numbers between 0 and 1 stretch to infinity, the meaning buried within the lines of a never-ending story is inexhaustible.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In this time of the great opinion, many of us spend more time forming, preparing, mulling over and then sharing our own opinions on the many platforms and soapboxes we have created rather than actually stopping to listen and take the time to understand the opinions of others. Ironically, the instrument that we use most for sharing our opinions must now be covered with a mask when we go somewhere and universally a covered mouth means, be quiet or be silent.
We might not be getting the hint just yet, but I think it is being given none the less. The time to speak has passed and it is now a time to be silent and listen.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.” The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell”.
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, “I don’t understand.” “It is simple,” said the Lord, “it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”
When I started this blog I was thinking a lot about this parable and at the time I thought that I might find myself at the wrong table if I was called to stand before our King. Now I am sure there are still many days when I sit down at the wrong table, but I am trying everyday to be more intentional about taking a seat at the right table.
With the world wide spread of Covid-19 we now find ourselves in a situation where we clearly have the chance to choose a table every time we meet our neighbor. All of us are potentail carries of Covid-19 and if we choose to wear a mask, but are surrounded by others who are not wearing masks, our pontential for contracting the infection is only decreased to 70%, while the very act of wearing our own mask decreases the chances for our neightbors to contract the desease to 5%. We are very clearly dependent on the decisions of others to stay healthy and to decrease the spread of Covid-19.
Will you take this opportunity to sit down at the right table everyday? Show your love for others by wearing your mask!
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This week I have been thinking a lot about my breath. I love breathing and taking a full breath of fresh air into my lungs – I think we all do. I have never had a serious lung issue, but I have had moments of anxiety in college and as a young adult when I felt that it wasn’t possible to get a full breath, and they were terrifying. As I listen to the news and watch the hospitals and doctors repeat over and over the desperate need for more ventilators – I am finally realizing that it is our (His) precious breath that is being taken away.
Exactly a year ago today, I wrote a blog titled “Breath of God“. My prayer last year was…
My Lord, I pray that You guard every utterance of my mouth so that the words I speak will never again pollute the sweet scent of Your breath, but instead will carry forth from my being to bring You Eternal Glory.
Right now, while we still have His Breath in our lungs let us truly Glorify Him with every breath we take, we must pray without ceasing. I have found that
breathing in on -Je and out on the –sus
breathing in on the -Thank and out on the -You
align perfectly with my inhale and exhale rhythm.
Genesis 2:7 – Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
When I am running I like to pray and place people at the foot of His throne. I have always imaged that our Sweet Heavenly Father is big, but in the image I have conjured up in my mind I come midway up His dais if I am kneeling before Him and come up to His foot if I stand before Him. This must sound silly to most of you, but I have a very visual imagination. This morning He gifted me an amended image of His Immensity. Today as I prayed over my children’s school, in my mind I pulled their school out of the ground and lifted it up to His Throne. Instead of the normal image I see of a large room with a big school inside, He filled my mind with a new image. In this new image I saw how minuscule their school was before His throne. Their large elementary school looked like a tiny speck before the immense dais of His Holy Throne. When I looked across the vast space I saw a few more specks in the distance that I realized were large groups of people gathered and I somehow knew that these groups were families that had believed and walked in His Holy Will over many generations. If the whole earth had been placed there it would have look like a child’s toy ball laying on the ground before His Throne.
The only words that come close to describing what I saw are IMMENSE and VAST. Isaiah saw this too and described it for us, but now I have seen it in my minds eye and truly there are no words to describe it.
Isaiah 40:15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
We visited the Grand Canyon over the Thanksgiving Break, and I woke up to see the sunrise on our first morning. When I arrived at the rim, the canyon was still in the shadow of dawn light. The colors were beautiful, and I could clearly see the nooks and crannies deep in the canyon.
As the sun peaked over and illuminated the north-rim, the contrast became striking. The sun-kissed ridges took on new and bolder colors, while the nooks and crannies below became darker, their details fading into the gloom of shadow.
Witnessing this beauty a wedding came to mind and I thought of how quickly the beautifully dressed wedding guests fade in the midst of the groom’s great joy reflecting in the eyes of his bride as she gazes upon him. Without speech or words, but declaring through creation our Lord poured the beginning of Psalm 19 into my heart and reconnected me with Isaiah 60:1-2 in the silence of that early morning.
Oh my Lord, please let us all be sun-kissed by You as Your Glory rises upon us and let us never be deprived of Your warmth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
I wrote an entry in 2016, Every moment is infinite, about surface living or skimming the surface of life when our focus is always on the past or the future, versus deep living when we focus on diving deep into each moment and truly living in the present.
As I have thought about this more, I have come to call it our Spiritual Heartbeat. When we spend all of our time skimming the surface of life, we are following a straight line and our Spiritual Heartbeat is a flatline. When we spend time diving deep into each present moment, we are following a line with valleys and peaks between each moment and we end up with what looks like an actual heartbeat.
We are told again and again and again to live in the present moment, but I don’t think we grasp the urgency… it truly a matter of life and death. If you have lost your way or don’t know how to get started, start small. Sit still for 30 sec and count your breaths… our sweet Jesus shows up, He always shows up and He will revive you!
In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. At that time you followed the world’s evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger. But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world.
My sweet husband took me to Lourdes, France this summer. On our first morning we attended the International Mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X. The Basilica of St. Pius X is a huge underground cathedral with a maximum capacity of 25,000 people.
During the mass there were many times that I didn’t understand what was being said, because it was held in many different languages. In these moments, I took in my surroundings and was amazed to realize that I was sitting in what looked like the belly of a whale.
We were not there for 3 days and 3 nights, instead about 3 hours, but in that time I prayed and praised the Lord for inviting us, bringing us and preparing all of us, me, my family, everyone there (about 2000 people), to do His Holy and Good Will!
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.
From deep in realm of the dead, I called for help,
and You listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered You, Lord,
and my prayer rose to You,
to Your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to You.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from Lord.'”
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.