Tag Archives: faith

When God gave me the moon

“Lord, I just need to connect to your world right now. I know you’re here right now, but I can’t see you or feel you. Refine my spiritual senses so I can connect with You.”

I was sitting in the middle of my living room feeling squirmy in my meditation, wondering if I had prayed enough for other people and if it was okay to pray for myself. Somehow I have this ingrained belief that my prayers need to be for other people–the suffering here and across the world, my friends, my family, my town, and my country. When I want to pray for myself it’s usually prayers of thanks and asking for forgiveness for the sins I know I must have committed and the ones I am not aware of. But the whole “ask and you shall receive” thing I have a hard time with. It’s a problem.

I digress. On this day I just needed something from God. I just needed Him. I cautiously flipped my hands over so they were facing palm up as an act and symbol of wanting to receive. I prayed my prayer and I waited in silence, forcing myself to turn off my thoughts and just be. Seconds later I heard my son’s bedroom door open.

Don’t lose focus. Don’t lose focus. Breathe.

Then the upstairs toilet flushed and the sound of the water rushing through the pipes overtook the precious silence.

Don’t lose focus. Don’t lose focus…

“Hey, Mom? Mama?”

I let out a gentle and disappointed sigh.

“Mama? Are you there?” my son called from the top of the stairs.

“Yes, Buddy. What’s up?”

“You have to come see this. Come here.”

I confess, I didn’t really want to come upstairs. “Alright, I’m coming, Buds.”

As I ascended the stairs, Sean said, “The moon woke me up. You gotta see this.”

We walked into his bedroom and to his window. A crystal clear, bright white full moon was glued to the indigo backdrop of the early morning sky. It was gorgeous. I thought I should grab my camera to capture this moment.

No. You’ll miss it. This moment is just for us, said the sound of my thoughts but in a voice that wasn’t mine.

“You can see the craters, mom.”

“I can. You said it woke you up? What do you mean?”

“I was sleeping and all of a sudden a bright light came to my eyes and I woke up. I didn’t know where the light was coming from. So I turned on my bedroom light, but that wasn’t the right light. So I turned it off and laid on my bed and I saw the moon out my window. It was the moon making the light!”

“I want to see how you saw, Buddy. Show me.”

We climbed onto his bed, and as I lay my head down next to his on the pillow, I saw what he could see. This crisp brilliant moon framed by the tree branches pressed against the sky. For 25 minutes my son and I watched the moon ever so slowly lower itself through the branches while we talked about how the earth moves.

I thought out loud, “This is what the passage of time really looks like, Buddy. Isn’t that weird? Usually time feels faster because we’re so busy filling it up with activities, we forget how slow time actually moves.”

“Cool,” he said.

Then my own light came on. “Hey, did you know that right before you called me up here I was praying to God that he would help me connect to his world? I wanted to see God and the next thing I know you’re calling me up to your room to look at this amazing moon and we’re having this really neat conversation, just you and me. He used you to talk to me. That’s really special. I feel so much better now.”

Sean turned to look at me and gave me his signature smile.

The moon landed behind a cluster of branches where we couldn’t see it from where we were lying. Sean squirmed to adjust his position to get a better view.

I let out a gentle laugh. “It will drop below those branches in a few minutes, Peanut. We’re getting impatient because we can’t see it, but we know it’s still there.”

Ah. Just like God, said my thoughts again, in that familiar voice that wasn’t mine.

We lay there several more minutes, but the moon never reappeared from behind those branches.  But I knew it was there. I could feel it.

 

 

 

 

 

Why, God, why?

I hear your cries of “Why, God, why?”
I feel your laments within the depths of your heart.
You wonder if I’m even listening let alone caring about the wiles of this world.

Please understand, my dear child, this is my world and my country too. It all belongs to Me. All that has happened and all that’s been lost; the injustice and death are my greatest grief. Don’t you trust I feel it too?

You cry out “Why?” and I say to you, Thou shall see what I will do.

Do I only get your hand and heart when life is grand and goes your way? When things are as you expect or understand? Will your faith remain with Me as I lay out my full plan?
Faith only matters when it’s tested and too hard to hold on. Will you? Straining and wiggling with a white knuckle grip or will you let go and let Me set you free? Free from the struggle and what you think you understand. I’m asking you, dear child, to please trust Me.

This season of time about which you lament and cry was harsh and wild and shocking and surreal. I know. “It’s too much to handle, dear God, why?” Sweet child, I don’t ask you to handle or deal. I ask you to listen, to trust what’s Real.

All those times I gave you space to breathe and fresh eyes to see; from the trip across the ocean, warmth in tropical air, to the solitude of your cabin at the grand mountain’s base, to the dawn of that Thursday morning in your bedroom silent and calm. All the family you hugged, the friends of cheer, to the new lives and new love born–I gave you blessings dear one, I promise I did. In the midst of the pain and the plan, I heard you. Don’t you trust Me?

Do you trust when branches are pruned that new and much fruit will grow? Do you trust that crushed grain will make fresh bread? Dear child, there’s pain in each cut and every thrash, it’s true, but the vine does not die, the grain does not become pulverized. Both bring life–one bears fruit and one of grain flour ready for the finest use. Do you trust My plan, My way to prepare you? To prepare this country? To prepare this world?

To know pain and despair is to know humility; with humility comes quiet wisdom to understand. Do you trust Me?

I hear your cries asking “Why, God, why?”
I’m pulling you close and say to you:
“Trust Me, sweet child. I love you, and thou shall see what I will do.”

Why I Believe in God

 

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I am not here to convince you to believe in God or to convert you to Christianity. My purpose in this world is to love you–where you are, as you are. I am not better than you because God is my Lord and Jesus is my savior. We’re just different and that is a beautiful thing. We can still be friends. 🙂

There is no easy answer to “Why do you believe in God?” but I’ll give it a whirl. Note this is a blog space, not a biography or a memoir where I can spend pages unpacking my testimony and thoughts; what follows here is the blog-abridged answer to a deep, multi-faceted question.  Continue reading

Access Granted

 

There are barriers in our world to things or people that/who are deemed special, honorable, and of great value. Museums of art and artifacts have glass, velvet ropes, and clear rules limiting how close we can get. Movie stars, professional athletes, religious leaders, and politicians are less than accessible to the common citizen without special permissions, passes and security escorts (not because the celebrity is dangerous, but because we the public pose a potential danger.) I can’t imagine even getting a physical glimpse of royalty, like Queen Elizabeth or Duchess Kate. If I tried to approach any of these people or things I would be stopped immediately, evicted from their presence–maybe even arrested. In our world, I am not worthy to approach any of these people or things of high value. Continue reading

What I learned from a tuna melt

classic grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches

I recently made a tuna melt for my husband out of love. I let myself experiment to give him the best tuna melt he’d ever eaten in his whole life. Okay that’s a little dramatic, but I did want it to be a spectacular and unexpected tuna melt.

Starting with the basic mix of canned tuna, salt, and pepper, I roasted little red tomatoes with olive oil and sea salt; I sliced pepperchinis paper thin but with just enough thickness for a slight crunch, (like construction-paper thin as opposed to tissue-paper thin); I sprinkled in paprika for a smoky hue and dried basil for a final culinary touch of green.  Topped with a slice of creamy Tillamook cheddar, this tuna melt was a buttery-gold lunchtime masterpiece.

As I mixed and sliced and tasted and sprinkled, I allowed my heart to lead… letting my love for Andrew and my creative whim make the decisions. I reminded myself there are no rules when it comes to food, nothing that says this or that flavor can or cannot mingle with another.  I ignored the cultural hullaballoo about carbs, fat, and calories.  This tuna melt was a practice of engaging my intuition with love as the focus… the way preparing and eating food is meant to be.

This is what it looks like when I meet God in the kitchen: He reminds me to follow my heart and not the rules.

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There are rules, regulations and restrictions in our culture for how to live, how to be “healthy,” what to look like, how to be successful, how to make money, how to be happy. They’re spoken through shoulds and shouldn’ts. If you aren’t reaching where the world is leading, you are failing, not good enough, wrong. This invalidates you–and keeps you striving, working, and straining to be acceptable and accepted—to belong.  When you’re aligned with the world, it’s impossible to rest and to feel joy.

But, when you align with God, you automatically belong; standard rules and restrictions do not apply. You are literally perfect and welcome exactly how you are right now—broken, selfish, inadequate, messy. There’s no pressure to strive, work, or strain for anything. You can relax. Rest and experience the joy of just living as you.

How do we do that? Well, I usually take my cue from Jesus. For starters:

Jesus was never in a hurry (opposite of our fast-paced world). He was so not in a hurry that he was four days late in getting to a very sick friend, who died. But guess what? After mourning with his friends, Jesus brought the adored Lazarus back to life. This tells me that whatever tragedy I think is going to happen if I’m not fast enough, first, or the best, God will handle it.

~ Jesus never had a to-do list (opposite of our “to-do-lists-the-length-of-the-Dead-Sea-Scrolls” culture).Nowhere in the New Testament do you see Jesus making a list of things that needed to be done, people who needed to be healed, and lessons that needed to be taught. He lived day by day, healing, teaching, and loving as He was led.

~ He never sought success, accomplishment, power, or status (opposite of our thousands of multi-numbered lists of “how to do better than what you’re doing now”).

Jesus’ life literally revolved around one thing: Love. Loving God and loving people. You can learn a lot by watching Jesus. Beware: To follow Jesus is to be counter-cultural. The payoff, though, is peace, joy, and rest.

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Over the past year I’ve been letting the world and all its rules go, and I have let Jesus sculpt my life instead. For me, love is:

~ Serving my family, from the crises to the every day mundane of laundry, trips to Walmart, and tuna melts. But nothing feels mundane or burdensome anymore because I’m following what’s in my heart. My family is where God has me working, and I feel genuine joy in serving Him, (even though I am not always happy about folding the loads of laundry piled in my bedroom.)

~ Serving my church’s mental health ministry, from the crises to the routine of meetings and planning. I don’t choose what to do for service. I simply follow my heart as God leads (often right into situations I’d rather not be in), and I do as my intuition instructs. I fully trust that in obeying my heart, God is working his love and blessing into whomever I am serving. I feel great peace that I am living my purpose, even when things feel scary, depressing, or uncertain.

When I am not busy in one or both of these places, I am resting. Praying. Listening. Learning. Making spectacular tuna melts—being reminded what the peace of God feels like when follow my heart and not the rules of the world.

“For I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

“Cease striving, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)