Sustainer

Crouched, huddled, humbled

Cowering in grief and loneliness

Hunched over, enveloped in darkness

Afraid, ashamed and alone;

Albeit desirous of great comfort, forgiveness, connection,

Emancipation, peace, deliverance

 

And yet, I hear a voice.

Soothing, inaudible – yet not.

Distinct, definitive, refreshing

Dare I turn?

Dare I look upward?

Dare I risk vulnerability?

Light?

 

I must!

I can no longer live in fear and uncertainty.

This is not living.

 

Rolling, unraveling

Standing, turning, reaching

The Voice is Light, and Rock, and Mountain Height

Where the eagle rests,

Out of reach of any who would prevail in the valley

 

Still the voice calls.

I am drawn, but I cannot reach.

I whisper.

I breathe afresh

Deeply, drawing in refreshment

Expelling all that would hinder

 

I call aloud to the Voice, the Rock, the Height above all.

Desperate, pleading, repenting of all that has been my own;

All that has left me entailed to the dark of fear and shame

 

I am lifted up,

On eagle wings,

To lofty peak,

In crevice rest.

Above

Beyond

Safe

Free

Untouchable by darkness

I see the Light shine on me.

Unhindered view

The warmth of wings – of comfort

The security of Rock – fortress

 

I sleep in peace

Nourishment is sweet

No fear of abandonment

The Voice, ever present

 

Only when He has prepared me

Shall we go on from here

Together

One

The Sustainer and the sustained

 

6/3/2015

Forgiveness, Repentance

Repentance is the means by which one accepts forgiveness already offered.

Not the means by which forgiveness is earned.

Forgiveness is a gift given; not a right deserved; nor a commodity bought.

Repentance is the way in which one holds out their own hand to accept the gift of forgiveness offered freely.

Forgive. Repent. Accept. Be changed.

Shared and Sharing Experience

I have just listened to Wes Moore speak at TED on how to talk to veterans about their wars. 

His comments directed my thoughts to other individuals and groups whose communities and families may or may not approach them, or may unintentionally offend or wound through ignorance.

Social media and other communication mediums are replete with those who have endured war, abuse, rape, disability, pain, physical and mental illness, job-loss, moral and financial bankruptcy, child-loss, widow-hood (I could go on), all looking for others who have shared in a similar experience and/or a place to be heard and valued.

My simple hope is that we each would take an interest and the time to discover what another’s experience has been like, and share our own experiences so that someone else may not feel alone in theirs. Talking about our lives is healthy for the speaker, the listener and our social connections. Not talking, asking or listening only breeds our sense of isolation, negative identity assumptions (of ourselves and others), and disconnection from each other when we all have a desire to belong – somewhere.

Flexibility and Reform

I have just read a devotion by Chuck Swindoll on Insight For Living titled ‘Flexibility’ and based on Acts 16:6-10.

And I’m wondering…

Could it be that inflexibility and traditionalism don’t necessarily mean that one always refuses to do a new or different thing; but that one does all things – new and familiar – with the same old attitude, traits, judgementalism, blind following (lack of discernment), conformity, demand, prejudice, partiality, fear, insecurity…Reforming the things one does, without becoming a person reformed?

Just wondering.

Depth

The dark inside is so dark

Its substance can’t be seen.

I think I’ve plumbed the depths

But only One has mastery.

 

The surface is the surface

No matter what the depth I claim.

I must seek the One who searches

Beneath the clutter I have named.

 

The unknown depths of darkness

Can be cleansed and made as snow,

If I will, and ask, surrender

To the One Who sees below.

 

So, I’ll ask the One to search within,

Beneath, below and under

To shine light into the darkness;

Once enjoined, now put asunder

 

December 2013

One Step

Steven Curtis Chapman – Take Another Step

http://youtu.be/6E0F2s_3I78

And now here you are. You’re afraid to move. ‘Cause you don’t know where to go. ‘Cause you don’t know what to do.

Take another step, take another step. When the road ahead is hard, and you don’t know where to go.

Take another step, take another step. Trust God and take another step, and another step, and another step. Take another step, and another step, and another step…

And there we are. Nothing to hold on to, but the promises God’s made to me and you…

Take another step…

If there’s an ocean in front of you, you know what you’ve gotta do…take another step, and another step. Maybe He’ll turn the water into land, and maybe He’ll take your hand and say, “Let’s take a walk on the waves, will you trust me either way? And take another step, take another step.”

I’m going one step at a time; just as Steven Curtis Chapman, and Charles Spurgeon, and Oswald Chambers, and Amy Grant, and Rich Mullins have been reminding me.

When I had children who were born with blindness, it seemed the water was turned into land.

Life right now seems more like walking on the waves – large, ominous, crashing waves!

I will continue to take ONE more step.

Building: Walls, Boundaries

So, I’ve already said that I believe when Building: Foundations First  is important (or restoring). Walls and boundaries for protection are also very important, and perhaps necessary before the building is complete.

There is always a need for a relatively safe place, especially if rebuilding after a trauma (earthquake, emotional upheaval) or battle (war, personal attack). A rebuilder needs clearly defined boundaries to keep threats at bay or from which to see a potential threat coming and prepare to defend. Clear boundaries also give direction as to where one’s responsibility for building lies and , consequently, what it might be that one will be responsible for.

We each are responsible for building and rebuilding what is our own, but it’s healthy, resourceful, and community-minded to seek out those who can be trusted to assist with establishment and ‘border protection.’ If we are starting from scratch, we’re possibly in unfamiliar territory; there may be others who have built with similar intentions as ours in the past. Making use of successful methods and standards is better than ‘reinventing the wheel.’ If, on the other hand, we are rebuilding after battle or trauma we may be in need of a ‘kindred spirit’ to help define where the boundaries need to be and of the stuff they could/should be made of.

It’d be nice to think that everyone was supportive of our building efforts and goals, and that everyone understood or had the same goals and commitment that we do. But that is rarely, if ever, the case. This is fine, because the world is a much more colourful and beautiful place for its diversity. When looking for someone to help stand guard or instruct us as we build, we want to look for someone who can see into what we’re about or is at least desirous of supporting us in our building goals even if their’s differ. As we begin to build we must also be on guard ourselves, so that when our enlisted scouts give the call we battle/defend together.

Sadly, some will actually attempt to compromise our building, or even prevent its ever beginning, or destroy what has begun. Sometimes this occurs with open defiance, other times with deceit and false offers of assistance. The fruit usually tells what sort of tree you are dealing with. Look for the fruit, it’s not usually difficult to spot and recognise true support amidst covert opposition. ‘Kindred spirits’ are good at helping to recognise the kind of fruit you’re dealing with as well.

A friend recently informed a group of us that ancient Roman shields could be ‘locked’ together during attack so that the group could be better protected beneath the rows of shields. Gather a group of kindred spirits, supporters and experienced builders to ‘lock shields’ with you as you build, especially if you’re re-building! Set your boundaries, understand you goals and values, and start to build.

One day soon you can sit back and look at the beautiful fruit of all your imaginings, creativity, effort, and community – in fact, take moments along the way to recognise the early fruit as you build…rewarding.

Thanks again to Ezra and Nehemiah for re-building guidelines.

 

Refining Fire

Lying dead and lifeless
That which has fallen from above
When touched by heat and spark
Will a firestorm, behove

Though dead to life of tree
Now feed to living flame
Producing heat, destruction
None will ever be the same

The flame takes all alive
Toward the point of death
All living, true and permanent
Will shoot with a new breath

Refine me, prove what’s true
Remove all not of Thee
Breathe Your life into me
Life that with, You’re fully pleased

 

29/12/2013

From ‘John Plowman’s Talk and Pictures’

No man’s lot is fully known till he is dead: change of fortune is the lot of life. He who rides in the carriage may yet have to clean it…and he who is up aloft may have to take his turn in the pit…The thought that we may ourselves be one day under the window should make us careful when we are throwing out our dirty water…and therefore let us look well to dealings with the unfortunate.

Nothing makes me more sick of human nature than to see the way in which men treat others when they fall down the ladder of fortune…they cry, “He was always good for nothing.” Dog won’t eat dog, but men will eat each other up like cannibals, and boast of it too…The dog is drowning, and therefore all his friends empty their buckets over him…The house is on fire, and all the neighbours warm themselves. The man…has tumbled into the road…he is down and selfishness cries, “Let him be kept down, then there will be more room for those who are up.”

How aggravating it is when those who knocked you down kick you for not standing up. “What a pity he went so far on the ice!” That’s very true, but that won’t save the poor fellow from drowning…Good advice is poor food for a hungry family.

A man of words and not of deeds,                                                                                                            Is like a garden full of weeds.

…Help my old horse to a few oats, and then tell him to mend his pace. Feel for me, and I shall be much obliged to you, but mind you feel in your pocket or else a fig for your feelings.

…A noble spirit always takes the side of the weak but noble spirits do not often ride along our roads; they are as scarce as eagles…Most people will help those who do not need it…all the cooks baste the fat pig, and the lean one gets burned.

In times of prosperity friends will be plenty:                                                                                        In times of adversity not one in twenty.

While the wind serves, all aid…All the neighbours are cousins to the rich man…but Widow Needy is not heard across the park railings, let her call as she may. Men willingly pour water into a full tub and give feasts to those who are not hungry, because they look to have as good or better in return…unless it be some antiquated old soul who believes…loves his Lord, and therefore gives, ‘hoping for nothing again’? …When…folks are very polite and considerate, poor men had need beware. It was not a good sign when the fox walked into the hen-roost and said, ‘Good mooring to you all, my very dear friends.’

Down men, however, must not despair, for God is yet alive, and he is the Friend of the friendless…A good man…His hope may be drenched but not drowned. He plucks up courage and sets a stout heart to a stiff hill, and gets over rough ground where others lie down and die. While there’s life, there’s hope. Therefore, my friend, if you’ve tumbled off the back of prosperity, John Ploughman bids you not to lie in the ditch but up with you and try again. Jonah went to the bottom of the sea, but he got to shore again all the better for his watery journey.

A false faith can only float in smooth water, but true faith, like a life boat, is at home in storms. If our religion does not bear us up in time of trial, what is the use of it? If we cannot believe God when our circumstances appear to be against us, we do not believe him at all.

Charles Spurgeon – 1869

I know what it is to be kicked for not getting up by those who knocked me down. I know what it is to be financially, productively, relationally, emotionally, physically, spiritually down…and up. Because we have been made in the likeness of our Creator, we can care about the lot of others. We must choose. I know what it is to face, be within, and sail out of storms that looked as though they were intended to be life-taking. Life-taking can be life-giving; if what is taken was preventing life, and what is given fills the void with life.

Today, I choose life!