Category Archives: Patience

A quieter faith

Let’s dispense with a few facts about myself:

1. I have very strong opinions about many things.

2. I am not afraid to say what I think in most situations,

3. I will always tell you the truth as lovingly as I can will being true to points 1 and 2.

That being said, I am declaring today that I express my Christianity in a quieter way than I often express my opinions. And I am going to stop apologizing for myself to God, and to others about this quietness. It’s not that I feel shy about my Christianity, it’s quite the opposite. I feel bold and free in my walk with God. It’s just that I choose to be quiet about it for the sake of others. That is, until the time is ripe for honest discussion. In 1 Kings 19 God told Elijah to go to the mountain because He was going to pass by. Then the following happens:

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

I believe sometimes God shakes the earth to get our attention. But I also believe that He mostly calls to us gently and lovingly, wooing us like a lover.

I want you to to know genuinely know me and what I’m like. I want you to trust that I am a woman of her word. So, that when I talk about my faith with you, you will know that I am being honest and true. That what I have to say is real and flows from the deep places of my heart. I want you to know that you are not just a notch on my belt that ups my score in heaven.

I see no advantage to being in your face about Jesus, unless we have that kind of relationship. I don’t have anything to prove to myself or to others about my walk. I keep no tally of those I’ve convinced to follow Christ. I’d much rather sit in stillness with you and let the gentleness of God convince you of your need for God’s love, than to say a thousand of the “right” things that do more harm than good. I’d rather water the garden of your heart with tenderness and care than to stab at it with hoes and pickaxes.

Even if that means someone else gets to witness the moment you meet God face to face.

I am content to sit and wait in quiet prayer in hopes that an opportunity will arise to express why I need God, and why you do too. I am content to let God do the wooing in His time and in His way.

So, all you quieter expressions faith out there, feel no shame in your quiet ways. Just be ready to say what needs to be said at the right time. And it will all be alright.

Monday Morning Meditation- Promise

God. Never. Breaks. A. Promise.

Ever.

He can’t.  He’s not human.  Humans break promises all of the time.  God never does.  Which is why we can rely fully and totally on His promises.

While I was considering what was on my mind about God and his promises my mind went to Abraham.  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Rom 4:18-21)

Against all odds, poor decisions, and time, God still delivered on his promise to Abraham, even when it looked like it couldn’t possibly happen.  Even when the world could look at the circumstances and say, “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.”  Sarah bore Abraham a son in their (very) old age.  Abraham did become the father of the many hundreds of millions.  Even when God told him to sacrifice his son, he still had hope and trusted in the promise.  Else, he wouldn’t have journeyed up the mountain.

Sometimes in my life I forget that God never breaks promises.  He ALWAYS delivers.  Just not always when I THINK he should.  And that’s the hard part. Waiting.  Trusting.  Hoping.  Faith in God’s promises.  That he WILL deliver, at the exact moment he intends to.

Lord, help me to trust and to hold on just a little longer while waiting for you to do what  you promised.

5mf Post- Rest

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Five minute Friday’s are a stream- of- consciousness exercise hosted by The Gypsy Mama every Friday.  In an effort to get myself writing more frequently, I am going to participate as frequently as I can.  I am also participating in a weekly bible study at Beauty for Ashes onWednesdays, and in “Just Write!” campaign also hosted by Beauty for Ashes.  The 5mf exercise is simple, The Gypsy Mama gives us a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes.  There is no editing and no backtracking.  Just write whatever comes into your mind.  So here goes this week’s edition of 5mf:

Rest

I just got up from a  nap.  I was attempting to rest, because I feel so tired.  I just needed a nap.  Instead of actually sleeping, I thought of all the reasons that I don’t have time to sleep, or that keep me awake.  Secrets about my sins, things that stress me out, physical pain, spiritual hunger, needing more God in my life.  It’s easy to look at someone and say, “You need more rest!” without actually understanding what keeps them from resting.  Truly resting is not an experience that involves sleep.  Truly resting involves trusting.  Trusting that everything will be alright.  Trusting that God’s got it covered, that He has my back.  I struggle and struggle to find this place of rest and abandon.  I struggle to just let go, and let things lie where they in my life.  I want to be able to feel the sweetness of utter and complete rest.  Of lack of control.  I mean, if God is big enough, why do I need to worry?  He says he wants my burdens, so why not give them to Him?  Why not let Him fight the good fight on behalf?  The pain, the worry, and the frustration don’t have to be mine.  Here is a prayer hoping to let go and let be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Steph

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Tender (the first day of the “Just Write!” campaign)

Mary Kathryn Tyson, of Beauty for Ashes, decided she needed help getting un-stuck in her blog writing. She decided to start a month long campaign called “Just Write!” (named by moi) in which she will do stream-of-consciousness writing on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday is a bible study of the book of Romans that we are engaged in until the bitter end. And Friday is devoted to Gypsy Mama’s stream-of-consciousness writing “Five Minute Friday”.

So, I am participating in this campaign because I am reluctant to write. I am sure that God wants me to write. But I just can’t get past myself. I was excited when I read MK’s proposal hoping that this would spark a lifelong habit of blogging. Everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “Just Write!for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Day 1: Tender

GO!

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your love shines gently on my soul.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your life fills my heart’s hole.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Prompt me with you tenderness.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Touch me with your tender caress.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your light.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me through to the end of this fight.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me understand the mysteries of the deep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the sweetness of your sleep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your dwelling place.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the beauty of your face.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Fill me from my head to my toes.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Lead my heart so my head follows.

STOP!

So there you have it, five minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Feel free to add your own in my comments, to put a link in my comments, or just leave a note letting me know you were here and what you think about my efforts.

Who would attend my funeral? Some thoughts on friendship.

Don’t worry, I am not planning my death or anything crazy like that.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, we spend the first two acts getting to know George Bailey.  He grows up in a small town of no real consequence.  He has loving parents, and a brother, he is friendly, loyal, honorable, part of a local community, and is bent on seeing the world.  But, life takes some twists and turns he did not expect.  Instead of traveling the world, he marries, takes over a business he does not want (his father’s Savings and Loan), has a few kids, builds homes for others, and does his darndest to keep the local baddie at bay.  He has some friends and life is okay.  Until something terrible happens, and he effectively wishes he were dead, or had never been born.  The third act of the movies shows us what life would be like in his small town had he never been born.  Life is ugly without him in Bedford Falls.  A measuring stick was held up to his life when the townsfolk started to show up to help him out of his crisis.  George needed that angel to show him that alternate reality to help George to understand what his life has meant to others.  George definitely made a difference and it showed.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder if I died, who would show up at my funeral?  How would I be eulogized? What would people say to those closest to me in an attempt to comfort them?  I used to have a morbid fascination with this idea because for a time I felt that no one would show up.   I felt lonely and afraid that I would die alone and unnoticed.  I struggled with invisibility (and often still do) and felt disconnected.  I really wanted connections in my life so people would show up at my funeral.  Initially, my motives were selfish.  I wanted people to care about me enough to care about  my death.

God does not like selfishness.  He likes selflessness.

Forging lifelong friendships is a long and difficult process fraught with danger and pain.  There were some relationships that were toxic, some that just ended, and some that kept going.  The friendships that kept going were eventually based on a mutual exchange of time, trust, and energy.  At some point, this process became less about what I could get from others, and became more about what I could give.  A bowl of soup here, a friendly and kind word there, a much needed moment of free childcare, some empathetic tears, a hug, a kiss, a little cash, trusted advice, helped others to know their worth to me.  And I receive these things in return and can feel my worth to those people.  The Holy Spirit gives us energy to maintain relationships with others because He desires an exchange of love between Him, us, and others, above all things.  Relationships matter.  Jesus said that the world would know us by our “love for one another” and that “no love greater is this; that he would lay his life down for his friends”.   Having friends is not really about what you can get from others, it’s about what you can give to others.  It’s about offering yourself, your gifts, your wisdom, your time, and your energy to other’s benefit.  The more you pour out, the more is poured into you.

I have many people that I love dearly outside of my little family.  Let’s cross that out; these people are my family.  I rejoice that these people are my brothers and my sisters.  They really care about me, and I really care about them.

To quote Clarence the angel, “…no man is a failure who has friends.”

Would love to hear your thoughts here….

Hold on, just a little longer.

Thief

by Third Day

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

I was listening to this song the other day while I was driving…somewhere (can’t remember).  I have listened to this song a thousand times and sung along with tears in my eyes all choked up (which makes me singing this song not pretty to listen to).  And usually, I reside in the place of the thief when I dwell in this song for the few minutes that it plays.  From the perspective of the this thief, I feel the weight of my sin and understand the price that I must pay.  And at the end of the song, I feel hope in the redemptive power of Jesus’ death there next to him (me) on the cross.

This is all good.

But that other day (the one where I can’t remember where I was going in my car), when the last verse was being sung I had a waking dream.  A brilliant flash of understanding that I had never experienced before.  It was blinding.

And, I felt like I had been delivered a roundhouse kick to the chest.  I couldn’t breathe because of the depth of what I saw and understood in that brief moment.

Jesus/God was gracious enough to hang on that cross long enough for this one last person to be saved while He was still here on earth.

WOW.  And I cried, hard.

He could have chosen to give in to death a bit sooner and end his suffering.  Who would have blamed him?  From what I  have heard, death on a cross is an agonizingly slow death of suffocation.  If it had been me up there I would have prayed for a swift death.  But Jesus/God chose to go just a little bit farther for that one last person He could touch while he still breathed.

His example has taught me a crucial lesson: When others look at me they are supposed to see Christ in me.  When I am open and there Christ can flow through me.  Being human, I am required again and again to die to myself because I am not God and therefore not perfect, but the thief in the song saw a beacon of hope in Jesus as He hung there dying and I need to be a beacon of hope in my relationships so that others may see Him.  I need to hold on just a little longer.

What are the ways that you and I can hold on just a little longer?